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Sharing our Living Room

The biggest news in our life at the moment is that our living room is (kinda sorta) done! I shared the details in a big blog post here, but this has been the longest project for us thus far. The space has really come a long way, but easily my favorite detail is the ‘home cinema’ vibe that we created by hanging a projector screen and two thick velvet curtains. Our goal is to install a large window behind the screen so that it doesn’t always have to be pulled down, but for now it feels quite lux in here, and is the perfect spot for us to curl up in with a big bowl of popcorn and a Netflix documentary.

Recipes we’re Loving

Of course the largest part of my ‘Life Lately’ posts always seems to be what we’re eating, but hey – gotta have something to enjoy at the moment. Eric has really mastered making sushi rolls, both veggie or fish ones. I’ll be honest, once he started making the veggie rolls, I realized that I didn’t even miss the fish being in them. I love nigiri or sashimi if I want to have fish, but in a roll, I hardly notice it missing. Maybe that’s owing to how well Eric tops the rolls, but if you’d like to see more about that, he actually wrote a whole blog post on it!

I’ve been getting into some baking and desserts as of late, so without further ado, here are some of the recipes we’ve been using:

Homemade Doughnuts // I was always intimidated by the idea of making doughnuts at home, but this recipe was surprisingly easy. And since we already had yogurt on hand, it was quick to put together. I ended up making a cinnamon glaze, and Eric covered his in sprinkles. So fun to make, but be warned, the recipe makes A LOT, so maybe do a contactless drop-off to some friends once they’re ready.

Pita Chips //  I’ve shared my love for this Two Ingredient Flatbread a few times, and it’s a recipe I always come back to because of how easy and versatile it is. One thing that I really love to do is when the flatbread feels like it’s getting stale, I’ll cut them up into triangles, drizzle them with olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and a little bit of cayenne and then just pop them in the oven! I usually do them at 400F for about 10 minutes, but it varies. They’re perfect as a chip to dip in your hummus, or just to have on their own as a snack. And since we picked up this Silpat baking mat, I’ve been making them even more thanks to how easy it is to wash up.

Fluffernutter Cookies // I’m not sure what’s happening, but lately I’ve been IN LOVE with having a little spoonful of marshmallow fluff. In case you’ve never heard of it before, basically it’s like fluffy marshmallows all melted down into a spread. It’s heavenly, but also so silly to keep on hand! Feels like something a child would have, but whatever, I’m loving it. And just the other day, I decided to make fluffernutter cookies using this recipe. It’s basically an interpretation of a fluffernutter sandwich (peanut butter + fluff on white bread) and OMG. These cookies are good. So good that I ate 4-5 of them the day I made them, so be warned.

Oysters + Fries // While not technically a recipe, this was a little date-night happy hour at home that Eric and I had this week and it was SO fun. We’ve never tried shucking oysters before, and probably wouldn’t have considered it, but our kind friends dropped off a dozen that they picked up from a local restaurant. Oysters feel SO indulgent, but if you have a local restaurant or seafood shop that is offering safe pick-up, they can be quite affordable. Worth looking into! We paired them with some frozen fries that we popped in the oven, some rosé, and I even made a little truffle aioli (I bought truffle powder cause I love the taste) to dip our fries in. It really felt like we were out at a fancy restaurant, and it was nice to get to feel like we’d had a treat.

Outdoors

While it’s not necessarily ‘the great outdoors’,  we’ve been exploring more of our own property lately. Eric is working on some gardening in our front yard and trying to have the outside of our home reflect the interior a bit better. While I can’t share photos of the front of our house for safety, I can say he’s doing a beautiful job of making it feel more like a little oasis. We have rose bushes and lavender, and eventually I hope to have the whole front yard and the backyard covered in bushes and herbs and drought tolerant plants.

And in the backyard, Eric put in a swingset for me to enjoy (he likes it too), and we found these cute vintage folding chairs to lounge on (that I need to get a picture of) and a little metal bistro set. All of the furniture out there is secondhand and has been so affordable to buy one at a time. And finally, one of our neighbors had a lawn put in, but had some extra bits left over. They put them out to the curb with a sign that said ‘free’ so we SPRINTED over to collect the odd pieces. It was juuuust enough to make a little corner patch for Mops to have a bathroom, and she’s really loving it. And we’re loving not having to take her on a walk at 6am every day.

Another spot we’ve been exploring has been our roof. Which I know sounds strange, but since we live in a Spanish style home, our roof is mostly flat, making it the ideal spot for a picnic at sunset. We’ve gone up there a few times, and have plans of growing tomatoes on our garage roof. For now, it’s just a really nice ‘escape’ from the rest of the house, and the perfect spot to have a glass of wine together.

