Sup, friends? We survived the first few days of 2018!!
How you feeling? I hope you’re keeping it together amidst NEW YEAR, NEW YOU madness (so intense) and not crying on Master Cleanse or sacrificing your firstborn child for a Peloton bike.
Today is a very exciting day, and one of my favorite blog events of the year, because I get to empty mah nets!!!! In case you’re not familiar with this fabulous tradition, “emptying the nets” is the cathartic exercise of writing out the year’s highs and lows in the hope of basking in the positives and allowing the negatives to fuck off into the ether (and never return). It allows me to reflect, organize my thoughts and goals for the coming months, and start the New Year on a high note. It also happens to be my favorite way to overshare…
Let’s do this.
p.s. This is a LONG post, so if you’re just here for the ‘dillas (no judgment), go ahead and scroll to the recipe at the bottom now.
1. Getting Married. CAN YOU BELIEVE I’M A MARRIED ADULT PERSON??! (I’m yelling because it still seems batshit crazy to me, and I’m not sure I will ever adjust to someone calling me “Mrs.”) Marrying Logan was obviously a life high, and I couldn’t be happier to have locked down a permanent roommate/muse/human anxiety blanket for all eternity. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Logan is hands down the best thing that has ever happened to me, and hitching my wagon to his star in front of all the people we love was awesome (and surreal). For better or worse, my memories from the wedding weekend are a giant adrenaline blur, but I can say with 100% certainty that those parties were my favorite parties I’ve ever attended! (Shocker.)
1a. The minimoon. Post-wedding, Logan and I headed up to Napa for a little R&R and alone time as newlyweds. I pictured us spending four days lounging, eating too much, drinking wine, and getting couples massages, but instead we spent most of the trip in the car escaping the Napa fires. It was the opposite of “low-key,” but I don’t think we’ve ever had more fun or laughed harder together than on our glorious disastermoon. I particularly enjoyed Logan getting stuck in the Marriott bathroom (it was our third hotel in 24 hours) and maintenance having to come take the door off while I ate cheese in bed. Memorieeeeessss.
2. My bachelorette. Thanks to the aforementioned marriage, I was able to fulfill my lifelong dream of having the world’s trashiest Vegas bachelorette. The weekend was everything I’ve always dreamed of and so. much. more. It may have been due to the oxygen being pumped into our hotel, but every single one of my bridesmaids said she had never seen me so deliriously happy, and I can’t argue with that assessment. I was born to don slutty white outfits, be served drinks by a shirtless waiter, and treat a $7 veil like a priceless heirloom. We also went to see Britney, bitch. The group is now considering doing a bachelorette-versary every 5 years…
3. The Dude Diet Tour. Thank God I ignored the peeps (and there were many) that said not to go on a book tour because it was easily the highlight of my career. Don’t get me wrong, hitting 18 cities wasn’t the most financially sound decision I’ve made, and the events were a mixed bag of epic and disastrous (i.e. the time I tried to sell books in a dive bar in Minneapolis), but each and every one was an exercise in putting myself out there and shamelessly pursuing my Dude Diet dreamz. And I got to meet, hug, chat and drink with so many of you! I have zero regrets.
4. TV, baby! I have always wanted to be on cam-ah-rah, and I got to do so much of it this year, which was terrifying thrilling. I recorded almost 30 segments in 2017, and while some were better than others, I had a blast doing them all. Plus, I no longer get drenched in full body sweat or feel like I can’t breathe right before I go on. Great success!
5. Despacito. Bless the Biebs for this banger. You know you loved it
6. Guest Chef-ing at Marché Maman. For two weeks in November, Marché Maman (aka the cutest café/boutique in Soho) served a specials menu of recipes created by yours truly. As much as I’d love to have my own restaurant, it’s also a huge pain in the ass, so I’m forever indebted to the Maman team for lending me their space and allowing me to share my favorite recipes with a larger audience. ’Twas an honor and a privilege.
7. Visiting the Cranberry Bog. I finally snagged the coveted invite to Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Bog in Rockefeller Center this year, and it was even more magical than I hoped it would be! I’m not sure why it lit me up so much, but it did, and that’s that.
