A List of Things That I Want and Am Not Buying

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I have resolved not to buy anything that I don’t need in order to survive during the month of January. We are halfway through and I’m really enjoying the process. I think through every purchase with so much more consideration than before. The official rule of a spending diet is no shopping- like, no window shopping or internet browsing. I kind of like exercising the power or look but don’t touch here. So here is a list of totally frivolous, unnecessary things that have tempted me.

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This mug

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This fabric for a quilt or dress that I want to make eventually…

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THIS SHIRT. Why do I want this shirt so badly?

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Chelsea boots.

 

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These stoneware meets tinware mugs! It’s like camping in your kitchen!

 

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Ugh. How luxurious. Rose gold makes everything more… dignified.

 

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I would really like this linen/cotton duvet for the spring. Especially with the bed frame I’m eyeing.

 

I really want either/or/both this keyring and wrist strap.

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Four Things

 

What are your weekend plans? My parents are visiting, so I get to play tourist and show them the sites around the city. I am excited for deep dish and many museums. I am equally excited that I have the day off of work. Wishing you an equally restful weekend! Here are four fun things to check out while you’re chillin’.

Loving the art project From Scraps, creating special things our of the discards.

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Extraordinary Routines is a cool page where you can glean wisdom from successful and relatable ordinary people. Tina Roth for example, the founder of Tattly and Swiss-Miss and way more, shares details about maintaining a sense of family for her kids even as a divorced family. I have known families who have these happy-endings divorces, where both sides can comfortably celebrate birthdays and holidays and make co-decisions about their kids life. It was very neat to read her perspective!

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I am equal parts obsessed with and terrified by Michelle Griffiths Instagram. She doesn’t just slackline… she does yoga on the slackline. In insane places like the canyons of Moab!!! I can’t stop looking. She leads workshops, if you’re into that sort of thing. But HOW does she set up the rig???

Have you ever been rock climbing? I have been going on the regular and when my friend posted this on my timeline she summed it up with “This is how I feel sometimes.” No worries, Sara, after watching these I can say with absolute confidence that we are images of grace on that wall.

Weekend Update

I know, I know. “Weekend Update” is already taken. I’m using it (for now, at least) to introduce my new beginning-of-the-week posts. Moving from Reflections and Intentions to something that requires me to be more thoughtful and genuine with all of you. 

What I Did

I wore this alpine meadows outfit at a wedding. Apparently I became semi-famous as “the girl in the yellow shoes.”

Speaking of the wedding, we stayed in the most beautiful hotel that had a curved, purple velvet chair. I read this book front to end in that chair (and on the plane). Adding a curved, purple velvet chair to my dream apartment list.

I began the first of several administrative updates to my blog. I am hoping to expand in many ways, including affiliate links in my holiday posts, which will help me divert more time and attention to those details. I would also like to open up The Wonder Of to guest submissions. More news to come!

What I’m Going to Do

Go on a ghost tour of Chicago with some awesome friends! Even better, we are going on Friday the 13th! I am excited for this spooky evening.

Teach guitar to middle school kids??? Keep me in your thoughts.

Pay my debts and plan for the holidays. If I get those things cleared now, I should be stress-free by December. I think. I hope. Planning to give you a peek into my holiday travel arrangements, including details on multi-city flight bookings, and a top secret update about some of TSA’s newest changes.

Related: 

Discovery

Fall Outfits in Three Moods

Four Things

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Four Things

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I think everyone should try their own Face the Foliage project in the spirit of changing leaves and all things fall. What a good opportunity to take a mindful walk and make art.

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This sweet potato round-up is seriously good. I’m between these tempting noodles with cashew sauce (?!) and the sweet potato peanut stew. Yeah. Sweet potato peanut stew.

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My next read, if only to watch the movie after.

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I can’t stop watching these mesmerizing animations of Nigerian hairstyles. What a cool art project.

 

Discovery

I really enjoy the personal challenge that comes with each new theme. September was all about resiliency, which translated for me as a strength and firmness. I am excited to learn and evoke more playfulness with October’s theme: Discovery.

October brings the first brisk bites of fall weather, with the accompanying sense of opportunity. It is a time of year that people consume all sorts of flavors we neglect the rest of the year: apple, pumpkin, nutmeg, mace, squash! The same goes for color and texture. The other day I bought goldenrod high heels and a royal blue velvet clutch. Granted, the purchases were for a specific wedding outfit, but the color and texture were so unlike me! I think I caught a little bit of this autumn influence.

October brings instant thoughts of festivals and Halloween. A month of celebration and adventure, people from all walks of life partake in a bit of blatant paganism. Expect a post on the vital relationship between women and their personal witchiness. It’s coming.

My personal resolutions for discovery including learning something new, trying on a new viewpoint or lifestyle, and trying something I think I don’t like (swimming, pickles, etc.).

Expect invigorating challenges, new things, whimsical stories, and the expected spookiness on the blog this October.

