stop everything and make these cookies


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I just made my second batch of these cookies from Joy the Baker in a week and they’re lovely. Totally simple- like so simple that I actually made them on a weeknight! That’s crazy. Also might be attributed to the yearly boost of energy I get from restarting some form of exercise the week after daylight saving time… but still. So easy. Do it now.


I am addicted to social media- and you probably are too.


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People take Facebook breaks all the time. They post a status update saying that they’re leaving for a month or a week or a weekend. A lot of people will “like” that post. Here’s the thing though- nobody cares. Sorry! They just don’t. They’ll either see things you post or they won’t. Nobody (maybe except really close friends or that aunt you have with only 5 Facebook friends) is going to notice. If someone really needs to contact you, they’ll figure out how to do so if you don’t immediately respond to whatever they send you on Facebook.

So anyway- I’ve been on a Facebook break and yes, you don’t care. You haven’t missed me. I get it. Not offended in the least.

I knew for quite a while that Facebook was taking up way too much of my time. I deleted the app from my devices, but then I would just log on via the web browser- which you can’t delete. And then if I decided to stop using Facebook for a while, I would start obsessing over my Instagram feed.

Hello everyone, I am a social media addict.

I thought it was just a problem with me and having an issue with self-control. I thought maybe it was a problem with me being an “Obliger” according to Gretchen Rubin- I needed the constant validation of others to feel worthy. I thought it might be me numbing myself to cope with stress.

Then I listened to episode 208 of the Slow Home Podcast called “The Age of Distraction and what to do about it.” It was inspired by an article posted by the Guardian called “Our minds can be hijacked: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia”   about the very people who engineered social media apps to be addictive imposing controls on themselves to prevent themselves from having their time sucked away from them like the rest of us. I don’t think I realized, before reading this article, that the apps had actually been intentionally designed to keep me on them for as long as possible. They have been created to be addictive- on purpose.

In my graduate program for speech pathology, we had a professor explain to us that the best way to give positive feedback to a client is using “the Vegas method.” It’s less effective to say “nice work” or “good job” after every correct production than it is to say it sometimes and withhold it other times. This is what behaviorist B.F. Skinner called variable ratio reinforcement- and it’s what makes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the rest of them addictive. It’s also why gambling is addictive.

You log in to Facebook and sometimes you see that red bubble indicating you have notifications. That’s a reward. You check your notifications- and one of them is a comment on a post you’ve made. That’s a good reward. Another is about how a friend of yours is going to an event in your area you’re not interested in. Not interesting- not reinforcing. Another is that someone has posted something in a group you’re a part of (and you haven’t figured out how to turn off that notification- or you’ve tried several times and it hasn’t worked…) also not interesting. Another is that several friends have “liked” a post of yours. That’s a good reward. Sometimes you get the good reward- sometimes you don’t. It’s thrilling. It’s exciting. Gimme more.

You pull down on your Instagram feed to refresh it- hoping you’ll get something interesting. Sometimes you’ll get a new post from someone you follow- good reward- sometimes you’ll get an ad- not good. Sometimes you get nothing- sometimes you get something great. Not unlike pulling the lever on a slot machine. The pull-down-to-refresh is a gimmick engineered to be addictive.

It is intentional. Tech developers attend conferences about how to make their products “habitual.”

“How dare they?” is what Brooke McAlary of the Slow Home Podcast said. I said it too. Like her, I also got very angry. This is what finally made me quit. I realized that my attention had been hijacked by people who did not deserve it.

The article suggests bigger implications of these mind-hijack effects- about a war over attention. People consume media in 140 character bites. They elected the guy who captured their attention best on Twitter. It quotes James Williams- an “ex-Google strategist,” talking about the sensationalization of the news when it is boiled down to headlines-only. He said “We’ve habituated ourselves into a perpetual cognitive style of outrage, by internalising the dynamics of the medium.” I think “perpetual outrage” is a good way to describe my Facebook feed.

So anyway-it’s not just you and it’s not your fault. Now you know and you can take steps to take back your attention and give it to people and projects which are more deserving. I will be writing another post about what happens when you give up social media and what has helped me. What has helped you? Please leave a comment here (not on the Facebook post- because that will help me continue to stay off it…!).



yr dead. im sry


I’ve driven behind a few of these vans:


And the “a” is a sideways heart. It’s a cute ambulance. It also makes me think the driver is texting. I looked at their website and got more confused… like it’s Lyft for ambulances… because the original Lyft for ambulances (911?) isn’t working.

Here are some exchanges btw ambulnz drivers and passengers:

Hey ambulnz, I broke my leg and need a ride

🙀Ok lmao, brb

Hey ambulnz, I’m having a ❤️ attack


Yeah- this sucks. Can u pick me up?

Srsly ?


Ok eta FAST!

