Monthly Slice: January

A little slice of January…

Highlights: Friends and nature! Two of my favorite people were in from out of town at the beginning of the month! They are more athletic than I am, so we went hiking at Pinnacles National Park, where I’ve never been before. It was spectacular. But later on I found out that tarantulas live here and had a retroactive panic attack, trying to remember if I had stuck my hands into any holes that could have been spider cottages. (Okay, I’m not totally sure where tarantulas live, but I can’t google it because then photos come up and I have nightmares).

Pinnacles National Park

We also always go to Point Lobos State Reserve, which is just five minutes down the road and is absolutely gorgeous (and I’m pretty sure there are no tarantulas, just lazy seals and seabirds.)

Point Lobos

In the kitchen: Last week it was rainy and grey, and I suddenly decided I wanted to make scones. (If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my excessive documentation of the scone-making in my Instagram stories.) They were perfect for a cozy rainy day. I used this recipe (it’s in French, but this one is very similar).

Except I did something stupid — I preset the oven to 200, measured out everything, cut out the scones, put them to cook, and they weren’t even nearly done after 20 minutes. What did I do wrong? OH! I forgot to convert the oven temperature to Fahrenheit. #facepalm

What I’m listening to: The only thing I like about going to the gym (I’ve been going for a month, where are my effing endorphins?) is that I get to listen to podcasts. I used to listen to podcasts all the time when I was home alone cooking or cleaning, but since we moved to California I almost never have the occasion to catch up on my favorites (until now).

This month I started listening to Homecoming; the way lifestyle bloggers were raving about it, I was expecting something as riveting as Serial, but I didn’t really get into until the fourth episode. It’s intriguing, but some of it feels a little contrived. Have you listened to it?

Best purchase: Clothes from Grana! I almost never buy new clothes but I’ve been wanting to order from Grana for awhile, and I thought it would be nice to own more than one t-shirt that I actually like. (Now I just wear my two Grana t-shirts all the time. Hopefully no one at school will notice.)

They’re similar to Everlane (quality minimalist products with lower mark-ups than retail) but they are a bit less expensive (silk shirt from Everlane: $88, silk shirt from Grana: $49). They also ship to a lot of European countries (including France), which Everlane does not. (And somehow they managed to get my order from Hong Kong to California in less than 48 hours. Very impressive.)

The one negative thing I learned about Grana is that you have to snap up what you want while it’s available in your size/color. I delayed ordering because I am bad at spending money, and in the meantime the shirt I really really wanted ran out of stock in my size. I was irrationally upset about being deprived of reasonably-priced silk, and Hugo had the nerve to say, “Sweetie, it’s just a shirt” which only enraged me further. (I took a deep breath and got TF over it like a grown up.)

You can get 10% off at Grana if you use my referral link. (I’ll get $20 in store credit, thank youuuuu!!!)

Blogging: I’ve been linking up with #AllAboutFrance (hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo) for awhile; it’s fun way to connect with other bloggers. I recently discovered the #FarawayFiles link-up, hosted by Erin of Oregon Girl Around the World, Clare of Suitcases and Sandcastles, and Katy of Untold Morsels, and they are so welcoming to new bloggers! I’ve discovered some great blogs, and I love sharing travel posts I’ve written since those don’t usually get a lot of love. It’s a weekly link-up, so I hope I’ll have time to keep participating regularly once school starts up again.

I’ve also been messing around with my blog design, which is a little tricky since I don’t have access to the CSS. I don’t think I’ll ever get it the way I want it unless I switch to, but it seems overly self-indulgent to do that when I barely have time to blog in the first place.

Here is a great resource for customizing your blog if you’re not an HTML pro.

What I’m reading: I spend a gazillion hours every day reading the internet but I never read novels anymore, and that makes me feel sad and a little stupid, so I went to the library and got some books. I’m currently working on The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Have you read it?

Current favorite Trader Joe’s snack: Toss up between Sour Cream & Onion Corn Puffs and Veggie and Flax Seed Tortilla chips with Spicy Hummus.

