32 in 32 List

 

A few years back, when I was turning 30, I wrote out a list of things that I wanted to accomplish before I turned 31. I didn’t achieve everything, but I had a good time working on some of those goals. With everything going last year, I never got around to creating a 31 in 31 list; but I think it’s time to bust out the list again and attack it full force. Below I’ve listed out the 32 goals that I’ve picked to complete by 5/6/2015. I’m obviously getting a late start since I only have about 6 months until I turn 33, but I’m inspired to change my life and this is a start.

As motivation to complete the list (and not just the easy stuff), I’ve decided that for every goal missed I will donate $50 to charity. So if I only achieve 25 of the 32 goals, then I’m shelling out $350 to charity. That’s not chump change so I feel sufficiently motivated, and now it’s out there for all to see as well. No hiding now.

Without further ado…

 

It’s good for my soul:

1. Be a Vegetarian

2. Find a Local Yoga Studio that I love

3. Support a different charity every month (can be a donation of $$, time, or things)

4. Start volunteering at my local Animal Shelter

5. Be a Bridesmaid

For my brain:

6. Read 50 books

7. Finish a New York Times Crossword Puzzle in pen

Foodie:

8. Take a cooking class

9. Learn to make homemade pasta

It’s an Adventure:

10. Explore the Oregon Coast

11. Visit Arizona and see Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend

12. Ice Skate at the Beach in San Diego

For the home:

13. Purge my closet and sell or donate excess items

14. Buy or Build a Dining Room Table

15. Have the house painted professionally (for the walls I can’t reach)

For my Health:

16. Meet my weight loss goal

17. Take a Dance or Aerial Silks Class

18. Find a Kind Dentist & Dermatologist

19. Obtain NASM CPT Certification

20. Run 30 minutes straight

21. Do a handstand with no wall support, hold for at least 5 seconds

22. Try SUP or Paddleboard Yoga

Creativity:

23. Successfully complete NaNoWriMo

24. Sign with a Literary Agent

25. Start a side business

26. Move blog to Self-Hosted and Re-Design the layout

27. Take an art or design related class

For the fun of it:

28. Get a Tattoo

29. Wear a Bikini (outside the dressing room)

30. Pay off at least one credit card (or get 2 below a set amount)

31. Become an early riser (6am-ish)

32. Go to a hockey game (preferably a LA Kings game)

The Love List

With my little disappearance act from the blog recently, I never did a proper New Year post. Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into a recap of 2013…no need. It can pretty much be summed up in 4 words…Work, Jury Duty, Vacation. That covers a majority of the yearly highlights, sadly nothing else too extraordinary. I struggled with massive amounts of anxiety & stress last year which was a challenge, but I’m working to turn all that around this year.

 

I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a good one.

 

Instead of doing New Year’s Resolutions this year, or planning any major goals to overcome, I decided to go a different direction. I created a Love List.

One day, I was feeling particularly burned out and ‘blah’, so I grabbed some paper & pen, and scribble down 25 things that I love. They are very general, and I didn’t mean for it to be too specific. I wanted to create a list of things that I love, thing that brought me joy in life. I’ve posted the list below. You’ll notice that some are incredibly general. I did that purposely so that I could find all the bits of joy within that ‘love’ item.

For example… #23 is Travel. General, right? I could have clarified that I wanted to travel overseas or to a  specific country, and I do. But overall I simply love travelling. I can’t afford to do it often, but I love it. So it’s on the list. The goal will be to find ways to ‘travel’ in my area when I can’t afford to go far.

 

So what’s the point?

 

The point of creating this list was to help me see the beauty around me on the tough days. On those days that seem to break me down, I can grab this list, pick a number and do something I love. Maybe it will be to curl up with a good book, or hop in the car with my pup and go to the beach, or add something new to the garden…hell, sometimes it will simply to be sit down and listen to the sound of the rain (check out Rainymood.com. It’s just the sound of the rain, INCREDIBLE).

