With so much happening in the world around us — the Black Lives Matter protests, Pride Month, and, for me personally, riots in Cleveland and our move to Rhode Island — I want to take some time to slow down and show appreciation for the little things that brought me joy in the past month.
As much as I try to help by using my platform for good, I think it’s important to take a break from worrying about current events. It’s not your responsibility nor mine to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Is it our responsibility to hold ourselves and others accountable, be good allies, and take responsibility for the actions of our ancestors? Absolutely. But it’s not your responsibility to singlehandedly solve the world’s problems.
These problems — racism, homophobia — are inherently systemic, meaning it’s going to take a lot of us doing our part to make real change happen. In the meantime, I’m trying to do the best I can to be a good ally to the Black community and to speak out as a member of the bi community (f*ck bi erasure!) to support our Trans sisters.
At the same time, I think it’s healthy to take a break to sit back and enjoy the little things. Finding small moments of joy throughout your day doesn’t make you selfish or callous; it’s a coping mechanism that helps us get through times like these. That’s why I’m writing this post: it may seem like fluff, but I think we could all use a much-needed break from the news to read about something simple. Something joyful.
For me, that’s taking a moment to celebrate the little things that made me happy in June 2020, which has undoubtedly been a difficult month for all of us…. and, of course, taking a moment to share those things with you all 🙂
Trying Indian Food
Before you say anything, yes: I am aware how weird this is to include on a list of my favorite things this month. But I have become literally obsessed with Indian food over the past month, and I crave it almost every day. This is coming from me, who used to be one of the world’s pickiest eaters and was terrified of curry powder. So, what changed, you ask?
Being on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet to manage my endometriosis, ordering out is difficult for me. When we moved to Providence and didn’t have any food in our fridge, I quickly discovered that Indian takeout is one of the most allergy-friendly cuisines you can find. Many Indian restaurants have full vegetarian or vegan menus. The dishes are rice-based, so they usually don’t contain gluten, but most takeout places are happy to accommodate allergies and intolerances anyways.
My favorite dish has been vegetable biryani (though I did find out that there is a very small amount of dairy in it, as clarified butter or ghee — however, it doesn’t trigger a flare for me) but I will eat anything that’s made of rice, vegetables, and curry powder. We’re planning to make lentil dahl for dinner tonight, and I literally have never been more excited about throwing things in a pot.
Here is the recipe for lentil dahl we’re using (it’s endo diet-friendly!). This site, Budget Bytes, is one of my new favorites. Many of Beth’s recipes are vegan or dairy-free, with gluten-free options — but best of all, she includes a cost analysis of everything she cooks to help you save a couple of dollars while you’re at it. And, if you need an even quicker fix than this simple recipe, you can always try this frozen vegetable korma from Amy’s, which I loved. It’s vegan, organic, and loaded with anti-inflammatory spices and veggies, like turmeric, carrots, and cauliflower!
Discovering New Products
Throughout the stress of moving, my quest to replace my personal care products with organic and natural alternatives continues. (I’ve yet to find good alternatives for pore strips and clinical-strength deodorant, so if anyone knows of a brand, please share in the comments below!) We’ve gone to Target practically every day since we moved — we accidentally threw out a lot of things we needed when moving — and while there, I’ve found a couple of new favorite products.
I’ve talked about Target’s Good Chemistry line of fragrances, which is exclusive to their store, in previous blog posts. However, my favorite scent, Blue Jasmine, has since been discontinued, so I’ve had to switch. Thankfully, I quickly found a new favorite in Tiger Lily, which is a light floral scent for summer. At $10 a bottle, this body mist is an affordable alternative to those from Victoria’s Secret, which aren’t quite as eco-conscious as Good Chemistry.
I also rediscovered an old favorite, the Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream from Pacifica, which will cure any skin hangover. Pacifica is another affordable brand of skin and haircare that can be found at Target and Ulta. It’s perfect for replenishing moisture lost in the summer sun, without leaving greasy residue that could lead to breakouts. Plus, it smells like coconut-flavored frosting!
