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Question Master: Reader Appreciation 2

A year ago (I can’t believe it was a YEAR) I had my first giant questionnaire – all about you! You all read about my (sometimes boring, let’s be honest) life on the daily (well at least 3 times a week… oops) and for your support I am incredibly grateful. The first reason I write a blog is because writing is how I make sense of things. The second is for the discussion in the comments. When I need inspiration I come to you, when I have a question about how to move forward with a conflict in our marriage, how to add more veggies in my life, even how to move forward in this blog land as my life and family and priorities continue to shift and grow.

Anyways! To my point! Today and tomorrow are all about YOU! Please take the time (if you would like) to answer these questions in comments. I promise to respond to each one of you. Thank you for coming back here again and again, and thank you for participating, sharing, liking, what have you. It only works to make this space and my little world better and better. So here we go!!

  1. What are you reading right now? If you aren’t reading a) you should be! and b) what is on your to-read pile?
  2. What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST!
  3. What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Giant or teensy – either way.
  4. What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) What do you wish it was?
  5. Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? If you don’t, what kind of animal do you wish you could hang out with? What would you name it?
  6. Do you have a favorite indie business? Link me and tell me why! Maybe we can get more fun stuff like we did with Lydali.
  7. What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?
  8. What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out.
  9. Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best?
  10. You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms.

I am dying to read the responses. <3 Lauren

91 Comments

  1. 1. Embarrassingly, I’m not reading anything right now but I just finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Hated it in high school, loved it this time – couldn’t get enough of it!
    2. That I share it all with my husband – sappy I know. We went through some really difficult times and we almost didn’t share a future together and I’m so grateful that we do now.
    3.Buying a new fridge on my own. My husband was stressed dealing with the sewer in the basement so the emergency fridge purchase fell in my lap.
    4.Also grey. Wish it was something more fun. Do stripes count as a color?
    5.Two dogs, Darby and Olive. Both crazy.
    6.no, I’m ashamed
    7.Grilled cheese.
    8. My husband forcing me to go on vacation – what a jerk! It really is hard for me to leave work and I’m not a fan of traveling.
    9.My sister. She is always supportive and understands me in a way that is impossible if you haven’t spent your childhood together.
    10.Flower ears. I think the fish smell would make me sick. Fun question!

    • 1.) I’ve always wished I had a sister, so YAY For that answers!!! 2.) You had an emergency fridge purchase? That is so stressful!! I would love to know how one gets into an emergency fridge purchasing situation!

  2. 1. Just finished Bossypants. (LOVED it.) And I’m about to start 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
    2. My favorite thing in my life right now is my very busy, but flexible work schedule. It’s exaclty what I’ve always dreamed of, though learning to manage it has been/still is difficult.
    3. I had a miscarriage last week. I know that probably sounds super dismissive to just mention in a blog comment, but talking about it has helped. And every time I say it out loud (or type it quietly) I feel a little stronger.
    4. Grey. Which I love. I think it’s an undervalued color. But I second andee that I think stripes should count as a color. In addition, I’m super excited about the potential of “radiant orchid.”
    5. Two dogs, Izzy and Rory. They’re my favorites.
    6. I work for an Indie business, and I love it. (http://www.indiefoundry.com/)
    7. We’ve been having a lot of soup. Polar vortex(es) and all. Last night was loaded potato. It was delicious.
    8. Polar vortex(es). I’m over it.
    9. Her name is Jess. We met in college but she’s back home in New Jersey now and has been for years. I miss seeing her daily (it’s been like 6 years since I graduated, I’m still not over it), but when shitty things happen, like last week, she finds a way to not feel so far away. She sent beautiful flowers the day after my miscarriage and they’ve brought me so much peace. She’s a total gem and I’m to thrilled to call her my best friend.
    10. Flower ears for sure. Bees don’t bother me and the butterflies would thrill me! Plus, I hate dry skin so I think the texture of the fish scales would make me nuts.

    • I’m so sorry about your miscarriage. I felt the same way with mine, that talking about it made me feel a little stronger. Take care of yourself x

      • Thanks, Donna. I really, really appreciate it. I’m sorry that you had to go through this also. It’s a very strange and difficult thing.

    • 1) I hate for you that you had a miscarriage. It breaks my heart that you had to go through that. I wish I could hug you until it got awkward.
      2) I am so jealous of your job!!! I want to know more more more!

      • Thanks, love. An almost-awkward Lauren hug would go a long way to making me feel better.
        My job is wonderful. I work for a branding and event planning company that works exclusively with and for small, local businesses. I’m the market manager for the Cleveland Flea, one of our biggest projects. It’s really great.

  3. 1. I just finished Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, which I enjoyed but I think deserves a re-read. Next on the list is either The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert, or The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, whichever comes in at the library first.

    2. Who can pick? (What’s YOURS, Lauren??) I would say the fact that I can drive or walk 10 minutes in any direction and be alone in the woods or by the ocean, and when I get there, I have a connection with all the creatures and crawlers and plants that I find from knowing their names and sharing the space with them.

    3. This morning, my alarm went off at 6 a.m. so I’d get up and do some writing, and even though I thought about rolling over and getting more sleep, I didn’t.

    4. I’m drawn to peacock/Morocco blue, so it’s way overrepresented in my wardrobe, but there’s a lot of red and green too. I sometimes wish I wore more black or earth tones, though I’m not sure why.

    5. I don’t currently have a pet of my own, but I hang out with an opossum named Rosebud and Edgar Allen Crow at the wildlife rehabilitation center where I volunteer. (If you visit, I’ll introduce you to Martino the Screech Owl and Meep the Great Horned Owl too!)

    6. Hmm, I’ve got nothing for jewelry or clothes or anything, but I’m friends with the family that publishes Bird Watcher’s Digest, and they are wonderful people.

    7. Anything with lots and lots of garlic.

    8. I can’t help it, but I’m so tired of people complaining about the weather here. It’s winter! It’s supposed to snow! Snow is FUN! Snow is PRETTY. And we only have it for a few months of the year, if we even get it at all!

    9. My best friend knows me in ways few other people have ever bothered, and yet still cares about me when he doesn’t exactly understand me. He’s been the strongest voice telling me to try, and to do, and to practice, and to say “Yes,” and then celebrated with me when doors open and practice pays off. He keeps me real, and laughs at my jokes, travels for adventures, and encourages me to break the rules and cross the lines when it counts.

    10. Pretty fish scales. The birds would love me, and if I got too smelly, I’d just go take a swim in the bay.

    • Your responses are so lovely, Erin! I always really appreciate whenever you comment. :) Your best friend sounds amazing! For some reason it is easy, I feel, to be there for people when they have hard times. It is a GEM who is there for you to push you into your best self, and to be there for the fun and the adventure.

  4. 1. What are you reading right now? The Witch of Little Italy — it was an impulse buy in order to get free shipping on a Barnes & Noble order and I’m only a few chapters in but it’s all right.

    2. What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? That I get paid to take photos. Livin’ the dream.

    3. What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Realizing I need to take medication to stabilize my brain and that it’s not a bad thing. It took me years to accept this.

    4. What is the most common color in your closet right now? A lot of blue. I wish it could be yellow but my skin tone looks horrible with yellow.

    5. Do you have a pet? I have 2 cats, Powerfist and Scout. Powerfist was named by my husband (he said, “This will be a cat’s name, or our first-born’s. So… cat it is). Scout is named after the Harper Lee character.

    6. Do you have a favorite indie business? Not an indie BUSINESS per se but I just discovered this band and they’re getting bigger every day. ASTR https://soundcloud.com/astr_music

    7. What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now? These Vietnamese spring rolls. I end up making them probably every 2 weeks. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/118430665174163235/

    8. What is pissing you off the most this week? I am surprisingly not angry at anything. Weird.

    9. Tell me about your best friend. We’ve known each other since preschool and now she lives in the same city as me but because we have such different schedules we hardly ever see each other. (She’s a lawyer, I’m a wedding photographer.) Kinda bums me out.

    10. You have to pick one: The fish scales. Because I guess I could deodorize them but I would not be able to handle insects flying at me all the time.

    • Powerfist is my favorite name EVER. Genius. And Elissa! Thank you so much for commenting. I have been watching your career and your photographer for years and your work continues to get better and better and better. I really am proud for you, and I envy your ability to work and do what you love. I am cheering you on. (And I love your hair!)

  5. 1. East of Eden. It’s amazing and I’m loving it and even though I’m only a little more than half-way through, I’m a little sad that it has to end. (On My Bedside Table To Read: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the original and two translations, Orange is the New Black, The World’s Wife.)

    2. Feeling like I am back on the horse of productivity. After a rough spring and summer, the fall was great, and then things fell off over the holidays. Late January was good, though, and I’m feeling good again. Here’s hoping!

    3. Not sure if we’ve quite overcome it yet, but taking the necessary steps to get heat back to our apartment has been a big one. Also, coming out from the “but we don’t have heat” excuse for everything has been good too, if a work-in-progress.

    4. Probably navy blue or red and I am generally okay with that. I’m trying to dress a little more classically lately.

    5. I do! A little black and white cat named Virginia Woolf. She’s the greatest – very affectionate and very vocal. I just love her.

    6. One of my goals for 2014 is to shop locally more often and to generally shop less. Right now I’m not buying anything, and it’s been going pretty well, and I’m looking forward to more shopping at farmer’s markets in a bit, but for right now, I’m afraid I don’t have much to suggest.

    7. This lasagna: http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeid=145431. I add in some sauteed zucchini and spinach and it’s my favorite thing ever. Very easy to put together and it lasts for a long time in our house. I worry I could eat a whole tray! Also, perpetually: Roger’s amazing grilled cheese and pizza or Chinese take-out.

    8. Things are actually going pretty well, other than the heat issue, which is probably the most annoying thing I’m dealing with. I just wish I could fit more into each of my days. Also, a fire alarm went off in my office for a half hour today and that was annoying, but not the end of the world.

    9. Oh man. Roger is the person I am closest to in the world, but I have the BEST best friend. I essentially wrote a public love letter to her when she got engaged a few years ago, so the details are all there: http://notintentonarriving.blogspot.com/2011/07/gratitudesday-my-bffl.html, but she’s kind, understanding, and fun to be around. She relates to me in a way that no one else can and has been with me through great times and not-so-great times. She’s smart but casual and just a really great person who is always up for any adventure. I’m so excited to be visiting her in three weeks!

    10. Definitely the fish scales. That just sounds beautiful. http://www.paracay.com/store/images/detailed/15/ing026.jpg

    • That Lasagna sounds KILLER. I’ve been following your non-spending and we are like the exact opposite of your right no and it is making me so anxious. I subscribe to the idea of not using or buying or having more than you need. That goes with space, food, everything. The ability to not spend is an excellent practice.

    • Ooh, I love Middle English romances. Do you read them just for fun? I am particularly fond of The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle. Do you also read the more Anglosaxon romances?

  6. 1. Ina May Garten’s Guide to Childbirth and Confidence Tricks a “feminist” romance novel as selected by our book group. Should be interesting, I do enjoy a trashy romance, but don’t usually discuss them!
    2. Sunday mornings at home with my husband, who brings me coffee which we drink in bed whilst I read the New York Times and he reads… whatever is on his phone. I’m trying to especially savor these times, as I anticipate they’ll go on hiatus starting next month.
    3. Well, I’m finding this later part of pregnancy challenging. The only way out is through though, so I think I’ll overcome it. Check back in April.
    4. Black. So many black maternity clothes. Coral, my summer color.
    5. No pets, I’d like to hang out with vizla puppy named Penny. (Okay, not really named Penny, but I can’t name an animal on the fly, that’s a serious decision)
    6. Can’t come up with one, but I look forward to browsing other’s responses.
    7. Homemade Thai red curry sometimes with tofu, sometimes with chicken, always delicious.
    8. Feeling underutilized and worthless at work. I hate not being good at what I’m doing and I’m really not good at this.
    9. She’s pretty great. I’m throwing a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law this weekend. Friend doesn’t even like said FSIL, and she’s making all the flower arrangements for me. She’s loving and so giving that sometimes you want to shake her, but when push comes to shove she’s there.
    10. Flowers! Bees are helpful. Plus that fishy smell would probably put me over right now.