I should also say that this is not EVERYTHING that I love. This is the first 25 that popped into my head. I’m sure the list could go on and on…

 

These are in no particular order…

 

The Love List

 

  1. Beauty, Skincare, Makeup, Nails
  2. Baxter, Dogs & Animals, helping animals
  3. Instagram
  4. Photography, Black & White Photos, SLR Cameras
  5. Writing Stories
  6. Blogging
  7. Organization & Planning
  8. Home Decor & Interior Design
  9. DIY, Craft Projects, Building Things
  10. Healthy Living, Detox my Life (in all different ways)
  11. Cooking
  12. Bargain Shopping/Hunting
  13. Dancing
  14. Yoga
  15. The Beach
  16. Meditation & Self Hypnosis
  17. The Sound of the Rain
  18. Green Living, Learning to be Environmentally Conscious
  19. Growing my own food
  20. Reading
  21. Family & Friends
  22. Journaling,Creating Photo Look-books
  23. Travel
  24. Art, String Art, Painting
  25. Learning, Continuing Education, School

 

The Challenge is to pick several of these a week and make sure that I’m spending time doing things that I love. Sometimes with the ‘busy-ness’ that is life, it’s hard to find those happy moments. This is just one way that I’m trying to incorporate more HAPPY into my life this year.

 

What is on your Love List?

Eco Challenge – Join A CSA

Bad news…I don’t have a grocery update for you today. With the unexpected work stress over the past 2 weeks, I didn’t get to the store so I’ve been eating what I had in the house or going out. There have been so many days when I just don’t have the energy to cook. It’s definitely out of the norm for me to eat out so often, but for the sake of my sanity it’s been necessary lately.

Good News…I joined a CSA!

Via

I have been wanting to join a CSA for years, but the one I wanted to join had a very limited route in my area so it wasn’t practical for me. However, in my new area they deliver to a nearby Farmers Market, so I signed up this week and begin picking up my Fruits/Veggies this weekend. I signed up to receive the Regular size box every 2 weeks and I’m on a trial membership so I can see how that size works out. They also offer a smaller box just in case the Regular is too much food.

Each week they post the box contents so I already know what I’m getting this week and I’m excited!

Regular Size: Lettuce, Bunching Onions, Sorrel, Spinach, Radishes, Swiss Chard, Cabbage, Tomatoes, Lemons, Apples, Strawberries

There are a few things in there that I’ve never tried before, like Sorrel and Swiss Chard. What is Sorrel?

The CSA I decided to sign up for is JR Organics which  Certified Organic Vegetable Farm and has been in business since 1959 (Organic since 1986). It was also a plus that they are located right near my family, less than an hour from my house. It nice to know that the food won’t travel far. In addition to the Fruits/Veggies, this CSA also has flower shares you can buy so I’ll also receive a bouquet of flowers with each food box.

Via

I’ll give you a peak at the actual box/flowers once I get it, but if you’re in the Southern California area you may want to check them out. I’m not sure they hit LA, but they do set up at farmers markets all over Sand Diego and even into Orange County.

If you want to find a CSA near you, check out the Local Harvest website for resources.

 

For anyone wondering, I plan to adjust my weekly food budget to account for the weekly cost of the CSA. It cost about $20 a week so I plan to reduce the rest of my budge down to $20 a week. I’m at least going to try and see how it works out. More on that in the coming weeks.

Developing A Whole House Cleaning Plan

It’s that time of year again. The time when we decide that our houses are far too messy to be considered a home and we get the overwhelming urge to throw everything away and start fresh.

Just me? Oh, okay.

I am not a ‘neat freak’, not even close. I like my home to look lived in, but clutter overwhelms me and stresses me out. On the flip side, I don’t like cleaning in general…so the concept of having to constantly clean the entire house stresses me out. It’s a no win situation. So to improve my stress level and keep me sane, one of my goals this year to keep things clutter free and develop a cleaning strategy. (You’ll eventually pick up on the fact that by day I work in project management if I continue to refer to strategies in cleaning. Sounds about as exciting as budgets, business plans, and proposals). 

Yes, I could probably hire a maid. But I would be embarrassed to have them come over to a dirty house, which defeats the point when I feel the need to clean for the maid. I also don’t want to pay someone else to do something that I’m completely capable of doing myself.

As a 2012 Goal, I’m launching…

Operation Clean House Banner

Maybe that should read, Operation ‘Maintain’ Clean House since that is actually the hardest part. Either way this is a big one on this years goal list. As usual I have several steps to the process that should make it as painless as possible.

  • Create Attack Plan
  • Deep Clean each room
  • Purge unwanted/unnecessary things
  • Yard Sale
  • Donation additional items
  • Maintenance

(You see the whole project management thing now, don’t you?)