Finally, it’s warming up again — which means I’ll be slathering my English-Irish-Polish self in sunscreen until Labor Day, thank you very much! On my face, I’ve been using Coola’s Classic Face Sunscreen in the scent white tea, which smells like freshly mowed grass (weirdly, I’m into it). For my body, I’m a fan of spray-on sunscreen over liquid or cream types. To cut back on chemicals, I’ve chosen a mineral variety: Bare Republic’s Mineral Vanilla Coconut Continous Spray, which also comes in the scent Citrus Cooler. It’s SPF 50 (you should always use a minimum of SPF 30) and protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Just spray from a distance to prevent white residue!
Finding Doggie Daycare
Over the past three months of quarantine (wow, I can’t believe that it’s been a quarter of the year!), I’ve seen a lot of articles about being stuck at home with kids — but not many addressing the challenges of being home with your pet. That’s probably because most of us feel #blessed to see our furry friends more often. Then again, YOU try writing a 2,000-word blog post by the end of the day when your dog insists on chewing on the corner of your laptop for the next hour.
Before you judge me as a bad dog mom, I’d like to point out that our dog is a high-energy breed who tends to wreak havoc if he doesn’t get his exercise. When working from home, I don’t have time to exercise him as much as I’d like. So, since moving to Providence, we decided to try something a little different to get that excess energy out.
Now that David’s officially a doctor (!!) and back at the hospital, we’ve been taking Chandler to doggie daycare at K9 to Five, a daycare center in downtown Providence. If you are in the Providence area, I highly recommend K9 to Five. We’ve had a wonderful experience with the staff and Chandler seems to love going there as much as he loves seeing our faces when we pick him up. Sometimes, it’s difficult to get him to leave!
And, if you’re not in Rhode Island (which I’ll venture to say that most of you probably aren’t), I think it’s incredibly worth it to consider sending your dog to doggie daycare every once in awhile. Socializing your dog, especially when he is young, is incredibly important to raising a pup who gets along well with other dogs. Plus, it has practical benefits: having Chandler out of the house has made me much more productive while working from home, since I don’t need to worry about keeping an eye on him or taking him out, and it offers him a much-needed opportunity to run around off-leash.
My advice would be to find a local daycare center over a chain. Chains like Camp Bow Wow often leave dogs locked up in crates all day and make you pay extra for things like playtime and time outside. We’ve had a much better experience going with a local daycare — and who doesn’t feel amazing after supporting a small business?
Being Back in New England
I’ve mentioned a lot of stellar things that happened this month, but hands-down my favorite thing this month has been coming back to New England. Everywhere I look, I’m surrounded by Patriots and Red Sox bumper stickers. There’s a Dunkin’ on every corner, and none of that polite Midwestern driving I’ve become so accustomed to seeing in Cleveland. I’ve never been happier to get cut off in traffic or to chug down a caramel swirl!
Being close to my mom again is a huge bonus. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I don’t have a relationship with my dad. As a result, I am really close to my mom, which made moving to Cleveland difficult, to say the least. I’m happy to be back where I can see her more often, and have already been to her place twice in the past two weeks. (Sorry, Mom, for eating all your food.)
Moving isn’t all sunshine and butterflies. For one thing, the riots in Cleveland made it difficult for us to get out of the city in the first place. For another, there’s a lot to be done — we still don’t have WiFi in our new apartment, and probably won’t for awhile due to restrictions on in-home service during COVID-19. I gave up my amazing care team at Cleveland Clinic and will now need to find a new endometriosis doctor to manage my care.
At the end of the day, though, I’m happy to be home, and excited to be on this adventure with David. He has never lived outside of the Midwest (meaning Ohio and Pennsylvania), so I’m excited to show him more of the little corner of the country I call home. I love seeing all the places I grew up with again through his eyes. For one thing, I can’t wait to take him to the Roger Williams Park Zoo — and maybe even recreate some pics from my elementary school days!