Sunday Detox: Recommitting

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As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a big fan of making commitments at the beginning of the year.  I build an aggressive reading list and bucket list to chart out what I want to accomplish in the year to come.  I have a lot of friends who are staunchly opposed to making resolutions because they find it artificial, arbitrary, or too focused on negative qualities.  I get that.

But, for me, the tiny life pause that comes at the end of the year is a perfect time to focus on – and sometimes even more importantly organize – the personal goals I have for myself.  They’re usually not focused on changing things that I don’t like or think I should do less of (eat healthier, lose weight, stop killing your plants, etc.) but more on the positive things that I want to introduce to my routine.

Fast forward to the end of February and life has started to get in the way.  The life pause feels further away.  My intentions for the year are in the back of my mind, but the detail is foggy.  So, I’m using this Sunday to recommit, to take a look at those goals, to see how they might have changed for me over the past few months, and to see how I’ve done so far.

Let’s take a look at my reading list first.  So far, so good, thanks to the ladies from Prose and Hos(e).  I’m trying to read 40 books this year, and I’m on my 4th.  I have a little bit of catching up to do, but The Luminaries was a BEAST of a book, so I’m thinking I can pick up the pace.

  1. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes  (An easy, poignant read – check out Taryn’s review)
  2. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (An 800+ page tome.  Slowed down my progress but it was worth it.  Catton is a masterful storyteller, but you need to be ready to commit.  An openness to the supernatural helps.)
  3. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg (I fell in love with Aziz on Parks & Rec and loved the mixed style of vingette and social science, but this book could have been half its length and just as effective. Most interesting, I bet, for folks who are navigating the world of online dating.)
  4. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (in progress!)
  5. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  6. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  8. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  9. Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
  10. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  11. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  12. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  13. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  14. The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  15. On Looking: 11 Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz
  16. Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter
  17. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  18. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  19. The Power of Unreasonable Peoplby John Elkington, Pamela Hartigan
  20. Susan Sontag The Complete Rolling Stone Interview by Jonathan Cot

On to my 2016 bucket list.  I’ve been a little bit of a homebody, concentrating my success on the reading and writing items on my list.  I am excited by the fact that I’ve made regular writing a habit for work and play, writing about 4 short form pieces a week for various forums.  That was a longtime goal of mine, and it’s now a regular practice that I love for all the reasons I thought it would.

Big accomplishment, for sure.  But, most of the items on this list have gone untouched.  Most of my time out and about in the city has been consumed by the standard drinks, dinner, coffee with friends and family.  Time to shake it up if I’m hoping to accomplish the rest of this list.  Excuses about the NYC winter be damned.

  1. MOMA PS1
  2. US Open
  3. Met Opera
  4. 9/11 Memorial
  5. Momufuku
  6. Mission Chinese
  7. Rockclimbing
  8. Bike all five boroughs
  9. Walk across the Manhattan bridge (with earplugs)
  10. Take a Soulcycle class (What IS all the hype about?!)
  11. Run a 10K
  12. Stay in crow pose for more than 2 seconds
  13. Take an Indian cooking class
  14. Read 24 fiction books (on my way with 4 down)
  15. Write twice a week
  16. Make homemade Gnocci
  17. Make Tamales
  18. Make Tagine
  19. Make Beignets
  20. Build a Gingerbread house (Kind of – do gingerbread men count?) 
  21. Grow tomatoes (take that Brooklyn!)
  22. Learn to sew (don’t judge me for not knowing…)
  23. Learn to crochet
  24. Buy a lifetime supply of cloth napkins and ban paper towels

Well, that felt useful for me.  Not sure how useful it was for you, dear reader.  But I’m feeling one part proud of what I’ve accomplished, one part recommitted to what I haven’t, and one part super hungry for tamales at 8am on a Sunday.

&d

P.S.  Who here wants to teach me how to sew?

2016 Reading List

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Each year, I set a goal for the number of books I’d like to read.  This year I’m targeting 40 books, which – at a little less than 1 per week –  is enough to keep me on my toes, but allow for the inevitable distractions of work and life to creep in.

The secret to success with this for me is having a go-to reading list so that as soon as I drop one book, I know which one I’m picking up next.  I’ve also started reading two books at a time.  One novel (usually compliments of the Brooklyn Public Library) for when I’m home and have time to sit down with a book for an hour or so and one nonfiction or short story book on Kindle app on my iPhone for when I’m dangling from a handle bar on the crowded F train and only have ten free minutes and one free hand.  I thought it’d be tough bouncing from story to story, but I’ve actually found that it engages me more in each book since I never get that “I’m just trying to get through this book to get to the next” feeling.  It also limits the time I spend mindlessly scrolling through social media apps  or re-reading emails to kill time on my commute.

