Florence and the Machine – “Only For a Night”
Florence and the Machine – “Spectrum”
Florence and the Machine – “All This and Heaven Too”
Florence and the Machine – “Only For a Night”
Florence and the Machine – “Spectrum”
Florence and the Machine – “All This and Heaven Too”
Happy second day of 2013! I know everyone says this at the beginning of every year, but I can’t believe that when I write “2013″ that’s actually the current year. But this year I really can’t believe it. I’ve spent so much of the last year planning and laying the ground work for things I want to do in 2013 that I can’t believe it’s finally here. It’s both exciting and terrifying.
I haven’t done one of these What I Ate Wednesday posts in a while. Since I eat so many of the same foods (overnight oats for breakfast, granola bar for a morning snack, piece of chocolate after lunch, fruit as an afternoon snack, fruit after dinner, and a small piece of dessert after dinner) every single day (which I love) I think posting a full-day of eats is boring. Which is why I’m posting the recipes I’ve made this week.
First up How Sweet Eats’ Super Easy Creamy Tomato and Chicken Baked Penne. I am really enjoying this. It was super easy to make and has a great flavor. I will say I wish I had cut the chicken into smaller pieces. And it is kind of watery, I left the mixture simmering in the skillet for a minute or two in hopes of thickening it up, but no luck. That said, it still tastes good and it reheated fairly well.
Next up is Nutritionella’s BBQ Black Bean & Brown Rice Burgers. These are seriously amazing. Hands down my favorite bean burger I’ve ever made. I put my burger on a Trader Joe’s bun (I love their buns and they’re only about 110 calories each) and topped it with spinach, cheddar cheese, onion, ketchup, and jalapenos. Really delicious. For lunch today I’m having the burger on top of a salad and hopefully that will be equally delicious.
Finally is The Pioneer Woman’s Zannie’s Black-Eyed Pea Dip. Last year I made Hoppin’ John, my first ever black-eyed pea recipe. I thought I’d keep the black-eyed pea tradition alive this year, but go for something a little different. This dip was good, but not really what I wanted it to be. I thought it was kind of more heat than taste and it was also very dry. I think I might have overcooked it and put it in too big of a pan, but still, I wasn’t too impressed.
It’s that time again. New Year’s resolutions time! I am a huge, huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, I’m actually a huge fan of New Years in general. I know it’s arbitrary, but I like to use it as a way to evaluate my life and make goals from there.
Let’s revisit the goals I outlined at the beginning of 2012:
1. Lose the 10lbs I’ve gained since I was at my lowest weight. I will do this by continue going to kickboxing classes, going running, committing to working out while traveling, and by making smarter choices about what I eat.
HOW’D I DO: I didn’t lose 10lbs, but I lost a few pounds and I’ve definitely slimmed out due to kickboxing. I went to about 120 kickboxing classes this year, that’s once every 3 days. Considering I couldn’t go for 4.5 months when I hurt my wrist I think that’s pretty damn good. I pretty much stopped running, but I’m ok with that. I definitely did better about working out when traveling (although that’s fallen off towards the end of this year) and I think my food choices have been satisfactory.
2. Save money. I will reopen a separate savings account, stop using my credit card so much, and cut back on spending money on food and drinks.
HOW’D I DO: I really committed to this goal in the middle of 2012 with my austerity measures. That is still going well.
And repeat and add some smaller goals:
- Continue to regularly donate blood (did ok with this one, could have done better)
- Wear my contacts more often (I really want to do this, but they’re so painful!)
- Become a bone marrow donor (fail)
- Learn to knit a sweater (fail, but I couldn’t knit for so long due to my wrist injury so I’m giving myself an excemption)
- Clean out my purse and wallet each week (I actually forgot I made this a goal, so fail)
- Either take or plan a vacation (I didn’t, but I found a better use for my money)
Let’s move on to 2013!
1. Stop binging on food. Rather than making losing weight my goal I’m going to give myself one goal that’s tangible. I think I did pretty well on this for much of 2012, but in the fall, when I started seriously dropping weight, I started eating peanut butter M&M’s by the giant bagful. No more of that in 2013.
2. Keep up with my austerity measures. They’ve worked really well for me so far and I need to save, save, save in 2013 so why change what’s working?
3. Go to kickboxing 4-5 times per week. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing and I would just like to keep it up. It’s a great work out in addition to being a stress reliever and an outlet for all sorts of energy. When I’m away and can’t go to kickboxing I will bring workout clothes and do something, even if it’s just walking.
4. Get less annoyed at stupid strangers. I had stupid people so, so, so much. Unfortunately living in NYC I come across people I find to be stupid all the time (mostly on the subway). I have these crazy laws of etiquette in my mind and I get so annoyed when other people don’t follow them. But I don’t want to spend so much time annoyed. So I want to just take a deep breath and remember it’s better to be happy than right.