So here we go…

Attack Plan Banner

Making big goals achievable is all about breaking them into smaller tasks, so in this case, I’ll break everying down by room. I have broken my house into 15 areas, so that each area can be repeated twice a month.

To make the plan even easier, I start from bottom top. I have a three level condo and by going bottom to top means I don’t have to drag the vacuum or supplies up and down the stairs as much.

Day of the Month Room to be cleaned
Day 1/Day 16 Foyer
Day 2/Day 17 Den/Cardio Room
Day 3/Day 18 1st Floor Bathroom
Day 4/Day 19 Backyard/Porch
Day 5/Day 20 Garage
Day 6/Day 21 Dining Room
Day 7/Day 22 Powder Room
Day 8/Day 23 Living Room
Day 9/Day 24 Kitchen
Day 10/Day 25 Office
Day 11/Day 26 Spare Bedroom/Hallway
Day 12/Day 27 Spare Bathroom
Day 13/Day 28 Laundry
Day 14/Day 29 Master Bedroom
Day 15/Day 30 Master Bathroom

 

For the fist 15 days, each room gets deep cleaned. Meaning in about 2 weeks my house should be completely deep cleaned from top to bottom (or in my case, bottom to top).

What is involved with Deep Cleaning?

The first time around it may take a while to finish the room. My trick is to set a timer for no more than an hour and push to finish in the allotted time. It will force you to make quick decisions. Ask yourself if you really love something or really need it, otherwise trash it or donate it. Start the general sweep, and get all the things off the floor. Continue by wiping down all surfaces, vacuum, dust (don’t forget fan blades and tops of tall furniture), sort through drawers/closest/cabinets, and clean mirrors/windows. (Tip: Speed cleaning burns crazy calories which will benefit that ‘Get In Shape’ resolution nearly everyone has on their list).

What happens to the room on the assigned day?

After the first 15 days, the house should be in maintenance mode. Now each day I should have to spend only 20 minutes or less to dust, vacuum, straighten and clean the mirrors/windows. The cycle will continue each month in the maintenance phase unless I have the extra time to dedicate to a space (like when I need to purge the fridge/pantry periodically, etc).

 

It seems complicated when I type it out, but it really is quite easy. Aside from some light straightening in the evenings, each day focus on only one room and the whole house should stay in order. Hopefully this will help me maintain my sanity, and stop the constant stress cycle of walking into a messy house.

 

What tricks/tips do you have for keeping your home organized/clean on a daily basis?

Ringing In the New Year & The Future Me

Side Note: Thank you to all the kind comments/emails regarding my ‘serious note’ post, I was touched by your kind words. My back is feeling much better and I was able to ring in the New Year nearly pain free. This year is already off to a great start!

Letter To Future Me 2012 Banner 2

Oh yes it did!

No, I didn’t get the year wrong above, I’m just breaking out my psychic abilities to see the future. I knew watching all those Psych DVD sets were doing me some good, I feel smarter already.

Actually, I’m trying something new this year (beside watching less TV, because being able to recite full episodes of Psych is not a worthy skill…or so I’m told). This year I decided to attempt the ‘Future Letter’ and write a letter to myself 12 months in the future. Over the past few days I’ve been planning my goals for the new year. I know some avoid them, but I love resolutions. I usually try to be very specific and break them down into smaller tasks so they are more achievable. It would be a very long post if I was to list them all out so I won’t bore you. However, to give you an idea, I wouldn’t write eat healthy on my resolution list. Instead, I would write specific monthly goals, such as…eat 7 servings of fruit/veggie each day in January, or drink a green smoothie once a day in February. The hope would be to turn the monthly goal into a habit and maintain eating a healthy diet all year long.

This year, in addition to my incredibly long goals list, I created a letter as my future self. The letter is written as if it’s New Year’s Eve, and I was looking back over everything I have accomplished in 2012. I described what I looked like, where I travelled, people I met, adventures I took, and all my accomplishments. It was detailed and fun. If the letter comes true, it’s going to be a very, VERY good year. 

I tucked the letter in a safe spot so that I can reference it a few times a year to see my progress, but not stress myself out over reading it everyday.

2011 New Years Champagne

Last night, to celebrate the new year and the first day I’ve been off pain pills…I popped some bubbly. I had been saving this for when I bought my first home. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t drink it when I bought the house in 2010…but it came in handy last night.

