Pleasantly Piquant



My Healthy Journey: Me Time

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

I feel like I have spent the last month drastically overhauling my physical life. And I have.

While I’m giving you advice on how to succeed at Rally challenges, I’m kind of doing them all at the same time. For the first time since high school, I’m exercising every day. And for the first time ever, I have radically overhauled my diet. Like I’ve said the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking at home every day and am eating more whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and I’ve cut out caffeine, processed foods and sugars.

So although there are still plenty of food mission posts to come, so you can use my new experiences to help you succeed, in my head, these are a little bit like old news. Been there, conquered that.

But as you can probably guess, now that I’ve settled into a rhythm, this isn’t actually what I spend all day thinking about. As a matter of fact, not focusing on this stuff is exactly how I got so unhealthy.

Now that healthy eating is more of a habit for me, though, I’d like to talk about something that feels more like real life to me. You know, the stuff that occupies my mind all day.

Continue reading “My Healthy Journey: Me Time”

My Healthy Journey: Reading and Writing for Your Health

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

I’ve said it before on here, but I’ve always loved reading, and I’m not always very good at making time for it. I read a lot of news but not that many actual books anymore. Funny, because I don’t have any furniture in my apartment, besides the books on books.

Continue reading “My Healthy Journey: Reading and Writing for Your Health”

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.

-Kurt Vonnegut

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Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books of all time. My freshman year of college, I took a Russian Literature class. It is famous at our school, one of the classes that they tell you everyone should take. Gary Saul Morson was the professor, and while I found our other selection Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov one of the best books I’ve ever read, his reading of Anna Karenina changed how the book was read.

Once, it was considered a tragic love story with the death of its heroine. Morson claims otherwise, that Anna is a selfish character that Tolstoy wrote against, and that in fact another, loving, responsible wife and mother is the heroine of the story, despite her minor role. His reading is now the commonly accepted interpretation. He changed the way I read literature, and made me pick up another beloved major. (Read a bio piece on him here.) Therefore, the trailer to this new movie makes me pretty excited:


I am drawing to the end of my college career. I graduate in June, and closer to then there will probably be a nostalgic what-it-means-to-me in general sort of post. I had every faith in the college system coming to Northwestern, and since then that has largely disintegrated, but that is a bigger story than the one I aim for today.

I am a journalist who is graduating with a journalism degree who hates journalism. I don’t hate what it stands for, and good pieces of it still move me more than most other forms of writing ever could, but I don’t like the politics of journalism. I don’t like the pitching, the angles, the pre-destined and plotted plan for something being delivered under the label of unaltered “truth.” And writing within this system of forces not only makes me feel as though myself and my work is fake, I also feel like I am alternately begging or harassing people to “puleeaase be my source!” to write a mediocre story that I already decided the plot of. It’s bad truth and it’s bad fiction.

Continue reading “Zeitoun”

The Dead Zone

When I was 12 or 13, I read my first Stephen King book. As I’ve told you all before, I strive to be Stephen King one day. Once upon a time in my father’s bachelorhood, my father had read and owned many King novels, but in the combination of him and my mom, some of his nerdier and creeper things lost out, and these books were one of those things. Unfortunately therefore, there were none of his books to be pilfered in my home when the time came. Instead, I asked my father what novel I should start on from the vast King collection, and hiked down to the tiny local library to search for it.

He recommended The Dead Zone.

Continue reading “The Dead Zone”

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