I am sure I am not the only blogger out there that plan ahead posts, especially one like the first post of a new year. I had all these ideas of linking back and making a photo collage of everything I’ve done in 2016, from being a culinary judge at Kendall College, from quitting my job, to my trip to Austin to help my brother’s family move in March, to taking the leap and working my butt off at farmers markets (I will forever be grateful whenever I go to farmers markets from now on to all the people who put up their tents, pull out all their product, etc. – it’s hard work!) to finding my dream job at The Chopping Block, only to realize that it wasn’t a career I could actually live off of, to coming full circle back to working at a law firm.

It was an interesting year for sure, but an unsettling one at the same time. While I know I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person, there was so much uncertainty. Each and every week was different, and while that’s sometimes isn’t a bad thing, I’ve realized that having structure in my life is calming. Knowing what my pay check is going to be, budgeting, etc. And I have to say that I am loving my day job. One of the things I hated about my old job is that most of my day was spent cleaning the office, making coffee, doing lunch runs and occasionally doing some actual legal work. My new job keeps me on my toes all day and I love that feeling. If you give me two jobs I’d probably only do only one right, but give me 15 things and they all work out perfectly.

So my motto for 2017 is #LiveFully. It’s not coincidental that this is Weight Watchers mantra as well. We all know I’ve been on Weight Watchers on and off over the years. My sister and I lost 70 pounds in 1999 – it took us about 15 months to do that. We lived in a two flat together at the same time, so having a buddy that was so close was very helpful. However, my sister and I could equally “suggest” to the other to “why not just order pizza?!” But when I think back to that time, it was consistency, not perfection. In 2013, the year I did 100 days of Insanity, it was the same thing. No matter what was going on in my day, I made time for Insanity and knew that not doing it was not an option.

My friend SuziCate always takes time to reflect on gratitude, joy, awareness and creativeness in each day. I love that idea because it makes you focus on today. Not what could have been yesterday or what tomorrow will bring. I hope to incorporate that mindset in 2017. I also find strength in positive quotes. Here are a few I’ve found around Instagram and Facebook in just the last few days:

“Life is going to push down on you. That is inevitable. . . you can let the weight crush you, or you can decide to push back!”

“Don’t ever pray for a life free from adversity, pray for the strength to handle any adversity.”

“Be more loyal to your dreams than your fears.”

“Stop waiting for the perfect moment.”

That last one really stuck with me when I read it the day after Christmas. Like most people, I decided I was going to get “back on” plan January 1. But I read that and thought “why not today?” And guess what? By drinking water instead of wine, sticking within my points (except for Christmas Eve) I ended my last WI of 2016 with a loss of 3.8. Had I waited until January 1 I probably would have eaten and drank myself through the week and gained another pound or two.

The kadults and I have also decided to do our own meal plans. It was getting too difficult for me to remember everyone’s likes and dislikes and meal planning and grocery shopping (which is fun for me!) became a chore. Hannah doesn’t like most meat, Jacob doesn’t like pork and some vegetables, Hannah doesn’t like spicy stuff, Jacob doesn’t like Asian food – you get the drill. So I meal planned for myself, asked Hannah and Jacob if they wanted to partake in any of these dinners, they chose two, and they will figure out the rest of their week themselves. Perfect! I spent $52 at the grocery store yesterday, am relying on a few things in my pantry and freezer, and have meal planned out the whole week. Um, chicken may have been on sale for $1.69 this week, so lots of chicken dishes!



  • freezer leftover lasagna soup
  • leftover Thai meatball wraps
  • leftover chicken tikka masala
  • spaghetti squash pasta with Italian sausage
  • Friday – anything leftover that needs to be eaten up!


  • chicken wings with celery, carrots and fruit
  • jerk chicken with black beans and rice
  • Thai meatball lettuce cups
  • chicken stir fry with soba noodles
  • most likely Party Pizza Friday

I am keeping the meal plan quite simple. Being a food blogger I always wanted to come up with like three new recipes a week, well, we all know that hasn’t happened in a while, so I am going to go with one a week – this week the Thai lettuce cups, and if the week allows more, that’s great.

Gratitude: Having a warm house and the comfiest couch evah.

Joy: Spending the holidays with family and concentrating the people around me vs. what’s under the tree.

Awareness: Standing outside with a piping hot cup of coffee in my hand while letting the dogs out and appreciating all the tall trees around me.

I’d love to hear what you are either grateful, joyful or aware of today – even if things are not going the way you may have planned, are having a tough time, I know if you dig deep, you can find something positive about your day.



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  • SuziCate
    January 2, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Happy New Year, my friend! I hope this year brings many wonderful moments into your life. I enjoyed the way I documented last year as it did hold me accountable to myself. Though I intend to follow that format to a degree this year instead of blogging about it I have started a bullet journal to hold myself accountable. I love your theme of “Livefully”. Mine is similar, “Relishing the Moments”. I haven’t decided if I will blog about them or not or how often it I choose to do so. Regardless, I look forward to continuing to keep in touch with you through FB.

    • Biz319
      January 4, 2017 at 7:59 am

      I have always loved your writing style – thanks for inspiring me!

  • Nan
    January 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    What a nice post! One of my goals is to cook 1 new dish every week too! I have been perusing through my many cookbooks and writing things down. I also want to do some exploring in my state. I’ve lived here almost 20 years and have never really traveled much locally.

    • Biz319
      January 4, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Great goals Nan – I hope to go to some Chicago restaurants that have been on my bucket list ??

  • your prettier sister
    January 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Those were good times – doing Taebo in your living room when the kids were tiny! Remember when Mark would climb on one of us when we were doing leg raises? LOL

    I’m with you on the appreciate all we do have instead of wishing I had something more – we have a lot to be thankful for!!!

    We are going to kick ass this year doing weight watchers – glad I have you as a partner!

    • Biz319
      January 4, 2017 at 7:58 am

      We would laugh more than workout I think! Glad to have you on this journey too!

    • Your prettier brother
      January 4, 2017 at 11:32 am

      I’m not on WW, but I’ll be there with you guys in spirit as I try to kick my own ass back into gear. My goal for 2017 is #SpendOneYearLosingTheWeightISpentTheLastTwoYearsGaining. I think that hashtag will start trending now.

      • Biz319
        January 5, 2017 at 7:04 am

        Ha, I had to approve your comment Charlie! Love the hashtag ??

  • Shelley B
    January 2, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    I like the way you’re starting out this year – you ARE going to have a great one, I can see it already!

    • Biz319
      January 4, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Thanks Shelley – I feel this is the year that my foot will be leaving the quick sand of my past and stop dwelling on what I could or should have done about Tony’s health. Hugs!

  • Lynne
    January 2, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Happy New Year Biz! Gratitude, Joy and Awareness…all good to think about and focus on. Making me think…

    • Biz319
      January 4, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Happy New Years Lynne! I ate the last cookie last night that you sent me, but my favorite thing in the whole tin was the spiced pecans – yum!

  • Kelly B.
    January 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I am grateful for your blog as it gives me true joy and inspiration, which in turn makes me aware of the positive things in my life!! Thanks Biz & happy new year!!! All the best in 2017! ???

    • Biz319
      January 4, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Kelly! This comment made my day – happy New Years to you too!

  • ashley | the pike place kitchen
    January 3, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I LOVE this concept. I also LOVE reading other people’s meal plans. I think they’re so interesting. good luck this week!