Monday, December 18, 2017

Birthday Goals {31}

For the past few years, I've made a birthday goals list. Usually it corresponds with my age, like "31 before 31" so I have 31 goals to complete before my 31st birthday. That's a lot of goals y'all. 2017 was my hardest year personally, but I feel like I'm past the worst of it and am in a really good place now.  I also realized that the long list of birthday goals was a little too unwieldy. I had some goals that were way too ambitious and some that were just thrown on there to make it to 31. I wasn't in the best headspace to focus on accomplishing things on the list, when I was struggling to deal with grief over my mom's death and dealing with a job that was draining everything good from me. Those big things took so much of my mental and physical energy that working on the goals I wrote down last December that it seemed more important to get to a healthy mental space than work on listening to one new album a week.

It feels like a lot of excuses, but ultimately the mental health I accomplished was worth more than all the other goals on that list put together. So this year I'm focusing instead on a smaller list that feels more meaningful. These a goals I've been thinking about doing and having smaller list feels so much more meaningful than trying to come up with 32 things to do before I turn 32 next December.

Explore my city (and state) 
I work in St. Louis and have seen such a small part of Missouri. I want to make time to do more cool events in St. Louis. There is so much cool stuff happening here and I want to do it all! I also want to see a little more of the state I'm in. Kansas City is 4 hours from me but I've never been there. I've lived here almost my whole life and I've never traveled to another cool city 4 hours away? I want to make the most of the place I live now and take advantage of everything it has to offer. 

Run a half marathon 
This year running was a big part of my healing process. I recently got a gym membership close to my work and I want to get back into running after taking time off when it got colder. I want to build up some stamina and run a half marathon, something I thought I would never be able to do. After running two miles non stop this year (another thing I thought I could never do), doing "impossible" things seems a little more possible. 

Create more 
This year I was in a creative rut. It became so clear how much I miss creating things as it got closer to Christmas and I realized I didn't make one gift this year. I usually make one or two, maybe a Christmas craft to hang up in my house. But this year...nothing. So I want to focus on making things next year. More gifts, more things for myself, more house DIYs. 

Cook my way through the Thug Kitchen cookbook
Jarrett got me this cookbook for Christmas a few years ago. So far we have made almost every soup recipe and they have all been showstoppers. I haven't even attempted the other recipes, but if the soups are crushing it like that, I want to cook the rest of it. It's a real Julia & Julia situation, but with a vegan cookbook that uses the word fuck a lot. 

Get serious about skincare
It's shameful how bad I treat my skin. I wash my face maybe twice a week and just this year started using moisturizer. I want to do a better job of taking care of my skin this year. I am planning a routine and just feel like it's time to make this a priority.  

Save $2K 
Pretty self explanatory. I'm terrible with money. Less clothes that I don't need, more money in my savings account. 

Start a podcast 
This is one I've been thinking of for awhile. I have an idea and want to take the next few weeks to really flesh it out. I'm excited and scared but I feel like that's a good sign. All good ideas should be a little exciting and a little scary. 

Declutter and organize 
I'm so tired of being surrounded by stuff. I am an emotional shopper and it's hard to move past using shopping as a default any time I'm stressed/sad/a little drunk. I'm drawn to cozy, minimalist spaces when mine is currently the opposite of that. My intention is to slowly transition my home into a space I love. 

Focus on friendships 
Friendships are so important to me, but I find myself dipping out of plans because I'm tired/have to drive into STL/just want to watch Netflix on my couch. I want to be a better friend and make both old & new friendships a priority in 2018. 

Learn tarot 
I have a tarot deck, two books on how to read the cards, and a 2018 planner (I told you I spend way too much money). I want to start with a daily tarot card and move on from there. It's a thing that makes me feel really grounded, connected, and intentional. Healthy habits 2018 is kind of a theme here. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

November Rewind

 Man, looking back I didn't read a whole lot last month.  I read our book club pick, Bad Romance, which I absolutely loved and wished it was a resource during my teen years.  I may have been too cool for school for a lot of things as a teen but I never was too cool for reading and I think it would have made a pretty big impact.  I also ready One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Read on Heather's recommendation. I really loved it even with my anticipation going into it

 I watched Atypical on Netflix which I recommend to all. I really enjoyed the quirky family dynamic.  I also finished watching The Mindy Project. I hadn't watched it religiously, but since the finale dropped a few weeks ago I really wanted to get caught up. I really loved the happy ending!

