December 31, 2013


I just couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon! It's New Year's Eve, and it's only natural to reflect on the past year and wonder about the year ahead will bring. 2013 brought some wonderful moments, as well as some difficult ones, and I am excited to keep moving forward into 2014. 

I was winding down the interview process for my doctoral internship, and by January I had been to lots of new cities. I explored Pittsburgh and Indianapolis for the first time, both of which were cold but fun-- it was good to realize that I could like cities outside of the NYC/DC bubble. Blogwise, I wrote my very first Sunday Currently and dove into my own set of series, Project DC and 100 Best Novels.

After my weeks of traveling for interviews, I successfully matched on Match Day and was able to stay in DC for another year! This day was the culmination of years of hard work, and it was such a relief to learn that I had matched!!! I also got very into cooking this month and posted a few of my projects on the blog, though I eventually realized that it doesn't feel natural for me to have recipes as a regular part of my blog. Even so, this spicy vegetarian chili is awesome! 

This was a good blog month for me, one when I started to feel like maybe I was getting closer to creating content that accurately showed what was happening in my life. The hubs and I traveled to Maine to visit his grandmother, I got nostalgic for Brooklyn, and I wrote a kick-ass Body Manifesto

I strolled through Brooklyn Heights and bid adieu to my sister's neighborhood. The hubs and I also bid adieu to our own neighborhood in DC and moved into a house (a small one) in Northeast DC. I was sick with an ongoing cold for most of this month, so I remember it as being extremely draining with some fun things sprinkled in, like discovering the Takoma Park Farmers Market

This was a great blogging month, thanks to the Blog Every Day in May challenge. I enjoyed sharing my memory of returning home after my first semester at college and reuniting my best friends, as well as this post about a typical day in my grad student life. I also had more free time this month, as my clinical placement was finished early in the month with the end of the spring semester. In general, it was a great time for DC, and there were lots of days filled with mint-colored jeans, lemonade, and long, sunny walks around the city. We started to have BBQs at our house, and in general it was just such a fun time! Though I didn't share this on my blog, I was also struggling a bit in between those fun moments, as my parents had just decided to sell my childhood home, and I took the news really hard. Thankfully, the hubs and I left for our belated honeymoon at the end of the month, and it provided a good distraction.

The hubs and I had a blast on our honeymoon and explored three cities in Morocco, as well as Barcelona in Spain. It had been years since we last traveled internationally together as just the two of us, and it was fun to get back into the swing of things. We had one of those experiences where Barcelona just captured our hearts. We must return! The hubs and I also adopted a second cat, O'Higgins, who promptly made himself at home. 

This is when the summer really started to get emotionally tough for me. I got the news that one of my dearest, oldest friends was diagnosed with cancer, and it was a big wake-up call that I needed to honor my friendships more actively-- life is too fragile. My ATM card info was also stolen, and somebody in Greece drained over $1000 from my account, which was a huge stressor! I tried to make peace with having my last summer with my childhood home, and while it felt cleansing to center myself with the help of the sand and the ocean, I remember lots of sadness, too. Goodbyes are extraordinarily hard for me!


Oh, August. I started my doctoral internship this month, and I was busy! I was also trying to stay as close to an air conditioning unit as possible, as DC was so. freaking. hot. Still, I did some cute things like bake a peach pie and make brandied fruitsI also enjoyed reflecting on wedding day advice, and it was fun to see that others enjoyed this post, too-- it's one of my most viewed! My parents made the move from our beloved, sleepy beach town, which, predictably, was terribly sad for me, but I tried to stay focused on DC life.

This was a great month! I kicked it off with the best Labor Day weekend I've ever had by spending time in NYC with two dear friends. In general, I gave myself time to enjoy my surroundings more, such as by taking a soothing walk in the rain around Logan Circle and by finally making it to Old Town Alexandria. It was comforting to soak up those moments and feel as though I was savoring life again. The hubs and I also took a weekend getaway to Lancaster, PA for my birthday, and we had a marvelous time. Overall, this month reminded me of how much I value savoring my surroundings, and it made me want to take more weekend trips around the area.

This is when I started to lose my blogging focus due to being so busy with work. Off the interwebs, however, I was enjoying life. The hubs and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary, which was a wonderful milestone to share. Appropriately, I later wrote a post about what makes a good wife, and I was thankful to have spend the past couple of weeks actively thinking about my marriage. The hubs and I did some more traveling, this time to Detroit to see his visiting older brother and his family, and my Michigan daydreams were in full force with the beautiful fall foliage. I did a lot of Instagramming of leaves this month...