Bullet Journals

Who TF has time to “bullet journal.” Seriously. How many books could you read in the time it takes you to draw your “Books to Read” page and logging it on your index and covering it in washi tape and then recording on another page what you did on Wednesday during your “bullet journaling hour”? Somebody get me off of Pinterest.

I heart kites


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I got two kites for Christmas and I love them. I seriously get a dopamine hit every time I feel the wind catch them and they jump up in the air. It’s also awesome that I got to enjoy a beach day in January. And that most of LA thought it was too cold and stayed home.

I could watch this video on loop all day. Here’s some zen for you:

You’re welcome.

Curried Potato and Lentil Soup- recipe review


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This recipe from Minimalist Baker was brought to me by my sister-in-law at Adventures in Polishland and it’s now in our regular rotation. It also happens to be vegan! Except I make it with chicken broth instead of vegetable stock because I always have chicken bouillon in my pantry- unless I’m cooking for someone who is vegan.

lentil soup

One tip that I learned from making it again this week- don’t freeze and reuse kale. Ick… it tasted like seaweed and I had to fish most of it out (pun intended). Kale is cheap enough that I think I’m okay with throwing out what I don’t use…

Other than that fishy kale, this soup was so delicious. It’s healthy comfort food that’s wonderful for winter, especially following days of consuming cheese and chocolate and cured meats and piles of sugar.

Overall tastiness: 6/6 hobs – I will eat this soup any time.

Level of Difficulty: Easyish. You need to chop an onion, chop up garlic and peel/chop potatoes and carrots. You cook them separately and you have to dump in the spices and cook them before adding the broth and lentils. But then you’re pretty much done. It sits on the stove for 20 minutes and you throw in the kale for a few minutes before serving.

Clarity/Helpfulness of the Recipe: 6/6 stars

Cheapness factor: Cheap. Lentils, carrots, potatoes, onions, kale – pretty darn cheapbo.

Healthiness factor: Healthy! And vegan!

How long does it actually take: Including the simmering time, this takes me about an hour.

And I’m also sharing a picture of lovebird mourning doves that hung out on the balcony for a bit today. It’s blurry because I didn’t want to get too close and scare them away:

mourning doves

I’m always looking out for good lentil soup recipes because 1. they’re delicious and 2. they’re super-duper cheap. Do you have a good one? Please share it in the comments!

Happy New Year- and a mostly-ham dinner plan


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Since I started a new position this school year, the husband has taken over dinner duties. Between the actual workload and the ridiculous commute, I wasn’t able to continue making dinner. But I like cooking… so I do it on weekends and over breaks too. I’m entering week 2 of winter break and so I’m sharing my meal plan.

I do grocery shopping on Saturday mornings so my meal plan runs Saturday to Friday.

Saturday: Curried Potato & Lentil Soup from Minimalist Baker (and discovered by my sister-in-law at Adventures in Polishland). I sub the vegetable broth for chicken broth- and by chicken broth, I mean hot water and a few teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder which I always have on hand. I don’t do this, of course, if I’m cooking for vegans though! This soup is delicious and healthy and was nice to detox a bit after holiday crazy-eating. I warm up a loaf of ciabatta bread in the oven and tear off hunks to dip in the soup. So yummy.

Sunday: Go upstairs. Get dressed. We are going out to eat. I’m not planning on feeding our dinner to the Bumpus hounds but we’re going out to eat for New Year’s Eve.

Monday:For New Year’s Day, we’re having a small gathering and making fancy food. Here’s the menu:

-Crostinis with ricotta cheese, apricot jam, prosciutto and arugula. This is a conglomeration of different crostini ideas from the internet. And it gives the husband an excuse to get prosciutto at the Italian deli.

-Spiral-sliced Ham (following the cooking directions on the package…)

-Holiday Honeycrisp salad (but w/ pears instead) from Five Heart Home

-Cheddar mashed potatoes from Little Spice Jar

-Hoppin’ John Stew from the “Celebrate Winter” Gooseberry Patch book I got at an antique mall for $5. It’s made with black-eyed peas and is supposed to bring good luck when eaten on New Year’s Day.

-Sauteed green beans and mushrooms w/ garlic. This will be improvised.

(Guests are bringing dessert)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Using more leftover ham in the Slow-Cooker Rosemary Potato Soup with Ham from Barefeet in the Kitchen’s Weeknight Dinner Cookbook. If you haven’t bought this book, please buy yourself a late Christmas present and save yourself some time in the new year. This recipe posted on her website is almost the same as the one in the book.

Thursday: With that spiral-sliced ham bone, we’re making “Mom’s best ever split pea soup” from The Cozy Cook.

Friday: Either leftovers or out again.

I bought some extra flour and yeast this week and will be trying out some bread recipes. I’ll also be using some uneaten bananas from last week to make muffins. #hygge ! I will also be making and freezing breakfast sandwiches to make next week less painful. 😦

Do you have leftover ham recipes? “Good luck” New Year’s Day recipes? Share them in the comments!