A Year of Romantic Comedies

I’ve written about my love of romantic comedies once or fifteen times here on Welcome to Ladyville. They’re my favorite movies and I take them just as seriously as most people take Oscar contenders. So, of course, I had to start an entire blog just to write about them.

A Year of Romantic Comedies is my attempt to watch 52 romantic comedies. So far, so fun. I’m enjoying this so much that I sort of want to devote my life, not just a year, to watching romcoms.

You can read my introduction and check out my first post on The Wedding Singer, which is basically a perfect movie.

If you have any movie suggestions, I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email at welcometoladyville@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

What I Read: January 2015

I’m taking a cue from my friend, your friend, our friend Lauren and writing a post about the books I read this month. I read a lot more than usual and I’m not sure why–I guess because it’s January and what else am I going to do? Here’s what I read last month!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’ll admit that I have a bit of a bias against long books–I don’t really know why. But even though Americanah was on the long side, it flew by. This book is funny and smart and very current–the main character has a blog that I can totally imagine existing in real life. It’s very, very good and I cannot recommend it enough.

Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs
I don’t know if I liked this or not, but it did make me laugh out loud twice, so there you go.

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
If you like Friday Night Lights and you like food, you’ll like this. It’s set in Texas and features a chef who gets a job cooking last meals for inmates on death row. It’s such a perfect concept for a book that it makes me a little angry I didn’t think of it.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
If you’re not yet part of the cult of Patchett, read this profile of her on The Hairpin. She’s great, right? The essays in this collection are about dogs, her grandma, her marriages, and books. They’re all deeply enjoyable and effortless to read.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
I like books about creativity. This isn’t a “heavy” read, but if you’re interested in creativity and promoting your work, you’ll probably like it.

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
I wrote about this book (and interviewed the author) on HelloGiggles. It’s so good. I love books that really communicate what it’s like to grow up in a small town and be afraid that you’ll get “stuck” there but then also knowing you’ll miss parts of it.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
I liked this book! I will warn you that it is much more of a family drama than a mystery. One of the characters has a revelation while looking through her mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook and I’m pretty sure my response to that was not supposed to be, “Oh man, I should bake a pie,” but you know what? It was. I can’t help it. I’m so hopelessly domestic that even reading about a character rebelling against domesticity makes me want to make a pot roast with two sides.

Reading/Listening/Watching/Eating

Reading:
I’m about to start The First Bad Man, but I’m waiting for a day when I can devote some serious time to it because I know I’ll just want to drop everything for it. I just started I’ll Meet You There and I already love it. And today I finished Show Your Work and I really enjoyed it. Austin Kleon went to Miami, so I feel that vague sense of pride you get when someone impressive shares your alma mater.

Listening.
I mean, does anything other than the Sleater-Kinney album really matter right now? I listened to it tonight while baking cookies and H. asked, “Is this Taylor Swift?” because, well, I listen to a lot of T. Swift. I also really love this song by Tobias Jesso Jr. that Alex told me about because I have a TYPE when it comes to songs and everyone knows it. Oh, and I listened to that Sophia Grace song and got it stuck in my head for a week, but I’m going to spare you.

Watching:
We saw Selma today. I haven’t seen any of the other Oscar nominees because I generally only watch a movie once it’s about 10 years old, but I can’t imagine any of them are as relevant to our world today. The signs the protesters were holding could’ve been signs from a current protest. It was a difficult movie to watch, but it was really beautiful and incredibly emotionally affecting. Also, as you probably know, Oprah is in it and I love everything Oprah’s ever done.
We also just finished the first season of Broad City (I know, I’m behind!) and I love Abbi + Ilana + Lincoln. We started Broadchurch yesterday and I think H. underestimated my feelings re: crime shows because now we are GOING to finish it this weekend.

Eating:
Coconut chocolate chip cookies. Lemon chicken thighs. Italian peasant soup. A LOT of green smoothies.

Writing:
All day, every day.

What I’m Eating

Every December, I think, “I’m actually eating pretty healthy! I rule.” And every January, when I’m all carb-bloated and my skin looks God-awful, I think, “Girl, you were literally eating pie for breakfast. GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF.”

Which is all my way of saying that I’m back to meal planning and cooking at home. While I wouldn’t necessarily say I enjoy the actual act of cooking, I do enjoy eating in general, eating healthy food specifically, and eating food that is relatively cheap. This is mostly because I like to go out to dinner and order expensive things without feeling guilty, so I need to keep the rest of my meals cheap.

