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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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂
So that’s it. Those are the three things that I want from this new year. No biggie, right?
Image from here.
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.
- Take 10 classes. – halfway there, but I didn’t get to try as many things as I’d hoped
Mermaid Sign Painting
Lavender Make & Take
Make profiteroles. 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
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Jacked Up Ginger Cookies
Do 2 DIY’s a month. Visit Chicago. Find my “sexy”. – A work in progress, but steps were made 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
Mini makeover on the guest bathroom. Repaint the hallway. Make Swiss Buttercream. 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 – Junot Diaz
Go somewhere I’ve never been. 13 random acts of kindness.
- Upgrade the light fixtures in the hallway. – Maybe next year
Host a girls night. Watch a well known movie that I’ve never seen. Clean up and re-do my back patio. Create 5 new paintings. Wear 5 fashion trends that scare me.
Body Con Dress
Cold Shoulder Shirt
Plant rose bushes in front of the garage.
- Create and maintain a yoga practice 3-5 days a week. – not even close
Dye my hair purple. Take a weekend trip with friends. Go on a picnic – with a basket & everything. Wear heels at least 1 day a week. Go through all of my crafting supplies and get rid of at least 25%. Make and give a handmade gift. Make a pie. Collaborate with other creatives on two new projects.Not quite it the way that I’d hoped, but I did it. Try 12 new restaurants.
Izzy Pub & Sushi
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
- 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.
- Mix in the chocolate, the crasins, the pecans, the vanilla and the orange zest. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and create a small well down in the center with the back of a spoon.
- Place loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
- Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn our to finish cooling.
- Serve in thin slices.
- 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.
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.
Go somewhere I’ve never been.
- Take 1 class a month.
Intuitive Painting – May
Intuitive Painting – June
Sea Glass Painting – August
Intuitive Painting – August
Glass Fusing – January
- Visit the west coast.
30 days of minimalism challenge. Have high tea in another state. Have a girls only mini vacation. Try 10 new restaurants.
Salt Water Seafood Co
Liberty Bar & Restaurant
Brick & Spoon
Green Truck Pub
Southern Public House
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
Make 5 projects off of my Pinterest “Craft” board
Jingle Bell Wreath
- Finally, finally, FINALLY open my Etsy shop.
- Go to a blogger meet-up.
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 ArnoppMagic 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
Wear fake eyelashes. Try to do 3 creative projects a week. Walk on the beach and collect sea shells. Get my makeup professionally done. Try purple lipstick. Get a tattoo. Formulate a five year plan. More original content for the blog. Work on my photography skills. Collaborate on projects with other creatives. Host a Sunday brunch. Get better at participating in social media.
- Finish the gallery wall in the master bedroom.
Paint and decorate the guestroom.
- Paint the guest bathroom.
TBD – Complete an entire puzzle Make something that I can wear. 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.