Teetotaling

Today’s blog brought to you  by one of my favourite words:

teetotaler. a person who abstains totally from intoxicating drink

I have no desire to look up the origins of teetotaler, I just enjoy that it is such a strange word for what is essentially being sober. Back in November, I was a teetotaler for an entire month. My coworkers never thought I could do it, they know I enjoy a cocktail every now and then. Plus, work was very stressful that month, so they knew happy hour would be out of the question. They were so convinced I would fail, it was almost comical – I should have put money on it. I guess they didn’t realize they were dealing with an extremely strong willed person. HELLO, I became a vegetarian over night and haven’t had red meat or poultry in about 8 years!  Despite their nay-saying, I did it! An entire month without fun or joy. Just kidding, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. In fact, Richard and I are both giving up drinking from now until his birthday (about 3 weeks away). We’re both trying to further our fitness goals, save a little money, and for some reason we’re always looking for little challenges we can do together.

Valentine’s Day was on Saturday and since Richard was very busy with school, and needed me out of his hair, I made the decision to just chill out by myself, watch TV, and down a bottle of Pinot Noir #DayDrunk. Naturally, I had a great time. To make up for my imbibing yesterday, I have been drinking a TON of water today. I learned from Doug Benson’s “Doug Loves Movies” podcast that Doug goes one month on/one month off from drinking, maybe I”ll adopt that schedule but for now I feel good and am ready to embrace a whopping 3 weeks of sobriety.

Ten Before Thirty: Update

Hello again. 4 years ago, when I turned 25, I wrote a list of things I’d like to accomplish before my 30th birthday… Well, I’m 29 now and have to get cracking if I plan to check most of these goals off of my list. It’s pretty funny reviewing these because some of them seem way off the mark — a lot has changed in 4 years I suppose.

Let’s review my list and see how I’m doing :)


Ten Things I’d Like To Do Before My 30th Birthday

1 ) Get my Masters Degree in Public Relations. I have a B.A. in Sociology and although I loved studying sociology I feel like I need to expand my skill set in order to get where I want to be career wise. Plus, going back to school is always a great option for folks like me who have no real direction in life.

Update – Hahahahaha. I am not sure I will ever be a student again and I still feel really directionless. I am still doing the same job I had when I wrote this original blog post, which is pretty terrifying actually. I may be getting promoted at work, so that’s good? I think my ultimate goal in life is to be at home, with my dogs, reading and watching movies.

2 ) Start a family with my husband. This is pretty self explanatory! I don’t see myself having a baybeh until I’m closer to 28 or 29 but it’s something we should start planning now because kids are hella expensive.

Update  – To quote Bill Burr “Ohhhhhh Jesus.” I think 25 year old me was pretty adorable. No comment on the baby thing.

3 ) Volunteer more. I’ve recently started volunteering with Washtenaw Literacy and after only one lesson with my student I already feel like I’m making a difference. I’m going to try my darndest to make volunteering an even bigger part of my life in the years to come.

Update – Yeah, I suck. My volunteering with Washtenaw Literacy fizzled out quickly because unfortunately I was working a 50+ hours at work and my student had difficulty making our appointments. I still want to volunteer and really need to make it a priority.

4 ) Get a hot body. I’m happy with my body now but really want to start some sort of exercise program that gives me the body I know I can have if I put in the effort. Achieving this goal will mean I have to stop being a lazy arse, so it may take some time to accomplish.

Update  – So I haven’t yet achieved the ‘hot body’ I have in mind. It’s hard to do when your husband says he loves you the way you are and cooks you dinner every night. I am starting a cross fit program though work this week, it’s 8 weeks, 2 classes per week. So maybe I will get that ‘hot body’

5 ) Start my career. After accomplishing Goal #1, naturally. I’m working full-time now but it’s only a job and not want I want to be doing in one year, let alone 5.

Update – Yikes. I feel like a total loser! I still have no idea what I want to do, so I guess I’ll keep showing up for work, getting paid, and writing blogs about how I have to figure my shit out.

