20 Questions I Have About And We’re Off

If you didn’t already know, Dana Schwartz, writer for the Observer and parody Twitter powerhouse, released a YA novel last week called And We’re Off. As a rule, with the exception of a brief stint in my early 20s with The Hunger Games, I lost the bug for YA (young adult, to the non-literary among us) at least a decade ago. However, Dana’s writing is my favorite, and Universe bless Twitter for bringing her fresh perspective and undeniable wit into my life.

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And We’re Off is a universally-relatable text about completely, fantastically un-relatable things; though I don’t know anyone who went on a fabulous EuroTrip at 18, much less one instigated by acceptance to a prestigious art program, who among us doesn’t have a fraught, tense relationship with a parent? Whose passions haven’t been tested and questioned? Who hasn’t anguished over crushes or second-guessed their abilities? Nora is all of us, which is part of what makes her tale so compelling—she is a reminder of the Tumblr-dwelling nerds we used to be (or still are), but a shining example of the feminist adult we hope to become. I mean, she slams Donnie Darko in front of a cute hipster boy at a pub—she is #goals.

Plot is, of course, secondary in any great tale, but And We’re Off certainly left me with some burning questions! Is it too meta to write fanfiction about a book that references fanfiction?

  1. Will Nora get into RISD?
  2. Will Nora finally be honest with Lena about sleeping with Nick?
  3. Will Nora truly, finally realize that Nick is a dumpster fire of a person and move on?
  4. Will Callum and Nora ever see each other again, or will Callum just become a EuroTrip anecdote?
  5. Are there actually cute teen boys out there who read and reread the works of the Oxford Fantasists?
  6. Is Nora talented enough to make it as an artist or should she heed Alice’s practical warning?
  7. Would Nora have gotten into the Deece without Robert’s letter of recommendation?
  8. Will Nora ever pronounce Áine properly?
  9. Will Nora ever learn and retain the Californian boy’s name? #whiteboyfacialblindness
  10. Can Ophelia in Paradise be real, and if so, can I have a drawing of Drarry?
  11. Will Nora realize that cartooning is real art, and that she can have a viable, amazing career by leaning on her strengths?
  12. Will Valentine Neverwoods be the next Katniss Everdeen? Just kidding—she already is!
  13. Will Maeve get out of Donegal Town and take the art world by storm?
  14. Will Nora seek out her British author biological father?
  15. Will Nora’s father’s marriage to the math teacher work out? I mean, peach and mint green as wedding colors can’t bode well for the union.
  16. Will Nora and Alice’s relationship repair and go on to fill the void left in our hearts by Lorelai and Rory Gilmore?
  17. Will Alice sue her firm for wrongful termination (because frankly that shit seems like ageism to me)? Actually, fuck that. Will Alice start her own firm and bury them?
  18. Can Alice and Evelyn please be the late-in-life lesbian power couple that we all deserve?
  19. Where can I buy a print of The Reader and the Watcher?
  20. Is Belgium really a garbage country?

So, what are you waiting for? Go buy her book! But don’t worry, And We’re Off was most definitely not written by Guy in Your MFA.

“Kitchen Sink” Juice

It probably comes as no surprise that I’m into juicing. I mean juicing like kale smoothies, not like steroids, of course. Ah, juice: $7 cups of raw goodness that pick you up without a caffeine crash later. Heaven!

Well, heaven for Gwyneth Paltrow and the GOOP co., maybe. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the funds for a $7/day juice habit! In a perfect world, yes, I could endlessly patronize my local juiceries, but I had to find a more practical way of incorporating this healthy habit into my lifestyle.

Enter, the Jack LaLanne juicer. I’ve linked to the one I actually own, but other choices can be found herehere, here, and here. Funny story—I have been gifted 2 identical Jack LaLanne Power Juicers in my life! The first one came many moons ago from the grandfather of an ex-boyfriend (random), and the second came last year when a thoughtful coworker noticed that I was into healthy eating. I can certainly understand the impulse to ditch your juicer: they’re bulky, they take up valuable cabinet space, and they come with a million parts, all of which need to be cleaned with every use. It’s annoying! However, the five minutes you’ll spend washing your juicer is, in my opinion, worth saving the $5-$10 you’ll spend on a takeout juice, especially since you can make as much as you want at once. I just made a quart of the stuff!

