Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm Running Again!

Guys! I’m running again! Woohoooo! Just in time for freezing wind and single-digit temps (anti-woohooo!). No but really, I don’t care if it’s negative a million – I am fully functional and able to put one foot in front of the other, so life is pretty freaking good again. Finally.

Don't be deceived by this sun-shiny day. It is 7 degrees with wind-chill.

I’m taking things slowly slowly – just three miles at a time for now, plus plenty of continued strengthening and stretching exercises.

What was my most recent “problem”? Ugh it barely even matters anymore – basically I started running again (pretty hard) back in August after months off (traveling), while at the same time starting school and sitting allllll day long. Result? Super-tight piriformis problems, which led to hip flexor problems, which led to minor low back problems, which, exacerbated by a soccer game, led to major low back problems, which led to nerve damage (I couldn’t feel the outside of my left foot). I know guys, I know. My life is a saga.

Moral of the story: when you start running again after a while off, do these Hip Flexor and Piriformis Stretching and Strengthening things every day. EVERY DAY.

And these Strengthening and Activating Your Glutes things every day. TWICE A DAY.

That's what I've been doing. And along with weekly incredibly painful massage (literally -- imagine a large PT leaning all his weight onto his elbow, digging into your piriformis), and yoga, it worked!

Like I said, I've been running just a little bit at a time. So I don't have any super-exciting routes to share with you -- just this lovely 3-mile out-and-back on the Minuteman Bike Path. (At this point, any and all running is lovely to me, even though it's difficult and awkward and freezing outside.) The nice thing about being in school is that I can capitalize on light and mid-day relative warmth and do this run in the middle of the day. 

Route details here.
Not running at all this first grad school semester has been interesting, and not an experience I would like to repeat. I don't NEED running -- this semester shows that I can cope with all the stress (intellectually, socially, and physically) a-ok without it. But everything is just so much better with running!

I'll end with wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving! There are just so many things to be grateful for!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksfriendzing!

Thanksfriendzing is upon us! That wonderful pre-Thanksgiving holiday where friends hang out, eat delicious food, and get warmed up for the big day. RoommateRachel and I hosted our own Thanksfriendzing yesterday, and I'm happy to report that it was a HUGE success. 

As this was a Fletcher Thanksfriendzing, we asked our friends to bring dishes from their home countries to share. Result? The traditional Thanksfriendzing dinner plus palak paneer and naan plus Japanese barbecue plus rugulah plus edamame plus so many more delicious things! For serious, people brought their A-game hard -- American traditionals included cornbread, cornbread cranberry stuffing, bacon/Gorgonzola/almond Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, roasted squash, eggnog, and mashed potatoes of course! 

I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with cream cheese frosting filling, Rosemary Sweet Potato Gratin (this recipe but with Parmesan instead of Asiago cheese), homemade cranberry sauce, and string beans with caramelized onions. 

RoommateRachel made a delicious and BIG turkey (expertly carved by Michael), bruschetta, and lemon meringue and apple pies. 

We ended the night going around and saying what we are thankful for -- SO MANY THINGS. It's been a pretty epic year, both for for me and most of my new friends. What a perfect way to start the holiday season!

Things other than Thanksfriendzing happened this weekend too, but they were mostly homework related so that is womp womp boooooring to everyone but me (and sometimes boring to me too...). Countdown: I go home for Christmas break in exactly 17 days. Yay! But also oooooh man, standing between me and Christmas are finals. Sheesh

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cake of the Week: Pound Cake with Apple Compote, Homemade CaramelSauce, and Candied Pecans

Eating this cake is like getting bear-hugged by autumn and the holidays. It's warm and buttery and spicy and apple-y and just a little bit crunchy. It looks beautiful and tastes even better -- the best thing I've made (and eaten) in a while. I may or may not have received marriage proposals upon serving. For serious.

This cake came about by brainstorming the perfect birthday confection for a certain roommate of mine. She loves caramel. And pound cake. And anything with apples. WELL THEN. I mulled over the options, considered what I had to work with, waved my magic wand, with and came to this conclusion: Pound Cake with Apple Compote, Homemade Caramel Sauce, and Candied Pecans.

Shockingly, I don't think that I have ever made a true pound cake before. You know, the pound-o-butter, pound-o-flour, pound-o-sugar kind? Yeah, well that is exactly what this is and I'm not even a little bit sorry. It's so simple. And ooooh man so good!

