The Tankini Files: Newsletters

Newsletter #32

What I Made This Week

Food articles that describe a meal but then also don’t tell you the recipe make me want to Hulk Out. What do they take me for? Some kind of culinary genius? I can’t follow a “recipe” that is just a bunch of guidance on how to “improvise in the kitchen.” I NEED STEPS AND MEASUREMENTS.  I almost felt that way about this article about grain bowls. But then! At the bottom, there was a link to the recipe! Thanks NYTimes. That was a close one.

Let’s see. This week, I sauteed some frozen shrimp and then added it to a bag of sauteed frozen Vegetable Fried Rice, we made a meatloaf, and did fancy baked potatoes (“fancy” for the soul reason that I bought sour cream).  

I also swear I’m going to make this egg, hash, and pancetta recipe this weekend for breakfast and make my husband love me. Or maybe I’ll just think about it and make toast instead.

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What I Watched This Week

I’m obsessed with the show Imposters which I never knew existed (airs on Bravo) but which is now on Netflix and so I now know about it and can watch it. It’s so very good. We were going through a dry spell there for a bit so I’m glad it landed.

What I Read This Week

I haven’t read anything because I’ve been too obsessed with Trump news but I have my eye on Tangerine by Christine Mangan.

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What I Wrote This Week

I wrote about how we should still post wine memes on Facebook because sometimes we just need to make stupid jokes on social media. Bold.

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Parenting Gif of the Week

Actual footage of me cleaning out the car.

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Newsletter #31

What I Ate This Week

We took the kids to my childhood home to visit my mom and I ate like I was starving and slept like the dead. There’s something about going back to your childhood home, right? Just knowing that someone else is in the position of authority is the ultimate tranquilizer while not having to cook is the ultimate appetite giver. That, or I can blame it on the antihistamines I started taking due to allergy season.

20160702-salmon-rice-bowl3-1500x1125.jpgSo! This week: We enjoyed salmon teriyaki bowls (this recipe is a stretch; i just put baked salmon over rice and broccoli and poured teriyaki sauce on the whole thing, like a champ), ham and macaroni and cheese, egg salad (from the hardboiled eggs from EaSter), and homemade pizza with a spicy beef topping. Just make a pizza like you normally would but saute some minced beef with a half a pack of taco seasoning and onions and throw it on half-way between baking. Nat then puts arugula on it and we seem like fancy and impressive people who don’t eat our dinner in under 5 minutes, due to childhood demands.

What I would make if I didn’t have children: This Vegetarian Carrot and Chickpea Tagine.

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What I Wrote This Week

I have a doppelganger who is on the latest Survivor, according to my neighbor. Weird, right? I investigate.

What I Read this Week

Sisters by Lily Tuck was super fast and super enjoyable. The story of a marriage — and the dissolution of said marriage — is told in super short, pithy vignettes. Plus, look at this author photo. Is Lily Tuck a boss or what?

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What I Watched This Week

The Jackson Brodie crime novels by Kate Atkinson are super sacred to me; I deeply, deeply love and revere the four books that follow this character and recommend them to everyone. So I was surprised to see there’s a tv adaptation of the books, now available on Amazon Prime (apparently it originally aired in 2011; I’m very far behind). Sadly, the show is nowhere near as good as the books. So don’t watch it. But if you promise me there is no way you will ever read the books (which you most definitely should!!) then you can.

Parenting Gif of the Week

Before I walk into daycare at 5 p.m.

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Newsletter #30

Things That Have Happened

What We (and Friends) Ate This Week

Nat made his excellent beef stroganoff which the kids love (and so do we). I’ve been staring at this recipe forskirt steak and rice noodlesas though I’m actually going to get the energy to try and make it. A friend of Sam’s came over and stuck a cheese stick in the toilet and then ate it (we didn’t realize this had happened until days later). I went to a friend’s house and she had delicious double chocolate chip cookies which came from Trader Joe’s Truffle Brownie mix. Yes, you read that right. THE BROWNIE MIX CAN BE TURNED INTO COOKIES. Is there anything Trader Joe CAN’T DO?

What I Wrote This Week

I wrote about how my kid bit me (it hurt) and about I learned to love to bake with mixes.