For the longest time I kept meaning to juice, but felt overwhelmed at concocting a recipe. What, for instance, can be juiced? If I throw all of the produce in my fridge into the machine, will it taste disgusting?

As it turns out—everything and no! So, here’s my foolproof recipe, my “everything but the kitchen sink” juice that is as delicious as it is nutritious!

“Kitchen Sink” Juice, makes just under 1 quart

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 clementines or 1 orange, halved
  • 2 small or 1 large apple, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, rough chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • filtered water
  • 3 large leaves cabbage, optional

Wash and prep all of your fruits and veggies. Shove them down the juicer chute to extract juice. Pour into a quart mason jar or pitcher and top off with filtered water. Give it a shake and serve right away! I like to save my leftovers for the next morning, because what kind of psychopath gets up early enough to juice before work? Not me.

Alternate preparation if you don’t have a juicer: combine all ingredients (including filtered water) in a high speed blender until liquefied. Strain the pulp out with a nut milk bag. 


*very Stefon voice* This juice has everything: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, potassium, manganese, anti-inflammatory agents, Vitamin E, and calcium! If it were any healthier, I might have to ditch my one true love, coffee, in the mornings! But don’t worry, coffee, that will never happen.

***

I’ve found the trick to delicious juice every time is the addition of citrus and ginger. Apart from the health benefits they each bring to the table, they make anything taste delicious. For instance, I despise raw celery with a passion, but I’m out here tryna get that Vitamin K!

These ingredients were selected, because at least in my limited scope of understanding, you can reasonably expect to have most of this stuff in your fridge at any given moment. The cabbage is optional, since I don’t think it’s common to have a head of cabbage rolling around in your produce drawer, but I highly encourage you all to get on-freaking-board with cabbage. It’s so good, and good for you! Cabbage is the ride-or-die of greens (or is it a cruciferous veg?)—it can be eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted, or boiled in a soup, it’s packed with vitamins, there are a million different varieties, and best of all, studies have shown that eating yo’ cabbage can help to prevent Type II diabetes! #cabbageappreciationpost

P.S. The next National Cabbage Day is February 17, 2018. If our current administration hasn’t destroyed the planet in nuclear war by then, see you there!

Happy juicing, y’all!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowls

I. Love. Noodles. I know that I have argued that tacos and burritos are the world’s best foods, but noodles put up a very good fight for that title. Noodles are versatile AF! There are a million different kinds, all of which are the most fun to eat. There is nothing glamorous to slurping down a big bowl of noodles—perhaps it is the great equalizer we have all sought. Maybe noodles will bring world peace at last.

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gimme these right now!
A note on terminology: I don’t know if this is actually correct, but to me, a noodle is derived from rice, and pasta is derived from wheat. When people call pasta products “noodles”, I get a mild aneurysm, but then again, I never said I wasn’t compulsive.

I grew up a ramen fanatic, and I never grew out of it. I did, however, grow out of that MSG life. Health nuttiness and packaged food ne sont pas les choses qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble. I’ve been listening to Rubber Soul a lot lately, can you tell?

Unnecessary and ill-advised Beatles reference aside, my life’s mission is to eat noodles daily, and this is my go-to recipe when I come home from a long day at work and just want to gorge on something that won’t give me heart disease or diabetes #pieloverforlife. This recipe is also one of many in my personal give tofu a chance crusade, the sword I have chosen to fall on. Enjoy, my loves!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowlsserves 2

prep time: 10 mins / cook time: 10 mins

  • 1 pkg udon noodles
  • 2-3  c. chopped broccoli florets (the broccoli shrinks when cooked!)
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • sriracha
  • sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil for frying
  • agave, optional
  • ginger paste, optional
  • garlic, chopped, optional
  • chopped nori, optional
  • matchstick carrots, optional
  • matchstick cucumber, optional

To start, set a pot of lightly-salted water on to boil. When it reaches boiling, cook your noodles according to package directions. I buy frozen, so it usually takes about 4-minutes of cooking. Drain noodles and set aside.

