Posted in resolutions

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Its a … blog post!

I haven’t blogged as often as my New Year’s Resolution had set out. But I have gotten a lot of reading in recently. I’ll be posting some book notes here shortly. If you’re interested in what I’m reading (or rather, trying to scrounge up at my library), head over to my Book List.

In the meantime, Richard has nominated me for the Starlight Blogger Award.

We’ve been chatting back and forth about his site for some time as my role as a Happiness Engineer often has me doing. He and I have both just gotten back from trips, so it was the perfect trigger for me to start blogging again. Thanks Richard! 😀

The Starlight Blogger Award was started by Carolina over on to “honor those individuals who are considered The light emanating from the stars the bloggers that brings daily light into your soul with their creativity the blogs you love to read, listen and visit!”

It’s so awesome to me that my job let’s me interact with people and form real relationships with other bloggers. I’m admittedly a fair-weather blogger, but I know that a lot of bloggers struggle with that when they first start out as well. My time at Automattic is what got me to really commit to having a site in the first place. So here’s to new beginnings and being our radiant selves.

Here are the rules for the Starlight Blogger Award:

  1. Thank the giver and link their Blog to your post.
  2. Answer the 3 questions given to you.
  3. Pass the award on to 6 or more other Bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated by you.
  4. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your Blog please never alter the logo and never change the rules.

Confession time, I actually don’t read that many blogs. Maybe it’s because I spend my entire work week on blogs.. But here are a couple of sites I do follow as well as a few of my favorite newsletters to round it out:

  1. Rosie Glow Wellness – Totally positive realness even when the going gets tough. Love it. She hasn’t posted as often lately, but they’re always gems when she does.
  2. Seth Godin – I enjoy the short informal post style here. It’s like a journal kept for the internet.
  3. NextDraft – newsletter – This is basically the internet curated for you and dropped in your mailbox 5 days a week. I don’t read the traditional news anymore, so this is a great way to know what’s going on in the blogosphere without sinking my actual time into it.
  4. Now I Know – newsletter – One fleshed out fun-fact for your life five days a week. Sometimes there are bonus weekend editions with links to full articles. But if you just have a curious mind and love to hear about weird wonky things, you’ll love this.

And, per the origin’s rules, the questions Richard passed along are:

  1. If I could change one thing in history what would it be and why?
    This is rough – because I believe in time travel. And because I don’t believe in linear time. And because I believe in immutable points. I believe each individual’s history is totally pivotal to who they are today. And changing any one little thing has the potential to change so much. So I hesitate to change anything at all..
  2. What is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too scared to?
    Skydiving. Hands down terrifying. I’m trying to amp myself to do it if a group of Automatticians goes again in Park City, but so far I’m still in the nope-nope-nope phase..
  3. What subject did you like most in school (if any), and did that define your career in any way?
    Most of you following this blog know all about my love of math and computer science. And that’s been closely related to where I’ve landed professionally so far. Although, this is probably quite a bit less math-y than I would have expected given my love of calculus.
Posted in resolutions

Making Shit Up As I Go

Hi internet friends! Look what I made!

I don’t have a recipe for you tonight because I just made this up on the fly with the ‘I’m about to go out of town’ food left in my fridge.

I also forgot to salt it. (SECRET – I forget to salt things almost every time I cook..)

Hope y’all are eating something delicious.


Posted in family, kitchen staples

Springtime in Chicago

It’s spriiiiiiing. My windows are open and the flowers are blooming. After a year of showing no interest in the birds outside, my cat Dresden has taken the 5am bird song as his cue to become possessed by his inner cheetah and sprint around my apartment.

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I’m celebrating Mother’s Day with Mom and John tomorrow morning, but we took the sunny evening as a sign that we should take a ride around the property. The buzzards were sunning themselves, we snuck up on a raccoon, discovered a group of turkeys showing off, and hung out with a Barred Owl for twenty minutes just before dusk.

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Mom’s doing all the cooking for tomorrow, because none of us can kick her out of the kitchen long enough to take over. But here’s my new favorite way to eat potatoes:

I’ve been using red potatoes cut into slices rather than just halving the small ones. They’re delish! I like my food super garlicky so I throw an extra clove of garlic in as well.

The first time I made these they were undercooked because I’m habitually scared of having my pan too hot. Binge watching cooking shows has really quelled that (enough). When I start to get nervous, I just let Gordon Ramsay remind me ‘color is flavor’ and I wash a dish instead of fretting.

Happy cooking!


Posted in kitchen staples, recipes, simply vegetables

Cooking is like Riding a Bike

In that I should do both more often and feel an overpowering amount of guilt when I realize I haven’t.