Nothing like enjoying a glass of my favorite ‘cheapy’ champagne to start things off on the right foot! I may have paired it with some Dark Chocolate Moose Munch. The combination tasted as odd as it sounds. But if you drink enough Champagne, you kind of forget about the Moose Munch, so it’s all good.

2011 New Years Champagne

We’re celebrating my Dad’s birthday today and I’m baking a very cool, golf inspired, cake. I’ll be back later with some pics.

How was your New Years celebration?

Happy New Years!

This year…

…do what you’ve always said you can’t…

…live the life you have been imagining…

…dream a little more…

…laugh a little harder…

…always greet a stranger with a smile…

…don’t let fear stand in your way…

…make amends…

…give away more than you get…

…don’t let them bring you down…

…make the choice to turn this into the most amazing year of your life (so far)!

 

Here’s wishing you all the best as we enter the new year!

2011 Recap

If you had asked me a few weeks ago if I accomplished a lot this year, I would have said no. Thank goodness for the blog or I wouldn’t have remembered half of what I completed. Overall I would say that 2011 was a ramp up year. It wasn’t out of this world great, it wasn’t bad in the least. It felt like a year of growth, one in which I got back on track. I still have a long way to go, but I’m okay with that, because I’m back to enjoying the journey.

There were a few things I remember happening before the blog started, the best were:

  • My company finally started raises again after a 4 year break. I received both a raise and a compensation increase based on additional work I took on in 2010. Along with some money I got back from buying the house, I finally achieved a level of financial security that I had never know. I’m not my any means rich, but I have an emergency fund which has been such a relief. Prior to buying the house, there were times when I had to check my credit card balances to see if I could afford groceries. Things were tight.
  • I scored $62 roundtrip tickets from San Diego to Boston and visited 6 states for the first time. We hit Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island. My favorite: Boston…hands down! I never did a formal recap from the trip, but you can see some pictures on my Flickr feed here, or here.  (Still updating both of those sets)
  • I celebrated my one year anniversary of buying my first home, and celebrated by 29th birthday.

July

 IMG_1142

Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs, White Interior Doors      IMG_1253

In July I started this little blog and welcomed you to my journey in finally taking action to start living a life I loved. That first month was a little rough as I tried to figure out my blog voice. I recapped my first trip to Boston  and shared how I scored a Roundtrip ticket from San Diego to Boston for only $62. I bought my first BBQ, hosted the first BBQ in my new home, and purchased my first grown up bed frame in the past 5 years. Later in the month I chopped off 20 inches of hair and donated it to Locks of Love, shared how I’m tackling my debt, and how I save money couponing at Target. I also painted the brass hardware in my bedroom bronze, permanently relieving the brass headache that I had for over a year.

 

August

IMG_1400 Inspiration Boards, Look Books

Paint Chip Key Chain, Keychain 

Pottery Barn Knock Off - Bar

 

I went a little MIA at the start of August, but picked back up with the reveal of my French Door Makeover. I showed you my style of art by creating a custom art inspiration board for the dining room, and shared how I store all the art supplies. I tried my hand at my first Pinterest inspired project by creating a paint chip keychain and closed out the month by sharing the Pottery Barn Bar Knock Off that my dad helped me build. The PB bar knock off was my first feature and I welcomed a bunch of new visitors.

 

September

Powder Room - After  Twine Dispenser

Dark Cork Bulletin Boards  Homemade Mod Podge

Raven Hill Apple Orchard, Julian, CA

September was a big month for the blog and the first month where I dove head first into this crazy world, loving every minute of it along the way. I started the month by sharing my Powder Room Reveal, creating a fun Twine Dispenser, and repurposed two framed peg boards into bulletin boards. I also shared the training plan for running my first 10K. Later in the month I removed a sticker from my washing machine, which was much more work than I every thought; and started the fireplace remodel by painting the fire place screen (3 cheers for no more brass!). I made a trip out to (my now favorite) local vintage shop and after seeing so many of my childhood toys, quietly mourned the loss of my youth. My parents and I had a blast making our first trip Apple Picking at a local orchard and plan on going back next year. Near the end of the month I shared how to make Homemade Mod Podge, a very cool Mason Jar Match holder, and how I was planting grass on concrete in my backyard.

