Sunday, April 13, 2014

And now for something completely different... the Liebster Award!

Today, I'm taking a break from my (completely not) regularly scheduled food blogging. This is a little glimpse into the non-Slacker Gourmet aspects of my life!

On Thursday, Kristina over at The Fast and Foodiest (if you're a person who likes food, fitness, and/or cute puppy pictures, you should head over there now!) nominated me for a Liebster Award! What is this, you ask? I hadn't heard of it before, and there seem to be lots of variants floating around the blogosphere, so I'll just go with some of the most common themes.

Liebster is a German word that loosely translates to "dearest". The Liebster Award is passed from blogger to blogger, recognizing up-and-coming bloggers with relatively few followers. The nominator asks the nominee some questions, and the nominee answers those questions on their blog, links back to the original nominator, nominates and links to their own favorite up-and-coming bloggers, and asks them a new set of questions.

I hesitate to say it's like a chain letter (but it kinda is), but for those of us with very few followers, it's nice to have a little extra link love thrown our way (I'm currently up to a whopping 19 "likes" on Facebook, including myself - this is not the big leagues here). Plus, it's a lovely distraction when I don't have any recipes ready to post, so away we go!

Kristina's questions for me:

1. Where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from the people and circumstances around me, whether in real life or virtually. All of my friends have wonderful qualities that I try to emulate. When I was younger, I kinda saw myself as a composite of all my friends, and I thought that was a bad thing. Now - I realize it just means that they're the meaning in my life, they're my inspiration... (oops, lapsed into a little Chicago there for a second).

2. Your favorite vacation spot?
Oh boy, this is tough. There are a few, and for all different reasons!

Key West, mostly because of kitties.

Welcoming committee (Project 365: 45/365)

Montreal, because I've been there at a few different stages of my life (high school with schoolmates, college with a group of friends, as adults with just Kevin and me and with another couple), and I discover new things each time I'm there.

Notre-Dame and carriage

Outerbanks, because renting a house with your chosen family (twice) is awesome! This is our second trip, with a smaller group (2013):

Beach fire

3. Food you will never, ever try?
Fugu. I love most sushi, but I'm not anxious to try sushi that has a much greater chance of killing me.

4. Food that you haven’t tried, but are totally desperate to try?
I had a really hard time with this, because I've tried a lot of things. But, I want to try a turducken and a cherpumple, just to say that I have. 

5. Most memorable “foodie” moment/ most memorable meal?
I've had a lot of awesome foodie experiences - tasting menus, 10-course meals cooked by good friends (Kristina and her husband Mike are insane in the best way possible)... but the one that sticks in my mind the most is the very first chef's tasting menu that I had, at Morimoto in Philly. 

My then-boyfriend (now ex, but still close friend) and I went for lunch to celebrate getting his first career job (which incidentally, he's still at 9 years later). I have such fond memories of the rock shrimp tempura and the first time I had squid nigiri that didn't make me feel like I was chewing on a piece of rubber. I went to the NYC Morimoto for the tasting menu a couple of years ago and it was wonderful, but nothing's quite like your first time. :)

6. Have you climbed/hiked a mountain? Where?
I haven't! But hiking Mount Wachusett and having a picnic is a goal for this summer (but I say that every year).

7. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
In general, making it to adulthood with my dignity (mostly) intact.

Semi-recently - I won 2nd place in my company's annual photo calendar contest ($200 cash prize and my photo is the photo for June). This isn't the most impressive thing in the world, I know. But - there are hundreds of entries every year (our company has a global presence, and there are usually between 300-400 entries). A committee culls those down to 40 entries and opens up voting across the company. I've entered in previous years, and never made it to the voting stage, so to win 2nd place was a big deal! Those who know me know that amateur photography is a huge hobby for me, and this was external validation that, hey, I'm actually not too bad at taking pictures.

The prize-winning photo:

Milky Way over the ocean

8. A goal of yours that makes you shake in your boots, just a little?
Adding tiny humans to our family. Still not there yet, not entirely sure when/if it'll happen.

9. Place you would move to if given the ideal opportunity?
I love Massachusetts, and I wouldn't want to move away from it full-time. So, probably a bigger/nicer house not too far from where I currently live! Although I wouldn't say no to a winter home in Arizona...

10. Celebrity that makes you cringe?
Too many of them... but I'll go with Lindsay Lohan - she really was talented, until she took a detour into hard living. Drugs are bad, mmkay?

And now... my nominations! I don't follow too many blogs (no time to keep up with them), so the smaller blogs I follow belong to people I know in real life (and overlap with Kristina's nominations). I won't be insulted if those who have already done this don't want to do it again!

Your questions (I'll keep it simple with just 5):
  1. What did you think you would be doing with your life when you were 13 years old, and if your 13 year old self could see you now, would she be surprised?
  2. Is there anything you're really good at making that you don't like to or won't eat? If so, what?
  3. What is your favorite everyday meal (easily accessible, don't have to travel far to get it)?
  4. Have you had any celebrity encounters? If so, what was the most interesting one?
  5. What was your worst culinary disaster?

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