I really started to feel like a bad blogger this month, and I shared some of my frustrations and challenges. I still don't have my time management figured out, and I realize more and more how difficult it is to work full-time and intentionally blog. I wasn't too social this month, and it felt like a mad dash until Thanksgiving break. Overall, I think this was a neutral time-- nothing bad happened, but nothing especially amazing occurred, either. 

Despite being light on the blogging side, I enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit and was having lots of fun away from the computer. The hubs and I enjoyed some infused vodka we had made, DC got a little bit of snow, we got our Christmas tree, and I spent my first Christmas in Michigan, away from my family (of course my in-laws are my family, but you know what I mean). The best part? All of that wonderful Michigan snow!!!

In sum, I think that 2013 was a year of endings and beginnings, ups and downs, losses and realizations. I never could have predicted some of these moments, but in retrospect, I think that in the end, everything worked out. I'm closing this year on a good note, and I welcome 2014 with open arms. Here's to a year of adventures!!

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December 30, 2013

Rising Sun

Lately, I've been waking up at the perfect time to enjoy the sunrise. I quietly have my cereal down in the kitchen, tucked in at the old Girl Scout camp picnic table that my father-in-law found at an old salvage shop in Michigan. The heat starts to blow through the vents, and slowly, the house starts to wake up. The cats stare quizzically at the vents and then turn back to their bowls.

When I make my way back upstairs, the pink light is starting to peek through the curtains. Sometimes the shower walls turn golden pink as I stand there in the thick steam, and I know that the sky is starting to wake up, too. Sometimes I wait a bit before washing up, and I stand in the guest room so I can peek out at the sky. If the clouds are rippled just right, then they turn magnificent shades of sunrise-- pinks, golds, yellows, reds. Even on a cloudless morning, the sky looks beautiful as color starts to soak each corner and curve.

It lasts only a few minutes. I can't stand there forever. The day is beginning, and I must get back to my routine. But still, the sun is beckoning, and I decide to peer out the window for just a moment more.

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December 29, 2013

Sunday Currently : 50

This is my 50th post with the Sunday Currently! It has been so much fun to participate in this link-up, and I know that I will enjoy looking back on past weeks and remembering what I was doing on all of those Sundays. Here's to many more!

This Sunday is a rainy one. The hubs and I returned from Michigan last night after a bit of a flight delay, and we are now tackling a few house projects, like cleaning out the fridge, putting away gifts, and general house reorganization. It feels great to toss unneeded (and sometimes spoiled) items, and I know it will feel so good to have things simplified and neat. We still have too much clutter, but we're getting better with donating and simplifying. Little by little, we will get there!

reading :  On the Road. I plowed through my magazines while our flight was delayed yesterday and did more Kerouac-reading, but I am reeeeaallly stretching it out for a bit longer. 

writing :   Some e-mails to friends as we plan a movie outing for this evening. Catching Fire was so good that I offered to go a second time with a friend who hasn't seen it yet.

listening :    To the rain hitting the kitchen windows. Even if it's a bit gloomy out, the sound of rain always seems so soothing and comforting to me. 

thinking :   About desired future travel plans. The hubs and I are hoping to take a big international trip over the summer, but if that doesn't work out, I'd like to head back to Michigan to explore new parts.  Lake Michigan is calling me, you know?

smelling :   Coffee and clementines, my kitchen table companions.

wishing :    Good things for my post-doc plans... fingers crossed.

hoping :   That I don't regret my decision to moonlight two and a half days this week. I appreciate having a bit more money, but I kind of also want to just stay at home, relax, and get some dissertation work done. Oh, well...

wearing :   Cotton pants with martini glasses on them (the ultimate in pajama chic) and a t-shirt. Perhaps I should change before heading out into public?

loving :    That the cats have been so happy to have us back home. They're both been following us around and curling up next to us since we returned last night, and it feels nice to be back with these little cuddle buddies. 

wanting :   To whip up a new batch of cupcakes so that I can make pretty frosting swirls with the new pastry bag we picked up in Canada. I've been wanting one of these for a while, and I'm so excited to use it!

needing :    More water, perhaps.

feeling :    Eager to get things done!

clicking :   Around Real Simple's website. They had a great article about how to organize the fridge that was especially helpful this morning, and I appreciate their tips about how to best clean up and organize the house. 


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December 26, 2013

Snow Blanket

My fingers and toes were meant for mittens and thick wool socks. They don't stand a chance against the winter gusts, something I am reminded of each time I make it indoors and struggle to uncurl my frozen hands. My fingertips turn bright red, and they feel clumsy as I try to unbutton my coat. Mittens, I try to remind myself. Mittens are warmer than gloves.

