The Surznick Common Room

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Few Birthday Words from Nick!

Well folks, here we are. December 5th, my birthday. This past weekend was a heaping load of love and fun thanks to the incomparable Sarah. I just wanted to share a few snaps from the weekend and say a little something to you all. 

Basically, I didn't really want to write a "happy birthday to meeeeee!!" post, so I just wanted to take a moment out of our normal schedule to say thanks. Thanks to our families (human and feline), thanks to Sarah for always being the best of the best, and thanks to all of you for sticking around the blog and our lives. I'm one lucky guy, for more reasons than I could ever list, and I owe much of that to those around me, and the communities I am proud to be a part of. I also want to remind everyone that these communities we choose to surround ourselves with are the most imporant parts of our lives. Please remember in these strange times to lift each other up, advocate for others, and support your neighbors near and far. 

With that all being said, I hope everyone has a great week ahead, and that all of you can get into the winter season. I truly love me some cold weather and some serious snowfall. I know this sounds strange, but I've got my fingers crossed for a brutal winter... assuming everyone can stay safe.
Thank you all for everything, stay safe, enjoy your winter months, have fun, and I love you all!


Friday, December 2, 2016

Pittsburgh Blogger Posts We Love (IV)

via Zoe With Love
Happy December! Crazy, right? It's hard to believe that in less than a month we'll be ringing in the new year. It was tough getting back into the swing of things this week after a long Thanksgiving break, so we're just going to keep it casual today and share some of our favorite posts this week from other Pittsburgh bloggers. Have a great weekend!

1. Wavy Alabaster - Tips & Sips: George Dickel Tennessee Whisky
I loved reading about Jessa's trip to the George Dickel Whisky Distillery in Tennessee, but I was also insanely jealous. We're heading to Nashville next month - I'm hoping to try this when we're there!

2. Gretch Runs - Tasty Tuesday: November Favorites
Since Gretchen has started eating a vegan diet, I'm so excited to see what she's making for dinner (shared on her Snapchat) and in her weekly Tasty Tuesday posts. It inspires me to get more creative with our meals - I need to make the burrito bowl she shared this week!

3. A Trace of Cool - 15 Gifts Under $100 for the Cat Lover
This post was made for me, right? Trace rounded up some awesome gift ideas for all those fellow cat ladies I have in my life. Someone get me those pot holders!

4. Zoe With Love - How to Wear White Lace in Winter
I'm in love with how Zoe styled this white lace dress for cooler weather! I have yet to try wearing a sweater over a dress, but if it always looks this cute, I need to give it a go!

5. How Sweet It Is - Bacon Butternut Arancini with Pumpkin Seed Pesto Dip
Okay, so we don't eat meat and rarely have dairy, so technically we wouldn't make this recipe, but it looks SO good that I just had to share. Maybe I'll try veganizing it? I make a mean vegan risotto...

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Surznick Reads: November 2016

Here we are again! Another month, another blur of existence, and another two books for the Surznick library. Despite being super busy, completing start to finish one of our biggest projects to date (more to come soon!), and traveling out of town for Thanksgiving, we somehow managed to squeeze in a couple of books.

Sarah's Reads!

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
From "A brutally truthful, compassionate novel about the heart, mind, and soul of a woman who, confronted by her husband’s sudden and extreme spiritual conversion, is forced to learn 'how to be good' - whatever that means, and for better or worse… Katie Carr is a good person... sort of. For years her husband’s been selfish, sarcastic, and underemployed. But now David’s changed. He’s become a good person, too - really good. He’s found a spiritual leader. He has become kind, soft-spoken, and earnest. Katie isn’t sure if this is deeply felt conversion, a brain tumor - or David’s most brilliantly vicious manipulation yet. Because she’s finding it more and more difficult to live with David - and with herself."

In general I'd say this book was average (hence the three stars.) Not my favorite Hornby book (A Long Way Down) but also not my least favorite (Fever Pitch.) The story itself is a little quirky and interesting, but doesn't really seem to go anywhere. The resolution (or lack thereof) just falls a little short for me. I can't even say if I liked any of the characters - none of them stood out to me as favorites and I think each could have been developed a little more. All in all, not terrible but I'd pass on reading it again.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
From "Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them. Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer 'at the table with our greatest philosophers.'"

To say this book is life-changing is an understatement. I don't want to over sell it, which is something I often do, but I truly wish everyone in the world would read this book. It is so much more than an argument for vegetarianism (though, be prepared to question EVERYTHING if you aren't one already.) With every turn of the page, I was further emboldened, inspired, and excited to change my eating habits, not to mention glad to already be a vegetarian! Though documentaries were what first pushed me to consider vegetarianism a few years ago, this book is far and away the most powerful tool I've encountered in educating myself on my food choices. As an exploration into tradition, history, farming practices, globalization, global and local economics, social implications, climate impact, and so much more, this book is worth its weight in gold.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Sarah & Nick