Holiday Recipes Open Thread

Holiday Recipes for Working WomenWith the holidays almost upon us, I thought we’d have a holiday recipe open thread — what are your favorite things to make for family and friends? Have you gravitated towards certain recipes as a working woman (simple ingredients/short steps for easy weeknight dinners, slow cooker recipes you can start before work, etc.)?  For holiday recipes, do you like these recipes because they transport well, because they’re treats or more work than you’re usually willing to spend on food, because they’re best made in large batches, or for other reasons? (Does anyone have any great vegetarian recipes, or healthy fruit-related dessert recipes? Trying to add some of those to my wheelhouse.)

For my $.02 — yes to all of the above for why we choose what holiday recipes to make for family and friends!  I also try to make something healthy for larger gatherings, particularly veggies that I’m happy to fill my plate with.  For Thanksgiving in a few days, we’re planning to make a salad that we always call “Siggy’s salad,” after a restaurant that used to be down the street from our apartment but then sadly changed locations, moving farther away. I never seem to get to the actual restaurant in its new location, so we’ve duplicated the recipe as best we can — it can be a bit of work, so we primarily make it for larger gatherings. (The picture at top is from the restaurant’s website.)

Our recipe isn’t so much a “recipe” as “an approximation of the salad we remember” — the way it’s served at the restaurant the salad greens are about 50% of the plate, possibly even 40% — so the quinoa, olives, avocado, feta, and cucumbers all play pretty big roles in about equal percentages.

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Working Girl, 9 to 5, & Other Office Movies

working-girl-9-to-5-moviesLadies — what are your favorite office movies, particularly for women? Which ambitious movie characters inspired you while growing up, and/or who has inspired you recently? Which movies would you want to discuss with other readers?  I’ve mentioned my favorite fashion movies before, and we’ve had a few discussion threads about specific books, but as fall weather sets in, I thought it might be fun to start a discussion series of “working girl movies.” The idea for this partly came when I watched The Intern months after it came out and then spent two hours looking for an earlier Facebook post where I knew some entrepreneurs I know had discussed the movie — but it’s been bolstered by sadness/shock when I talk to younger women who haven’t seen Working Girl. GASP.

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Hobby Wednesday: Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring Books for Adults

What kinds of hobbies do you like to take part in after work and on weekends? (We’re talking about offline activities here — no computers required/allowed!) This is the first in a series of occasional posts where we’ll take a look at how to pick up various hobbies. Today we’re talking about coloring books for adults, an activity that has exploded in the last year or so. You can find coloring books of all kinds at sites like Amazon or stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Stores — I even saw a small selection at the grocery store the other day. I’ve dabbled in this trend myself; I received a Doctor Who coloring book as a gift a while ago and just took it up a notch by buying Color Quest: Extreme Coloring Challenges from Amazon, a color-by-numbers book in which each mystery picture has teeny-tiny squares or other shapes to fill in. (The picture isn’t revealed until you’re done.)

If neither of those appeals to you, don’t worry — there are many, many options out there for coloring stress relief (or just for fun) — in fact, it’s almost overwhelming. You can find coloring books of mandalas, animals, flowers and landscapes, fashion, abstract designs, tattoos, TV and movies (from Bob’s Burgers to Buffy to Lord of the Rings), lawyersarchitecture, sports, quotes, Internet-famous cats, and anatomy. There are religious coloring books, coloring books of Disney villains and Disney princesses, and several books with titles like Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book (which has 800+ reviews). Your favorite website may have even put out its own coloring book, for example, The Oatmeal or Young House Love.

A few books that are highly rated at Amazon are pictured above. From L to R:

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How Do You Keep Up with Current Events?

How Do You Keep Up with Current Events? What’s your favorite way to keep up with current events? Has it changed recently (such as when Facebook changed their “trending stories” to “trending topics”)? Have you adopted a new curated source that seems like a helpful one for you, like theSkimm or The Broadsheet, or have you rediscovered an older source (like the NYT or WSJ)?

Readers had a lively debate the other day while discussing reading news online and paying for media/content in general. Some felt that it’s important to, for example, pay for New York Times online access (which is $4–6/week), while others didn’t see a problem with finding the loopholes that let you keep reading for free (or, say, with using your parents’ HBO GO password). Looking at the bigger picture, The Media Insight Project did a survey in 2014 that led to some interesting conclusions on news consumption among the generations and genders. For example:

  • “Adults age 18–29 … are less inclined than those 60 and over to follow news about national government (57 percent vs. 79 percent) or foreign affairs (59 percent vs. 79 percent overall).”
  • “[F]or the youngest adults, age 18-29, social media and the web in general have hardly replaced more traditional ways of getting the news. Nearly half … also read news in print during the last week, 3 in 4 watched news on television, and just over half listened to it on the radio.”
  • “Women … are more likely to share news and get it through social media, and to follow news about schools and health and lifestyle. Men are more likely to watch cable news and follow different subjects, including sports and foreign affairs.”

