meal planning, part two.

I really appreciated all of the ideas that people gave me about meal planning and recipes and things like that:) I have a ton of recipes that I want to try - it's just getting to actually MAKING them where I have a problem.
I don't think I'm going to go to the level of the dry erase board on the fridge yet (although Cheryl - I almost did it too!) but I am going to try to think harder about what we should have for dinner, and how I can plan ahead to bring lunch with me to school, the weekend before. (bringing lunch is important too, especially for me - gluten free options are never cheap, and if I don't feel like spending $9 on lunch I end up eating string cheese, apple+peanut butter, and chips. And I promise I didn't just do exactly that on Tuesday.)

I think just thinking about trying to meal plan/cook better at home helped, though, because in the past week or so:
  • I made baked potato soup. From scratch. I made up the recipe after reading a few, and it.was.fantastic. That could be because my favorite foods, in no particular order, are potatoes, soup, and cheese, and all three were included!
  • Chris and I made homemade pizza TWICE. Last Friday, we used premade crust, and then last Saturday I made the dough from scratch (well, in my bread machine). The premade one was better. But they were both good:)
  • I've been on an extreme kick of roasting veggies in the oven - probably because it's easy!! Brocolli, potatoes, green peppers, and sweet potatoes so far.
  • I made spaghetti squash! One of those foods I loved when my parents made it, but never made myself. 
  • I went to Russo's and stocked up on veggies and fruit (cheap! delicious!) and plants (a daffodil for our apartment, and a daffodil for my office - well the office where I am usually found - at school). Thinking about making green curry.
  • Went to Jen's on Thursday, and she fed me yummy homemade soup (and hot apple cider with cinnamon and rum...)
On the other hand, I still bought lunch at school 2 out of 4 days (well, "lunch" one of the times), ate frozen breaded chicken w/mozzarella cheese twice, ate a lot of chips (my weakness), ordered Thai food on Sunday night for no good reason except it sounded good.... it wasn't perfect by any means, but it's a start.

I also made it to the gym more than usual. Coincidence?
....or could it all be because I'm avoiding doing my stats work for my dissertation??


adventures on the treadmill.

I've been getting more and more into running lately, but even in all of my years of on-and-off-gym-attendance, I've never been a treadmill fan. I'd much rather run outside (wouldn't everyone?) I enjoy changing scenery. I do not enjoy staring at the little counter on the screen. I can't read on the treadmill - it makes my head hurt. But lately, I've even been enjoying the treadmill because:
  • it tells me exactly how fast I'm going and how far I've gone - makes it a lot easier to convince myself to keep running at a certain speed "for another .2 miles"
  • I can change the speed to amuse myself
  • today, I watched Netflix (Lie to Me! an episode I've already seen, but who cares?)
But here's the best/funniest part about the treadmill...I'm a total klutz when it comes to this machine. I have trouble getting my feet to move at the proper pace (it's good - it's teaching me pacing!) Which is probably why I've always  avoided the treadmill. I've been OK this week, but during the course of this month I've dropped my iPhone not once, but twice. Once to the side (less funny). The other time, my phone fell off the little lip, hit the thing you knock off to make the treadmill stop, hit the treadmill/yanked the headphones off, and went flying off the back of the treadmill. To add to the hilarity, I almost ran into the front of the treadmill because I wasn't expecting the abrupt stop.

Funniest part? NOT ONE PERSON LAUGHED. Seriously? I was laughing. I most definitely would have laughed at someone else.

Honestly, folks... you all would have laughed with me, right? Anyone else as much of a mess as I am?:)


meal planning

For the past couple of years, I keep meaning to start meal planning - organizing what to eat on a given night instead of just "winging" it after I get home. You see, when that happens, I end up either ordering food, or eating whatever is quickest, just as I'm sure many others do. It's not as bad now as it was when I lived alone - then, I regularly ate cheese for dinner. Yes, just cheese. Or hummus and tortilla chips. Or frozen vegetables heated up with salt. I mean, when you live alone it kind of sucks to cook for one person.