 IMG_1570

September also marked the return of my love for cooking and I shared some great recipes: 5 Ingredient Fish Tacos, Roasted Parmesan Tomatoes, Polenta Gratin with Mushrooms & Fontina, Dark Chocolate No Bake Cookies, and Baked Ziti Marsala.  

 

October

     CrockPot Apple Butter

Nail Challange

Front Door Post

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween but I tried to embrace it a bit this year with some holiday inspired crafts like the Mummy Pumpkin and the Glitter Skull. I showed you my finished Laundry Room, and turned those apples we picked in September into delicious Crockpot Apple Butter.  I attempted to bring some organization into my life, took steps to break my nail biting habit, and finally hit my stride with 10K training. I also shared how I finished the backyard grass planters and installed sprinklers!  I tried my hand at making homemade White Cheddar Pesto Pizza, Pumpkin Spiced Almond Butter, and freezable Sausage & Egg Muffins.  I finally found Fall and welcomed Autumn with open arms with a visit to the biggest Pumpkin Patch I’ve ever seen.

During the month I also found a way to slip proof a kitchen rug, use Candy Corn as a vase filler, turned a hurricane into a kitchen utensil holder, built a front door sign post and painted a cute Halloween sign to hang from the new post.

It was a crazy productive month!

 

November

Thermostat Frame

DSC03195  Black Friday Fuel

San Diego Marina

November brought one of my favorite projects so far, the Thermostat Chalkboard Frame!  I shared my finished Spare Bathroom, spent time shopping with my Mom, and started dancing again.  I launched a Tumblr site, crushed the 10K, and shared my love for an old fashioned Thank You note. I made progress on the fireplace remodel by removing the old tile, installed a kitchen ledge,  and created a fall inspired yarn sign for the front door post.

 

Thanksgiving was lot of fun and my Mom and I continued out yearly tradition on Black Friday. I also got to spend time with my best friend and watch a beautiful sunset in San Diego. At the end of the month, with your help we raised $140 dollars for Toys for Tots during the Penny Campaign (which will be back again next year). Thank You!

 

December

Ribbon Filled Holiday Ornament Sequin Holiday Ornament No Mess Glitter Ornament Glitter Stripe Ornament

Sequin & Lace Holiday Ornament Felt Tree Ornament Raised Word Ornament Marbling Ornament

Dining Room Moulding - FAV

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee  Holiday Foodie 2011

Whoa, December was busy and most of the month was dedicated to the 18 DIY Holiday Ornament Project. In between ornaments, I participated in a Blogger Cookie Swap, created an easy JOY holiday yarn sign, and finished the moulding in the dining room.  There was incredible progress on the fireplace mantle which allowed me to hang stocking for the first time in this house. Later in the month I guest posted a fun holiday craft over at Dear Creatives, and hosted Christmas dinner at my house, including some amazing Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee. I also hurt my back on Christmas Eve, shared a personal epiphany, and prepared to welcome the new year.

It’s been a good year and I can’t wait to ring in 2012 tonight. I’m looking forward to all the great things I have planned for the next 12 months!

November Monthly Recap

Usually I would write up two separate posts at the end of the month, one about my monthly goals and another recapping all the home projects that were completed. However, this month was a bit of a jumble on home projects so I’m combining the posts this month.

First up, the projects!

PINTEREST FALL CHALLENGE: CHALKBOARD THERMOSTAT FRAME

At the beginning of the month I participated in the Pinterest Challenge and created a unique and fun Chalkboard Frame for my thermostat. Now my thermostat is a piece of art instead of a boring, bland box on the wall.

Thermostat Frame

SPARE BATHROOM REVEAL – 3RD FLOOR

I shared the final reveal of my Upstairs Spare Bathroom and my somewhat inappropriate love for some jewel colored striped towels.

DSC03195

KITCHEN LEDGE INSTALLATION

Sometimes in your home, the simplest fix will make a huge impact. That was the case with the kitchen ledge that was installed a while back. It was some simple primed MDF and moulding that kicked my kitchen up a notch.

DSC03176

FIREPLACE PROGRESS – TILE REMOVAL

Oh My Goodness, I have so much to show you regarding this project, but you’ll just have to wait a bit longer. Let’s just say, the tile removal was just the start I needed to get moving on this project.

Fireplace Demolition

DIY: CREATING A FALL SIGN WITH YARN

Craft projects were clearly lacking in November, so I quickly wrapped up some letters for my front door to represent the last few days of the ‘Fall’ Season.

