Tag Archives: goals

Acknowledging the New Year

2018. 20-18. 2-0-1-8. Yeah, 2017 was a pretty intense year all around. With everything that has been going on in my personal life, I sort of let the last few days of the year slide on by in a blur of Netflix, purloined sweatshirts, and napping. Yesterday, I started pulling things together, and metaphorically sticking my toe out the door to see if it was safe to leave my little year end hidey-hole and re-engage with the world. So far so good. The overwhelming sentiment on social media and among my friends and colleagues is one of optimism, and in some cases a scary level of determination to make this year “better”, by force if necessary, but where does that leave me? This year more than ever I am deferring to the “my new year starts on my birthday” excuse/reasoning. I am so not ready to make out my yearly “to-do” list, but I do have some general ideas on how I would like things to go down:

  1. Stop comparing – it’s something we all do, and in a world full of Instagram perfection and Pinterest-worthy post, it’s hard to avoid. Ultimately though, it just makes you crazy and that is in no way helpful to the process. So this year I am going to try to focus on living my best life. Am I out of bed and functioning? Win! Did have the energy to do laundry and get dinner on the table? Self-five! We all have our own struggles and while we can find inspiration with others, it important to understand that our #bestlife may not look anything like someone else’s, and that’s completely fine.
  2. Self care – this goal is partly a continuation of the stop comparing and partly because we are working on stepping down the big daily med I’ve been on for years. For this to be successful, I am going to have to make sure I am listening to my body and what it needs as well as mindfully setting aside time to meditate/rest/whatever I need to be my healthiest. Which as a step, and this is hard for a chubby girl to admit, I am going to try to stop worrying about my weight. Seems strange right? But I am going to focus on good, healthy foods and eating in a way that provides sustainable energy and a more harmonious body, and keep my eyes off the scale for a while.
  3. Be grateful – life has given me a lot. Not as much as some (that comparison thing again), but much, much more than others. It’s good to have goals and to work towards something “better”, but it’s just as important to be mindful of what you’ve accomplished and to send up a general “thank you” to the universe from time to time. I am going to endeavor to end each day by listing three things I am grateful for AND I am going to verbalize them, probably to Andy. He’ll be so pleased ūüôā

So that’s it. Those are the three things that I want from this new year. No biggie, right?

 

 

Image from here. 


31 Before 32

And here we go again, it’s resolution time people! I am now securely “in” my thirties and I am planning big changes to take control of this new decade. Of course one of the ways I do that is having you guys hold me accountable to my yearly “to do” list, so here you have it, my 31 before 32.

  1. Take 10 classes. – halfway there, but I didn’t get to try as many things as I’d hoped
    Intuitive Painting
    Hand Lettering
    Mermaid Sign Painting
    Lavender Make & Take
    Moonlight Painting
  2. Make profiteroles.
  3. Try 12 recipes from Sweet & Savage.
    Southern Sartorialist’s Cookies
    Maniac Fire Bread

    Blackberry Cobbler Quickbread
    Orange & Lavender Extract
    Hot Pepper Extract
    Fruit Compound Butter
    Upside-down Skillet Corn Cake

    Hiker’s Bravado Cookies
    Serious Oatmeal Cookies
    Kahlo Cookies
    Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    Jacked Up Ginger Cookies
  4. Do 2 DIY’s a month.
  5. Visit Chicago.
  6. Find my “sexy”. – A work in progress, but steps were made
  7. Write 10 new recipes.
    Chocolate Lavender Cake with Blackberry Filling
    Chocolate Chip Pistachio GF Cookies

    Chocolate Chai Cake
    Simple Delicious Fruit Dip
    Vegan Custard Pie
    Vegan Snickerdoodle Mug Cake

    Brioche French Toast Casserole
    Banana Bread with Brown Butter Glaze
    Lightly Lavender Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
    Not Your Middle School Valentine Cupcakes
  8. Mini makeover on the guest bathroom.
  9. Repaint the hallway.
  10. Make Swiss Buttercream.
  11. Read 30 new books.
    Missing – Kelley Armstrong
    The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge
    The Shark – Mary Burton
    The Doll Maker – Mary Burton

