Happy New Year!

Last night, I went to the the "Travelers Circles" program sponsored by the MN Council of Hosteling International. My friend Jon coordinates some of these programs and I volunteered to go and talk about Spain. I was so nervous! I was sure this would be a group of very well-traveled people (I was right about that) and that I would not be interesting enough, or have beautiful enough pictures to give an adequate presentation (I was wrong).

I had so much fun speaking with them, and everyone was so friendly. Many people afterwards complimented me on my presentation and my pictures. One woman was so sweet and told me how much she enjoyed my energy and how I wouldn't have even needed photos - just listening to me was enough. It was a wonderful evening. I would love to go back to hear some other presentations or even present again. Those of you that know me well know that I really enjoy public speaking, so this was right up my alley.

So, where will David and I go next? Well, we've been throwing around some ideas. One thing we would love to do is a bicycle tour through Vietnam. In the last week I've been particularly intrigued by Fiji. I really would love to do a beach vacation soon. Spain was so exhausting and when we got back I immediately wanted to plan a trip to a beach someplace. We've been having sort of a dinner club with the group from Spain and last week when we got together we broached the topic of the next trip. It probably won't be a European vacation...maybe South America or Southeast Asia.

What have David and I been up to lately? We've set some goals for the new year. The most significant is to eat out less. We ate out a lot in 2010 and 2011. We did the math. We were consistent though...only a $15 difference in dining out expenses between the two years. This decision is really twofold: it is healthier to eat at home. We'll have more control over what goes into the food and the quality of the ingredients we use. I've been reading A LOT of cooking blogs lately and also blogs about "real food" and I'm excited to make this change. I've also been having a lot of fun cooking again. I have more cookbooks than you can shake a stick at and they have been sadly neglected the last few years. 

The other reason is financial. Obviously, eating out is expensive. I do financial literacy presentations for college students, and I often talk about spending priorities and deciding what is important to you. And I always used the example of eating out...and how this was something I really enjoyed (because I DO!) and that this was something that I prioritized over other sorts of things. I still love to eat out, but we are limiting how often we do it and focusing more on our dinner group with friends and really making eating out an event. At the end of November, we will compare our dining out expenses for the year to those of 2011. With the difference, we're going to take a trip someplace between Christmas and New Years! Travel is edging out dining in the priorities category!

I'll keep you posted on our progress throughout the year. Hopefully I'll also find the time to blog a little about some of the yummy food we are making at home.

David will be doing some more triathlons this summer. I will not. I'll be focusing on just running.

I'm trying to read more and I'll try to tell you a little bit about what I am reading.

And I do still knit. I've got a sock almost done...it has been so long since I knit socks I need to pull out my Vogue knitting book and get a refresher on the Kitchener stitch.

That's all for now folks. I hope to make it here to post a bit more frequently in the future. 


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