I've got nothing new to offer you listening wise. I've restarted the Harry Potter books again and I'm already on book 4. I did download the first episode of "Stay Sexy, Don't Get Murdered" upon Heather's recommendation and I'm excited to dive into that in December.

Also this month 

Tiny Pies
Something about the holidays brings out the Martha Stewart in me, but like the Joe Dirt version.  I get these huge ideas, that I don't realize are so challenging for a novice, and then usually a catastrophe strikes and my husband feels bad and helps bail me out.  This year was no exception. I became obsessed with tiny little pies, in various flavors, mostly of which turned out great. But it was way more work than I bargained for.  Plus, they were a huge hit at Friendsgiving, so I'd do it all over again.

November was kind of a hibernation month for me. The weather started getting way cooler and coming off all the planning for my sister's reception had me soaking up the relaxation time. I got a lot of stitching, tv watching and kitty cuddling in which was so good for my heart.

Sock Collection
It seems like every season or year or some fun interval, I become obsessed with some accessory or piece of fashion. My husband makes fun of me because it seems like I always have a new favorite item.  Lately, I can not get enough out of cute, patterned socks in varying lengths. They keep me warm and cozy, yet I feel even more put together because my socks are cute and I just want to show them off. It's the constant on the various wish lists I've circulated amongst family and friends.

I feel like November flew by and I didn't get to read as much as I wanted to. One thing I did get to was The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. So the first one was the choice for the Feminist Literary Society and it blew me away. It was so so good, and also kind of scary. The second one (Talents) was even better, if you can believe that. It's got that dystopian/sci-fi vibe that I love. It reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale in that it felt painfully real, like it could happen to us at any point. 

This month I feel like I watched a lot of the same stuff I've been watching (The Sopranos, 30 Rock) but I did decide to watch old seasons of The Bachelor/Bachelorette so I've got that going on. I started with Ben Flajnik's season and now I've moved on to Andi Dorfman's season, mostly because Courtney (winner of Ben's season) and Andi both wrote books that I was interested in reading. I'm still making my way through Andi's season, but it's interesting to see things play out that I've heard about because I'm in a ton of Bachelor Nation Facebook groups/podcasts. 

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of something new I listened to this month but there's nothing. I alternated between My Brother, My Brother, and Me and the What Happened? audiobook. I feel like November had a lot of changes and challenges so I fell back on to what's comforting (MBMBAM comedy) and audiobooks to unwind. 

Also this month 

Engagement Photos 
At the beginning of November we got our engagement photos taken with our wedding photographer. I love our photographer and she was so great at posing us and dealing with the girls, who were very interested in helping her get the perfect shot. I need to share the photos on the blog soon, but we got them on one of the last warmish days, with all the leaves looking gorgeous af. It was the next best thing to getting married in the fall, getting to have these amazing fall themed engagement photos. 

We had our second annual Friendsgiving and it was such a hit. It's my new favorite holiday tradition. This year it was my family, Jen & Josh, and my sister & nephew. It was small but also all my favorite people. Jen made mini pies, which were SO GOOD and we did a mexican theme since we figured you already eat enough Thanksgiving food, so why not shake it up with something good but different. I am already thinking about next year and hoping we can keep this tradition going. 

New Job 
I started a new job at the beginning of November and it's so amazing. It's different from what I've done before, but it's such a good fit. It's a start up, which I love, and everyone is insanely cool. There's also a lot of flexibility to work remotely, which is nice since I commute an hour each way and have kids, but I love being in the office so it's basically a dream come true. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December Small Goals

Somehow it still doesn't feel like it's the last month of 2017. I think this was my personal hardest year as an adult. I struggled a lot but I feel like these past two months have given me hope that it's getting better and the struggle will be less (not completely gone because let's be real). I'm also not really feeling the holiday cheer as much this year as I usually do. Part of it is wedding planning is taking a huge chunk of our budget and I can't go as crazy with gifts this year as I normally do, though honestly, that might be good for me to not be so focused on buying all the things. Anyway, I'm ready to finish this year strong and see what 2018 has in store. As always, we are linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl (late, but whatevs) so go check out everyone's end of year goals! 