    • Ooooo…. a FEMENIST romance novel?? I am fascinated!! I would love to read something like that. Also, feeling worthless at work is absolutely horrible. We spend so much time there! I am hoping this changes for you before 2015.

  7. 1. “Following Atticus” by Tom Ryan. I was a horrible snotty mess last night reading about the dog’s health issues so I had to crawl down on the floor with my pup. I just downloaded “Girl, Interrupted” from the library.

    2. Favoritest? Oh man. Coffee in the morning with F and SP. It’s quiet, we’re usually out in the middle of nowhere and everything is pretty.

    3. I briefly decided that I wasn’t a runner. I got all grumpy and have procrastinated big time on not working out. I have done immensely better in the last week or so.

    4. I don’t have a closet… And well, black? Most of my yoga/running pans are black as are my cozy base layers. And I completely subscribe to leggings as pants. I’m not sorry.

    5. I’m not sure if he’s a pet or a fuzzy child! Just kidding, I have the world’s best dog: Sprocket. He’s a super sweet adorable black lab.

    6. Favorite indy business? Aside from mine? (Seriously, we’re trying to find people who want some help riding long distance bike routes, SprocketSupport.com). I’m not sure what the definition of indy is but ClimbOn! Products/SkiNourishment (skinnourishment.com) is rocking my world. I’ll be featuring their ClimbOn! lotion bar Thursday.

    7. Favorite dinner right now is this southwestern creamy pasta thing. It’s delicious and easy. (Plus it makes enough food to feed us three times.)

    8. Double standards. You know that thing when your partner bitches at you for doing something and then turns around and does the same thing themselves? Yeah.

    9. I don’t think I have a best friend right now. I have a bunch of people I can reach out to but I wouldn’t call any of them my best friend. :-/

    10. Flowers.

    • I’m pretty much stealing everyone’s favorite dinners to add to my rotation… do you have a recipe/description of your creamy pasta thing?? cause… nom.

      • So, I’ll have to write it up. I’ve been trying to work some of my easy RV recipes onto the blog but basically, it’s sauted onions, a can of Rotel, some chicken broth (I just use bullion cubes), and cream. It’s deliciousssssss.

    • You are amazing. And the fact that you are sometimes not the greatest at working out makes me feel like not such a loser for having some slumps here and there.

      • Slumps totally happen. But I think I broke this one. Seriously.

  8. 1. I literally just finished reading Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah. As in, I put the book in my “return to library” pile and then walked to my laptop and read this post. Creepy.

    2. My husband. (eeewwwwww … sappy). Seriously – he works his butt off so we can afford for me to try to figure out what sort of work will make me happy. I’ve been trying to get my event planning business up and running for a while, and he’s stood by and supported me the whole time.

    3. Mental illness. I struggle with depression and had a pretty bad episode recently. Plus, winters and seasonal affective disorder really kick me in the ass. Thanks to therapy and drugs, though, I’m clawing my way back up.

    4. Blue, which is odd, as my favorite color is purple. I kind of wish it were something brighter, since everything is so drab right now. Maybe pink …

    5. I have one dog and two cats. The dog’s name is Orly, named after the owl “Orly? Yarly.” meme, not the airport in France. The cats are from the same litter. The tuxedo male is Fatty (short for Fattus Bobalattus King of the Wild Frontier, which always needs to be sung). The torti female is Jordan. In the past, I’ve had ferrets, a hedgehog, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, and dogs. I’m a big animal person, as long as those animals aren’t pet birds.

    6. I’m going to go with my own business, Flawless Execution Events (http://flawlessexecutionevents.com). I do my best to cater toward more nontraditional, quirky clients. I find those events to be the most fun.

    7. My husband and I are doing an elimination diet right now, which we have renamed the Salt And Pepper Diet, as that’s the only way to make this sad food bearable. When we’re actually making food, I have a recipe for slow cooker lasagne that’s fantastic.

    8. I’m super impatient, and I applied for an event coordinator position recently and THEY WON’T GET BACK TO ME. Email or call me NOWNOWNOWNOW.

    9. My best friend is one of the nicest, most selfless people I’ve ever known. Which sometimes pisses me off, as I think she gives herself the short end of the stick too often. Right now, I think she’s settling in both her personal and professional life, in part, to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.

    10. The fish scales. If the smell really bothered me, I’d move someplace cold. But man, I could not deal with bees flying close to my face. Hell no.

    • Reading all of your answers I feel like we would probably be best friends in real life. You are hilarious. And I love that you started your own business! That ish is hard! I applaud your awesome partnership that allowed you to do that. Amazing.

  9. 1. Re-reading A breath of smoke and ashes by Diana Gabaldon, in preparation for the new book to come out mid year. Its very slow going – a page or two every couple of days, and given its 1400-odd pages, I dont know how I’m also going to get through An Echo in the bone.
    2. Watching LJ sleep.
    3. Getting us to swimming lessons this morning, at a time when LJ would normally be napping. It actually went quite well.
    4. Blue, loads and loads of blue. Which is great, because our city is reknowned for people wearing black.
    5. We have a cat called Checkers. She is a bit nuts.
    6. I really love Franny at Breastmates.co.nz – does all sorts of awesome breastfeeding clothing, including recently adding her own designs.
    7. Roast Chicken with veges, since LJ loves his roast veges, so it means we can actually all sit down to dinner together
    8. LJs cold. Miserable. Impacting sleep, play, everything.
    9. She is one of the worlds good people. Giving, wonderful, outgoing, thoughtful. Dating an awesome dude who once flatted with my husband. I dont see her nearly often enough due to her work schedule and my baby schedule. She is also inspirational.
    10. Totally the flower ears. Ugh, fish smell.

    • A crazy cat named Checkers – that is a perfect combo. And roast chicken with veggies!!! I have never roasted a chicken. 0__0 But it is something that just sounds so warm and lovely. I want.

  10. 1. A Discovery of Witches, thanks to you! The gender dynamics are pissing me right off, but I love the magic.
    2. Spending time with the kiddo! Every morning, every evening, and every weekend. She is a constant delight.
    3. Going back to work after giving birth. I felt preemptively guilty about this before I even got pregnant and it haunted me during pregnancy and maternity leave. Then I went back to work and, what do you know, I’m still a good mom. I feel a ton of mom guilt over so many things, but working is just not one of them. More recently, and more trivially, I gave up reading blogs that irritate me. So if I’m still commenting, it means I genuinely like it here!
    4. Creamy, neutral brownish beige. I’m okay with that, although I do wish I had an entirely new wardrobe made up of quality pieces that I know will last.
    5. Yes! I have a corgi named Moriarty (Arty) Dean Ford. He is my favorite, although he stresses me out to no end because he is a very difficult dog.
    6. All of my favorite indie businesses are brick and mortar (think coffee shops and record stores) in my favorite cities. They probably aren’t too interesting to anybody who doesn’t live in or visit the area. I love them because make me feel like I can call a place home. Although right now my favorite shop is a zany store in Milwaukee, a place I’ve never lived. I like it because it’s called Art Smart’s Dart Mart and I’ve called my dog Art Smart since he was a pup. Link here: http://www.jugglingsupplies.net/.
    7. Beer-braised chicken thighs with Israeili couscous. It’s amazing.
    8. This fucking Midwestern winter. This fucking cold. This fucking never-ending polar vortex. This fucking wind. This fucking ice. The fact that I can’t go outside to exercise or walk my dog or hang out with my kid. I can’t think of one thing that I once loved about this fucking horrible city. The fact that my family is so far away (which is really the point–I could deal with the miserable cold if I was surrounded by people I love).
    9. This question is hard for me because I am sad about the way that I have neglected my relationships with my best friends from high school and college and failed to develop new best friendships. The truth is that my best friend is my husband because he is the person I want to hang out with all the time. I like who I am around him: fun and funny and relaxed. He is my best friend because in any situation he always wants to entertain and play. He is also a great spouse, but that’s a separate thing.
    10. Flowers ears because it seems like there are steps to be taken avoid or repel the bees and other flying creatures. It would be annoying, but manageable.

    • Aren’t the gender dynamics super frustrating?? I feel like it DOES even out though. The middle is dicy, but then powers start to be found etc etc. It’s … magical (pun intended) how it all unfolds. And about #9: it is so difficult to maintain adult friendships, I feel like they are just 1 notch below marriages for how much mindfulness and effort they take. And you know what? Having your spouse be your best friend – I think it doesn’t HAVE to be that way, but it’s pretty lovely when it happens. Rock on.

  11. 1. What are you reading right now? I just finished A Discovery of Witches and its sequel (thank you!). I loved them both but was annoyed when I realised that it’s a trilogy and the final book hasn’t been released yet.

    2. What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? My favouritest?? Hmmm, yesterday we had an ultrasound and the baby was waving at us which was freaking AWESOME. I think my most favourite thing is coming home from work to my dog who is so very excited to see me – no one else gets that excited to see me – and also snuggles and chats with my husband before falling asleep in bed.

    3. What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Infertility. We only discovered that I was infertile after a miscarriage and there were 2 hard years after that full of various infertility treatments. I’m happily 14.5weeks pregnant now though! :)

    4. What is the most common color in your closet right now? Black and grey. I wish there was a little more colour to break it up!

    5. Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? I have a maltese x mini poodle and his name is Sammy and he is awesome. I think he thinks he’s human.

    6. Do you have a favorite indie business? Not really, but I do love our local coffee shop.

    7. What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now? Pasta anything. My husband isn’t a big fan so whenever he isn’t home I make myself a giant bowl of pasta.

    8. What is pissing you off the most this week? That it’s going so slowly, otherwise it’s been a pretty good week.

    9.Tell me about your best friend. Oh sometimes she reads this blog, (hi T!), but she’s the best because even though we live in different states and have only actually met in person a few times (we met online) she is ALWAYS there at the other end of the phone to answer my stupid questions, laugh at little things, give me love and send me cute photos of her babies to cheer me up or to be annoyed at my husband with me.

    10. Flower ears. The thought of a fishy smell following me around in the hot humid summers we have here is making me gag!

    • I actually put the release date for the third Discovery of Witches on my calendar (both work and personal)… which feels like a huge relief after checking her website obsessively for what feels like an entire year. She recently put up an excerpt for the third book and ERMAGHERRD so excited!!

      • I pre-ordered it for my kindle so I don’t forget about it! *runs off to look for the third book excerpt* Thanks for the tip!

    • I am waving and saying hello to T as well. YAY!! Ok, I am just so happy for you that you are pregnant!!! I have been crossing my fingers for you and hearing about your process and just…. I am so relieved that you have so far come through that journey victorious. And also I love your dog on instagram. haha.

  12. What are you reading right now? Im trying to get through Allegiant now, so i can mooove onnnn to the next on my list, which is Night Circus and then Hollow City (the sequal to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, such a fun, imaginative, quick read that my book club STILL talks about!)

    What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Growing a human and finally being able to feel him! So freaking cool!

    What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Gah, well its ongoing, but having to see the friends in my June Mommas facebook group that are losing their babies RIGHT NOW :( So heartbreaking.

    What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) What do you wish it was? Mine is also grey i think! Im okay with that, i have other colors to make up for it, but for now, this belly will rock the grey.

    Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? If you don’t, what kind of animal do you wish you could hang out with? What would you name it? CHIA & SASHA!! They miss you guys.

    Do you have a favorite indie business? Im also not sure what constitutes as an Indie biz either. But I recently came across this awesome all natural, handmade belly bar, soap and chapstick from the most adorable gay guy ive ever met who had a booth at a pop up shops event i went to. And the name of their company…SUDZ BY STUDZ!! I mean, really..does it get any cuter than that?!! https://www.facebook.com/sudzbystudz

    What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now? A bowl of cereal!!! Glad i could add to the creativeness of the answers to that question ;)

    What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out…..uugghghgh, the fact that we need to find a new home for Mindbody by the end of the month, and we will send out 10 emails to prospective places and get ONE response! I mean, you cant even take 2 seconds to respond us saying you dont think it will be a good fit? NOTHING?!?! Jerks.

    Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best?…….Im not sure how to answer this question, because im not a fan of labels and ranking my friends. I have so many amazing friends that i have a different, unique relationship with, and are closer to than others in different ways, that I could never pick just ONE best friend. Each of my friends has a ‘best’ quality in them somewhere. But i do love how the older i get, the closer my friends become and the stronger my friendships get, year after year.