Last year, when Chris and I first moved in here, I was really in to using my slowcooker and I made us food every night. Then....well, life happened. Usually now, I cook something one night a week, we make something easy a few nights a week (for example, taquitos from Trader Joes), and we end up giving in and getting takeout sometimes. No organization. No real regard for nutrition (though we don't have much in the house that's terrible for you). It's time for a change.

So now, friends, I have a question for you all: does anyone have any idea how I do this? What's the best way to plan ahead when you are exhausted, working a lot, and just plain don't have the mental capacity to think of creative food???


hold yourself accountable.

hey guys, did you know it snowed here yesterday? a lot? 
don't worry, I have pictures. I'll post them later.

This week's video from The 2011 Happiness Project Challenge instructs you to Hold Yourself Accountable- for your resolutions.

For me, that's easy. That's something that we're already doing, because we use our kitchen calendar as a star chart for exercising!!! we win!
(As a side note - I had to go to a teaching supply store to find star stickers - I couldn't believe it.)

I also think that writing about my resolutions here is helping me keep them. Someone actually asked me about my reading resolution yesterday - I didn't even know he read my blog! (HI STEFAN!)

Any other ideas for how to hold yourself accountable for your resolutions? What do you all do for yours?


hurray, I read a book!

(also, I love lists.)

 thanks to google for all my images. particularly the one of "the list" from LOST. I really miss that show!

this week I:
  • finished my first book of my reading challenge. starting #2 tonight!
  • exercised for my goal time of 2.5 hours this week
  • worked at the Brandeis bookstore, unpacking boxes of textbooks, for HOURS
  • stayed home sick on Monday
  • drank more water, at least 2 Nalgenes full (except for today. I'm trying to catch up)
  • got to see my cousins! One in town from Chicago for work, the other came down from Maine. I hadn't seen the one from Chicago in THREE YEARS. It was fantastic:)
  • went to a cocktail+appetizers party in Jen's apartment which had fantastic food, Greek wine with a label I couldn't read, and an adorable dog to play with (not Jen's, her friend brought him).
  • spent 1.5 hours on a conference call today on my cell phone where I said not.one.word.
also, just watched the first video I've seen from Gretchen Rubin's youtube channel about The Happiness Project. This month's theme: Resolutions. This week: Set concrete goals.
Well, I think I did that already. Success!

This weekend has lots of errands on the agenda, and a trip to a wedding expo in Boston with Margo (which to be honest I'm slightly terrified about, but I think it'll definitely be something to see...) I thought Easy A would get here from Netflix but I don't think it will :( may have to find something else to do tomorrow night...

So lovely readers, how were your weeks? Anything exciting planned this weekend? Does anyone else love lists as much as I do?:)


January Goals

**just a note- I made tabs for my blog! And the travel one has a photo collage!! I have started the first week of 2011 by staying home sick from work, so between naps and movies I've been playing online:) Go check it out!**

Even though last month I definitely did not meet all of my goals, I still liked having them, so I'm going to try again for January ---
  • keeping in line with my  New Years Resolutions: 
    • exercise at least 2.5 hours/week.
    • read at least 4 books, so that I'm well on my way to 52 in 2011. 
    • drink water
    • take vitamins
    • start the bedtime routine
    • blog 3x/week (at least)
  • update my CV/resume and track down recommendation letters for jobs
  • make a dissertation submission timeline and run it by my whole committee
  • have a wonderful MLK weekend celebration for Lindsay's shower/bachelorette celebration, and stay within my spending budget while doing so:)
  • successfully plan most if not all of Anna's bachelorette festivities for February!
  • organize my recipes: when I saw Katie over last weekend, she gave me an awesome recipe binder instead of a cookbook for an engagement present, and since I absolutely love it I want to start using it. 
  • finally finish decorating our apartment (mostly meaning pictures) - we've lived here for almost a year a half. it's time.
  • and, perhaps most exciting... I am on track to completely pay off my credit cards in January! since one of them has had a balance since I studied abroad in college (yes, I know that's bad. I paid for everything myself, and I don't exactly make bank as a graduate student. But I reformed and now am much better with money) this is a HUGE deal to me, and something I am looking forward to celebrating!
I'm a little overly ambitious - but I like having things to reach for, so it works for me!
What are your goals this month? Anything exciting going on?

another note- 2 a day again! Don't get excited. This won't continue.

