If you are looking for a new desktop wallpaper to download, here’s a free digital download of a pretty desktop calendar that you can use for the month of January! There’s also a download for a smartphone wallpaper if you prefer. Keep reading to get your January 2019 desktop calendar or just scroll past all the text and download the file you want.
How did you do in 2018? I have mixed feelings about the past year.
- The good:
- I worked the entire year as a recipe developer and the work was very constant.
- I liked the clients I had (and still have) and I could comfortably pay my bills throughout the year.
- I collaborated with many brands in 2018 and I am proud of each project and the work I did:
- I made so many great chocolate recipes with my favourite Cacao Barry chocolates in the last year, like this gluten-free chocolate cake, this milk chocolate tart, the glazed baked chocolate donuts, and it all started with double chocolate zucchini muffins. We are continuing the collaboration for another year so there will be even more posts dedicated to chocolate on the blog!
- These cheese waffles using Burnbrae Farms Naturegg turned out great and this post was a reminder that not every recipe on this blog has to be sweet!
- I made the yummiest apple crumble cake with the Braun MultiMix and now I use the Braun hand mixer for all my small-batch baking!
- This gorgeous golden milk rice pudding recipe was such a comfort at the beginning of the year. Rice pudding makes me happy and I am very proudly addicted to rice so this USA Rice Canada collaboration was welcome.
- These baked pumpkin donuts I did for Weight Watchers Canada on Instagram are a great example of the collaboration because I believe life is about being able to eat dessert too!
- I tried to show the versatility of Le Creuset Canada cookware like this Rondeau pan I used for poaching quince. Honestly, the Le Creuset pieces I tested have been pretty life-changing. I didn’t realize how much of an impact the cookware would have on my day-to-day life.
- I bought a new car in August after driving the same car for 16 years. Boy, have cars changed over the years! I miss my old car, but I love my new car!
- I tried to wear lipstick in 2018, which was one of my corny resolutions for the year and it was fun testing different products and trying new brands.
- I read a lot of great books and I learned a lot from many of them.
So many great things to show for 2018. What more could I ask for?
- The bad:
- My weekends were mostly non-existent in 2018. I failed miserably at work–life balance and life in general. During the week, I worked every day and then I went to the gym, and that was about it. On weekends, I cleaned my apartment and I worked more. I went for breakfast usually once on the weekend and did groceries for the week. If it weren’t for my weekend breakfasts out, most of my weeks would have been all work, no play. I don’t think 2018 had any kind of balance.
- I struggled to find enough time for this blog, for the social media, for all the things that I should do to run this website and make this space better. That left me feeling sad and VERY frustrated.
- I continued to bake and put out the best recipes I could all year long, but I feel like I lacked a greater purpose on the blog.
- I took time off at the end of December because I was exhausted and unproductive by the end of the year. I felt burnt out, like I couldn’t do more.
- To top it all off, because I leave my car parked on the street every day as I don’t have a parking spot, my shiny new car was hit, not once, but twice, and the week before Christmas, I was forced to have the side-view mirror replaced because it was so broken. Bummer!
Good riddance, 2018!
It’s the beginning of a new month and a new year. Do you make goals for the new year? Do you write resolutions or come up with a guiding word for the year? I need to make plans for 2019 for my work, for my blog, for my life, to better guide the decisions I make and the content I put out throughout the year. Of course, upcoming deadlines make it difficult, once again, to sit down and plan when I have contracts to fulfill, deliverables to submit, bills to pay. Therein lies the ongoing problem: I put off the thinking to plough forward with the work. I do, do, do. I get “stuck in the weeds,” as they say. Not ideal. I end up working FOR my business instead of working ON my business. With that in mind, in 2019:
- I need to write a business plan of sorts for this blog so I can have a better idea of where I am going with my website and so I can produce better content.
- I need to start asking for help and contracting out some of the work. No, I don’t want other contributors for the blog. That’s not my point at all. I need to find people to help me run the little things behind the scenes that suck up all of my time so that I can finally focus on the content on the blog and achieve some form of balance.
- I rented a parking spot nearby to avoid having to replace the mirror again and to make my life easier on photoshoot days when I have 6 or 7 heavy bags of groceries to lug back and forth between my car and my condo.
- I think I’m going to hire a cleaning company to give me back those 3 hours every weekend so that I can do more fun things with that extra time instead of cleaning.
- I’m going to continue to read and wear lipstick off-and-on because why not?
- I’m going to try to have more fun and go out more so that I spend less time alone.
December reading list
The one thing I did achieve in 2018, on a personal level, was reading. I read over 60 books in 2018, which is more books than I had hoped. The main reason I read so much was that, by the end of the year, instead of mindlessly flipping on the tv to watch hours of Netflix to unwind at night, I practiced reading. And come December, I had replaced Netflix with books. I had zero desire to turn on the tv and I was addicted to reading. Turns out reading is a muscle you can train. The more you read, the more you want to read. In 2019, maybe I should read less and go out more though… that’s a whole other problem for another time! Here’s what I read last month:
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (available on Amazon) was such an awesome read. I highly recommend this book. Pachinko is captivating, moving, and educational, telling the story of generations of a family of Koreans that end up moving to Japan over the course of the 20th century. I honestly know very little about what goes on on the other side of the planet. So, just like when I read the story of generations of a Chinese family during the cultural revolution in China in Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Amazon), I gained so much insight from Pachinko.
- Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (available on Amazon): this book was SO FUNNY! The story of a woman in fashion who thinks she’s “let herself go” and so she is trying to lose weight. This book basically makes fun of a lot of the diet and exercise fads people are obsessed with these days. I really loved this book. It was not serious in any way, but it was just a great, hilarious read.
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (available on Amazon): this book isn’t just about the struggle of a marriage, but also about race and injustice in the United States. The story was upsetting, though it didn’t end on a bad note.
- The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani (available on Amazon): I think the best word to describe The Perfect Nanny would be creepy. It’s the story of a couple who hire the perfect nanny, until things derail and she ends up doing things that make her not-so-perfect. Yikes! This is a very short book, around 150 pages, and a page turner.
- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (available on Amazon): this book was a lot like the movie Groundhog Day and I found it really odd. Imagine if you end up waking up every morning in somebody else’s body to relive the same day as the previous day until you figure out who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. Weird!
- There There by Tommy Orange (available on Amazon): this book made me really sad. The story is told from multiple point of views, telling the stories of different native people in the US who are travelling to a pow-wow. Each character in the book is dealing with an issue that native people face, whether it’s physical abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, poverty, obesity, unemployment, unwanted pregnancy, etc. This book was easy to read but very difficult to digest because it leaves you feeling helpless. You can really see the problems the native population in North America faces in this book, but most of us don’t have a clue how to make it better.
- P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (available on Amazon): in November, I read Jenny Han’s first book To All The Boys I Loved Before (Amazon) and I loved it so much that I read the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, in December. Jenny Han has written this super sweet series of coming-of-age books and I enjoyed the sequel immensely. I’ll probably read the third instalment in January.
- The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (available on Amazon): this book is the prequel to one of my all-time fave movies, Practical Magic (which stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as two sisters who are also witches). If you haven’t watched the movie, head over to Amazon! The movie is great and I also enjoyed the prequel book!
January 2019 DESKTOP CALENDAR AND SMARTPHONE WALLPAPER
Image source & recipe: Easy golden milk rice pudding
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