    You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms….FISH SCALES! No bees, please. Eek! If my company isnt worth dealing with the fishy smell, then screw them ;)

    • Chia and Sasha!!! I miss them too!!! And keep those baby bump pics comin’ on facebook. I am eating them up!! And I love how you genuinely love all the people around you. We are lucky to have you in our lives!

    • “Best friend isn’t a position, it’s a level.” -Mindy Kaling

  13. I just wanted to offer up hugs about your acceptance of brain medicine. My husband was raised to think that therapists are only out to get your money and make you believe things about yourself that aren’t true. He has found awesome strength in himself since finding the right therapist and brain medicine. Sorry if this is ramble-y… it’s something that I think still has a pretty negative stigma attached to it and it takes a strong person to throw off those stigmas. Yay you!!

  14. 1. I keep going between World War Z and The Little Prince.

    2. Working with kids–I’m working with kids every day and while they are often exhausting, it is so fulfilling. When 1 kid has been struggling to focus and get on task for days, and then has 1 good day! Man. It is such an incredible feeling. I love all the silly things they say and how they try to impress me and I feel so honored that I am someone they Want to impress and that just makes me try even harder to love them more and have more patience because they deserve it.

    3. I’m not sure I’ve fully 100% overcome this challenge. It’s more like a daily battle and I feel like I lose a lot. But when I took a new job back in Sept, it required me to 1)not just move home, but 2)move in with my Grandma after living on my own for 8+ years, and 3 of those years with my boyfriend. I don’t know why I assumed it would be easy, but this has probably been the BIGGEST challenge I have faced thus far. Having to tell someone where you are, and if you’ll be home for dinner and if you plan to spend the night somewhere and someone always wanting to talk to you…I don’t want to sound ungrateful but it’s hard to adequately describe how frustrating and difficult this transition has been. Some days I handle it with absolute grace and positivity and those are the days I’d say I “overcame” it all. But there are a lot of days I give in to the angst and frustration and anger… so yeah, it’s a daily challenge.

    4. I don’t have 1 dominating color — it pretty much looks like a rainbow. I looove color.

    5. I have 2 cats: Pepper and Cosmo. Pepper was given to me when he was 2 and I adopted Cosmo when he was just 7 weeks old (and was barely even 1 pound!). They are pretty unique (in personalities) and are beautiful breeds–Cosmo is part Maine Coon and Pepper is part Bengal.

    6. Not really; not right now.

    7. One bonus of moving back home to the East side—Amazing Arabic food. Omg the noms. I could eat that stuff multiple times a week. Stuffed grape leaves? Hummus and garlic sauce with fresh baked pita bread? Chicken Tawook? The rice…

    8. The administration at my school. When the custodians leave after cleaning out my trash cans, they aren’t SHUTTING MY DOOR ALL THE WAY. So it is open to all the stupid and inconsiderate older kids who go in there periodically and fucking trash it and steal shit. This is BS. I tried talking to the VP but he was busy and forgot to come by my room to talk to me. So I tried going straight to the custodians–asking the head custodian to speak with whoever was assigned my room to MAKE SURE THE DOOR IS CLOSED ALL THE WAY when they leave. That hasn’t worked either. I wrote a not on the flipping chalk board right next to the door as a reminder and STILL the door is open when I get there each morning. I have confidential papers in there. I can’t keep buying pens and pencils. That shit adds up. The door locks automatically. All they have to do is fucking close it!

    9. I think I’m lucky to say I have a few girlfriends who I am super close with (some who I’ve known since like 1st grade), but 2 really stand out. 1 was my college roommate, Joni. The way we think, the things we want out of life…they are so similar its scary. I really don’t have to pretend to be anything I’m not. We seem to go through the same life struggles at similar times too, so her ability to relate to me is more than most people. I love how most of the time our conversations start out like “Rar”; that we make up silly code names for people we like and especially for people we don’t like (example: bra-phone girl, pee pants guy, cowboy boots guy, old-man-crush), and so many other things. I love that half our conversation is remembering crazy shit we did and how the other half can be talking about the shit that scares us when we look at the future. And how 98% of those fears will be the same. Even though we don’t live 15 mins away anymore, we still find a way to talk daily and she keeps me grounded. The other girl is someone I’ve know most of my life, but it wasn’t until I moved back to Detroit and reconnected with her. We had never really spent much time one-on-one until that point. But now, I wonder how we never did. She is truly one of the most kindest, gentlest, most genuine people I’ve ever met–coincidentally her name is Grace. We both grew up in a very conservative religious background but she and I have come out of it with a similar mind frame and I feel I can truly open up about how I view the world and instead of being condemned I get confirmation and affirmation. She has truly been a bright light and I love how close we’ve become in just a few months. These two people make trudging along a lot easier and certainly a lot more fun.

    10. Beautiful fish scales. I am DEATHLY afraid of bees. TERRIFIED. I’ll take fish smell over bees any day.

    • Can you put your trash cans in the hallway each night so the custodians don’t have to go in your room at all? We do something like that where I work.

      • Someone else mentioned that idea to me a little while back, but I guess I forgot about it. I’ll try that starting tonight and see how it goes. Thanks!

    • Ohhhhh man, I do not KNOW how you live with your grandma. That seriously takes so much patience. I would lose my goddamn MIND. So, I applaud you for making those sacrifices to hopefully create a better situation for yourself. I know last year the job outlook was so awful. Are things in that realm at least better now?

    • I moved home for about a year and man, solidarity. My parents are wonderful, supportive people and their generosity was helping me do something awesome but damn if I didn’t occasionally want to kill them. Keep your chin up!

      • Solidarity all the way. It’s hard to describe to other people how difficult it is. Everyone always says “at least your grandma is such a wonderful lady”. Yes, this is true, but that doesn’t mean she’s wonderful to co-habitat with….Lauren, the job situation is much better. The whole point of taking this job which forced me to move in with my Gma was to up my chances of getting into grad school. So if I don’t get it….I guess I”ll just cross that bridge when I get there. lol.

  15. 1. I just started “The Paris Wife” and I’m also in the middle of “The Phantom Tollbooth,” which I apparently missed when I was a kid.
    2. My favoritest thing is working for myself, and having the flexibility to go to tap classes in the middle of the day. It’s only once a week, but it’s all mine!
    3. My ability to freak out over the minute-est of details. With husband interviewing for jobs, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping calm and letting the cards fall where they will.
    4. Hot pink! And I’m okay with that. Although I’ve inadvertently worn black for like, four days in a row now. But black is all colors, and therefore doesn’t count.
    5. I have a tabby cat! Her name is Elliott.
    6. I don’t have a favorite. I really don’t do a whole lot of shopping right now, except at the grocery store or Target, because money.
    7. I’ve been making a lot of soups lately. I like the warmth!
    8. Myyyyy throooooaaat huuuuuurts.
    9. I could say my husband, but that seems like a cop-out answer. To be honest, I don’t know that I have a best friend. I have a few friends from college that I’m still really close with, and I’m really good friends with my sister now that we don’t live in the same house anymore. :) They’re the best because I can call them in tears, and they manage to find ways to make me laugh through them.
    10. Flowers for ears. Though then my cat would always be trying to eat my ears. But I’d have the same problem with fish hands, so that’s a lose-lose. :)

    • I would be super interested to hear others’ thoughts on “The Paris Wife.” I was…conflicted on that one.

      • I was interested because I finished “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,” and it has some of the same characters, and that one made Hemingway’s wife sound like such a victim, and I figured there had to be more to the story … but I’m only three or four chapters in, so I’m reserving judgment for now.

    • Tap class in the middle of the day? You have won the winning at life lottery!

      Talk to me about the soups you are making! I haven’t jumped into that world. The best I can do is chili. :/

  16. 1. I’m in the middle of two different books — bad habit. One is Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (http://www.amazon.com/Brain-Fire-My-Month-Madness/dp/1451621388) and the other is Dream It! Do It! My Half Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Do-Disney-Editions-Deluxe-ebook/dp/B00E9C93QW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391562259&sr=1-1&keywords=dream+it+do+it). They are both interesting but not the best writing in the world, so I’ve been switching between them randomly.

    2. I’ve recently decided to say Fuck it! to everything and focus on myself for a bit. It’s meant a lot of challenges and swimming upstream and maaaajor uncertainty, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. It feels really good to stand up for myself!

    3. I just (as in, got on a flight this past Friday) packed up my entire life, quit my job, said goodbye to friends and family, and moved to Alabama where my husband has a fellowship for the next year and a half. He has been down here for 7 months and it just wasn’t working in any way, shape, or form, so I finally faced facts and packed it in. This might sound like it’s in direct conflict with my answer to question #2, but it’s actually a big step for me to put my personal life first so overtly.

    4. I wear a lot of navy blue. Like, a lot. It’s definitely my neutral. I wish I wore more jewel tones.

    5. I do! And I’ve just been reunited with her since E brought her down here when he moved! Her name is Tessie and she’s a muted tortoiseshell angel of a cat.

    6. Off the top of my head, I don’t. I’ll think on it.

    7. I loooove a baked sweet potato with a whole mess of arugula, some black beans, and a runny over-easy egg. Sounds ridiculous because it’s not fancy, but hooooly crap it hit spot.

    8. BEING HOME ALL THE TIME! This is my first time without a job in YEAARRRSSSS and I don’t know what to do with myself.

    9. One of my best friends in the world is one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met. He makes friends everywhere he goes. I always feel a little — this isn’t the right word, but it’s the only word I’ve got — unworthy around him, but he always manages to make me feel like the best person in the room even though I’m usually just trying to keep up.

    10. Flowers!! No thanks to the fish!

    • Advice for being home all of the time: first, go outside at least once a day. Set yourself a time where you have to turn the TV off… I find myself getting stuck on the couch sometimes. And third, create at least 1 thing you HAVE TO DO each day that you can check off your list that makes you feel like “yeah. I did that.”

      I think saying no to other thing and yes to yourself is the scariest thing ever and I give you a huge round of applause for jumping in. That is exciting and scary and good for you!!

  17. 1. I’m reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (say it 10 times fast!) which has been on my list for ages now.

    2. My FAVORITEST thing about my life is always the people. I just have fabulous, crazy, amazing people.

    3. Most recent challenge – Does the flu count? Because OMG…I seriously came through that by the power of will. I have never had it before, and I had a few moments of “Am I going to live through this!”

    4. My closet is a ton of black and white, because they are easy to pair with other things. I wish there was more green, because I think it looks awesome with my skin tone and eyes.

    5. I don’t have pet, but I have been SERIOUSLY coveting them. So many of my friends have animals, and I’ve been visiting them. I have extreme puppy fever! I want a chocolate lab or a pudgy French bulldog.

    6. A local shop that sells soaps and smell-good things near my apartment. http://conniesbathshack.com. I’d definitely donate a few bars for a giveaway!

    7. EGGS, specifically fried, over medium. On top of a bed of rice with wilted spinach and drizzled with Sriracha. So basic. So delicious.

    8. I’m not pissed, but money is stressing me out. I’m on the right track toward correcting this, though! Like many others here, I am SO OVER cold weather though. And rain. Soggy socks. Blech.

    9. I love my best friend. Times infinity. Her name is Bianca, and she knows EVERYTHING about me, more than anyone in the whole world. We have the best giggle fests over random things and inside jokes from when we were in 5th grade. She is what I am not in that she is very gentle and sensitive and always worried about everyone else’s feelings. She always takes my side when I complain about my boyfriend, and we can watch marathons of wedding shows for hours without having to speak.

    10. You have the best imagination! What a tough one. Flowers by default. Because it is hot here more often than not, and ewww fish smell.

    • First, we are the same because: EGGS. And ooooooo connies bath shack! Checking them out immediately!

  18. 1. Helene Hanff’s Q’s Legacy. Not a big non-fiction reader (outside of work), but I love her and I love her love of books.

    2. My son’s smiles.

    3. Not punching my boss in the face when he told me he can only offer me 4hrs of work a week instead of the full time contract he promised. New challenge is finding a way to make money without removing my clothing or any more dignity.

    4. Black. Ummm… don’t care.

    5. No pets. I’d like a dog but after having a kid, I don’t fancy having to care for a creature that is never going to be toilet-trained. There’s only so much poo I want in my life.

