goals + meal plan for the week of 5/1

Hi there, everyone!¬†Happy Monday! My little windowsill plants are starting to sprout… I am waaaay too excited about these little seedlings!

sprouting plants

Highlights of this past week included going to a very inspiring fair of student environmental projects at Allyson’s high school; going out to dinner in San Francisco with Allyn’s dad and stepmom; and seeing a local production of this very cute and funny play, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! {Though I told my sweetie of course that title does not ring true to the two of us! Haha.}

love you you're perfect show

We also finished watching a terrific TV series we have been enjoying on DVD {a Christmas gift from Allyn’s brother Colin} called Slings & Arrows… any fans of literature, theater, Shakespeare, or quirky dramedies with interesting characters, I would highly recommend it! Also, in the first season, a young Rachel McAdams stars… she’s perhaps my favorite actress. Love her!

My favorite new recipe I made this past week was a shrimp & veggie pasta dish from a cookbook that Holly gave me, Healthy Cookbook for Two. It turned out great! Light and perfect for the warm weather we’ve been having.

shrimp pea pasta

Tonight, we are heading into San Francisco for a special event at the Museum of Modern Art! I have not been there before and am so excited. Plus, it’s a fun excuse to get a little gussied up. ūüėČ {Very exciting for a writer who spends a lot of time in yoga pants and pj’s!}

Time for goals… please feel free to share your goals and/or meal plans in the comments below!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last¬†week:
– submit¬†Dancing With The Pen II to publisher {…almost there!}
Рschedule Dancing With The Pen II events {made headway on venues!}
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article
–¬†meet with prospective wedding hair & make-up artists {reached out to some people, but have not nailed anything down yet…}

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
Рsubmit Dancing With The Pen II to publisher
Рschedule Dancing With The Pen II events
– complete and submit new short story
–¬†complete second Presidio¬†interview
–¬†meet with prospective wedding hair & make-up artists

Here is my meal plan for the week:
Monday: Curried butternut squash, chickpeas & spinach {subbing butternut squash for sweet potatoes}
Tuesday: Leftovers/on our own
Wednesday: Out to dinner
Thursday: Pizza and salad
Friday: Slow-cooker minestrone
Saturday: Taco salad
Sunday: Leftovers!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + meal plan for the week of 4/24

Hi there, everyone!¬†I know today is Monday, but it has felt like Sunday all day to me… I have a few tutoring clients on Saturday, so Sunday + Monday have become my “weekend” of sorts. Today was filled with typical Sunday-ish tasks: laundry, grocery store, dishes, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. I also was very excited to go back to my favorite yoga class this morning, after a few weeks away. And I finally planted a little windowsill herb garden I have been wanting to do for a while. We’ve got little pots of basil, rosemary, and garlic chives. They look so hopeful lined up in the sunshine! Last but not least,¬†meal-planning happened today. {One day late, better than nothing!} My trusty crock-pot has been¬†cooking dinner all afternoon. It smells good! After this post goes live, my sweetie and I are going to dig in.

crock pot dinner

I noticed last week that doing this goals + meal plan post really helped me feel motivated and organized throughout the week. When I would feel overwhelmed or unfocused, I would refer back to my goals post and it helped me re-energize. Sometimes I tend to want to do ALL.THE.THINGS at once, so goals posts are helpful because I can only set so many intentions for each week… it’s a reminder for me not to get too far ahead of myself, and to just worry about the piece of the puzzle that is in front of me in the moment.

Highlights of this past week were the Zyzzyva reading on Thursday evening in San Francisco! I have loved and admired this literary magazine for years, so seeing my work published in their pages is a surreal and amazing feeling, and getting to meet the editors and other contributors in person was such a treat. Allyn came with me and made me feel like a superstar, taking pictures of me in front of the building and during my reading. Afterwards we went to Burger Bar for dinner. It was a very lovely, special date night!

zyzzyva reading

Wedding-planning wise, this past week we were on a ROLL and I really hope to continue the momentum… in addition to making huge strides on our registry {something that I am so grateful for, but also find very overwhelming because I feel the need to research every item extensively before we put it on our registry} we also designed and ordered our wedding invitations and thank-you notes, made lots of headway on reception decorations, and decided on a bakery for our dessert. Things are coming together, slowly but surely! Also, on a random side-note: this is the first week where our wedding is truly starting to feel near. I know that time is going to fly and it is going to be here so quickly! I am trying my best to savor every step of the process. ūüôā