Hello 2011! (weekend update)

First off, I hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve. During the day, I got to see BOTH of my "nephews" when we had lunch with AJ, Joe, Taygan, Katie, Steve, and Parker- along with me, Chris, Rae, and AJ's sister Rachel and her friend :) We were quite the mob. Tried to go to the aquarium but there were literally hundreds of people waiting outside, so we gave up on that and went to lunch at Grafton Street in Harvard Square. Never been there before but I loved it, so hopefully we'll be going back :) Katie and I taught Parker about penguins, so now he makes a penguin honking noise! I am a very proud girl:)

At night, we had people over here again, which was nice - we had lots of snack food, baked cookies and decorated them with frosting, and bought way too much alcohol (seriously, we have so much left... if anyone wants to come over and drink some they are welcome!) Chris put on The Matrix, but I made him turn it off at 11:30 so we could watch the festivities with Dick Clark (who looks so happy to be there, I can't stand it). Did anyone else catch NKOTBSB? Because that may have been the highlight of my night.

Yesterday it was 50 DEGREES OUTSIDE, in Massachusetts, in January! So I went for a (short) run, but aside from that Chris and I relaxed, watched the Mythbusters marathon, and napped until we ventured out around 4pm. We drove down to Dedham to go to Legacy Place, because they have A)lots of good stores to wander around, B) a P.F. Chang's which was what I wanted to eat/we had a gift card (thanks Mom!), and C) it's an outdoor mall, and it was warm. The trip was a success, with a blazer I wanted now 60% off (Ann Taylor Loft), some running stuff that was too cute to pass up, and some ski mittens for Chris, plus yummy food:)

After that, we went to Elephant Walk because Matt (Chris's best friend) was the only bartender, so we sat at the bar to hang out with him. I had two of what may now be my favorite drink- alcoholic strawberry lemonade! they infuse the vodka with real strawberries themselves! so good - and I ended up eating a second dinner of sorts - a salad with cabbage in it, because you are supposed to eat cabbage on New Years to get money in the new year - right?)

Sunday, we....went back to Elephant Walk for brunch because that was the plan before last night! And it's my favorite so no complaining here. Walked to the stores over by Fenway after, then stopped at Coolidge Corner on the way home, and just hung out after that. Relaxing weekend overall. How were your weekends? Anything exciting?


2011 Resolutions

After a lot of thought, I decided that I wasn't going to give 2011 a one word theme so much as make my resolutions have a theme of sorts. And what is that theme you might ask? It's doing more things for myself, instead of getting so caught up in the other things I am "supposed" to be doing and/or goofing around on the Internet for hours.

