What’s Making Me Happy This Week

From Thanksgiving until December 21 at approximately 11:30AM when the last exam is turned in, it’s all about the little things. I spent the entire day buried in a hornbook attempting to come up with rules about the First Amendment. Apparently, there are rules there. Who knew. So, like I said, any tiny diversion is a welcome one. Here’s what’s currently keeping me afloat:

1. New Music: The Black Keys’ new record, “El Camino,” drops on December 6. I’ve been following them since “The Big Come Up,” and was [rightfully, I believe] obsessed with 2010’s “Brothers.” OBSESSED. I saw them perform at the Pavilion back in the days before it was the N*Telos Wireless Pavilion, and they certainly do not disappoint. This week, I’m biding my time until the 6th with the first single, Lonely Boy. Check out the music video here. I’m finally amassing enough content for a new mixtape, too…stay tuned.

2. Light Reading: It seems I’m on a books-made-into-movies kick. Having just finished The Godfather over Thanksgiving break [phenomenal], I’ve moved on to a “pop culture blind spot”* of mine: The Hunger Games. NPR raves, raves, raves about this series, and hey, they’re making a movie out of it – must be good, right?**

Set in some sort of post-apocalyptic world [from the few pages I’ve read], the novel follows a heroine through a trial called the “Hunger Games,” which I can analogize most closely to the Triwizard Tourny in Harry Potter. 24 “chosen” children [picked from all kids ages 12-18] are forced to literally battle one another to the death [seriously, they have to kill eachother]. The Games apparently serve as some sort of sick reminder to this society not to revolt. I don’t know, I’m not that far. In any event, it’s a fast read, pretty interesting, and a welcome distraction from wills, trusts, estates, the Constitution, and ethics rules.

3. High Scores: If I come out of finals and all I can say for myself is that I scored at the “oatmeal extremist” level on this quiz, I think I’ll still be happy.

4. Protein: Dinner tonight was a team effort. Shaun: marinated tempeh and beans. Courtney: cauliflower “mashed potatoes.” We started the half marathon training plan this morning [bright and early], so we’re starting to think about packing in the protein and cutting back the carbs and sugars bigtime.

The tempeh was simple: chop a block of tempeh and onions, soak it in Shaun’s spicy beer mustard all day [he made a second batch with He’Brew Messiah Bold Brown Ale this time], then cook in a skillet. Tempeh is much thicker than tofu, and packs 20 grams of protein per serving. Since it’s a little more calorie dense, we opted for cauliflower mash rather than a carb. This one was horseradish/chive mash. Recipe to follow tomorrow, as well as advice on how to avoid my mistakes.

simple dinner.

It looks like I’m going to have to see a sports doctor about my knee before this training program gets too intense. The pain is getting to be constant and I buckle on stairs sometimes. Oh, knees.

5. Online Shopping: I’m slowly formulating/checking things off a holiday gift list for family and friends. I’m stuck on quite a few people, but I spent a good chunk of time online today trying to come up with good ideas. I hate, hate, hate when people buy things just to buy things, or focus on quantity over quality, so I try really hard to pick gifts straight off a person’s list or give it tons of thought before sneaking in for the buy. I can’t wait to wrap the bounty and put it under our tree.

6. Thinking [Dreaming] Ahead: It’s official – Shaun, Grady and I will be in Asheville, N.C. for New Year’s. I’m thrilled. We reserved our table for a New Year’s prix-fixe dinner at Posana, snagged tickets to The Biltmore Estate, picked out some other fun places [here, and here, for example] and are mapping out running trails and dog-friendly excursions. It’s one of the most dog-friendly, and from what I’ve researched, vegetarian-friendly cities. Is it December 21st yet?

* A phrase used on NPR’s “Pop Culture Happy Hour” for things overlooked.

** Not necessarily. See “Twilight.” But then again, the book series is a pitiful excuse for fiction, too.


Categories: Food


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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