a move away

Hello readers! If you’ve been with me for this long, I thank you. No, I’m not leaving the blogging world, but I’m moving over to a separate blog temporarily to mirror my real-life move to a place a bit far away.

I may be back on here from time to time, if baking or cooking inspiration strikes while I’m navigating my way through Mediterranean life in southern Turkey. Until then, you can (and I hope you will!) read about all of the misadventures at my other site, “Sa’Been There, Done That“.

Lots of love, darlings. Stay sweet.
XOXO

arts and crafts and chocolate cakes (gf)

I realized recently that I am often compartmentalizing. Friend groups; appropriate topics of conversation therein; the year by season; music by playlist; and, most recently, books by Kindle folder.

(Aside: 800-odd books later, I’ve finally invested in a Kindle. The future is now.)

It’s one of those things that reminds me of the extent of my neurosis. Having a mental grid where things must belong, a metaphoric handbag with thousands of pockets designated for particular things. A cross-section of my brain would probably look like a filing cabinet. Which is a mental image that makes me want to die, a little bit. (So much neurosis.)

Shockingly, I was not always like this. I was quite a carefree child, in fact. Artistic; always sketching in the margins of notebook papers; experimenting with watercolors and charcoals on canvas and sketchpads; molding clay or carving foam; and, eventually, graduating to digital painting with graphic tablets to accompany my shoddy web-designing (I still remember vividly how my 13-year-old face lit up like a Christmas tree when dad gifted me an absolutely gorgeous Wacom tablet). I don’t know when it died down, my love of art. College, I expect. Other obligations got in the way, as they always do.

(The tragedy of growing up.)

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cardamom white chocolate biscotti (gluten free)

Biscotti

As a twenty-something young professional, it should come as no surprise that approximately 50% of my internet time is spent on Buzzfeed. Lately it’s a result of inane personality quizzes, which Roods and I have co-opted into this odd ritual of soul-searching every few nights when it’s past dinnertime but minds are still too restless for bed. Take a quiz, evaluate the response, decide to what extent our entire existence can be penned down to words and sentences.

(Frighteningly often, apparently.)

I Buzzfeed for the articles, too. Most recently a story about a young man from Notre Dame who tore through the walls of a spa in order to eat every hot-pocket in their kitchen. Which he also heated up using the kitchen oven, if I’m not mistaken. (Truly, I admired his dedication.)

But Buzzfeed is nice in that totally-stupid-waste-of-life sort of way. Like, I’m pretty disturbed that I could be spending my excessive internet time taking a walk or writing a novel or something. But I also work with current event analysis on a daily basis, and it’s a nice escape from wars and climate change and human rights abuses.

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french silk pie

I was reading this Thought Catalog piece titled something like ‘Signs your Friend is a Badass’, and you fit them all.

My phone chirped brightly, signaling a message from Roods. Having lived together for over half a year, it was disconcerting not having seen her for four so many days. The distance apart left us communicating via text and the occasional FaceTime chat – though mostly so I could help her remove the attachments on the stand mixer – and inciting looks of incredulity from my mother for our unanticipated bout of codependency.

I glanced at the screen and scoffed at her message before typing one of my own. “Did it mention getting into fights with pieces of wood and losing? Because if so then I can understand the sentiment.

A few seconds later, another chirp. “You have a BLACK EYE. That is SO badass.

I winced and absentmindedly reached a hand to brush at the cut near the corner of my eye. “That’s because I SLAMMED MY FACE into a kitchen cabinet, in case you’ve forgotten.” I pressed the ice pack gingerly against the still-bruising lid, feeling the coolness wash over the blinding stinging in a wave of relief.

Whatever. Still badass.

I snorted and tapped the screen off, stretching off the couch and slinking back toward the kitchen for the day’s third round of pain pills.

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pear and gruyère hand pies

Day #12 of 2014 is coming to a close, and I can safely say that I’ve thrown out most of my resolutions. Much of this was a result of list-making – a top OCD tendency of mine, below only washing dishes immediately after I’ve cooked with/eaten in/accidentally touched them – and seeing in print the things that I will not accomplish. Which, you know, I’d usually be upset about, but certain friends have been urging me to be less like April Ludgate and more like a normal, cheerful human being. Not in so many words, of course, but I can tell.

(I mostly blame the pending 2-year hiatus following 4.5 hours of new Sherlock, which, honestly, is just criminal and actively ruining my life.)

