A man who cooks.

I’m pretty sure even my husband would have no problem admitting that, between the two of us, I’ve always been more of the chef.

“Chef” used loosely here. I mean, I can cook. But nine times out of ten I’m just throwing things in a pan, incorporating one of my tried-and-true cooking methods, and then just holding my breath and hoping for the best.

One meatloaf mishap aside, I think we could say with a fair amount of certainty that this system has been pretty successful. And in general, I like cooking. It’s a good way to unwind at the end of the day sometimes.

Then I got that pesky new job in the city. (Still accepting postcards, by the way!)

And while so far I love everything about the job, the commute does limit the time I spend at home in the evening. So we were faced with a choice: Either we don’t eat until after nine every night, or Joey learns to cook.

I should clarify that he can cook. The boy makes a mean omelette, and he once whipped up a gorgeous dinner of pork chops, sautéed asparagus, and mashed potatoes. He just doesn’t do it often, and it takes him a while. (The pork chops? I kid you not, took him about seven hours from start to finish.)(They were, however, the best pork chops I’ve ever had.)

I think the main thing holding Joey back was just an unfamiliarity with the kitchen and cooking. He knew the basics, but as soon as he encountered anything new, he got nervous and just had no idea what to do with it.

In the weeks leading up to my new job starting, I tried to incorporate Joey into cooking more. Even if he was just hovering over my shoulder watching how I do things (“This is how you roast broccoli…this is how you make sure the chicken is cooked through…”), the main goal was for him to have a general idea of how to cook just about anything.

Wednesday was his first night in the kitchen since I started the job.

He made baked chicken Parmesan and roasted broccoli.


Success! it really was delicious, and he will probably be eating the leftovers tonight.

Then Thursday, he took a play from my book and threw a bunch of veggies and some sliced chicken sausage in a pan to sautée. Then he even created his own creamy cheese sauce to put over some whole wheat pasta. I didn’t even teach him that one!


He even threw together a little spinach salad for a starter.


So our little experiment has been successful so far. But more important than the actual food, it has made me so grateful to be married to someone who has no problem stepping up when his family needs something. At the risk of getting mush all over this blog, it makes me love him even more every night.

And, you know, not just because he’s handing me a warm plate of delicious food.

Drop me a line.

So I promise I wasn’t lying to you when I said I wouldn’t be doing a lot of posting this week. I really am busy.


Yesterday, I posted a photo of my new work desk.

It’s fairly barren, which is to be expected, but I want to dress it up a bit down the line.The only thing that was currently on my desk was a card (featuring narwhals) that I got from my dear friend Susan a while back.

One of my regular blog commenters and Instagram followers, Courtney, had the BRILLIANT idea that I should petition my readers to send me postcards to decorate the back wall of my desk.

Um…I love that idea. Like, really.

So basically, what I’m asking is: Would you guys do that? Post cards are cheap, right? And you would totally be famous. (Kind of.)(In my world.) AND, if you have a blog, just include the URL in the postcard message and I’ll even feature you here. On my OWN blog. Kind of meta, right? We’ll call it Blog-On-Blog Love. Because who doesn’t love a scandal?

Anyway. If you are interested in sending me a super awesome postcard (remember, this is going to be displayed in my super cool new office…make me look good), please leave a comment with your email address and I’ll be in touch with where you should send it.

This is going to be fun! (Promise!)

Checking up.

I swear I’ve talked about the fact that the first day at a new job is just like the first day at a new school, but for the life of me I can’t find the post right now. So…pretend I linked to it.

But the fact remains, it’s still true.

The first day went well! Everyone is super nice and cool and I really like the office. Plus, I even have a window right by my desk!


I can’t remember ever having this luxury since I worked at Starbucks. And then it wasn’t so much a desk as the drive-through register. So, yeah, not exactly the same.

I’ll try to get a better picture of my desk as soon as I have a chance to take one without looking like a total creep. (I know, I know, I am a total creep no matter what, but I’m excited!

The desk is a little bare at the moment anyway. I’ll have to find a way to remedy that.

Anywho, jut wanted to let you know I made it, and so far do good. They also have real coffee in the kitchens, which is a vast improvement over the crappy coffee-from-a-packet machines we had at my last job.

Just to warn you, posting might dwindle a bit this week while I get settled into the new routine, but I have a lot of ideas planned for this weekend for next week. So stay tuned!!

How’s everyone else’s week going so far?

I’m back. Back in a New York groove.

Guess what, you guys. Or, more correctly, guess where, you guys.