8. Instastories. Technically, Instagram launched Stories in summer 2016, but I didn’t fully embrace the medium until 2017. Thank GOD I came around because it’s now my preferred method of connecting with strangers. (That sounds super creepy?) The 15-second snaps have allowed me to do me on social media, and I love that so many people slide into the DMs with hilarious commentary, questions, and compliments (my favorite!). I feel like I have my own little community of online weirdos, and it makes this weird blog lady feel all warm and fuzzy.
9. The #lobbyselfie. Given how long I lived in my last apartment, I’m shocked that I didn’t start holding daily photoshoots until 2017. Regardless, the #lobbyselfie allowed me to unleash my creativity and share my fashun with the Internets, and I will miss the shameless public vogue-ing very much.
10. Fitness Journey! IT FINALLY HAPPENED. For the past several years, my failure to exercise has been an annual low, but 2017 was the year I got off my ass and broke a sweat on the reg. (The fact that it was motivated by a desire to have toned arms in my wedding dress is irrelevant.) Not gonna lie, I dread the journey most days, but I have to say, I’ve never felt physically or mentally stronger. I walk up stairs without getting winded! I put my own suitcase in the overhead bin! I can run multiple miles without stopping! (Like 2 or 3, but that is still “multiple”!!!) The journey has also finally justified my enormous legging collection to my roommate, which thrills me.
1. Not getting my own cooking show or posing for Maxim (in a class way). Again. I’ve been rolling over these grand goals since 2011, and while it’s always disappointing to close out another year without checking them off my bucket list, I’m gonna keep on trying. (Should I email Maxim informing them of fitness journey??!) Fingies crossed for 2018, peeps.
2. Anxiety. Honestly, this one will likely always be on the low list because it’s a constant struggle. 2017 got off to a promising start on the anxiety front, but touring with the book kicked my panic disorder back into high gear. The combo of travel, strange sleeping patterns, and general lack of routine (on top of the whole wedding planning thang) really did a number on my brain, and I reverted to having intense panic attacks on a regular basis. It took me a while to get back to zero, but as it turns out, there was a serious silver lining to my increased anxiety! It prompted me to talk more about mental health on social media and the blog, which led so many of you to share your own experiences, and I couldn’t be more grateful for/proud of the badass virtual community of anxious peeps that was (inadvertently) created. We all in this together, and I hope to keep the conversation going in 2018. Virtual chest bump.
3. Trump. No explanation needed. (But what the actual fuck?)
4. Professional disappointment. Sometimes it’s really weird doing what I do. I seemingly (over)share so much of my life here and on social media, but there’s a lot of things going on that you don’t see/I don’t talk about. Especially on the professional side. I’m always working on projects that I either can’t discuss or don’t want to mention in case they don’t pan out, and this year, there were more disappointments than most. I poured a lot of time and effort and heart into a few exciting opportunities/projects that simply didn’t end up happening for one reason or another. A couple of which seemed this close to working. These “failures,” or “setbacks,” or whatever you want to call them felt soul crushing some days (fun fact: I cry all the time!), but I’m proud that I’ve gotten really good at shaking them off and getting back to work. My dad once told me, “For every one yes, there will be at least a hundred nos. You have to stay the course.” I rolled my eyes during the original conversation, but deep down, I believed him. Still do.
5. Taking a lot of shit. I’m a people-pleasing, non-confrontational person at heart, and as such, I get taken advantage of more than I’d like to admit. I took a boatload of shit in 2017 in the form of lowball payments, caving to things I shouldn’t have, and allowing people to shortchange me on work they were paid to do. It sucked, so girlfriend is gonna stand up for herself in 2018!! (But, like, in a nice way that doesn’t keep me up at night? I don’t know. I’m working on it.)
Whelp, that’s all, folks. Nets officially emptied!!! As I predicted in last year’s post, 2017 was a crazy and wonderful year, and as always, I’m thankful for the highs and the lows. There was a ton of learning and celebrating, and I’m hoping 2018 holds much more of both those things.
