Favorites | On Friday

Friday, October 31, 2014

Crazy helpful tutorial on how to peel and cut a butternut squash.

The prettiest loaf pan I've ever seen.

I love reading idioms from other countries.

Cruelty-free shopping at Sephora made easy.

Some very relevant firsthand resume tips.

Angela's birth story was the most in depth I've ever read and brought tears to my eyes.

My new favorite YouTube channel (I watched like 10 of her videos in one day!).

You should probably make these perfectly fluffy "Halloween" cupcakes tonight for your party.

Happy Halloween and have a great weekend!

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cinderella Ate My Daughter,book,review,orenstein
Since early childhood, I could easily be characterized as a girly-girl.  At the age of three, I had every word to Ten Minutes Ago memorized (and still do!).  I watched Disney movies constantly, wanted to grow up to be as pretty as Sleeping Beauty, went through a phase in kindergarten where I refused to wear anything that was not a pink dress, and had a large collection of Barbies I played with until I was probably 12.  I still associate myself with that behavior as an adult- I'm a sucker for a good love story, continue to watch my collection of Disney movies, and walked down the isle to Once Upon a Dream.  So, when I learned about the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein,  my first thought was Why is this book trashing my childhood? and then, I need to read this book as soon as possible.

I read this book with a very open mind, as I am fully aware and can relate to the fact that Disney movies tend to pigeon-hole their female leads as beautiful, naive, quick to fall in love, willing to give up everything for their "true love", and depend on a man to save them.  I know, because I remember feeling that way as a young child.  The book begins with this premise and expands upon it with examples such as child beauty pageants, the history of pink, the American Girls craze, whether boys and girls really are biologically different, and the "new" Disney Princesses, including Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears.  

Although there were aspects of Cinderella that I could relate to and agree with, overall, I found the author's arguments and statements to be a bit contradictory and faulty.  I often found myself finishing a chapter thinking the conclusion would be one thing and instead be another.  For example, a chapter dedicated to the biology of boys and girls and whether they are really different or not, was particularly confusing.  It went into detail about various studies conducted, statistics computed, and information collected.  The entire chapter pointed to the fact that, YES, girls and boys are different, yet the conclusion was more something like, "so maybe boys and girls aren't so different after all".  I was left feeling perplexed.

Another aspect of Orenstein's voice that I found mildly disturbing was her use of body shaming words to describe little girls.  In the chapter about childhood beauty pageants, she refers to several of the contestants as "chubby".  In another chapter, she continuously describes her daughter's preschool friend as "fat".  As a female who has had her fair share of body image issues (let's be honest- we all have, right?), these words stung like a knife each time I read them.  In both situations, I felt that the words did nothing to improve the author's argument, and left me personally offended.  I found the chapter discussing the "new" Disney Princesses of Miley and Britney equally as unsettling.  Orenstein spends the entire chapter pointing the finger at these girls for being overtly sexual and not being positive role models for young girls.  Yet, at the end of the chapter, she is very explicit in her desire for her daughter (who is currently in grade school) to explore her sexuality, way before getting married, to find her pleasures, desires, and what makes her feel good sexually.  All I could think was, "Didn't you just spend 20 pages bashing girls who are (or were) exploring their sexuality?" 

Although it may seem through this review that I strongly disliked Cinderella, I found the subject matter very interesting.  It really made me think and explore my childhood, how I was raised, and how I would raise my potential daughter.  For instance, Orenstein spends an entire chapter on American Girls dolls, the over consumerism surrounding them, and how little girls are tricked into purchasing expensive items that are unnecessary.  When I was in grade school, I loved American Girls.  I read all of the books (my favorite was Kirsten), went to an American Girls Fashion Show and tea party with my mom and some friends, and lusted after my very own doll.  But guess what?  I never got one because they were too expensive.  I think an important aspect of this culture that was overlooked by the author is that parents play a very big role in how much they allow their daughters to be saturated with its overt messages and lemming mentality.  Yes, I played with Barbies, had my hairdresser aunt curl my hair like Ariel, and was a cheerleader for 10 years.  But, my parents did not spoil me with an abundance of over priced hot items, my dad told me that when I grew up I would be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (not a traditionally female occupation) and that I should never depend on a man, and never once did my mom ever go on a diet or make a body shaming remark about herself or anyone else.  It's all about balance.

