Things Aren’t Always Picture Perfect, Spills Happen

Last week I had the opportunity to grab dinner with two of my good friends from my old office.  Thrilled to catch up on the latest news, we took the opportunity to go to one of our favorite restaurants in the city, Le Diplomate.

If you know DC, you know Le Dip.  My best friend, Jaclyn, and I used to have a standing, post SoulCycle, brunch date there every weekend, ordering the warm shrimp salad and champagne rose like regulars.  Since she has left DC, my Le Dip experiences have become less frequent, but even more cherished.  (Jaclyn, please come back!)

So, while perusing the menu over a glass of bubbles, I decided to shake up my order and go for the steak frites.  Born and raised in the Midwest, I have been a carnivore since birth.  Any opportunity to order a good steak is hard to pass up, and anything you order at Le Diplomate is guaranteed to be good.  So, as we eagerly awaited our meal we spent time sharing our most recent, newsworthy information with one another, laughing, gasping, and nodding in agreement.  When the food did arrive, it was nothing short of picture perfect (although we restrained).  Now, before I continue, what you must know is that I am a Goddard.  Why might that be relevant?  Because it means I come from a long line of elegant people who manage to spill at nearly every meal.  (Seriously, I think its genetic.)  True to fashion, not four bites into my fantastic dinner, my steak did some sort of inexplicable twitch, and, in the blink of an eye, juice was down the front of my jumpsuit.  Now, you would think that after 27 years I would be relatively used to this scenario, but I’m not sure a clotheshorse, which I am, ever becomes used to constantly having near ruinous experiences with her most prized possessions.  In fact, the possibility of ruining clothes has, at times, pushed me to order two of things, knowing that inevitably one will get ruined.  And, (pro-tip) if you’re going to take a picture with me, best to do at the beginning of the adventure.

After a moment of shock, I stayed relaxed, laughed it off, and enjoyed the rest of my evening.  Upon getting up to leave the table, I had a two second internal pep talk, telling myself to throw my shoulders back and march home, head high (in reality, its not like anyone is going to notice or care).  However, as soon as I was in the door of my apt, I was simultaneously on the phone to my mother and googling to see if there was any way or chance my jumpsuit could be saved.  Raising me has given my mother nothing short of a Ph.D. in stain removal.  Fortunately, she told me to take a deep breath and run the jumpsuit under ice cold water (I actually used an ice cube).  This did manage to get all of the coloration out of the stains.  She then instructed me to take a tiny drop of Dawn dish soap (“remember, Dawn is used to get oil off of baby birds, Mercy”) diluted in water and gently rub to remove any remaining grease.  By some miracle I was able to execute her instructions and save the jumpsuit.  But, the fact remains, spilling and staining your clothes is a fact of life.  It may not be something we highlight or Instagram, but it happens to everyone (some more often than others).  When it does happen, don’t let it ruin your night, stay chill, keep your head up, call your mother, and always know a good drycleaner.

ACAI YOU LOOKIN’ MY WAY

Anyone, short of a recluse, knows that acai bowls are all the rage these days.  But, what makes these delicious bowls so great, is that while they are incredibly trendy, they are also incredibly good for you.  So when my good friend Laura (@akalekitchen) invited me over the other night to make acai bowls and catch up I was stoked (seriously, I think I used 6 exclamation points to say yes).  I know that if anyone is going to know how to make a good acai bowl its Laura, and I have been dying to start making these delicious mixtures at home.  While quinoa salad may be my staple, life isn’t complete if you don’t have (healthy) savory AND sweet options.  So, I was beyond thrilled when Laura offered to teach me her ways, and I am excited to share the secret here, with you.  While making these tasty (and surprisingly easy) concoctions for yourself may not compare to girls night with champs and gossip, they don’t fall too far short.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Navitas Goji Berries
  • Navitas Cacao Nibs
  • Navitas Hemp Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Frozen Berries (I like to use a berry medley, but that’s a personal preference)
  • Sambazon Frozen Acai (they come in frozen one serving packets)
  • Almond Milk
  • Almond Butter (I use Justin’s)
  • Fresh Fruit (I like to use raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 1 Banana

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In blender combine:
    1. 1 Sambazon Frozen Acai packet, frozen berries (about 2/3 cup), almond milk (about 1 cup), ½ banana, 2 large spoonfuls almond butter (I actually split this 50/50 between almond butter and peanut butter, whatever works for you)
      1. The more almond milk you use the runnier the mixture, the more almond/peanut butter you use the thicker. I eyeball all measurements.
  2. Blend until completely mixed and smooth
  3. Pour into large cereal bowl
  4. Add on top: fresh berries, goji berries, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, and chia seeds
    1. Amounts are not exact, whatever looks good to you
  5. Stir, and enjoy!

