Random Stuff List

January 24, 2016


Howdy, friends! How’s your Sunday? Are you ready for another exciting post featuring slow cooker recipes and photos of my cat? Let’s do this.

1. Errmmm, so today’s my 40th birthday. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I’m usually not one to get all freaked out about my birthday or my age, but, YOU GUYS, 40 sounds so ADULT. Like, at this age I should probably understand what the heck a mortgage is and how to program my thermostat. (Hint: I do not.) I mean, I still have to Google “how to boil a hard-boiled egg” every time I want a hard-boiled egg. Shouldn’t an adult already know that?

But, at least, I can stop feeling guilty about going to bed at 10 PM most Friday and Saturday nights. When I was in my twenties and thirties, that would have been considered lame. (Hint: I still did it.)

But now that I’m a 40-year-old grown ass lady, that’s just what we do. RIGHT, OTHER 40-YEAR-OLD GROWN ASS LADIES??? (Please tell me I’m right because I’ve basically hinged my whole 40-isn’t-going-to-be-so-bad life philosophy on that idea. That and the fact that I can start wearing my slippers in public because, whatever, I’M FORTY AND I WEAR WHAT I WANT.)

2. As a little early birthday present to myself, I went to a writer’s conference in Lansing yesterday. Because I know how to celebrate my birthday in style. (And by “in style” I mean “like the biggest nerd ever.”) This was my second writing conference ever, and I feel like the advice is kind of the same: sit down, shut up, write, keep writing, and don’t stop writing until you’ve finished writing. Oh, and then when you think you’re done, you need to start editing.


As basic as that sounds: it kind of helps to be reminded of that every couple months, you know? Especially that part about sitting down and shutting up and just writing already.

3. I finally got around to pounding nails into my new apartment walls this week. (Don’t worry. That is not a metaphor for anything.)

Here’s a little glimpse of my hallway with some artwork from Thailand, Brazil and Japan.


I promise to get a post up once the whole place is decorated. But first I have to wait until my interior designer (aka My Mom) shows up and helps me hang shelves.

Is that something else I’m supposed to know how to do by forty? Hang shelves by myself without making them all crooked and wonky? Because THAT ain’t happening.

4. My friend Beth at Portable Heart got nominated for a Liebster Award and she named me as one of her top travel bloggers. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she said I was really “consistent” at posting. I don’t know if I’d qualify my Sunday lists of slow cooker recipes and cat photos and the occasional non-random-stuff post as “consistent.” But I’ll take it!

Also, you should check out Beth’s blog because she writes beautifully. And you need to harass her to write more. You can tell her I said that.

5. A post I could have totally written myself: How to Waste Tons of Time and Not Accomplish Anything.

Except the part where she offers helpful tips on how to actually be productive.

6. I love this idea of writing a post of books that changed your life.

But I’m too lazy, so I’m just going to write my books here. They are: Jane Eyre, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Barrel Fever, The Devil in the White Cityand Bel Canto. 

What are yours?

7. I think I mentioned before that this year I want to work on making food that I would usually just buy because the idea of making it sounds super hard/time-consuming/like-it-will-interfere-with-my-binge-watching-tendencies.

Currently, I’m working on perfecting my pizza dough making powers. I used to just buy the pre-made crusts, but there is something so much more satisfying about rolling out your own pizza. I even attempted to throw it up in the air like they do at the pizza restaurants, but, yeah, that was NOT my best idea.


Next up: making my own broth. Bonus: it involves using my new slow cooker. (AKA: my one true love. Besides my cat.)

8. Speaking of my slow cooker (Does it seem like I’m ALWAYS speaking of my slow cooker? Probably because I am. I think this is also a sign of turning 40.), I made this cauliflower, sweet potato curry last week. And, OMIGOD, you guys, it made my apartment smell like a coconut milk and heaven all at the same time.


9. True story: The only time I ever got food poisoning while traveling was from a fancy-pants restaurant in Shanghai. Meanwhile, I ate tons of street food from ladies in dirty aprons with carts set up in the middle of dirt roads, and didn’t have a single problem.

