My best friend is on WordPress!

You might remember her from this post, or from any other post I’ve made about this a mysterious person called Desiree who may or may not be able to make people disappear and lets me bitch about people in the gym even though she’s at work.

She also has a cute puppy. His name is Mac. Well. His full name is General MacArthur and I expected nothing less of a name from Desiree.

Go visit her!

Stagnating.

This morning I started a post about how to feel better when depression is getting the best of you. But that felt hypocritical to write, because I feel like shit.

Depression and anxiety sucks. It makes everything awful, and it’s one of those self-consuming things where even though you want to feel better, you don’t want to make yourself feel better. It almost feels self-indulgent to wallow in those awful feelings.

I hate feeling like this. I feel useless. Everyone I went to high school with is growing up, getting married, having real adult jobs, and I’m still on an academic schedule, living with my mother. I’ve accomplished nothing in the five years I’ve been out of high school. I babysit for a living. That’s a job for middle schoolers who can’t find a real job. I feel like everyone is moving on with their lives, without me.

Maybe it’s all the shit that is somehow my responsibility. My brother and I are going to India in June and I’m in charge of getting the visas and everything and the website is unhelpful and confusing and I’ve had to start over six times and I just want to scream. I have screamed. I’ve had tantrums over a goddamn website. I hate how whiny I sound but I’m so sick of everyone delegating things to me. I’m sick of being everyone’s secretary. I’m sick of having to postpone things I want to do because every time I try doing something for myself, someone needs me to do something for them, and that things is clearly more urgent than whatever I’m about to do. I’m sick of feeling like I don’t matter.

And I can’t talk to anyone about it, because growing up, my family was very take-two-motrins-and-get-over-yourself. Being hurt, feeling bad, there was no room for that. My parents got a divorce when I was eight. It was messy. I had to be happy and upbeat for everyone else. I had to pretend nothing was wrong with me because there was no room to be upset. Being upset was self-indulgent, was selfish, and even now I can’t talk about how I feel or admit to anyone that I’m less than absolutely fine because that feels selfish. I feel like I’m not worth worrying about. I hate it, and half the time, I hate myself.

Even here, on this blog, I force myself to write happy, upbeat things. Recipes peppered with funny-ish jokes, silly stories from when I was a kid. On Facebook, I only post happy things, stupid jokes, weird things my cats do. Instagram is even worse. You have to be happy on the internet. Whenever I admit I’m upset, I feel so selfish. So goddamn melodramatic. Whiny. I can’t be happy all the time though, and more often than not, I’m not happy.

Someone I used to trust told me that I shouldn’t measure myself by someone else’s progress. Great advice, sure. But it’s hard not to do. I feel like I’m stagnating, getting stale, wasting my life, when everyone around me is moving forward.

I wish I had a clever, poignant way to end this post. I’m not sure if I’ll even publish it. But I’m not clever and poignant, and I just want to go back to bed.

This picture makes me happy. My cats are judgmental assholes.
This picture makes me happy. My cats are judgmental assholes.

Masala Chai Macarons

So as you know, I’ve been trying to ages to make macarons. Something always goes wrong. But Friday I managed to make a decent batch of red velvet macarons. I was so excited. Then I got distracted with making tea masala, and then had a fantastic idea.

What about masala chai flavored macarons?! I mean, it’s not too far off from the red velvet. Instead of adding cocoa powder and red food color, I just need to add tea masala and tint the batter brown-ish. Easy enough.

I started with a basic macaron recipe, found here, and then added a tablespoon of tea masala to the dry ingredients, plus a teaspoon of loose tea leaves that had been ground into a super fine powder. To the meringue, I added a tablespoon of very strong tea, mostly for color (Very strong is subjective. My mom thinks I make tea and coffee too strong, I believe that if you’re not twitching after half a cup it doesn’t count.)

And guess what.

It actually worked.

DSC_0085

I was so excited. And they taste amazing. The frosting I used was the same cream cheese frosting for the red velvet ones, and that recipe is here.

You can buy tea masala in any Indian store, but since I only needed a little and had the ingredients on hand, I made it myself. For this recipe it was about five cloves, two cardamom pods, a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of black pepper, all ground up and sifted to a very fine powder.

Macarons are the Devil in Cookie Form.

Guys, I have nothing against cookies. I really enjoy baking. I really enjoy macarons. So I wanted to bake macarons. It doesn’t look like it would be too difficult. Egg whites, powdered sugar, almond flour, done. But wait. The egg whites need to be aged. And if you try grinding almonds into almond flour, you’re just as likely to end up with almond butter, which, although just as delicious, is no good when you’re baking cookies. And once the very finicky batter is made, the cookies need to be piped out exactly, and they need to rest. The cookies need to rest. The goddamn batter circles need to take an hour long nap before they can go into the oven and become cookies.

So I looked up a million different recipes, and watched a million different YouTube tutorials on how to make these mystical cookies, and thought I had it down. I made a meringue. I sifted the flour mixture. I let the cookies rest. I propped the oven open with a spoon so they would be dry enough.

All for naught, because my first batch came out flat and lumpy.

My second batch came out tasting like chalk.

The third didn’t make it past the rest, because the batter spread and everything got gunky.

Then I bought a macaron mat off Amazon, thinking that that was my problem.

The fourth batch, I don’t think I filled the moulds on the mat properly or let it bake for long enough because the shells came out hollow.

The fifth batch is resting now, and I am praying to every god that it comes out nicely because I really want pretty macarons!!!

I feel like these damned cookies are going to age me prematurely. My first grey hair will be because of a damn cookie.