I’ve jumped back into the kitchen though. I’m not sure why this time it was easier to sustain. Maybe it was the week-long Gordon Ramsay binge. Or seeing the word “Obesity” on my medical file. At any rate, I’ve cooked real food from scratch in my kitchen nearly every day for the past three weeks.

Here’s one of my kitchen staples right now.

New and Improved Roasted Broccoli

  • Time: 25m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This one is a bit of watching Mom and a bit of watching Gordon Ramsay.


  • Broccoli (however much you want to eat later)
  • Salt
  • Spices (I use Italian Seasoning mainly)
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°.
  2. Cut your broccoli trees into pieces with long stalks.
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  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and trust you’ve chosen a pot big enough for all of the broccoli you want to cook and have put in enough water to submerge that broccoli once we put it in. It’s your kitchen. I trust you.
  4. Once boiling, put in your broccoli.
  5. The goal is to half cook your broccoli. I usually leave the broccoli in the water for about 5-7 minutes depending on how much there is and also whether I put the broccoli in before the water was actually boiling. Waiting for water to boil is my least favorite part of cooking.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the half cooked broccoli out of the water and place it in the middle of a roasting sheet. Spread it out as you add more, but keep it all together in the center.
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  7. Sprinkle your spices over the broccoli along with some salt. Not to worry if you get some on the rest of the sheet.
  8. Drizzle some olive oil over the pile of spiced broccoli.
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  9. Throw it in the oven. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy you want it.
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Et voila! Delicious roasted broccoli. I love to eat this with a bit of mascarpone, which is how my mom serves hers.

I’ve got a couple other kitchen staples to post, so who knows, maybe I’m back to this blogging thing too.


Posted in my journey, resolutions

Releasing myself from the Burden of “To Do”

My to-do list is a mile long. I’d like to think I’m joking, but I’d be nervous to test.

I’ve deeply internalized the idea that happiness comes after all the “stuff”. After all the cleaning. And the organizing. And the scheduling.

That, somehow, after I do all of that, the time for leisure and love and laughter will miraculously reveal itself.

And I’ll exist in some weird blissful space full of happiness. Devoid of stress and, the clincher, to-dos.

But the real part of life is that, there’s always more to do. There’s always more to learn, and to think about, and to create, and to do.

A friend told me in the midst of one of my anxiety-ridden fervent to-do list creating panic attacks ‘don’t put it down, put it away’. And as much as I hate shit like that, its worked. Its reminded me to take those extra two steps now, when its easy. So there’s less to bargain over later.

My only resolution for this new year is to find little ways to release myself from my to-do list. To let myself have fun before I finish the dishes. And skip the bargaining of folding clothes before playing video games. Or organizing my apartment before going out dancing.

Posted in crafting, one knit wonder

I am sock obsessed

Very few people can claim that they think about socks all day. Even further, the few that can would rarely admit to it.

Well, I’m here to do both.

I knit socks like my life depends on it.

I knit so many socks that I get bored with knitting socks and start gloves.

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Only to turn them into socks part way through because I love turning heels.

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I mean, I looooooove it.

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It’s my favorite part of making socks, followed closely by that cuff.

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So there you have it. My name is Shawna Jean and I’m addicted to knitting socks.


Posted in my journey

Everything’s coming up…Calphalon?

So I went a little disappear-y on y’all. For good reason though! Shiny new apartment!!!

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Which meant that I had to go forth and BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!

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That’s right. That is FOUR full bags from the Calphalon outlet. I bought everything. So, now I have a fully stocked kitchen. I bought some silverware and collected my plates from the walls of my childhood bedroom (let’s talk about that laters) and can officially feed people, including myself, from the comfort of my own classy kitchen.

Continue reading “Everything’s coming up…Calphalon?”

Posted in my journey, recipes, simply vegetables

welcome to the dark side

Last July, I woke up with a whooshing sound in my head. Several doctors appointments, hearing tests, pokes, and prods later, I had a piece of paper with the words ‘Ménière’s disease’ and ‘serialized allergy testing’ written in almost illegible doctor’s scrawl.

And then began the real poking. Serialized allergy testing involves not only testing whether you’re allergic to an allergen, but also how allergic. It involves a series of usually 3-5 shots for every allergen you’re tested for. And if you’re super allergic to things, like I am, quite a bit more. (Let’s just say I should probably never even look at a horse again.)

After two straight months of constant ringing in my right ear, a complete building mold remediation at my office resolved my mold allergy and I got back to a normal life, as normal as one can get after being reminded that they’re allergic to everything.

Alongside the environmental allergy testing, I went all out and got my blood tested for food allergies as well. The month and a half that it took for these results to come back mostly involved me bingeing on anything and everything I thought I might be allergic to. (Great plan, right?) The end result being that I am definitely allergic to gluten, wheat, eggs, milk, and soy.

Continue reading “welcome to the dark side”