Without further ado, here's the plan:
  1. Read at least 52 books, doing the A-Z Reading Challenge (26 authors, 26 titles, each letter of the alphabet). This is for me because I love to read, and I don't make enough time for it.
  2. Exercise! Whether yoga or running or something else (pilates? the scary Jillian Michaels DVD that Val sent me? who knows!), I want to exercise at least 2.5 hours/week this year.
  3. Drink water. Specifically, the equivalent of 2 of my Nalgene bottles/day. I always feel better when I do, it's that simple.
  4. Create and STICK TO a bedtime routine. I am really, really bad about things like washing my face or flossing at night - I basically just brush my teeth and crash. Not good! Fixing that.
  5. Take my vitamins. Again, I feel better when I do. This is not rocket science ;)
  6. Graduate and get a real grown-up job. This is A)not optional, and B)a major source of stress if it doesn't go off as planned, so even though I'd do it anyway, I figured I should focus on it.
  7. Blog! It makes me happy when I remember to do it, and I love reading other blogs to get ideas for books to read, things to cook, and keep up with my faraway friends, so I'm going to do it too. Goal: 3x/week minimum, all year. yikes.
  8. 2011 Happiness Challenge: I signed up to participate in the 2011 Happiness Challenge from Gretchen Rubin (who wrote The Happiness Project, a book that I love). Each month she'll pick a theme and you'll get ideas of areas to focus on. Not planning on doing all of them, but I want to see what it has to offer and at least take some into account.
  9. Learn to knit. Sounds like fun:) And I can't sit still while I watch TV, so it would give me something to do.
  10. And last, semi-stolen from Anna - wedding planning with as little stress as possible. At this time next year we'll be 2.5 months out from our wedding (!!!), which means 2011 will be a year including a lot of wedding planning. I would like to do it in an organized, not stressed, fashion. Ideas on that? please share.
I know 9 resolutions is a lot, but I figure that it's still less than one a month on average, and some are smaller than others. I'm excited to get started! I think we are making a star chart, old school style (Chris wants to exercise more too, and we thought it would help). Any other ideas for stuff I forgot or ways to A)hold yourself accountable and B) reward yourself when things go well?

a note - 2 posts in one day! look at me go! :)

December Goals recap...

OK, so here are my December goals. Want to see how I did? (Hint: not so fantastic.)

  • 31 Day Yoga Challenge. complete it.
    • Nope. I did 9 days out of 31, which is about a third? So, that's a fail. That said, I am choosing to look at this positively - I did 9 more days of yoga in December than I did in November, I found a DVD that I like (and got it, 2 others from the same series, and a Yogitoes yoga towel for Christmas! Thanks people I babysit for for that!), and I am starting to WANT to do yoga again. So it's not all bad.
  • Copying Anna, run at least 20 miles this month. Hopefully more, but let's aim low, it's getting cold and dark outside.
    • Again, nope! I did 5.16. ...not even sure what to say about that.
  • Since I am running the Jingle Bell run, do a faster 5K than I did in the 10K last month. (which I will blog about. I swear. I even have a picture of us!)
    • This one was a success!! I improved my 5K time by a lot actually - almost 3 minutes, so almost a minute per mile. And that's with walking the whole second mile (note: if you are asthmatic, you should A) take your inhaler before you run, and B)bring it with you in your pocket. Why am I SO bad at that?) 
  • Get all of my grading done for the semester by December 18th, a week before Christmas.
    • Nope, but I got all of the undergrad papers done by then (except the one I didn't get until the 22nd - clearly that was out of my control). I got the grad student ones done on the 21st.
  • Make a plan to get my dissertation done by the deadlines.
    • Adding this to the January list! Totally forgot.
  • Redo my CV (what we call resumes in this crazy academic world) so I can get, you know, a job. Or at least start applying.
    • Crap! Forgot about that too. Again, January list.
  • Rewatch all of the Harry Potter movies before Christmas (Chris and I try to do it every year).
    • Success! :)
  • Mail my family's presents home in time for them to actually be there ON Christmas, not afterwards.
    • They got there Christmas Eve. I'll take that as a success :)
  • Blog at least 4 times a week. I want to get back into it!
    • Nope. 9 times total. BUT, I did 2 in October and 2 in November, so it was an improvement. (Does anyone REALLY want to hear from me 4 times a week? that's the real question)
  • Make almond bark from scratch- I've been dying to try it.  
    • Sadly no. But I still really want to make it!
  • Watch all of In Treatment. I'm almost done with Season 1, Emily has Season 2, and Season 3 is on demand until January 3rd, so if I want to watch it I need to get on it!
    • I finished Season One, and Ross and Em gave me Season 2 on New Year's Eve. So...no.
I think that means I did what, 2.5 of them? Ouch. But it was the first month I've ever set goals. Let's see if I can do better :)

Posts on New Year's resolutions and January goals on their way...
Happy New Year everyone!:)