There are a lot of components going on here, but 1) it's worth it; and 2) none of them are very difficult to make at all. I am sharing this recipe with you now because there is a certain day coming up on which you might want to make an insanely delicious dessert...cough cough Thanksgiving cough cough...

I made the cake and candied the pecans in the afternoon, then prepped the apples (peeling and slicing). If you're serving this with dinner, I suggest starting the apples simmering about 10 minutes before you sit down to dinner, then turning the heat off and letting them continue to cook covered in the pot until you're ready to serve. (If you want to just cook and serve, the apples should take about 20 minutes.) Make the caramel sauce right before serving (it takes less than 10 minutes), so you can pour it over the cake hot and delicious.

Pound Cake with Apple Compote, Homemade Caramel Sauce, and Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans (can be made days in advance)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pound Cake
  • 1 pound (2 cups) sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound (9 large) eggs
  • 1 pound (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Optional glaze: 3/4 cup powdered sugar + 2 tablespoons milk + a splash of real maple syrup
Apple Compote
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons cloves
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 packed cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Candied Pecans: In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sugar and toss pecans in the mixture until evenly coated and toasted (about 1 minute -- be careful not to burn the pecans). Turn onto waxed paper and let them cook completely.
  2. Pound Cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or bundt pan. 
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until well creamed and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour and salt, beating constantly. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until well blended.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the pan (it will be thick). Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack and let it cool.
  5. Optional glaze: If you want things to look extra-pretty, mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Add a bit more milk or sugar as necessary to get a good drizzle-able thickness. Spoon over cooled cake. 
  6. Apple Compote: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients. Turn the stove on to medium heat, cover, and let the apples cook (stirring rarely) for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are like apple pie filling.
  7. Caramel Sauce: Mix the brown sugar, cream, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes to thicken. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.
  8. To serve: Scoop apples over slices of cake, sprinkle with pecans, and top with a lot of caramel sauce. 
  9. Swoon. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cake of the Week: Lemon Orange Bars

Full disclosure friends: I frequently forget things. Like the time of my flight to DC last weekend. Like the chapter I was supposed to read for class this morning. Like the person I already told that story to. Like the necessity for lemons when I plan on making lemon bars...

I recently found myself in such a dilemma with three options: 1) Go to the store; 2) Make something else; 3) Make it work!

Luckily my forgetfulness is somewhat offset by my baking creativity. I may not have had enough lemons, but I did have orange juice! Same same, right?

Turns out that in the case of these bars, it is. They are made with the zest and juice of just one lemon, plus orange juice. And if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know it!

I used the same shortbread crust recipe from my apple cheesecake bars because it is The Best.

If you wanted to highlight the orange flavor, you could use a fresh orange and grate the zest into the mix as well. This of course necessitates having a fresh orange on hand...the likelihood of that happening is between you and your own kitchen. 

Lemon Orange Bars

  • 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter -- ( 3/4 sticks) at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • Zest from one lemon 
  • 1 lemon's juice + orange juice = 1/2 cup of liquid (i.e. pour lemon juice into a half cup measure, then fill it the rest of the way with orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Directions:
  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
  2. If you have a food processor: Pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. 
  3. If you're doing it by hand: Mix flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.
  4. Sprinkle mixture into pan and press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/4 inch up sides. 
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Filling: whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon and orange juice, and flour. Pour over the hot crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. 
  7. Let cool to room temperature and slice into squares.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Best of the Week #114

This week flew by, thanks to the fact that I had Monday off and didn’t actually return to Boston until Tuesday afternoon. Despite my mini-vacation, oh man I am ready for the weekend!

To kick things off, I believe I am long overdue to post a Best of the Week. Seriously guys, I just don’t read the internet like I used to. I do, however, have a Google Doc to which I randomly add links I’ve come across, in anticipation of the day I finally take the time to compile one of these posts of hilarity and awesomeness and interest. Chris has offered to return to occasional Best of the Week-ing to supplement my sporadic posting...great idea, right?

A couple more pictures from my weekend in Shenandoah.
Ok here we go! I will warn you in advance that this post is heavy on puppies and silliness, and light on serious substance. Enjoy it!