But I am stubborn. So maybe by batch 49 we’ll have a decent cookie.

UPDATE: As of late last night I made not one, but two successful batches of macarons out of the oven. I am so pleased with myself. 

My Issues With Gluten and General Picky Eating

By all accounts, I am a super picky eater. When asked, I joke that it’s easier to list what I can eat than what I can’t. Because for real. This is ridiculous. And I feel awful when I’m out with someone or at someone’s house and I have to ask a million questions about the food and then can’t eat it. The super apologetic pantry-raiding the host goes through to find something I can tolerate just kills me.

I can’t have: wheat gluten, meat (I can’t eat beef, don’t like most chicken, turkey, or pork so I put a blanket ban on meat), lettuce, bell peppers, sprouts of any kind, or milk. But some cheese is okay. Exhales.

And sometimes, I encounter those people who insist it’s all in my head and decide that since I don’t have full blown celiacs, I’m just being a princess and try to slip me gluten anyways. They say that I couldn’t have just “suddenly” become gluten intolerant, and that I’ve eaten wheat my whole life. But they don’t realize that I’ve had these food issues my whole life. And then I eliminated things from my diet, and my problems basically disappeared. But no, they insist I’m trying to be one of those trendy girls who call for attention with food issues. Those people are awful and I have no qualms about vomiting on something they love. I had a colonoscopy and goddamn endoscopy (which I woke up half way through, panicked, and choked on the camera in my throat) when I was twenty-two, and I didn’t do it for fun.

But what do gluten, meat, lettuce, bell peppers, sprouts, and/or milk do to me? Well. Digestive distress is the polite way to put it. If I have any of those things, I have to be within sprinting distance of the restroom for the next few hours, until it’s completely out of my system. And after that, I’m miserable and achy for the rest of the day. My skin breaks out worse than it ever did when I was a teenager, and I just feel like my brain is itchy.

So yeah, I’m a picky eater. And more often than not, I don’t like going out to eat. I have to prepare my food at home, by myself, carefully measuring everything, and making sure the food doesn’t touch. No medical reason for that. I just don’t like when my food touches. I’m allowed to have one princess problem.

I Carry Less Stuff in the Summer

Now that my semester is over, I find myself hauling around a lot less crap. However, I did realize that when I carried a bigger bag, I carried more stuff. But I didn’t need more stuff. And I didn’t want to carry a big bag. So after a couple hours of babysitting, I had saved enough money to buy this super precious bag. After a few hours of intense debate with Desiree over whether or not this bag would be totally ridiculous (we decided it would not be), I skipped off to Francesca’s to buy it, because they were having a sale on handbags.

Look at how perfect it is!
Look at how perfect it is! It’s called the Limon bag, and the little girl I babysit reminds me that it’s shaped like a lemon every time I see her.

The thing is, this bag is tiny. Well. Tiny in comparison to anything else I’ve carried. So I seriously have to focus on keeping it tidy and make sure I’ve only got what I need in it.

summer whats in my bagThis is basically all I can fit into my bag.

1. My wallet

This is the biggest thing in my bag. I actually had to switch to a smaller, soft wallet to get it to fit into my bag. This cute studded one I got from my cousin for my birthday.

2. Hand sanitizer

This is one of the seventy million ones I’ve got stashed away from previous Bath and Body Works excursions. I’m trying to get through my stash before I go buy more. This Fresh Picked Strawberry scent is one of my favorites. I was so excited to find it in the store that I bought maybe five, and also three or four of the strawberry scented foaming hand soaps.

3. Lip Balm

This is Love & Toast’s Gin and Lime lip balm. It’s made with extra virgin olive oil and a variety of good-for-your-skin butters, and it’s surprisingly light and not greasy. It absorbs quickly, and keeps my lips soft and nice even when I’m all dehydrated. I like it so much that I bought Desiree a matching one in Vanilla Chai, and drove five hours to give it to her. Well, I was going to see her anyway, and stopped at Ulta on the way, and ended up stuck in traffic for an extra two hours. But still.

4. Lip Balm/Gloss

This is a Yves St Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in Succelent Pomegranate. I picked it up from Sephora a while ago. It’s a balm, but tinted. Very sheer, very not-sticky. Tastes like candy.

5. Mascara

This is my favorite mascara ever. I keep the smaller size in my purse in case I need it, which is rare. Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara. I like it because it’s not too heavy, and doesn’t make my eyelashes clumpy or thick-feeling.

6. Notepad

Even though I keep track of a lot of stuff like hours I’ve worked and blog ideas on my phone, I like having some kind of paper with me to jot things down, like grocery lists or driving directions because I don’t want to have my phone out while driving. This is one of those that you can find in the bins at Bed Bath and Beyond or TJ Maxx/Marshalls. Super cheap, like a dollar or two.

7. Pen

This is a super cute pen. I got it from the dollar bin at Target, for a dollar (duh). It came in a pack of two, the other has pink stripes. I also bought a pack for Desiree and sent it to her in her birthday box. It’s got black ink.

8. Mirror

This is the same mirror from my previous post about what’s in my bag. Just a basic mirror from Forever 21, with little flowers and crystals on it. I think it was a dollar or something. Just from the bins by the cash register. I got it months ago. It’s one of many floating around in my various bags.

That’s all I’m letting myself carry for now. As the school year starts or if I travel I’ll have to move to a bigger bag, but for summer when all I’m doing is running errands and babysitting, this is all I need.

PS: That letter tray everything is arranged in is a semi-DIY. Post on that later.

Want to submit a post of your own? Email me What’s In My Bag posts or other collab ideas to thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com. Remember, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr.

Have a great day!