So last week I decided to take a break from these weekly updates. That is the beauty of fun-employment right? I can decide to write or not write. But really, I just felt like I needed to just take a step back and focus in on what I was trying to achieve in this glorious time off. It’s this bizarre feeling of being able to do everything but nothing at the same time.

I’m repeatedly told that I really don’t need to think about what’s next. That is supposed to be the beauty of the time off. But it’s difficult to do that! I’m ready to do something, but I just don’t know what.
So instead of posting an update last week, I stepped back to think about what I really needed.

Here is what I discovered:

  1. I needed at least a quasi-routine
    Many people thrive on routines. After I graduated, really early on in my career, I realized routines were not for me. I felt like a zombie every morning. I could not fathom how I was going to do this for the next FORTY years at least! Yes, if you graduate at 23 and retire in your early sixties, that is FORTY years. That really spooked me! And it is a big reason that I am sitting here today. Sadly, no one really retires in their early sixties anymore…However, as much as I am crapping on this zombie routine – I can see the value in this discipline. I’ve realized that the structure is important in helping me accomplish goals. I function best under the microscope of to-do lists. So those are important for the planner in me.
  2. I’m a procrastinator
    Not going to lie, I was delusional; I though I’d only procrastinate when I had no motivation to do things. But realistically I need that looming deadline! So I realized I need to do a better job of staying organized and see my ideas to the end
  3. Comfort Zone is hard to let go.
    Apparently, I’m filled with ideas. Nothing big but I can come up with creative ideas to spice up mundane ideas, or take ideas one step further. The problem is execution. So I thought, okay i just need to think about the steps to make this happens –  I just need to write a plan, and keep doing things just to see what sticks. If I want to bake, I need to go for it. If I want to take a particular class I need to just go with it. The problem is fear that’s holding me back. Yes, very cliché, but fear of failure is hard to get over, when you’re so used to having a path laid down. I thought quitting my job was a big risk, but now’s the hard part. I have to prove to (mostly) myself that I am doing something useful with this time.

Anyways, that’s all for the last two weeks. As always here are some things I read, or listened to, and some food I cooked!

Cheers,

Anum


Sprinkles:
Recipes I’ve tried this week

For the most part, this week, I made dishes where I didn’t follow a recipe. I cooked without precision, and just put in whatever I felt would work with a dish. If there’s any dish you want to hear more about, let me know!

  • img_3609Cabbage stir fry – clean out the fridge day:
    Groceries are EXPENSIVE these days, but cabbage is very cheap. This stir fry makes for a quick, full meal with or without rice. When I tried the keto diet I would make a big batch of a dish similar to this and eat it without rice, and it was filling, and satisfying! During my time on keto, here is the recipe I followed Keto Egg Roll in a bowl – aka Crack Slaw

 

 

  • Homemade Focaccia
    IMG_3728
  • This one is Samin Nosrat’s fault (see above). I typically shy away from recipes that use yeast. I’m not as comfortable with how yeast behaves, and there’s that dreaded wait time. So I usually don’t make my own bread etc. But homemade bread is amazing. I didn’t use the recipe on Nosrat’s website (which will be next), I used this One Hour Rosemary Focaccia Bread recipe, because well, I have no patience.
  • Garlic mayo
    All I did was blend some garlic gloves, lemon juice and mayo together, and it made this amazing garlic mayo that we used to top the chicken avocado toast and potato fries!
  • Chicken avocado toast
    Chicken and turkey burgers are my go-to dinners when there’s ground meat and I’m not feeling very creative. I usually top them with whatever is in the fridge. This time I topped it with tomatoes, onions, avocado and some garlic mayo! The garlic mayo was a game changer!IMG_3656
  • Loaded sweet potato fries
    IMG_3670I’ve been making use of my air fryer a lot these days. So along with the chicken avocado toast was sweet potatoes fries. I had some leftover toppings and thus became loaded sweet potato fries – with tomatoes, onions, garlic mayo and sriracha! These are too good to share. My husband ate most of that plate and forgot to share. Apparently I gave him a death glare for that…oops!

