Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.
I have been so addicted lately to this amazingly colorful broccoli/cabbage/carrot slaw with a spicy almond-soy sauce dressing. I use it in wraps or mixed with brown or wild rice or quinoa. Or I just shove it in my mouth by the chopstickful (that’s a word, right?). It’s great cold, or at room temp, or heated. Sometimes I swap out the shredded broccoli stems for actual broccoli florets. Anyhow, I hope you make some and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Shred up some red cabbage and carrots in your food processor (or, this is great practice for your knife skills…or fine, you could use a box grater). Also, broccoli stems! Did you know they are edible? It’s true! Chop off the florets and save for another time, snap off any loose leaves and little branches, cut off the ragged end, and then use a vegetable peeler to shave off the tough outer layer. You can use the tender insides in a myriad of ways – dice it up and toss it in a stir-fry, cut into chunks and serve as crudités with dip, or shred it up for this beautiful slaw!
Use a whisk to bring together some almond butter, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce and sriracha. How much of each? I don’t know, it’s totally to your liking! I generally end up with about 2 cups of grated veggie goodness, and for that amount I whip together about ½ Tablespoon almond butter, the juice of half a lemon, and 1-2 teaspoons each of soy sauce and sriracha. You can thin it out with a little splash of water if you prefer your dressing runnier, or add more almond butter if you want a thicker, creamier dressing. It’s totally up to you! Don’t have almond butter? Use peanut butter! Or tahini! Yum!
Go! Have fun! Play with your food!
Inspired by recent emails between some lovely friends about interior design, I realized it was about time I spruce up my little space here in the city. I spent several hours yesterday hanging lights, posters and creating decorations that reflect my organic and minimalist design style. I’m a huge recycler/reuser, so the style elements in my living spaces generally tend to reflect that.
It takes me a while to settle into a new place before I really make it my own. Sure, I set out my more meaningful knick knacks, and the furniture reflects my style. But as time goes by, I’m continually assessing the space, thinking about what will fit where, what the vibe of each room is, what spaces look bare and need a little something. And then one day, creativity strikes and I totally and completely lose myself in building and transforming the landscape around me. After the wave of activity passes, I stand back and survey my renewed surroundings and it’s as if fresh life has been injected. The space feels more alive somehow. I’ve poured my love and energy into the décor, and it shines back at me, filling me with inspiration and a sense of self.
I love this process – observation, invention, action, evaluation. As former roommates can attest, I never really stop doing it. At least once a week I find some little thing I want to tweak in my kitchen or bathroom or living room – these pots make way more sense living in this cupboard! And once in a while I get hit with a huge dose of inspiration and undertake a major overhaul.
As I put away the tacks and scissors and was checking out the work I had done yesterday, I realized that not only do I go through this process with my living space, but also with my self. Like my living space, I too am a work in progress. I am regularly considering various aspects of myself – my thoughts, actions, beliefs, relationships, and so on. And now that I think about it, I realize I pretty much utilize the same process as I do when decorating – observation, invention, action, evaluation, repeat. I believe there is value in consciously assessing where you’re at mentally, emotionally and physically. Making small tweaks to how you think about yourself and interact with the world around you. Pouring your heart and soul into mindful efforts of change, and then observing the results of all your hard work. And when you see the positive payoff come back to you, in whatever form – a new friend, a smile from a stranger, money saved, a few pounds shed, a sense of accomplishment – it infuses you with a renewed confidence and inspires you to keep it up, to continue the process, because you know you can only grow from here.
All this from hanging a few strands of lights… Who knew interior design could be so illuminating?
with love, small
If you responded “Who is Mala?” to the clue “This girl has a date with Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and IBM’s Watson tonight,” you would be absolutely correct!
Over the past several months I’ve stumbled upon more friends’ blogs than I can count. It seems that almost every friend and acquaintance I’ve recently met has something to share with the world via the web. A decade ago, someone my age may have made the claim, “all my friends are growing up and starting families” but in this tech-savvy day and age, while women put off childbirth well into their mid-to-late thirties or even forties, my cohorts and I are much more likely to comment on the proliferation of blogs than babies. Yes, in this historic first post, I’m likening the decision to found a blog to the decision to create a new life, and the potential change that each of these events has to offer the creator.*
I think we could all agree that deciding to have a baby is a pretty big deal. For me, the seemingly simple act of deciding to start a blog is also a pretty big deal. Both resolutions require much forethought about various considerations. Both a soon-to-be mother and a soon-to-be blogger go into all-out preparation mode. For a mama-to-be, she’s usually got the baby daddy already figured out, but mom must consider aspects such as home or hospital birth, pain meds or, well, pain, breast feeding or formula, on and on. A blogger-to-be has her own decisions to grapple with – content, host, audience and layout to name a few. However, perhaps one of the most deliberated and important considerations of a new baby and a new blog is the name.
Yup, just as with a baby, a blog’s name is often perceived as the most critical decision. It makes that oh-so-important first impression, so it must be memorable. And because it can say so much about the content within, parents and bloggers alike spend plenty of time weighing the options and ultimately deciding on what they feel reflects their values, personalities and hopes.
My decision upon the name “with love, small”** came to be because at 5 feet 3 inches (on a good day), I’m pretty small. Just kidding. I mean, I am small, and maybe that was a part of the name game, but mainly it was born out of my vision for this blog – to communicate little bits of my life and day-to-day musings and inspirations with my family and friends (and anyone else who stumbles upon this space – hello stranger!). My hope is that through sharing my thoughts and observations, I will connect with loved ones near and far and that in the process (both in the thinking about what content to place on this blog and in receiving feedback), I will continually learn and evolve as a person.
I don’t yet have children of my own, but I imagine that a new mom must go through the same process throughout her pregnancy, after the baby’s birth and throughout the child’s life. She has put a piece of herself out into the world and like it or not, she will continually receive feedback on how she shapes the child. Along the way, mom must learn and course-correct and in so doing, she herself grows and develops, as will her child. Together, unknowingly, they help each other mature and flourish.
So, without further ado, I end this first post of my new blog-baby. I’ve done it. I’ve put myself out there. And now I observe, create, share, connect and grow.
with love, small
*Inspiration for this post was largely derived from the book Birth Day (A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth) by Mark Sloan, MD. I randomly picked up this fascinating gem at the library the other day and sped through its 200+ pages in less than two days. Although I do admit to having an interest in all-things-baby (which does not necessarily have anything to do with a ticking biological clock – remember, I did focus on child development while earning my psychology degree in college), I would highly recommend it to anyone with even a smidgen of interest in how the brain and body develop or what babies encounter upon transition from the womb-world to the “real” world, and to those who might just be curious about the seemingly mysterious birthing process that a woman goes through (not as mysterious as you might think once you discover the science behind things like why women want to walk around or take a bath during labor).
**Huge thanks to my friend Alicia, who was an active participant in my blog-name brainstorming process – she listened to my ideas, asked me pressing questions and out popped a name that I thought was absolutely perfect. Thanks lady!