Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good Read | The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a cleverly composed story of sixteen year old Hazel Grace and her battle with terminal cancer while attempting to live and love in a world in spite of her diagnosis. In contrast to my initial pity and sadness for this fictional, though quite believable, character and her friends - it soon became apparent that neither Hazel nor the author sought to illicit this gut reaction.

Instead, the story offered the unexpected view of a group of teenagers, living their lives to the fullest and finding comfort in each other, the only people who can truly relate to their personal situations. At its core, The Fault in Our Stars offers a glimpse into a private world; it teaches us to live each day to the fullest, to love those who understand and comfort us, and to treasure the time we have in this life.

This was a paid review for Blog Her Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Last week was a tough one. I am lucky enough that such weeks are usually few and far between, but that does not make them any easier to handle during the thick of it. When two very, very type-A personalities share a small apartment, it can be chaos when both feel stressed out and overwhelmed at the same time. Even more, heavy, looming questions weighed on my mind – things like the roles we take on as we grow older, where life is heading and whether I’m ready, and dealing with that little voice that occasionally rears its ugly head with the question of being “good enough”.

Every afternoon in the solace of my office, after I finished my lunch and popped open my vacuum-sealed thermos of strong, black coffee, I wanted nothing more than the simple, comforting pleasures of a chocolate chip cookie. But not just any cookie, I wanted the chocolate chip cookies my mom used to make for our home-packed school lunches. She would mix up the dough and then spread it over a cookie sheet, instead of scooping out individual cookies, to save a few precious moments. In our house, they were just called “bars” and you could find them baking in the oven more weekends than not.


On Sunday, I finally gave into this craving and starting making my own batch of bars. Over the whir of the stand mixer, I began to realize I was not only craving the actual cookie, but also the process of creating something from scratch. More than anything, I craved the feeling of being a little girl again, without the stressors and negativity that sometimes come along with the independence of adulthood. I wanted to return, even just momentarily, to biting into a fresh-from-the-oven bar, taking a sip of ice-cold milk and feeling safe and totally comforted, with minimal worries on my mind.

But I found myself on the opposite side of the vivid image in my memory. Suddenly I felt just like my mother – whipping up a batch of fresh cookies between a million other responsibilities and a lengthy to-do list. While I might not handle my responsibilities as gracefully as her, it provided an unexpected comfort to know I am far from the only person who has felt the pressures of trying to achieve the perfect balance in life; trying to be the best everything to everyone.


As the timer beeped its warning, Mike emerged wide-eyed from his fort of GMAT prep books. A childish grin took the place of a former scowl, as he counted down the minutes until the bars had cooled enough for the molten chocolate to not burn his mouth.

Sometimes we need to comfort those we care about most in order to put our own lives back in perspective. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies


You know how native New Yorkers can tell I’m a transplant? Because I’m not complaining about the lack of cold or snow during this abnormally warm winter. No, no it’s true – apparently northerners really do like the cold! They like freezing temperatures and sprinting from the flannel sheets to the shower because the floor is so cold. They like trudging to work in thick, puffy jackets and heavy snow boots, with only their watery eyes peeking out between their hats and scarves. They like the chapped lips and cheeks and dry hair and cracking skin. It toughens you up! Makes you a true New Yorker!

Truth be told, I think these 40 to 50 degree days are just peachy. I also happen to know that if New Yorkers weren’t complaining about the lack of snow, they would instead be complaining about the presence of the stuff. Last winter was rather brutal, and since no snow and mild temperatures mean comfortable commutes to work, let’s just call it even. Deal?


Whatever your stance might be on the current mildness of winter, I think we can all agree that such a time of year begs for an afternoon coffee break with a sweet, spicy gingerbread cookie. These are especially comforting during late afternoon as the harsh winter sun is just beginning to set and the chillier nighttime temperatures are inevitable.

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