It’s 2023 … ! I’m not into resolutions but I do like to make space to process each year before charging into the next. It doesn’t have to happen on January 1 and it doesn’t have to take long — I spent 45 minutes this Thursday scribbling away and felt infinitely more grounded when I finished. Usually I just make lists of things that were good, not so good from the prior year, as well as what I want more of in the coming year. But this year I was inspired by Suleika Jaouad‘s five questions (by way of Priya Parker), especially these two: “What in the last year are you proud of?” and “What did this year leave you yearning for?”
When I look backward and forward, I’m grateful to have much of what I need and want. But I am also hoping to do more cultural things this year, to reclaim my mornings, and to find a way back to the kitchen (because, while I am constantly making things, I’ve lost my love of cooking). And I’m excited for all of us to get a bit more of what we are yearning for.
A reminder of a fancy, kid-free NYE that I’m going to print for Hayley
For now, here’s a short list of things bringing me joy in this grayest of all months:
Favorite post-party trick: Years ago, Rob and I discovered that Adorama, NYC’s legendary photo and video equipment store, offers photo printing (now called Printique) that is quick, affordable, and beautiful quality. Since then, we’ve loved gifting friends and family prints of snaps we’ve taken during various times together. It’s also a fun way to revisit celebrations or milestones—we just ordered prints of our NYE party at Hayley’s house to give to everyone who was there.
Kitchen tool I didn’t know I needed: Leave it to Annie to nail the holidays with a left field, genius gift: the Tofudee Tofu Press. Sure, it’s a unitasker, but it’s an efficient (15 min!) way to prep tofu without mess or wasting paper towels. Plus it’s nice looking. Given that we’re trying to eat less meat, this is a great way to ensure crisp, tasty tofu on the regular. (Even my Dad, pickiest of all, loves his!)
Stylish, comfortable pajamas: I’ve been on the hunt for a pajama alternative to my usual leggings for awhile but everything either felt too cutesy or too boudoir. But then Hayley got me this *incredible* Sani set that is both chic and practical. It has a slightly cropped top that is very flattering and feels luxe, thanks to extra soft cotton. I’m clearly getting this marigold shorts set for summer, and matching ones for Annie!
Low-stakes meal planning: Even though Rob and I both cook and Lilly eats school lunch and Jocelyn makes some things, it still feels like a Herculean task to feed ourselves each week. We’re constantly roasting vegetables and simmering grains, yet still peering in the fridge: “What’s for dinner?” This month, we’re trying a gentle approach to meal planning: picking two dishes to cook each week, knowing at least we’ll have some leftovers to fuel lunches. We keep a running list of ideas in a shared Notion called, creatively, “Things to Cook.” Last week’s winners: Carla Lalli Music‘s Saucy Chicken Breasts, an oldie that I’d forgotten about (fast and great) and Nik Sharma‘s Butternut Squash with Lentils and Feta (crazy good flavor combination). And for this week: Yewande Komolafe‘s Coconut Fish and this Indian Chickpea Potato Stew from Nisha Vora, my former colleague and amazing vegan food recipe developer and blogger.
A delightful kid science project: One of Lilly’s favorite Christmas presents was not — shocker — a plastic toy! My dad got her this Solar Crayon Recycler from KiwiCo that I was skeptical about until I watched their excellent and engaging video about how they designed it. Since the December Maine sun wasn’t quite strong enough, Lilly cheerfully donned safety goggles and conducted her science on top of my parents’ wood-burning stove instead. Bonus: She begged to watch more KiwiCo videos, like this Drone Egg Drop Challenge (silly and fun).
Tasty Italian soda for N/A happy hour: I’m not sure if “leisure soda” is a real category but I’m happy the Casamara Club Italian-inspired ones exist. They’re my favorite thing to drink when I want something that feels special and delicious that isn’t wine or a cocktail. My favorite is the Alta, which has the feel of an aperitivo hour without the alcohol.
Can’t-put-down book that’s worth the hype: I kept hearing about Lessons in Chemistry and how it was different than its hot-pink rom-com-ish cover would have you think. I finally picked it up over the holiday and then couldn’t put it down. It’s about a brilliant chemist named Elizabeth Zott who is navigating 1950s sexism and gender constraints, as well as figuring out how to create family when she didn’t grow up with any. It’s both infuriating and inspiring, and I was sad when it ended.
Hoping your year is off to a healthy, happy start,