February Failure

I always thought I was against the odds when it came to things. For example, I'm usually pretty good at sticking to goals I have, i.e. New Years Resolutions. Jokes on me. I was committed to my resolutions in January, but shoved them all to the bottom of my priority list during February. 
Today I'm doing a little check up on myself. It's now March, spring is upon us, and it's time I reevaluated what I said I would resolve back in January. I'm hoping by saying my failures out loud it will help me to acknowledge that I need to fix them. I'm not getting down on myself, I'm just realizing there is still time to change. It's only the third month of the year by golly!
Now let's take a look at what I said I would do in 2015:
1. Cooking more from my cookbooks. I said I would cook at least two recipes a month from one of my cookbooks. January was a success, this soup was a winner! The main idea behind this was to take more pauses during the day. Take time to stop, prepare, and cook a meal instead of shoving a bowl full of whatever I could throw together from the fridge. I stole a few cookbooks from mom this weekend to hopefully help me achieve my goal!

2. Texting and driving. This has been my biggest failure and I'm embarrassed to admit it. I have to crack this horrible habit. 
3. Eating more whole foods. I've done pretty well with this one. I eat mainly whole foods anyway but there is the occasional tortilla chip binge that really isn't necessary. I think I'll counteract my chip binge with this Whole-Food Protein Berry smoothie.

4. Revisiting calligraphy. Yup this hasn't happened at all. I paid good money to learn the basics of the skill and I have just been letting it sit on the shelf ever since. I'm about to go pull out all my gear the second I finish this post. 
5. Reading a book. This is a new goal I'm adding with the influence from a friend. It's sad to say but I don't read at all. I've never been a reader. I recently purchased this book per Molly's review and I'm so excited about it. I thought this could be the book to get me reading again. It came in the mail and I've only read five pages. I know what I'll be doing before bed tonight. 

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Okay I've said it out loud now, just keeping things real here on Take a Bite. February was a bit of a failure in the resolution category, but I have high hopes that March will get me back on track. How have your resolutions been going? Anyone else fall off the bandwagon a bit? Let's jump back on in March!



A New Year's resolution post seems a little cliché in the blog world, but I feel like if I write my yearly goals down for the world wide web to see there is a better chance I'll stick to them. I guess I feel like people may judge me if I don't stick to my word, which when it comes to resolutions, I think everyone could use some accountability. 
I have four resolutions this year. To not text and drive (this is carrying over from last year), eating more whole foods and less processed foods, cooking or baking at least twice a month from my cookbooks and lastly, to revisit calligraphy. 

I sat down the other night with my stack of cookbooks in front of me and started sifting through the pages of recipes, making notes and marking pages with sticky notes. I love collecting cookbooks, but in the internet world today I usually cook from Pinterest and food blog recipes. Not a bad thing, but it's time to put my cookbooks to better use!

As far as texting and driving, I was really good about this at the beginning of last year. It's a horrible habit I have and I committed not to do it. Toward the end of the year I got lazy. It's such a dangerous act and there is no reason to put myself and others at risk. No text is that important. I'm giving myself a second chance and pledging again to not text and drive.

More whole foods in 2015 instead of processed foods, because why not? It's better for you, whole foods are delicious and because I would rather take the time to make a great snack or meal instead of grabbing the closest sugary or salty processed food. When you think about what you're eating before you find yourself scarfing down a bag of chips, it's likely you'll go for something more nourishing and fulfilling. 
I read a great resolution about moving slower this year. Moving slow by, stopping your day to make a great breakfast or moving slow when working on something important. I get in such a rush about everything. It's time to move slow and enjoy the days little moments. This can be in cooking, working or spending time with others.
And finally, I want to revisit calligraphy. I took the beginner and advance class form Blue Eye Brown Eye and learned incredible skills. I still have all of my supplies but I haven't practiced in so long. Calligraphy is a lost skill I want to out back in my bag of tricks!
Now help keep me accountable people! I can do this. 

