Completely easy-to-follow (and delicious) food blog brought to you by my friend Allison. Enjoy!
I went to an incredible risotto and wine dinner party last month prepared by chef Michelle Lawton of joyful plate. The dinner was an auction item at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger's 2012 benefit dinner that new friend Marianne won and graciously invited me to share in. You should read more and look at the photos, especially if you’re hungry for some risotto!
Resolutions: checking in and checking out (reprisal)
Here’s how this went last year.
And now, checking in on those resolutions made for 2012:
Do awesome photo projects
Started the Brooklyn Bathroom Blog and have been going on fun photo outings. Also bartered grantwriting help with a photography lesson. Definitely giving space for photography exploration, though I’d like to enjoy what I do in physical form instead of just digital, too.
Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
Very much so! I was proud of doing a better job than ever making space for people I wanted to spend more time with and spending that time in what I felt were meaningful ways. CARRY FORWARD the goal to continue this!
Continue to explore professional and personal growth opportunities
Did a lot of informational interviewing (aka chatting with people who do cool things about what they do), so that was exciting. Big victory too was developing and teaching four courses at the Brooklyn Brainery that have been successful as professional classes and also for me personally. I went to a few workshops and conferences to build professional skill sets, and jumped on various consulting opportunities that came my way. Oh, and I think getting a blogger profile with Huffington Post is a positive thing!
Function better in unplanned, last-minute scenarios or blips in plans
Yes. I like that this was a goal, and I think I overall executed. I got a bit less crazy when people were late, and went with the flow more in general. Accountability buddy Sam was a key part of this, and I hope to keep that partnership in place in the coming year.
Make this blog or another writing venture something more public, as long as I keep enjoy doing it
See two bullets up. Also, I think more people read this blog than I think, because people randomly mention a post that stood out to them in conversations. Also, on the point of “as long as I keep enjoy doing it,” I am 1) aware that this was not an example of good editing and 2) still very much enjoying writing, and have realized that I love it because I can write in the exact style I’d like and about the exact content that strikes me. For now at least, this is the primary type of writing that excites me. I will CARRY FORWARD a more polished version of this goal!
Wear makeup a little bit more, but never spend more than 120 seconds on it.
Fail. And fine with it. Though I have taken more time to put together ‘a look’, which accomplishes a similar thing.
Take more improv classes, and continue to formulate what I want to do with it as it relates to longterm goals
I took Level 3 at Magnet and was also on a team this Fall. I continued to guest on PreRecorded.com as it worked with my schedule. I think the aspects of improv that are most appealing to me are groupwork, listening skills, creativity, and sincere fun. I’d love to integrate improv that truly embodies each of those elements into my life this year. Also, I took a storytelling class this year, which was profoundly impactful both because of the people I met and the power of the craft. I want to grow stronger roots in that this year.
Become a member of a nonprofit board
Sadly, no. Silver lining #1: wouldn’t have had the fair amount of energy to give to it this year. I’m currently on my last planned year of co-chairing Young Friends of Tufts Advancement, which will hopefully free up some time for board membership. Silver lining #2: I spent a lot of time thinking about what my ideal role on a board would be, and what sort of organization that would work best at. CARRY FORWARD!
Cook more in cost effective, healthy, and fun ways
Embarrassed to say no. I think I didn’t accomplish it because I had no real driver and truly didn’t make the time for it. Chalk it up to city living?
Work on building a sustainable skillshare of some sort among friends
Didn’t end up doing, but mostly because of the wonderful community I found at the Brainery.
Get Anderson Cooper to come for dinner
Let’s just leave this one alone.
- Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
- Explore and activate professional and personal growth opportunities
- Continue writing, publicly and privately, with enjoyment and while pushing limits of what I think I can do
- Be more vulnerable
- Seek out improv and storytelling opportunities that capitalize on personal creativity and fun, or that allow for meaningful group work
- Send more snail mail to friends
- Become a member of a nonprofit board
- Travel at least once for me (and not just for four incredible weddings)
- Read books in time that is otherwise wasted online
- Exercise regularly while pushing myself a little bit harder
- Learn to fix a bike if something simple goes wrong
Cheers! Happy New Year!
Are You Supporting Health Horizons?
Many of you know my amazing friend Laura, who I met 8 years ago in a pre-orientation program at Tufts University. A doer-and-shaker, Laura co-founded a phenomenal nonprofit called Health Horizons International (HHI), which seeks to build a new vision of primary health care and community health in the Dominican Republic. I’ve seen the programs and followed the organization avidly since its inception. I have a lot of respect for their approach, results, and plan for the future.
Today is Laura’s birthday (happy happy Laura!) and also the last day of her big fundraising push after stepping down from her Executive Director role last month. I hope you will join me in supporting her efforts. Organizations like these take off with selfless leaders but are only sustained through financial support that dually keeps dedicated, skilled leaders employed and passionate and that supports programs that ultimately are low-cost but have certain infrastructural needs. Your gift will have huge impact; feel free to email me if you need to be convinced.
Here’s to a fabulous organization and an even more fabulous friend!
My friend Greg is an incredible musician. Give it a listen and, if you’re a fan too, like him on Facebook to hear about his latest releases and performances.
Watch this short film (10 minutes) by Director Jay Cheel called The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends. It’s charming, compelling, and beautifully rides the fun line between serious and sarcastic as it explores the dynamics of four buddies playing Settlers of Catan.
