If there’s one thing that gets me excited about reading (or anything), it’s food. That’s why I’m so obsessed with the blog, PAPER/PLATES, founded by Chicago journalist Amina Elahi, who, with her editorial team, recommends books and the recipes inspired by them. They’ve also started a virtual book club, interviews the literati in a series called, “At the Table With” and maintains a TBR (To Be Read) list, a weekly compilation of the best book and food links from around the web. All that, and an amazing blog name to boot!
Today, Amina talks to us about flexing her green thumb, avoiding the doldrums of working from home and remembering the beauty of the ‘burbs.
(P.S. Amina and I had a bit of a cross-blogging extravaganza this week. Check out my feature on PAPER/PLATES from earlier this week!)
Name: Amina Elahi
Hometown: Burr Ridge, IL
Current City: Chicago, IL
Profession: Freelance Journalist and Blogger
The Morning Media Scan
I read news sites and work-related emails all day long, so I like to start my day by perusing my favorite blogs and magazines with a cup of tea. Usually, I scan through my Bloglovin’ feed for new posts from my favorite blogs, which cover everything from books and food to home decor and beauty. I also try to get through as much of my RSS feed (RIP Google Reader) before starting work as possible. Reading tech and news articles gets me ready for the work day and shifts my mind away from hobbies like reading and cooking.
Naming My Plants
As a new urbanite, I miss the green expanse of suburban life. Recently, I’ve started an indoor garden, which I am determined to cultivate despite not having an outdoor space in our downtown apartment. So far, I have a Bromelio the bromeliad, Jaden the jade plant, Mowgli the snake plant, ZeeBee the zebra plant and an as-yet-unnamed ficus. Whenever I get a new plant, I post a picture on Instagram and ask my friends to suggest names. Usually they provide good ones but I’m still holding out for the right moniker for my new ficus.
Rearranging a Little
Since I work from home (I’m not much of a coffeeshop squatter), I see a lot of the same day after day. Shifting things around—a bowl here, a plant there—can really brighten up the room that serves as our office/living/dining space. I like to change the way I display my books, add a knickknack or two to the coffee table or experiment with candle placement to give myself a change without revamping completely.
Couples Grocery Shopping
Although I do most of the cooking in my house, I love to grocery shop with my husband, Shiraaz. Not only is he useful when it comes to lifting heavy bags (wink, wink), shopping together helps him understand what foods I enjoy cooking and it helps me figure out what meals we’d like to share. Picking our ingredients as a team makes the whole eating experience more participatory.
Escaping to the Suburbs
When I moved into the city after getting married at the start of the year, I didn’t expect to miss my parents’ home in the suburbs as much as I do. Grateful to only be a half-hour drive away, I try to visit as much as I can. Having that easy escape keeps me connected to my parents, sisters and grandparents, and lets me take a break from the hectic buzz of city life once in a while. Mom’s home cooking doesn’t hurt, either.