'Fall' Yarn Letter Sign

So what happened with the monthly goals?

1. Complete NaNoWriMo

I already shared my goal of ‘winning’ NaNoWriMo this month. This means I’ll be writing every chance I get for the next month which may take away from time typically spent on home and craft projects; however I still have some things up my sleeve for November.

I’m bummed to say that I did not ‘win’ NaNoWriMo this year. However, I made significant progress on my novel and I can truly say that I love the story. I plan to continue working on it and hopefully :::fingers crossed::: get it published in the future.

Participant2_120_100_white

2. Run a 10K

There is good news and bad news with this goal. A few months back I shared that I would be running the Iron Girl Del Mar 10K; however, due to various personal reasons I will not be attending the race. However, I will still be running a 10K this weekend, even though I won’t be part of the official race. My original goal was to run a 10K, Iron Girl was just a place.

I DID IT! I finished a 10K and am so proud!

10K finishing time

3. Local Adventure/Shopping

I have a Mom & Daughter day planned for this weekend in place of my original Del Mar adventure. I have big plans on hitting my absolute favorite stores this weekend and I’ll let you know about a ‘secret’ shopping center in San Diego that is my favorite of all times.

November was full of shopping, in all honesty, my credit cards need a serious break. However, I will never pass up a trip to the Forum in San Diego.

ZGallerie_ForumPIC Revised

4. Get back to reading (Mental Dumbbells)

I know I had this as a goal last month and didn’t achieve it because all my reading was focused on the BYW course (well worth it). However, this month I really want to get back into reading and since I’ll be writing a lot this month, I’m setting the goal of finishing only 2 books.

The goal was to read 2 books and I ended up finishing 4 and found my love for relaxing with a good book again.

November Reads

5. Penny Donation for Toys for Tots

This is probably the most exciting goal I have set for this month, and I’ll be sharing the specific details later today. In short, I am planning a donation program on the blog this month and I’ll be making a donation to Toys for Tots at the end of the month. Check back later for the details (hint: I need your help, but it will cost you absolutely nothing!)

image

This is one of my favorite goals this month and I am so excited to share the final number with you. It was an incredibly busy month in November and nearly 14,000 of you stopped by the site. At a penny per visit, this means that I made a $140 donation to Toys for Tots today!

I can’t thank you all enough for stopping by, please know that each and every visit you made in November contributed to this donation.

THANK YOU!

6. Thanksgiving Traditions

My family is small, and there is usually only 3 of us celebrating Thanksgiving each year. Therefore, we don’t really have any traditions for Thanksgiving other than dinner. I want to start some official traditions this year that can be passed down to my kids someday.

I had an incredibly relaxing Thanksgiving which involved a lot of time with my family and puppy. I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday.

Source: thepinkinkdoodle.blogspot.com via Addison on Pinterest

7. Take a Vacation

Maybe this should be considered the best thing this month. I finally have some time off planned for the week after Thanksgiving. I usually take this week off instead of the weeks surrounding Christmas because I don’t have kids. Why does that matter?

Well, most of my coworkers do have kids or family out of state/country. Since I don’t have kids and my family is an hour away, it’s easier for me to cover their workload during the holidays so they can take the time off to be with their family. It’s a win win for me since that time of year is typically very quite anyway.

So I’ll be taking the first week of December off instead and I’m thinking of going to San Francisco for a few days. Even if I don’t travel, I can’t wait to have some time off because I’m seriously burned out right now.

I am currently enjoying the last few days of my vacation and can’t say how much I needed this time off. I have slept in, read, worked on house projects, visited with friends, spent time with family, got a lot of writing done, shopped until I dropped on Black Friday, and enjoyed a mini vacation to San Diego where I saw the most amazing sunset.

8. Lose 10 lbs

After I run the 10K this weekend, I’ll be shifting my exercise goals a bit. While training for the 10K I haven’t spent much time on weight loss and I want to shift the focus back in that direction. I will be setting aside running for a bit and starting a dance related program since I am a dancer at heart. The goal for this month will be to begin focusing more on nutrition and building a regular exercise routine.

I’m happy to say that the shift in workout perspective was the right course for me. I have loved dancing everyday and I lost just under 9 lbs in November. Not quite the 10 lbs that I had hoped for, but I’m thrilled with the progress so far.

