Inspired.

Often caught up in the same-old same-old day-to-day, I love when I stumble upon things “regular” people are doing that make me smile, inspired, or both. Most of my happy stumbling accidents occur through the blogosphere, which makes me laugh about how I used to think blogs were dumb. Not so, former un-enlightened self, not so.

Here are the two that dropped in my lap today. Oh, and I put “regular” in quotes because, in all honesty, these people aren’t really all that regular. But, at the end of the day, they’re people, just like me, and they put their pants on one leg at a time, too, as the old saying goes.

#1. Every Thursday I get GOOP’ed by Gwyneth Paltrow. I know, I KNOW-she’s not the regular gal up the block. But, she inspires me. She’s a renaissance woman through and through. Sometimes her GOOP’ed articles frustrate me because she promotes really expensive products, restaurants, shops, etc. that are out of reach for 99.9% of her audience. But, all the same, I think (without having met her) there is a level of genuine-ness there that transcends her fame. And the way she talks with such admiration of her late father tears my heart out and makes me smile from ear to ear all at the same time. She has a new cookbook out (which I hope to someday own), inspired by cooking/eating with her dad. There is a line in it that is not only the way one should cook, but the way one should live. As you might have noticed, I’m a big quote person, and this may be a new favorite motto:

“Invest in what’s real. Clean as you go. Drink while you cook. Make it fun.
 It doesn’t have to be complicated. It will be what it will be.”

2. These folks aren’t really your typical Joe, either. The father figure in this video is the cinematographer for the documentaries Helvetica and Obejectified, among others. The kid is his son. This is just such a random, geeky science-y project that a father and son researched, built, and tested. Pretty cool stuff. Enjoy: Homemade Spacecraft 

These are just little reminders of the capacity we carry as human beings. And despite all the nonsense happening at every turn these days there is goodness, intelligence, whimsy, and wonder–in abundance–all around us.

Simply Delicious.

My roommate and I checked in on our neighbors’ cat last week while they were away. That cat seriously pooped more than I thought possible. Just sayin’.

Anyway, as a thank you, she made us chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies. Now, I pride myself on my cookie making and am a tough critic when it comes to other people’s homemade creations. BUT. These were, by far, some of the best looking (not a speck of brown on the bottom!) and best tasting cookies I’ve had in a long while. Each bite had me thinking–did she buys these, or make these!? They had a slighly homemade taste and texture–but also a slightly storebought-ness to the taste and appearance. 

I ran into her on the bus today and, after telling her how I made myself sick  because I couldn’t stop eating them, she spilled the beans on both the recipe and the secret to their aesthetic perfection.

1. She uses parchment paper on the cookie sheet (Noted. Will never do it the other way again.)

2. It’s a super complicated recipe:
1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
chocolate chips

Say what?! I know. I KNOW. I couldn’t believe it, either. Go out, buy, and try these. But I recommend being coy and saying it’s a “secret family recipe.”

Suitable Substitutes.

I have been a blogging slacker. Part no inspiration, part work & life busy-ness. So, for any loyal readers still out there, I offer up some of my personal favorite blogs to tide you over while I get my blog train back on track. Full disclaimer, I am not breaking any ground here–these blogs are well-tred ground. But, they are for a reason so if you don’t already know of them, enjoy!

My GoogleReader list is rather extensive and a lot to keep up with, so here are just a few of my favorite “professional” bloggers:

Joy the Baker: Her writing style is fun, witty, and playful and the recipes she posts look fantastic. I’ve only made a few (grapefruit scones), but am going to try the brussel sprout salad this weekend and oh dear me oh my I die for the day I have time to make this: Holy Grail of Goodness Thanks to Katie B. for leading me to Joy!

Dooce: I am neither mother nor wife, but Heather’s account of her life as both just crack me up. I appreciate her honesty above all. I think this has been my favorite post so far: Toothfairy

Young House Love: These guys just make me want to love ’em and hate ’em all at the same time. They are both so dang cute with the cute baby, cute dog, and cute house. Cute cute cute. Sometimes it makes me want to barf. But for the most part, I like them and some (not all) of their decorating and DIY ideas.

The Pioneer Woman: She’s all over the place these days, but Ree makes being a housewife/mother scooping cattle dung in the middle of not-a-mall-within-hours Oklahoma sound like the best possible life. Oh, and plus her dog SLAYS me.

Now, please don’t blame me when your productivity plummets.