What I Think is a Legit Gift Guide

I love a good gift guide, I think I've mentioned this before. Emily, Liz, Julia, Meg and Katie, all have some great ones, but honestly, I don't think I've ever actually bought something I saw on a gift guide. They are all so cute, but usually filled with your run of the mill standard gift ideas. 
I've put together a few of my favorite things, some goodies I've found around the web, and a few things I'm actually gifting this year. Hopefully this gift guide is worth your time and helps spark some ideas for your own gift giving needs! 
1. Scout 3-Way Bag ($22). I have this bag and it is fabulous. It fits all of my toiletries and makeup when I travel. I love how the separate compartments keep my lotion from spilling all over my blush brush etc. 
2. Blue Eye Brown Eye calligraphy set ($60).  Lauren from BEBE calligraphy is my girl! I've taken her class twice and she taught me so much. You can now buy her beginner set and do on online class via Brit+Co.
3. Slouchy pom pom beanie ($9).  The perfect gift for friends or roommates! 
4. Yeah...ImmaEatThat black bean brownie mix ($9). I already bought a few of these mixes. I saved one for myself and sent two to my foodie friends Molly and Savannah. I made the brownies yesterday and they are incredibly fudgy and delicious (and healthy!) 
5. Gold ear buds ($9). For all those people getting the new iPhone 6 for Christmas, 1. I'm jealous 2. these would be perfect for them. 
6. Moscow Mule mugs ($17). A hot item this Christmas, but these hammered copper ones are my favorite!
7. Fujifilm instant camera ($100). In our generation of having to take a picture of everything, I'm all about this instant/polaroid camera. 
8. Beaded by W tassel necklaces ($30). You've heard me gush about my girl Whitney, but her necklaces make the perfect gift! Email her at beadedbyw@gmail.com to get your order in before Christmas. 
9. Olivia Pope wine glasses ($15). Perfect for your wino/Scandal obsessed friend or family member. 
10. Evelyn Henson iPhone cases ($34). I've posted about her prints, but I'm kind of squealing over her phone cases. 
Happy gift giving! 

Calligraphy Class Numero Dos

I signed up the second I heard Lauren was coming back for another round of her Blue Eye Brown Eye Calligraphy workshop! I had such a blast the first time, I couldn't wait to "advance my skills" and learn the basics of uppercase letters and using color ink. 
We got to use neon pink ink (and take it home) which was pretty much reason enough to want to take the advanced class. 

The first thing Lauren taught us was how to mix our own gouache. Gouache is what colored calligraphy ink is called. it comes out of a squeeze bottle about the thickness of paint. You then water it down and mix it to get the perfect ink consistency.

Here is Kat stirring vigorously at her gouache. The class was filled with some new faces and some familiar faces from my first class. We all had similar interests in art, blogging, workshops, paper goods etc. I had a great time chatting away with the other creatives in the class. 

Before Lauren started teaching us uppercase, we played around with the colored ink and refreshed our memory on lowercase letters. I'm so mad I've been so busy and haven't had much time to practice.  I am making a promise to myself from now on to practice at least once a week. I don't want to lose the skill now that I've finally started learning. 
I'll be honest I got a little frustrated in this class. I was having a bad writing day and couldn't ever get my letters flowing. I also kept getting globs of ink all over my paper. I'm determined to keep practicing to get my letters up to speed. 
Lauren was such a great teacher and encourager. She kept calling me "famous Annie" because she has had so many people in her classes know me. I had so many people ask me about the class after the first time I took it, so I loved being able to refer them to Lauren to have their own chance at learning! Besides calligraphy she had great advice for starting a business, networking and working hard to get what you want. 
And now for a quick peek at some of the goodies at Chirps & Cheers (the host of the class). This store seriously puts me in the best mood every time I visit. Partially because of the amazing products, but mostly because of the owners, Sweet Sami and my shop mom Susan!
Now I'm off to practice my writing.
xo annie


Two Saturdays ago I finally got to take a calligraphy class. Learning calligraphy has been on my bucket list for forever. When the shop I worked at in high school posted back in November that they would be hosting one of the fabulous Blue Eye Brown Eye classes I knew I had to do it, and let me tell you it was worth every penny. 

We got there to find a place setting that included a letterpress card made by our wonderful teacher Lauren, an ink pod, washi tape (disguised to help the pod from falling over), 3 nibs, an offset pen, neon pink scratch pad, and an envelope full of templates, grids and a list of Lauren's favorite products.

This girl really knows how to package things. I mean, come on how cute is this presentation?

We started the class learning simple peaks and valley strokes. We then moved in to learning two letters at a time. Once we felt comfortable, Lauren would give us two more letters to practice until we made it through the whole alphabet.
Unfortunately, being back at school has caused my days to be pretty filled, but last night I was finally able to pull out my supplies and get some practicing in. 
Being left handed made things a little challenging, but I was shocked to see how much I could improve by the end of class. Look, Lauren even instagrammed my left-handedness. My hand is famous, it got 296 likes!
Focused, in the zone, or secretively posing?

I "totes" had the best time learning calligraphy and can't wait for the advanced class to learn uppercase letters. I'm already signed up and counting down the days! Make sure and check out Lauren's site to see more of her amazing work!
xo annie