Bachelorette Party at Home

Earlier this month I attended my first ever, virtual bachelorette party. My good friend was supposed to get married this June, but because of Covid19, she’s had to cancel a lot of things. Her bridal shower, her bachelorette party – and finally even her wedding won’t be able to happen as planned. It’s a reality that a lot of people are facing, and I cannot imagine how hard that must be. To plan something and to save up and to then have that moment not happen.

Fortunately, my friend has decided to postpone her wedding until next year, so that when the big day does arrive, we can all gather safely. I know it was probably a very hard decision, so that’s why we made sure that she still got to have a bachelorette party – albeit a digital one. I didn’t organize anything but I did ‘attend’ and it was so fun. I put on makeup, got a big cocktail, and tuned into a zoom chat with about 10 other ladies. We played drinking games, we laughed, and it was a such a fun night. It’s amazing to see the ways that friends can adapt and roll with it to make a special night still happen. And while I had a bit of a hangover the next morning, I’m gonna say it was 1000% worth it.

Struggling

I shared a bit about this over on Instagram but a little over a week ago, I hit a wall. I’ve certainly had my fair share of ups and downs while sheltering in place at home (among them cancelled jobs, cancelled trips, and some other bad news), but for the most part I’ve remained pretty positive, throwing myself into creative shoots as an outlet. It’s a helpful thing for me to have some work to focus on, but I felt these doubts creeping in. I found myself falling into the comparison trap, scrolling through Instagram and feeling like what I do, and what I create isn’t good enough. Feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I was this dinosaur of a blogger, with nothing to show for my years of work. That everything I’ve ever done was garbage. It’s hard to describe without it sounds like a pity party, but I was spiraling. And yes. It’s DEFINITELY not the most important thing in the world, and there are far more serious matters, but for me creating content is a big part of my identity. I put up post after post and hated the results, and I found myself deleting whole shoots off of my camera roll because I didn’t like a single photo.

I ended up taking a bit of a break, and realizing that the world DOES NOT need me to post a photo every single day from some brilliant concept. It is okay that I am not the youngest person on Instagram, killing it at 21 years old with perfect skin. It is ok to pause, to reset, and to go for a walk, rather than to obsess over what blog post might be most successful for me to share. It’s hard because I want to keep working and to make sure that what I do create resonates with you. To not feel like I need to fill the space.  And I also want to create content that can lead the way back to working more in the future. It’s scary to not know what the future holds, but I know I’m not alone in that. So being gentler on myself and allowing myself time has been really important. We don’t have to rush to accomplish everything all at once, and comparing ourselves to others is always a bad idea.

Pupdate

And since so many of you have asked, I wanted to share a bit more about what’s going on with Mops. Last week she ate something that really upset her stomach. For 3 nights she really couldn’t sleep and was vomiting and having some poo-problems as well. We tried our best to treat her at home, but since she is 11 years old, I didn’t want to risk it if there was something more serious at the root. Add to that the fact that she hasn’t been groomed and gave herself a LARGE hotspot that was bleeding (I felt so bad), and it was time to go in.

I had to wait in the parking lot with her outside of an emergency clinic for a few hours. We weren’t able to get into our usual vet’s office as they’re so busy, and since it’s a holiday weekend, we would have had to wait days. They finally took her in and we just had to wait to hear. I felt so bad knowing that she was in there alone, and not knowing what was going on. Eventually we got the phone call that they wanted to run a number of tests, so we numbly agreed, despite the steep cost.

Fortunately, Mops is OKAY. I was so relieved when we got the results back, but she is gonna be okay. We have to give her several pills, and they make her so tired and weak. She’ll be off of them soon, and hopefully we can see her get a bit of her spark back. They also had to shave the area around her hotspot, so she know has a 4″ square patch of just bald skin and a wound. It’s pretty serious looking but it will hopefully heal quickly. She’s on a special prescribed diet at the moment, and we will be switching her to a different type of food once it is safe to do so, to prevent future itchiness. She also gets a monthly shot (a cytopoint injection) that helps out, and this was a good reminder for us to not be late on getting her those, as I suspect that was the cause. She’s my number one pal, so I’m happy she is on the mend.

I hope you and your families are doing okay. Plans for reopening have me so concerned, and I’m often worried for the future. But the one quote that I heard earlier this month has oddly eased me, and helped me to just focus on the here and now. ‘This is just how it is until it isn’t.’. Please stay safe, and let me know if there are ways I can help you. I’m so thankful for this community and for this outlet to connect. It helps to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below.

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