Next, whisk together your soy sauce mixture. I use a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, and a dash of sesame oil. Optionally, you can add ginger, garlic, and/or agave to this mixture to add more flavor to the final product. But this is the basic 10-minute version of this recipe, so fancy ingredients be damned!

Drain your block of tofu. Press out as much of the water as humanly possible, and then chop into cubes. This is a great guide to pressing tofu! Once cubed, toss the tofu in some cornstarch and pan fry in the oil of your choice—I like to use coconut for this. Fry the tofu until it’s golden on all sides—do your best with this, it’s hard to flip that many little pieces evenly! Then pour your soy sauce mixture over the tofu, toss in the pan until evenly coated, and then remove from heat. Save a little bit of the soy mixture—you’ll want to toss the broccoli in it later!

While the tofu is frying, get out your wok (if applicable) and start cooking your broccoli! I like to cook the broc in sesame oil, because it has such a great flavor. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the broccoli, and stir-fry! I like to let it cook in the oil for a few minutes, and then squirt in a little rice vinegar to help soften the broc (I’ve seen Hibachi chefs do this, so it must be the proper way, right?) After the broccoli has reached your desired texture, drizzle the soy sauce mixture over it, toss, remove from heat, and then proceed to assemble your bowls! Start with noodles, add broccoli, and top with tofu! Sprinkle the whole bowl with sesame seeds, and grab some chopsticks! You’re ready to eat a passably nutritious meal that kicks take-out’s ass any day of the week!


My favorite way to eat this is with an additional sprinkling of chopped nori and some cold matchstick veggies on top (carrots or cucumbers are the way to go). Also, everything tastes better if you eat it with chopsticks, so don’t skimp!

***

That’s it, honeys! I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so this is a common throw-together lunch in my household. This is also a great starter dish for anyone who is looking to cut a little bit of meat from his or her diet. It’s packed with protein (and probiotics if you add the nori). The above method of preparing tofu ensures a nice crisp on the outside that will have even the most adamant tofu naysayer begging for seconds.

Wishlist Wednesday

Alright, it’s Thursday. Get off my back! As that garbage Christina Perry song goes, “I’m Only Human”!

Now that I’m (officially) on track to be a broke grad student, I can’t shop with the reckless abandon that I have been lately. I’ve long been a practitioner of retail therapy, but it might be time to hang up my hat. I don’t think I’ll ever truly free myself from the shackles of capitalism, but it can’t hurt to window-shop…right?

With that in mind, here’s some of my current wishlist!

RINGLY

I heard about RINGLY a few years back, but stumbled upon the company again while I was whiling away the hours on Amazon recently (a dangerous pastime, I know).

Side note: I am NOT responsible enough to have discounted Student Amazon Prime. Last night I bought 11 nose rings, a magnet, and a retro kitchen timer. O brave new world, with such gadgets in it!

But anyway, despite the fact that I cannot justify spending $165 on a ring that does not a. contain diamonds or b. alert the world to my marital status, I still want one so badly! They’re so pretty, and I’m dying to find an excuse to disconnect from my phone for a while. First Date, Daydream, or Dive Bar would all be perfect complements to any outfit. The bracelets, which I believe are a newer addition, are just as adorable, and way more fashion-forward than the FitBit I’ve been rocking. And I do have a birthday coming up in August…

All of the Lights, All of the Lights!

I’ve recently been tasked with a joyous assignment—picking out a new light fixture for my husband’s office! After years of waiting for this to be “his idea” he finally asked me to upgrade his situation, and I am only too happy to comply. As you may or may not know, I have a mild obsession with light fixtures, but have never had the budget to swap out all the ceiling lights in my house (saving that for home ownership, bby!)

