5 Best Things from 2014

It’s still January. I’m allowed to do this. 2014 was a hell of a year, right? Here are the most awesome things that came out of it.

2014 copy
1. Izmee the Hippo: after 5 years of waiting for someone to give me a hippo, I took matters into my own hands. Since then, Izmee has become a constant companion in my adventures. She’s there at new restaurants, she gets to check out the digs at hotels, and she reminds me not to be so serious.

2. Rats: in December, we welcomed into our home three fuzzy brothers who have grown into delightful additions to our family. Chip, Moby and Oreo are like tiny puppies: they lick our faces, they want to interact with us, and they are constantly playful. I’m 100% converted to the way of the rat.

3. The Jane Hotel (NYC): this one is very specific. When I booked my room at the Jane, I was mostly intrigued because it came off as an affordable, private hostel. Now, though, as I reflect on it, the Jane was one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been. It captures the Manhattan feel of old movies, with its boat cabin rooms and distant view of the Statue of Liberty. I can’t imagine going back to New York and not staying there.

4. Food: 2014’s food was amazing. No kidding. My husband and I did a lot in 2014 to expand our culinary horizons. I baked bread from scratch for the first time. Instead of going out for Valentine’s Day, we had a 5-course dinner at home, including duck confit (pictured here). Looking at cooking as a creative endeavor has changed the way I look at food everyday.

5. Travel: I can’t express how pleased I am with how much traveling I managed to do in 2014. I chose pictures from only a few of my outings, including DC for the annual cherry blossoms, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Virginia Beach (local to where I grew up but my first time at a beachfront hotel). I also visited New York City twice – once by train! – Columbus, Cleveland, Baltimore, and several cities around Pittsburgh during my summer staycation. And I am ready for more!

What were your favorite parts of 2014? I’d love to hear about them!

Monday: What Am I Doing?

mondaydoing08042014Watching: Beat Bobby Flay — My husband and I have been on a kick for roughly the past year or so watching Food Network, including a lot of their cooking game shows. We tried this one out after hearing Alton Brown go on about it. It makes me so mad, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s just because the editing goes like this:
Judges: Oh, Chef Not-Bobby-Flay, your dish is wonderful and perfect and cool and original. And Bobby Flay, your dish is kind of…meh. THE WINNER IS BOBBY FLAY!
Ugh!

Loving: Lush — oh, Lush. You wined me and dined me, and even though there was neither alcohol nor food, I would really love to see you again. You make my skin feel like marshmallows, and you have great charitable causes that I can get behind.

Reading: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides — I’ve seen the movie and listened to the soundtrack, but I’m really digging the book. I’m juggling this with a couple of other things I’m reading, but this has the largest portion of my tiny goldfish attention span.

Hearing: I Love You by The Neighborhood — Very different from my usual musical tastes, but I find it very mellow and chill. So yeah.

Doing: Compiling photos from my staycation — Last week I stayed here in Pittsburgh with my husband and did a lot of crazy stuff. Including and not limited to:

  • Checking out the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning.
  • Eating out at a bunch of places we’d never been before.
  • Riding the Duquesne Incline (finally!).
  • Watching both Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Guardians of the Galaxy (I recommend both so, so, so much).
  • Visiting Monroeville Mall and Evans City, the sites of the filming of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.
  • Going to Randyland (which is where this picture was taken).

I took a lot of pictures. And they are all currently a mess, and I’m trying to work on getting a Google Story or something for all of them so you can share in the delight of my staycation.

It’s Monday. What are you doing?