2011 Reading List in Review

One of my goals last year was to read five books for fun. I knew this would be hard to do with all the required class reading I had to do but I’m happy to say that I accomplished this goal! Here’s my reading run down for 2011:

Books Read for Fun:

  • Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter
  • I Wonder by Marian Bantjes
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  • The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson
  • Dune: House Atreides by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
  • Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Books Read for School:

  • The Three Empresses: Catherine, Anne I, Elizabeth by Philip Longworth
  • Centuries of Childhood by Philippe Aries
  • Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • Joyful Noise by Fleischman
  • Hundre Dresses by Estes
  • Devil’s Arithmetic by Yolen
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  • The Cay by Taylor
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Speare
  • The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley
  • The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsberg

*Can you tell I took a children’s lit class? I read other text books and several small children’s books but nothing else worth noting. I think it’s safe to say that I blew my goal of five books for fun in 2011 out of the water!

12 Improvements in 2012

There are many things that I’d like to improve on in my life and there are a few keys improvements that I think I could make that would drastically up the quality of my life and happiness.

So the idea is to introduce 12 new habits into my life in 2012 and hopefully be a ‘new me’ by the end of the year.

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Here are the improvements I’d like to make in no specific order:

1. Be kinder and more patient with my family
2. Tone up my body
3. Increase flexibility
4. Pack healthy lunches every day
5. Build up savings account
6. Organize my home and keep it that way
7. Develop a nightly beauty routine
8. Take better care of my dog (walk her, play with her, give her time)
9. Read for pleasure
10. Blog consistently
11. Reduce food waste, meal plan for dinners & try new recipes
12. Stop little bad habits (like biting my nails, etc)

Of course I’d like all these improvements to be implemented into my life right away but I know it’s not that easy. Perhaps I’ll try introducing a new habit each month, work on it for that month while tracking my progress and then continue it throughout the year, slowly building up to where I’ve made all 12 improvements. I’m going to try to work out a game plan this week and decide the best way to try this.
If you’d like to participate as well that would be great! I got the original idea from Katherine and you can sign up through her blog or you can just quietly do it on your own!

Merry, Merry

Hello! It’s Christmas Eve! I had the most lovely day yesterday. The hubby and I met up with my family for brunch to celebrate my sister’s birthday. We ate at this yummy little crepe place. Afterwards, hubby and I went to the matinee of Ballet West’s The Nutcracker! Love, love, love! It was such a perfect day and now we get to go celebrate Christmas with family. 
Merry Christmas!
* Click image for source

See ya next year!

My family makes homemade ornaments every year and then exchanges them with each other. I love this tradition because every ornament on my tree was made with love by a family member. It’s so fun getting new ornaments to add to my collection each year. This cute little wreath is my contribution this year. I followed this tutorial.

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Yesterday we met my family at The Roll Up for brunch to celebrate my sister’s birthday. That afternoon Andy took me to the matinee of Ballet West’s The Nutcracker. We did some shopping and headed over to Trolley Square for dinner at The Rodizio Grill.

PhotobucketToday we spent the morning at the book store and then had lunch at our favorite Korean restaurant. Now we’re packing up the car and going to Andy’s parents house for Christmas. I’m going to enjoy my little break and I don’t plan to be blogging again until after the new year!

So Merry Christmas!

Dressing for the Festivities

I’ve attended several family and work parties this month and I still have a couple more to go to. Here are a couple of outfits for the fun, holiday festivities!

Let It Snow

Dorothy Perkins longsleeve shirt
$35 – dorothyperkins.com

Hollister Co. skinny leg jeans
$60 – hollisterco.com

Woolrich plaid socks
$14 – woolrich.com

Alexander Wang duffel bag
£730 – liberty.co.uk

Oversized jewelry
$11 – warehouse.co.uk

Aviator hat
$9.99 – amazon.com

butter LONDON Nail Lacquer 
$15 – rickysnyc.com

RAZ Snowflakes Christmas Ornament
$12 – trendytree.com

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holiday party

Dress
$78 – modcloth.com

2 Lips Too platform heels
$45 – heels.com

Wet Seal glitter wallet
$4.25 – wetseal.com

Sterling silver jewelry
£28 – debenhams.com

Gold jewelry
€4.951 – luisaviaroma.com

Armani Beauty Rouge
$30 – barneys.com

Armani Beauty Holiday Eyes
$32 – barneys.com

butter LONDON Nail Lacquer
$15 – rickysnyc.com

Champagne Centerpiece
$50 – crateandbarrel.com

Artificial Christmas Tree
$858 – lawnornamentsandfountains.com

Yummy Chicken Noodle Soup

Last night I served this yummy Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner. I like to make batches of this ahead of time and freeze them for easy weeknight dinners. Today seems to be a bit better than yesterday. I have the day off and I plan to spend it baking Christmas treats for friends and family!
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Recipe:
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon butter
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups uncooked medium egg noodles
1 tablespoon parsley
In a large saucepan saute carrot, celery, and onion in butter until tender. Add broth, chicken and seasonings & parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add noodles. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. (If you plan to cook ahead and freeze like I do, then don’t add the egg noodles until you reheat the soup. If you try to add them to the soup you plan to freeze then they will just end up soggy.)
That’s it! Pretty simple and yummy. I served my soup with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. I just love those things.
PS- This time around I was out of egg noodles to add so I just added some shells that I had on hand.

What Cheers Me Up?

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Coffee and a good book! Okay, maybe it wouldn’t cheer me up completely, but it would allow me to escape into a story and forget about what a fool I made of myself in front of the head of the company today. I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’ve just been a little down and I can’t figure out why. I really hope I shake it soon- especially considering that Christmas is this weekend! I don’t want to feel like a total stick in the mud.

Home Wishlist

There are so many things I want to do in my home. It’s time I start tackling some of these wishes.
1. Curtains for the bedroom
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2. Shelving for the living room
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3. Nightstands
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4. New couch and chair for living room
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Those are the main things that I am dying for now but this list really goes on for another mile. I’m not sure why but DIY projects really intimidate me. I need to get over that and just try some things with the help of my husband.

*click on images for sources