Now, you’re all caught up on my life!¬†Time for goals… please feel free to share your goals and/or meal plans in the comments below!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last¬†week:
finish lay-out of Dancing With The Pen II
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†send out AWP thank-yous
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article {the person I’m interviewing had to push back our interview to this week}
–¬†complete registry for bridal shower {this was huge!! AND we got our wedding invitations ordered, too!}

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
Рsubmit Dancing With The Pen II to publisher
Рschedule Dancing With The Pen II events
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article
–¬†meet with prospective wedding hair & make-up artists

meal plan week of 4-24-16

Here is my meal plan for the week:
Monday: Crock-pot thai peanut chicken and rice
Tuesday: Leftovers/on our own
Wednesday: Soup and corn muffins
Thursday: Dinner in Fremont with Allyson
Friday: Mustard roasted fish¬†{from what I read in a magazine article, this is one of T.Swift’s favorite recipes!}
Saturday: Shrimp & fresh pea fettucine
Sunday: Leftovers!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + meal plan for the week of 4/17

Hi there, everyone! Happy Sunday! As I was sipping my tea this morning and checking my email, I started thinking about my goals and plans for the week ahead… and I had the urge to bring back my¬†Sunday goal posts here on the blog! I always find it inspiring when other people share their goals and action plans, especially on a bite-sized, small-step basis. Plus, sharing my goals on here helps keep me accountable — and helps me recognize when perhaps I am setting a goal that is related¬†to my “fantasy self” and not to my real-life actual self. {For example, when a goal keeps showing up week after week and I never seem to find the time or motivation to complete it… a definite sign that maybe it’s actually not that important in my life!}

I’ve noticed these goal posts tend to fall away when I get swamped with outside commitments or extra work projects. But I am going to make a real effort to¬†continue¬†them consistently, even as life promises to get extra busy in the next few months with travel, birthday celebrations, teaching summer camps, and wedding planning! I have found that setting aside¬†15-20 minutes on Sunday to intentionally set goals and map out a meal plan for the week makes me feel more charged and excited going into the week. It keeps me more focused and less stressed. So here goes! Please feel free to share your goals and/or meal plans in the comments below!

weekly goals

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– finish lay-out of Dancing With The Pen II
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†send out AWP thank-yous
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article
–¬†complete registry for bridal shower

Here is my meal plan for the week:
Sunday: Dinner at Allyn’s mom’s
Monday: Sausage, potato and veggie bake
Tuesday: Leftovers/on our own
Wednesday: Tortellini & salad
Thursday: Dinner out in the city {I have a reading event for Zyzzyva magazine!}
Friday: Spaghetti squash burrito bowls {substituting acorn squash because it was on sale!}
Saturday: Crock-pot thai peanut chicken and rice

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 12/14

Hi there, everyone! As soon as I hit “publish” on this blog post, I’m heading off to church bright and early… I’m Worship Associate today, so I have lots of little duties to perform to get ready for the first service at 9:30. Today the children’s choir is performing a special concert as part of the service, which I am very excited about! The kids are way too cute ūüôā

It’s been a good weekend so far. Yesterday I taught my rambunctious group of kiddos; it was our final class! I’ll be starting up again with a new class in January, and¬†I hope that some of them¬†will come back and sign up for the new quarter. We shall see!

Allyn is in the midst of his final residency for the semester — he’s such a champ, powering through the long days with a smile on his face — and tonight his school is having a dance party in San Francisco. I went to the one held at the end of last semester and it was super fun! I’m looking forward to going tonight and celebrating the end of the semester. My sweetheart has worked incredibly hard the past four months and I’m really proud of him.

On the topic of working hard… time for goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from the past couple¬†weeks:¬†
write a new chapter of my memoir
finish holiday cards
–¬†finish student evaluations
finish reading short story collection
–¬†go to two yoga classes
connect with two friends
Woo hoo! It was a successful week around here! ūüôā

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
Рwrite a new essay for Chicken Soup for the Soul
–¬†compile tutoring worksheets
Рfinish reading three New Yorkers from my stash
–¬†go to two yoga classes
– connect with two friends

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
chocolate pb chip oat bars {vegan + gf} via the real-life rd
peppermint pattie brownies via Two Peas and Their Pod
chocolate-dipped toffee shortbread via Two Peas and Their Pod
green salad w/apples, cranberries & pepitas via Cookie + Kate
gingerbread muffins via The Pajama Chef
Рmy own white chocolate m&m pretzels

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals for the week of 12/7

Hi there, friends! Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend! Mine has been very busy, but a good kind of busy. Friday night I got together with Dana for dinner at a delicious Korean restaurant called Mixed Grain.

