Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Quest for the Perfect Cookbook

One of my resolutions for a while has been to cook at home more but I think the fact that I only know a few recipes is what is hindering my progress.

I’ve been searching for cookbook that ideally offers recipes that are easy, quick, healthy, kosher, and “for one”. I’ve come to realize that I also need a picture to accompany each recipe so that I can understand what it is I’m making and what it’s supposed to look like at the end. 🙂

After quite a deal of searching, it’s become apparently that if I am ever to fulfill my quest I certainly need to drop “kosher” and “for one” from my list of requirements. I’ll just pick out the recipes that I can eat (no mixing of meat and diary, no pork, no shellfish) and will figure out a way to reduce the recipe so that it’s appropriate to be eaten by just one person.

Two cookbooks that I’ve found that I think might fit the bill are:


The Illustrated Quick Cook:
Easy Entertaining,
After-Work Recipes,
Cheap Eats

Cooking Light
Eat Smart Guides
: 350-Calorie

Are there other cookbooks that fit my requirements of featuring easy, quick, healthy recipes with a picture to accompany each? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and suggestions.

PS – I took my quest to Chowhound, an online community for food-lovers and culinary connaisseurs, for their input. I’ve been given a lot of great suggestions. Check out the discussion.

2010 Resolutions

Discipline - Another Brick in the Wall

My resolutions:

PHYSICAL HEALTH

  1. Eat out less. If I could get this down to two lunches ordered out per week and one dinner ordered out per week, I’d be a happy woman.
  2. Go to the gym more. Don’t judge me too much, but I’m aiming low here – My goal is to go to the gym at least four times a month.
  3. Get up earlier. I think, in a perfect world, I’d like to get myself up an hour earlier that I am right now. But, I’m really scared to commit myself to that. So… Can I say that, if by the end of 2010, if I’m getting up 20 minutes earlier than I am now (alright, alright, at 7:43am), I’ll consider myself successful?
  4. Drink more water. I can commit to two glasses of water of day. Sad, but realistic.

MENTAL HEALTH

  1. Volunteer more. Concretely, I’d like to volunteer in some way – whether it be my time, money, effort – at least once a month.
  2. Write more. In 2009, I wrote 54 blog posts, which is more than I would have guessed, and is about one post a week. In 2010, I’d like to double the number of posts I publish and will count myself successful if I write eight posts per month (for a total of 96).
  3. Pursue outside interests. I’m one of those very lucky people that is able to do, in a professional capacity, what they love. However, this gets tricky because it means that one thing dominates my life (that being social media and marketing). In 2010, I’d like to refocus on the other things that make happy like salsa dancing, practicing my French, scrapbooking, and photography. When someone asks me what I like to do for fun or outside of work, I should have an answer ready. I’ll consider myself successful if I pursue an outside interest in some capacity at least once a month.
  4. Explore DC more. I commit to “exploring DC” at least once per month. It’s hard to qualify what “exploring DC” means so I’ll operate on a “I know it when I see it” basis.
  5. Read more. One book per month is doable, I think.

While in the process of defining my goals for this coming year, I came across a blog post by Jared Goralnick of Technotheory and AwayFind where Jared shares his theme for 2010. He writes:

Last year I suggested we should choose just one word and label it a theme for the year ahead. This year… the word is swim.

Looking at the resolutions I’ve outlined for myself this year, my word for 2010 became very readily apparently: DISCIPLINE. If I am to be successful at the goals I’ve set, I’ll need willpower and self-control in all aspects of my life. Wish me luck.

PS – Leo Babauta of ZenHabits has a great blog post called “The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions” that should help you — and me — stick to our resolutions.

Photo Credit: blackfin2

2009 in Review

I think it’s important to take time and reflect on one’s year. Unfortunately, it’s something that I only manage to formally do about once every three years. In any case, below is a survey that I’ve previously filled out in 2006 and 2003.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I began contributing to a 401k. I know that’s not exciting, but doing so really solidified my identity as an adult.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

In the past, I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions — I try to better myself every day so in some ways what others do at the beginning of the year, I do throughout. However, I do think there is a lot of value in writing down the ways in which one tries to improve. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post on the things I’ll try to do better in the coming year!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. My maternal grandmother passed away in January 2009. It was an event that rocked my small family to the core and I don’t think we’ve yet fully recovered. (Read Dealing with Death in a Digital Age.)

