New Year’s Resolutions are tricky. It’s great to want to make a positive change in your life, but if you bombard yourself with expectations at the beginning of the year, it’ll probably be nearly impossible to follow through on all of them. That goes for any time of year I suppose. If you have all these resolutions and have trouble realizing them, it might make you more likely to abandon them all and give up. And that is not what we want.
Maybe it’s time for a new way of thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. What about 12 resolutions, but instead of starting them all on January 1st, you start a new resolution each month (and try to keep up with the old ones as you add the new)? On January first, start with one new intention – it doesn’t have to be hard; maybe it’s even better to start with your easiest goal to give yourself some confidence for the harder ones ahead. (See below the lists for my own resolutions plan.)
Here’s a list of ideas to get started:
Food & Fitness Resolutions
- Ditch diet soda (and artificial sweeteners in general).
- Eat less. (Makes you live longer.)
- Go to a yoga class 2-3 times a week.
- Get out for a 20 minute walk every day. Take a friend or family member.
- No eating or snacking after dinner.
- Eat breakfast daily.
- Cut back on caffeine (1 cup a day!).
- Eat less grains and sugars.
- Eat more organic and local food.
- Eat more salads.
- Only have dessert once a week (but make it good).
- Do 5 sun salutations each morning when you wake up.
Mental & Social Resolutions
- Read more – a book a week? (Or at least 30 minutes a day, if the book is too long to read in a week.)
- Hang out with friends twice a week.
- Laugh often.
- Go to the movies, a concert, or another kind of show – 3-4 times a month.
- Stay hungry. Stay foolish. (What does this mean to you?)
- Join a credit union. (Going “local” for finances.)
- Track your spending and then find a way to save $100 each month (that’s just $25 a week, less than $5 a day).
- Meditate for 5 minutes a day (option to increase time on a weekly or bi-weekly basis).
- Go out on a date once a week with the husband. (Get dressed up!)
- Give away old or unused clothes. (Or any other items you’re not using.)
- Donate time to charity.
- Organize one area or room of your home each week.
My plan is to pick one from each list each month and stick with it. For the first month I’m going to do Food Resolution #1 (ditch the diet soda and artificial sweeteners) and Mental Resolution #1 (read a book a week). I already broke Food Resolution #1 by having diet soda yesterday and no-sugar-added ice cream (I think it had Splenda) at a dinner party, but I’m counting today as my start because I didn’t come up with my lists until today.
My book for the week is called Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson (who also wrote A Walk in the Woods) (my dad got me the book for Christmas). The title may sound boring, but it is in fact packed with juicy tidbits about the evolution of American English as well as a much needed refresher on US History (I have forgotten most of what I learned in APUS). Did you know that the word dime (as in 10 cents) was originally supposed to be pronounced “deem”? It came from the French word disme, which meant “a tenth”.
I will leave you with this delicious salad that I bought at a little deli near my apartment for lunch today:
It has a mesclun-ish base, grilled chicken, roasted veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant), mushrooms, diced beets, and sauteed fajita veggies.
What are your resolutions? Do you have multiple, or do you stick with one?
Healthy Living Links
- Dr. Weil Rethinks Saturated Fats – I don’t remember when it was that I came around regarding saturated fats (they are not just not bad, they are essential for good health). Now Dr. Weil, a fairly well-known health advocate, is also coming around. Quote: “It now appears that many studies used to support the low-fat recommendation had serious flaws.”
- Cool chart of the effectiveness of popular health supplements – the chart’s y-axis shows the evidence supporting popular “healthy” supplements like folic acid, green tea, and elderberry (many more). The higher on the chart the supplement is, the more evidence there is that it actually helps the person taking it.
- With Liposuction, the Belly Finds What the Thighs Lose – Gina Kolata (author of Rethinking Thin) wrote an interesting article about a study that tracked how bodies change after having liposuction – apparently most people regain the weight back, and it’s not in a attractive places.
- The quarterlife crisis: young, insecure and depressed – New research by British psychologists shows educated twenty and thirtysomethings most likely to be hit by pre-midlife blues.
- Digestive problems early in life may increase risk for depression, study suggests – via my sister-in-law. It’s saying that digestive problems may actually cause depression rather than being a side effect.
Random Fun Links
Restaurants I Want to Try (in NYC)
Hope y’all had a great weekend… stop by tomorrow for a great recipe
This week’s edition of What’s Up Saturday has lots of goodies (I think). I will not bore you with random musings today; without further ado here is my weekly link love:
Salad Round Up
Food & Recipes
- Not all calories are created equal?! A new study might show that the source of the calorie might actually impact whether or not you gain weight from it. In other words, an extra 100 calories a day from candy might make you gain more weight than an extra 100 calories a day from peanuts. (From Fooducate.) I eat nuts like they are going out of style so maybe this is why I don’t weigh 300 pounds already.