Somehow, though, that doesn't matter when the snow comes. I pause to admire the white tree branches and rooftops and run around as though I'm a kid again, all so I can soak in those magical moments. And the first snow of the year? Well, that just brings on even more excitement.

Sometimes it's worth losing feeling in your fingers if it means taking time to savor the beauty of snow quietly covering your surroundings. But maybe I should get a pair of mittens, anyway.

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December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope that you are all having a warm, happy holiday and are able to be with your loved ones. The hubs and I are spending our first Michigan Christmas together, and so far it has involved lots of great food, lovely company, and adorable pets in Santa hats-- what more could a girl want?

We did our own mini Christmas on Sunday by cooking a nice dinner served on our wedding china and then opening up gifts from my family. It was such a nice evening spent together, made even better by my favorite Christmas movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas. For me, it's just not the holiday season without the Peanuts gang.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday! I'm going to retire by the fire a bit before baking my mom's amazing holiday butter cookies. Merry Christmas!!

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December 16, 2013

Moscow Mule

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I got the idea to infuse vodka. We were listening to a bit on The Splendid Table, and it sounded easy enough to try out. So why not?

This past weekend, we finally got to try out our creations at our holiday party with friends, and I am so excited that it ended up being a big hit! A few friends said that they wanted to start infusing vodka, as well, and I think we will gather some friends to work on a new batch soon. Since this ended up being an easy project with a great end result, I decided that I wanted to share our experience here.

We started with a 1.75 L bottle of Sky vodka and split the contents between two containers so that we could try out two different concoctions. In a large mason jar, we dropped in three whole habanero peppers, some thin slices of ginger (one inch total), and sliced lime peel. We let it sit for about three weeks before straining it, and then we set the jar aside until we were ready for our holiday party.

The vodka definitely had a kick to it, and I'm sure it would be fun to drink on its own. Since I'm not really into drinking straight liquors, though, we decided to make Moscow Mules for our party, which required the addition of some ginger beer (2 parts ginger beer to one part vodka). The end result was lots of spice with some sweetness, and it all went down smooth. Success!

Have you ever infused liquor before? Would you try this one out?

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December 15, 2013

Sunday Currently : 49

Last night the hubs and I hosted a holiday party for our friends, and I have to say, I think we've crossed over into new territory. Our last holiday party a few years ago was a rowdy affair, and I'm pretty sure there was an arm-wrestling competition... there were definitely a couple of visits from a neighbor asking us to quiet down. This year, though,  it all felt very grown-up. We decided to use our glassware that we received for our wedding, and though I was initially nervous that we might have some broken martini glasses and a shattered champagne flute, everything stayed in one piece. Remarkable! So I think we are officially at the point where we can put out our nice things, and both we and our friends are responsible enough not to break all of the breakables. :D

No matter how responsible we are now, it's still okay to eat cookies for breakfast, though, right?

reading : On the Road and Forever. I didn't read at all last week, but I'm aiming to create more reading time this week.

writing :   More Christmas cards. We are almost done, but still a few more to go!

listening :   To the hubs work in the kitchen and the cats running around the house. We all slept in until about noon, but now we are ready for the day!

thinking :   About friends and how nice it can be, post-party, to sit around the living room and just talk. We stayed up until nearly 3 in the morning doing just that, and I'm so thankful to have people in my life where night like that can happen.

smelling :   The hubs cooking up huevos rancheros in the kitchen. Yum yum!! 

wishing :   For more snow! None predicted for this next week, but a girl can dream.

hoping :   That my hair grows back quickly. I got a haircut yesterday, and while I really like it (especially how soft and silky it feels now!!), it's a couple inches shorter than I requested. Still cute, but I do love the feel of long hair. I'll adjust!

wearing :    College sweatpants and a t-shirt-- gotta stay comfy!

loving :     My new baby nephew!!! My sister went into labor last week about four weeks earlier than planned, and now we have a new addition to the family. They are all doing well, and this little guy seems like a cutie. The hubs and I are going to visit them all soon, and I am over the moon with joy!

wanting :   Coffee... lots of it.

needing :   To finish our post-party clean-up, which actually isn't too bad, just some furniture that needs to be moved and some cups and plates that will go back in a cabinet.

feeling :   Content. There's something nice about being alone in the house with the hubs, settling back into our home, and enjoying some coffee side-by-side. Life is so good. :)

clicking :  On some blog catch-up later today, and then clicking around to write a post about some special infused vodkas we served last night at our party. Intrigued? Check back tomorrow on the blog!


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