What I Watched This Week

Wild Wild Country on Netflix. I dunno. Maybe I now want to join a cult? Kind of?
Osho with cult follower

What I Read This Week

I’ve been reading so much by female authors so The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan knocked my socks off; I hadn’t realized I was missing testosterone-fueled words until I picked it up. It follows the death of a marriage so, you know, kind of depressing but I couldn’t look away. I gobbled it up in three days.
The Sarah Book

Parenting GIF of the Week

Trying to explain to my kids how the Easter Bunny relates to Jesus.
Mathematical formulas whizzing around Zach Galifianakis' head

At Gazet, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to become the editor of their own digital magazine. We’re building a community of experts and enthusiasts who curate and publish media digests on a wide range of subjects.

As a fan of The Tankini Files, we hope you’ll love Gazet, and invite you to join us as a Founding Editor. Check us out at Gazet.com, or email mark@gazet.com with any questions.

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Newsletter #29: Snowday #2354,

Now with Nietzsche Quotes

On the second day of Spring. Schools and day care are closed. Despair. So, I figured I’d do some deep dives into some Nietzche. Maybe you would appreciate? “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

What I made this week

Meatball subs with frozen sub rolls I popped in the oven. Broccoli slaw. Mashed sweet potatoes. Grilled fish. Steamed broccoli. Cookies. 15 bottles of wine. There is no   “In loneliness, the lonely one eats himself; in a crowd, the many eat him. Now choose.”

What I wrote this week

I went to the doctor. Probably am not going to die. Unless the snow days kill me.

What I Read This Week

I started on Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Long (fantastic name) and am enjoying. This quote has nothing to do with it. “Books for all the world are always foul-smelling books: the smell of small people clings to them.”

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What I Watch This Week

High Maintenance on HBO GO, about a pot delivery guy in Manhattan. 4,000 episodes of Paw Patrol “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

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Parenting Gif of the Week

Snow day. In March.

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These newsletters are sponsored by our friends at Gazet.

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Newsletter #28: Daylight Savings

What I made this week

We made some dope pre-marinated chicken breasts from TJ’s that you simply saute in a frying pan. They were delicious. However, Sam wouldn’t touch because they had “salad” on them (“It’s HERBS,” I  silently screamed into the void). We made some stuffed raviolis, some fish tacos, and a box of mac and cheese to help lessen the blow of us not putting the kids to bed when we had a long postponed date night (it’s so restorative to get out of bedtime, if just for one night; I highly recommend).

What I wrote this week

Having trouble getting your kids to sleep with the time change? Here are some tips on how to make their room so dark a meth head would love to call it home.

What I watched this week

There’s a new BBC crime drama (my favorite!) now on Netflix called Collateral which we’re trying to watch in between running up the stairs to yell at the kids about going to bed (I hate you, time change).

Parenting gif of the week

Daytime Savings Time has me like

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What I read this week

I’m still reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah which is … fine …. but kind of reads like a YA novel (to me). I’m also the only person in America who didn’t like Hannah’s first book The Nightingale so I’m not really sure why I downloaded this one, other than it popped up in my Kindle as something I would like and I’m nothing if not a sucker for targeted marketing AND lazy. So, if you’re looking for a YA novel about a teenager who moves to backwoods Alaska  in 1974 with her mother and increasingly unstable Vietnam Vet father, this book is for you!

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At Gazet, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to become the editor of their own digital magazine. We’re building a community of experts and enthusiasts who curate and publish media digests on a wide range of subjects.

As a fan of The Tankini Files, we hope you’ll love Gazet, and invite you to join us as a Founding Editor. Check us out at Gazet.com, or email mark@gazet.com with any questions.

Gazet — Publish. Don’t Post.


Newsletter # 27  Snow Storm, A Messy House & The Great Alone

What I Made This Week

I’m writing this the day before a snow day when I panicked and spent $250 at my boyfriend Trader Joe’s, mainly on milk. I’m planning on making this pre-marinated pot roast from this recipe; sauteed some shrimp and serving it over this frozen risotto and asparagus; this chicken with broccoli slaw.

Also, if I ever had dinner parties, which I don’t because my house is such a mess and I can’t be trusted around open bottles of wine, I’d make little ice cream sandwiches from these cookies for dessert. I just made a few (with a dollop of chocolate syrup) and ate them over the sink while looking at my phone, having an impromptu dinner party with my Internet friends.

