Tales From A Hungry Life

January 1, 2014

New Year, New You

by Maria Schulz

Welcome, 2014

Welcome, 2014

I woke up this morning to a new year and felt the weight of all those bad choices in 2013—too many White Castles, too little time—bearing down on me. So, in a momentary fit of being completely unoriginal, I started to think about what New Year’s resolutions I could make. I consulted this list for inspiration:


Making them is the easy part. It’s keeping them that’s tricky. Here are some of the resolutions I’ve seen listed in several articles. I could choose to adopt one, all, or none of them:

1. Lose weight

2. Spend less

3. Exercise more

4. Get a new job

5. Eat healthy food

6. Manage stress better

7. Quit smoking

8. Improve relationships

9. Stop procrastinating

10. Put aside time for yourself

11. Volunteer to help others

12. Get a better education

13. Take a trip

14. Sleep more

Or, being contrary as usual, I could create my own “alternate universe” selection of New Year’s resolutions. So, here in no particular order, are my:


14 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

1. Gain weight. Look, I’ve been trying to lose weight since Ronald Reagan was in office. It’s just not working for me. So, in the interest of making 2014 the best year yet, full of enjoying myself more and worrying less, I’m going to create my own 5 Servings of Cake a Day Diet. I will eat nothing but cake all day long! I will have chocolate cake for breakfast, Lemon Meringue pie for lunch, a power snack of Italian pastries at 3 pm, Napoleon cake for dinner and a late snack of cheesecake (fruit topping is optional). The goal will be to gain 20 pounds this year, or possibly more. Who’s with me? I bet this is an idea that could go viral. Maybe I will have my own Cake Diet Empire. Think of this as sort of like The Atkins Diet, only with no protein whatsoever (unless you include cheesecake portions every day).

Get your 5 servings daily

Get your 5 servings daily

2. Spend, spend, spend. If you haven’t guessed yet, cake baking and buying can be expensive. I will have to run the oven all day long, plus I’m going to need ingredients for when I feel like baking and a bakery stipend for when I don’t, and that costs some serious pesos, my friend. Who has time to budget and plan for retirement? I have cake to think about. I can’t exactly do spreadsheets and plot graphs telling me where my money is going and how to spend less when I have two fists full of cake and icing everywhere.

3. Exercise less. Of course, I can tell you that I’m going to go to the gym 5 times a week and planning to do yoga the other two days, just to stay flexible and keep torching those calories. But remember, I’m the same person who has vowed to eat cake and only cake for the next 365 days. I can’t exactly gain weight if I’m exercising more. Duh.

Can you really bend like that?

Can you really bend like that?

4. Keep my job. Job-hunting is time-consuming, and besides, there is always cake at my office. Is it Valentine’s Day? Christmas? Thanksgiving? Lincoln’s birthday? Halloween? Groundhog Day? Five thousand employees who each have a birthday and therefore, REQUIRE CAKE? On any given day, there are 12 different cakes and pies out and they’re encouraging you to eat 5 slices of each one. Minor holidays also include cake: Cinco de mayo, St. Joseph’s Day, The Feast of All Saints (Saints, apparently, love cake), and Sweetest Day. Who celebrates Sweetest Day? Who cares? There’s cake! That is, until the health insurance people show up, weigh you, and tell you that you should seriously consider eating less cake. Kill joys.

Birthday cake

5. Eat less fruits and vegetables. I spent most of 2013 trying to find new and inventive ways to get more fruits and vegetables into my diet. I’ve learned how to hide flax in meatballs, puree vegetables and stick them into sauces, and make fruit tortes that are 95% fruit and 5% cake. Let me tell you, it was exhausting. So for this year, I figure I will shoot for less and hopefully be successful. It’s always worked for me before.

You're it! And by "it," I mean dinner.

You’re it! And by “it,” I mean dinner.

6. STRESS? WHAT STRESS? WHO SAYS I’M STRESSED? I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE XX@*#! YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT! How do people accomplish anything if they aren’t stressed? In the days of the caveman, the guy who walked around saying things like, “hey man, don’t sweat it out. Maybe we’ll find food tomorrow” probably died of starvation and/or was eaten by a lion. If you’re not running to accomplish something, you’re not living. At least that’s what I tell myself. Now I gotta run.

7. Start smoking. I have never smoked a day in my life, but I think I will take up my former candy cigarette smoking habit. It used to help me de-stress back in the days when a nun in a habit wielding a yardstick could come lunging at me at any moment.

Pass the candy cigarettes

Pass the candy cigarettes

8. Neglect relationships. Look, I have a very full year ahead, baking, eating, and buying cake. I’m not sure I’ll have time for anyone other than my baker. Sorry.

9. Start procrastinating. Listen, I finally published my book after 9 years of writing it. I was hoping that maybe Oprah Winfrey would hear about me and invite me to teach one of her Master Classes called: The Art of Procrastination. I am a MASTER at it. Why stop doing something that you’re obviously good at? I mean, if they were handing out Olympic medals for procrastination, I would be a 9-time Gold Medalist.