What I’m trying to say (in my personally perfected awkward way) is that I’m writing to you from the train on my way to my new job in the city.


Hooray! (Side note: Did you ever think there would come a day when I would be happy to be on the train? Me either.)

It’s funny how thing change while you’re away. For one, the LIRR has added something called “quiet cars,” which I understand, but apparently you can’t even have electronic devices displayed when you’re sitting in them. Which I guess means you can’t even play Cut the Rope with the sound effects on mute? Because even knowing technology exists would ruin the quiet for those passengers? So, basically, “quiet cars” is a bit of a misnomer and these cars should be called “Amish cars.”

Also, the WordPress app is a billion times better, and it wasn’t even that bad to begin with. (It is also entirely possible the app was just always this good for iPhone users. In which case… DESCRIMINATION!!!

Other than that, though, so far things are pretty much how I remember them.

In an effort to keeps self from getting burnt out on the train (until we can move closer to the city in April…more on that later), I’ve decided to put The Happiness Project in full effect and focus on the things my train time allows me to do better or more often than I could without train time. (Lest we see a return in the much-beloved-yet-also-feared Commuter Justine.)

For one…blogging! I’m kind of assuminghoping that my new job will keep me much busier during the day, so blogging will actually have to be done outside of work. Like, say, when I’m sitting on a train for an hour each way.

For another, reading! After I stopped taking the train, my personally reading took a nose dive. I have a book I need to review next month for the BlogHer Book Club that I can’t wait to get into now that I have the time.

Plus, obviously, I have a lot more time to dedicate to checking up on Twitter and Instagram (@justinelorelle, BTW) and Words with Friends. So keep up the posts, people!

Anyway. I’m super nervousexcited to start the new gig. I could barely sleep last night (so, yeah, feeling a wee bit tired today).

Can’t wait to tell you all how it goes!

How to: Create “Disney Princess” Curls

how to disney princess curls

So my friend Kristin has been asking me how I curl my hair for months now, and I always promise I’m going to have her over for a tutorial, but it never seems to happen.

After discussing this conundrum with Kristin and our other friend Stephanie on Tuesday night, I finally decided the simplest way to share my oh so vast knowledge would be by posting a video tutorial on this ‘ere blog.

My first video tutorial! (Actually, I think this is my first self-made video on the blog ever. Big day for the blog, folks. Big day for all of us.

Fair warning, I have a very basic knowledge of iMovie. I literally had to google how to add every effect you see here (including that super awesome fast-forward effect and the background music…which is…not the greatest, but it was free, so…yeah). The point is, this video won’t be winning any awards any time soon. But it gets the job done. Win some, lose some.

Anyway. I’m obviously stalling because I’m mildly embarrassed about putting this into the public sphere. I’m a dork, as you will see. In a single 12-minut clip, I manage to drop things, hit things around me, and at one point one of my hair clips flies across the room. (Okay, I cut the flying clip out of the final video.) But anyway. You guys already knew I wasn’t smooth, right?

Without further ado, my first video tutorial on creating “Disney princess” curls:

What I did today.

Fair warning: I feel a bit exhausted as I write this. There’s a good chance it will make not that much sense. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

So! It’s my first day of my time between jobs. Which, obviously, means I have a lot I plan to get accomplished.

Fortunately for you folks, I’ve decided to spare you the long list of things I plan to do and instead just tell you when I’ve accomplished something. AREN’T I GENEROUS AND BENEVOLENT?

Yeesh. All-caps are apparently a symptom of exhaustion.

Let’s get in to why I’m exhausted, shallll we?

So I had my list of things I planned to accomplish. Here’s a run-down of my day thus far:

1. Woke up with the hubs around 8. Days off don’t start themselves.

2. Hit up a nearby trail to knock out a 5-mile run. (Ahhh, half-marathon training. Missed ya.) It was also a good opportunity to break in my new shoes AND get some use out of my new favorite app, Nike+ Running.

3. IKEA RUN! Okay, so we can all agree that IKEA can be a beast. It’s pretty much impossible to walk in without wanting to just give the IKEA gods all of your money. Fortunately, I was armed with a list. And I can honestly say I only bought the things on the list. And one was for a gift. SO GET OFF MY BACK.

Woo. Lost it for a second there. Let’s blame it on the IKEA hangover. Anyway.

I also learned things at IKEA. For one, the store part doesn’t open until 10. (I got there around 9:45.) Fortunately, I also learned that the cafe opens at 9:30. Hooray! AND I learned that coffee is free in the cafe before 10 a.m.! Hooray, again!


