Things I'm Loving (Besides Being Engaged)

Wow guys. Life moves fast. A month after my last post, Andrew proposed to me in a rather elaborate and wonderful way (most of you know about it. Those of you who don't, I'll spare you the details). Suffice it to say, I'm a terribly happy girl who is now planning a wedding. I will give a few photos as proof of all that happened that day. As proof that the proposal was a surprise, I give you the glaring evidence of me, not having bothered to change out of the clothes in which I had been nannying all day. Literally everyone else was dressed up, and there I was on the brink of this important moment, rocking quarantine eyebrows, frizzy hair, and jeans with frayed cuffs.

There were cameras involved. And friends-in-bushes. And the Cavalier Hotel. And many, many lies to keep me from suspecting. So anyway, here I am: a whole engaged woman! There have been a lot of wedding plans in the works already, although our wedding date is set for March 21, 2021, eight or nine months out. We are so excited, and I hope to be able to share some of the plans we have in the works. I really miss blogging and want to become more consistent at it. Something I've admittedly said every couple months for the last three years. But seriously: life has been big and sprawling and also isolated and confusing and I think what we need these days is a little more grace for ourselves and others.

Grace for things like, "My jeans don't even fit and now I've got to shop for a wedding dress."
Grace for, "I haven't written my first great novel or gone on the Whole 30 diet during quarantine."
Grace for, "I've become self-focused and I'm working on growing past that."
Grace for, "I listened to Taylor Swift's folklore album four times the first day it released."
Grace for, "Habits that were cute in quarantine are detrimental in real life."

Grace upon grace. In among the pieces of me that think I should be a way better human than I currently am, or feeling like the world is completely unraveling, or the places I lack grace for all these areas I have gone off-track, is a sense of feeling inspired. It isn't just the fact that I've been looking at pretty, wedding-related things. Honestly, none of the inspiration comes expressly from engagement. As wonderful as that is, there are many other sources of inspiration these days. When I decided it was high time I wrote another blog post, I thought of what I wanted to share. And what I want to share is the creeping sense I have that beautiful, inspiring, creative things still exist (and even flourish) in these peculiar, desert-style days of the year 2020. So here then, in no particular order, are links and images of the things that have kept my heart and morale afloat in recent times.

FurryLittlePeach Youtube Art Videos

I am never more inspired to sit down and illustrate than when I've just watched one of Sha'an's Youtube videos. They're bright, quirky, fun, and she's an insanely talented illustrator. I feel like the world is extra colorful and decent in Sha'an's studio. Which, let's be real, is totally innacurate I'm sure, but a girl can dream. A recent favorite was this 90-Cent Watercolor Test video where she tries to create a high-quality illustration with a chalky, palm-sized watercolor palette, proving once and for all that buying quality tools for your trade actually effects the outcome:

Banyan Bridges Rainbow Murals

SPEAKING of color, my newest Instagram love is Racheal from @banyanbridges. This woman is the ultimate DIY friend of anybody who finds minimalism kinda...well...boring. Not only does Racheal create the incredible splashes of color in the most mundane of corners, but she teaches us how to do it with her hilarious, totally unpretentious Instagram stories. You need to follow her, stat. Every time I see one of her finished murals, I get excited all over again. Andrew better watch out. Our future home is fixin' to be muralized and I'm not remotely sorry about it. This one is possibly my favorite of all the murals I've seen, but then again...I kind of feel that way about each new one that comes along.


Taylor Swift's new album, folklore

I know some of you are not on the Taylor train and that's okay. You can miss out if you want to. I have a great admiration for the sheer volume and quality of the music this girl puts out. Each album feels completely different from the one before, and I don't care what anyone says: when you need to be all up in your feelings for a second, you're going to reach for Taylor Swift. Folklore is no different: it's Taylor Swift, but the smoky, misty, wood-fire, spooky-spruce-trees version of Taylor Swift. I'm fully invested in the fan-theory that every song on the album is a different part of the same overarching story (Betty's, of "Holiday House"), and I'm not mad about it.

The August cover of Bon Appetite magazine

Look, I don't know if you saw all the s--t that went down in the last couple months with BA, but it's been a lot. A lot. I am so happy that big moves are being made to repair the breaches made by its toxic, racially-exclusive inner workings and that the big-wigs are taking things seriously. Understandably, the magazine has been on a sort of second lock-down as the firing-hiring process goes on in this much-needed bit of housecleaning. POC editors, photographers, and stylists are finally on their way to being given the opportunities, recognition, and pay they deserve. With great change comes great upheaval, and I was pretty relieved to see that beautiful blue-and-orange cover in the mail the other day. These changes are for the better, and I look forward to seeing what the new BA team will produce in the days to come.


No, there's absolutely nothing specific about my recent love for this dish, except the fact that it's always good, always comforting, always quick, and always tastes better the second day. I love the fact that I can literally dump the contents of my fridge into the pan and have a bomb fried rice the same way I periodically upend my purse onto the table and get rid of all the random gum wrappers. Fried rice is basically trash-dinner, and if this is trash, then I am a raccoon and proud of it. I've recently been on a train of making kimchi fried rice via Maangchi and this is fried rice on a whole new level. You've got the crunchy, funky, spicy kimchi playing with all your favorite fried rice flavors and my gosh it's good. Especially with a sunny-side up fried egg on the side and a little sprinkle of shredded nori.

Sourdough Focaccia

Now that our flour crisis is over, I'm sure A) nobody wants to bake anymore and B) yeast is once again available, making sourdough sort of archaic again. However, anybody who has tastebuds can tell that sourdough focaccia (and really any kind of sourdough bread) is the superior form of said bread. Full disclosure, I've only made it once since all this went down, and then I got engaged and have been busy every evening with wedding plans, and the poor starter has lived in my fridge (forgotten) ever since. I'm going to drag him out tonight and feed him the rest of the week and hopefully bake with him on Saturday. I do love a good focaccia. Maybe I'll even try making one of these beautiful garden-inspired loaves if I'm feeling that on my game.


Colorful Taper Candles

This one is definitely wedding-related. In a search for wedding table decor that doesn't cost an absolute fortune, I fell in love with the look of bringing your wedding colors in by using colored taper candles. This is a beautiful and elegant way to not have to rely strictly on linens or flowers to bring in that bright color. I'm hoping to be able to use this in our wedding, and am on the lookout for mismatched candle-holders at a cheap rate that I can use as table decor and cut down on the cost of the lush florals I'm naturally drawn to. Nobody ever accused me of cheap taste. But maybe colorful candles will taper that cost...pun very much intended.



  1. Congratulations! I can't wait to see what your wedding looks like via insta and blog if you choose to share. I'm a little burned out on weddings at the moment. My sister got engaged and married in the span of two months (married last Friday) and I was still working and doing school in the middle of it.

    I'm always a bit behind on Taylor Swift's stuff. I'm like mentally and emotionally behind, like I'm still more in the mood for her moodier middle albums this last year. Lover was a bit of a shock, I've literally just started listening to these newest songs.