Scribbles:
Ramblings on media (books, documentaries, podcasts etc.) that left an impact on me this week. 

In the Country We Love: My Family DividedIn the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is the story of Diane Guererro, famed for her roles in Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. Both are shows that I thoroughly enjoy! Ok, I’ll be honest part of the reason I shortlisted this book was because I liked the cover of the book. Her story was interesting to read about. She writes about her experience in America when she was younger, living in a family of undocumented immigrants. It’s definitely a book on-topic with everything that Trump and friends are fighting against in the US. But more than that, it humanizing the story. I’m guilty of not reading the news because it’s so heavy these days. This book humanizes what is happening to so many families. This one facet of life – immigration, belonging – can impact so many others, the job you take, where you live, who you befriend. Living in constant fear of being deported and having your family torn apart. The book was well written and I think Diane is very brave to share what happened to hear family. It’s a difficult story to share, but I’m sure it’s helped many feel that they are not alone. Overall, I enjoyed this book, because of the relatable “girly-girl” style of writing that underscores a very serious topic.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time. If you’re an introvert I highly recommend you read this book. It’s no secret that the world is made for extroverts. For most of my life I’ve known I’m an introvert and it’s been a reason I feel left out in many crowds. It’s a term that we throw around, and people seem to understand what it means, but even introverts don’t understand what this means and to what extent it impacts their life. This book fixes aims to fix this, to an extent. It talks about how introverts react to situations, what about our personality affects other parts of our life at work, in relationships, in social settings. This book made me realize how so many of my thoughts and actions are a by product of this trait. It is not about justifying my actions or thoughts by saying I’m an introvert, but it did make me feel like I was not alone in the way I felt and thought in certain situations. It’s like I’ve found my tribe – in a book of course!

Contagious: Why Things Catch OnContagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting view of how marketing/advertising uses behaviour to engage in buying products. I imagine professional marketers are familiar with these concepts but it was a nice easy read to those of us unfamiliar with viewing the world as a series of advertisements. There was a wide range of examples used – applicable in today’s world and the use of social media. It was like reading an easy marketing textbook. Recommended for anyone trying to have an online presence in the business world.

Podcast : HBR Ideacast
I’ve only listened to a couple of episodes of this podcast right now. One of the episodes that stuck with me was the latest episode called When Men Mentor Women. In the wake of the Me Too movement, many men have become more cognizant of how they interact with their female colleagues. As a feminist, for me the MeToo movement is a positive, empowering movement that is giving a voice to so many people. That makes this episode so much more interesting, as it is about how the backlash against the MeToo movement, could also hinder the careers of so many women. Why? Well, men are scared to interact with women in the workplace. Apparently, men feel that they don’t know how to act around women … and thus, they avoid it. But that turns out to be problematic, when men still hold the power in many industries. Women have to work with men to move ahead in these male dominated industries.

Podcast: Side Hustle SchoolChris Guillebeau
I continue to listen to this podcast, because it is so easy to do so. The episodes are short, around 10 minutes, and I love the stories of how other people are making money on the side, without quitting their full time job. There’s so many people out there who have started passion projects, that it inspires me to think more critically of my idea and think about the execution of some of these ideas. Although there’s no right path to this, everyone seems to have their own, there’s many people who took seeming unmonetizable passions, and turned it into additional income. The host Chris Guillebeau does a great job of dissecting his thoughts on how they can earn additional income, or what the business should be thinking about! Also, there are some great episodes, such as one about a couple who rents out chickens, a girl who gets paid to review wineries, and couple who sells designer cupcakes for $20!! ! I wish I’d thought of some of these!

Documentary: Salt Acid Fat Heat  – Netflix
Okay, I’ll be honest I’m trying to pace myself with this show and really enjoy each episode because they’re only four episodes. So far, I’m two episodes in and this show has been amazing. It is a travel show that’s so far inspired me to eat my way through Japan and Italy. It’s a cooking show that helps me recognize how the different elements of cooking make or break your food. It’s inspired me to make some focaccia, and pasta from scratch. It’s awakened me to think about how I add salt and flavor when I cook, whether it’s table salt, vinegar, spices etc. If you like food and travel, watch this!

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