4. Then it was a quick stop at the craft store for thread. (What’s that? Did I just hint at a sewing project? GUESS YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.)

5. Finally, I FINALLY made it to Goodwill to donate the pile of crap that has been sitting on my dining room floor for quite literally months. We have so much room for activities now!

6. Then I got home and finished the bathroom decor! No really! It’s done! Check it out:

Cute, right? It officially feels like a real bathroom in there. As opposed to a dorm bathroom, I guess. The point is, it looks nice in there, and it’s officially done-done. Only took me a year and five months. And it’s still only the second room in our 1-bedroom apartment I would consider done-done. (The other is the kitchen. Mostly because there’s only so much I can do in there.)

So now I’m sitting at the computer. I had plans to start on the afore-hinted-at sewing projects, but I can’t find the pedal to my sewing machine anywhere. It’s maddening. (But it has to be somewhere, right? RIGHT?)

On the bright side, I’m actually super tired, so I’m learning to appreciate having nothing I can do right now. (Plus, I already cleaned the bathroom and kitchen so I literally can’t do anything else right now.)(I’m a freak, okay?) And I’m going to a boot camp class tonight, so I should probably conserve energy anyway.

What do you usually get done on your days off? Anyone else a crazy overachiever like me? Also, any guesses where that sewing machine pedal is?

The Insecurity Evolution

Last day at my current job! Woo!

Ok, now the real post.

Maybe they’re on my brain because I’m starting the new could-be-the-dream job, but I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot about insecurities lately.

I think everyone has their thing. You know. The thing that keeps you at the bathroom mirror a few seconds longer. The one that makes you shy away from pencil skirts or sleeveless tops. The one that keeps your hair long or your makeup a touch heavier. Or the one that makes you laugh louder or speak up less.

We all have something that makes us feel less adequate, whether it’s all the time or just every once in a while.

I’ve written about my own insecurities a few times. (After all, overcoming the bulk of them was what helped me score a spot in Glamour magazine and a guest post on Espresso & Cream.)

But one thing I’ve only recently become aware of is how insecurities can evolve.

For example, growing up, I was always conscious of my crooked teeth and big feet. Braces straightened the teeth and a growth spurt (sort of) balanced out the feet, but puberty was less kind in other ways. Suddenly I was tortured about the size of my thighs, and later, the flatness of my stomach, the jiggle of my upper arms, the fullness of my face, blah, blah, blah.

Healthier living and healthier thinking helped me outgrow and get over most of those insecurities (though I’d be a bold-faced liar if I said I never had a day where I dismissed skinny jeans because, well, I just wasn’t feeling all that skinny that day), but the really interestinghorrible part about growing up is that just because you outgrow or get over one (or nine) insecurities doesn’t mean you’re good for life.

Over the past few months, every time I see a picture of myself I think, “Hmm…is my forehead…big? Like, weirdly big? And have my teeth gotten more crooked? Maybe I should have replaced that broken retainer…” Plus, you already know my issues with the crooked nose. And I’ve always wanted to be about four inches taller.

I think the biggest difference between these insecurities and the ones that plagued me in the past, though, is that I just don’t care as much. Sure, I wouldn’t be devastated if they suddenly went away, but I don’t let it affect my entire life like I used to. I would never describe myself as an insecure person.

Part of that is due to a revelation I had when I was at my worst in terms of insecurities. I remember being in my car crying about something or other I didn’t like about myself (because I am queen of the driving breakdown…super safe, obviously), and suddenly having this flash of, “Oh my GOD, would you get over yourself?”

It was kind of a startling moment. But the fact is, insecurities are petty and selfish. There are people with real problems out there. The size of my jeans is not a real problem.

I think, in general, people know this. Usually when you’re freaking out about something like what your shoulders look like in a tank top, you’re just not thinking clearly. You’re obsessing. You’re fixating. The biggest thing you lack is not muscle tone — it’s perspective.

Really, the gaining of perspective is probably the real biggest insecurity evolution I’ve experienced. So when I’m frustrated that my torso is kind of short or that my ribs are so wide it looks like I have no boobs at all (it’s a real thing, I swear), I let myself have a, “Well thanks A LOT, genetics!” moment, and then I roll my eyes and get on with life.

Because, en general, I’m good. I’m fine. And I’m thankful that my biggest problem is filling out a bathing suit.

Do you think your insecurities have evolved as you’ve gotten older? Would you describe yourself as an insecure person? And, spill: What’s your lamest insecurity? It can’t be worse than wide ribs or a (possibly?) large forehead.