Source: thanks-to-dance.tumblr.com via Addison on Pinterest

9. Refinish a family heirloom

My grandmother passed away a few years ago and I inherited her hope chest. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture and I hope to restore it a bit and refinish it to work with my decor. I really love working on pieces like this because of the history behind them. I have so many great memories of chest and my grandmother.

I have not yet finished the hope chest, but I have picked out the fabric which is BEAUTIFUL and the stain which is a rich Kona coffee color. I can’t wait to jump into this project soon.

10. Black Friday

Yes, I am one of the crazy people that shops in the middle of the night on Black Friday. It’s been a mother/daughter tradition that started a few years back with the same grandmother that left me the hope chest. We have a great time every year and I can’t wait to share my tips and bargain deals this year too.

WOW, Black Friday rocked this year. The stores are opening earlier and earlier and we were out for nearly 11 hours. It was a rockin’ night and I loved spending time with my mom. Can’t wait until next year!

Here is this years haul, you can read the full details, here.

Black Friday Goodies 2011

 

Whew, lots going on last month, and even more coming up in December. I LOVE December and Christmas, I’m so thrilled for this time of year.

Top Ten Goals – November 2011

Fall is finally upon us and we’re entering my absolute favorite time of year. I love, LOVE the holiday season, November in particular. Not only am I excited about the cooler weather, but I have so many great things on deck for this month.

1. Complete NaNoWriMo

I already shared my goal of ‘winning’ NaNoWriMo this month. This means I’ll be writing every chance I get for the next month which may take away from time typically spent on home and craft projects; however I still have some things up my sleeve for November.

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2. Run a 10K

There is good news and bad news with this goal. A few months back I shared that I would be running the Iron Girl Del Mar 10K; however, due to various personal reasons I will not be attending the race. However, I will still be running a 10K this weekend, even though I won’t be part of the official race. My original goal was to run a 10K, Iron Girl was just a place.

Source: happyfitness.tumblr.com via Addison on Pinterest

3. Local Adventure/Shopping

I have a Mom & Daughter day planned for this weekend in place of my original Del Mar adventure. I have big plans on hitting my absolute favorite stores this weekend and I’ll let you know about a ‘secret’ shopping center in San Diego that is my favorite of all times.

4. Get back to reading (Mental Dumbbells)

I know I had this as a goal last month and didn’t achieve it because all my reading was focused on the BYW course (well worth it). However, this month I really want to get back into reading and since I’ll be writing a lot this month, I’m setting the goal of finishing only 2 books.

5. Penny Donation for Toys for Tots

This is probably the most exciting goal I have set for this month, and I’ll be sharing the specific details later today. In short, I am planning a donation program on the blog this month and I’ll be making a donation to Toys for Tots at the end of the month. Check back later for the details (hint: I need your help, but it will cost you absolutely nothing!)

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6. Thanksgiving Traditions

My family is small, and there is usually only 3 of us celebrating Thanksgiving each year. Therefore, we don’t really have any traditions for Thanksgiving other than dinner. I want to start some official traditions this year that can be passed down to my kids someday.

7. Take a Vacation

Maybe this should be considered the best thing this month. I finally have some time off planned for the week after Thanksgiving. I usually take this week off instead of the weeks surrounding Christmas because I don’t have kids. Why does that matter?

Well, most of my coworkers do have kids or family out of state/country. Since I don’t have kids and my family is an hour away, it’s easier for me to cover their workload during the holidays so they can take the time off to be with their family. It’s a win win for me since that time of year is typically very quite anyway.

So I’ll be taking the first week of December off instead and I’m thinking of going to San Francisco for a few days. Even if I don’t travel, I can’t wait to have some time off because I’m seriously burned out right now.

8. Lose 10 lbs

After I run the 10K this weekend, I’ll be shifting my exercise goals a bit. While training for the 10K I haven’t spent much time on weight loss and I want to shift the focus back in that direction. I will be setting aside running for a bit and starting a dance related program since I am a dancer at heart. The goal for this month will be to begin focusing more on nutrition and building a regular exercise routine.

9. Refinish a family heirloom

My grandmother passed away a few years ago and I inherited her hope chest. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture and I hope to restore it a bit and refinish it to work with my decor. I really love working on pieces like this because of the history behind them. I have so many great memories of chest and my grandmother.