This is a psychotically long post (sorrrrrry), so I’m going to keep the food talk short for once. Below you’ll find a recipe for mindblowingly delicious Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprout Breakfast Quesadillas that you need to make ASAP. These ‘dillas are loaded with smoky-sweet squash and shaved Brussels (my fall/winter staples), fluffy scrambled eggs, scallions, and Monterey Jack, and they’re the perfect mix of healthy and indulgent. (You know I’m all about that balance.) They’re super easy, but they do require a little bit of prep, so I recommend whipping them up for weekend brunching, OR assembling the quesadillas ahead of time, storing them uncooked in the fridge, and popping them in a pan on weekday mornings.
Here’s to an EPIC 2018, friends! We got this.
p.s. If you’re in a sharing mood, PLEASE feel free to empty your nets in the comments. I’d love nothing more than to read some of your 2017 highs and lows. xox
Butternut and Brussels Sprout Quesadillas: (Serves 4)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups cubed butternut squash (cut into ½-inch cubes)
½ pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 large eggs, beaten
Four 10-inch whole grain tortillas
2 cups grated Monterey Jack
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only
-Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts.
-Cook until very tender and lightly browned in spots, about 18-20 minutes.
-Stir in the paprika, chili powder, salt, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices. Transfer the butternut and Brussels to a bowl and briefly set aside.
-Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until pale yellow and slightly frothy.
-Wipe out the skillet and return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Place a plate or bowl next to the stove. (If your pan is not truly nonstick, spray it with cooking spray or add a little olive oil or butter to the pan to prevent the eggs from sticking!!) When hot, pour in the beaten eggs. Cook, stirring in big sweeping motions with a spatula to form large curds, until the eggs are just set. (This will take a couple minutes MAX, so be sure to have that plate/bowl ready.) Transfer the eggs to the plate/bowl.
-Assembly time! For each dilla: Sprinkle a ¼ cup of cheese on one half of the tortilla. Add a quarter of the butternut and Brussels mix, a quarter of the scrambled eggs, and 1 tablespoon of scallions. Sprinkle with another ¼ cup cheese and fold the empty half the tortilla over the filling to close.
-Wipe out the pan one last time and return it to the stovetop over medium heat. When hot, add two quesadillas to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the underside of each tortilla is lightly browned and crispy. Flip them carefully and cook for another 2 minutes on the opposite side, then transfer to a cutting board. Repeat this process with the remaining queadillas.
-Slice each quesadilla into 3 (or 4) triangles and serve warm. Feel free to get some hot sauce, sour cream, or salsa involved. You must always do you.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash (cut into ½-inch cubes)
- ½ pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- Four 10-inch whole grain tortillas
- 2 cups grated Monterey Jack
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. Cook until very tender and lightly browned in spots, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in the paprika, chili powder, salt, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices. Transfer the butternut and Brussels to a bowl and briefly set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until pale yellow and slightly frothy.
- Wipe out the skillet and return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Place a plate or bowl next to the stove. (If your pan is not truly nonstick, spray it with cooking spray or add a little olive oil or butter to the pan to prevent the eggs from sticking!!) When hot, pour in the beaten eggs. Cook, stirring in big sweeping motions with a spatula to form large curds, until the eggs are just set. (This will take a couple minutes MAX, so be sure to have that plate/bowl ready.) Transfer the eggs to the plate/bowl.-Assembly time! For each dilla: Sprinkle a ¼ cup of cheese on one half of the tortilla. Add a quarter of the butternut and Brussels mix, a quarter of the scrambled eggs, and 1 tablespoon of scallions. Sprinkle with another ¼ cup cheese and fold the empty half the tortilla over the filling to close.
- Wipe out the pan one last time and return it to the stovetop over medium heat. When hot, add two quesadillas to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the underside of each tortilla is lightly browned and crispy. Flip them carefully and cook for another 2 minutes on the opposite side, then transfer to a cutting board. Repeat this process with the remaining queadillas.
- Slice each quesadilla into 3 (or 4) triangles and serve warm. Feel free to get some hot sauce, sour cream, or salsa involved. You must always do you.