Get ready to binge watch TV

Sometimes you just want to relax. When I’m in the mood to sit around and do nothing, the first thing I do is open up a bottle of wine, head to the couch and turn on the TV. Here is my current list of favorite TV shows to binge on when I’m trying to relax.

Psych
Psych is the only show where I audible laugh throughout every episode. If you haven’t watched it, change that right now.

Arrested Development
I always appreciate a show that you can jump in and watch at any point and still understand what’s happening. This show also does a great job of holding onto jokes and pulling them out seasons later with no real reason for it (i.e., blue handprints on the wall). All around great show to watch (minus the Netflix season).

Ugly Delicious
I love food and traveling, so naturally, I gravitate toward shows that talk about food and other cultures. David Chang is pretty funny and the guests he has on the shows are great to listen to. I highly recommend this Netflix show on a rainy day. Do not watch this when you’re hungry.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians
This is a new one for me. A couple hangovers ago, I ended up watching KUWTK and it changed my life. These people are always in the news, so watching things from the start of their show is fun because you know exactly how they turn out years later. Watching this show may be more about schadenfreude than anything, but it is pretty damn entertaining. I won’t apologize for this choice.

No Reservations/Anything Anthony Bourdain
I always have an urge to travel, but sometimes that urge is far more intense. When that happens, I instantly turn on Anthony. This guy is not only funny but also educational and interesting to watch. He connects with great people who share wonderful insights into a culture or region.

Great British Bake Off
Not only is GBBO inspirational for my own cooking and baking, it’s lighthearted and fun to watch. This is easily my favorite show to binge watch during winter.

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I’m exhausted

The past few months have gone from minimal stress to monumental stress. After a work trip from hell, I realized just how dire the situation was for my sanity. So, I decided I need to take a break and find ways to do a bit of mental healing. Here is what I’ve been trying:

  • Take a fucking vacation. While this one hasn’t happened quite yet for me, I have officially put something on the books. It is a couple months away, but it is something that’s close enough that it gives me something to look forward to.
  • Update my skin care regime and pamper myself. I’ve got a facial at a fancy salon scheduled and I take time every morning and evening to follow an actual process. It’s a small thing, but it already feels better… It could be that I just needed something to control before and after a hectic day.
  • Don’t take work home (or at least do minimal work at home). Now this one has been a real struggle for me. I found myself leaving the office at 5 or 6 p.m. and working until 10:30 p.m. at home. There were a lot of things that contributed to this, but mainly it was caused by an insane amount of meetings during the day and taking on a project that is a real shit show. While I still work from home, I’ve tried to limit the work to only the things that actually need to be done then and there.
  • Eat better. I’m sure there are plenty of people like me out there who look to shitty or easy foods when stress is piling up. Obviously eating poorly doesn’t help me feel any better about myself, so I’ve made a promise to myself to actually eat healthy food and cook at home more often. This is a bit tough when I’m working long hours, but it’s not impossible.
  • Stop living on my computer. I’m on my computer all day, whether it’s at work or at home. To help break up my computer time, I’ve tried spending more time outside playing fetch with my pup, going for runs or reading a book. Even though they’re not taking up as much time in my day as they should, those mini breaks from technology are helping tremendously.

Now, my stress levels are still higher than they should be, but they’re going down. Following those simple steps are helping decrease it and hopefully that vacation in a couple months dramatically helps.

In review: BarkBox

As someone who has fallen perfectly into the “millennial dog mom” stereotype, I obviously have thought long and hard about buying BarkBox for my pup. The idea of BarkBox, or any subscription like this, is pretty cool. I mean, who can be mad about cute, themed dog toys and treats?

That said, is it something I really need to spend money on? Luckily, we received a free three month subscription from my boyfriend’s sister, so we got to give it a whirl before officially committing to a subscription.

Yesterday we received the first box and it was a total hit. The picture below shows all of the goodies included in the box. In addition to the cute dinosaur treats and toys, we also received breath freshener treats and a pork roll chew. Overall, it was a pretty nice haul!

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Aoife jumped right up on the table and nabbed the wooly mammoth (after being told off for jumping on the table). She was obsessed with it for the entire night. We also tested the two types of treats that were in the box and they are Aoife approved.

I am pretty strict about the type of treats I pick up for my pup, so they tend to have fewer ingredients than what is in Jurassic Pork and Dental Pleasers. However, the reviews for both seem to be pretty good and Aoife is a fan of them.

Jurassic Pork

These treats were a pretty big hit here. These come in large strips, but break down very easily.

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Dental Pleasers

Terrible name, good smell. I’ve read some rough reviews of other dental treats for dogs, so I was happy to see that these didn’t have that negative review attached to it. These treats are all pretty small and seem to have a good flavor to them, according to Aoife’s reaction.

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So far, I like what BarkBox has delivered, but I’m still unsure if it’s something I will continue on after the free trial has ended. Let’s see how the next two boxes look!

