August 26, 2016

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

A review of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's classic work on women
Gift from the Sea was my July pick for Tell Me What to Read, so predictably I'm writing about it here five seconds before August comes to an end.

Over promise, under deliver, or something like that.

This is one of those books that I have heard about my entire life and meant to read for. . .ever. But somehow I'd just never gotten around to it, so when it got recommended in the latest round of Tell Me What to Read, it was an obvious choice.

Just before I went to NYC, I downloaded the audio version and was surprised to see how short it was. It was three parts, with each part running only about 45 minutes. Listening on double speed, that made for just over an hour of listening.

That's a podcast, people! I'm a little embarrassed it took me 30 years to get around to it.

It was particularly interesting to read this because balance and having it all are such huge buzzy topics today, and this book, written half a century ago, deals with the same sorts of themes (but in a much less click-bait-y type of way).

Anne Morrow Lindbergh had a busy life - she was an award-winning writer and aviation pioneer in her own right, the mother of five, plus the wife of an American hero, Charles Lindbergh (and they'd had their oldest baby kidnapped from their home, with a huge media storm surrounding the event and the subsequent hunt for the baby and eventual discovery of his body a few months later). So . . . she knew something about stress, pressure, family relationships, and work.

In Gift from the Sea, she spends a few days away from her family in a beach house near the sea and this book is her musings on the different stages in the lives of women, with really beautiful thoughts about marriage, aging, mothering, solitude and happiness.

It was so strange to read this book written so many decades ago and think, "This is still unbelievably relevant." I can absolutely understand why its a book so many people read every year or two throughout their lives (also, it just wouldn't take you very long to get through it).

I really loved the audio version - it was read by the most SOOTHING narrator and it was the perfect thing to listen to as I packed late at night before my trip and then as I got ready in a quiet hotel room in New York, but I'll admit I wished for a paper copy. I'm not a huge underliner/note-taker but I think I would have marked up half this book. There were just so many things that really hit home to me.

Have you read it? I'd love to hear what you thought - I'm so glad to have finally read it! Now on to The Fifth Avenue Artists Society.

Digital audio copy checked out from my local library

August 25, 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

A super easy crockpot chicken tortilla soup recipe that's perfect for busy school nights or cozy fall weekends.

A super easy crockpot chicken tortilla soup recipe that's perfect for busy school nights or cozy fall weekends.

I don't know that I have EVER felt as desperate for fall as I do this year.

Autumn has always been my favorite season, so it's no surprise I'm looking forward to it, but this year, I can't stop feeling so anxious for the fall to roll in.

Part of it, I think, is that school starts in July here, so by the time school has been rolling along for a month, you really feel like there should be pumpkins and fall leaves and a cool breeze.

Also, it's still regularly hitting 108 degrees here, so obviously I'm desperate for that to come to an end too.

I can't wait to pull out my Halloween books and be able to go to the park again (summer feels so solitary here because everyone is locked away in their air-conditioned houses. It's like living in a ghost town) and maybe think about wearing a jacket.

Also, I have slow cooker meals on the brain because school starting back up means that our schedule is a little busier than usual, and I'm trying to make more slow cooker meals on the days when we're gone at STEAM club or gymnastics until just before dinner time.

So consider this delicious and ridiculously easy crockpot recipe my official welcome to fall. I don't even care what the temperature outside is.

A super easy crockpot chicken tortilla soup recipe that's perfect for busy school nights or cozy fall weekends.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
(adapted from Lil' Luna)

Serves 4-6

1 cup fresh or  frozen corn (I used two ears of fresh corn)
1 15-oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1  15-oz can black beans, drained
1 4-oz can diced green chilies, undrained
2 uncooked chicken breasts (frozen is fine)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
Tortilla chips
Diced avocado
Sour cream
Squeeze of lime juice

Add all the soup ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Before serving, shred chicken with two forks and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with desired toppings.

A super easy crockpot chicken tortilla soup recipe that's perfect for busy school nights or cozy fall weekends.

August 24, 2016

A Decade Old Jacket

I sometimes feel this urge to only buy expensive clothing because I've had such good success with buying higher end jeans this year (basically every pair of jeans in my closet that isn't FrameDL1961, and Madewell Skinny Skinny never gets touched) or sandals, like my Sam Edelmans that I've worn almost daily for the past two summers.

But then I grab something out of my closet that I've had for years and years that didn't cost very much and I still love it as much as I did when I bought it back in 2006.

This Old Navy denim jacket is one of those things. It cost me about $30 and I've been wearing it every fall, winter, and spring for a decade now (plus in the summer in Texas and Arizona where the air conditioning in every theater and restaurant is set to "Arctic"). I think that's pretty good cost per wear.

I love this one because it's such a classic style that it's never gone out of fashion (in fact, Old Navy still sells the identical one, ten years later).

That's encouraging because it means you don't have to spend a fortune to find pieces for your closet that will hold up.

It's also nice because it means I can afford to buy more than two new items of clothing per year.

Although if all my clothing lasted a decade, I wouldn't need more than about two items a year anyway, I guess.


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