    The Hang Man – Mary Burton
    Come As You Are – Emily Nagoski
    The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
    Double or Nothing – Craig Schaefer
    Lioness of Morocco – Julia Drosten
    Girls in White Dresses – Alex Gates
    The Haunting of Rachel Harroway – J.S. Donovan
    Dreamers Pool – Juliet Maillier
    Stillhouse Lake – Rachel Caine
    Beneath the Surface – Sibel Hodge
    The Star Touched Queen – Roshani Chokshi
    Rituals – Kelley Armstrong
    A Beautiful Poison – Lydia Kang
    The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
    The Barefoot Summer – Carolyn Brown
    The Fifth Season – NK Jemisin
    Wild – Cheryl Strayed
    The Cruel Prince – Holly Black
    The Wonderful Wizard of OZ – L. Frank Baum
    The Marvelous Land of Oz – L. Frank Baum

    Ozma of Oz – L. Frank Baum
    The Fallen – Kelley Armstrong
    A Fierce & Subtle Poison – Samantha Mabry
    Cold Spectrum – Craig Schaffer
    Sworn to the Night – Craig Schaffer
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao РJunot Diaz
  12. Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  13. 13 random acts of kindness.
  14. Upgrade the light fixtures in the hallway. – Maybe next year
  15. Host a girls night.
  16. Watch a well known movie that I’ve never seen.
  17. Clean up and re-do my back patio.
  18. Create 5 new paintings.
  19. Wear 5 fashion trends that scare me.
    Romper
    Body Con Dress
    Bright Colors
    Sheer Cutouts
    Cold Shoulder Shirt
  20. Plant rose bushes in front of the garage.
  21. Create and maintain a yoga practice 3-5 days a week. – not even close
  22. Dye my hair purple.
  23. Take a weekend trip with friends.
  24. Go on a picnic – with a basket & everything.
  25. Wear heels at least 1 day a week.
  26. Go through all of my crafting supplies and get rid of at least 25%.
  27. Make and give a handmade gift.
  28. Make a pie.
  29. Collaborate with other creatives on two new projects.¬†Not quite it the way that I’d hoped, but I did it.¬†
  30. Try 12 new restaurants.
    Sidecar Gastrobar
    Izzy Pub & Sushi
    Antojitos
    Finnegan’s
    Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
    Wahoo
    Pearls
    Hopleaf
    Baker Miller
    Bistro Champagne
    The Allis
    Shake Shack
  31. Paint the front doors purple!

Last years “TBD” ended up being a lot of fun, so I decided to finish off this years list with another one. I was pretty pleased with the progress I made last year, if you’re interested you can see how I did here.

 

Image from here.


Feeling Grey

Today…well, the last few days actually, I’ve been feeling grey. It’s not what it initially sounds like¬†as feeling grey is not at all like feeling blue, rather I’ve been feeling expectant. I’m not one for New Years resolutions (I do my yearly goals list in March for my birthday), but this year January has been feeling like a blank slate. There are so many things that I want for myself and my life, and grey seems like such a neutral place to start. With out making specific goals, I am going to share a few of the things that I want from 2017.

¬†I want to collaborate – one of the things I miss the most about college is sitting in a room with other creatives and being able to bounce ideas off of one another. ¬†I want to create – continuing what I started in 2016 I want to continue to push myself creatively, new techniques, new skills, new combinations. ¬†I want to be intentional¬†– I feel like so much of my 20’s was jumping from one crazy life event to another; I never had a “plan”, and ¬†I just kept my head down and powered through, Here we are a decade later, and a lot of my life is a cobbled together mishmash of random decisions and necessity. Now I want a plan. ¬†So there you have it, concepts and thoughts for a new year. Fortunately I still have a bit time to really hammer out my plan of action.

 

Images from here.


Chocolate Quick & Easy: English Chocolate Tea Bread

In pursuit of getting one step closer to crossing off #8 off of my 30 before 31, I pulled out a cookbook I received for Christmas from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It’s chock full of chocolaty perfection, and I was eager to make something Andy and I could quickly grab as a snack in between running errands and our household chores.B1
After perusing the book for a few minutes, I landed on this tea bread. It was pretty simple to whip up, and I thought with a couple of tweaks it would be pretty perfect for us.

Bread1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each. If the mixture starts to curdle beat in 1-2 tablespoons of the four.
  4. Mix in the chocolate, the crasins, the pecans, the vanilla and the orange zest. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and create a small well down in the center with the back of a spoon.
  6. Place loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
  7. Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn our to finish cooling.
  8. Serve in thin slices.

