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make this now

i hate doing dishes. 

i'll seriously clean bathrooms before i do dishes. least favorite household chore.

that's why one-pan meals are so awesome.

this delicious, satisfying healthy meal is perfect for chilly fall evenings. and it's foolproof.

first things first: mise en place aka get your shit together. chop up one onion, peel and dice one sweet potato and prepare the kale. that means rinsing, removing the tough middle rib piece and chopping. 

next, cook about a pound of ground meat. i love turkey thigh because it's flavorful without being fatty. but this recipe is so versatile, so forgiving, that you could use anything: beef, chicken, even seitan or another meat-free alternative.

back to the recipe. when i cook ground meat, i turn the heat up to medium-high/high for about two minutes to get the pan nice and hot. then i add just a dribble of olive oil, and dump the meat in the non-stick pan. THEN DON'T TOUCH IT. 

just let it cook for a few minutes WITHOUT MOVING IT and it'll caramelize nicely and get some of that delicious golden brown color on it. at this stage, you should add about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper. 

once the meat is cooked, drain off the fat if you need to and set aside in a bowl.

now it's time to cook the prepared veggies. 

add a bit more olive oil to the pan, let it heat up for a second and then add ONLY the onion and sweet potato. season with another teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon of pepper. cook until the onions are translucent and the potato softens, about five minutes.

once they're cooked, add the meat back and season the entire dish with two teaspoons of curry powder. any curry powder works. if the curry you're using is mild, you may want to add a few small dashes of cayenne.

once everything is back in the pan, toss in the kale. i used one large bunch here. it will look like a lot, but it wilt.

and that's it! give it a taste for seasoning and you're done! dinner is served. you could even throw a poached egg on top, but that's another dish to wash. your call.

this is one of those feel-good dinners. it's filling, inexpensive, warm and super good for you. make this and you can check dinner off the list for tonight. 


i ugly cried in the shower this morning. 

tomorrow is our sweet jake's first birthday and i can't help but reminisce about the past year and remember how i was feeling last october.

i didn't expect to be this emotional. i didn't see those tears coming. i was getting ready like normal and he crossed my mind as he does a thousand times a day. and i shed some happy, ugly, unexpected tears.

how do you describe what it's like being a new parent? i read other people's descriptions of parenthood that are so beautifully elegant and witty. every time i've tried to write about jake coming into our lives, it sounds more along the lines of, "me parent now. sometimes fun. sometimes hard."

so i haven't tried. 

but tomorrow is his birthday. and because i'm a nostalgic person, my mind is transported back to october 24, 2013, the day before he came. 

i had a scheduled c-section. i thought knowing exactly when he was going to come would make me less anxious. i was wrong about that. i remember that morning: piercing blue sky and vibrant fall colors. i remember driving to pick up my sister from union station, thinking "is this for real? am i going to actually not be pregnant anymore?" i was terrified. 

does that word sound too strong? i'm removed from the situation now but i'm positive that's how i was feeling back then. i held it together because i was still pregnant and because i was certain that any negative feelings or over-the-top anxiety would affect my baby in some way. i don't know. like i said. terrified.

at the hospital, the nurse had a horrible time putting in the IV. when i look back at at day, it's almost funny because the most painful thing i experienced was getting that damn IV in. 

i had walk to the operating room by myself. bob couldn't come in until after the epidural was in place. i almost didn't make it. i wanted to tell my doctor, "just kidding! let's do this another time!" the operating room was so bright and metallic and cold. i'd never had surgery before. terrified.

the c-section was an odd experience. and one that i had a lot of conflicting emotions about after the fact. the drugs made me loopy. not out of it completely, but i wasn't myself either. the two things i remember most were the extreme nausea and the tugging sensations. 

when they pulled him out, the first thing i remember saying is, "is that him? he looks so weird."

that's not what moms are supposed to say. i was terrified i was doing it all wrong already. after i was out of the operating room--still loopy, still nauseous--i remember crying to bob, telling him i wasn't sure if i loved jake enough. the only thing i'd ever heard new moms say was that they loved their little one more than anything. immediately. 

i loved him, of course, but i wasn't sure if i was doing it right. was i enough for him? was i feeling it strong enough? 

i'd always wanted to be a mom, but maybe i wasn't cut out for it. 

but that overwhelming, fierce, mama bear type of love did come. it came fast and without warning and it was all consuming. 

he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. i can't explain how i got to that point. from terrified to completely taken, but i did.

the first night back from the hospital was hard. the first few weeks were exhausting. i was sore and tired and hormonal and puffy and still not myself--physically or emotionally. 

it got better. i got better.

when bob's paternity leave ended, i was again terrified to be left alone with him all day. just me and him? all day? 

but i handled it and jake and i bonded and that time we had will always be very special to me. i developed confidence as a mom. i found oceans of patience when i'd always  been more of a thimbleful girl.

when jake was 8 weeks old, we traveled to charleston for christmas. even though we left at the crack of dawn, we ran into hellish traffic and after almost three hours, we'd only made it as far as fredericksburg(normally about an hour away).

jake was upset. hungry, probably bored, ready to get out. i was feeling the same way. in the middle of him crying, we locked eyes and he grabbed my finger. there was something in the way he looked at me where i just felt like he knew me. he knew i was his mama and we were in this shitty situation together but we'd be ok.

i'll never forget that moment as long as i live.

a lot of time has passed since that day in the car. i feel connected to him in a way that's difficult to put into words. he's the sunshine of my life, as stevie wonder would say.

i absolutely do not believe that having kids makes you a better person or gives you a reason to live. all those stupid things people tell you when you're pregnant. having kids is an extremely personal choice and there's lots of reasons and ways that life can be awesome.

but it turns out that for me, he's my reason.

happy first birthday baby boy. your mama loves you more than anything. i can't wait to watch you fly.

practically perfect

when you find a cut, style or fit that's flattering on you, you take it.

of all the sleeve lengths, this one that hits slightly above the elbow (too long to be called short sleeve, not long enough for 3/4 sleeve) is a winner for me. i love the boxy shape of these shirts too. it works well with skinny pants and pencil skirts.

here are a few i have my eye on.

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since a lot of these tops are made with thicker fabric, they're great for fall weather. just throw a jacket on top and you'll be comfortable as the temperature swings from 50 to 70 during the day.

i'm having a hard time resisting that grey quilted one. oh boy.