Anyway, I’m cooking for an audience of two, including myself, and my husband is nice enough but doesn’t constantly shower me with praise (weird?), so in the name of seeking validation, here are the dinners I made last week and the ones I plan to make next week. Also I recently went on a Carrie Brownstein interview binge and read her Grub Street column and it inspired me to keep track of everything I’m eating. I included links to recipes when I could.

Sunday: Turkey meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes, ginger/garlic green beans
Monday: Panko-crusted chicken, curried carrots
Tuesday: Spaghetti with my mom’s homemade pasta sauce (it’s super helpful and cost-effective if you have a mother who cans a lot of food and you can just steal it from her)
Wednesday: Veggie chili (and Fritos, duh)
Thursday: Kale/sweet potato hash with fried eggs and cornbread
Friday: Daiya frozen pizza. Do you have a dairy allergy and miss pizza? Then just get this one. Forget all the other ones.

And here are my projected dinners for the next week!
Saturday: Zuppa Toscana, French bread
Sunday: Korean short ribs, potatoes, something green?
Monday: Crispy rice omelet (from Dinner: The Playbook)
Tuesday: Ham/pineapple/dairy-free cheese pizza
Wednesday: Potato/random fridge veggie hash
Thursday: Takeout (I have a deadline the next day and require Chinese food to meet it)

So that’s it! As I’ve mentioned before, grocery shopping is waaaaaay cheaper and easier when you plan out what you’re eating. I know for some people it’s a pain in the ass, but I spend all of my time thinking about food anyway, so it’s not all that hard for me. And as you may or may not notice, almost all of these recipes are extremely easy or feature very few ingredients. I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, none of us are making Beef Wellington. Also, I’m well aware that I cook like a mom. These are mostly very protein-centric, one-to-two vegetable sides meals that you would probably find on a table somewhere in the 1950s. Whatever. It’s my style and I can’t help it! What about you guys? What have you been cooking lately?

Reading Resolutions

My 2014 in books was, honestly, not that great. I read 61 books, which sounds like a lot, but isn’t really. Two of my jobs (writing for HelloGiggles and writing book reviews) involve reading books, which I think means I should be reading way more. And, yeah, I work a lot and I’m busy, but so are a lot of people who manage to read way more.

Even if I consider quality over quantity, I’m not super happy with my year in reading. I read a lot of books that were just okay last year. Do you know how much I hate reading an okay book? Just about as much as I hate eating an okay meal. I know that I’m more food motivated than my dog, but I just want every meal to be a completely perfect taste experience. In the same vein, I want every book to totally knock my over. Did that happen last year? No. I did read some really great books (An Untamed State, The Girls from Corona del Mar, The Start of Me and You, Vivian Apple at the End of the World, Every Kiss a War, Strange Light, Since You’ve Been Gone, and Meaty are a few examples), but I’m struggling to remember what some of the books I read were even about. Honestly, I would rather read a terrible book than a book that’s just fine.

This year I got my first gig writing straight-up book reviews (I don’t consider the writing I do for HelloGiggles to be “reviewing” since I only write about things I like). It’s hard and fun in equal measure, but mostly it’s taught me something invaluable: a lot of books are really boring. Like, so boring. As a writer, this is both incredibly discouraging and incredibly motivating. On the one hand, what if I’m accidentally writing something really boring? But on the other hand, maybe now that I know Being Boring is the #1 book crime, maybe I can just work extra hard to avoid it.

And maybe I’m being boring right now and I should just stop. The point is, I made some reading resolutions for 2015 to hopefully ensure that my year in reading is a lot more interesting.

1. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. I’ve only read three books so far this year and I’ve already completed a few of the requirements.

2. Read every book by Toni Morrison and Ann Patchett. I figured these authors were good picks because I like both of them but I’ve only read two of their books. And neither of them have such a huge catalogue that it’s totally unrealistic.

3. Read 62 books. I read 61 last year, so basically I just want to barely outdo Past Kerry.

Will I complete all of these resolutions? Probably not! But, as of late, my motto has been “progress is better than perfection,” and I’m just excited to see how far I get.

What about you guys? Do you make reading resolutions? The first book I read this year was Americanah and it was so amazing that it gave me hope for the rest of the year. Let me know your reading resolutions and, seriously, go read Americanah right now if you haven’t.