What I Read This Week

the-great-alone-kristin-hannahI just downloaded Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone. And a fan of the newsletter just sent me her book– Hugo and Rose — which I will dig into in between futility cleaning my house during said snow day.

What I Watched This Week

I’m finally strong enough in my parenting journey to watch The Room, which is on Amazon Prime and it was so good.

What I Wrote This Week

I wrote about how I’m cool with a messy house but now I feel like I’m stupid for writing it because I’m over my messy house and want to set it on fire.

 

Parenting gif of the Week

When we get the phone call that says school is closed…again.

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Newsletter #26: Rotten Bananas & Falling Down the Online Skincare Rabbit Hole

Just a reminder that this newsletter is sponsored by my good friends at Gazet. Check out their neat platform for sharing content and stories you find interesting. Here are some good articles I read this week.

What I Made This Week

small-batch-banana-muffins-imageThis weekend, I spotted a black banana in my fruit bowl which had been there much too long for a rotten banana to be anywhere, let alone on top of a counter. So I said to myself, “I shall make some banana muffins.” So I went to The Google and I found a recipe that said, “Do you have a single rotten banana sitting on your counter?” And I quietly looked around and nodded. And it said, “Do you want to make muffins?” And I nodded again, slightly creeped out because how did this recipe know me so well? So I had no choice but to make the recipe which was very easy (no mixer needed) and makes 4 muffins from one rotten banana. Also on the rotation this week was this BBQ shredded chicken recipe (served with microwavable rice) which we used the second night in some quick and easy quesadillas; some steak on the grill with oven-roasted french fries (the frozen bagged variety have come a long way since we were kids. Science!). We’re also deeply into peas these days (exciting times) and use this steamer in the microwave almost every night and they really do a bang up job of quickly steaming frozen (and non frozen) veggies.

What I watched this week

I started watching Seven Seconds on Netflix but stopped as I can’t do a dead kids / suffering parents plot line. I then started watched Absentia on Amazon Prime and it’s not good so I’m not sure why I’m writing about it? I haven’t watched one bit of the Olympics because the commercials were so bad and onerous; it looks like I’m not the only one.

What I Read This Week

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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell, an Irish writer. It’s a great hook: It’s written in seventeen chapters, each a different, startling vignette about an event in her life in which she could have died. It’s so good that at first I didn’t realize it was a memoir.

Parenting Gif of the Week

When my kids touch my phone without my permission

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What I wrote this Week

I went crazy, bought a bunch of serums for my face, my face then went crazy, so I went to the dermatologist, which is what I should have done in the first place. This is my story.

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At Gazet, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to become the editor of their own digital magazine. We’re building a community of experts and enthusiasts who curate and publish media digests on a wide range of subjects.

As a fan of The Tankini Files, we hope you’ll love Gazet, and invite you to join us as a Founding Editor. Check us out at Gazet.com, or email mark@gazet.com with any questions.

Gazet — Publish. Don’t Post.


Newsletter #25:  Shrimp, Hot Mom Tech, & Trampoline Park Barf

 

What I Made This Week

honeybuttergarlicshrimp

This fascinating newsletter has yet to break shrimp recipes wide open and that’s because I have a dark secret — Nat doesn’t like shrimp. And I feel like we should at least try to make dishes we can all eat (or, in the case of my children, not eat while complaining about it them). But one day,  tired of all of our options, I picked some up and felt like Nat could deal (he could). So, I made this delicious recipe which the kids gobbled up. I also made a beef stew we all hated, sliders the kids loved, some batches of steel-cut oatmeal, this tried-and true breaded fish recipe, and a very unpopular chicken and rice casserole that we fed to the dog. We’re also eating clementines by the handful.

 

What I Watched This Week

I’m currently pretty obsessed with Fox’s 9-1-1 which is utterly ridiculous and totally-implausible but features Connie Britton (great hair), Angela Bassett (great anger face), and Peter Krause from Six Feet Under (great ugly-crying).  And the new TNT mini-series The Alienist is now on Amazon Prime (for a fee).