To get an idea of my true style, check these babies from Anthropologie: Brass-Capped Spinning Pendant, Villier Chandelier, Anchored Ord Chandelier. As indulgent as my husband often is in my flights of fancy, there is no way in Hell that he’ll let me spend a grand of his $$$ on a light, so here are some far more reasonable options I’m going to throw at him.

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Bell White Flush Mount Lamp, CB2
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Alchemist Pendant in Gold, Anthropologie
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Mid Century Sputnik in Modern Brass, Lucent Lightshop

S’cute!

Madewell Denim

I’ve only ever snagged Madewell denim on sale, but in my aspirational life where I have upwards of $120 to spend on a single pair of jeans, I will live in it. The few pieces I own are the most beautiful, buttery-soft, perfect jeans known to man. Fun fact: I actually like my Madewells over my Citizens of Humanity, so, do with that information what you will.

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this triptych of denim perfection is literally what I imagine Paris looks like

Gimme all the pairs! The fit of Madewell pants is actual perfection. The same can’t be said about sister brand, J.Crew, unfortunately, or at least not for me and my disproportionately massive butt. I don’t know if it’s vanity sizing or what, but stepping into a pair of Madewells is like the Sisterhood of the damn Traveling Pants. Booty for days.

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I’m also super-feeling the wide-leg trend. I guess all these years of reading Man Repeller has finally gotten to me. I resisted wide-legs for years because I assumed they’d make me look, well, wider. I was wrong, bbs! I have this amazing velvet pair of cropped flares and pair similar to this gorgeous J.Crew pair and they are serving me LIFE on a silver platter.

***

These are just a few selections from the abandoned shopping carts that I have littered the internet with lately. What have you been salivating over lately?

—DellaBites

 

Who has two thumbs…

…speaks limited French, and just got into graduate school?

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This moi!

I still have a long road ahead of me. I have to figure out finances, funding, and assistantships. It may not ultimately be the full-time occupation I’m looking to make it, but either way, I did it. It took me seven endless, painful, dreary years, but I got dat B.A. and I’m on to the next.

Neither of my parents went to college. In fact, most people in my family didn’t. As I start graduate school, my youngest brother will be starting undergrad. The circle of freaking life. This is a step I never thought I’d take.

Thank you to the handful of folks that read this blog. You guys are amazing, supportive, and are part of what keeps the dream of being a full-time writer alive. This blog started as a creative outlet for me to post my recipes and outfits when I was a bored 23-year-old college student working in retail, but it has turned into a place where I can share my deepest desires and silliest thoughts. I mean, you guys read a thing I wrote about icon and perfect human, Céline Dion. You’ve watched my attempt to review cheap rosés with zero real knowledge about wine. You know all my favorite podcasts. You’ve dealt with the fact that I accidentally deleted almost all of the photos on this blog and have to start from scratch. You are all my heroes. Someday, when I’m the next Tina Fey or Tracey Wigfield (A GIRL CAN DREAM, OKAY), I will think about this little passion project with such fondness.

Holy f***ing sh*t, you guys! I’m going back to school! I never thought I’d sing this song again, but here I am!

my jokes are not original

P.S. Watch Tracey Wigfield’s new showGreat News, you filthy animals. It’s the second coming of 30 Rock. Well, the third coming, because Difficult People is actually a perfect show.

 

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself wondering, “How can I incorporate more tacos into my every day life?” Soft or hard, veggie or bean, I love all tacos indiscriminately (get your mind out of the gutter).

Breakfast tacos aren’t exactly a stunning innovation. The breakfast burrito is a restaurant menu staple for good reason—Tex-Mex and breakfast foods are a beautiful marriage of flavors. But it is my life’s mission to eat (specifically cruciferous) vegetables at every meal, and damn it, I will accomplish it!

These tacos are endlessly customizable, and a great way to pack some serious nutrition into your morning. Plus, everything tastes better in a taco shell. It’s literally science.