    6. Geek-r-ee – http://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Geekree – Those fabrics are the bomb. And just about any fandom is catered to (for?)

    7. Homemade veg pizza with veg, bocconcini and walnuts.

    8. Writing applications for jobs I don’t really want but that I need. And then not getting said jobs.

    9. My Lovely Husband. He holds my hand when I cry.

    10. Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears – because someone needs to help save the bees or we’ll all starve to death.

  19. 1. AH! I’m not reading (except for blogs and the news). I’m so bad and this is actually a resolution – I want to read more in 2014!

    2. The people I share it with. Sounds so silly but the last few months have really made me remember how blessed I am about all the people who I have in my life (even those who sometimes can be very frustrating!).

    3. Choosing whether I am going to stay in my current job or try to find a different one. If I find a different one, it will mean a lesser amount of career advancement but job security. If I stay in my current one, I could possibly have greater income but a riskier job.

    4. Black/grey. I wish it was a bright color that was acceptable for the work place – like bright green (I would love for a bright pink but I think that is frowned upon too much in my stuffy work world).

    5. Our beloved dog (Zeke) just passed away – so horrible because it was incredibly unexpected. BUT, we are a foster home for a dog rescue in our area and so I have lots of dogs coming in and out (1 at a time!). I love it (and highly recommend it)!

    6. Not really…

    7. These portobello mushroom burgers! http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/07/the-best-grilled-portobello-mushroom.html AHHH! I die!

    8. Hm. Nothing really (yet). The week is young, though, and that response will most likely be modified by Thursday.

    9. My best friend is the person I will always drop everything I can to help and who will do the same in return. I know I can say whatever is on my mind and they will never judge me (and vice versa). They have seen me at my best and worst and still love me (and, again, vice versa).

    10. Scales – because I will just avoid warm weather or heated rooms whereas the other way I can’t really avoid bees!!

  20. 1. I just finished My Life After Now, by Jessica Verdi. (A friend of my cousin’s, and my cousin’s novel is coming out in September — SO Excited! Look for The Jewel, by Amy Ewing.)
    2. My husband. (Sappy sappy.) No, him and our dogs. But really either of the three of them always find a way to make me smile even if I am NOT having a great day.
    3. I am still working on it, but working towards becoming a personal trainer. When it is really not the easiest field to get started in anymore.
    4. I have a lot of neutrals, but the most common colors still tend to be purples and turquoises. I LOVE yellow but I can never find a single yellow thing that looks good on me.
    5. I have a veritable zoo. Two miniature schnauzers named Holes and Nones, and a wild tabby cat named Janey.
    6. They’re kind of expensive but I LOVE Atlanta Activewear http://www.atlantaactivewear.com. They have clothes that can easily go from brunch with the girls to running a 5k.
    7. I still LOVE this ginger-soy salmon dinner for special events (like an anniversary dinner): http://www.handletheheat.com/2011/09/soy-ginger-salmon.html. and then for everyday, I tend to gravitate towards Spinach Lasagna Rolls: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/02/spinach-lasagna-rolls.html or Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells: http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/447621-Buffalo_Chicken_Stuffed_Shells?_szp=225655&_szi=28
    8. Mostly the weather! I have been so HAPPY that Atlanta has held off the rain for almost a month now and then it goes and rains tonight and kills my training run plans.
    9. Ah… um, that’s hard. I have a lot of really close friends who will always listen to me, but at the same time, they all live really really far away right now and I haven’t found that where I’ve moved. So let’s see. She was with me all through a really hard 4 years in my life, and stood by me when I met and dated and married my husband. And she’s been able to shed a lot of light onto the whole working world situation for me lately as I’m going forward with taking exams and trying to get a certification. We talk on the phone at least once a month and then we always manage to pick right up where we left off whenever I manage to go home for a little while. and I just miss her so much. :(
    10. I am SCARED of bees. I am also a swimmer. I would prefer fish scales. To deal with the smell, I would just overpower it with the chlorine smell like I already do anyway. And they’d be super useful in competition. No pruney skin.

  21. 1. I just finished Geraldine Brook’s Caleb’s Crossing (about the first Native Americans to attend Harvard told from a Puritan female’s perspective). I’ve loved every book she writes because they are well-researched and fast-paced.
    2. Coming home to my fiance and a home cooked meal when I walk through the door (Is there any greater gift than coming home from a tough day and being handed a plateful of homemade food before you can even change out of your work clothes?)
    3. Dealing with a very chatty and opinionated psychiatrist at work. Makes me feel like I need to join my patients on the locked unit.
    4. Blue- Am I the only one who wears blue all the time?
    5. Yes, Sammy the Cat. He shit in a shipping box last night…not cool. Thank god he’s cute.
    6. I love Favor jewelry.
    7. Pasta! Though to be honest, I ate chocolate cream pie for dinner tonight…tasty.
    8. See # 3. I hate smiling and noding for hours at a time.
    9. I have two. There the people who love me no matter how unlovable I feel. They know my flaws and love me anyways.
    10. I hate the feeling of things in my ears and I hate fish smells (but love being warm)…ahhh so trapped. I’ll choose flowers and wear a hat.

    Thanks for the great blog, Lauren! Thanks for being a bright spot in my day!

  22. 1. I just finished reading Alice Munro’s “My Best Stories,” some of which were great, others pretty depressing. The book was a gift from Canadians.

    2. Right now I’m an unemployed attorney having an awful time getting a job, but I’ve really been leaning on my memories – all the amazing traveling I’ve done, great times with my husband and my ladies.

    3. Overcoming my fear of running. I’ve been going out consistently in freezing temps (well, freezing for Portland) and having an awesome time. I’ve signed up for a marathon this fall!

    4. Red, but I need more prints for beneath suits. Urg I wish I owned a million gorgeous sundresses.

    5. YESSS. Batman! He is an amazing all black Shepard mix with huge ears. He has been hilarious since we found him!

    6. Oh man, Portland coffee. The best is on my corner – http://www.yelp.com/biz/see-see-motorcycles-and-coffee-portland

    7. Roasted chicken – this all the time with brussels added in rather than mushrooms: http://www.dinneralovestory.com/chicken-of-the-year/

    8. That I fucking almost got a job after three rounds of interviewing. Merr. That I miss my ladies in NYC and SF so bad.

    9. I have a group of ladies from my NYC years, and my best girl from high school. They are the best b/c they are SO FUN, we have so many memories, and we conquer together. W/o them, I would be a small town Oregon girl. With them, I have limitless ambition, and they have been there every step of the way.

    10. Flowers, obviously.

    I think this is my first ever blog comment, even though I read many. Thanks Lauren for writing!!

    • I used to drive by that coffee place all the time last year since my midwives were just down the block. I never stopped in, but always wondered about it.

  23. How fun :)

    1. What are you reading right now?
    “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”. I’ve never read any Sherman Alexie before, and he’s a speaker at the AWP conference, so I thought NOW’S THE TIME.

    2. What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST!
    At this right hot moment — my husband. It’s been kind of a rough month for both of us, and he’s been amazing and supportive and helpful. Reminds me why I married the dude in the first place.

    3. What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come?
    FINISHING THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY BOOK.
    *Ahem*
    Sorry. Still excited about that one.

    4. What is the most common color in your closet right now? What do you wish it was?
    Black. So much black. I think I’m ok with this? I’m trying to go for versatility, and black does have that going for it (although I’m starting to feel a teensy bit goth).

    5. Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name?
    We have a skinny fluffy cat named Toby, a fat marmalade cat named Cecilia, and a wheagle (whippet-beagle mutt) named Louie (who I am currently annoyed with for being….well, a puppy).

    6. Do you have a favorite indie business? Link me and tell me why!
    Hmmm. I think at the moment I’d have to say Cafe Ladro (do they count?). They consistently make me the creamiest, most delectable lattes — and the baristas are always incredibly nice and interesting people.

    7. What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?
    I….can’t think of a single thing. That’s really sad. Am I in a food rut?

    8. What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out.
    Well I may have hinted at this but THE DAMN PUPPY. Because HE IS A PUPPY. And puppies need lots of attention and training and love and food and energy. And it drives me NUTS that he doesn’t understand that the cats DO NOT WANT TO PLAY. And it drives me NUTS that he has to be in a crate all day while we’re at work, and then has ALL THE ENERGY when we get home. I am happy that he makes my husband so happy, but UGH. Figure it out already, puppy!

    9. Tell me about your best friend.
    My best friend and I met in pre-school swim lessons, although we didn’t become besties until 4th grade. She is funny and smart and vulnerable but also incredibly, incredibly tough. We are so, so different — I often wonder if we met now, as adults, if we would even be friends. But I’m so glad we are, because we challenge each other and laugh with one another and push each other to be better.

    10. You have to pick one…
    Oh damn. My immediate answer was FISH SCALES….until you mentioned the smell. Nope. Not gonna deal with that BS. So…I’m gonna go with flower ears. Because I’m typically ok with bees.

  24. I loved reading everyone’s responses last year, I’m glad you’re doing this again!

    1. I am reading Pretties by Scott Westerfeld and the second Game of Thrones book. I recently finished Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal and I really enjoyed it, it is like Jane Austen but with magic and I’ll be reading the next one in the series as soon as I can get my hands on it.

    2. My favoritest thing in the world right now is my 5 month old son. He is just changing so much every day and learning how to live in this world that is so fun to watch.

    3. The most recent challenge I’ve overcome is getting the boy to sleep mostly through the night in his own bed in his own room. We were co-sleeping and I kind of started to miss sleeping next to my husband and he wanted to nurse every couple of hours which was getting to me.

    4. I think the most common color in my closet is either gray or navy. I like both, but would like to incorporate more peacock blue in there too.

    5. We don’t have any pets right now but would like to get a dog eventually. We live in a house without a yard right now though, so we will probably wait until we move somewhere else since we would like something bigger. Like a Great Dane. Although, the idea of a smaller poodle mix is starting to sound good to me. But maybe not until the kid is a little bigger. I have no idea what we would name the dog, I think I’d have to meet it first. And we’d get a rescue, so it would most likely already have a name.

    6. I don’t really have a favorite indie business, or at least I can’t think of any right now.

    7. Right now I like making soups and also things in the crock pot. We just finished the Whole 30 program, so I am looking forward to having pasta again, though we did find some good recipes that we hadn’t tried before.

    8. Nothing too bad at the moment other than I can’t seem to keep the house clean at all.

    9. My best friend sees me at my best and worst and still loves me. I can tell my best friend anything, silly and serious.

    10. I would pick the scales. I live in Washington, so it doesn’t get hot for that much of the year anyway (it’s part of the reason I moved here from California, I like cold, cloudy weather) and I have been afraid of bees for most of my life.

  25. 1) I’m reading “Play it again” by Alan Rusbridger, explaining how he decided to learn to play the most difficult Chopin piano piece during his busiest year as the editor of the Guardian. Very inspirational.
    Just before, I read “The shock of the fall” by Nathan Filer, which I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s about grief, a sibling with a disability, and mental illness. I will say no more; just read it!

    2) Going running in the morning and seeing the sun rise over the trees. It makes me feel strong and it helps me remember just how awesome my life is.

    3) A month ago… I emigrated from Paris to London. And I love it love it love it. I was very afraid of being isolated and alone, but I’ve been working on making new friends and keeping busy and I just love London.

    4) Different shades of blue. From blue jeans to deep blue tops.

    5) I don’t have a pet but I wish I had a dog to run with me. I would call it “one bee” because in French “toutou” means “doggie” so he would be my “221B”! (yeah, I know, bad pun, but I swear I will one day…)

    6) Daunt books in London.

    7) Tomato soup, bread and goat cheese. Simple, efficient and yummy!

    8) I just can’t seem to be able to talk to new people in English without having words escaping me and saying stupid stupid stuff that make me blush and cower when I think about it afterwards. English language, you suck! It’s so hard to master you!

    9) Eva has been braver than me: two years ago, she left to live on a French island of the Indian ocean, where she spends her week-ends hiking and scuba-diving. I miss her so much! But when we see each other it’s like we’ve never parted and we go on having wonderful adventures!

    10) Are you kidding? I would take the fish arms in a heartbeat and spend the rest of my life swimming with tropical fishes in the ocean.