What I Read This Week

I’ve been on a tear recently. I loved Problems by Jade Sharma but it was almost tooo edgy for my 38-year-old blood. But it did remind me of the writing that spoke to my 28-year-old blood (if that is still around, anywhere). The main character, Maya, has a little heroin, infidelity, employment and New York City problem that is painful to witness, yet Sharma is just funny enough to keep you reading when all you you really want to do is look away. I also finished Pachinko by Min Jin Lee which I can recommend to everyone because instead of explicit drug use and sex, it’s just 400-plus (exceedingly readable!) pages that follows four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family.

Hot Mom Tech of the Week

I loved this When Did Marriage Become So Hard episode on the Hidden Brain podcast. In a brief interview with Eli Finkel, author of The All-Or-Nothing Marriage: How The Best Marriages Work, he talks about how marriages nowadays are akin to a heavily stock-loaded portfolio. His theory: We shouldn’t  look to one person to fulfill so many of our emotional and psychological needs (ie: don’t put all your eggs in one basket). Basically, people are happier when they’ve diversified their social portfolio and turn to different sorts of people for different sorts of emotional experiences. So, go grab a beer with your girlfriends, ladies!

Parenting Gif of the Week

When my children try to touch me with their grubby hands in the morning before work and I’m wearing the one clean outfit I own.

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What I Wrote This Week

I went to a trampoline park full of barf.

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At Gazet, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to become the editor of their own digital magazine. We’re building a community of experts and enthusiasts who curate and publish media digests on a wide range of subjects.

As a fan of The Tankini Files, we hope you’ll love Gazet, and invite you to join us as a Founding Editor. Check us out at Gazet.com, or email mark@gazet.com with any questions.

Gazet — Publish. Don’t Post.


Newsletter #24

What I Read This Week

Oh man, you guys. Another dystopian feminist novel (my favorite!)! This time it’s  The Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, which is told by the point of view by different women after abortion is once again illegal in the US, IVF is banned, and single women cannot adopt. It’s so good, I loved every page, and have recommended it to everyone. Egad. Read it. Then talk to me about it. I want to read it again and again.

What I Wrote This Week

I wrote about what we don’t talk about when we talk about the achievement gap. Hint: We parents have something to do with it.

What I Watched This Week

Masha and the Bear (Netflix), a whimsical Russian animated television series with terrible dubbing, is on repeat at our house. It follows a bear (with an excellent backstory, I think he won an Oscar at one point and was maybe in the circus?), a precocious little girl and their adventures in the Russian backcountry (or something…but it’s definitely in Russia). Both kids love it. Also, the Olympics start tonight! NPR’s Olympics Preview Special podcast will get you caught up on what you need to know.

What I Made This Week

We stopped by my mom’s house over the weekend and she made Sloppy Joe’s for the kids and I believe I was so impressed, I called them “inspired.” (You know you’re a tired mom when you think Croc Pot’s Sloppy Joe’s are considered inspired). Hmmm. What else? I roasted some cauliflower and served with white Gyro sauce and lemon juice (kid friendly!), we did some homemade pizza with Trader Joe’s premade pizza crust and some baked salmon. I also got back on the steel-cut oats kick where I make them beforehand and put the cooked oats into the fridge to microwave in the morning for the kids. I’m an amazing parent.

Parenting Gif of the Week:

Me everyday this winter, basically.

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Newsletter #23: Parenting Does Get Easier.

What I Did in Tech This Week

I’ve fallen down a skincare hole this week. Did you know there are multiple online dermatologists where you can take selfies of your face, send them in with a detailed list of your problem areas, and they (apparently, “dermatologists”)  will send you curated, medicated skin care? The two biggest one’s I’ve found are Curology and Dermacare.  There’s also www.yoderm.com, which will just straight-up send you Retin-A script. Seems like it would be worth the cost just to keep you from having to make a dermatologist appointment and watching them wince over the size of your pores while you lie about using sunscreen. Also on the technology front, I may try out the Freedom app which blocks attention-sucking websites from your phone and computer. Hahahaha. No I won’t. I just broke out into hives thinking about it.