Jen's November Small Goals 
1. Reupholster my hope chest.  Done. It took a little husband manpower assistance but it's done and I love how much better it looks.
2. Catch up on Rat Queens comics.  Does buying them count? Probably not. I'm still working on this one.
3.  Hello Autumn Cube.  Ugh, nope. I have no excuses for this one since I literally  had all the supplies on hand. Whatevs, I'll get it done soon and store it for next year.
4.  Cross stitch ornaments. I started this project but I'm not making quick headway on it. I have zero holiday spirit this year (I guess it is just in the air) and am way more focused on keeping up with my monthly projects. I still intend to finish this, but maybe sometime next spring or something?
5.  Workout 3 days a week.  Yes! This was my main goal and I pretty much crushed it with the exception of Thanksgiving week. But let's be honest, we all cheat that week.

2/5--not so great but I'm glad I stuck with the working out goal since it was the one I was most concerned about.

December Small Goals 
1. Survive the holidays.  Like I mentioned, I'm not feeling the spirit much this year and I'm doubting I even make the effort to put up my tree. (Who am I?) My biggest goal with all the commotion is just to survive, hopefully with the least amount of stress.
2.  Bake Christmas Cookies.  Just because I'm not feeling the spirit, doesn't mean I'm not interest in eating some great holiday treats. At Christmas I super enjoy different fun cookies so I think I'll pick a few different recipes and go crazy. I'm sure I'll also bake my go to gooey butter cookies because what is a holiday without them?
3. Stay on Budget.  During the holidays, it can be so easy to go over budget on holiday stuff, especially gift giving to your favorite people. Anyway, this year I'm going to try my hardest to stay in budget so January isn't super stressful.
4.  Keep Nails Painted.  Guys, I'm back to chewing my nails and that's just recipe for sicknesses during this point of the year. Got to keep them painted so I keep them out of my mouth.
5. Brush cats weekly.  My cats are a mess and are the happiest with the most solid of routines. They love being brushed and I love the way they feel after they are brushed so I'm going to try to make it happen once a week for them.

Heather's November Small Goals 
1. Start my new job Yeah buddy! I love my new job, though I did have to fight a little bit of imposter syndrome around week 3. Everyone there is so cool and amazing and I was so worried they would figure out I'm a boring dork, but I guess if they wanted me to work there, I must be pretty cool and amazing too! 
2. Pay off two credit cards  Bummer, but no. This one is close and I am hoping I can do it by the end of the year. 
3. Make a Christmas list Done! And I've gotten almost everything bought for everyone. Yay! 
4. Host the Second Annual Friendsgiving Done! I got sick Thanksgiving night so I wasn't sure I could pull it off, but we did it! Jen made tiny pies that were super delicious and we got to hang out for a few hours. The perfect chill Friendsgiving. 
5. Finish my birthday goals list Done! I'm going to post it in the next few days and I'm actually super excited for it this year. 

4/5 goals AGAIN! Yaaaassss! 

December Small Goals 
1. Drink more water I've been living on large amounts of coffee lately and not hydrating enough. Someone at work said they set a timer to remind them to drink water so I might give that a try. 
2. Make a giant wedding to-do list  I haven't had to do any wedding planning for a few weeks, but the wedding is 4 months away and I need to actually start getting some stuff done. So the goal is list with dates and delegating need to happen this month. 
3. Clear out extra room clutter  I don't know how it happened but we have an extra bedroom that is so junked up with things that it's driving me crazy. I want to dedicate a weekend to organizing some of it if I can soon. 
4. Catch up on magazines  I have so many magazines that have piled up. I need to dedicate some time to reading them soon so I can make space. 
5. Take lunch 4 times a week  I used to be able to get away with not taking lunch at my old job because there was a micro kitchen with snacks. While my new job is so much more fulfilling now, there's no snacks and if I don't bring lunch, there's big risk of being talked into eating out, which I do not need. So meal planning and prepping needs to happen this month. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

December Book Club

Can you believe we are at the last book club of 2017? Crazy! I feel like this year has been our most solid yet. I feel like I've loved every book we've chosen and it was a much more collaborative year than more. I'm excited to see where this whole thing goes in 2018.

This month I suggested the book The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I've talked about my love for TJR before on the blog, and was partially inspired by re-reading Maybe in Another Life for a podcast I guested on a few weeks ago. Jen was on board since she shared my love for TJR so this was a perfect pick. I think we will close out the end of the year strong with this book and I can't wait to chat about it soon.

What's it about?

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.