10. Black Friday

Yes, I am one of the crazy people that shops in the middle of the night on Black Friday. It’s been a mother/daughter tradition that started a few years back with the same grandmother that left me the hope chest. We have a great time every year and I can’t wait to share my tips and bargain deals this year too.

This was last years haul…and it took care of several Christmas gifts too.

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What are your goals/plans for November?

October Monthly Goal Recap

1. Education
    • I’ve signed up for the Blogging Your Way e-course hosted by Holly Becker of Decor8 & Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint, and I’m so excited! They are going to cover all the topics I have questions about as a new blogger. I also want to create an experience on this site, and I think this will help me further develop my voice/style.

We’re entering the last week of the course and I’m so inspired by the information that has been shared so far. I find myself referencing the documents on a daily basis. The instructors have covered nearly everything that I could think of and have inspired me to make some major (and not so major) changes around here. I’m even considering a complete re-design of the site in the new year. If you are a new blogger or an established blogger looking to learn a few new things, I would definitely recommend this course. I believe they will be hosting another session in the Spring.

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2. Finish Training for the Del Mar 10K

    • We’re one month into training with just about one month left to go. I need to make lots of progress in this area or I won’t be ready on November 6th.

I have one week until the ‘race’ and I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I will be running my 10K this coming weekend; although some things have changed. I may not be running in the actual race, but I will still be completing a 10K. I’ll share more about where I will be running the race as we get closer to the weekend.

3. Local Adventure

    • Visit a Real Pumpkin Patch (not one set up in a grocery store parking lot)
    • Jury Duty – Can I count this as a local adventure since it’s the first time I’ve done Jury Duty in this county?

I visited Bates Pumpkin Patch this year.

Bates Nut Farm, Pumpkin Patch

I also bought a pumpkin and attempted to carve it. I really liked how it turned out, he makes me smile.

Pumpkin Carving

I also did Jury Duty, but it was long and boring so we’ll just move right past that day in history.

4. Finish Phases in the Backyard and Dining Room

    • Install Dining Room Wainscoting & Curtains (this did not happen as I still need to obtain additional supplies)
    • Install Sprinklers and finish Sod in outdoor planters (I have finished the sprinkler system and the larger planter is done. Flowers have even been planted, but the post has not yet gone up. I still have to finish the smaller planter, which I hope to have done in November)

Grass Planter Sprinkler Installation

5. Craftiness

    • Fun Fall/Halloween Crafts. So many lined up for this month, like this adorable little mummy pumpkin.

Lot of fun craftiness this month. You can see the project recap here for links.

DIY Mummy Pumpkin

6. 31 day dance challenge

    • I don’t care if it’s while cooking dinner or in a club. I will dance for 30 minutes everyday.

 I didn’t really keep track of this, but I did make a point of using my ipod while cooking/cleaning and that always makes me dance. However, I have a November goal that will revolve around dancing as exercise. I’m very excited about this!

7. Stop Biting & Grow My Nails

If I actually accomplish this, it will be a miracle. Especially since I’ve been trying to stop biting my nails since the beginning of time. Breaking a lifetime habit is not easy.

I DID IT! It will be an ongoing battle, but I stopped biting my nails this month. I was also was able to do my first French manicure on my own nails in nearly a decade. You can see my nail recap here, as well as some tips on how to kick the habit yourself.

Nail Challange

8. Keep reading

    • I would like to get through at least 4 books this month. I have so many good ones to go through.

I skipped the Mental Dumbbells post this month since all my reading was directed toward the Blogging Your Way course. I’ll need to pick back up with the books next month.

9. Keep Writing

    • I got more into the blog last month than I expected and my other writing took a bit of a back seat. Time to step that up and brainstorm freelance opportunities.
    • I’d also like to submit at least one article as a contributor on another design site

The contributor article didn’t happen this month but I do have several freelance ideas drafted which I hope will pan out over the next few months. I also used my planned efforts for writing toward the blogging e-course and I have created a big list of improvements to the website.

10. Routine

    • Get into a routine that allows me enough sleep, and time for everything else that I want to do. I have a fancy pants planner that I rarely use. I should really dig that out of my junk drawer.

For the most part this was successful. I have been using my planner which has contributed to my increased productivity and organization. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to stick with the paper planner or if I’m going to begin using my phone as my primary electronic planner. Any recommendations??

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I’ll be back later this afternoon to share the November goals, as well as a donation based goal that you can help me with. (…and it will cost you nothing!)