6 ) Become a homeowner. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I am VERY close to achieving this goal :)

Update – I BOUGHT A HOUSE & STILL OWN IT! CHECK THIS OFF THE LIST!!!!

7 ) Travel to Asia. This may be hard to accomplish as my husband has an aversion to travelling to non-English speaking countries (Boo!) but I’d love to visit Thailand, Bali, Japan… You name it!

Update – We haven’t made it to Asia but we have gone to Mexico a couple times, and Colorado. Our next trip will be to Oregon to visit family, then maybe some travels around Michigan. I really don’t see us going to Asia anytime soon which is a bummer. I think if I asked Richard today to go to Asia he’d say, “Can’t you do that with Aparna?” 

8 ) Adopt another dog. I’ve always been a dog person and at one point imagined myself having upwards of 5 dogs. Adopting another dog would bring our count to 2. I’m on my way, folks!

Update – Sweet Andy is 4 years old and Dexter is still kicking around at 6. After watching the Puppy Bowl yesterday I asked Richard if we should get another dog…. I think my family would kill me.

9 ) Spend a ridiculous amount of money on something. You may say buying a home is very expensive and that’s already on my list, but I’m talking about something totally frivolous. Like, a $1000 on a pair of shoes or purse. This goal may not seem realistic, but if I start my career and start making good money for myself – I think I deserve to splurge.

Update – Looks like I worded this goal as something to do only when I’ve met my career goal. Considering I might be getting promoted soon, maybe I can cross this off the list? I can’t see myself dropping $1000 on a pair of shoes because I have become obsessed with saving for retirement (THANK YOU ZACH ELLIS, UGH YOU RUINED ME), but maybe I’ll splurge on some wine…? Even that sounds lame. Stupid Zach. I don’t know. Leave a comment & help me spend my money.

10 ) Get a tattoo. I keep changing my mind on whether or not a tattoo is something I really want…but I think I could handle a small tattoo somewhere hidden. I have five years to get the courage to do this.

Update – I am still tattoo free and am still unsure what I would get. I have mulled over a few ideas but I think I’d get sick of them. Etsy now sells a bunch of hipster-y temporary tattoos so I think I’ll try some of those first before I get a real one. I feel like out of all of my siblings, I would be the one to get a tattoo, so it has to happen.


There you have it. I’ve completed two things from my list #6 Buy a house and #8 Adopt another dog. Those are pretty decent goals to have accomplished – especially when I crossed them off the list soon after my 25th birthday! I think Richard could argue I’ve also completed #9 because we have totally different opinions on what is considered splurging.

There are probably a couple left that I can actually achieve. #3 Volunteer more (just need to do it!!!) #4 Get a hot body (starts tomorrow night) and #9 Spend a ridiculous amount of money on something (BUT WHAT??)

I don’t even feel entirely bad about how little from this list I have accomplished. Colorado was a fantastic trip and cost way less than going to Asia, I haven’t gone back to school but I also haven’t opened any additional debt, I have been doing my best to advance my career given how hard it is to do in Southeast Michigan, especially in Ann Arbor where everyone and their mother has a Masters degree or knows a guy who knows a guy. So yeah, I feel ok.

January Super Fun Times

Hello there! Long time no blog. I start every blog that way because they’re are usually months between posts. That’s OK though, I haven’t felt compelled to share and write until now. At the beginning of the new year, I set two resolutions 1) Read 55 books in 2015 (I read 53 in 2014 #nerd) and 2) Take a photo every day for 100 days. I have been posting my photos to Instagram because it’s so easy but I thought I’d share some here too.

I had a lot of fun this January. Doing a photo project has made me push myself to get out more because God forbid I don’t have an interesting photo to share with the internet.