Quinoa Salad is Life

quinoa salad

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing

  • 1 lime (zested, juiced)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)

Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa (Ancient Harvest, Organic White Grains)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 can whole kernel sweet corn (drained, rinsed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained, rinsed)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In medium saucepan combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil.  Once it starts to boil, reduce to low heat and cover for 15 minutes
  2. Make the dressing: In small bowl zest and juice one lime. Add sugar, olive oil, and melted butter.
  3. Dice 3 tomatoes
  4. After the quinoa is done pour it into a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over and mix so that quinoa is completely coated. Add diced tomatoes and mix.  Add rinsed black beans and corn.  Again, mix. Voila!
  5. Enjoy and Keep refrigerated.

 

So far this summer, I have largely filled my Instagram stories with various pictures of my quinoa salad.  Literally, story of my life.  This particular quinoa salad has come to be the staple dish in my diet.  For me, “look good, feel good” requires several elements: food that makes me feel good, exercise that makes me feel like I’m going to die, but ultimately makes me look good, and clothes.  Making this quinoa salad recipe marks a shift in my eating habits.  Since becoming an adult, my body seems to have taken on the role of my mother in regulating what I eat.  So, while I love to snack on a pack of Oreos, I know my body is going to make me feel awful for it.  Sadly, gone are the days when I can survive on sugar.   As a result, I have stopped fighting this fact, and have started looking for healthy options that I don’t hate.  This is by far my favorite one.  I hope you enjoy it, too!

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Shopping Inspo Reevaluated

ballerina

So, in case you didn’t pick up on it from the last post, where I mentioned being on the phone with my mother (.5 seconds after leaving SoulCycle) during the flip-flop fiasco, my mom and I are super close.  I was a miracle baby birthed at 40+ and only child, I think that pretty much explains everything you need to know.  So, yesterday I casually posted this photo to my Instagram stories and promptly received a concerned phone call from my mother.  She wanted to know why I had purchased an adult tutu.  Lets just say there was concern in her voice for my mental wellbeing.  Laughing, I explained to my mother that I had actually purchased this “tulle ball skirt” from J.Crew some months ago, but it had been backordered.  By the time it arrived I couldn’t really remember what I had ordered and so it sat in its package on the floor of my bedroom for several weeks before I suddenly remembered and opened it, yesterday.  At this point, to paraphrase Céline Dion, it was all coming back to me now.  I remembered seeing all the pictures this spring of adult ballerina skirts and how fabulous I thought the trend was, which had motivated the original purchase.  At this point my mother interjects with the comment, “so you weren’t drunk when you bought this?”  To which I thought I was being reassuring when I said, rather horrified, “Mom, please, no.”  What I didn’t realize was that my mother was actually hoping this was a drunken purchase so to better explain the slip in rational thinking her 27-year-old daughter had had in ordering a pink tulle ball skirt.  This left me laughing out loud as I tried to explain that this was “a thing” … a look, a trend, a socially acceptable, if slightly irrational, purchase.  Unconvinced, my mother suggested I could wear it on Halloween and we ended our conversation.

The conversation was over, but it gave me pause as I realized she had a point.  Today, we find inspiration from seemingly average strangers on Instagram and Pinterest (don’t even lie, you know you do it, too).  So how do we know when to go after the trend or let it pass us by with a nod of admiration?  I don’t have the answer, obviously, I bought the skirt.  And I don’t regret it.  I know myself well enough to know I’ll find an occasion for it, and I cannot wait.  However, I will also be a bit more thoughtful next time I peruse social media for my purchasing inspiration.