Now available on amazon.com

Now available on amazon.com

10. Never put aside time for myself. I remember when my daughter was a baby in the car seat carrier and I brought her with me to a doctor’s appointment. My doctor was giving me handy tips about de-stressing and making time for myself. “See that baby there,” he said, pointing to my 1 month old. “You didn’t have to bring her with you. You can always leave her behind when you need time for yourself.” I nodded slowly, and then began to wonder if my doctor had ever cared for actual, living children, or if he knew that:

a) A one-month old child cannot be left alone in the house for extended periods of time while I de-stressed and/or visited my doctor

b) Part of the reason I was stressed was because I could never leave my small child home alone unattended

c) If and when I DID turn to my baby and say, “Mommy has to go to the doctor. You can just suck it up while I’m gone,” the police would take me away and put me in jail

d) Suddenly, I’d have a whole new stress level to contend with when I met my new prison girlfriend, Marla

e) The thought of a tattoo that said: “Marla & Maria 4E” was already making me feel very stressed

11. Volunteer to help others. Okay, I will do this, but I think I’m going to have to make the “others” chimpanzees. Why not start my own sanctuary for chimpanzees and/or actors who just couldn’t make it in show biz? The chimps can do spreadsheets and plot out my retirement while the actors can clean the sanctuary. Together, they can put on shows like “Meet Me In St. Louis” and “The Sound of Music,” or maybe even “The Godfather.” Those chimps are very versatile. The actors may prove to be a bigger problem.

Never take sides against the family

Never take sides against the family

12. Refuse to be further educated. Between eating cake and staging chimpanzee shows, I will be very, very busy this year. I don’t have time for no more stinkin’ education. The only school I will make time for, however, is Oprah’s Master Class. Especially if she does one called: “How to Make Your Chimp Acting School A Billion Dollar Success.”

13. Go nowhere. Traveling is overrated. Besides, if I am busy with my chimps and actors, I won’t have time to deal with the 12 hours you need to get through security, then climb onto that cattle car in the skies, where someone will either be kicking the back of my seat or reclining so far back that they are lying in my lap. Unless, that is, they’re a chimp. Then I’m okay with it.

14. Sleep less. I’m not sure this is physically possible. The other night, I fell asleep at 12 and woke up every hour on the hour because my dog confused the moonlight with broad daylight. She is either blind or stupid, or both. You see, this is where a chimp would really come in handy, because he can let my dog out twelve times a night (he’ll be up all night practicing his lines for his soliloquy in Macbeth, of course).

If for some reason (that I personally don’t understand) you intend to actually choose a more traditional New Year’s resolution, here’s an interesting article about apps that can help you succeed:


Unless you’d like to join me in my 2014 Cake Diet revolution…


Vaselopita – Greek New Year’s Cake

 Start the New Year off right

Start the New Year off right

Did someone say cake? This is a traditional Greek coffee cake that features a quarter hidden in one slice. Tradition has it that the person who gets the quarter will have good luck all year long.


So, Hungry Lifers: have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? What’s the craziest anti-resolution you can think of? Want to join me in my Cake Diet Empire? Please leave a comment and let us all know.

Thanks, and Happy New Year!



  1. Many people have to make resolutions because of their imperfect nature and they need improvement. They fail to keep these resolutions because of their imperfect nature and because of that they will never improve. There are others (I am too humble to say if I am in this group) who never make resolutions because, well, because they are perfect and one can not improve perfection. I shall name one, any man’s wife. I shall name another, God. Oh that’s right I did mention her already. Anyway you get the point don’t you? Have a happy but imperfect New Year! Great Blog!

    Comment by Bglou — January 1, 2014 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

    • The whole concept of New Year’s resolutions is very noble, but not if you’re going to start the year off setting yourself up for failure. That’s why I try to make resolutions that I know I will be a complete failure at keeping! Isn’t it exhausting trying to understand me? Thanks for the comment. Have an imperfect New Year yourself.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — January 2, 2014 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  2. What a clever twist on resolutions, Maria. I like your approach much better! Here’s to a new year filled with lots of your lively writing!

    Comment by Lisa — January 2, 2014 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  3. Maria, love your resolutions and if I followed yours, I would finally be successful!! Looking forward to reading your book and hysterically laughing. I like your recipe for Vasilopeta – this year, ours only had a nickel!!

    Comment by Sophia — January 5, 2014 @ 3:09 am | Reply

    • You have to know your abilities and limitations, Sophia. I think these are resolutions that I can actually keep. By the way, we had a quarter and not a nickel for a good reason: INFLATION. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — January 18, 2014 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  4. I lived up to my resolution I made twenty five years age. Make no more resolutions! This is one of the best de-stressors around. I can eat, drink and be merry without feeling guilty, disgusting, or mean. Going to work covers helping others because my taxes pay for people on welfare and unemployment. Living with three women and an 80 year old father who can’t stand to leave a message on the phone is enough togetherness so I don’t have to see more people.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — January 16, 2014 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

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