31 December 2011

Out with the old. In with the new!

Every stinking time I have tried to write a "year in review" post, I just end up sounding like a major goober. So, in keeping with my love of lists, here are some of the highlights (although one might consider a few of them lowlights) from the last 365ish days.

2011: Revisited

  • In January we said good-bye to Mum. She was one of the best grandmothers anyone could have asked for. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her, but I know she is in a better place. It still doesn't making missing her any easier though.
  • I managed to knock off a few items from the bucket list, which is awesome. 
  • FINALLY made the commitment to myself to go vegetarian. I have never felt this good in my lift and can't wait to take the next stop into veganism.
  • Attended some amazing concerts with friends.
  • Met some new, awesome people who have become friends. 
  • Found Dela.
  • Renewed my passion for writing, even if I'm not terribly good at it.
  • Met two of my favorite authors, David Sedaris and Chuck Klosterman.
  • Learned how to be alone. 

Things I pondered this week when I should have been doing other stuff

  • Wearing a turtleneck is like being strangled by a very weak toddler....All. Day. Long.
  • It would be quite foolish of me to attempt another 365 photography project (in 2011, I started and stopped 3 seperate times), especially if I am going to do two 52 weeks projects--one on my food blog and one here. I mean honestly, it really would be biting off more than I could chew for 2012. Right?!
  • This weekend I am going to tackle my backroom a.k.a. home office a.k.a. soon-to-be craft room. I'm going to organize the shit out of that room. I've got a lot of ideas and need space to work!
  • Green living--cliche, but necessary. This kind of goes hand in hand with the whole vegan thing (can you believe that someone actually called me a crazy hippy last week?!), but it really makes sense for me to make the move to using as many natural, homemade products as possible. I've compiled a whole list of things to make, one of which just happens to be for tomorrows blog post!
  • Speaking of veganism, my new cook book arrived this week and is packed full of delicious looking recipes! I'm really excited about the mac & cheeze recipe. I can't wait to try it out this week.

29 December 2011

Bird Nest Necklace

One of my non-New Year Resolution is to be a little more frugal with my money, which means having to cut back on buying all the pretty things that Etsy has to offer.

Over the past few months, I have seen a number of variations of the bird nest necklace pop up on Etsy and thought they were really cute. And then earlier this week a friend posted a pin on Pinterest (I'm sure you're all shocked to read that Pinterest is involved in this project) on how to one of these necklaces. It seemed simple enough, so I decided to give it a try.

I have to admit that I underestimated how annoying working with wire can be (or it could be that I shouldn't attempt to make things at 10 o'clock at night), but for my first time out, I'm pretty happy with my pendant. And I only wounded myself once so that's a major miracle in itself, but I digress. I think with a little practice and possibly some bigger beads, this is going to be a project I am really going to love and can see myself making over and over.

Here is a link to Sara Ortega's website and the tutorial for the necklace: DIY Bird Nest Necklace

Happy crafting!

27 December 2011

Read All About It

Since we are a mere 4 days away from the start of the new year, I thought it would be an appropriate time to start my list of books to read in 2012. It's quite the random collection of subjects and themes, but I like to keep things interesting. The ever growing and changing list can be found here: Reading List 2012. I'll be updating it as the year progresses with new books I've either stumbled upon or that friends have suggested I read, but for now, here is the short list:
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: Funny thing about this one is that until about 20 minutes ago, I kept calling it Game of Thornes, not Game of Thrones. Whoops. I have actually tried reading this book already, but maybe made it through two chapters. I have friends who have done nothing but rave about this book and the rest of the series so I am willing to give it another try. Worst case scenario is that is puts into a deep slumber (again) for a wonderful night of sleep. 
  • Child Thief by Brom: The description of the book makes it sound like this might be a slightly sadistic version of Peter Pan. Not going to lie, a little freaked out by that notion but intriged enough to want to read it. 
  • Reality Hunger by David Shields: I can't lie. I know absolutely nothing about this book. My pretend author boyfriend suggested it at an event I attend this fall so it's on the list. 
  • Artemis Fowl Series Books 3-7 by Eoin Colfer: I read book 1, aptly named Artemis Fowl on a whim and loved it. I completely agree with one review of the book that says "The author has let his imagination run riot by combining folklore, fantasy, and a fistful of high-tech funk in an outrageously devilish book that could well do for fairies what Harry Potter has done for wizardry." 
  • The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This book keeps popping up in my Goodreads feed from friends who have read it and loved it. It's time to give it a chance myself. This is definitely a book I am looking forward to reading. 
  • Dark World by Zak Bagans and Kelly Crigger: What can I say...I love ghosts, Ghosts Adventures and there is something just dorky enough about him for me to kind of love Zak Bagans. No judging allowed on this one, peanut gallery.

