Currently #12

Currently is a monthly post that highlights all the things I’m into right now. 

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One year of Currently posts. Thirty five years of Coley. Today is my birthday and also the anniversary of when I started writing these monthly posts. Champagne and cake are in order. 🥂🎂🥳

My birthday falls at the very tail end of summer and I always find myself floating in a cloud of reflection. I'm sure everyone does this around their birthday, but there's something about the transition into fall that makes my birthday feel like an especially meaningful time of year. It deeply symbolizes change, closing the door to summer and moving forward into an entirely different way of living. I reflect because it's natural, but also because I'm a virgo who self analyzes to a fault. 

I experienced a lot of personal growth this past year after having a particularly difficult one the year before. Sometimes life is externally hard, with devastating events and emotions put on display for all the world to see and sympathize with. But what I experienced in the past year or two was an excruciating internal turmoil, one in which no one really saw and most definitely did not understand. I'd argue that while both are undesirable, the latter is perhaps more difficult because it comes with a sense of shame in knowing that you can't blame it on anything tangible. When everything looks fine on the outside, it's hard for people to understand how anything could possibly be wrong.

I'm really happy and grateful for the privilege to sit here and write that I'm no longer stuck in the muck. The past year has taught me so much about myself and how I relate to the world around me, but make no mistake. It wasn't easy getting here, nor was it passive.

For the first time in my life I took a really long, hard look at my happiness and took real steps toward improving it. I changed my diet, consumed an ungodly amount of self help books / articles / podcasts, decided that regular exercise is no longer negotiable, started prioritizing music again, said NO to a lot of things I didn't want to do, sidestepped out of some unhealthy relationships and started to really let go of the desperate need for approval I've been seeking my whole life. I learned to prioritize my happiness above anything else, without any of the guilt and shame that have come along with it the past. I learned to fully trust myself.

I feel mentally stronger, more stable, more in tune with my emotions and how to take control over how I interpret and manage my interactions. I still have a long way to go, but I'm pleased with my progress. And feeling like you're progressing in life, whether it be with a career or a family or in just dealing with your own bullshit, is a surefire way to spark a little happiness and fulfillment. 

I don't always go into a birthday feeling like this next year is really going to be my year, but this year I am. Five is a significant number in my life for so many reasons (if you know, you know), so turning 35 for me is far more meaningful than turning 30 was or turning 40 will be. 50 is a different story. I hope I make it that far. 

If there's one thing you can do for me today to help me celebrate my birthday, it's this: Tell me, I want to know: What is one lesson you've learned in life that has helped you out more than anything else? 

Currently Thinking About...

  • Massive protests are erupting all over the world today in the name of climate change. It's real. It's measured. It's science. It's not partisan. And it's something every single human on the planet should be deeply concerned with: Greta Thunberg is Right to Panic. (The Atlantic)
  • I ate at least one Greek salad every day this summer while we were in Greece and continued making them at home for the rest of summer. I loved this article about the history of Greek salads in America via diners: As American As the Greek Salad. (Taste)
  • There's currently a huge debate in the UK regarding whether or not to allow the import of US chicken after Brexit. Why? Because most chicken in the US is washed in a bath of chlorine before being packaged and sent to grocery stores - yep, even most of the organic stuff. If you find this disturbing (you should), you can opt to forgo chicken altogether, or instead, look for the air-chilled variety: If You're Not Cooking Air-Chilled Chicken, You're Doing It Wrong. (Bloomberg)
  • Last month I had the honor of judging the "Herotini" nonalcoholic cocktail contest to benefit the Hero Campaign to end drunk driving. I was seriously impressed with the creativity of the bartenders, and especially intrigued by one drink that utilized Seedlip, the first nonalcoholic distilled spirit: The Rise of Alcohol-Free Booze. (The New Yorker)
  • Understanding and recognizing my anxiety has been a huge part of my "healing" and finding people who understand - even strangers on the internet! - has been incredibly helpful in ridding of myself of the shame that inevitably feeds the disease. I've been getting physically sick from anxiety since I was as little as the girl in the picture above: I Felt Sick All The Time and Then Realized It Was Actually Anxiety. (Vice)
  • I loathe the feeling of being doused in cold water, but I'm also willing to try it if it's truly as beneficial as I keep hearing it is: I Will Blast Myself With Cold Water If It Helps Me Enjoy Life More. (The Cut)

Currently Listening To...