So, here we go.  I sat down today and started my list.  It’s a combination of a wishlist that has accumulated over the course of 2015, a few recommendations from friends over the holidays, and from a quick scan of the Man Booker Prize lists frm the past few years.

I’m starting with 20, knowing that Prose and Hos(e) (our fabulous book society)  and new releasese and recommendations will fill this out along the way.

  1. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  2. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  3. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  4. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  6. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  7. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  8. Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
  9. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  10. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  11. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  12. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  13. The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  14. On Looking: 11 Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz
  15. Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter
  16. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
  17. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  18. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  19. The Power of Unreasonable Peoplby John Elkington, Pamela Hartigan
  20. Susan Sontag The Complete Rolling Stone Interview by Jonathan Cot

What’s on your reading list this year?  Any recommendations for me?

&d

Sorry, I’m not sorry. No, really.

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As I was thinking this week about what my new year’s resolutions and hopes would be for 2016, I took a look back at 2015 to see how successful I was in bringing last year’s to life.  There were two on my list.  The first, “Do less and do it better”, is one I’ve been intensenly (if almost pychopathically) diligent about.  Slayed.

The second:  “Remove (decimate!, destroy!) qualifying language from your vocabulary”.

Hmm.  I’m headed in the right direction but still have a long way to go before I kick that nasty habit.

This is the “I’m sorry, but…”, “just”, “maybe I’m misreading this but, …” language that we all use to some degree, and that women tend to overuse (this woman does!) in both our personal and professional worlds.

If you guys haven’t seen Amy Schumer’s “I’m sorry” video, it’s a perfect snapshot of what I’m talking about.

I don’t usually think of myself as someone who has trouble projecting (or being) confident, but I started to realize how often I relied on these little qualifiers to soften my message or make it more amenable to the person I was speaking to — at my expense.  It went kind of like this:

Danielle:  “I’m sorry, I think I must have misunderstood what you originally said — I’d be happy to redo this [insert piece of work, chore, favor for a friend] with this new understanding.”

Evil Friend | Client: “Thanks!”

Danielle (Screaming inside my head): “I’M NOT REALLY SORRY, YOU MESSED UP NOT ME AND NOW I’M ANNOYED AT YOU THAT I APOLOGIZED”

Seemed like something to get away from.  And I see some variation of this all the time, particuarly in professional settings where men or male-culture dominates.  It’s hard to watch, but harder to know that I contribute to it. So, since the beginning of this year, I’ve been tracking this closely – rereading my emails and being intentional in my speech to get rid of the “actuallys”, “I thinks” and, most importantly, the “I’m sorrys” (unless I really was sorry or wrong which, you know, is rare).

It is HARD.  Even in this post I had to backspace a few times to get rid of some of those killers.  Still, simply being aware of it has been eye opening and rewarding.  I’ve become more honest with people and with myself.  I don’t have a default setting of taking the lion’s share of the responsibility (and am less likely to become the screaming internal she-devil mentioned above).  I’m more effective and clear, both at work and at home.

So, I think I’ll be pulling this one forward into 2016.  I’m not done with it yet.   If by the end of 2016, I’ve kicked this habit (and kept my chive plant alive…), I’ll call it a win.

&d

P.S. Check out this article on the new Google Chrome app that tracks  qualifiers for you!  It red lines the words you don’t need, and you correct them as if you would a typo. Wish I had this guy last year!

P.P.S.  Hope you all have a fabulous New Year’s Eve!  Stay tuned for our report on our New Orleans’ style masquerade.

2016 Bucket List

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Once the holidays end, there’s always a bit of a let down that follows.  A little bit of “well, now what…?”.  In NYC, the answer is usually four more months of winter and a spike in mood lamp sales.

So this year, amidst the holiday storm, I’m planning ahead so that come January 2nd, I’m excited to take 2016 by the horns – snow boots and all.

I’m creating a bucket list for 2016 (an awesome idea I stole from T) that lists the 24 new or ambitious things that I want to do in New York throughout the year.  I’m thinking that 2 a month will keep me on my toes, while actually being achievable in the madness that is every day life.

My hope is that it’ll give me structure and motivation to aggressively pursue the personal — not just the professional.  And, perhaps most importantly, allow me some sort of undetermined grand prize next December when I’ve slayed this list.