    26 December 2011

    24 December 2011

    A list of suggestions

    I am too much of a commitmentphobe to actually make and stick with any resolutions for the New Year. BUT, last year I made a list of suggested resolutions for myself (which I no longer have because they were posted on a blog that no longer exists---whoops!) and I think it went o.k. so I decided to do the same thing this year in a format which looks dangerously close to an actual list of New Year Resolutions.

    New Year Suggestions for 2012

    • Keep on reading! In 2011, I read 54 books, which was just 6 short of my goal of 60 books read. I'm keeping the goal number the same again this year and am keeping my fingers crossed that I actually hit the magic number!
    • Save! Save! Save! My rainy day fund needs to be kicked up a notch.
    • Embrace my inner-resourcefulness. I am quite thankful I inherited my moms craftiness and plan on putting it to good use this year. I've already started making my own body scrubs, today I made my own air-freshener (I will admit though that as much as I love tea tree oil, I may have overdone it a bit and might need a re-do) and even started to do a little research on a sewing machine purchase. 
    • Get cooking, vegan style. Since giving up most animal products this fall, I have felt AMAZING and am quickly moving towards my goal of getting off all my medication (can I get a whoop! whoop!) but still have some work to do. I really do think it is time to totally go vegan. It's on my bucket list and I really think in the long run it is the best thing for myself. So, the quest begins for new cookbooks and recipes to try out and hopefully share on my cooking blog!
    • Do more yoga.
    • Refocus my meditation practice.
    • Start running (again). Before giving in to McDreamy's recommendation to have surgery (which by the way, up until I slipped on the ice last week had totally worked wonders), I managed to finish three weeks of the nine week Couch to 5k program. This year (once the snow and ice have gone away) I'd really like to finish the whole program and actually run a 5k. 
    • Shoot more film. I absolutely love my Olympus OM-10 camera, I just need to spend more time with it. 

    18 December 2011

    Minty Fresh

    I am completely addicted to Pinterest and Craft Gawker. Seriously. It's a little out of hand. Between the two sites, I spent a RIDICULOUS amount of time yesterday making lists and pins and boards and getting ideas for craft projects and things to do around my house. But what I really loved, was finding a whole slew of ideas for making my own bath salts and scrubs.

    Since I was a kid, I've had really sensitive skin that will turn on me at a moments notice. And as I've gotten older, it's become worse. Over the last few years I've been moving away from my favorite products packed full of scented goodness (oh how I miss my Bath & Body Works Moonlit Path body butter) to simpler, perfume free ones that are kinder to my skin (a.k.a. Johnson's baby wash <---that stuff is brilliant if you don't mind smelling like a newborn).

    Even though I was able to move to the perfume free body washes, there were still some things I missed: body scrubs to be exact, especially in the winter. The really is nothing worse that dry, itchy skin that won't go away. I've found a few that I love (I adore the Dead Sea Scrub from Ritual Bath) but I'm trying to be frugal with my hard earned cash hence turning to the Internet for some homemade help!

