5 small things / january

Happy New Year! Wasn’t it 2016 like six months ago???? Time is weird and dumb.

Last year I spent several months making myself work out like crazy and obsessively counted every calorie I consumed. I even started to get abs, which is truly insane for a lifelong couch potato/The One Picked Last in Gym Class. I was also miserable and having to deal with my mental health issues from the ground up. Lately I’m working on accepting the 5 pounds I’ve since gained and the softness that’s returned to my body. If I have any resolutions at all in 2019, I mostly care about tackling my sugar addiction (it’s bad, y’all), moving more every day and really appreciating the good, little things in my life.

So from now on, at least once a month, I want to write a roundup of my favorite foods, clothes, hobbies, art, music, whatever — things I appreciate that I think other people might appreciate, too. Here’s January’s list:

collard greens with vegan bacon

I made way too much food (what else is new?) for a New Year’s Eve party, including these sweet and tangy collard greens — one batch with real bacon, another with tempeh bacon. Holy hell, they’re delicious, and super easy, and there was virtually no difference in taste between the two versions I made. I’m making them again this weekend, and also maybe like, at least once a month from now on? They’re that good. Collard greens are also inexpensive and super healthy and apparently have special cancer-protection properties. I plan to make them again this week to serve over vegan cheese grits.

this little corner in my office

Because it’s perfect.

midi skirts in winter

My Brilliant Friend Fernanda was telling me the other day that her new aesthetic is “Amish chic,” and I realized that’s exactly what I’ve been channeling since the temperatures dropped in October. Longer skirts over tights with untucked sweaters, turtlenecks, other modestly cut outfits — it’s all I’ve been wearing. I recently got this gingham pleated midi skirt from ASOS and I’m obsessed with it. (Is gingham too 2017? I don’t care. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) I also got this super cute, subtly-leopard-print skirt with buttons up the front and a little bit of a slit up the side.

the Pittsburgh Christmas bus

Our transit system debuted a couple of buses and trains for the holidays that look like Buddy the Elf vomited all over them. I didn’t manage to catch a ride on either of the Christmas buses until January 1st, and it made my whole day, especially after spending most of Christmastime feeling like a little bit of a Grinch.

new rituals and routines

I’m a hermit to my core. If I’m left to my own devices, I’ll choose to stay in or do something alone almost always. But, like most people, I don’t actually know what’s good for me, because that preference for solitude and quiet can be a huge damper on my mood. (It doesn’t help that I work nights and Joe works days, and so do almost all of my friends.) Luckily, I live a few blocks away from a great coffee shop with gorgeous natural light, a hot oatmeal bar and the occasional dog tagging along with its owner. On one of my days off each week, I’ve been waking up, grabbing the newspaper and immediately walking over for breakfast. I read, do the crossword, maybe write in my journal. I love our apartment and cats, but the change of scenery does me a lot of good.

Here’s to recognizing more of the little things this year and beyond.

a good day

Today had almost all of my most loved things: my favorite vegan brunch (grits! mushrooms! TATER TOTS!!!), holiday decorations all over Pittsburgh, the prettiest views of the Allegheny River, and rare cuddles from Chloe. Not pictured: all the books I bought for family gifts, the sweater I bought myself at an arts and crafts show, free food and drinks at my office holiday party, and the most delightful Christmas episode of The Great British Bake Off.

Days like this make all the hard ones worth it.