Mixed Grains

We sat there eating, talking and laughing for close to three hours and ended up closing the place down! One bonus of staying so long was that the waitress came over and asked if we wanted free cupcakes {I think they would have gone to waste otherwise…} We of course said yes and they were absolutely delicious! Not to mention beautiful — check out this delicate rose made out of buttercream frosting:

rose cupcake

Yesterday morning, I had a long catch-up phone call with my friend Janet before I ran off to teach my four back-to-back classes of kiddos! After a couple weeks away due to the holiday, they were more energy-filled than ever. Some of them said they missed me, which was quite sweet. I missed them too, but I was also more than happy to collapse on my couch last night and relax while catching up on two of my favorite shows, Nashville & The Newsroom!

This morning, I was up bright and early to tutor a couple kiddos, and then I headed over to church, where I took part in the holiday crafts faire held from 10 a.m. Р3 p.m. I sold and autographed copies of my books and everyone was very supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic. It made my heart so happy. I feel very grateful to be part of such a warm and welcoming congregation. I must admit, I was a little worried that it would seem like a long day {being from 10-3!} but the time flew by thanks to lots of delightful conversations and visiting with people.

After church I drove to my sweetheart’s apartment where we are now getting ready to make some veggie pasta for dinner.¬†But before I go… time for goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from the past couple¬†weeks:¬†
– write a new chapter of my memoir {this totally fell by the wayside this week}
– finish holiday cards {almost done!}
–¬†finish student evaluations {started, not finished}
publicize my¬†Winter Writing Camp {it’s halfway filled already!}
–¬†go to two yoga classes {I made it to three!}
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write a new chapter of my memoir
– finish holiday cards
–¬†finish student evaluations
– finish reading short story collection
–¬†go to two yoga classes
– connect with two friends

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

thanksgiving weekend recap + goals for the week of 12/1

Wow, what a Thanksgiving!! I hope you all had a great one with yummy food and lovely company. I feel like I’m still getting back to reality… and acknowledging the fact that it is officially December. How did that happen so quickly?! {Silver lining: Christmas Pandora station, here I come!}

I know this is a bit delayed, but I still wanted to share some pics with you guys from my Thanksgiving weekend at home with my fam ūüôā

We hosted twelve of my brother’s MBA classmates for Thanksgiving dinner, which was incredibly fun. They could not have been more gracious guests. Many of them were international students far from home, and a few had never experienced American Thanksgiving before — it was a special treat to be able to introduce them to one of my favorite holidays!

Here’s a selfie Greg took of our whole group:
Woodsgiving

I loved helping my mom in the kitchen. Our menu included turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, a sweet potato casserole that we refer to as “Henrietta’s yams” after my Grandma’s cousin who used to bring it to Thanksgiving every year, vegetarian chili, dinner rolls, a big ol’ salad… and, for dessert, pumpkin and apple pie and pumpkin muffins! Plus, some of our guests brought delicious brownies, black forest cake, and more pie!

greg thanksgiving

20141127_153033

Two of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes... Henrietta's yams and my mom's classic stuffing!

Two of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes… Henrietta’s yams and my mom’s classic stuffing!

While I enjoy turkey with cranberry sauce on top, my favorite Thanksgiving dishes are the sides! Anyone else the same way?

The Friday after Thanksgiving, we went out for a family dinner at Brendan’s, a local Irish pub {my parents are still hooked on Irish culture and cuisine after their trip to Ireland a few months ago!} I love everything about Ireland and was excited to try out this pub, which I thought was extremely authentic both in cuisine and atmosphere… it felt like being transported to Ireland! Definitely planning to go back when I’m in town for Christmas.

Irish pub fam

After dinner, I drove Greg back down to USC and stayed with him overnight, and on Saturday morning I tagged along to his MBA student tailgate before the USC-Notre Dame football game. It was a blast to hang out with his friends — such a fun group of people! And soaking up extra time with my brother is always a gift.

usc tailgate

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with my parents, reading, relaxing, going for walks around the neighborhood, visiting my Gramps, and giving lots of love to Mr. Mur-dog.

murray!