  26. 1. Just finished The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, not sure what I’m going to read next
    2. My mostly good work-life balance – amazing husband, beautiful home we built together, lovely friends, eating well, exercising enough, challenging work (although a little too much emphasis on challenging at the moment).
    3. Teeny – husband and I fixing our iced up fridge last night. Bigger – no drinking for 31 days as a new year detox (finished yesterday! I can have a drink tonight!)
    4. Teal/turquoise/aqua blues and greens and a good dash of grey.
    5. Two cats – Merlot and Shiraz (ahem…see comment re: alcohol in q2)
    6. Not really, and being in South Africa, not sure my favourites would be very relevant. I don’t know if others would consider it indie, but I love http://www.yuppiechef.co.za – amazing, quality kitchenware delivered free to your door with a handwritten note and amazing customer service.
    7. I’m not really that interested in cooking at the moment since husband is doing a serious detox diet so every meal is basically a version of a piece of meat and veggies. If it was up to me alone I would be cooking some kind of cheesy rich pasta (yum, carbs!)
    8. Corporate life and having to spend multiple hours (days!) this week documenting in detail how I’ve been spending my hours. grrr
    9. I have three and they were the three ladies I chose as bridesmaids – 6 years later and no regets about that. My sister is so awesome and unique, just such a cool and amazing woman. My high school bestie is always there for me, and even though she is pretty swamped with two tiny kids she still tries to really listen to where I’m at. My university bestie is my professional soulmate – I can talk to her about professional joys and challenges like no one else. Love them all so much.
    10. Flowers definitely!

  27. 1. I just finished Year of Wonders, which although it was well-written, I found to be kind of yawn-inducing. Starting on the fifth Outlander book next.

    2. Hmm …I think all the fun things coming up in February! My BFF just spontaneously decided to come visit this weekend, then it’ll be my husband’s birthday (party time!), then we’re taking our annual get-out-of-the-Ohio-winter trip, to Charleston this year!

    3. Life has been pretty good/easy lately (knock on wood). I suppose just the whole getting back on track with eating and sleeping normally and working out regularly after the holidays. This year it seemed harder to do than usual, and I’ve put on a bit of weight.

    4. I was remarking last night as I put away about a month’s worth of laundry (eek!) that I wear a lot of navy and gray these days. But once the weather warms up, the fun teals and corals and whatnot will be broken out.

    5. I have pretty bad allergies, so no pets for me!

    6. I don’t really have shop loyalty. But if you wanted to talk small, local restaurants/foods/booze, I would be all over that! It just wouldn’t mean anything to people not from around here.

    7. Lots o’ soups these days. Two recent faves are a bean and veggie minestrone (adapted from http://www.eatliverun.com/winter-minestrone/) and a Thai curry-ish lentil and squash (adapted from http://cafejohnsonia.com/2013/08/coconut-lentil-soup-with-lemongrass-and-ginger.html?m=0)

    8. Because things are pretty smooth and easy right now, I will go with the small aggravation that I drove all the way to my eye doc to get my new lenses put in my glasses … and they’d come in wrong from the lab. So now I have to keep wearing the old, headache-inducing prescription for another week and drive back over there again. Grr.

    9. My best friend is, well, the best. We met working at the newspaper in college twelve years ago (as someone who moved several times growing up, having friends who have been around for that long is amazing to me!). We can have so much silly fun together, or spend time bitching/moaning/being sad, and we know the other one gets it and doesn’t think badly for any not-nice things said (say, if one of us is super angry with our husband). We live ~3 h away from each other and see each other probably 8-10 times a year.

    10. Ugh. I think I would pick the flowers, even though I HATE bugs flying around my head. I have too acute a sense of smell to deal with gross fishiness.

  28. I’ll play!

    1. (What are you reading right now?) Just finished The Men We Reaped and I picked up Goldfinch at the library, yesterday. It’s a huge book, though, and I don’t know if I can finish it before it’s due!

    2. (What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc?) I’m excited about the writing class I’m teaching, despite the bit of “imposter syndrome” this creates for me. (Am I really qualified to be doing this? Can all my students tell I’m totally faking it ’til I make it?) And I’m super excited to go AWP (with you! soon!), which makes me feel like I’m investing a bit more seriously in the writing community and professional possibilities than I have been the past couple years. Next: I need to take the actual, you know, WRITING, just as seriously.

    3. (What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come?) Surviving the constant below zero weather without breaking down into tears and buying an emergency “I quite life!” plane ticket to Mexico?

    4. (What is the most common color in your closet right now?) Grey, or green, if all shades of green count as a single color. I like green, so that’s ok, but I do wish my wardrobe had some cohesion. How do you get that? I don’t know! I buy things on impulse and when I’m sick of everything, but without really thinking in terms of outfits. I’m trying to remedy that, this year.

    5. (Do you have a pet?) This guy! He is occasionally gross, and sometimes has a hard time keeping his butt in the litter box (come on, kitty! Inch forward like one step!) but I’ve had him since I was in high school and I love him. If we lived in a place that allowed dogs, though, I’d want one.

    6. (Do you have a favorite indie business?) A good friend of Vanessa’s has an online shop full of beautiful things that I really like called A MANO.

    7. (What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?) Jeff and I make this pasta at least every other week, and we have for a few months. We don’t get sick of it, or sick of saying “little hats!” as we pour the orecchiette into the water.

    8. (What is pissing you off the most this week?) Snow and winter and cold and layers. It’s so exhausting hauling around all the stuff you need for winter and layering on so much just to go outside.

    9. (Tell me about your best friend.) You’ve met/internet know her! At some point every time Vanessa and I are hanging out she’ll say, “How’s Lauren!? I’ve been so busy at work that I haven’t read her blog, lately. Do you think she’s mad at me!?” I assure her that even if you did know how much she was or wasn’t reading your blog, you will not be mad at her. Then we discuss the latest Instagrams of Gabe.

    10. (You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms.) I’m going with the scales, especially if they are beautiful.

    • A Mano is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  29. 1. I have a huge stack of books to get through. I’m currently reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. It’s pretty good!
    2. Corny, but my friends & family. And my cats… always my cats.
    3. Coming out of a bad depression. I made it!
    4. Hmmmm… probably black and blue. I actually have a lot of colors in there, but more blue and black than anything else.
    5. Yes — my two cats. Jasmine (15) and Kena (14). They’re the best! I’d like a dog, but can’t have one right now. If I could, I’d love to hang out with Lions all day. But not as their lunch… ;-)
    6. Not really.
    7. I am a terrible cook. I can bake, but not cook. The best thing I can make is spaghetti… and that’s kinda it. I could live on pizza and burritos.
    8. Oddly, nothing (yet). People piss me off daily…sometimes I have “i hate people” days. Actually, that’s not true. I mean, yes… I hate people sometimes, but what’s really irritating me right now is the person on the other side of my cube. She’s talking to herself and all I hear are the “s” sounds. So annoying!
    9. I have two and they both live far away. They’re awesome because I can be me… doesn’t matter what mood I’m in. One of them is awesome b/c we laugh our asses off when we’re together. We also are able to talk in depth about stuff. The other one is awesome b/c she gets me like no one else does.
    10. Uggg… they’re both awful! But I’d guess I’d choose the flowers for ears, even though it may drive me insane. I would be so embarrassed if I smelled like fish.

    That was fun…. thanks!

  30. I know I love your blog when I get on an actual computer because I want to respond to this post!

    1.I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project and taking copious notes. I have SO MANY books in my TBR pile, plus a bunch that I’ve already started. The Outlander series, Game of Thrones #4, The Rosie Project, On Writing Well, Band of Brothers, and 600 other books (thank goodness for Goodreads – I still want you to use it!)
    2. How blessed I am – I have a job I like, a wonderful husband, great family, tons of awesome friends, and no major problems.
    3. I ran the Chicago Marathon in October! I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I actually did it even though I can remember the whole race and how hard it was. I just never thought I would run one and always saw myself in the “never running a marathon” bucket. Not in that club anymore!
    4. Black. I’m actually okay with that since it makes up a lot of basics – black pants, dresses, jackets. I have a ton of color in my closet to jazz the black up.
    5. I want a dog – a Bernese Mountain dog named Oscar. However I’m not home enough to have a dog.
    6. Don’t really have one. Love my local running store, not sure if that counts as an indie business: http://www.runningcompany.com They know their stuff and sell great products.
    7. I love pizza. Our local pizza place has a double dough crust which I love, because I love bread. Not lamp, bread.
    8. I live in the Chicago suburbs and it took me 2.5 HOURS TO GET TO WORK TODAY, compared to the usual 45 min. That sucked. My life is not that terrible if this is my worst complaint (see blessed life above!).
    9. My friend Katie is just a wonderful fun supportive person. I can be myself around her. She has the best sense of humor, kinda crazy, but laid back. She’s the best!
    10. Jeez these both suck. Which do I hate less, bugs buzzing around my ears or fish smell. I’m going to have to go with the flowers for ears. I couldn’t deal with the smell. I’m always afraid I smell (despite the fact I shower every day and do laundry regularly!)

  31. 1) Several things, always. Most actively: A Fork in the Road, edited by James Oseland (Food Essays) and Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen (Memoir, but also somewhat about food).
    2) I love that the days are getting longer and it is no longer dark when I’m getting out of work. Also, that we are getting a good tax refund this year and thus (hopefully) will be able to do a one-night, away-from-baby anniversary trip this year!
    3) I have been working on being loving and forgiving as a spouse, instead of always expecting everything to be perfectly fair and to feel perfectly understood. Definitely still a work in progress.
    4) Black, but also a good amount of turquoise and purple. I want to keep adding to those colors!
    5) Yes, a basset hound named Charlie.
    6) My absolute favorite small businesses are local DC ones – Ramer’s Stride Rite (kiddie shoe store) and Barston’s Child’s Play (toy store). I just ordered some Earl Gray hot chocolate from Whimsy & Spice (https://whimsyandspice.com/) and it is my new special treat.
    7) To eat: any sort of pasta. Bonus points if I didn’t cook it! To make: casseroles. All the casseroles. Mix up the night before, Jami puts them in the oven when she gets home. Easy peasy.
    8) I don’t know if I would quite got to pissing me off, but I’m pretty over this cold weather and ready for Spring!
    9) I have two best friends. One is my next door neighbor (lucky, right?!) and the other lives 5 hours away. They are the people I would lean on if my world crumbled (and who I would do anything for). One I talk to almost every day (the next door one!), the other only every few months, but they are both My People and I trust them completely.
    10) Fish scales. I think bees constantly buzzing near my ears would drive me crazy. Also, this would totally make me willing to move to Maine where I would be less stinky. :)

  32. 1. I just finished 1Q84 which feels like a huge accomplishment because it’s almost 1200 pages long! I started reading Confidence Tricks this morning, which is this month’s pick for my feminist book club.

    2. My favorite thing changes all the time, but right now I am really enjoying planning a potential trip to Seattle in June. (Maybe we can hang out again?!)

    3. Finishing up a work project that I had been letting drag on for months.

    4. Mine is probably also grey, although there is a lot of black in there too. I’m gloomy.

    5. We have an Alaskan Malamute named Beast, and two brown tabby cats named Cowboy and Oulipo.

    6. No online indie businesses off the top of my head, but I have been trying to be better about shopping locally, especially in my immediate neighborhood.

    7. My favorite quick & easy dinner that my husband is making right now (he’s the cook in our family) is sliced flank steak and sweet peppers over rice.

    8. This week is cursed, two close friends have been laid off from their jobs. I am just DONE with this week.

    9. My best lady is the ultimate. We have been friends for nearly twenty years, she stood up in my wedding, supported me through all of life’s craziness, and always makes time for me. If we’re talking every day or only once a month, we pick up right where we left off.

