Category Archives: Books

So this is what the plague feels like…

So, last week I wrote about how I was feeling sick and was spending my day laying in bed all day. Not much has changed in the past week, in fact, it’s only gotten worse since then. I have been crazy sick all week and it hasn’t improved too much, although I begrudgingly went back to work today (only because of my lack of sick days). Good news: I  did get approved for insurance. Bad news: my coverage won’t start until February. I just googled “plague” to find a picture for this post, and oh. my. gross. I’ll spare you the images. You’re welcome.


I don’t have much to report from the past week, except that I’ve almost finished rewatching Veronica Mars and it’s every bit as amazing as the first time I watched it. I did finish Lucky too. I really liked it, as much as you can like a book about a true-life account of a rape. I’ve been going back and forth between two books now. One is a biography on Thomas Jefferson and the other is about how objects are made to break down after a certain amount of time so we have to buy more. I can’t decide which I want to read first.

I never posted my recipe from last week. I made a pot of chili. I wanted a really simple chili to make. I had made my mom’s recipe once before, but it didn’t come out like I wanted it to. It tasted okay, but not like what I remembered. I found what looked like a pretty similar recipe. You can find it here. The consistency turned out much better than the last chili I made, although it probably could have been a little spicier, and I’m a spice wimp! I can’t wait until it starts to stay light outside later, so I can try to get some food photographs in the daylight. I did get to try out my new bamboo cutting board that my brother gave me for Christmas, I’m definitely a fan!

I need some pretty dishes to make. This week won’t be much better though. I bought the ingredients to make chicken noodle soup and if I can ever get the energy, I’ll actually cook it.

Do any of you have any book recommendations? Recipe suggestions? I’ve been battling with looking through my dad’s cookbooks (mostly of the southern cuisine variety) and trying to cook healthy meals. Those two often don’t go hand in hand. 🙂



Filed under Books, Recipes

Sick Day

Well, it’s my day off and instead of getting to enjoy it, I’m home with a super-sore throat. I’ve been laying in bed all morning watching episodes of Lie to Me. I suppose it’s not a terrible way to spend a day off. I just hope it doesn’t get any worse. No insurance + no sick days = bad news bears. I know I should go out and get some medicine, but there’s snow outside and I’d have to clear off my car and well, my bed is just so warm and comfy.

I started my first book of 2011 this week. My friend, Erin, let me borrow her copy of Lucky. It’s by Alice Sebold, the author of The Lovely Bones, one of my favorite books. I haven’t seen the movie yet; I heard it wasn’t very good. The book was incredible though. Lucky is Sebold’s true account of when she was raped in college. While it starts off rather gruesome and intense, it was difficult to put the book down. I read at least 100 pages within the first day of having it, and with my day off, I might just finish it today. So far, I would highly recommend it and if you haven’t read The Lovely Bones, read it.

I completed recipe 2/52 on Monday and will hopefully post it later today. It was the perfect meal for a cold winter night. For now though, it’s time to lay back down and do nothing (and eventually venture out and get some meds).


Filed under Books

Recipe #1 and Other Updates

Well, well, well…I say I’ll blog “more” and then don’t post anything all week. And I thought the running resolution was going to be the tough one (Touché Ben)… I’ve been pretty busy all week though and have done pretty well with all of my resolutions. I’m almost done with Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I need to decide what to read next. Fiction? Presidential biography? Any suggestions?

I also cooked my first recipe on Monday night. I decided to start with an easy one, mainly because my stepmom told me about something I was excited to make and because I still had half a lasagna or more to get through. I made a really simple chicken salad and it is the best chicken salad I’ve ever made. It has 5 simple ingredients.

  • Cooked chicken
  • Mayo (If you use Hellman’s it will be wayyy better, I promise!)
  • Celery
  • Salt
  • Pepper

I honestly didn’t measure anything. I cooked 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts and shredded them. I used about a stalk and a half of celery, but pretty tiny. Then I added mayo until it was “chicken salad consistency” and salt and pepper to taste. It was just…delicious. I polished it off during lunch today and I was sad to see it go.