In the end, I think Cinderella is a book for women to read and decide for themselves what they think.  It brings up a lot of questions that are interesting to explore from one's own upbringing and viewpoint.  I know that I will never try to dissuade my daughter from watching Disney movies, playing dress up, and wearing pink (and I'll do all of those things with her).  And, if she prefers things like legos, sports, and teenage mutant ninga turtles (?), that would be cool, too.  But, I will also spend every day teaching her how important it is to be a powerful woman and never to do things just because that's what the culture says you should do.  I happen to be a strong, independent, intelligent woman that loves the color pink, Hello Kitty, and fairy tales.  And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Early Morning Autumn Walk

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As much as autumn holds bittersweet feelings for me, there is one aspect which I absolutely adore.  It's the decorations.  Some people love Christmas decorations, but me, I prefer the Halloween variety.  Every morning when Mina and I go for our hour long walk, I gaze affectionately at all of the dressed-up homes in my neighborhood and admire the dedication, creativity, and classy ways in which individuals represent the popular autumn holiday on their properties.  And then I think, One day, my house will look this good. 

Oh, and Mina loves the leaves.

From the Weekend | The Perfect Autumn Weather

Monday, October 27, 2014

I mentioned before that I have mixed feelings when it comes to fall.  I love it for the warm colors and bright sun.  I love it for the beauty of the trees and changing of the leaves.  On the perfect autumn day, these attributes shine and make everyone wish it could be fall forever.  This weekend was one of those times.  The mornings were crisp, but a lingering of summer could still be felt.  At night, it remained warm from the heat of the sun.  Walks through the neighborhood were scenic, with nature and house decorations working together to create the most magical landscape.  It was lovely in the best possible ways.  

Happy Monday!

Favorite | On Friday

Friday, October 24, 2014

I love strong women.

In my dream life, I'd eat nothing but fancy peanut butters.

And fudgy nut butter brownies.

I finally found the name for my design aesthetic- soft modern.

Richa's highly anticipated cookbook is the #1 best seller in Indian cooking, Food and wine.  I am so happy for her!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

wild, cheryl strayed, book, review

Wild is a book that a grade school friend suggested I read after I finished #GIRLBOSS.  The only thing I knew when I began reading it is that the movie version is coming out this fall and that it looks like a female version of Into the Wild (one of my most favorite books/movies of all time).  Since I have been concentrating on reading non-fiction books, particularly ones centered around a feminine narrative, Wild had the necessary elements to get me interested.

The autobiographical story is centered around a young woman, named Cheryl Strayed, who decides to hike a part of the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail which spans from the border of Mexico up to Canada.  Strayed begins her hike, which lasts about 100 days, in California, bypasses a specific section due to deep snow, and ends at the border of Oregon and Washington.  Wild is the story of her life affirming hike, the experiences she had, and the people she met along the way, interspersed with flashbacks to her childhood, family, and marital issues that inspired her to take the trip in the first place.

I enjoyed the book from the very beginning, but had a difficult time sympathizing with the author (except in regards to the death of her mother).  Perhaps it was the voice in which she wrote the book that made her come across as slightly over dramatic and entitled.  However, she definitely grew on me over time as I was able to relate more to her feelings and emotions.  I felt like we are both so different, but similar at the same time.

The one thought that kept coming into my mind while reading Wild was my high regard to the author for challenging herself to hike the PCT for 100 days, completely alone, with a goal of what she wanted to accomplish.  The message and lesson of Strayed's story is very empowering and inspiring, and I found myself consistently relating it back to my life.  Although I hesitate to ever call myself a risk taker, over the last 1.5+ years I have taught myself to no longer allow fear stop me from fulfilling my goals and dreams.  Sometimes we need a life altering experience to make us change directions in life, or maybe we just need to let go of the internal struggle that has been holding us back the whole time.  Wild has inspired me to look at potential experiences and life decisions with a new outlook and fully grasp that fear is a very real emotion that is should empower, rather than stifle, me.

Date Night | 11

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On Friday, Dayv and I had our 11th date night this year.  I had been looking forward to it the entire week, and left work asap to get the evening started.  First, we went to our usual restaurant, Blue Sage, for dinner.  The menu changed extensively since the last time we had been there, and several options that I usually order are no longer available.  So, I was forced to mix it up and try something new!  I ordered the Chiles Con Pepitas which are empanadas filled with roasted red pepper and pepita pesto, served with toybox tomato and avocado relish, and pickled white lima beans.  It was delicious.  I savored every bite, wishing the serving was more generous, and was sad when it was gone.  Dayv got his usual Carnival Squash, which is luckily still on the menu.

After dinner, Dayv and I went to the movies and saw Gone Girl.  Neither of us knew anything about the movie, except that David Fincher directed it, and we're both big fans of his work.  The storyline was extremely interesting and bizarre.  I could not anticipate any of the turns that the plot took, and the end left me feeling mystified.  I can totally understand why people that have read the book would not be interested in seeing the movie, and vice versa. The story is so intricate and suspenseful, and once you know what is going to happen, all of the excitement dissipates.  I really enjoyed it, as did Dayv.  When the movie ended, he immediately turned to me and said, "I can't believe they made a movie about us!  That's plagiarism!  We should sue."  I burst out laughing and we kept the gag going for the rest of the way home.  
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