The author of an awesome comic/blog, Hyperbole and a Half did an interview with NPR. Her posts are mostly hilarious, and the ones about her depression, which I feel is a difficult think to understand, are actually really great and worth reading.

  • Most of the stories are funny, whether they're about her dog's behavior problems or her favorite grammatical pet peeve — "a lot" written as "alot." But her most popular posts have also been the most upsetting, about her crippling depression. In fact, when Brosh stopped blogging for about a year and a half, her readers were worried about her. Now, not only is she blogging again, she has a new book, also called Hyperbole and a Half, that collects her blog posts as well as new illustrated stories.
How to tell if your dog has been involved in a sex scandal.

This is fun, and I want Sister1 and Geoff to do it for Liam: “Welcome to Dinovember.”

  • Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep.
  • Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.
"71 Reasons We Need To SAVE CORGIS FROM EXTINCTION" #1 is wonderful.
  • "Corgis are in 62% of all photos of real-life animals posing with stuffed animal versions of themselves."

Too funny: "Convos With My 2-Year-Old - EPISODE 6 'The Pants'." I'm pretty sure Mini-Mollie had veerrrryyy similar conversations with the Mama related to ballet tights and ski overalls. The tag HURTS ME.

You've probably already seen this, it's been all over Facebook: "In Moscow, Squat and Ride for Free."
  • Moscow city officials are now offering free rides on the subway to any passenger who does 30 squats before crossing the ticket barrier to enter the metro in an effort to promote physical fitness and sports.
  • But my most important takeaway from this article: "three months to go before the Winter Games begin"!!!!!
Ugh infographics. I hates them. This is kinda why.

Ok a little bit of seriousness: "What It Feels Like to Be on Welfare."
  • I am writing this because I want to say that I am one of those "welfare" people so many people callously group into the "lazy" section of the room. While I am often told by these same people that I am one of the hardest working people they know, the reality is that there is no way I would be where I am today without the help I received in my past. Some of my friends say, "Yeah, but you are an exception."
  • No, I am not.
  • I am just one of many who were born under difficult circumstances who wanted to do better and needed a little help getting onto my feet. Now that I am on them, I do my best not to forget what it felt like when I was not. If anything, my past has benefited me in that it has served as a strong warning not to play the "we" VS "them" game as one day you might be the "them".
Having a sad week? Just look at this puppy gif for a while. I promise it will make things better.

Cambodia things: "Strikes, violence and modernity." It's a bit long and wonky for most of you maybe, but definitely worth the read if you're interested in rule of law, labor rights, police/military/civil relations, and/or Cambodia!

  • Of course this is not the first violent protest to arise in Phnom Penh  - Stung Meanchey, the site of this recent protest was also the site of rioting during the recent elections.  From January to July of this year there has been an average of 2-3 strikes per week and the Garment Manufacturers Association predicts that 2013 will have the highest number of strikes since it started taking records in 2003. The number of land related protests (both urban and rural) have also sky rocketed in Phnom Penh over the last two years – as have violent crackdowns and retributions by police and government hired thugs.
  • My argument is rather that what is happening in Phnom Penh is a modernisation of the police force rather than merely a manifestation of authoritarian despotism.  The police force in Cambodia has always been ‘modern’ in the sense that since its inception during the French colonial period it has been tasked with the dual mandate of regulating the good and bad flows of the population (liberalism) and cracking down on any challenges to the states monopoly on violence (sovereignty). 
Oh McSweeney’s, you get me every time. “JAMIE AND JEFF’S BIRTH PLAN.”
  • We are opposed to torture/gluten. In the event you are ever unsure how to proceed today, please ask yourself, “What Would Gwyneth Do?”
  • In lieu of a traditional hospital gown, Jamie would prefer to be dressed like Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer.
Mary (the author) and I went to summer camp together! And now she has a cookbook all about nut butters! So exciting!