    I know it shouldn't have come as a shock (of any kind) but I was stunned at the plethora of recipes and variations I was able to find when it comes to making my own scrubs. The options are endless but the base ingredients are all the same: salt or sugar, oil (vegetable oil, olive oil, almond oil) and a scent of your choosing.

    This afternoon I decided to whip up my first batch, just to see how I liked it. Thankfully, I already had everything I needed in my kitchen so my body scrub was ready in a snap. I opted for a minty sugar scrub and I am in love! Besides being ridiculously easy to make, it left my skin feeling silky smooth.

    Here are the ingredients and directions if you'd like to make your own!

    I used 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of almond oil and a
    couple drops of mint extract (I didn't have peppermint oil, but this worked just as well)

    In a bowl I mixed the sugar, oil and mint together by adding the oil in a little at a time. 

    Once it was all mixed together, I put it into jars and sealed tightly. 

    15 December 2011

    Little bit of randomness

    • My obsession with the show 24 has moved to a whole new level. I think it's a good thing I didn't actually watch it when it was on t.v. I would have been a nervous wreck waiting for the weekly broadcast. AND having to wait for new seasons to come around?! No way. Even though I continue to lose sleep from staying up well past my bedtime and then dreaming about chasing terrorists down with Jack Bauer, I effing love this show. 
    • As much as I hate snow, I'm not terribly thrilled that we don't have any right now. It's weird. We've passed the mid-way point for December yet the white stuff is absent. It's unnatural.
    • I am totally late to the game, but could Pinterest be any more fun and entertaining than it already is?! It is such a great concept to have a virtual bulletin board. LOVE IT!
    • There are days when it takes all my self restraint to not throw my computer out the window. Today is one of those days. 
    • I need to shoot more rolls of film. 
    • I need to learn to develop my own film.
    • I'm really over this whole thing with folks being mad that some of us  say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" (yeah--that's right, I prefer to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS). I mean honestly, they aren't accomplishing anything other than sucking the holiday spirit out of everything. 

    12 December 2011

    Music Monday--Devendra Banhart

    I thought, this week, I would go for a song that I go to when I need a smile. I mean seriously, try listening to this song and not smile. I dare you! = )

    06 December 2011

    Mr. Perfect

    If he exists, he'll be a delightful combination of (in no particular order)....

    Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy because really, who doesn't love an uptight aristocrat in clingy pants? 

    Anderson Cooper as himself--Bad news never sounded so good.

    Chris O'Dowd as Officer Rhodes

    Jason Segel, 'nuff said.

    Jason Statham--there are no words.

    John Mayer--Yes, I went there and all I can say is the grungier the better. 

    Keifer Sutherland--I've instructed my friends that he is first on my "must call" list if I am ever kidnapped by a paramilitary group. 

    Rupert Penry Jones--He is second on my list of "must call" if I am ever kidnapped by a paramilitary group. 

    05 December 2011

    Sittin' On Top of the World

    I was fortunate to see Hubert Sumlin in the summer of 2007 at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago. Of all the performers I saw that day, Hubert was the most excited to be up on stage performing for all of us. His joy about being there was absolutely infectious. His was one of my favorite performances of the day. His passing is a great loss to the blues community but his legacy will live on in the music.


    03 December 2011

    Things that keep me up at 3a.m.

    • This obsession with 24 is going to kill me.
    • When will the "Leggings are not pants!" campaign end?! Don't like them--don't wear them. Simple as that.
    • I'm not entirely opposed to people playing matchmaker for me, it's just I worry the person they are trying to match me with will be disappointed. 
    • I really hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew with this attempt at the PHR exam.
    • I get it, life isn't fair but just because I accept it doesn't mean I have to like it.
    • Pretty sure my five year plan is not going to end on a high note.
    • It's cool--I don't need everyone to like me.
    • That's fine if Jason Segel wants to chase me around, but he seriously needs to leave the battle ax at home. 

    Thanks for reading!

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