And I’m going to add in some smaller goals again:
- Donate blood regularly
- Get a new pair of glasses
- Become a bone marrow donor
- Learn to knit a sweater
- Clean out my purse and wallet each week
- Read at least 100 books
I combined a work trip to Austin with a visit with my college friend Alexis.
I took a surprise trip to San Antonio.
I attended to IMPACT opening at the Museum at FIT.
I went to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden.
I went to a taping of the Daily Show.
I struggled with wrist problems and ultimately had surgery.
I attended The Great Googa Mooga.
I went to visit my friend Becca in Washington, DC.
I returned to kickboxing after my wrist problems.
I saw Dave Matthews Band at Jones Beach.
I went to a cool art exhibit on Governor’s Island.
I fell out of love with running.
I graduated physical therapy.
I watched the Olympics non-stop for two weeks.
I went to see Mumford and Sons.
I went to my ex-roommate’s wedding.
I implemented austerity measures.
I witnessed a pretty crazy Brooklyn flood.
I attended my fifth Vendy Awards.
I took an amazing tour of Grand Central Terminal.
I went to the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. And saw a goat wearing a floral jacket!
Laura and I once again watched the election returns together. And were happy with Obama’s win
Throughout the fall I went through a really difficult time with my family. I didn’t really feel it was my place to put it all out on the interwebs, but I did get some solace from the few times I wrote about it here. I’m happy to say that things are going in the right direction. They’ll probably never be ok, but it’s not anything like it was back in September and October.
I ran my first race in over a year and a half on Thanksgiving.
I attended my cousin’s wedding.
I paid yet another visit to Amarillo Texas.
I celebrated Christmas with my family.
2012 wasn’t always easy, but honestly, I think it was both the best and worst year of my life. I laid the groundwork for so many things and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring!
Since I kind of fell of the blogging wagon I thought it would be good to at least do a little recap of the month of December (outside of Christmas).
I finally got to attend one of my college’s NYC Vesper concerts. They’re held in NYC every other year and several of the musical groups from the college come down to perform. It was a very festive, fun Friday evening activity.
My roommate Abby moved back to Colorado right before Christmas. We have a (hopefully) great new roommate, but before Abby left her parents kindly treated us to dinner at Pork Slope (I went there for the first time in October). We had the pulled pork and tater tots again, but we also tried the mac and cheese (meh) and the onion strings (FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC, best thing I’ve had there). Stopping by here is a must if you’re in Brooklyn. And they deliver now (dangerous).
Our office holiday part was once again at Otto. We had it there two years ago, but I don’t think I did a post on it (it’s fun to look back at pictures from other years though). This time it was just pizza and gelato (and drinks) which was perfect. We had set up at the front of the restaurant, but the pizzas were out buffet style in back so I went back and stole a few whole pizzas. I got some strange looks walking through the entire restaurant.
At the after party for the holiday party we went to one of the freelance designer’s bars in the East Village. Amy noticed that the Bud Light had a little something extra (“saber” if you can’t read the crappy picture).
I took a day-long trip to NJ for work and driving over the Outer Bridge I came across a 7-car accident. We came to a complete stop and even thought I didn’t know what was ahead of me at that point I felt like we weren’t going to be moving for a while. After the emergency vehicles showed up right in front of me I realized how close I was. Ultimately I sat there for an hour and eight minutes. Insane! But luckily no one was injured.
My friend Ashley, who I go to Cincinnati with every year, always calls me Magpie. I was having a terrible day when I got her Christmas card in the mail and I couldn’t stop smiling.
These NYC Christmas tree sellers are one of my my favorite things about the holidays. I always forget about them, then I come back to the city after Thanksgiving and they’re all over. Many of the people selling them come down from Canada and sleep in their vans. I love it.
I did not set out to read over 100 books in 2012. At the end of 2011 my dad mentioned he had read 42 books in 2011, which blew me away. I went back and added up how many I had read in 2011 and came up with 24, a number I thought was perfectly respectable. When I started counting for 2012 I kind of had a goal of beating my dad’s number, but it was nothing formal. And then I kept going and never looked back. I’ve liked nearly all of the books (or I wouldn’t have kept reading, I’m not someone who has to finish a book), but there are definitely favorites among them. So, without further ado, I give you Maggie’s 2012 must read list:
Best YA Romances: Easy, Pushing the Limits, My Life Next Door, Where She Went I was never a big YA reader before this year, but a few YA comparisons caught me eye from a book we’re publishing at work, I read those, and then I kind of kept going. These three in particular are my favorites because they depict real life situations (I’m not a fan of fantasy) and because they feature strong female characters. The girls have their issues, sure, and they’re not perfect, they’re teenage girls, but they take control of their destinies (eventually) and own up to the things (especially sex) that they want. My roommate Abby pointed this out to me after borrowing My Life Next Door from me; the main character in this book wants sex just as much as her teenage boyfriend, and that doesn’t make her a whore, it’s realistic. Where She Went is a little different, it’s a romance, but it’s from the boy’s point of view. It’s also the sequel to If I Stay, which I enjoyed, but not as much as Where She Went. It’s easily one of my favorite books of the year and I’ve already re-read certain parts of it several times.
