Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Elsie's Soft Opening

Hey guys,

Last week I was lucky enough to get a reservation for a new restaurant that will be opening in Traverse City. The restaurant's soft opening was Saturday and Sunday and reservations were available via Elsie's Facebook page. After waking up late I was worried we wouldn't be able to go, but by some small miracle managed to get a spot for three people.

The owner of Elsie's is also the owner of Georgina's, another restaurant in town that serves Latin Asian fusion. The new restaurant will serve brunch and currently occupies the building Georgina's used to be in. While Elsie's menu is considerable different, the personal influences and heart behind the restaurant is the same. I have the privilege of knowing Tony, the owner, through a friend's family, and I'm always impressed at the amount of thought he puts into his businesses.

Both my parents accompanied me on Saturday, which made the morning a load of fun. I meant to take more pictures but we were too busy enjoying the delicious food. After we arrived, the staff immediately brought out coffee for us. Apparently neither of my parents had tried French press coffee before; they were so impressed I didn't think they'd settle for any other kind again. Food wise we started out with a Cuban style pastry that tasted a little bit like heaven. You think I'm joking but it was one of the best pastries I've ever had. Next came a basket of Cuban sandwiches that were equally delicious.

I borrowed this picture from Elsie's Facebook page because that's the only picture of us (plus Tony) and not the food. 

The cuban sandwiches were followed by a mac and cheese dish and a frittata with a side of hash browns. Last but not least, we were given three different deserts to try, a lemon pound cake, a coconut chocolate bar, and a cinnamon coffee cake.

The food was absolutely amazing. I couldn't stop eating. You know if you walk out of a place stuffed but happy it was worth every bit. Elsie's officially opens today, Wednesday January 27. I'd highly recommend checking it out and tasting the food for yourself.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Exercise? What is That?

While I was sitting in my chair at work Monday I felt the slow creep of sore muscles start to ache along my back and shoulders. The kind of soreness that presents itself in knotted muscles and stiff necks. Every time I moved I became more conscious of the state of my body, and when I wasn't moving it seemed to be even more painful. Certainly I've felt worse in my life, after particularly tough workouts or long days of dance rehearsals, but Monday shocked me. Monday reminded me how long it's been since I exercised. I mean really exercised not just been active.

Remember how this used to be a fitness blog? I find that hilarious now. It's not that I don't like working out but I found it dull to write about. Reading fitness blogs is fun, actually having to work out and then share those lame work outs with people is another thing entirely. Props to all the great fitness bloggers out there that keep it interesting. Plus when you don't exercise it's painfully obvious because you have nothing to write about.

I go through phases of exercising and not exercising. I know it's not ideal but I'm still trying to get better about it. Winter is especially difficult for me. In the warmer months I can get outside and be active in little ways. I ride my bike to work and I walk places whenever I can, so even if I don't feel like doing a full circuit work out I still get my heart rate up and my muscles moving. However, in the winter months the cold temperatures and snowy conditions aren't as convenient for outside exercise. I'm not about to go risk my life trying to run on the ice.

Over last weekend and into Monday we had a bad snow storm roll through town. Snow fell over an inch per hour at times and it built up fast. For about an hour on Monday I was outside shoveling the driveway and paths around my house. Eventually, I had to stop because I was drenched in sweat and my arms felt like they were going to fall off my body. Okay that might be a slight exaggeration but they didn't feel great. Also I was freezing, if you've never been sweaty when it feels like one degree outside then you might not understand but it does not help the situation. Last winter I shoveled all the time, my arms slowly got used to the heavy snow and my stomach got tighter with the continued motion, but this year hasn't required as much shoveling (yet). When I got done I could already feel my muscles stiffening and in my attempt to get warm I didn't even think about stretching. I've been paying for that mistake all week so far. Yup, still sore. It's pathetic, but I also haven't done any stretching since then so I'm clearly not helping myself.

I know this time of year everyone always claims they're going to get fit and go to the gym more often. I however, am not usually one of those people, or I haven't been for a while. At this moment my only desire is to find a type of exercise that is sustainable throughout the entire year. Classes get expensive but working out from home is such a challenge. There's just not enough motivational factors to keep me exercising on my own. I may have studied behavior in college but when it comes to applying those principles to my own life, well... it's easier said than done.