The Jen Bokoff
I’m lucky to have awesome friends who sometimes come cook me dinner and invent a drink for me.
The Jen Bokoff
2 Oz rye
1 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz ginger liqueur
4 dashes wormwood aromatic
Shake with ice
Pour and grate some ginger into the glass
NOTE: best enjoyed while playing Cribbage.
Exclusive: ThingCreatures Artwork
I love playful and affordable ($30!) artwork, and I’m pretty sure I found the next big thing in ThingCreatures, which portray enigmatic shadows of unknown creatures against their natural habitat’s brilliant background. With Arthur and Walter already spotted in the wild and available for purchase in multiple settings and colors, ThingCreatures are sure to sell like popcorn at a movie theater in no time.
Still not convinced you should get one? I sat down with the artist to hear his creative (accidental?) process explaining how ThingCreatures was born.
It’s actually completely random. I recently began painting as an outlet after work, and it’s been quite therapeutic. One of my paintings was a play with bold colors mixed with amorphous forms. I showed a friend who saw figures in the black forms, which I hadn’t seen before then. But there was “Arthur” - the first of the Things.
So the next time I painted, I set out to give the form some life and I came up with the Arthur character, defined by his skulking, mouth-agape, head and small, beady white eye. I really liked him, and so I gave him a back story - the gullible hovering post-apocolyptic creature.
Then I thought I should give him friends. And so I created the website, and fleshed out some structure in how I would introduce the world I was creating. New creatures will be discovered as I discover them, and I’ll depict them - depending on their rarity - in any number of scenes. On my own walls I like to hang art that covers multiple canvases, and so displaying the Things becomes an artform in itself.
My buddy samuelhansen shared this neat new episode of his brand new podcast today and it’s well worth a listen whether you consider yourself a math/science person or not. His note:
I have just started a new podcast over at ACMEScience.com about the great rivalries behind science called Science Sparring Society. The first episode is Newton Vs. Leibniz, in other words the story of the Calculus War.
I find it really easy to follow, interesting, and jam-packed with cool information that I probably wouldn’t find anywhere else. There’s clearly a ton of thought that went into this.
Sam’s also been keeping me appraised of his progress on this and other projects regularly through our accountability partnership, and it’s been quite fun to hear how hard he’s working on everything!
New Year’s Eve
I love New Year’s Eve. Some people think that the whole ball drop thing is corny and wasteful and expensive and just plain annoying. It certainly is all of those things, but I still look forward to it every year. I even got a little giddy sitting in the movie theater watching New Year’s Eve when the ball was dropping 10 minutes from the end. I will not be somewhere for New Year’s that doesn’t have a television. I say Happy New Year emphatically in chorus with everyone else. I measure time in terms of calendar year, and I do indeed see a new year as a clean slate of sorts. I write the correct year on my rent check starting January 1 and proceed to fail by February 1. I do not believe that whoever you’re with at midnight you’ll be with the whole year, but I do believe that how you feel at midnight is how your year will start off
This year, I am in Vermont with some of my favorite people. It’s cozy and warm and there’s lots of laughing. It’s bittersweet, because my forever image of New Years Eve at our family friends’ house having cocktails, seeing the giant dog, playing games that the men always thought they won, lots of laughing, and many cheers at midnight now has a hole in it and will never happen quite the same way again. But, where I am now is nice and wonderful, too, with just as much warmth and friendship and connectivity over a once-a-year night.
As it is every New Year’s, but more than ever this one, it is my wish that people remember to be kind to each other, and to make smart decisions for themselves. I hope that everyone continues the next year in good health and in working towards happiness if they don’t already feel that they are at that point. And of course, I hope that we all have a fun 2012, because having fun and laughing more often than not is really what it’s all about.
Here’s to a thoughtful reflection on the year just past, and to a great new year ahead.
Resolutions: checking in and checking out
Here’s what I had from 2011, and what happened:
- enjoy my job transition and make the most of it
Definitely have learned a ton, so CHECK!
- learn to bake desserts
All year in my head, this resolution was to learn to like dessert and not to bake it, and I’ve recently enjoyed some decadent chocolate cakes, so CHECK!
- take more improv classes
Not only did I take the amazing Lady Party and Dynamic Duos classes, but I met some great people and also joined a quasi-regular practice group and started doing a weekly podcast with someone I met in our improv workshop at MaxFunCon. So I’d say CHECK!
- do awesome photo projects
I put some photos I had taken on canvases that came out really well, but I can’t say I did much more than that. Resolution TO BE CARRIED FORWARD!
- be sincere
Yes. There were many times when this was tested and I was maybe too honest, but I’d like to think I was successful and even diplomatic at times. This was a huge victory. CHECK!
- keep my room clean (LOL!)
It had its moments of clean, but I think my predictive LOL was telling. FAIL!
Anyway, that’s a wrap on 2011. Looking ahead to next year, my goals:
- Do awesome photo projects
- Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
- Continue to explore professional and personal growth opportunities
- Function better in unplanned, last-minute scenarios or blips in plans
- Make this blog or another writing venture something more public, as long as I keep enjoy doing it
- Wear makeup a little bit more, but never spend more than 120 seconds on it.
- Take more improv classes, and continue to formulate what I want to do with it as it relates to longterm goals
- Become a member of a nonprofit board
- Cook more in cost effective, healthy, and fun ways
- Work on building a sustainable skillshare of some sort among friends
- Get Anderson Cooper to come for dinner
Good luck to me!