Monday, October 20, 2014

Saturday in Deerfield, MA

This weekend, work took me to Historic Deerfield, which I didn't realize was a thing until I was quite literally in the middle of it, being mobbed by overweight tourists taking pictures of everything.  After a few hours of work, I started a slow wander around the village. You can pay to go into all of the historic homes, but photos aren't allowed and, to be honest, I'm not terribly interested in checking out a bunch of historic fireplaces and chairs.

I am, however, interested in pigs and fall foliage -

After a long wander in town, I decided to torture myself with the flagship Yankee Candle store, also in Deerfield.  I did not find the store all that compelling.  The candles themselves were over priced and the scents were no different than any other store.  It was fun to see them all in one spot, but not fun enough for me to forget the ridiculous prices.  The real draw for the store is all of the other things - the Christmas room, the cafeteria, the Vera Bradley section, the wax mold or your hands. Not interesting to me, but hey, it'll kill an afternoon if you need that.

Deerfield itself is definitely worth a visit, particularly in fall, but I'd bypass the Yankee Candle store, unless you are a passionate wax burner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vegetable Curry Soup

My drive to cook wanes pretty dramatically throughout the week, which means I create elaborate, delicious dinners Monday and end up eating carrots and crackers and whatever random bits of food I can get my hands on for dinner on Friday. To combat this, I'm trying to cook big, easy to manage meals on the weekends and saving them to eat during the week.  As it was raining and yucky on Sunday, I decided on soup.  I'm a vegetarian, so creating a meal with protein is important to me - the lentils and beans provide that, while the veggies mean tons of good vitamins and nutrition.  This recipe was adapted from Budget Bytes.

Curry Vegetable Soup

1 Onion
Garlic (to taste)
4 Carrots
1 Large Sweet Potato
1 cup Lentils
1 can Cannelini Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes
4 cups Vegetable Broth
Curry Powder (to taste, I used 2 tbsp)
Cinnamon (to taste, I used 1 tsp)

  1. Dice the onion and sauté it in a large stockpot over medium heat in coconut oil*
  2. Once the onions are getting soft, add the garlic and sauté for about 2 more minutes
  3. Chop the sweet potato and carrot into bite size pieces and add to the pot
  4. Cook everything together for a few minutes, then add the cannelini beans and tomatoes, both with their liquids
  5. Add the broth and the spices
  6. Raise the heat and allow the soup to boil before reducing the heat to low and letting it simmer for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and lentils cooked
  7. Eat immediately, or refrigerate, covered, for up to a week

*Coconut oil has a high smoke point and goes well with the curry, but if you don't have any on hand, olive oil or even butter would work (just be careful of the temperature)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life Right Now

This week was nuts. I travel a lot for work, up to a week at a time. Because my job is split between my office and residence life, being away for so long makes my world a little tough to manage.  Most of my office stuff can be taken care of from away (emails, scheduling, meetings etc), but my advisees and residents fall by the wayside when I can't be with them.  They manage just fine, I just hate that it makes the other adults in their lives a little more difficult, because I, as part of the care team, can't be there. Thursday was my last travel day for the fall, so I'm trying to figure out how to resettle into my world.  I started travel about 2 weeks after I accepted  my position, so this period feels a little like starting a whole new job - how to be in the office. I'm excited for the challenge.

Another thing that happened this week is that my parents went on vacation, leaving their dogs with me.  I adore all dogs, particularly mine, so I was and am really excited to have them here.  It's been a pretty big adjustment for all three of us, but I think it's gone well.  I live in a third floor walk up, much different than my parents suburban, single family home.  Even figuring out a bathroom routine is complicated, because it effectively requires a walk, every time.  That's been really different for me, because I don't normally leave my apartment so much after work.  Now, I'm going for a morning, midday, early evening, after dinner and before bed walk.  While it took some getting used to, it's been really, really fun. It's awesome for me to walk and move this much, and it was so amazing to come home for work to dogs that were super happy to see me. I've been talking about getting a puppy for a while and this week has shown me just how hard, and just how rewarding, it would be.

Monday, October 6, 2014


In my new fancy life of having a pay check and car payments and my own health insurance, I also have to figure out how to not spend all of my money on rose lipstick and cheap jeans.  Cue budgeting.  In the past, I've struggled with budgets, in that it works super well until Target has a sale.  This go around, the stakes are a little higher.  I've created a paycheck-based system, which I'm hoping will create high enough turnover that I don't lose focus.

 I'm fortunate to have a situation in which I could, pretty easily, never pay for food and rent is already not part of the equation.  I know it's a really different set up than most most postgrads, and I really am blessed.  Without going into too much detail (these interwebs are scary, twisted places), my budget is broken into Clothes, Personal, Food and Bills.  The bill category is by far the biggest (25% of my paycheck) and the three other categories together make up the other 25%. I'm able to save 50%, ish.  I also have a budget set up for travel and any additional money (birthday, extra work etc) will be used for splurges, so I'll figure that out as I go.

My financial goals are pretty standard.  I have a savings goal I'd like to hit ASAP, plus a few that will take me a while.  I'll post at the end of each pay period what I spent my discretionary budget on, to hold myself accountable.