For my running nerds: "The First 100 Shoes to Cross the NYC Marathon Finish Line."
  • No zigs, blades or springs could get you across the finish line faster yesterday, as the most popular running shoes among elite and semi-elite athletes were your typical racing shoe with a neutral ride, moderate to minimal cushioning and a fast look. The only atypical brands spotted were Italy’s hometown favorite Diadora (not surprisingly sported by Italian runners) along with a solo pair of Sketchers sported by none other than Meb Keflezighi along with the occasional pair of Newtons.
Not sure I entirely agree with all of this, but it definitely is worth thinking about: "The Trouble with Bright Girls."
  • Chances are good that if you are a successful professional today, you were a pretty bright fifth grade girl. My graduate advisor, psychologist Carol Dweck (author of Mindset) conducted a series of studies in the 1980s, looking at how bright girls and boys in the fifth grade handled new, difficult and confusing material.
  • She found that bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up--and the higher the girls' IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel.
  • Researchers have uncovered the reason for this difference in how difficulty is interpreted, and it is simply this: more often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice
  • When learning something new is truly difficult, girls take it as sign that they aren't "good" and "smart", and boys take it as a sign to pay attention and try harder.
Speaking of girls, go Sweden! "Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating.
Movies need to pass test that gauges the active presence of women on screen in bid to promote gender equality"
  • To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
  • "The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test," said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm's trendy Södermalm district.
Awwww. This guy.


This is a bit long, but well worth it for the laughs! "The Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog."

  • How good could these biscuits possibly be? There's a threshold past which biscuits cannot improve. Even the best goddamn biscuit in the world isn't $72 better than a Popeye's biscuit. Unless that biscuit can make you teleport.
  • Wait, the croissant itself is made of chocolate? I've wasted my entire croissant-eating career not knowing this. By the way, any chocolate croissant that doesn't have enough chocolate filling is grounds for suicide bombing.
  • “Pretzel topped with peanut nougat and salted caramel, wrapped in milk chocola—" (rips out own tongue). I want that in my body. This catalog does nothing but give me pantry envy. All I have in my pantry is flour and gum.
Speaking of potatoes, and previously speaking of puppies, combine the two? "11 Pugtatoes." The world (and my brain) is a strange place friends...I am ok with it. 

And finally, just look at what RoommateRachel made for dinner last night! Balsamic glazed chicken, mushroom and asparagus risotto, salad, and bruschetta. I'll tell you all about the dessert next week. Life is pretty good here at The Purple House!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekend Report: SpeedyKate's Birthday in Shenandoah

Hooray for mini-vacations! I flew to DC on Friday afternoon and spent the long weekend in Shenandoah with SpeedyKate, Chris, John, Andy, (aka a solid chunk of the Ragnar Relay crew) and many many others. It was suggested that I live-blog the experience, but for a number of reasons, including my time/effort and of course potential for major embarrassment (not necessarily mine), I vetoed that idea and opted to wait until I was back in the cold comfort of Boston, procrastinating my Role of Force reading.


So! SpeedyKate is 30! Yay! Big birthdays are such a great excuse to do something awesome, so she rented a huge and beautiful house out in Shenandoah for three nights and invited all her friends for the weekend. I have no idea how many of us there were -- friends came and went, and some only stayed for a night, but a core group of champions stayed the whole time.

This is the houseI know, right!?! My friends do things right.
Our Saturday hike was to Big Schloss (lolz), just four miles round trip. We were there about two weeks too late to experience the perfect fall foliage, but it was sun-shiny and hiking-in-a-T-shirt warm, so I'm not complaining!

There was an excellent view at the top. To the horror and dismay of many, when I'm not climbing up rocks, I like sitting on them. Basically I love dangling my feel off edges. Don't worry guys, my butt is solidly connected to earth at almost all times!

Back at the house everyone paired up and took responsibility for meals -- enchiladas, barbecue, and jambalaya for dinners, plus an epic brunch of Texas-shaped savory waffles, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls on Sunday. We sat on the front steps, eating waffles and sipping coffee and looking out at this. Pretty perfect, right?

Everything smelled like campfire all weekend, thanks to the patio fire pit and a lot of wood to burn. I really enjoy it -- to me campfire smells like outside and warmth and staring into embers and relaxing and friends and fun. We sat around a lot (on the porch, by the fire, in the hot tub), talked a lot, played some games (Cards Against Humanity mostly), and just generally hung out. 

But this is an active group! So our Sunday hike, fueled by the aforementioned epic brunch, was a bit more ambitious. We hiked the Signal Knob/Elizabeth's Furnace loop (I've done this one before), minus the knob because we didn't want the sun to set on us in the woods. Oooh the downsides of the slow and inevitable approach to winter. (Who am I kidding? I'm not sad about winter, let's go skiing!) This hike is about 7-8 miles of rocky and hilly trails -- just enough focus required to make it interesting, and long enough to accommodate many conversations and daydreams.