I took some pictures as I was cooking (although I didn’t remember until about halfway through). Want to know something? No matter how you photograph chicken and mayonnaise, it just does not look appetizing. I’ll spare you the visuals. Maybe next week I’ll cook something a little more photogenic.


I’ve run two miles this week. It’s been a rough start. The cold weather is crushing my already asthma-y lungs and I think my inhaler might be empty/expired. I’ve just been running around my neighborhood. I miss not having a trail nearby, but it’s pretty fun to run down random streets and check out the different houses in Clarendon. Not to mention the squirrel brains I ran by yesterday. Yum!


So that’s a few goals that are going pretty well so far. I am adding a new one today, something that I should do anyway, but I don’t. Even though I’m 6 days late starting it, I’m going to start taking vitamins every day. I really wanted to get Flintstone ones, but I decided to be an adult.

I also have  January goal that I didn’t mention before. I’m taking my lunch to work every day. I’m usually really bad about buying lunch at work and usually get up too late to get anything together. As cheap as the cafeteria is at the hospital where I usually get lunch, I know it will be cheaper and more fun if I bring my lunch. I’ve been good this week for the most part. I had lunch at Potbelly with a friend on Tuesday that I hadn’t seen in months and my bosses are taking me out to lunch tomorrow to celebrate completing my Master’s. Most weeks aren’t that eventful though, so next week should be full of brown-bagged lunches!

What a pictureless post! Blame the chicken salad. If you made it through all  of that text, thanks! Here’s a random picture to finish it out from my camera full of pictures from the past few months:

IMG_2487This was at a famous historical house I visited recently. I’ll try to recap that soon, but it might be a long long post.

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Filed under Books, Recipes, Running

Year of the Panda

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you have all had a wonderful first two days of the year. Admittedly 2010 was a pretty rough year for my family and me, so I’m hoping that the new year will change things. I feel like 2011 is a blank slate, I have no idea where I’ll be in a few weeks/months. 2011 might be the year of the Rabbit in China, but I’m declaring it the year of the Panda. Hopefully I’ll have a new job soon, hopefully I’ll still be in DC, but honestly I feel like everything’s up in the air. It’s all been really certain school/career-wise for the past few years, so it feels strange to be job hunting again and really frustrating in this market, but hopefully something will turn up soon.

I’m not usually one to make resolutions. I can’t remember the last time I made one to be honest and I’m pretty sure I’ve never kept one. I vow to be different this year. So I’ve come up with a few that I hope to achieve and hopefully through this blog I can be held accountable:

1. Cook one new recipe a week. During grad school it was really difficult for me to have time to cook like I wanted to or what I wanted to. Now that I have a little more free time, I really hope to expand my cooking knowledge. I have an entire bookcase full of cookbooks, mostly ones that belonged to my dad, and I can’t wait to explore them and find some fun recipes to share with you all.

2. Run 3 races. Gretchen and I ran a 5k this past Thanksgiving and I got bit by the race bug. Since one of her goals is to run an 8k and a 10k, hopefully we can work together on  that goal.

3. Run 400 miles. Just typing that makes me shudder. I don’t think I’ve run 400 miles in my entire life, and I want to run it all in one year?!?! It really doesn’t seem that bad though when I think about it. It’s less than 8 miles a week. Whenever I go out to run, I don’t plan on running less than 2 miles, so I just need to get my ass outside a few days a week.

4. Read 20 books. I thought about this one for awhile. I wasn’t sure what would be a realistic goal for books. I haven’t been able to read for fun in so long. I decided on 20 though. I’m not reading Dr. Seuss after all. I’ll start counting as soon as I finish Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I guess I better hurry up and finish it…

5. I think Gretch made this resolution for me, but I will blog more. Now that I don’t have school to blame anymore, I don’t have any excuse and by blogging I can track my other goals, share recipes, write about my running, and review books that I’ve read. Thanks Gretch! Smile

Hope everyone else is looking forward to 2011 as much as I am!