In case you feel the need to also impulsively purchase this beautiful skirt, or you actually have somewhere you can wear it coming up on your calendar… here is where you can find it: https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/skirts/maxi/tulle-ball-skirt/G3512?color_name=neon-orchid#opi2629565966

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Who am I and Why should you care?

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The first question I pose here is superficially easy.  My name is Mercy, I am 27 years old (terrifying), and I live in Washington, DC.  I grew up in a lovely family in northern Illinois, I proudly attended the University of Southern California (Fight On), and graduated in 2012.  I then continued on to law school at Notre Dame, mostly because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and I thought three more years would buy me (literally) plenty of time.  Also, pretty much everyone in my family is a lawyer, so if I wanted to be taken seriously at family meetings or Christmas dinner, a respected advanced degree was necessary.  Following law school and the bar exam (which I passed, thank heavens) I confessed that I had absolutely no interest in actually being a lawyer, but, bright side, knew where I wanted to live.  I had spent my last semester of law school interning for the NCAA in Washington, DC (yes, I am a sports fanatic), and had totally fallen in love with the city.  So, I packed my bags and moved.  There I decided I was going to start a journey to “find myself.”  A concept which I had spent the first 25 years of my laugh mocking, before realizing I had no idea who I was or what I hoped to accomplish with my life.  This lasted a few weeks before I was offered an internship in a Congressional office, which turned into a job, where I stayed for 18 months.  By this time I had just turned 27, I was chewing my cuticles bloody and calling my mom on a regular basis to explain that while I understood I had a job thousands of people would die for, I was miserable.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the job’s fault.  I made friendships I can’t imagine my life without, and I truly believe everything happens for a reason.  But a career “on the Hill” was, alas, not for me.  So, in April, I inexplicably quit.  Since then I have spent three months dodging all questions related to “so, what do you do,” while spending time with my family and friends, and getting myself into the best shape of my life (okay, honestly, probably best shape since high school).  However, the question of what do I want to be when I grow up still eludes me.  How is it I can look around at all my friends, swimming like fish, careers taking off, conquering the world, and I’m still taxiing for takeoff, destination unknown.  But, since when did “what do you do” come to define who we are? So, who am I?  Well, I’m quite happily me.  What do I do?  That’s yet to be answered.

Why should you care?  Well, that’s entirely up to you, and if you don’t want to, I certainly won’t be offended, feel free to continue along, no comments necessary, thank you, bye.  However, I will take a second to try to give you a few reasons to stay… Over the years, I have had a lot of internships and summer jobs, several of which have focused almost exclusively on learning about the “millennial.”  Who knew our generation was such a fascinating (and, to some, terrifying) beast?!  Well, it is.  Entire industries have conducted studies to figure out how to relate to, market to, interact with, and understand “the millennial.”  Companies are panicking as we enter the workforce and struggling to understand how we operate.  Part of me finds this strangely hilarious, part of me finds it completely fascinating.  But, as a millennial, I guess I find our behavior normal, even if I can also see how it breaks from tradition.  Some say we are superficial, and I am not totally sure that assessment is wrong.  Between Instagram and Snapchat, and the rest of social media (most of which I actually don’t know how to use), we are consumed with displaying ourselves publicly in the best light possible.  But, the reality is, we are all humans, like the generations before us and those yet to come, and we all put our pants on the same way.  (Is that actually a saying?  I heard someone say it once and it resonated, but I am not sure if it’s a real thing.)  So I want to use this space to share my reality.  Yes, I have embarrassing moments… such as, the other day, when my flip-flops broke in the middle of crossing the street (in a very trendy area) while I was jaywalking, drinking an iced chai, and talking on the phone to my mom. I totally panicked, considered changing my name and moving to Siberia.  Did anyone see me?! Obviously.  Do I know anyone who saw me? Please, I hope not.  Is there a car coming? If there was, it didn’t hit me.  Yes, the panic went in that order, sorry, I’m basic and that’s how my mind works.  And while just sharing my embarrassing moments would be humorous (for you), what I really want to do is provide a snapshot of [real] life.  What are my interests? Sports, fashion, food, work out classes, travel, animals, and the people that make it happen.  What are the trends in those areas.  How am I, a fairly average millennial, following or not following those trends.  A diary of sorts, if you will.  If that sounds even remotely interesting, feel free to follow along!