Look at that face! Such a cutie-pie.

Before I wrap-up Thanksgiving 2014 completely, I just want to say that I am SO grateful for all of you! Thank you for taking time out of your day to visit my cozy little corner of the blogosphere¬†ūüôā

Now… time for goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from the past couple¬†weeks:¬†
–¬†finish editing/preparing manuscript for submission
update my website
set date for Winter Writing Camp
–¬†go to¬†yoga class
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write a new chapter of my memoir
– finish holiday cards
–¬†finish student evaluations
Рpublicize my Winter Writing Camp
–¬†go to two yoga classes
– connect with two friends

Finally, here are a few of my fave Thanksgiving recipes from the Woodburn family table:
my favorite mashed potatoes
– henrietta’s yams {recipe coming soon!}
– my mom’s classic stuffing {recipe coming soon!}
pumpkin pie

Questions of the day:

  • How was your Thanksgiving?
  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + cookie recipes for the week of 12/15

Happy Sunday! I can’t believe it’s the beginning of another week … and that Christmas is only ten days away! I hope that your holiday season has an abundance of joy and laughter, and a minimum of stress.

I’m back home with my family for the holidays and it is soooo nice! On Friday night I went with my mom to her office holiday party, and we had a blast. They set up a “casino night” and we spent a large chunk of the evening playing black jack. It was my first time playing black jack, but luckily the dealer was very sweet and gave me hints about what I should do. {Apparently that doesn’t happen in Vegas! Haha.}

me and mama xmas

I’ve been busy preparing for my cousin Julie’s bridal shower next weekend. Longtime blog readers might be experiencing deja vu: last Christmas I threw a bridal shower for Julie’s sister, my cousin Amanda. That party turned out beautifully and a lot of fun was had by all. This year, it’s Julie’s turn!

me and cuzes

The rest of the weekend has been spent running errands, wrapping presents, baking, decorating the house for Christmas, watching made-for-TV holiday movies, and goofing around with Mr. Murdog.

me and murray

Hope you’re having a productive and/or relaxing weekend! Now, on to goals …

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals for the week of 12/1:
write 15 pages of new material
prepare for Steinbeck Center reading on Wedsnesday
–¬†exercise at least twice
–¬†finish reading¬†Girls in White Dresses {this book is aaaamazing!}
– order holiday cards
publicize Winter Writing Camp
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for the week of 12/15:
– write 10 pages of new material
take cookies & cards to the nursing home
–¬†exercise at least twice
–¬†finish reading The Tea Rose
– order holiday cards
– teach a fantastic Winter Writing Camp
– throw a wonderful bridal shower for my cousin Julie
– connect with two friends

And here are some of my favorite holiday treat recipes!
aunt elaine’s peanut butter blossoms
mom’s classic chocolate chip cookies
eggnog cookies w/buttercream frosting
gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
gramps’ favorite lemon bars
reeses pb cup brownies
chocolate-covered popcorn
white chocolate pretzels

Questions for the day:

  • What are you thankful for this holiday season
  • What are your favorite holiday cookie recipes?
  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?

the USC game yesterday!! also, goals + meal plan for the week of 11/17

WOW. The USC game yesterday was one of the most thrilling football games I’ve ever watched! It was so amazing to be there, cheering on my alma mater alongside my family and friends. My parents and I spent the afternoon tailgating on campus with a bunch of my brother’s business school friends. It was great to meet them!

family tailgate

The game itself was a nail-biter and came down to the wire, but ultimately USC pulled out a victory over Stanford with a long field goal. WOO!! We were all jumping up and down and screaming with joy. It was so much fun! I hadn’t been back to a football game in the Coliseum since I graduated, and I forgot how amazing it is to be there. I love all the traditions: Traveler running down the sidelines, the marching band and spirit leaders and song girls, lighting the torch at the beginning of the fourth quarter… And I love how you become friends with the people sitting around you as all of you go crazy cheering on your team! We had a blast.

me and Ben at game

beat stanford!

after the game

We drove home from the game last night and arrived back at the house just in time to watch Lady Gaga host SNL … what did you guys think? I was pretty impressed. Lady Gaga isn’t in this skit, but I randomly loved Kenan’s character Mr. Senior … his “special report” telling people to STOP with early Christmas and enjoy Thanksgiving had me cracking up:¬†http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-mr-senior/n43347/

All in all, it’s been a whirlwind weekend! I can’t believe I’m already headed back up to the Bay tomorrow. Today has been a peaceful, quiet Sunday at home … went to church this morning, grocery shopped with my mom, and now we’re watching football while waiting for my Gramps to come over to dinner soon. My mom is spoiling me and making my favorite stuffed chicken breasts! YUM.