Cauliflower is my favorite here, but other veggie options include broccoli, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, or zucchini!

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

  • soft corn tortillas, taco size
  • 1-2 eggs (per person), scrambled
  • leftover roasted veggies (I recommend cauliflower)
  • salsa

Optional toppings might include: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, bean dip, hot sauce, sauerkraut—if you can dream it, you can do it!

If you don’t have any leftover veggies (I seem to always have something in my fridge), toss your chopped veggie of choice in olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and roast until soft and slightly browned.

Scrambled your eggs and heat up as many tortillas as you plan to eat. I like to heat my tortillas over the open flame on the stove, but the microwave or the oven on a very low setting will work just as well. As soon as everything is piping hot, assemble your tacos by dividing the scrambled eggs and vegetables amongst the tortillas. For the less adventurous (read: messy) eaters among us, combine all desired ingredients into a bowl and top with the corn tortillas, chopped. Dig in!

There you have it: every food group before 10 am. Brb—gonna go whip up some more breakfast tacos!

 

This morning’s variation: spinach, black bean dip, salsa, scrambled eggs, beet & red cabbage sauerkraut, hot sauce

 

I Discovered A Thing!

We live in a terrifying age. Targeted ads online are getting way too omniscient and precise. I don’t know that I’ve ever Googled Mrs. Meyers or Method (my preferred cleaning product brands), but I guess my general online vibe is bougie-hippie, because today, on Facebook of all places, they got me!

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inspiring af product photography

I use Facebook for three things—to promote my side hustle gigs, to post my wedding pictures, and to use the “On This Day” feature to scrub my social media accounts of old posts (advanced Twitter search is also great for this). Not that anything I posted as a teen is particularly embarrassing, but I don’t need “proof” that I was really into Kate Nash in 2010. So many status updates of no-context song lyrics—it was a simpler time.

But today, as I was giving the ol’ Timeline a cursory scroll, I saw a promoted blog post offering a free Mrs. Meyers kit. I’m not one to usually fall for this stuff, but I had to at least check out if it were legit, right? I visited the (actually super cute) blog, and read the sponsored post. It was advertising a website called Grove Collaborative, a Blue Apron-esque monthly delivery service for green cleaning and beauty products. At the present moment, they’re offering a 60-day free trial of their VIP service, which includes free shipping and a bunch of free goodies with the purchase of $20 worth of products. I think the VIP service is typically $40/year—I might give it a go when mine renews in July.

Today I placed my first order and got $50 worth of products for only $20! Free Mrs. Meyers lotion, hand soap, and dish soap, and they tossed in free sponges and a glass spray bottle! I’m excited to try out the wood & steel cleaners—I’m the queen of using all-purpose sprays on everything, but I think it’s time to grow up and take better care of my things!

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Grove Collaborative comes to my life at the perfect time—I’ve been in the process of switching to all-natural products in every aspect of my house and home, from whole foods to makeup, so having a delivery service bringing me organic cotton tampons and essential oils, for example, is a great way to keep me from Target impulse buys! Because, as we all know, Target is a death trap for the wallet. I go in for toothpaste and leave with a new bedroom set. It’s insane! The items on Grove Collaborative’s site are all also a tad lower in price than they are at Target or your local grocery store, which is another great way to save money. As far as I can tell, you only need a minimum of $10 worth of products per monthly shipment, so only order what you need, when you need it.

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these are a few of my faaaavorite brands—shop mrs. meyers, method, and seventh generation!

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Oh, and before I forget to mention it, if you provide a phone number, Grove Co. sends you a text to remind you of your next shipments! This is a huge boon to me, since I can be spacey about subscriptions (for instance, we’ve only gotten Blue Apron boxes by accident because I forgot to cancel…oops). Oh brave new world, with such services in it!

Click here for my referral link to get $10 off your first order!

*note that I am not in any way affiliated with Grove Collaborative, but would obviously love to be!

**all photos via Grove Collaborative and linked in the text of the post