What kind of exercises do you like best? What are the best sources for workout inspiration or follow along exercises to do at home?


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thoughts From Yesterday

Work was a bit slow yesterday so I had a lot of time to think. Eventually I started writing them down. Of course this is not every single thought I had yesterday but here's a few random ones for your enjoyment...

Should I get a flu shot? I bet Taylor Swift gets a mandatory flu shot.

How many germs are in this lab? Strike that. I probably don't want to know.

I wonder how many other people yelled "beyond a reasonable doubt" at their TV while watching Making a Murderer like a scene from 12 Angry Men.

This email thread is really making me want to watch all the movies. I haven't watched Pride and Prejudice in way too long.

What I wouldn't give to have money. Well a lot of things actually. Right hand, organs, family members. Although if I did give my right hand I could claim my dad, Darth Vadar, did it.

Must stop drinking coffee before work. Seriously. Why do I still do this?

How often is the weatherman wrong? 

Oh look snow. So much snow. I guess the weatherman wasn't wrong. Can we just not get any more snow?

Tights are simultaneously the best and the worst. Also not helpful in the "drank coffee before work and now have to pee every 10 minutes" problem.


Friday, January 8, 2016

January Reads

Hey guys,

I finally posted a new video on my booktube channel last night. I hadn't made a video in a couple of months which is probably pretty obvious by how often I messed up. You can watch me be a goof though and blab for a while.

Let me know what you are reading this month and if you like what you see please subscribe to my channel, GetaKloo.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge 2015 Wrap Up

Last January I dedicated myself to the Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge for 2015. The challenge was created to help readers pick up more diverse books throughout the year. I think the list helped me read more diversely than I would have otherwise but I probably could have done better. Besides the fact that I managed to read several books that fit multiple categories, as well as multiple books in one category, I still managed to miss a couple requirements completely. Also, I didn't actually stick to the books on my original list.

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25: I planned on reading "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith. I didn't get around to "White Teeth" this year but I did read "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley.

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65: I planned on reading "Ship of Fools" by Katherine Anne Porter. As far as I can tell none of the books I read this year were written by anyone over the age of 65.

A collection of short stories: I planned on reading "Tenth of December" by George Saunders. Instead I read "One More Thing" by B. J. Novak.

A book published by an indie press: I was supposed to read "The Empathy Exams" by Leslie Jamison but didn't have time for it this year. With what little research I did into this category I don't believe any of the books I read were published by indie presses.

A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ: "Middlesex" by Jeffery Eugenides (Read)

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own: "The Angel's Game" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Read)

A book that takes place in Asia: I had planned on reading "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami but I read the graphic novel "Boxers" by Gene Luen Yang instead.

A book by an author from Africa: "The Stranger" by Albert Camus (Read) I also read "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture: "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie (Read)

A microhistory: "Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World" by Mark Pendergrast. I didn't come close to reading any microhistory books this year. Maybe in 2016?

A YA novel: "Lola and the Boy Next Door" by Stephanie Perkins (Read) I also read "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell, "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han, "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher, "The Last Little Blue Envelope" by Maureen Johnson, "Ignite Me" by Tahereh Mafi and "Insurgent" and "Allegiant" by Veronica Roth.

A sci-fi novel: I was hoping to finally finish "Dune" by Frank Herbert this year which didn't happen, but I did read "The Martian" by Andy Weir.

A romance novel: "Rule" by Jay Crownover (Read)

A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade: I had planned on reading "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan but didn't have time for it. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" does however fit into this category as well after winning The National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2007.

A book that is retelling of a classic story: I put "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer down for this category but I was never in the mood to read it. I don't think any of the other books I read fit this requirement either.

An audiobook: "More Than This" by Patrick Ness (Read) I also listened to "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter, "The End of the Affair" by Graham Greene, "Bossypants" by Tina Fey, "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell, "The Kept" by James Scott, "Cuckoo's Calling" and "The Silkworm" by Robert Galbraith, "I've Got Your Number" by Sophie Kinsella, and "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" by Rob Lowe.