Notes:

  • At first glance, it looks like I changed a lot of this recipe, and to a certain extent ,that is true. I replaced three of the ingredients because of Andy’s food allergies and my absolute disdain of raisins, but I¬† tried to stay close to the original recipe by swapping them for items that wouldn’t alter the integrity. There was still chocolate, dehydrated fruit, and nuts, so I think it all came out pretty true in the end.
  • I left my bread in the full hour, and it came out a little drier than I like, which isn’t a problem if you are actually serving this with tea, but I think next time I’ll cut 5-10 minutes off the cook time.

30 before 31

To Do

It’s resolution time, people. I am now in the first bright and shiny year of my thirties, and boy howdy, do I have plans. Here, for your reading pleasure, is my list of 30 things I would like to accomplish before I turn 31.

  1. Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  2. Take 1 class a month.
    Intuitive Painting – May
    Intuitive Painting – June
    Sea Glass Painting – August
    Intuitive Painting – August
    Glass Fusing – January
  3. Visit the west coast.
  4. 30 days of minimalism challenge.
  5. Have high tea in another state.
  6. Have a girls only mini vacation.
  7. Try 10 new restaurants.
    Blaze
    Salt Water Seafood Co
    Grain
    Liberty Bar & Restaurant
    Thai Basil
    Brick & Spoon
    Sugar

    The Edison
    Mayuri
    Green Truck Pub
    Sentient Bean
    Gnome
    Dellz

    26 Devine
    Southern Public House
  8. Make 12 recipes from cookbooks I already own.
    Chocolate Toffee Coffee Cake
    Orange Spice Cookies
    Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake
    Blood Orange Tiramisu
    English Chocolate Tea Bread
    Dark Chocolate Fudge
    A Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cake
    Cinnamon Streusel Cider Muffins

    Dolly’s Doughnut Cake
    Cranberry Maple Muffins
    Irish Tea Bread

    Apple Pecan Cake
  9. Make 5 projects off of my Pinterest “Craft” board
    Sharpie Mug
    Scrabble Ornament
    Jingle Bell Wreath
    T-shirt Vest

    Filled Ornaments
  10. Finally, finally, FINALLY open my Etsy shop.
  11. Go to a blogger meet-up.
  12. Read 30 new books.
    City of the Lost – Kelly Armstrong
    Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
    The Mermaid’s Sister – Carrie Anne Noble

    Redemption Song – Craig Schaefer
    The Living End – Craig Schaefer
    Plain Dealing Villain – Craig Schaefer
    The Killing Floor Blues – Craig Schaefer
    The Spirit Class Charade – Colleen Gleason
    The Clockwork Scarab – Colleen Gleason
    The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchison
    The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Homberg

    The Glass Magician – Charlie N. Homberg
    The Master Magician – Charlie N. Homberg
    Play Dead – Anne Frasier
    Stay Dead – Anne Fraiser
    Pretty Dead – Anne Fraiser
    The Body Reader – Anne Fraiser
    Shes Not There – PJ Parrish
    The Moonlit Garden – Connie Bomann
    The Beaufort Bride: The Life of Margaret Beaufort – Judith Arnopp

    Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie N. Holmberg
    The Bloodletter’s Daughter – Linda Lafferty
    The Crying Girl – Glen Ebisch
    The Storied Life of AJ Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
    Weightless – Kandi Steiner
    The Room – Emma Donoghue
    The Heir of Linn Haug – Karen Charlton
    The Sans Pareil Mystery – Karen Charlton
    Betrayals – Kelly Armnstrong
  13. Wear fake eyelashes.
  14. Try to do 3 creative projects a week.
  15. Walk on the beach and collect sea shells.
  16. Get my makeup professionally done.
  17. Try purple lipstick.
  18. Get a tattoo.
  19. Formulate a five year plan.
  20. More original content for the blog.
  21. Work on my photography skills.
  22. Collaborate on projects with other creatives.
  23. Host a Sunday brunch.
  24. Get better at participating in social media.
  25. Finish the gallery wall in the master bedroom.
  26. Paint and decorate the guestroom.
  27. Paint the guest bathroom.
  28. TBD – Complete an entire puzzle
  29. Make something that I can wear.
  30. Get my home office to the point where I can actually work in it.

I left 28 as sort of a swing goal. Every year I run into something challenging or interesting and what better way to force myself into action than to add it to this list where I have you guys to follow along and keep me accountable. Last year I did pretty well if I do say so myself. You can check out my 29 before 30 here and see how I did.

Image from here.