Eating something on a stick... probably served to me from some dirty cart somewhere.

Eating something on a stick… probably served to me from some dirty cart somewhere.

But if you’re not like me and don’t have a stomach made out of cast iron. Or, say, you are actually concerned about the hygiene and safety of your food, this post on how to eat street food and not get sick is for you!

10. I promised you a photo of my cat, so here you go. Here she is sitting on the instructions for the bookshelves I put together this week because apparently paper is the comfiest.


Once she did get off the instructions, I realized I hadn’t been missing much because this was the instruction’s idea of a “helpful hint”:

Ummm, exploding view???

Ummm, exploded view??? Who knew DIY could be so dangerous?


Well, that’s it, friends. Now it’s your turn! Have any tips on how to be productive/ books that changed your life / slow cooker recipes / advice on how to turn 40 and not totally freak out? Let me hear ’em!


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On January 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm Jenny said:

    Loved your post, as usual!! Oh, and Happy birthday! By the way, I have to google how to cook a soft boiled egg every single time and I still don’t get it right most of the time. That’s why I usually use a reference egg, always the scientist.
    I recently gave up reading A Prayer for Owen Meany, as I felt it was really slow, but maybe I’ll give it a try again. Why do you like it so much?

    • On January 24, 2016 at 5:24 pm Sally said:

      For me, it was the ending… how he somehow managed to tie in all these elements that happened earlier in the book to make that ending work. I just thought it was so well-crafted. I remember just being stunned by it and thinking I’d never read anything like it before. Granted I read it a really long time ago (when I was in my teens), so I don’t know if I’d feel the same way about it now. I’m almost kind of scared to read it again because of that!

  2. On January 24, 2016 at 4:29 pm Aurora said:

    Yay! Happy happy birthday to you! As a recently turned 41 year old, my year of 40 confirms that you can do whatever you want when you turn 40. 40 is pretty bad-ass. Really, truly.
    Aurora recently posted..The end of the road

  3. On January 24, 2016 at 5:31 pm kathi g said:

    wishing you a happy birthday! And I’m 54 and still looking up “how to boil an egg.” Sorry ’bout that, but other than the egg thing and maybe a sweet little laugh line (or six), getting older is actually pretty cool. You get smarter and more confident, but you never really have to “grow up.”

  4. On January 25, 2016 at 2:15 am Kaori said:

    Haaaappy Birthdaaaaay!!! I hope you had an amazing day!

    I have no advice about turning older as I have yet to figure all this growing-up-thing myself…so I will just share some books that may have changed my life: Number the Stars, Much Ado About Nothing and Strangers from a Different Shore.

    Omedeto from Tokyo!
    Kaori recently posted..The January Link Love

    • On January 26, 2016 at 9:19 pm Sally said:

      Thanks for the book share. I’ve only read Much Ado (and didn’t really “read” it… just seen it a few times). I’ll have to check out your other 2 suggestions.

  5. On January 25, 2016 at 9:52 am Daina said:

    Happy birthday!! Age is but a number… However, going older means being able to go to bed as early as you like, and not feel at all guilty or uncool!

  6. On January 25, 2016 at 11:54 am Paula said:

    This post made me feel so much better! I’m not alone in the having to use Google every time I need to boil eggs! Happy Birthday Sally!
    Paula recently posted..What does it mean to be a geek?

  7. On January 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm Ken C. said:

    Happy Birthday! I have great [if somewhat dim] memories of my forties, which was decades ago.

    Your art-gallery walls look very lovely–nicely foreign and exotic.

    Good luck with the writing! [and the bookshelves]

  8. On January 27, 2016 at 3:32 am Roshni said:

    a belated Happy Birthday Sally!!! N don’t worry, googling to cook something just shows dedication to get it right;-)(that’s my mantra)
    Hope u had an amazing day

  9. On January 28, 2016 at 6:43 pm Linda Bergstrom said:

    Belated happy birthday from me too. I’ve been “Sundancing” as we do out in Salt Lake this time of year and my life is not my own lately.
    Did you get some cake? cake and beer? Donuts? Anything yummy besides that virtuous curry?


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