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Unexpected Party Playlist

My grandpa turned 80 this week! I have been assigned the rewarding task of assembling a party playlist with all of his favorite songs. For years, if Grandpa hears a song he likes, he writes the title down and I return with a cd of all the tunes. This is a random sampling of some of the songs he has requested over the years for his master playlist.

Sinister Minister by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
I was lucky to see this group perform in Brooklyn, last week! Somehow I didn’t know that Victor Wooten is the bass player?

Mama Told Me Not to Come by Three Dog Night
The cool thing about making these playlists for Grandpa is that I end up with new music in my arsenal. This song has been on my party playlist ever since! Also, I love this seventies getup! These guys are so fun to watch perform.

Lime in the Coconut by Harry Nilsson
He did all of the voices in this recording! You should definitely watch this absurdist Muppet’s version, while you’re at it.

Life’s Been Good by Eagles
This song has such a relaxed feeling and playful lyrics. It is a very casual conversation about the life of fame and riches.

Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
Another song to make you laugh. Van Halen uses a lot of enthusiasm and comedic timing to pull this silly song off.

 

Related: Pay Attention to these Musicians this Summer
Related: I Was Invited to a Secret Concert

Book Lists

“Everyone is always looking for the next good book to read.” That’s what my mom told me when I expressed surprise at the popularity of all the posts about favorite books. I have written lengthy descriptions about my favorite Summer Re-Reads and detailed reflections about popular books on controversial topics, such as The Handmaid’s Tale or Hillbilly Elegy. The Wonder Of is unrolling a new Book Lists page as a central location for all of the book lists that we publish. If you just finished a great novel and want to find one in a similar theme, check for more from our Nature Week Book Club or maybe What We Read on Vacation.

The Book Lists page will be regularly updated and reorganized, so be sure to keep checking back. If you’re curious, I’m reading this book now. What are you reading?

The Meal that was SO Good I Forgot to Take Pictures

I have always been intimidated by East-Asian cuisine. I love eating it, and will try anything no matter how spicy or unique the dish, however I have always read through recipes and thought, ‘That sounds too complicated.’ Enter: Curried Chickpeas.

This recipe strikes me as an American interpretation of Thai/Indian food. I am sure that experts in this style of cooking would be appalled by the over-simplification of the recipe, but that is what makes this meal accessible for anyone to make.

There are 4 parts to this meal: The Curried Chickpeas, Coconut Rice, Toasted Naan, and Masala Chai.

Curried Chickpeas
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, finely diced
-2 tsp curry powder
-salt to taste
-2-4 cloves of garlic, finely diced and smashed
-2 cans of chickpeas
-1 can of coconut milk
-1 c. vegetable broth
-1-2 tbsp Sriracha
-1-2 tbsp honey

First, start the rice. It will take longer, so make the rice right now. Then, start the curried chickpeas by sautéing the onion in the olive oil until caramelized. Sprinkle the curry powder over the onions and breathe deeply for 30 seconds (count them and smell the curry: it’s meditative.) Add salt and garlic, stir it all together, and then add the remaining ingredients. Let everything simmer and stew for 10 minutes, then TASTE IT. This recipe only works if you taste it and adjust the seasoning. I felt like it was just a little off, and ended up adding another 1/2 tsp of curry, sprinkle of salt, and an extra 2 tbsp of honey. The only way to know which adjustments to make is to taste it as you make it. When it is all done, serve over the coconut rice and top with cilantro.

Naan: We bought ours from the store, brushed it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with garlic salt and cilantro before toasting it.

Coconut Rice
-2 cups of rice
-2 cups of water
-1 cup of coconut milk

Put everything on the stove together and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately turn the heat down and put the lid on. Leave at a gentle simmer for 50 minutes, or whatever time the package says. Coconut milk gives rice the best flavor and texture, but admittedly we haven’t mastered this method of cooking rice. My approach is low heat, and if the rice needs more time to cook, add small amounts of water to prolong cooking time.

Masala Chai: Here I will defer to an expert. I used this recipe exactly. Follow it exactly and you will have the best spicy chai you’ve ever tasted. I always refrigerate half to add to my coffee the next day, or drink iced in the afternoon.

Monday Reflections and Intentions

Hey all! I am currently making the rapid turnaround from an amazing outdoor adventure in Canada to a fast few days metro-NYC. This means washing all of my grubby hiking clothes and packing my best city-wear.  I will share many, many photos of Canada here soon. In the meantime, here is what I’ve been doing and will do.

Reflections:
-Backpacked in Banf with my brother and sister. Experienced Alpine Spring and hike to a teahouse in the mountains between two lakes.
-Visited hot springs and more lakes with my whole family.
-Went for an 11 mile bike ride in Chicago. Had THE BEST time.
-Ran all over downtown with my sister just for fun. Bought theses earrings!

Intentions:
-Rent a bike in NYC
-Learn this song
-Pay all of my bills !!!
-Share photos of my trip to Canada

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