… Richard finally played Scrabble with me. We’ve had it forever and whenever we’re bored I ask him if he wants to play, he always says no claiming he hates it. As it turns out he hadn’t really played all that much. Scrabble can be fun if you’re drinking, I promise! (I won)

… My mom and I bonded over the Raptors and our love of Kyle Lowry. I don’t remember what I was saying to my mom but whatever it was, Kyle Lowry would understand.

… Aparna and I worked on our yoga practice. She was participating in a Yoga Challenge on Instagram and thought she’d mix it up by including me awkwardly doing Tree Pose in tight pants.

… I thought it’d be fun to go to a dance recital at EMU. Aparna was busy and Richard said he’d come with me! I thought it was entertaining and something different to do. Richard clearly thought otherwise.

… My new coworker confessed he was pretty disappointed nobody at our office signed a birthday card for him so I went to Paper Source and picked him up this beauty.

… GIRLS NIGHT. Drinks, Dinner, Drinks, Comedy Show. We know how to have a good time.

…I FOUND MY NECKLACE! December 2013 I was in a panic because I couldn’t find a diamond necklace Richard got me for our anniversary. I looked all over the house for weeks, had my parents and sister look at their houses, and couldn’t find it. I cried a lot and accepted I either lost it or it was stolen when I travelled. As it turns out, I had hid it in an old contacts box and put it on top of our bathroom cabinet (probably to hide it from thieves).

AND THAT’S IT FOR JANUARY!!! The photo challenge continues for February. Find me on Instagram to follow along. @Amberherself

Review: Treatsie February Subscription Box

I heard about Treatsie from a fellow I follow on Twitter, @noahphex. He had posted a picture of a “Popbar” which is essentially hot chocolate on a stick. Sounds amazing, right? He told me he got it through Treatsie which is a start-up company that ships delicious treats to it’s subscriptions on a monthly basis for about $20 including shipping. The treats are all from artisanal candy and chocolatiers, which is a pretty amazing concept. I wish I had thought of it. I read that Treatsie got their start with the help of crowd funding, too. 2014 is a pretty dope time to be alive, I think.

Artisanal gets thrown around a lot these days, doesn’t it? Before I go touting whether these treats really live up to their name, I want to be clear about what artisanal means. Artisinal: High quality products made, usually by hand, in small quantities by traditional methods.

It’s taken me a while to post about the contents of the February box because we promised ourselves if we were going to spent $20 on 6 -7 treats we wouldn’t gorge the day the box arrived but enjoy a couple of pieces every week. We like to torture ourselves like that.

February's Box

February’s Box

While I wasn’t underwhelmed by the contents of the box, I guess I was expecting slightly larger pieces. The chocolate bars were 1oz, they’d fit nicely in the palm of your hand. For $15 before shipping, I’d like them to add an additional piece of candy in the box. That being said I am impressed with the quality of the candy.

My favourite candy in order:

1) Raley’s Confectionary Love Mix – these hard candies are made by hand in Florida by a dude who dropped out of medical school to make candy. They were so flavourful and had adorable little love sayings on them. I plan to order these again on my own because we enjoyed them so much. We’d enjoy just a few candies after dinner one week and it was the perfect treat. I didn’t like the cinnamon flavour so if I got one of those I’d promptly take it out of my mouth and hand it to Richard. I’m classy like that.

2) Eclipse Chocolate Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bar – WOW. I loved this chocolate bar. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cinnamon flavoured chocolate bar before and this was the perfect introduction. I wanted more! I hated having to share this one with Richard. Read this and tell me you don’t want to order this bar: Milk chocolate flecked with muscovado sugar, cinnamon bread crumb & ginger sea salt.

3) Neo Cocoa – We split the contents of this package. I enjoyed a rich almond butter truffle topped with smoked sea salt and Richard had the lime one. So rich! I’d love to try some of the other flavours and will probably order more from these chocolatiers too. Basically I’m going to get really fat.

4) Eclipse Chocolate Salted Dulce De Leche – I used to only ever eat white chocolate. Seems weird right? These days dark chocolate *is* my go-to but this chocolate bar reminded me how great and undervalued white chocolate is. Slightly crunch, probably because of the pretzel, and sweet.

