Showing posts from January, 2016

Book Reviews: The Silkworm and Modern Romance

So far so good on making good of this particular resolution. For a little while, I'd been wanting to read The Silkworm but hadn't worked in any time to actually start it. The book follows detective Cormoran Strike and his red-headed secretary, Robin, on another mystery, in which they are tasked with finding a missing author, whose last manuscript grotesquely depicted real-life friends, family, and other acquaintances who had slighted the man. There were some parts where I found myself annoyed at how obviously the reader was kept from knowing what the main characters knew, but I definitely made it to the end with my suspicions thrown for a loop and the story was fast paced and enjoyable. If you read my review of The Cuckoo's Calling, I would place this at about the same level, though I think Galbraith has truly hit his stride with the main characters by now, who are both very well written. Overall, I would recommend this book. I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to starting the next Strike book, Career of Evil.

This next one was a fall 2015 read, so I can't count it among the New Years resolution books, but I have to say this may have hit my favorite books of all time list. Modern Romance is definitely one of the most unique endeavors by a comedian I have seen and I cannot say enough good things about it. If you haven't heard about this book yet, it centers around the findings of actor/comedian Aziz Ansari and social science researcher, Eric Klinenberg, as they try to understand how technology has affected romance and relationships in the U.S. and around the world. He really has a way of explaining social science research in way that's accessible, but with classic Aziz comedic insertions. While I think the audiobook is probably excellent, I would suggest the print version first, as otherwise, you'd be missing out on some excellent graphs and pictures. Aziz hits on many of the themes in the book in his new show Master of None as well. I would highly recommend this book, even if you are, like me, usually a fiction aficionado. Side TV plug: I would highly recommend the show too.

What are you reading/watching these days?

Resolution Evaluation

Last year, I set goals in a much more concrete way than I have in years past. This year, I want to start the habit of evaluating these goals and continue to set realistic ones for next year. Beware, this post might be long.

1. Improve finances: Save 20% of income each month. Learn about investing and start a portfolio with a small amount of money. Look into Roth IRAs.
Evaluation: 60% complete. I did open an IRA and am maxing my contribution. I started putting some money into an investment account and have been reading up on investing, but haven't actually hit the "Go" button on it, so to speak. And lastly...pretty sure I failed miserably at saving 20% of my income...whoops. I blame sushi.

2. Improve skin: Less picking/nervous face-touching. Find a dermatologist. Get into the habit of moisturizing daily. Wash your damn make-up off every night.  
Evaluation: 60% complete. Gotten a little better about picking. Am moisturizing pretty close to daily (and using a moisturizer with SPF 15!) and pretty sure I've almost always washed my make up off ALL YEAR (disregard that I maybe wore make up like 20 times all year). Did not find a dermatologist, but I'm not sure I want to anymore.

3. Get healthier. Develop a routine (even for weekends). Buy at least one vegetable you don't usually eat per grocery trip and figure out a delicious recipe to prepare it. Take at least one dance class this year.
Evaluation: 80% complete. I know for a fact that I did more regular exercise this year than in years prior and it feels great, even if I haven't really seen a change in my body yet. I ate way more variety of vegetables this year than I can remember eating since I stopped living with my parents, but I was not nearly as good as I hope to be on cooking at home and not eating out as much. Again, I blame sushi. Also, I am taking a salsa class! I'll post more on that another time. 

4. Make two new non-work friends.
Evaluation: 50% complete. I met a lot of new non-work people through various meet-ups and salsa class this year, some of whom I've started to see more regularly, but I don't know if I would categorize them as friends just yet. 

5. Volunteer locally.
Evaluation: 10% Complete. I looked into a few things, probably not as thoroughly as I could have, but didn't find anything that was really what I was looking for and/or fit with my schedule which currently involves almost never being available on weekends.

And now for the new/continuing resolutions:
1. Improve finances.
Press play on investing. Since saving 20% didn't work for me last year, I'm rolling it over, but adding in a weekly calendar task to check how I'm doing in case I need to adjust. Just in case I'm totally sucking at this goal like last year, I also added a calendar reminder for 6 months in to switch to the "just immediately put the 20% in your savings account on the second paycheck of each month and don't ever withdraw it" method.
2. Get healthier. Do 30 min of exercise at least 4 days a week. Track calories (I did this for about 2 months of last year and probably saw more body change and habit change during those two months than any other time). Meal plan and prep at least two weeks a month. Research and implement ways to decrease stressed out skin-picking. Keep on dancing!
3. Get educated. I have some skills I think could use a little brushing up. I have a little money saved, so I am planning on taking a couple of classes this upcoming year.
4. Read more. Last year, I read very little for pleasure, which is sad, because reading brings me A LOT of pleasure. I read 13 books in total, which doesn't sound so bad until you find out that 10 of those books were a Series of Unfortunate Events re-read. I have a few on my iPad and got a couple for Christmas, so I have a nice little list to start off with. I am hopeful that if I just plan a little reading time every day, I should have no problem reaching this goal.

What are your resolutions?

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