January felt productive. Maybe it’s because it’s the start of the new semester, so it’s productive by design. Maybe it’s because it’s a new year, so I have a new zest for getting things done. Whatever it is, I’m happy about it.
1. I am in love with the Duolingo app. Every day, I learn new language skills. I started with just brushing up on my Spanish. Then I added Italian. Then I added French. Then I added German. So I have daily practice with each language right on my phone. Spanish and German are the easiest so far, since I have a little background in them. Italian is easier than expected. Of the romance languages I’ve studied, it seems the closest to Latin (I knew those four semesters of Latin would not be in vain!). French is kicking my butt. That’s okay. I enjoy a challenge. I know how to order coffee and affirm my singleness by declaring “I have four cats,” so the basics are covered.
2. I am almost done with my taxes. I am going to have them sent by the end of next week. This is curious new territory for me. This will be the earliest I have ever filed.
3. Speaking of curious new territory, I have displayed some mad budgeting skills this month. January is usually a pretty sparse month, because I don’t get my first teaching paycheck until February. Yet here it is, the end of January, and I still have a nice little cushion in the bank. I am so proud of me I don’t even know what to do with myself.
Last month may have been the month for food scavenging, but food prep has made a roaring comeback in the new year.
1. I am obsessed with a certain espresso-infused balsamic vinegar. My friends Beth and Kim are in the process of starting an oil and vinegar shop in town (Denton Olive and Co. – click and like!), and I might have to have them order it for me by the case. I put it on sausage and roast. I pour it on goat cheese and eat it with crackers. I may or may not have poured some in a shot class and sipped it like a fine brandy. It’s so delicious.
2. I made a lot of shortbread this month. It’s an easy thing to throw together and take to a party, and if I make two batches on the Friday night of a busy weekend, that covers every party that weekend, as I am not interested in any party where shortbread is unwelcome. It all started with this Earl Grey shortbread. From there, I discovered that you can pretty much substitute anything (lemon zest, cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, espresso powder, etc.) for the tea, and it will be delicious.
3. My supper club helped with the first round of testing for Feast. It was a glorious success. Steak, potatoes, chipotle mayo, and peppermint cocktails. Happy.
I enjoyed a lot of outings with people.
1. My new hall director, Jessa, and I had our first one-on-one. We had lunch at Seven Mile Cafe, and I splurged on an almond milk latte. Sooo good.
2. We threw a tea party at the Aubrey Area Library, and it was a lot of fun. We had scones, cookies, tea, costumes, and trivia. I felt fancy. Check out this spread:
3. Story Feast was also this month. We gathered at Adela’s house and had so much food and got to hear about what everyone is working on.
I have done quite a bit of reading this month, and it’s all been good. I can’t choose a favorite, but I especially loved Eleanor and Park (Rowell), Nocturnes (Ishiguro), Tables in the Wilderness (Yancey), and Still (Winner).
If I lived in Austin, I would be into having food delivered – quite possibly on a weekly basis, because every menu has looked amazing – from The Lavendar Goat. If you are in Austin, you should order every week and then tell me all about it. If you are not in Austin (like me), you can also get help with meal planning and follow him on Facebook or sign up for his email newsletter. We learned basic knife care this week. Do it!
I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Come join us! What were you into this month?