5) Eclipse Chocolate Sea Salt Nib – This was my least favourite of the box. Not saying it was bad, I mean it’s delicious chocolate, but I think I’ve had other sea salted chocolate bars that are better.

So there you have it, Treatsie’s February subscription box. We’re signed up for March’s box which will arrive in a couple of weeks and you best believe I’ll be reviewing that one too.

New Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I made cookies a couple of weeks ago for my coworker Maggie’s 26th birthday and they were a hit! Perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I adapted a recipe that I found on All Recipes based on a bunch of different tips other bakers had posted. I’m going to keep playing with this one to see if I can improve it any but I think it’s pretty awesome as-is.

1 cup softened butter – I used salted and will maybe try again with unsalted. Difference between the two butters? SALT. DUH.
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar in mixer bowl
2) Beat in eggs
3) Sit in vanilla
4) Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl
5) Add flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture until JUST combined.
6) Stir in chocolate chips
7) Spoon rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet and baking for 10-12 minutes (oven dependent) at 315 Fahrenheit.

Image

100 Happy Days: Week 3

I’m a little behind in posting these but THAT’S OK because I get to go back through my photos and remember what made me happy that day.

15/100 January 27th 2014 – HOT CHOCOLATES! Sheils aka Mommy bought Richard and I fancy Godiva Hot Chocolate kits complete with MUGS, marshmallows, cinnamon powder, and hot cocoa. We added freshly whipped cream because if you’re going to indulge you should do it right.

15/100

15/100

16/100 January 28th 2014 – My coworker Maggie gave me some Starbucks coupons she had because she knows I like treating myself to a latte every now and then. She is beyond sweet.

16/100

16/100

17/100 January 29th 2014. What makes me happy is seeing something RIDICULOUS like this on my way to work. RUB ANN ARBOR? REALLY?

17/100

17/100

 

18/100 January 30th 2014 – New jewellery! Gotta love Piperlime.

18/100

18/100

19/100 – January 31st 2014 Very very very VERY happy Richard does all the shoveling. Thanks, Ricardo! You’re the best.

19/100

19/100

20/100 February 1st 2014 – CUTEST. NEPHEW. EVER.

20/100

20/100

21/100 February 2nd 2014 – Getting my coffee ready for Monday morning. I love Roos Roast which is local to Ann Arbor – Lobster Butter Love is my favourite blend. I’m happy that I can buy this stuff within 5 miles of my house.

21/100

21/100

My Running Playlist

Taking Aparna’s lead I thought I’d share my running playlist. I’m on Week 6 of Zen Lab’s Couch to 5K and my music (and Aparna’s encouragement of course) really helps to keep me going. I am not at the stage where I can watch a TV show or movie while I’m pounding it out on the treadmill. I will pass out and I can only presume die if I don’t have music to focus on. Aparna and I are both in agreement that Britney’s “Work Bitch” is *the* work out song of 2013 and so far 2014. If  Work Bitch isn’t currently on your playlist you need to remedy that ASAP.

You wanna look hot in a bikinni? YOU BETTER WORK, BITCH.

You wanna look hot in a bikinni? YOU BETTER WORK, BITCH.

My Running Playlist:

WARM UP MUSIC:

Track Lies – Otto Knows Remix
Artist – Burns

RUNNING:

Track: Baby Got Back
Artist: Sir Mix-A-Lot

Track: When I Grow Up
Artist: The Pussycat Dolls

Track: Work Bitch
Artist: Britney, BITCH!

Track: POWER
Artist: Kanye West

Track: Fighter
Artist: Christina Aguilera

Track: Turn Me On feat. Nicki Minaj
Artist: David Guetta

COOL DOWN:

Track: Scary Monsters and Nice Spirites
Artist: Skrillex

Be sure you leave me your favourite work out songs in the comments so I can mix up my list!