Belated Christmas Gifts

by Ann Marie Michaels on January 11, 2011

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My new bike

I didn’t get any Christmas gifts this year other than my mom’s homemade Bing cherry preserves and some bay leaves from her garden (thanks, Mom!). Seth and I didn’t exchange gifts, nor did we exchange with our extended family.

I’m not complaining. When you have kids, Christmas is all about them. I can’t tell you how fun it was to watch Katie open her dream dollhouse.

However, I wanted to give myself some Christmas gifts. I have worked very, very hard these past few years to build Real Food Media and it’s finally starting to pay off. So I wanted to reward myself.

Beach Cruiser

I’m so excited about my bike!

I finally went yesterday and bought the bike in the photo above. I’ve been wanting one of these “beach cruisers” for at least five years — ever since I moved to the west side of Los Angeles. Everyone rides these bikes around Venice. It’s especially great to take to the beach, since beach parking can be a hassle. I never had the extra money to splurge on myself — so this is such a treat. I figure, if we’re going to move away from LA, I had better make the most of it while I still can and enjoy the ocean and the sunshine.

Part of this gift I am giving myself is one morning off per week. We moms don’t really get a day off. Weekends are full of errands and shopping and cleaning and taking the kids to playdates. So if you want some time to yourself (which we all need), you have to carve it out for yourself.

After working my butt off for the past two years building Real Food Media (which is down right now – under construction since we’re rebuilding it), working literally 16 hours a day for the first year and a half, I am really ready for a little bit of ME time!

I’m going to take Friday mornings and ride my bike to Venice Beach and read. Eventually I will expand this to one whole day off per week but I’m starting with mornings.

I also got a trailer to go with it, so Katie can ride in the back. I can’t wait to take her for a ride this weekend.

iPhone G4

Finally upgraded my old iPhone. I really wanted the video capability as well as the flash photography. Hey, I need this for my blog — it’s more of a business expense than a gift. But I’ll count it.

Lap Dawg

Oh, how I love my Lap Dawg!

Another tax-deductible blogging tool that I had to have when I saw it on Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Blog.

Now I can blog in comfort on the couch and my legs don’t get hot. If you use a laptop, you’ve gotta get one of these!

Books

I usually buy my books on audio via Audible.com, but there are times when I like to buy a physical book.

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content. – I listened to this book on audio over the holidays. I had to buy the print version because I want to hold it in my hands.

This book has completely revolutionized my life. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I will be reviewing it soon over on my new blog, Social Media Strategy Blog.

In fact, if I had not read that book, I never would have found the time to get the new blog started. I’ve been planning to start that blog for a YEAR. Yes, a WHOLE YEAR.

I read The 4-Hour Workweek, implemented just ONE thing from that book (only check email twice a day) and I had the blog up and running two days later. It is powerful, people! (And yes, this is another reason I am taking half a day off starting this week!)

Books About Bread Baking

The next three books are all books about bread baking that were recommended to me by Lisa Rose, author of the Real Food Digest blog. She was kind enough to invite me over to Shabbat dinner last week and I got to check out all her cookbooks.

She makes amazing sourdough bread — thanks to these books and a lot of practice. Lisa said these 3 books were the ones that helped her the most.

I’ll be teaching my grains course this year, so I want to make sure I’m an expert at baking bread. (I’ve mastered the basic sourdough as well as pizza dough, waffles and pancakes, but I want to try my hand at various other kinds of sourdough bread).

The Bread Bible

My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Deep Nutrition

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food – Lisa also recommended this book to me. She said she heard about it on Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness podcast. I ordered the book immediately — it looks absolutely amazing! (Look for the review on my blog in the coming months.)

My Gifts to You

I have lots of big plans for this blog this year.

Monthly Giveaways

First of all, I’m doing monthly giveaways for you guys. If you haven’t yet, go right now and enter to win the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press — $40 Value. This garlic press is the bomb!

Monthly Book Reviews

In addition to that, I’m going to start doing monthly book reviews. I’ve read a lot of books and I want to share with you the ones I think are worth your time.

Monthly Podcasts

Yes, I’ll still be doing my podcast. I’m aiming for once a month. Unfortunately Blog Talk Radio upped their fees and I really do not like the ads they put on my shows — so I will start producing my own podcasts. You can expect to see podcasts again in a month or two.

Monthly Giveaways on RealFoodMedia.com

I’m also going to be giving away an Excalibur Dehydrator. YES! This will be part of the new launch on Real Food Media (again, it’s down right now — because we’re rebuilding it), and I’ll be doing monthly giveaways on the Real Food Media site as well.

I’ll announce it on my blog next month — so make sure you sign up for my Feedburner so you will get the updates:

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Q & A Series

I’m also starting a new Q & A series on the blog. This will be the way you can get your questions answered. I’ll answer 3-5 questions each week. I’ll announce the first one next week.

Got a question about cooking traditional food? Go ahead and ask below in the comments.

What Did You Guys Get?

What were your favorite Christmas (or Hanukkah) gifts? Did you get anything cool? Share in the comments please!

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