- Childhood obesity is running rampant because kids are eating utter crap. Apparently 40% of kids’ calories come from junk food (soda, sugary drinks, desserts, pizza, and whole milk). (Also from Fooducate. I love this blog. I do not agree that whole milk is junk, though – I am a big promoter of full-fat dairy!)
Linguistics Article & Other Random Things
Happy Saturday! Do you have any updates for me?
I got them new food so maybe they will be thinner next time they make an appearance. I also got them a cruel toy – it smells like catnip and you put food inside it (so they smell the food), and they chase it for exercise. They are not smart enough to get the food out though. I think they realized that because they’re not really playing with it anymore. Sigh.
How’s your Saturday going?
Last week was almost a palindrome and this week is lots of 10’s! 10’s seem to be very popular with humans, probably due to the fact that we have ten fingers and ten toes. Here are some fun facts and sayings that have to do with TEN:
- The Ten Perfections: These are ten qualities one must achieve in order to attain “Buddhahood”, or awakening (Buddhism)
- The Perfection of Ten: this is different from the previous one. Shakespeare uses the term “the perfection of ten” to describe a person’s opinion of his lover in the same way we might say, “she’s a perfect ten.”
- The Ten Commandments: In Christianity (and Judaism I think), these are ten moral/religious imperatives that one must follow in order to be a good person.
- Base Ten: our decimal system has ten as its base. It’s the most widely used number system used by modern civilizations. “Decimal” comes from the Latin decem, which means ten.
- Scale of one to ten: “a general and largely vernacular concept used for rating things, people, places, ideas and so on.” (Wikipedia.) It’s the most popular rating scale, followed by 1-5 and 1-4.
- Breathe and count to ten: I can’t find the origin of this phrase, but it’s a way to calm down when you are about to blow your top off.
- TEN: the word “ten” itself comes from the pre-Germanic (a long-ago ancestor of English) base *tekhan. If you go back even further to PIE (proto-Indo-European) the base was *dekm (you can see this led to the Latin decem mentioned above).
And now onto the rest of my weekly wrapup…
Interesting Health Articles
- US Life Expectancy Lowered by Poor Healthcare: Researchers found that our life expectancy is lagging behind the life expectancy in other (civilized) countries. Why? It is not, in fact, obesity, smoking, homocides, or car addicents – it’s our horrible horrible healthcare system.
- New York tries to ban the use of Food Stamps for sugary drinks: a while ago NY tried to pass a tax on sugary drinks and it didn’t go through, so now we’re trying to at least not allow food stamps to be used towards sugar-laden drinks. My opinion? I’m all for it. I was all for the tax, too.
- Too Much Noise at Work Bad for Your Heart: a Canadian study showed that people who work in a noisy environment are 2-3 times more likely to get heart disease. The reason is probably that noise –> stress –> constantly elevated cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones, which are good in moderation but not all the time) –> heart disease.
- Sleep Makes the Body Leaner: a study showed that if you get 8.5 hours you burn more fat than people who sleep 5.5 hours. The people who slept 5.5 hours burned more of their lean muscle mass. You’re also hungrier if you don’t get enough sleep
Other Random Stuff (blogs, Macbooks, etc…)
- Eden’s Euphemisms: I have linked to Eden before, but you have to read this post of hers – she lists a bunch of fun euphemisms and also talks about why sometimes it’s better to just say what you really mean instead of masking it with a more PC phrase.
- Macbook Air Update Coming Soon: I have been waiting and waiting to get a new computer for the Macbook Airs to get updated and I think they finally will be – a bunch of places (including Amazon) are out of stock of the current ones and they are not getting replenished until either 10/12 or 10/16, and I am guessing (hoping) that the new shipment will be new Airs!
My Salad Roundup
My weekend has been great so far. I…
- Brunched at Alice’s Tea Cup with an old friend and current neighbor (Saturday)
- Got my nails done (Saturday)
- Discovered a new and awesome Duane Reade (Saturday)
- Found a yummy Asian restaurant close by (Saturday)
- Took Nia (Sunday)
- Took Yoga (Saturday)
- Am meeting up with another old friend for dinner (Sunday)
- Cleaned (mostly Sunday)
- Am very happy! (both days)
Okay off to do some work. How was your weekend?