Filed under Blog, Books, Exercise, Recipes

Triumphant return

Welp, I’m finally done. I turned in my last paper two weeks ago and got my last final grade today (Not too shabby I must say). I don’t think I’ve gotten to fully enjoy being done with the stress of the holidays immediately following school, plus the stress of trying to find a good job. Plus, I don’t actually walk until May, so it was like “Yay! I’m done with school…but I have to go to work tomorrow.” It is nice being able to come home and not have any articles to read or papers to write though, I can tell you that much. As Gretchen pointed out, I also no longer have an excuse for not updating my blog more often. I’ll have to find some other excuse now… just kidding 🙂

I did have a lot of things I wanted to post as they were happening, but now it seems silly to post about something I did 2 months ago, but I’ll try to include some photos at some point of things I’ve been up to, like visiting Graceland!

I’m really excited to have more free time though. I’ve already started reading for fun again! I’m almost done with Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which I’ve only been reading since this summer! I’m really looking forward to having more time to cook (I got some fun new kitchen items for Christmas to try out too!) and to exercise more. I’m going to start doing Bikram yoga with my friend Erin, and I’m more than a little terrified. I don’t handle the heat well, so I’m legitimately scared I will either pass out, throw up, or throw up and pass out. I’m excited to try it nonetheless though.

I’m also hopefully heading down to North Carolina tomorrow to visit family. My grandma had a stroke a month or so ago and she’s moving to a nursing home this week. My family from Florida is down there helping her get settled in so I want to go down and see everyone since I don’t get to see any of them very often. It’ll be a short trip, but I’m excited to get to spend some time with my stepmom too. She’s pretty awesome, even if she didn’t make me a lasagna (Hi Kathy!).

Wow, this post is all over the place. It’s hard when you’re playing catchup. Hopefully I can get back on track and post regularly and try to find some kind of focus.


Filed under Books, Family, School

Historical people say the darndest things

I just read something in Manhunt (yes, I’m still reading it!) that gave me the giggles. The author was talking about how it became illegal for anyone to talk badly about Lincoln after he was assassinated. He provided a letter that a U.S. Marine wrote home to his mother discussing what he would do to Booth if he saw him, and I quote:

“I would take a pair of shears and cut him in pieces as you would cut a piece of cloth. Then I would dig out his eyes and then pour in boiling hot oil. I’d fix him well…mother give my love to all the folks and believe me your affectionate son. Wesley Severs”

Holy graphic description Batman! Boiling hot oil in the eye sockets. Nice! Quickly followed by, ” Love you Mommy!” WHAT?? Oh and is it just me, or does it seem weird to do that after cutting him into a million pieces? …maybe I’m over-analyzing this.

Well, tonight I’m continuing to pack up the apartment…while catching up on some tv, duh. I’m working tomorrow, making some extra money is never ever bad. Then I’m off to Harrisonburg for the rest of the weekend and I might even have a new history adventure to blog about! Excite!!


Filed under Books, History, Lincoln

The Path of the Panda

Ok, two post in one day…this is unprecedented. I’ve been sitting here for the past few hours working on my final project for the semester and I keep glancing over at this super cute bookmark that Mike bought me awhile ago:

Whenever I see that bug-eyed bear staring at me, I’m reminding of how I haven’t used my bookmark yet. I’m also reminded of how I’ll finally be able to in just a few short days. Once this project is turned in next week, I’ll finally have time for some fun reading, although I’ll still be doing some work for my internship… I thoroughly intend on finishing Manhunt (it’s so good!). It’ll only be the third semester I’ve been reading it, guh. Is grad school over yet?

Anyway, my little panda friend reminds me that the end is near and I might at least have a week or two of sweet, sweet freedom!

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Filed under Books, Lincoln, School is the pits