Friday Fives

Here’s what I’ve been loving this week!

1. Dieting. 

My husband and I decided to cut added sugar, white/refined carbs, beer, and all fried


last hurrah on New Year’s Eve

items from our diets. This means so white rice, no bread, hardly any packaged foods, and definitely no junk. I’m eating a lot of rye, a lot of avocado, and a lot of protein.

2. Barre3. 

I renewed by online subscription and have started doing the shorter workouts again. I felt silly paying for a subscription, but after a few months without it, I realized that I genuinely missed barre workouts. So far, it’s my favorite form of exercise.

3. Amazon.

With my husband out of town a lot, Amazon has been saving me as far as diapers, makeup, and other stuff that I’d normally have to make a trip to Costco or Target for. I just do not have time right now.

4. Board games.

I ordered Scrabble and Sequence with some gift cards I had recently because I’m tired of our “hang out time” in the evenings just being TV. I’m hoping we can build a collection of games that we can play as a whole family later.

5. My inkWELL press planner.

I got the daily version and so far I love it. The dates and days are blank, so you can easily use one page for any day, skip days, only do weekdays, etc.


Moving in to 2018

2017 was a huge year for me. I had a baby, bought a house, got a promotion, and finished my PhD. I’m definitely hoping for a less eventful 2018! This past year was wonderful in so many ways, but it was also pretty hectic, and I’d like a calmer one this time around.

Last year I did a “live your values” exercise for the year, but a lot of the habits I had hoped to establish in January got derailed when our baby arrived a few weeks early, so I’d like to do it again for 2018.

I worked through a long list of potential values, narrowed them down to around 20, then grouped them into 5 groups that made sense to me. I then chose the value from each group that I felt was most representative. I ended up with these:

  1. Peace
  2. Thankfulness
  3. Relationships
  4. Growth
  5. Simplicity

I have a January goal associated with each value, and hopefully I can keep up with subsequent goals for the other months of the year.

I think we’ll be spending our first New Year’s Eve alone together tonight! We have always gone to a party or had friends over, but this time we’re eating pizza and drinking champagne at our place. In Provo all of the fireworks were scheduled for Saturday and not Sunday, so I hope some neighbors will set a few off.

Here’s to a great year!

The Library

Since a few months ago, it had been years and years since I used a library for anything other than academic research. In grad school, I tended to buy the books that I read for pleasure because the university library didn’t have a great selection, plus I had relatively little time to read for pleasure. It never occurred to me to use a public library in Austin, mainly because I would have had to drive to one.

But now we live in a neighborhood where I can walk to a public library. I started going and got a card so that I could take my baby to the little story times that they do for kids, but I also started checking out a lot of books. Even though this library doesn’t have a great selection of adult books—the kids’ section is amazing, on the other hand—I still find a lot of stuff that I want to take a look at, from cookbooks to mystery novels to some nonfiction books like The Year of Living Danishly and Better Than Before, both of which I read recently.

I really like how the library makes it easy to check something out, start it, skim it, and not worry about returning it unread. You can leave the book lying around for a couple of weeks and see if it sparks your interest without feeling compelled to read it because it cost $15, and without being disappointed if it’s not as good as expected.

They also have electronic books now. I’ve checked a few of them out, but they seem to have a shorter loan time than hard-copy books, which I find strange. They’re also often unavailable because they’re “out on loan,” which also seems weird. Can’t an electronic book be loaned to more than one person at a time for any length of time, since it doesn’t actually exist…? There must be laws about this that I’m not aware of, but it seems silly.

Right now I’m reading another Gretchen Rubin book, The Happiness Project, but it’s not as good (to me, anyway) as Better Than Before. I’ve also got a mystery novel, The Memory Game, going, plus several cookbooks. It’s pretty nice.

Friday Fives

A few of the things I’ve been enjoying this week…

1. Fernet-Branca. 

I love this stuff and have an ounce or so before bed most nights. It tastes like mouthwash and licorice and you hate it the first time you try it, but there’s something addictive about the flavor and it settles your stomach.

2. 15 – 20 minute workouts. 

I just do not have time for long workouts anymore. Maybe once a week I can squeeze in a 30 minute workout, but I definitely can’t do anything 45 or 60 minutes long. 15 to 20 minutes is absolutely perfect, and there are a ton of really fun and intense ones on YouTube and on the Nike Training Club app.

3. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. 

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while, and I’m now on my second read-through. Over the past year I’ve bought all of Trine Hahnemann’s cookbooks and started making sourdough rye bread every week, so anything Danish is right up my alley. I also love memoir, and that’s really what this book is. I know it got a lot of criticism for including too many tidbits from various “studies” etc. but that didn’t bother me in practice. Helen Russell is funny and does a good job incorporating her research. Highly recommend.

4. Phone calls. 

I pulled myself together this week and had a phone call (albeit for a podcast) with my friend Lauren. It’s not that I hate talking on the phone, it’s that I hate anticipating talking on the phone. Given the chance I’ll put it off indefinitely and develop guilt and anxiety about it. If I just put it on my calendar and do it, it’s fine. I should use that method for other friends I mean to call.

5. Brunch with friends.

We have one with a bunch of people tomorrow at noon, and I look forward to these events all week. It’s much lower pressure than dinner somehow, but just as fun.

Friday Fives

Now that I actually have free time (free time!), I figured why not start writing a little in this blog? I’m not going to try to “catch up,” but I’d like to write here at least weekly. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers do a Friday Fives series of recent events, their favorite things, books they’ve been reading, whatever, so I’m going to try that.

Here are five things I’ve been enjoying this past week.

1. Vegas! 

IMG_1922.jpgAlex and I went over the Thanksgiving break. My parents came to take care of P, so we had Thanksgiving dinner with them and left the next morning. We flew so that we wouldn’t have to do a tiring drive or worry about the weather in Utah (it’s usually snowing by now). We stayed at the Cosmopolitan and had a great time. It was much more relaxed than I expected. I didn’t feel like I always needed to be dressed up or anything. We ate a lot of great food, laid around by the pool, and enjoyed a nice hotel room.



2. My 365 journal. 

I ordered this journal last year and slacked on it a lot, especially right around when P was born, but I’m trying to write in it again. I’ve missed a few days, but I’ve done pretty well so far.

3. Christmas decorations!


I haven’t been able to get a nicely-lit picture of these, but we have one on each front window and a matching wreath on the door. I got everything from At Home, which is one of those warehouse home decor stores. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I love it. Ofcourse I’d like to have a fully West Elm or Pottery Barn home, but I cannot justify spending like $800 on holiday decorations! Anyway, these are nice especially because I don’t think we’ll be getting a tree this year. For one thing, we have a baby who is pulling up on everything, and for another, we’ll be out of town for the holiday itself. I think I’ll just get a cute tabletop tree for 2017.


4. Turning 30.

Yep, that happened! We celebrated in Vegas, on my actual birthday we went out for lunch, and then last night we had friends over for drinks and food. It’s been a big year: I had a baby, bought a house, and finished my doctorate. If you had asked me if I would do those three things before turning 30 when I was 20, I would have said NO.

5. Feeding my kid.

P is really into solid food now. He stands up and begs for our meals if we eat in front of him, so we have started feeding him a lot more. On my birthday he tried fish and ice cream for the first time and loved them both… especially the ice cream. (I know, I know, he shouldn’t have sugar. Oh well.) I found these meatballs at Target this week, and they’re his current favorite snack, along with shredded cheddar cheese and unsalted canned green beans.

I have a big week at work coming up, so here we go…