Do those numbers seem to ring true for you and your family, friends, and coworkers? And all of this makes us wonder: How do you like to keep up with current events? Do you:

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Open Thread: TV, Streaming, and Movies

fall TV open threadSince we’re all getting back into the swing of things after the long weekend, I thought we’d have a fun open thread today: what new TV shows are you looking forward to this fall? What second, third, and beyond seasons are you eagerly awaiting? What shows are you so glad you’ve caught up with via streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Prime — and have you seen any great documentaries or movies lately? (Here’s another great question: for those of you who love to binge watch things or tie TV-watching to workout time — what are your favorite shows?) Do you put limits on your TV watching (e.g., no more than 7 hours per week, only on the treadmill)? (Cord cutters / those without a TV, I’d love to hear from you too — how’s it going?) 

For my $.02: With two small kids and limited grown-up/unscheduled time outside the house, we almost never go to movies in theaters — the last time I can remember going was when I saw Gone Girl by myself the week it opened… oh and of course we saw The Force Awakens the week it opened. So almost all of my picks will be TV-based! For new TV, I just set my TiVo to record (links go to the official trailers on YouTube):

  • MacGyver – I’m kind of really psyched about this reboot; we watched the old series all the time while growing up. (Pictured.) It premieres Sept. 23.
  • Bull – I read the description (it’s loosely based on the backstory of Dr. Phil and his jury consultant years) and thought, OK, fine, it sounds interesting — but the trailer makes it look like a really fun mix of a procedural/character study, so I’m now properly excited. It premieres Sept. 20.
  • The Good Place – Kristen Bell plays a woman who dies and wrongly goes to Heaven instead of Hell; the comedy is about her trying to change her less-than-stellar ways.  It looks OK to me, but I like Kristen Bell, so I’m hopeful. It premieres Sept. 22.
  • One Mississippi – I mostly set the TiVo based on the recommendation of Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker’s TV critic (but a quick Google shows it’s getting a TON of good traction from the critics, along with Fleabag and Atlanta — here’s the NPR article on all three).  One Mississsipi is a dark comedy inspired by comedian Tig Notaro’s life: “Tig returns to her hometown in Mississippi, where she contends with the death of her mother and her own mortality as she embarks on a painful yet hilarious journey that unearths uncomfortable truths about her family and her self.” It premieres Sept. 9.
  • Designated Survivor – Fiiiiine, I thought, I’ll record it since this show is getting so much buzz, and hey, I had a crush on Kiefer Sutherland many many moons ago, although I do not remember why. After watching the trailer I’m intrigued, though — Sutherland plays “a lower-level cabinet member who unexpectedly becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington.” It premieres Sept. 21.
  • Braindead – I’m not quite sure where to put this one — it’s eleven episodes into its mid-summer premiere. I started watching it primarily because I’d read about how the costume designer from The Good Wife was doing this as his next show, and while the clothes are fine (I’d say unremarkable, honestly), the show itself is a delight — quirky, funny, smart.  The premise: “A government employee discovers that the cause of the tensions between the two political parties is a race of extraterrestrial insects eating the brains of the politicians.” Big thumbs up.

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4 Types of Vacation Packages for Busy Women

Specialty Vacation Packages2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on vacation packages for busy women— links have also been updated below.

Travel planning can be a lot of fun, but it’s also time-consuming — and stressing out about a vacation kind of defeats the purpose. Vacation packages can take almost all the planning out of the equation — and they don’t have to be the run-of-the-mill, giant-tour-bus trips that might spring to mind, either.

We’ve rounded up five types of vacation packages that seem just right for busy professional women who don’t have a lot of time to spend researching hotels, restaurants, activities, sightseeing spots, and so on. These companies are booking through 2017, but if you’re looking for something last-minute, you’re in luck: Now is a good time to find deals, as late summer is a less popular vacation time than early/mid-summer. (Check Last Minute Travel, CheapCaribbeanTravelzoo, or Groupon. You can also read our guest poster’s tips for traveling solo, as well as check out our last discussion about using all your vacation time.)   [Read more…]

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