This post is full of random.
Last night after work I headed home and found my brother waiting in the cafe under my apartment. I like being with family; I’m glad that I get to see him a couple times a month. I miss the rest of my family and Bobby’s family too. Luckily we will be hosting Bobby’s parents later this month, which we are both excited for. We want to take them out to all of our favorite places. These are my siblings now (left to right: sis, bro, me, bobby, sis-in-law):
The cafe downstairs was having $1 off salad day yesterday so that is what I had for the first course of my dinner. I said “tofu” but the guy heard “tuna“, so that was my main ingredient. I should accidentally order tuna more often; this was delicious. It also had: egg whites, portobello mushrooms, mandarin oranges, olives, grapes, apples, broccoli, sprouts, roasted peppers, regular peppers, beets, tomatoes, and I can’t even remember what else. It has unlimited toppings so I get pretty much everything. I get the chipotle ranch dressing on the side (but I use the whole thing).
Mind Over Money
I ate my salad while watching a Nova documentary called Mind Over Money. If you are an economist (Coco) or if you just enjoy learning, check it out. It talks about the debate between behavioral and traditional (more rational) economics, and basically says that humans don’t act rationally when it comes to money – we are irrational and very much influenced by our emotions. It talks about the (in)efficiency of markets, why the crash in 2008 might have happened (and why economists didn’t predict it), the housing bubble, the tulip bubble of the 1600s, decision making, and more. I really enjoyed it. I double majored in econ and math so this was right up my alley.
We have Netflix and I watched the documentary streaming on my computer (we can watch Netflix streaming on the TV too using Bobby’s XBox). We don’t get cable and I don’t watch TV aside from Netflix documentaries anymore. And Hoarders.
Flowers for Sanity
I read somewhere that keeping flowers in the house helps keep you happy and healthy. I like them because they are a little bit of nature right in my Manhattan apartment. These are from Trader Joe’s and they were just $3.99. Good deals make me happy too
Dessert Snack Time
I never have “just a salad” for dinner and tonight was no exception. I don’t usually like nut butter, but I was in a nutty mood last night so I spread a large Trader Joe’s blueberry muffin with
probably too much peanut butter and savored it. I don’t have a picture though. It wasn’t that pretty but it sure was toothsome, sapid, and titillating. There are some good vocab words for you!
I went to a gym class and I ran into Missy! We chatted and then did class together. I have been to better Zumba classes though – the instructor last night was very repetitive and too fast.
Do you have any random things to share?
Food & Wine seems to be the quintessential foodie combo. My husband likes to unwind at night with a nice glass of wine, or by sipping slowly on a cup of whiskey on the rocks. I am not a drinker; I haven’t been since the middle of college. But I’m starting to enjoy wine again. (Apparently you can even get your wine online.) I like making connections with people, and wine is something that many people are passionate about, so it makes for good conversation.
My favorite wine from Trader Joe’s
The main reason that I did not drink for so long was that alcohol is very high in calories, and in general I prefer to chew my calories. In general, I would rather have a piece of pie than a regular soda – but I’m not that picky anymore. (Aside: The calories in wine are not protein, carbs, or fat. Some people think that alcohol calories are sugar – they are not. Alcohol is its own food group and it has 7 calories per gram, whereas carbs like sugar have just 4 per gram; protein also has 4 per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram. So alcohol, if we are judging solely on caloric content, by the gram, is more like a fat than a sugar.)
Anyway, my point is that I wanted to learn how to enjoy wine so that I could enjoy it with my husband, my family, or my friends. So I started drinking wine with seltzer. I know, horror of horrors! Wine + seltzer! To a wine fanatic that is probably a sacrilege. But to a seltzer fanatic it is not.
My sodastream seltzer machine, which I am missing much – it is in New Jersey.
But it is not a sacrilege to me. My mom and I discussed it on Tuesday night as I was walking home from my first choir practice and I think I got her on my side (she loves wine).
And now I love wine (with seltzer). I call it wine spritzer but I’m not sure if that’s the right term, because I think there is an actual product called wine spritzer. I like it much more than wine alone, which is sometimes too pungent and flavorful. And it goes by so quickly.
Maggie’s Wine Spritzer Tips
- 3 parts seltzer to 1 part wine is my favorite mix (I eyeball it – it might be more parts seltzer to 1 part wine)
- Dessert wine is especially good with seltzer
- My wine spritzer has just 25% of the calories that regular wine has
- Wine spritzer is really good for when you can’t figure out what you want to eat – once you have a few sips, your appetite perks right up
- Try different kinds of wine with different foods
- Drink wine spritzer while you’re cooking – it makes cooking that much more fun
I googled the word “spritz” for fun, and found its etymology. (Etymology = word meaning and history.) You might remember my linguistics blog from last year (I keep meaning to start that up again) – I love words. I love languages. So I am going to tell you about spritz.