    10. Both of those things are too smelly for me, uhhhhh I guess flowers?

  33. I just finished “The Fault in our Stars” and absolutely loved it. It is a quick, thought provoking read. Now I’m on “A Widow for One Year” by John Irving. I love all his books and this is an old one I hadn’t ever read.
    2. My favorite thing in my world is my dog. Even though she isn’t well behaved, and she doesn’t even always want to be around me. I just cannot get enough of her.
    3. My current challenge- that I haven’t yet overcome, but am learning to deal with is infertility. It is a horrible, isolating process going through tests, meds and lots of doctors visits, but I’m learning to cope, and still maintain my sanity and hope that one day I’ll wind up with a child.
    4. Grey and brown are just about a tie in my closet.
    5. See number 2. Her name is Walker, see my blog for many more pictures than are reasonable.
    6. My favorite indie business right now has got to be OhKuol, a jewelry shop on Etsy. I have more than a few necklaces and rings from them and love them all.
    7. My favorite dinner to both cook and eat right now is a healthy chicken/rice/broccoli/cheese casserole- super easy and healthy while still comfort food, made from scratch and we always have leftovers so I can bring lunch to work the next day.
    8. Pissing me off this week is medical oncologists not understanding that there isn’t always a surgical cure for a person’s cancer. They want us to “just operate” and think that it is that easy. When someone has metastatic cancer (it has spread) operating isn’t always the answer. We cannot cure life (ie. we all die) and sometimes they need to remember that.
    9. Can I say my dog is my best friend? Cause she is.
    10. Flowers for ears for sure. Fish hands would make my job wicked hard…

  34. I’m making myself because I never do stuff like this.
    1. Deciding between starting either Sugar, Salt, Fat and Hands Free Mama. I’m torn – I’ve been loving learning more about making better food choices, but I also could really use some motivation to be more device/screen-free.
    2. Zach’s smile and laugh. Making him giggle makes me feel like a superhero.
    3. I went back to the gym Monday after having skipped since October. I’m hoping to go again tomorrow and try for 2x/week moving forward.
    4. Grays and dull blues. I wish it was teal or coral, but I never know if those make me look even more pale than I already am.
    5. No pet now. I miss my dog from growing up. He was the best (Patches).
    6. Does Etsy count? I have been buying a ton of Latchy Catchys for any of my new mom friends. We love ours.
    7. Crockpot turkey chili, tomato soup, burgers in lettuce wraps
    8. Why getting our place ready to sell is so tedious and drawn out. I almost wish we crammed it into one (kid-free) weekend and went crazy with it. Two months of slow weeknight/weekend projects is annoying. I want to fast forward three (four?) months and be settled somewhere new (and hopefully our bank account hasn’t been completely wiped clean). Sigh.
    9. There’s only one person I can text any time of day with any thought and she always GETS it. We were close in high school, drifted apart in college, but got close when we were both engaged and then both pregnant together. Now our sons play together and my heart bursts picturing us on joint family vacations to Disney some day.
    10. I think the fish scales. I wouldn’t mind wearing long sleeve shirts and staying in a cold climate. Plus I can’t STAND bugs buzzing around me or mosquitoes trying to bite.

  35. 1. The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald. So far nothing has really happened but I’m just in love with the prose. Also, I just finished The Circle by Dave Eggers and I can. not. shut up about it. I keep mentioning it to everyone I know in the hopes that someone else has read it and will talk to me about it. If anyone has read it, email meeeee.
    2. That I often feel so intensely grateful and blessed that I want to cry. I feel so lucky all around. Also, the fact that today is 8 years of Eric and I being together. Eight solid years of awesomeness.
    3. Exercise! I actually followed through on my resolution and have legitimately gotten into the habit of regular exercise, which is a huge deal for me.
    . Black, I think. I want more prints in my wardrobe.
    4. I have a corgi/shepherd mix named Lando and he is the best.
    5. My favorite indie business is my yoga studio. (Yes, that is a sentence I wrote sincerely and not a line from Portlandia). They are so friendly and lovely and their class passes never expire!
    6. I always and forever love soup. I also love making or eating tacos of any kind.
    8. Work, and the fact that I keep having to work so late that I can’t go to my spin class and I”m worried that all my hard work to create an exercise habit will be lost.
    9. My best friend and I have known each other since we were seven and I’m pretty sure she knows me better than I do myself. She is the kind of person that values all the relationships in her life above all else and treats the people in her life accordingly, so I’m very very lucky to be one of those people.
    10. Flowers, since I like to live in warm climates and I’m not sure I could handle smelling like fish always. Bees I could get used to.

  36. - there is very little reading happening right now because of all the working. it’s sad. and my ‘to read’ pile is so old i honestly forget what is in it. blahhh.

    - my FAVORITEST thing right now…is tea. well, tea and M. but he’s always my favoritest.

    - most recently over-come challenge = starting a new workout class. if you’re ever even remotely interested in a dance-based cardio class set to pop music, check out Oula (it started in missoula, mt but has a pretty decent sized following across the NW…i know there’s a seattle-based crew for sure). anyway, Oula is my answer to ‘it’s cold and we have no sunlight but i NEED to move and be active’. loving it so far.

    - i’m living in various shade of grey, black, tan, and denim. and i’m pretty okay with that. especially when i “dress up” with red lipstick.

    - our spoiled Rumney (the blonde german shepherd)…two years into it and she’s still a princess.

    - right now i’m into a bunch of local shops here in town (mainly breweries and restaurants, because…well i’m a heifer and it’s winter in montana and that’s how we cope) ooooh! but one of the best gifts from the holidays has been our badass cutting board from an eastern montana company called earlywood (www.earlywooddesigns.com). fan-fricken-tastic kitchen goods.

    -our schedule has been so ridiculous that we have been hitting the salad bar at our local version of whole foods pretty hard lately. the few times i’ve made dinner, it’s been something comfort-based…soups or stews…and there’s always my signature “sugu” (tomato sauce). there is such comfort in making something from scratch without a recipe…it grounds me and makes me feel like i really am making a home for myself far away from family.

    - work. i’m an in-school behavior specialist for elementary-aged kids with serious emotional disturbance diagnosis. this week, there’s one agency we work with in particular…my god…i could burn the fucking place TO THE GROUND. i honestly question why these folks are in the mental health field. i can’t go into detail, but ARGGHHHHH! so. ridiculously. frustrating. and concerning on so many levels.

    - my best friend is the person i want with me on lazy days and in the middle of the most crazy non-stop stretches. who pushes me to be the best version of myself, but accepts when i say that i just can’t handle much more at this moment. my bestie knows when i need to be cared for and when i need a good dose of ‘get over yourself.’ and all of these qualities were in play this past week, so i am grateful.

    - i DIED reading this. hilarious. …i don’t like things buzzing around my head, so scales by default.

  37. - What are you reading right now? If you aren’t reading a) you should be! and b) what is on your to-read pile?

    The books you sent: Already finished Before you suffocate your own fool self (loved it), currently busy with Ceremony. I want to read Margaret Atwood, never read anything from her, where should I start? Moral Disorder calls my attention…

    -What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST!

    Travel? The husband? But I have to say I am in love with our baby girl, finally awaited and such a strong personality already.

    -What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Giant or teensy – either way. Does becoming a mom (finally!!!) after infertility counts?? Or having a birth without an epidural even though my birth plan was pretty much: “This is Holland give me the drugs!”. But… about that I am mostly in awe at nature / what our amazing bodies can do… Though I am not sure this was an accomplishment of mine, more like a true miracle that would not have been possible with all the support of all kinds we have received all alng.

    -What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) What do you wish it was?

    Hmmm I think it is red/pinks or green. But there are lots of patterns (flowers, leaves, squares, lines…)

    -Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? If you don’t, what kind of animal do you wish you could hang out with? What would you name it?

    We would love a blue cat (like a Chartreuse). We would maybe name it Tim. Currently no pets though,. I would love a pet goat, and also an Irish Setter. But for those two I also want to live in a farm

    - Do you have a favorite indie business? Link me and tell me why! Maybe we can get more fun stuff like we did with Lydali.

    I am currently in love with CloudNinePrints on Etsy. Old-school book illustrations everywhere please!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/CloudNinePrints

    -What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?
    I am loving Italian food right now. Anything with Eggplant (aubergine parmisana, ratatouille…).

    -What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out.
    I want us all to be together at home… I am now with Yulia at the hospital (it was driving me crazy to be home away from her) so we both can practice her eating (bottle / breastfeeding) and she can come home soon, but now we both miss Mark so much. Either we miss the little one or her daddy. I see the light in the situation though it is just a matter f patience.

    -Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best?

    All the crazy experiences in high school, then university, how even after all those years we understand each other like nobody else.

    - You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms.

    Fish scales! That would make me some kind of a mermaid right?

  38. hey girl heyyyyyyy

    1. Right now I’m meandering my way through The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and also the Goldfinch. I have grand plans to read 4-5 books next week while on vacation :)

    2. The fact that I get to go to DC and see tina (hi tina!!) this weekend and then get to turn around and go to Mexico for 5 days next week… I feel like yelling “SEE YA SUCKAS” to everyone in Chicago as our plane takes off.

    3. Recently it has been managing the crabbiness, stress, and tiredness in our household. Little things (like dishes and fixing our stupid broken internet) have been falling to the wayside while we are both scrambling, and I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t the end of the world and everyone will be a little happier if I relax.

    4. I have lots of black and white because of my suits, but my fun clothes are a pretty even mix between red, green and purple!

    5. No :( unless you count the gigantic ball of hair that i pulled out of my hairbrush and named Rex. I actually put it in my hand and went running over to Alex and said “meet Rex!” …and i just outed how weird/gross i am on the internet. Awesome.

    6. I love all of the independent businesses/restaurants in my neighborhood, the bookstore and wine shop in particular.

    7. I’m really feeling chicken tikka masala and also anything involving pasta and lots of sauce. it hits the spot with this weather.

    8. Unreasonable expectations at work (aka finish this project RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND but also answer the 5 emails that i’m sending you at the exact same time!)

    9. you know what my favorite thing is? That we can start re-telling a story from over 10 years ago, and within the first sentence everyone is laughing and saying “oh my GOD and also remember when…???” That is the best.

    10. Flower ears. If i was stinky, i would probably just keel over and die. You know how I feel about that. Also, swatting bees would help me perfect my ninja skills.

    • I want to meet Rex! No fair :)

  39. 1. It’s so sad, but I’m not currently reading anything. Well, I read tiny board books to Elliott, but that doesn’t count. I’m dying to read. Anything. Everything. I miss curling up with a book.

    2. My favorite thing about life is my son. Elliott is 5.5 months old now (so big!) and I absolutely adore him. We worked really hard to bring him here from our dreams (thank you, science of IVF with ICSI) and the sleep deprivation and constant neediness is worth it when he smiles at me or giggles when I kiss his belly.

    3. The day we were discharged from the hospital after having Elliott, my dad was admitted. He had emergency surgery for an infected colon/bowel and had another surgery two weeks later. He was hospitalized for two months and we were there pretty much everyday. Elliott spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms and I learned discretion while breastfeeding really quickly. We had a scary week in ICU and then Dad went to rehab. He was in rehab for a month before he died. My dad died on November 26, 2013. Elliott was 3 months and 4 days old. I miss him everyday and even that sentence is not enough. I cry most often when I think of all the things I want to share with him (Elliott growing up, we bought a house, hearing a Johnny Cash song on the radio).

    One of the things that really hurt was that I stopped breastfeeding when Dad died. We had him back in the hospital for a tune-up (he was retaining a lot of fluid as a result of a hepatic liver) when they told us to call in hospice. He died four or five days after that conversation, but it resulted in about a week of me not eating anything. My supply was gone and it never came back. Elliott wasn’t gaining weight anyway, but he did great once we started formula. That’s the only time I’ve felt like a failure as his mom. It is also the only time that I wasn’t thrilled with the connection our two bodies had–I hated that he picked up on all my stress.

    4.I have a lot of black right now as my post-delivery wardrobe. Normally, it’s blues and I miss all my color. I still have 15ish pounds to lose and I am so excited to work on that.

    5.No pets currently. I’ve had (over the years) a rat, two guinea pigs, and a tank full of fish. We’re in a pet-free time and I’m so good with that. It feels good to only have to be responsible for my baby.

    6.I don’t have a favorite indie business. What are some of your favorites?

    7.Anything quick and easy for dinner is amazing. My husband works out of town five days a week (going on a year of this nonsense) and it feels so hard to get dinner for me and take care of Elliott. Crockpot meals are so good–pot roast, potatoes, and carrots is always a comfort-food favorite.

