Monday, January 19, 2015

New Recipes: 1/6 Tiramisu

One of my goals for 2015 was to cook six new recipes with my husband, roughly one every other month. We hosted a big family dinner last weekend (well, large for us - twelve guests) and decided to give tiramisu a whirl. I find family parties a great time for a dessert trial run - I get honest opinions and there are plenty of people to share with so I don't end up eating 86 cookies by myself.

We used the recipe from Chop, Sizzle, Wow because it was the most straightforward one I found. There are plenty of super complicated ones that estimate it'll take you eight hours start to finish. Hmm, no thanks! 

Regardless, everyone was impressed (I think they had that eight hour extravaganza in mind) and kept saying things like, "It tastes like regular tiramisu!" which made me laugh.
And I have a newfound respect for restaurant presentation - this was the best I could do!

Would you cook a new dish for guests? I know some people only make their tried-and-true for company.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Goals for 2015

2015! It feels like a good, round number for some reason. I'm excited to share my goals for this year - a couple familiar carry overs and some new ones.

Financial 


Save $300 per pay - Continued from last year. And to make it easier, I'm having it automatically deducted from my paychecks. 


Personal 


Attend more than 67 yoga classes - Super random number, right? Last year I attended about 67 yoga classes (can't be 100% sure because I didn't start keeping track until late July) so I just want to beat my previous record. I'm going to use this daily goal calendar - black Xs on days I do any kind of exercise (probably a walk), purple Xs for yoga, and left blank for no exercise. This method is quick and very visual so I think it'll work for me. 

from the make29 shop

Read 52 books - A book a week (or so). Aiming for 50 books pushes me to make reading a priority without pressuring me to choose short books to inflate my numbers. So I just added 2 to match the length of a year perfectly.


Marriage 


Exercise together twice a month - Mr. G and I attended a few yoga classes together in November and December and we'd like to keep that going. We often walk around our neighborhood together, but this will encourage us to continue doing yoga together or try out some of the other $5 classes offered at our local gym.


Travel twice - Because it's fun! We'll probably go away for several days for our anniversary in June, and then perhaps a long weekend somewhere else?


Cook 6 new recipes together - We've been collaborating in the kitchen more often lately and enjoying ourselves. We even tried a few new foods! So now let's take that to the next level and combine cooking together with new recipes. Might be a disaster waiting to happen or a great hit, but we'll risk it, hah!


I'd love to hear about your goals for 2015 :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

My Top 5 Books of 2014

Time for one of my favorite posts - best books of the year!

And just to be clear, these are my favorite books that I read in 2014, not books published in 2014. Links take you to the book's page on goodreads.

My top 5 in no particular order:

The Enchanted by Rene DenfeldA heartbreaking story of the Lady, a death row inmate, and a priest. Easily one of the best books I've ever read, and it will definitely make you think! Be warned - it contains dark subject matter. I could only read in small portions.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt - It's the story of June, who loses her Uncle Finn to AIDS, and the strange man she first notices at his funeral. But it's also the story of June and her sister Greta, the pains of growing up, and what it means to love someone. Beautiful writing and a story that will stay with you for a while.

Something Real by Heather Demetrios - This one's about Bonnie™/Chloe Baker, a 17 year old who doesn't want to be on her family's reality show any more. Of course her mother won't let her and drama follows. I loved the teen characters - certainly Chloe, but also her bother Benton, and boyfriend Patrick.

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas - The story of a teenage boy dealing with his parents' divorce and falling in love for the first time. Sounds so cliché but it's not. Also, the ending: WHOA.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor - A good, old-fashioned YA fantasy + romance with the added bonus of exotic locations. Loved it! I adore stories where I'm figuring things out with the characters and there was certainly plenty of that going on. Skillfully written, and all the characters were well done, not just Karou.

And if you're interested in more . . Jessica's top 10 of 2014 and RA's top books of 2013.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 2014: Goals Update

I think the only thing better than dreaming up goals is checking them off :)

Finances
Put at least $2000 toward mortgage prepayment - Yes! We actually paid $2600 by September. 

Save for daycare - Change of plans! My employer doesn't provide paid maternity leave so I figured we'd kill two birds with one stone - practice paying for daycare and use the money to pay bills while I was home with a baby. Since we now know we'll need medical intervention to have a baby, this savings account will instead be the start of our fund for that. I'm super glad we have this moolah set aside! 

Personal 
Finish my degree - Probably my proudest moment of the year! I turned in my final project in April and graduated in May :)

Read 50 books - Success! 73 books in all. I'll have a post about my favorites soon.

Marriage

Travel at least twice - Yes! We traveled to California to celebrate our anniversary in June and to NYC for a day in November.

Learn something new together - Yep! 
We took a surfing lesson in California and it was one of the coolest experiences ever. I would definitely do it again.

Read a book together - Not really. We accomplished the spirit of this goal - shared reading - the way we usually do. I read a book and loved it, then Mr. G listened to the audio version on my recommendation and we talked about it afterwards. Reading a book aloud just didn't work out for us like we hoped. 


All in all, fantastic year :) 

Goodreads published a set of illustrated quotes on Monday to wrap up 2014. They're all beautiful but this one by Simini Blocker made me laugh:
Excited for 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

You should follow Renee - she rocks! 
I hope you enjoy the holiday! Mr. G and I have a few days off and we're starting the celebration tonight with a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the lights followed by a bottle of wine (Moscato of course, because I like my wine super sweet). 
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