Best Story of Friendship: Code Name Verity I really enjoyed this book about two female friends who are a pilot and spy for Britain during World War II. I love spies, I love Britain, I love history, so it’s a natural fit. But what really brought the book home was the friendship between the two girls. If I say too much I’ll ruin it, so I’ll just say you should check it out.
Best Non-Fifty Shades of Grey Erotic Books: I’ll confess, I had never read an “erotica” book before I read Fifty Shades of Grey. I read all three books and thought they were pretty awful. It was like reading a terribly written comedy with really not hot sex scenes (I don’t find sex between a very inexperienced naive girl and an older, more experienced stalker to be hot, but call me crazy). But that didn’t stop me from reading more erotica (judge me, go ahead). My original pick for this was going to be the Crossfire Series. I really liked the first one, but I was disappointed with the second one. In the first one the protagonist is a strong, although damaged, young woman and in the second one I thought she was just too needy and dependent on her boyfriend. Which brings me to my next pick, the Original Sinners series, which I have really enjoyed, but they might be kind of extreme for some people (judge away people, I’m putting it all out there). More recently I got a read an advance reading copy of Release Me, which is part of a new trilogy coming out in January. After Original Sinners I would put this as my favorite, it’s also a lot more mainstream than the Original Sinners series so if you want to give erotica a try I would start with that one.
Best Retelling of a Classic: Flight of Gemma Hardy This is a modern day (well, 1950s) retelling of Jane Eyre. I thought this book was completely lovely. I love the original Jane Eyre and I thought the way the author modernized Jane Eyre and adopted the story as her own was very smart.
Best Chick Lit: Spin I used to exclusively read chick lit, but then thankfully I got over that. However, I’m still always on the look out for good chick lit. I can’t remember how I came across Catherine McKenzie, but I’ve read two of her books now, Spin and Arranged, and I’ve loved them both. They feature the wacky characters, slightly implausible situations, and romances that are found in normal chick lit, but they’re also smart and well written, which is always a plus.
Best Mystery: Gone Girl I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I can’t imagine too many being crazier than Gone Girl. I seriously loved this book, I was riveted the entire time and couldn’t believe the twists and turns the author came up with. Incredibly creative and incredibly creepy.
Best biography: Elizabeth the Queen I knew a lot of Queen Elizabeth II, but what I knew came from news and gossip sources. This biography was fascinating and I feel like I really got to know her as a person, and subsequently have a ton of respect for her.
Best Literary Book: Rules of Civility I don’t know what to call his category, but Rules of Civility was truly a good book, like could win serious literary awards good. It was just a charming, well written, lovely story.
Best Book That was Adapted Into a Movie: Even though I didn’t love the movie I’m saying Silver Linings Playbook. The book is fantastic. I started reading it while waiting to go in for my hand surgery and then read the rest of it while re-cooperating at home. It’s a wacky story, but it’s incredibly sweet. That’s really the only word I can think of to describe it. Sweet. It just makes me happy to think about.
I love hearing what other people are reading. Any books you want to recommend for 2013?
I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. Mine was lovely. Let’s break it down.
I came out to my parents’ on Saturday afternoon. And I immediately got to cooking for brunch with my dad’s family the next day.
I made Praline French Toast Casserole, Eggnog Chocolate Chip Loaf, and Sausage and Red Pepper Quiche. The French toast casserole was good, except it overflowed the pan and started a fire in my grandparents’ oven, so that made Christmas more exciting. The eggnog chocolate chip loaf was fantastic, I highly recommend that. And everyone really loved the sausage and red pepper quiche (which I made with bacon instead of sausage).
On Christmas Eve we did our annual trip to the Montauk Lighthouse to see the Christmas lights. I love the bathroom out there. It’s over an hour from my parents’ house and I usually have to go to the bathroom when we get there. The first year I thought I’d have to go in the woods, but then I tried the bathrooms there and realized they were unlocked. They’re dark and kind of creepy (although this year they were heated) since no one else is around, but they’re really well maintained and they serve their purpose.
Christmas Day was great. We opened presents in the morning.
I had a little helper.
My mom got my dad these crazy glasses that are supposed to make it easier to see to drive at night.
And my father likes writing funny things on the name tags.
And then it was dinner time! I did lots and lots of cooking.
I also made sourdough stuffing with fennel and capers, but I didn’t snap a picture of it.
Overall it was a great Christmas. I spent time with my family and got a bunch of great gifts. Merry (late) Christmas!