    8.I’m not really pissed this week. I feel too busy to be pissed. We move next weekend and we are spending our time getting the house ready to move in and packing the apartment. Add in full-time work and Elliott and we are just surviving.

    Well, my brother is currently being a bit of a jack. That’s a whole long story, though. :)

    9.Brad (husband) would want me to tell you that he’s my best friend. But, my best girl friend is Kerry. She lives five hours away from me and we’ve been friends since 1992 (second grade, baby). She moved to Pittsburgh in 1996 and we have visited back and forth every year since, racked up crazy phone bills, and mailed novellas of high school drama. I love her to death. Our lives parallel in many ways and we find it easy to just pick back up when we’re together. She’s coming down in July and I’m so looking forward to it.

    10.I’ll take the fish scales. I’m allergic to bee and insect stings, so I feel like dealing with staying cool is easier than fighting death and allergic reactions. Plus, this winter is atrocious, but I would be all pretty and non-smelly. And who doesn’t want to feel prettier in the winter?

  40. 1. I’m actually reading my mother’s yet-to-be published book. It’s a historical drama set in WWII. It’s pretty interesting! I have so many things on my to-read list (in goodreads!). I only read a bit each night before falling asleep, so it takes forever for me to get through a book, but I’m always so excited to start a new one.
    2. My favoritest thing right now — that’s tough! I am still head over heels in love with the area we live in now (western Mass). Despite the cold and snow, it’s just so amazingly gorgeous and the people are so nice. But our son (almost 18 months old) is getting to be so awesome. We’re able to have real semi-conversations now where he can give us genuine opinions (say, about what he wants to eat), rather than just whining. AND my husband is working normal hours these days as a faculty member. Life, in general, might be my favoritest!
    3. I have really beaten down my anxiety recently and learned to have more faith in my ability to deal with change. Woo hoo!
    4. Probably black, though I’ve got decent variety in the cool colors range. In theory, I’d like more bright colors and patterns, but I never end up buying those… so I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got!
    5. No pets at the moment, but we hope to get a dog someday (if/when we ever get to buy a house with a big yard). It would be a girl, and I’d name her something unisex (because we want a big non-girly dog).
    5. I’m still terrible at this Indie business question. I think it’s because I don’t buy much these days. If it’s not at the grocery store, I probably am not purchasing it!
    6. This week, I made a homemade caesar salad dressing using greek yogurt and it was AMAZING on romaine lettuce, with parmesan cheese, and spicy cooked white fish, with a side of homemade wheat bread doused in garlic and olive oil. Definitely worth a repeat!
    7. I feel kind of lame to say this, but very little is pissing me off. We spend approximately a million dollars a month on childcare, so I find that pretty painful each month, but it’s really the case that I just can’t quite get over the sticker shock. So I guess that’s closest to pissing me off, but that’s really more like a monthly painful annoyance, not a big pissy thing.
    8. My BFF is named Brittany. She lives allllll the way down in Florida, where I went to college. She and I are so alike, yet different where it matters so we can give each other legit advice. She is totally the best because no matter how many several-thousand-word penpal emails we send each other, she’s always so happy to hear me babble on about everything in life. She is understanding, wise, and has been there through all the big stuff in life. She appreciates me as much as I appreciate her. She is also super duper caring! She’s my role model in many ways, and I like to think that I can offer that to her too. :)
    9. I would have to choose the fish scale arm because bugs are absolutely one of my huge phobias. The idea of having bugs buzzing around my ears all day gives me shivers!

  41. I’ve been waiting to do this after I got a big project done at work – so this is belated, sorry! I’ve been SO enjoying reading others comments and writing my own :)

    1. I am re-reading (by accident mostly) the time traveler’s wife. Lincoln asked to borrow it so he could read it, and it has been on my nightstand at his place and has become my go-to nightime read when I am there. I find myself also grabbing it when it’s not read-before-bed time. It was engrossing and amazing and magical the first time I read it, and it is the same this time. In retrospect I think it is the best way for me to get back into reading, after having a book-drought the past year. I am also sort of reading “I am Malala” – and it’s great! It is a nonfiction story and part-biography of a young woman standing up for women’s education in her taliban-controlled area of Pakistan. It’s beautifully written.
    2. My favoritist thing right now? I would have to say, in all honesty, it is my boyfriend. It is even weird to type that word. It is a new and wonderful level of awesome these days and I am floored each time I see him across the room. It is utterly overwhelming in the best way possible.
    3. The biggest challenge I’ve gotten through, and that I am stilling overcoming, is being bad with money. I have had lots of come to jesus moments in my head about it, because it’s awfully embarrassing how little savings I have for someone my age, but not untill the past month have I seen how truly bad the situation is, and I have refocused on creating a budget, sticking to it, and cutting out necessary spending. My biggest thing is cooking and shopping with a budget, since all I want are fresh things every day and that is really expensive in my world. It is a battle constantly, the money thing, but I feel like my focus on it in the past month has been extra sharp and I am really proud of myself.
    4. I have recently bought and infused my closet with so many Navy things. Navy is beautiful and classy, and blue is my favorite color, but it’s pathetic and I need to branch out as most of the rest of my closet is already black, white, and blue (with a dash of pink and cream). I want more mustard yellow and green. I have a random mustard yellow cardigan that I always forget about but get so many compliments on when I wear. I am going to try to focus (with your help, since you are so good at pushing me towards color, Lauren! Thank you!) to incorporate more color, especially this spring/summer/upcoming-travel.
    5. I don’t have a pet. I used to think I was neither a cat or dog person, in a strong way, although I enjoy and have had both as a kid. But lately, I am really aware of how much I want a small-medium dog. They are not allowed in my building, and my place is way too small for one, but when I imagine the next phase of my life, I always always always imagine a small beagle/mut/pound type dog. He or she will have multiple colors and hopefully a funny looking face patch of black or something – and I think the name will be Sula (one of my favorite Toni Morrison books).
    6. I do looooooove the jewelry that is happening at Take 2 on 15th here in Seattle, but they do not have a shop-able website, womp. I love the variety, and the one of kind pieces, the affordable price, the rotating items, with the awesome classics. I could spend so much of my paycheck there!
    7. My favorite dinner to make AND eat is this spicy thai soup that Lincoln and I attempted and mastered last month, and I have been tinkering with at my place! It is totally in a realm of “that looks good online, but not in my wheelhouse ever ever” type recipes, but I found it and wanted to try it and having a buddy for the adventure makes it so much easier to get the ball rolling. It can be made with any type of broth you want, the paste can be adapted to any type of Asian-flare-flavor you prefer, and the veggies – whatever you have in the fridge! It is also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever made. BUT one important thing, they are liar liar pants on fire – about how many chilies to use – only use about 5 and you will be plenty spiced-out.
    Link: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/gaeng-khae-spicy-thai-vegetable-soup/
    8. I am super pissed at the folks on the board that I am the secretary and member on. It is engaging work that I really really really love, as it combines two of my passions, working with teens and global development. I had high hopes of this being an opportunity to stretch my career muscles, make connections like never before, and really have a leadership role. It is not that. The old school board members have been around forever, are set in their ways, and don’t treat me as an equal. They hold onto knowledge and processes that would make our organization better, and use it only for their agenda – despite acting ‘on paper’ like this process streamlining project that I am working on for/with them – is actually something they want to see succeed. It is proving very very hard to tackle, and they make me feel like I am a child to them. Gah! It makes me sad and feel like a fool and also hampers my motivation for my role on the board in general.
    9. My best friend is the best! She is always up for adventure, has the ability to juggle so many things, is positive about so many things, yet SO honest about so the ups and downs of life, which most people are afraid to do in this “positivity is everything” type culture that I really don’t like. She keeps it real and makes me a better friend ;)
    10. Giggle. This made me smile. It reminds of a ‘choose your own ending’ type book mixed with an ‘animorphs’ book! Hehe. I would definitely choose the flowers for ears. But maybe I am setting myself up for failure as I have never been stung by a bee and could die instantly if I am allergic! Ack!

    • Funny, I think of you as wearing loads of color!

  42. 1. What are you reading right now? If you aren’t reading a) you should be! and b) what is on your to-read pile?

    I am slowly working my way through Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. It’s one of the books I have decided to read as part of my own ‘inburgeringscursus’ for coming to America. On my to read pile is The Pale King by David Foster Wallace.

    2. What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST!

    Whales! This maybe sounds silly, but I still can’t get over the fact that I now live in a place that has wildlife. Like, Nat Geo types of wildlife. And so I saw whales and it was mindblowing and wonderful and fantastic.

    On a more personal note. I’ve been selfemployed for five months now and there is no other word for it than: pretty successful. That’s also a most favourite thing :)

    3. What’s the most recent challenge you’ve overcome? Giant or teensy – either way.

    I am overcoming it still, I think. As far as I can tell I am still in the middle of culture shock and of having started my own company and of becoming the breadwinner for our family and, and and… It’s just that EVERYTHING changed. Navigating that is an ongoing thing, but I think I am doing pretty well.

    4What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) What do you wish it was?

    Purple. It is a rare day on which I don’t wear at least something purple.

    5. Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? If you don’t, what kind of animal do you wish you could hang out with? What would you name it?

    No pet. It’s not allowed where we live. I did get to name the puppy my parents got (see picture here:http://imgur.com/a/kmUfY). I totally want a dog myself. If the shelter hasn’t named him/ her yet, I’ll have to see what fits. I am partial to pets with human names, though, so maybe Pieter or Ian?

    6. Do you have a favorite indie business? Link me and tell me why! Maybe we can get more fun stuff like we did with Lydali.

    Nope. I try to shop as little as possible, which includes strict avoiding of places like Etsy :P

    7. What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?

    Slowcooker split pea soup :)

    8 What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out.

    I volunteer as a committee member. Only our leader / facilitator / person with legal accountability is actually paid. Unfortunately, she’s not only wildly incompetent (and unaware of her incompetence), it is also impossible to actually enforce accountability, because she becomes very defensive and “you don’t understand” or “I was taught to do it like this”. The numbers about our finances seem very off and there is a general suspicion that she pays herself extra out of the petty cash. Since we’re catering to a largely very poor community, I find that incredibly disgusting. Makes me feel very powerless and angry.

    9. Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best?

    I don’t know anymore. It would be tempting to say “my husband”, but my actual friends… All of them are now so far away and I miss all of them and now they’re suddenly much more dear to me than when they were still so easy to contact.

    10 You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms.

    I’ll take the fish scales. Buzzing sounds near my ears make me twitch and jerk violently (and run away in a panic). Besides: iz only smellz :P

  43. 1. Currently in the middle of the third book in the Outlander series. It’s been my least favorite of the series so far and yet I’m zipping through it and will probably read the rest of the series between other books.

    2. My people. My parents are amazing. My friends are amazing. My coworkers are fun and supportive (and laugh at my jokes). I have a great boss.

    3. Getting back into a good exercise routine. After many of traveling/moving/being out of whack I’m back to a routine that is stable but with enough variety to keep me interested. Win!

    4. Blue for days. It’s my favorite color and it brings out my eyes so I wear a lot of it.

    5. I’ve never owned a pet, ever. I’ve always wanted two dogs, not sure which breed, to name after my grandfathers, Harold and Charles.

    6. She hasn’t monetized yet but my friend Sarah is an insanely talented cartoonist and I love all of her stuff. http://cargocollective.com/sarahrosenblatt

    7. I made pretzels two weeks ago and I want to make them every weekend forever. So delicious and surprisingly easy. It’s a multiple hour process but relatively little “hands on” time.

    8. Work/life balance. I’ve got several projects with super competing timelines right now and it’s just tiring me out big time.

    9. Gosh, I have several amazing friends. There are three that are “til death do us part” level besties. KVR is no nonsense, to the point, and a total planner. She’ll let me spill all my feelings, listen compassionately, and then give her zero bullshit advice. SKU is the perfect combination of strategic and fun. She’ll plan out her outfit three days in advance but can be easily talked into a glass of champagne. KMM is my platonic wife. We live together so we rely on each other for life. I think of us like halves of an arch, our individual strength is increased because we lean on each other.

    10. Fish scales for sure. Bees scare the crap out of me.

  44. I commented and now am reading through the comments with my library hold request list open in another tab. Thanks for the reading suggestions, everyone!