We packed up and headed back to DC on Monday. Overall the weekend was an epic success. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPEEDYKATE!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Best of the Week #113

It’s November!!! Crazy. Hope you all had a happy Halloween and are sufficiently sick on fun-sized Snickers, and/or in the process of building candy castles and wheeling and dealing trades amongst your siblings. Oh wait, it’s not 1995 and most of you (except a key two of course) are not my sisters. Everything I learned about negotiations I learned from being a middle child...

Anywho, November! To all you well-meaning people making comments about how the semester almost over: I will have none of that. We have 6 weeks left, so please leave me to languish in my delusion that that is plenty of time to finish. All. The. Things. Kthanksbye.

It’s been a while, but let’s have some Best of the Week fun, shall we?

Sorry I'm not sorry. "26 Puns that are too clever for their own good." I am giggling out loud to myself right now.
Will the puns stop? Yo, I don’t know.

Real complaints from real vacationers.” Ha! People are absurd.
  • 12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”
  • 14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”
I love this kid.

To quote my dear friend 6x6, "Makes me want to run a marathon!" "Five things you can eat guilt-free after the Marine Corps Marathon." Two words for you: Dinosaur donut. (Aka I am the above child.)

On the academic front,  I will be spending about 75% of the next 6 weeks working on this project. And I am SO excited about it. #NerdAlert “Network Analysis of Factors Contributing to Election Violence in Kenya: Comparing 2007-08 to 2013
  • This project will use networks analysis to assess election-related violence in Kenya in 2007-08, and then conduct the same analysis of 2013 when there was no election-related violence to determine if networks analysis can be used to predict violence. Additional factors in both cases will be studied separately: the networks of targeted violence in 2007, and how internal displacement in the interim period affected elections in 2013.

This is pretty funny and makes you think about your favorite Disney movies in a whole new way. “Psychological Disease of Disney Princesses.”
  • Although it wasn’t greatly covered in the movie, Belle definitely entered the castle not to find her father but to loot the hell out of the place. It became a greater challenge than she had anticipated, though, as the candlestick holder she wanted to knick could talk.

Awesome photography! Ms Kalashnikov is the work of an Italian photographer, Francesca Tosarelli,

  • Since February 2013 Francesca has met, followed, photographed and interviewed a selection of women fighting in the alphabet-soup of rebellions currently operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their stories reveal not only the significance of their roles within the rebel groups of which they are a part, but also show the striking contrast between the danger of their liberation struggle and the almost mundane reality of daily life in an armed group in eastern DRC.

An interesting read by Bell Hooks “Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In.” I haven't actually read Lean In, but people talk about it all the time.
  • "Sandberg’s definition of feminism begins and ends with the notion that it’s all about gender equality within the existing social system. From this perspective, the structures of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy need not be challenged. And she makes it seem that privileged white men will eagerly choose to extend the benefits of corporate capitalism to white women who have the courage to ‘lean in.’ It almost seems as if Sandberg sees women’s lack of perseverance as more the problem than systemic inequality."
A National Geographic photographer portrays the multi-ethnicity of American society - peoples' pictures, their self description and what ethnicity they register themselves as in the national statistics. “The Changing Face of America -- We’ve become a country where race is no longer so black or white.”

Someone please make this Halloween Chex Mix and send me a bag? I will love you forever.

Love. "Tap Dancing Cover of Cups." Fun fact, I was a pretty awesome tap dancer in kindergarten and first grade.

I do these! Unless I sleep which case I still do them first-thing, but it may not be before 8 am. “5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM.”
  •  5. Make Your Day Top Heavy. We all have that one item on our to do list that we dread. It looms over you all day (or week) until you finally suck it up and do it after much procrastination. Here’s an easy tip to save yourself the stress – do that least desirable task on your list first.
An interesting explanation? "Spaniards are less productive, constantly tired because Spain is in the wrong time zone."

Finally, I will leave you with this Tiny Desk Concert by The Lone Bellow, because who doesn’t need a little more mandolin in their life?

Finally finally, I started this post mentioning my sisters, and guess what? Sister1 and Geoff will run their first half marathon this weekend like CHAMPIONS! And Sister2 just landed her dream job and starts next week! I am so psyched and proud of both of them!!! Also, Liam was a runner for Halloween. YES.