As a new year begins, a few recommendations from my 2013. In no particular order:
1. And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini's latest novel. See previous blog post for my gushing reflections.
2. Houseplants. In addition to providing a lovely, natural, eco-friendly way to decorate, my ever-growing collection of houseplants are currently filtering the air in my polluted, industrial, heavily-trafficked Chicago neighborhood. I'm now soliciting tips for re-potting.
3. Fitness Blender. During last year's long, cold winter my quest for an indoor workout option led me to this website. Professional trainers Daniel and Kelli have created a range of workout videos that range from intense interval training to yoga-inspired stretching routines to kickboxing. Do an eight-week workout program like Jason and I did last spring, select a video that works a certain part of your body, or sort by time or difficulty level. The options are vast, and the interval format keeps things interesting. The only downside is if you're concerned about disturbing the downstairs neighbors with the inevitable pounding that comes when squat jumps, high knees, etc. are part of the workout.
4. Vermicomposting. For those of us without abundant yard space or citywide composting, this is a great way to take care of food scraps. Put a bunch of red wigglers in a cheap plastic tub (or an expensive store-bought layered bin), feed them weekly, and create an easy-to-maintain smell-free source of nutrition for indoor and outdoor plants.
5. HAIM. I admit that I was hesitant when Jason first introduced me to this new band. After a few listens, though, I was hooked. Disclaimer: I have no idea what their lyrics say. I just think they have a fun sound.
6. Grace. Now that I work for the Lutherans, I'm trying to give and receive this more often.
7. Autumn Cheesecake. Yum.