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kourabiedes

New Years is always somewhat underwhelming to me. The days and hours leading up to it are so full of possibility, of resolution-writing and vows to make yourself better with a fresh start, of an almost-mystic or spiritual fog that seems to blur reality a bit under a soft glow of anything can happen.

Much of it also likely has to do with the fact that I neither showered nor left the house on New Years Day, so the 48 hours of New Years felt like some kind of extended, suspended reality bringing with it the thought that I could spend the next 364 days in the same warmth of PJs and hermitude and new Sherlock episodes.

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But then January 2nd rolls around, and it’s back to button-down shirts and the bustle of morning metro rides and the deeply tragic realization that 1/3 of the new season is already over, and nothing feels like it has changed at all.

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ginger cookies with honey cream filling

I know it’s a great time of year when my two favorite pastimes – spending an afternoon strolling around the city with a constant supply of overpriced artisan coffee, and staying in bed, under the covers, for the entirety of the day – are totally socially acceptable. Especially the latter.

Take today, for example: I woke up at noon, threw off old pjs, took a hot shower (which consisted of equal parts Broadway singing and equal parts leaning against the tile wall and falling asleep), changed into a fresh pair of pjs, and sat on the couch watching chick flicks and bemoaning the difficulties of adulthood with Roods.

Now, I’m sprawled on the bed (and let me tell you, it took considerable effort to move from the living room to my bedroom), typing this up, and feeling so lazy that I’m not even sure I’ll muster up the strength to cook dinner. I may, in fact, just meld into the mattress and die here.

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You might notice that my laziness has also extended to my food photography, though this is mostly because there is no natural light in my English basement, and I’m not sure I’m really about placing dessert on the stoop outside as passersby watch me hunch over in a pair of gloves and scarf to snap some shots of friggin’ cookies.

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halloween weddings and pumpkin pies (vegan & gluten-free)

“Ah, but remember that the city is a funny place
Something like a circus or a sewer
And just remember, different people have peculiar tastes
And the glory of love might see you through”

Coney Island Baby, Lou Reed

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I hate taking hiatuses from baking and blogging, because they tend to stretch on for eons. Time escapes me and days get lost among the neat boxes of calendar pages. What I’m left with is a slew of photos and nothing to say. Nothing that I could fathom into any sense of coherence, anyway.

(That’s the problem with time. Each moment holds a horizon of infinity that no words can adequately paint.)

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new cities, uncertainties, and flourless cakes

I’m the type of person that prides herself on having her shit together, so to speak. Typically level-headed, rarely emotional, a stoic wall of realism and rationality. So the last few weeks have been a rather unwelcome change in my routine.

It’s as though the world is resting on a different plane; a mirror of reality tilted a few degrees past the point of comfort.

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Turkey was a month ago, but it feels a lifetime away. I haven’t had as much time to dwell on the loss as I feared, though, since my days following arrival back in the States were spent flying from city to city; transporting crates of furniture and boxes of a life haphazardly printed on coffee mugs and pages of unread books; catching up with family and old friends; trying to assemble a picture of the upcoming months from puzzle pieces cut like shards of broken glass. It has been exciting and nerve-wracking and utterly overwhelming.

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train rides, goodbyes, and virginia peanut brittle

It well and truly feels like summertime, now. There isn’t much of a spring in Virginia. Well, there isn’t much of any season in Virginia. Temperatures tend to bounce heedlessly from one extreme to the next, cycles of aggressive weather patterns plaguing the day-to-day. Take this past weekend, for example: a downpour of Biblical proportions, only for a few subsequent afternoons of dull humidity and light breezes. Thirteen years in this state have trained me to be prepared for uncertainty and carry a fresh change of clothes for 20 degree temperature changes on any given day.

What is certain, however, is the unmistakably bone-deep feel of lethargy and idleness that hangs like an overcast, as though each day stretches on for weeks at a time.

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I myself have spent the past few weeks primarily in my car, driving from city to city with boxes of novels and cookbooks, transporting years’ worth of clothing and photo frames from the apartment to my parents’ house. Yesterday was my last day in the apartment, actually (read: I am officially a member of the dreaded recently-graduated-yet-indefinitely-unemployed pool of sad, sad 20-somethings), but memories of spending hot afternoons with Walt Whitman and nights wandering amidst a gloriously silent campus are fresh in my mind.

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