Here she is:

  1. MOMA PS1
  2. US Open
  3. Met Opera
  4. 9/11 Memorial
  5. Momufuku
  6. Mission Chinese
  7. Rockclimbing
  8. Bike all five boroughs
  9. Walk across the Manhattan bridge (with earplugs)
  10. Take a Soulcycle class (What IS all the hype about?!)
  11. Run a 10K
  12. Stay in crow pose for more than 2 seconds
  13. Take an Indian cooking class
  14. Read 24 fiction books
  15. Write twice a week
  16. Make homemade Gnocci
  17. Make Tamales
  18. Make Tagine
  19. Make Beignets
  20. Build a Gingerbread house
  21. Grow tomatoes (take that Brooklyn!)
  22. Learn to sew (don’t judge me for not knowing…)
  23. Learn to crochet
  24. Buy a lifetime supply of cloth napkins and ban paper towels

There you have it.  Who’s coming with me?  What’s on your bucket list?

&d

Taryn’s 2015 Bucket List!

It’s 2015 people, and I’m a girl that loves her lists.   I know its a little ambitious but its going to keep my lazy side from over indulging in Netflix!  Who wants in on Drunk Shakespeare?

Go to a Nets game Brooklyn
Go to a Knicks game MSG
Ice skating in Rockerfeller Center Midtown
Biking – Summer Streets
Shakespeare in the Park Central Park
Central Park Summer Stage Central Park
Go to a Yankees game Bronx
Visit Coney Island Brooklyn
Go to a Mets game Brooklyn
Picnic in Central Park Central Park
Frying Pan Chelsea
Cloisters Clositers
Picnic in Brooklyn Bridge Park Downtown Brooklyn
North River Lobster Company Hell’s Kitchen
Intrepid Hell’s Kitchen
PS 1 LIC
The High Line Soho
Brooklyn Smorgasburg Willamsburg
Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg
Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanical Garden Brooklyn
Outdoor Movie at Bryant Park Gramercy
Hammocks at Governors Island Governor’s Island
Governors Ball Randalls Island
Go to a Rangers game MSG
Go apple picking
Rolf’s at Christmas Gramercy
Hester Street Fair LES
Hester night market LES
Pillow Fight Washington Square Park
Manhattanhenge
Gray’s Papaya
Wafels & Dinges
10K
Karaoke
Bowling
Dim Sum
Go to a parade
See a Ballet
Daybreaker NYC
Restaurant Week
Mister Saturday Night Brooklyn
Grimaldi’s pizza Brooklyn -Downtown
BAM Brooklyn -Fort Greene
The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club Brooklyn -Gowanus
Brooklyn Boulders Brooklyn -Gowanus
Ber’gen Brooklyn -Prospect Heights
Absinthe on tap at Maison Premiere Brooklyn -Williamsburg
Brancolada drink at Donna Brooklyn -Williamsburg
Tour at Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn -Williamsburg
Brooklyn Night Bazzar Brooklyn -Williamsburg
Chelsea Market Chelsea
Chelsea Flower Market Chelsea
Chelsea Piers Chelsea
Lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster East Village
Bourgeois Pig East Village
PDT East Village
S’Mac East Village
Artichoke Basille’s East Village
Caracas Arepa Bar East Village
Eat at Pylos East Village
Pommes Frites East Village
Momofuku Milk Bar East Village
Big Gay Ice Cream East Village
Puddin East Village
Macaroon Parlor East Village
Max Brenner chocolate East Village
Manicure at Beauty Bar East Village
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge Financial District
9/11 Memorial Financial District
Fraunces Tavern Financial District
6 Train hidden platform Financial District
Birreria at Eataly Gramcery
Spin Ping Pong Gramercy
Apollo Theater Amatuer night Harlem
Doughnut ice cream sandwich from Holey Cream Hell’s Kitchen
Cookies from Schmackary Hell’s Kitchen
Margaritas from Anejo Hell’s Kitchen
Grand Central Oyster bar Hell’s Kitchen
Tickets to SNL Hell’s Kitchen
Drunk Shakespeare Hell’s Kitchen
Space Hell’s Kitchen
The Tenement Museum LES
Grilled cheese from Little Muenster LES
Mission Chinese LES
Old Homestead Meatpacking
Go to the top of the Empire State Building Midtown
Flute for Champagne Midtown
Hayden Planetarium Midtown
Visit the MoMa Midtown West
Tequila Snow Cones at Zengo Murray Hill
Dominique Ansel Bakery Soho
Balthazar Soho
Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices Staten Island
The Met UES
Museum of Natural History UWS
Sandwich from Peanut Butter & Co West Village
Magnolia’s Bakery West Village
Popbar (popcicles) West Village
The Spotted Pig West Village