To celebrate my 35th trip around the sun, I made a playlist of exactly 35 songs. Some of them are old favorites, some of them are just songs I've come to love over the past year or so. I want this playlist to serve as a sort of time capsule into my life at this very moment, so I tried not to overthink it too much. It's roughly two and a half hours of pure Coley. I hope you give it a listen and feel a little groove in your heart. 

Currently Watching...

  •  I enjoyed the first season of Mindhunter so much that I was counting down the days until the second season was released. It came out mid-August and we just finished watching. While it didn't enthrall me nearly as much as the first, it still left me hungry for what's next: Mindhunder. (Netflix)
  • We're a little late to the party on this one (as usual), but shout out to my aunts and cousins who insisted we give the show Schitt's Creek a second chance. It is quickly becoming my new favorite comedy: Schitt's Creek. (Netflix)

Currently Cooking...

  • I've all about exhausted my summer recipes by this point in the season and am looking forward to some cozier fare. Eggplant parm is one of the best recipes to make because it's baked cheesy comfort food that utilizes the last of the season's produce. I have two versions: Best Ever Eggplant Parm / Unbreaded Eggplant Parm. (ColeyCooks)
  • Totally craving these tacos from my friend Danielle and planning to make them as soon as I can get my hands on some good shrimp: Crispy Coconut Shrimp Tacos. (Suwannee Rose)
  • I never met a fritter I didn't like and I am very much interested in making these: Zucchini Lentil Fritters with Lemony Yogurt. (Bon Appetit)
  • As much as I love grilling, I'm ready for slow cooked, fall-off-the-bone food, and this recipe is ranking high on my list: Coconut Milk Braised Chicken (Epicurious)
  • No birthday is complete without a cake! This insanely decadent recipe comes in part from my Aunt Ang and the other part from somewhere deep in my soul: Ricotta Cheesecake with Plums (ColeyCooks) 

It's been a lovely year sharing my life with you and I'm beyond grateful to have you along with me on my journey. Now I'm off to the spa. Cheers!

xo Coley

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  1. Happy birthday! I love reading your blog and your recipes - and thought I should finally tellyou:). Thiis is the year of "self care" and I learned this year that we all need to be more mindful of taking care of ourselves. Women are givers to a fault! I have been following you since you were on the food network. I live in Boston and have always been a home cook. I worked in the restauarant business for over 20 years too. (not anymore) My parents are retired in Brigantine and they always save me the Flavor section of the newpaper because they know I like to make your recipes! Thanks for sharing! Andrea

  2. That picture of you on the beach hurts my heart. Happy days.
    You've got so much depth of soul despite your youthful skin. You've only made it around the sun 35 times! Here's to many more filled with love, travels, and good food.
    I do the cold water at the end of my shower because I'm often still sweating when I get out (life in the swamp). But If my husband dared suggest I do a "cold rinse" when I was in a bad mood I would want to punch him in the face.
    Schitts Creek is delightful. I do Alexis and David hand motions for my friends. I should probably stop because it's so obnoxious. It's so fun for bendy hand people like us. We just finished Mindhunter, too. The first season ended with wtf is up with Holden? and the second one hardly told us anything at all about wtf is up with Holden, focusing more on the other two detectives. I guess I want more Holden.
    Thanks for including my coconut shrimp tacos! Ugh, I want to redo those old pics, but I am so happy you like that recipe!

    1. Thanks, friend! Your comment made me giggle, as they often do. Please don't stop making David and Alexis hand motions! You've inspired me to start doing it to Chaser all the time now. I made your shrimp tacos for some friends last Friday and they were a huge hit. I also want more holden... I just was not feeling the direction they went in / emphasis they put on the other two detectives' storylines. But I heard they picked the show up for several more seasons, so hopefully they give us what we want!