Spritz comes from German and it means splash, or sparkling. (Aren’t those beautiful words? Some of my favorites.) Spritz is basically a variation on the wine spritzer that I make and it’s served in Italy (which is one of my favorite places) – it’s made of white wine or Prosecco, a dash of a bitter liqueur, and sparkling mineral water. And garnished with an orange. You can also do it with champagne. Spritz was first made in Venice when it was under Austrian rule. (Because the Austrians drank Spritzer, which was half wine and half seltzer.)
Gespritzter (German) is the past form of the verb spritzen (to squirt). German is so cool. Spritz first appeared in English in 1917, and spritzer in 1961.
Okay I have to stop going on about languages This is why I started that other blog that I need to update! If you want more word origins, check out one of my favorite website, The Online Etymology Dictionary.
Do you drink wine? Wine spritzer? Other alcohol? What is your favorite?
For now I am stuck on wine spritzer. I hate beer, and I’m not really a fan of most hard liquor. So I’m going to keep drinking what I enjoy.
Also – don’t forget to enter my book giveaway!
Free yoga mat giveaway! (And hot sauce discount.) Now: Papaya Salad. Papaya salad is in both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. My favoritefavorite is the Vietnamese version of papaya salad, but I suppose this is kind of a mix of both.
I love papaya salad. So much so that I had it for dinner 2 nights in a row.
Ingredients and Method
- green papaya
- shrimp, sauteed in peanut oil with soy sauce and chili powder
- dressing: fish sauce, vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, hot sauce
- topping: PB2
To slice the papaya into such tiny strips (which is the only way to enjoy green papaya), I first used my mandoline to slice the papaya in thin strips. Then I just cut up the strips. It didn’t take long at all.
Papaya salad is a good reward and a great way to celebrate…
Celebrate finishing my wedding invitations that is! Almost all of them were mailed out today.
I know I owe you that explanation for why I suddenly have more time. The truth is, I don’t really have that much more time. I cut back to part time at my job and I am taking a class in the evenings, but the class ends up taking up 4-5 hours of my night… so I have about the same amount of free time as I did before. But I love the class. It’s a linguistics class.
Have you ever taken a class after you graduated college? Do you like papaya salad?
Do you like chunky peanut butter or smooth and creamy? Every time I get chunky, I end up with this…
I don’t know how it happens, but I unconsciously avoid the chunks and am left with a jar of peanut bits and a little bit of creamy peanut butter. Just one of my quirks, I suppose. I don’t know what to do with the bits besides eat them plain; I’m not complaining though. But I really should only buy creamy.
When I’m not desiccating (= removing moisture from) nut butters, I like to make raw salads.
- kale (1/2 bunch or so, maybe a little more) – massaged with 1/2 avocado and my own version of liquid gold elixir (olive oil, rice vinegar, bragg’s liquid aminos)
- 1 tomato, chopped
- white onion, chopped
- 1/2 ear of raw corn
- salsa (taco bell brand… not exactly raw! but you could use raw salsa)
I massaged the kale with the avocado and dressing, then topped it with the other goodies. As soon as I was done I made a repeat salad; do you ever do that? Sometimes after I have a salad I go back and make the exact same salad for seconds.
In this case it was nice because I was able to use the rest of the kale head, the other 1/2 ear of corn, and the other 1/2 avocado. It works out. Maybe the reason I make the repeat is to use up the leftovers from the first one!
Here are some word origins for y’all…
- vegetable (Dori) – vegetables comes from a base in proto-indo-european (PIE = basically what preceded all of the european languages) that means “be strong, lively”. It’s also related to watch, vigor, velocity, and possibly witch. after PIE it went through Latin and French before it came to English.
- shampoo (Heather) – this comes from Hindi (champo) where it meant, “to massage”, or “to press, knead the muscles”.
- massage – this is from French, and before French it probably came from Arabic (massa = to touch, feel, handle). If it did come from Arabic it was probably picked up in Egypt when Napoleon was there. If it didn’t come from Arabic, it probably came from India (the French colonized it) from the word amassar (to knead), which came from Latin massa (mass, dough).
Gotta go grade… Have a great night/morning!
P.S. I’m in the middle of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So freakin’ good. Have you read it? I’m going to see the movie so I have to read it first.