Adulting: the art of greeting cards

From birthdays to get well wishes, there are plenty of reasons to send out greeting cards throughout the year. With so many occasions, finding the perfect greeting card can be a bit of a struggle. However, this struggle has nothing to do with a lack of talented artists. As more illustrators tailor their work to greeting cards, the amount of unique and fun cards continues to increase. With shops like Paper Source and Etsy, you can easily find a card that fits your need.

Birthday Parties

With a large friend group spread out throughout the world, I’m constantly sending out birthday cards. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed that the selection can feel a bit stale after a while.  The best way to add a bit of variety to your birthday card game is to pick up some B-day cards from Dinara Mirtalipova’s Etsy shop. With a fun, folks art theme to her work, her cards are a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

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Feel Better Soon

No matter how healthy a person is, they’re bound to get sick at some point. Whether they’re laid up in a hospital, or dealing with a bad case of the flu, a get well soon card can be a nice way to show a friend you’re thinking of them.

Yelena Bryksenkova’s work highlights the comfort of home and everyday situations. And the card below is no exception!

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The “Just ‘Cause” Cards

You probably have a badass friend or two. So, why not celebrate them? Bodil Jane’s card selection is the perfect source for those “just ’cause” greeting cards.

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Congratulations

If there’s a card that should show off excitement, it’s a congrats card. Whether you’re celebrating a promotion or a friend finishing a tough project, congrats cards can show someone how much you appreciate them and their current situation.

Kate Pugsley’s work showcases a fun, yet simple design that feels like a party when you open the card.

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Thank You

While sending a thank you card seems like a no-brainer, to others, it’s often forgotten. Send out a thank you card for that gift you received for Christmas or for that extra help someone gave you the other day. It may not seem like much, but a thank you card can mean a lot to others.

Becca Stadtlander’s cards feature lush colors and beauty from nature and everyday objects.

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Sympathy Cards

If you find yourself in a situation that requires a sympathy card, images of flowers, especially peace lilies, are always a good idea. As the quintessential symbol of sympathy and hope, the peace lily is beautiful and calming for those who have recently lost a loved one.

Rifle Paper Co.’s beautiful designs are a perfect example of what a sympathy card should be.

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In Review: HaiHai in Minneapolis

My original plan for this blog post was to share a couple images from my meal at HaiHai, a new restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis. Unfortunately, when the food and drinks were brought out to the table, I instantly attacked and inhaled everything placed in front of me. So, I have no images to share. But fear not, for I shall be at that restaurant again soon, because that food was insanely delicious.

Here’s a breakdown of what I ate and drank:

Next Up with gin
Fresh-pressed sugarcane juice, ginger, lime juice, Thai basil and gin
Indeed Bia Side (x2)
B-Side Pilsner with lemongrass, ginger and citrus peel
Fried wontons
Cream cheese, chicken liver pâté, passion fruit-chili sauce
Balinese chicken thighs
Coconut rice, coconut cream, kale, bean sprouts, samal matah, fried shallots
Silken tofu with lemongrass
Silken tofu in a lemongrass juice

The true winner of the meal for me was the fried wontons and Next Up. I’m not a big pâté fan, but these did it for me. I could probably drink the dipping sauce alone. The fruit and chili combination in the sauce works perfectly with the wontons and gave them a nice fresh feel.

I recommend skipping the desserts as they weren’t anything special. There was another dessert option that my boyfriend ordered: a layered jello concoction. If you’re a big fan of Vietnamese jello desserts, you may like that one more than we did. I find jello in all forms extremely overrated.

One thing to keep in mind is the limited seating. With no option for reservations (unless you have a big party), you may be waiting a bit before you sit down. However, I just grabbed a drink in the bar and was seated by the time I was done with my drink. The tables are pretty close together, so you may get cozy with the person next to you.

Overall, I’d give this place five out of five stars. The food was amazing (minus the desserts), the service was great and the drinks were delicious.

So, I got a dog

I finally did it – I got a dog. After years of planning, I finally took the plunge and got a pooch of my very own. However, the dog I got was definitely not the dog I imagined myself with. From the very start of my dog search, I said I didn’t want a puppy or a border collie. And what did I get? A border collie puppy, of course.

After setting up times to visit older dogs that I had been eyeing up for a couple months, I happened to come across a beautiful puppy named Jasmine on the Secondhand Hounds website. Surprising myself, I immediately reached out to the foster to see if I could set up a time to meet her. Since she’s a puppy on one of the most popular rescue websites in the Twin Cities, I never imagined she’d still be available. I mean, look at this face:

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Surprisingly, I was able to visit her the next day. And when I saw her, my heart melted. I knew that I needed to snatch this beauty up before anyone else got her. Two days later, I brought baby Aoife home with me. And we’ve both been loving it every since.

 

Celebrating Women in Science

Without a doubt, there have been some serious badass women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. No one understands this more than Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, a former neuroscientist herself.

In her latest project, Beyond Curie, Phingbodhipakkiya highlights 32 badass women in those fields. Below are a few of my favorites. Take a look yourself and learn about some women who have made a difference and enjoy some top-notch design work.

Maryam Mirzakhani

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May-Britt Moser

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Youyou Tu

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