What I Ate This Week

Flank steak, mashed potatoes, pork loin, and rice with cheese and peas (the kid’s favorite). Nat also bought a huge (huge!) bin of cheese balls from Costco we’re currently hiding in the basement.  We’re taking the bin to an extended family getaway (our plan: put the kids in a room, open up the bin, close the door and let them kids go at it). This plan should give us about 30 minutes of peace.

What I Read This Week

I’m reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and it’s heartbreaking and wonderful. I also loved this Vows follow-up in the Times in their State of the Unions series (it’s where they do a follow-up many decades later to a marriage they featured). This quote about marriage is perfect: “We have things we don’t see eye to eye on but there’s never been a doubt that overall, we are a team. I think marriage is constantly choosing to be a team. It’s a conscious decision — this is a priority. This is home base.”

Parenting Gif of the Week

Actual footage of Mitch McConnell at the State of the Union

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What I Wrote this Week

Parenting does get easier. It really does.

What I Watched This Week

We watched The End of the Fucking World on Netflix — it follows two British outsider teenagers (one of whom thinks he’s a psychopath) and their rapidly-dissolving road trip. Many are praising it to be a superb dark comedy but I’m not sure the praise would be so robust if they didn’t have British accents.

Newsletter #23: Parenting: Fake It ‘Til You Make It.

Never be afraid to try something new

What I Ate This Week

This week, Sam invited a new friend over for a playdate. Because I’ve figured out the best way to break the ice on new playdates is to give them each a snack, I cut up a banana and put peanut butter on the slices. And the kid goes, “Why are you cutting it like that? You should make a banana sandwich.” Friends, I’ve been cutting a banana into little slices and slathering peanut butter onto each coin-sized piece for years LIKE A FOOL. How could I have been so stupid? I was so moved by the experience, I posted the above InstaQuote on my IG.

So, we’ve been eating a lot of banana sandwiches. I’ve also been throwing nuts at the kids’ mouths at dinner because nuts are healthy but the kids won’t eat them from their plate. I never once make it into their mouths but they find it hilarious and will always pick up what bounced off their faces and eat it.

Remember: Kids are weird, but we can be weirder.

What I Read This Week

I read this stupid book —Grist Mill Road— and I hated it. Good premise, gripping first few chapters, but then it fell apart. I was so angry, I continued to hate-read it. Luckily, I read this lovely piece on parenting by Adam Gopnick in the New Yorker and it made up for my Bad Book Experience. This quote in particular made me tear up a little, “Nothing works in child rearing because everything works. If kids are happy and absorbed, in the flow, that’s all we can ask of them, in Berlin or in Brooklyn. Nothing works in the long run, but the mistake lies in thinking that the long run is the one that counts.”

Parenting Gif of The Week

Me, attempting to wipe my kids’ faces

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What I Watched This Week

Four seasons (the entire series) of Halt and Catch Fire are now on Netflix and it is excellent. I wonder why it never took off — I’m guessing it’s the title— but it’s a pitch-perfect period drama about the rise of personal computing the 1980s and early 1990s — with a great soundtrack and performances.

What I Wrote This Week

I wrote about how sometimes I pretend I’m Mandy Moore’s character from This is Us. Weird.

Newsletter #20

Get Your Christmas Hats On & The Year’s Best Books

What I Made This Week

Nat made this shepherd’s pie (with only a little bit of lamb, because we felt guilty; the rest with ground beef) and Sam loved it. Kit hated it (girlfriend has something against mashed potatoes which is really weird)  They have also stopped eating oatmeal so we’re back on cereal and it’s breaking my heart. The rest of the week we made salmon (so boring) and homemade pizza (delish).

What I Wrote This Week

Getting ready for Christmas whether I like it or not. Parenting GIF of the Week

Parenting GIF of the Week

When I think about all of the looming Christmas deadlines.

What I Read This Week

It’s the most wonderful time of the year –it’s time of  best of lists! Here is what the NY Times thinks are the best books of the year. I have not read any of them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. My favorites of the year include: How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell (reminded me of my youth / working in media); The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve; Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (read her other books before you read this one); My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent; and  Elenor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

What I Watched This Week

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Original) is a joy to watch. A joy.  It follows a young mother (Mrs. Maisel) as she navigates her life on the tony UWS after her husband leaves her and she embarks upon a stand up comedy care in the 1950’s. Come for the feminist comedy, stay for the slamming outfits.