A collection of poetry: I had planned on reading "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman but ended up reading "You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense" by Charles Bukowski and "Chasers of the Light" by Tyler Knott Gregson.

A book that someone else has recommended to you: I was hoping to read "The Hollow Hills" by Mary Stewart which was recommended to me by my mom. I did not get around to reading the second book in the Merlin Series but I did manage to read "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn which was recommended to me by my friend Samantha.

A book that was originally published in a different language: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Read)

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind: Unfortunately I still haven't read "Encyclopedia of Early Earth" by Isobel Greenberg but I did read quite a few graphic novels this year including "Maus 1 & 2" by Art Spiegelman, "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel, "Persepolis 1 & 2" by Marjane Satrapi, "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan, and "Ms. Marvel Vol. 1" by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure: My original post had "Drums of Autumn" by Diana Gabaldon for this category which is the fourth book in the Outlander series. What I meant to say was "Dragonfly in Amber" which is the second book in the series. I did not read either book, however I did reread "Outlander." I also read the Outlander companion graphic novel, "The Exile," which was just bad.

A book published before 1850: I was supposed to read "Candide" by Voltaire. Instead I did read "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. I know I already used this one but it's the only book that works for both requirements.

A book published this year: Since my original book, "One More Thing" by B. J. Novak was actually published in 2014 I had planned on changing this book from the beginning. I read more than a few books published in 2015, "Did You Ever Have a Family" by Bill Clegg, "Spinster" by Kate Bolick, "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng, "P.S. I Still Love You" by Jenny Han, and "Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why" by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

A self-improvement book: I was planning on reading "Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed. I never read "Tiny Beautiful Things" but I did read "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg which I would consider a self-improvement book.

You can check out all the books I read in 2015 and keep up with my current reads on Goodreads.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Favorite Songs of 2015

Hey Guys,

As most of you have probably already gathered I'm a huge music lover and I wanted to take the time to highlight some of my favorite music in 2015.

Released in 2015:

Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton

When We Were Young by Adele

Make It Rain by Ed Sheeran

Ditmas by Mumford and Sons

Diners by The Lone Bellow

Make You Better by The Decemberists

The Hills by The Weeknd

Released prior to 2015:

Style by Taylor Swift

From Eden by Hozier

Aquaman by Walk The Moon

Bad Self Portraits by Lake Street Drive

10am Gare du Nord by Keaton Henson

To Me by Chet Faker

Young and Wild by John Butler Trio

Part of me feels like the list could go on and on, but we'll end it there. Other than the year they were released the songs are in no particular order. Most of the songs that were released prior to 2015 were released within the last couple of years and just managed to get played often throughout this year.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Years!

I keep forgetting that today is the last day of 2015. It just doesn't seem possible that an entire year has gone by already. When I sat down to write this post I tried to think of all the important things that happened in this past year, but nothing stuck out to me. Certainly things happened in my life; I grew older, wiser, and more experienced than I was last year at this time, but I didn't find a dream job, buy a house, get married, or experience any of those big life changes some people my age are experiencing. Guess what though, I made it through another year in one piece and that's pretty great too!

I turned 25 this year which still doesn't sound right coming out of my mouth. I never thought I'd be where I am now at 25 but I don't think it's a bad thing. In fact I'd say this past year has kept me pretty happy overall and that in and of itself is a major step forward. Sure I have my days, or my weeks, but nothing like previous years. I have read 70 books this year, the most I've ever read in a years time. I started a Booktube channel on Youtube. I have reunited with friends I haven't seen in a while. I spent more time outside. I survived the big laptop crash of 2015. I even joined a book club. I have become more confident in myself and my ideas and more comfortable in my own skin. So maybe it's not important that my year wasn't punctuated with big life changes but that I was able to appreciate the every day occurrences.

Last year I spent NYE with one of my best friends and my family. We watched New Years Rockin' Eve on TV and drank sparkling wine. This year my friend is in Texas at the Cotton Bowl and I'm ringing in the New Year with my dad because he is the only one who managed to stay awake this long. We are both reading and only occasionally looking up to check the time. I wouldn't choose to ring in 2016 any other way.

So cheers to the end of 2015 and I wish you all a hopeful beginning to 2016!

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” - Neil Gaiman