  45. What are you reading right now? Reading “The Impossible Knife of Memory” by Laurie Halse Anderson (my YA read); “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon (my adulty nonfiction) & “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” by Rob Bell (my seeker-spirituality read)

    What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST! I am so grateful to have a partner who’s unflinchingly wonderful, and a career I find immensely fulfilling.

    What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Giant or teensy – either way. Infertility/IVF at 27. Big deal, big relief that it worked.

    What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) What do you wish it was?

    Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? A Corgi named Neville Longbottom, an Aussie named Summer, a Lionhead rabbit named Sir Reginald, Duke of Chutney

    Do you have a favorite indie business? Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: blackphoenixalchemylab.com

    What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now? Stuffed shells omggg

    What is pissing you off the most this week? I miss my old city and want to move back like crazy.

    Tell me about your best friend. Two of my best friends married each other; I can share puns with them until the cows come home. We go camping every year, even though we live far away from each other now; it’s usually the highlight of my year. Once, we camped in November like idiots, and spent the night in our cars, and went to IHOP the next morning looking like hobos, screw campfire cooking!

    You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms. I’m going to go for the fish arms, only because I’m allergic to bee stings. 8(

  46. Late to the game but why not? :)

    1. I usually have a few books going at the same time: Mercedes Lackey’s Obsidian Trilogy; Scalzi’s Old Man’s War; Elizabeth Ann Scarborough stuff.
    2. FAVORITEST!: being home all the time. And just tonight: happy that I think I’ve found my new blog theme.
    3. Stupid health crap. All of it.
    4. Awkward reds and purples! I just today decided I’m going back to my basics that I can’t clash: white, blue, black and grey. Must closet purge and get it under control, otherwise I go out dressed in bright orange, purpley-red, red, and blue. Wha??
    5. DOGGLE. I’d like a pack of dogs, all rescues, all snuggly and cuddly. And maybe … I dunno. Something else that’s cuddly. can’t have cats, though, stupid family allergies.
    6. I love Kylee Lane’s Luxury Lane Soaps. She’s super cool, the kind of cool I can’t ever imagine myself being, but she is. And is super nice and makes cool stuff.
    7. Bacon pasta. Double bacon pasta. TRIPLE bacon pasta.
    8. BOO: I’m against all the crappy stuff people do in the name of the Olympics. It’s kind of ruined it for me.
    9. This is a tossup. My oldest friend and I are going through yet another cycle of what I imagine it’s like to have a sister sometimes: you may love each other but you’re so different there are times you just do not get each other. But then we try again. But my cousins showed up, like REALLY showed up, for our wedding thing which was both amazing and heartwarming in a way I didn’t think I could feel good about people in a long time.
    10. Erp. I … hm. I get really annoyed when things fly around me. I guess I’d rather be smelly than risk bites and stings cause I’m already skeeter-bait.

  47. I am late to the party! But I had this open on my computer and just now realized I never completed it. Whoops!

    1. I just finished ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. It is one of my new favorite books! And I also just finished ‘Johnny and the Dead’ by Terry Pratchett and ‘American Wife’ by Curtis Sittenfeld. I think I’m going to read ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman next.
    2. My favorite thing about my life right now is how much quiet time I seem to have now after we moved out into the country. So much reading! Hopefully soon so much writing! And so much crafting!
    3. We had a very difficult photography client earlier this week (one of the things she said was ‘I used to be a photographer, and I quit because of clients like me’ …..) and I think we handled it in the best way we could, even though it was frustrating!
    4. It’s about half black and half all the other colors. I feel all right with that.
    5. We have two cats– Atticus the giant monster cat, and Elsie the delicate stuck up cat. (Their full names are Atticus Maxwell Chase and Elsie Mae Chase.)
    6. Lindi got an amazing set of tarot cards illustrated by artist Kim Krans for her birthday. They are so neat. http://www.thewildunknown.com/products/tarot-deck
    7. We’ve been eating lots of delicious soup lately because it’s been so awfully cold. We had pho a few days ago and it was amaaazing.
    8. The weather. It will NOT stop snowing/icing. The roads have been awful, I can’t get up our driveway, I’ve had to miss work (unpaid) and our electric bill was brain-numbingly high. Argh.
    9. Lindi, hands down. She is my favorite person in the entire world, the person to whom I most want to talk about everything and see every day. She is so smart and interesting and thoughtful.
    10. Hm. I think I’m going to have to go with the pretty but perhaps smelly fish scales– I’m already bug bait. Plus at this rate I think it is going to be winter forever! ;)

  48. 1. I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was fucked up an creepy and a good pleasure read. I’m about to dive into Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh, which I expect to be fantastic.

    2. Working for myself, getting to make my own schedule, not be rushing out of the house at the butt-crack of dawn, having more time for myself, for my relationship, WALKING TO WORK. It’s awesome.

    3. I actually talked substantially about my Feelings, capital F, in therapy. I still don’t like it.

    4. Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. Story of my life. Black, gray, maybe some dark blue or dark red. I am attempting to wear more colors.

    5. No pets. I always wanted a snake. I never considered what I’d name it, though in this one second right now when I’m thinking about it, my instinct is to name it after Sesame Street’s Slimey the worm. Who was my favorite.

    6. I have lots of favorite indie businesses! I know so many people running their own things, and have so many great neighborhood non-chain kinds of spots… But probably the place I recommend most to people is Early 2 Bed, Chicago’s lesbian-owned, non-skeevy sex toy shop. http://early2bed.com/ (shop online, they will ship it!)

    7. Hands-down this vegetarian sweet potato black bean creamy avocado sauce baked burrito deal: http://cookieandkate.com/2012/sweet-potato-burrito-smothered-in-avocado-salsa-verde/

    8. I hate to be this person, but I am so freaking sick of all the snow and the negative double digit wind chills that we are having this year. I am done, done, done, and ready for spring.

    9. My best friend – we met in high school, on the backstage crew. She is the best because she is 100% honest, even when it hurts. She is an excellent listener and advice giver and is smart and has the weirdest sense of humor that I love and can make me feel better in a millisecond just by existing. She sent me a Christmas card with an octopus in a santa hat on the cover, with the note “BUUAHAHAHAHAHA I am coming for your soul. Or something. Happy Holidays!” I have the best best friend, and I wish one of her for everyone.

    10. Oh man, tough choice. I think the constant bee buzzing would be more annoying than the seasonal icky smell, plus I think the look of fish scale arms would be way cooler than flower ears, so that is what I’m going with.

  49. I love your blog and I’m always excited to tell you about things going on in my life so… here are some answers to your questions! (A few days late because it’s been crazy around here but today is a snow (urm rain) day here in Georgia today so I have time to do fun things like this!):

    1. What are you reading right now?
    Right now I’m reading the second Outlander book (Dragonfly In Amber) and have been for awhile because I’m also reading The Lost Children of Wilder and Divergent and Cartwheel. Which is a problem because I’m in graduate school and shouldn’t be reading quite so many “for fun” books but hey I love my stories…. Actually I’d also like to tell you my recent favorites, if you’re looking for your next read, which are Blind Sight, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, MaddAdam, and The Night Circus.

    (Oh, and I know how you feel about anything Margaret Atwood, but it was one of my recent faves, so it must be on that list.) (And I was already reading Dragonfly in Amber when you did a write up about it recently and I read said write-up through squinty eyes so it didn’t color the way I’m reading it too too much…. but yeah, I’ve noticed the “well probably just needs a good beating” theme a bit. Still such a fun read, minor distraction is all.)

    2. What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST!
    My hound dog, Zoey. She’s a puddle of warm wonderful sweetness.

    3. What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Giant or teensy – either way.
    The process of planning a wedding has forced me into some serious heart-to-hearts with various members of my family (especially my Mom) that have, overall, been good. But not always easy.

    4. What is the most common color in your closet right now?
    Black. But I’m shifting towards brown as I now have not one but TWO great pairs of brown shoes. Choosing what to wear as a grown-up is both hard and awesome.

    5. Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name?
    Ha, maybe I should have mentioned a different favoritest earlier. How about another favoritest is my yoga teacher and prioritizing going to my yoga class every week which is making me practice more on my own and generally feel good.

    6. Do you have a favorite indie business?
    Mmmm… not sure about this one.

    7. What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?
    This Black Bean Soup which is the secretly easy best soup ever. I love using Trader Joe’s salsa – I think that makes all the difference. Probably going to go make this for dinner tonight.
    http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/black-bean-soup-10000000671406/

    8. What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out.
    Eh, don’t want to dwell but general wedding planning stuff. But it’ll get better, yes it will yes it will.

    9. Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best?
    He makes me laugh, he looks out for my best interests and reminds me to take care of myself (while taking care of me), he likes doing life with me which is good because I like doing life with him!

    10. You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms.
    Flowers for ears, all the way.

  50. What are you reading right now? I am currently out of new material but I last read The Remains of the Day.

    What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST! Right now? My job is freaking awesome.

    What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Got off my ass and went for a run.

    What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) I really don’t know, I have quite a variety. Maybe blue or green.

    Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? If you don’t, what kind of animal do you wish you could hang out with? What would you name it? No pets, not huge on animals.

    What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now? MEXICAN ALWAYS

    What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out. Spammy internet marketers.

    Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best? Don’t judge. Doesn’t matter how much time has passed. I can be as random and weird as I want and vice versa.

    You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms. I hate flowers, so fish scales.

  51. LAUREN!!! HOW DID I MISS THIS POST??? I <3 your question master posts!! I'm a little late, but here goes:

    1.What are you reading right now? If you aren’t reading a) you should be! and b) what is on your to-read pile?

    I started P.S. I Love You a couple of weeks ago, but I just can't get into it. I have Lost Lake by SAA on my Kindle waiting for me. And a slew of other books that I am excited to get to as well.

    2.What is your favorite thing about your life/world/etc? Your FAVORITEST!

    Ok, right now, I am really loving feeling so supported and loved as I navigate some uncharted waters in my personal life. And, I LOVE that I am feeling like me again, and I have all of this energy again, and I feel like I actually *have a life now.*

    3.What’s the most recent challenge you’ve over come? Giant or teensy – either way.

    In short, my husband left to go back to his family who live out of state, and we are getting a divorce.

    4.What is the most common color in your closet right now? (right now, mine is grey) What do you wish it was?

    Oh man, I have sooo much gray and black going on right now. I wish I had more color period. But I always like the black and gray pieces best! *sigh*. I wish I had more red and orange and other fun, happy colors.

    5.Do you have a pet? What is your pet’s (s) name? If you don’t, what kind of animal do you wish you could hang out with? What would you name it?

    I do not have a pet. I love cats, but I don't like the responsibility of caretaking. If I had a kitten, I'd probably name it Artemis or Luna after the Sailor Moon cats.

    6.Do you have a favorite indie business? Link me and tell me why! Maybe we can get more fun stuff like we did with Lydali.

    I don't know that I have a favorite, but a new one that I recently discovered is this shop that sells all these amazing scarves. I bought two infinity scarves recently and I'm in loooove with them. My favorite Anthro scarf has actually taken a temporary backseat. shocker!

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/dailyaccessoriez

    7.What is your favorite dinner to eat and/or make right now?

    Right now my favorite dinner is any sort of snacky dinner that I do not have to prepare. And grilled cheese, that I do not have to prepare.

    8.What is pissing you off the most this week? Let it out, let it allllll out.

    My house. The heater is completely inefficient against the old I was built in 1925 and I have no insulation house. And the drafty windows. I love my flat, but not when it is consistently freezing and the weather is threatening snow and ice. Then it just feels like an igloo and I hate it!

    9.Tell me about your best friend. You don’t have to name them, maybe they don’t even know they are your best friend, but who are they? What makes them the best?

    My best friends are all people that I can be completely myself with and completely vulnerable to. They are full of wise words and will dish out tough love. I don't need yes friends. They tell me like it is, but in a loving, firm way.

    10.You have to pick one: Flowers, that often attract bees and other flying creatures, for ears OR shoulder and arm and hand fish scales that are beautiful, but are fishy smelly in in warm weather or over heated rooms.

    Flowers, definitely the flowers.

  52. I love Favor jewelry too! I have a pair of earrings and I wear them nearly every day I love them so much. I don’t even want to wear any of my other jewelry because I just want to wear those damn earrings all.the.time.

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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