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
write 15 pages of new material
send out my novel chapters for Dec. fellows workshop
– submit fellowship application
–¬†exercise at least twice
–¬†finish reading¬†Happier Endings: a meditation on life and death
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for the week of 11/17:
– write 15 pages of new material
– submit fellowship application
–¬†exercise at least twice
–¬†finish reading¬†Happier Endings: a meditation on life and death
– connect with two friends

And here are some recipes I’m planning to try out:¬†{if you can’t tell, I’ve already got Thanksgiving on the brain!}
healthy green bean casserole via The Lean Green Bean
sweet-filled acorn squash bowl via It’s Progression
greek yogurt biscuits and mini pumpkin cinnamon rolls via Two Peas & Their Pod
pumpkin and kale stew via The Pajama Chef

Questions of the day:

  • What were the highlights of your weekend?
  • What are your goals and menu plans for this upcoming week?

goals + meal-plan for the week of 11/10

Happy Sunday, friends! Hope your weekend has been lovely!

I’m so excited for this upcoming week … today we’re celebrating my Grandpap’s birthday, on Wednesday I’m getting together with my friend Dana, and on Thursday I’m headed home to Ventura for a long weekend! The USC Homecoming Football Game is on Saturday and I’m tailgating with my brother and then meeting up with my dear friend Ben who is coming all the way from NYC for the game!

me and ben

Ben and I met at freshman orientation, when we were the last two people left in the test-taking room for the Spanish placement exam. {I knew my slow test-taking skills would one day pay off, haha} We’ve been friends ever since. I haven’t seen him in over a year and I cannot wait to give him the biggest hug and catch up in between cheering on our football team. ūüôā

I’m also bursting with excitement to seeing my parents and my Gramps and of course Mr. Murdog! And Erica and I are planning to have one of our epic Simone’s chai latte dates — one of my favorite things on the planet. It should be a busy and wonderful week!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
– write 25 pages of new material {with my cold I didn’t quite get this many pages done … but I did still write every day, so that’s something!}
submit second Ph.D. application
–¬†exercise at least three times
–¬†finish reading¬†Stay Up With Me
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for the week of 11/10:
– write 15 pages of new material
– send out my novel chapters for Dec. fellows workshop
– submit fellowship application
–¬†exercise at least twice
–¬†finish reading Happier Endings: a meditation on life and death
– connect with two friends

And here are some recipes I’m hoping to try out this week:
sweet korean bbq beef via Chew Out Loud
skinny southwest chicken dip via The Pajama Chef
pumpkin toffee chocolate chip muffins via Two Peas & Their Pod
pumpkin spice steel-cut oats via Wellness Today

This post is linked up to Menu-Plan Monday!
MPM-Winter

Questions for the morning:

  • What are your goals and meal plans for the week?
  • What are you looking forward to this week?

goals for the week of 10/13

I can’t believe it’s Monday! Where did the weekend go?? It’s been gorgeous weather here and on Saturday we had a picnic lunch and went for a nice long walk around a beautiful park and lake. We saw the most adorable families of geese!

geese park

lake

Nothing beats a sunny weekend outdoors, especially in the autumn with all the leaves changing colors. What were you up to this weekend?

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last week:
write 20 pages of new material
–¬†submit to two literary journals
– submit two fellowship applications {almost there but not quite!}
sign up for the GRE exam
phone dates with three friends
exercise at least three times

Here are my goals for the week of 10/13:
– write 20 pages of new material
– submit two fellowship applications
– submit Ph.D. application
– exercise at least three times

As far as menu planning goes, my lovely friend Erica is in town visiting, so I’m not planning to be cooking too much this week … we will be off exploring new fun restaurants! But who am I kidding, we will probably make something for dessert, like these pb cup brownies

Have a wonderful week, friends!