At the Pinnacles with Hugo, my partner in hummus-devouring

It goes without saying that a lot of really shitty things happened at the end of January. I don’t really want to get into it. It makes me sick. I’m also awed by the solidarity people have shown worldwide. I was amazed to see people marching all over the world in the Women’s March. This fury-fueled global protest is the only thing that gives me hope.

A little more Point Lobos, because nature is soothing and I need that right now

In February I’ll be back at school, aka as busy as those bees guarding the rosemary bush in the front yard (I swear they buzz louder when I lean in to rip off a sprig. It’s downright menacing.) I’m also going on an extreme health kick for a few weeks, so next month I’ll tell you if I survived. (If you don’t hear from me, well, then you’ll know.)

What are you looking forward to this month?

9 thoughts on “Monthly Slice: January

    1. Haha I do enjoy your baking stories!! And I was so pleased before the oven snafu, I set the scale to grams and everything and did the proper measurements, but still NO. I think the secret benefit was that the second batch was sitting on the counter longer than they would have, and they puffed up really nicely compared to the first batch (or maybe that’s just because I baked them at the right temperature…)

  1. Your scones look so yummy! We made that mistake once in Canada, fortunately I was there to guess that the AirBnB stove did not measure in Celsius before we spent the whole evening waiting for dinner to cook.

    I feel you on the limitations. I used to pay for a domain and use, but like you, it’s just not really an expense I can justify.

    SO jealous of those snacks. France is still lacking in the snacks department.

    1. I LOVE Trader Joe’s snacks! This month I’m doing a Whole 30 for health reasons so no chips and hummus for me until March 😦 Now I’m thinking about all my favorite French snacks. Mostly what comes to mind is Monster Munch, haha. (I’m the only person who loves Monster Munch!!) But I also really like those Tuc crackers with the bacon inside (they are probably not the healthiest). And Comté!!! …Now I’m hungry. 🙂

  2. Just the thought of tarantulas is enough to give me the heebie jeebies – I’ve never understood (and likely never will!) why some people like to keep them as pets… The scenery looks stunning though, so different to the landscapes I have at home in the UK. When I went home at Christmas I felt like I hadn’t read much (aside from endless student papers, haha) so I’ve been making full use of the university since returning to Lyon. I’m trying to be disciplined and read some books in English and some in French… though I tend to draw the line at the 200 word limit for the latter! It’s only the first full week back here for me, but I’m already looking forward to the “vacances d’hiver” later this month as I’m planning to explore Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes a bit more 🙂

    1. I should read more in French too, but I find it tricky to pick the right book. I can power through a mediocre book in English but I can’t get motivated to read a book I don’t enjoy in French. I personally think that student exams are a literary category of their own! I wrote down so many little things that made me giggle as I was marking but I hesitate to publish them because I don’t want it to seem like I’m making fun. Your February travel plans sounds great!! I wish I had explored more outside the Lyon-Grenoble-Annecy triangle. Everyone always says how beautiful Auvergne is. Have a great time, and bon courage until then!

      1. That’s exactly the problem I struggle with – if it’s a bit lacklustre in English then I’ll just power through, but when it’s lacklustre and takes extra effort to read it… well, let’s just say the motivation fades rapidly! If you’ve got any recommendations for good French books, I’m all ears 🙂 The exams I marked (especially the translation papers) really were in a world of their own – I got more entertainment than I’d bargained for out of them! I’ve really not done much travelling so far this time in France, but having planned everything for the term over Christmas I’m hoping to have a bit more free time to get out and about. Hope your studies are going well!

      2. I’m VERY impressed that you’ve already planned out everything for the term. That was always my plan, but…

        It’s been ages since I read a French novel, but when I was in Paris a friend lent me a book by Amélie Nothomb that I really enjoyed. I think her style is kind of particular, but I liked it because it was interesting, modern, and not too long. There’s a bookstore on Presqu’île that always has recommended books out – maybe you’ve been by it before. (Although sometimes there are too many recommended titles and it gets overwhelming!)

      3. It’s definitely making term time less stressful already (though half the battle is keeping up with CervoPrint’s advance deadlines!) Thanks for the author recommendation, I’ll keep an eye out – “not too long” is always a good omen!

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