5. What countries did you visit?

Although I did some travelling, it was all domestic. (2009 took me to Florida, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and of course back to Massachusetts.)  I am looking forward to getting back to really exploring the world in 2010 – I already have planned trips to the US Virgin Islands as well as Mexico and have a grand European vacation in the works!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

As of now, I have no idea where I’ll be in 2014. But this year, I think I would like to give more thought to the direction I see my life taking in the next five years. Regardless of whether I choose to carry out my plans, I think having long-term goals is something that I lacked in 2009 and would like to define in 2010.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The obvious one is January 6th, which was the day my grandmother passed away.

I think another day that will remain with me was January 20th — the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama. I am fortunate enough to live in DC and was able to “attend” the Inauguration. The feeling of excitement and of hope was palpable and an amazing thing of which to feel a part.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This is a hard one. I’m not sure if this is my biggest achievement, but I recently took part in Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University. I participated in 15 webinars and then took an exam on the material that was covered, becoming a certified Inbound Marketing Professional after passing the exam with a score of 100%.

It was very satisfying to seek out a program that allowed me professional development, to feel like I was learning and exercising my brain, and then to pass the exam with a perfect score and have something to show for my work…

9. What was your biggest failure?

Ugh. I joined a gym this past year but was definitely not as diligent about going as I should have been.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No. For that I am thankful.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought a computer which was great until the hard drive crashed taking all my pictures for 2008-2009… I also bought a healthy amount of airplane tickets.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I have a friend with whom I became much closer this year and she was someone who was a much needed source of support and encouragement this past year. That certainly merits celebration.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I would never embarrass someone in a public space like this, so I am skipping this question.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Unsurprisingly, the majority went to pay my rent. I would assume most adults answer this way.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My visitors and my travels.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Hmmm… How about “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? sadder. (At the end of 2008, I had a very positive outlook and was genuinely excited for adventures that were in my future. Unfortunately, 2009 was a hard year for me personally, so while I am again optimistic for the things to come in 2010 there is a part of me that is forever changed by this past year.)

ii. thinner or fatter? fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

While I think that I do take advantage of the fact that I live in DC, I would have liked to have explored the city more. This is something I’m recommitting myself to in 2010.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sleeping. Seriously, I could have gotten a lot more done if I had been able to sleep less.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I’m spent Christmas Eve in New York and then took a bus back to Boston on Christmas Day. That evening, I ordered Chinese Food and went to see The Blind Side with my mother.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Yes.

23. How many one-night stands?

None. Never.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Desperate Housewives.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. Hate is a strong word.

26. What was the best book you read?

I have to say that reading Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations helped me wrap my head around the way marketing, communications, and organizing have all changed thanks to the Internet and the emergence of social media.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I can’t get enough of Lady Gaga. Owl City is pretty great, too.

28. What did you want and get?

I had a grand plan of flying back to Boston in August to attend CountryFest featuring Kenny Chesney, an annual tradition with some of my friends in Boston, spend a week on the Cape with my family (another annual tradition) and then fly back to DC in time to  attend a wedding of a college friend. Thankfully, everything worked out and I was able to do all three. 🙂

Also, now that I’m thinking about it. I really wanted/needed to get new glasses. It was a very long process but in the end I came away with a pair that I love.

29. What did you want and not get?

I am extremely grateful to be at a point in my life where I don’t feel like there’s anything material that I am lacking. However, as I mentioned earlier, something that didn’t happen for me this year was finding someone with whom to share my happiness and success. (Read On Being Single.)

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Blind Side? I Love You, Man?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 24 this past September. I celebrated at a local bar with a big group of friends the weekend prior and then went to dinner with a small group of female friends on the actual day.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I have a job I enjoy, great friends, and a supportive family. I feel fortunate to never be lacking in ways to spend my time but as I’ve mentioned, having someone special in my life would have made my year more satisfying.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Attempting to stay current on recent trends but with an emphasis on comfort. Professional yet fun. And well put together as much of the time as possible.

34. What kept you sane?

My friends. 🙂

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None. I’ve never been one to “fancy” celebrities. I prefer to spend my time on realistic endeavors.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Marriage Equality. (Read Sexual Orientation Equality: The Civil Rights Fight Of Our Time.)

37. Who did you miss?

My grandmother.

Also, everyone I left behind in Boston.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I’m going to cheat on this one a little bit. I met one of my coworkers in September 2008, but we became very close in 2009 — She is a great mentor, friend, and source of support to me.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

Stop when you are at your happiest to take the moment in. It will become what sustains you in the hardest of times.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

In Repair by John Mayer and Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls are two that come to mind.