2016 recap

Well, I didn’t do a great job of keeping up with this, huh? Steph and I were talking about how we’ve both fallen off the wagon (I moreso than her), and we think maybe some kind of simplified, more frequent check-in will help. Neither of us wants to let the blog go, so we’ll work on it!

And onto the recap:

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • Knit a pair of socks. Mmm, how about most of one?
  • Knit a pair of mittens. Nope!
  • Get better at calligraphy. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even touch any of my calligraphy supplies. Did I really let a year get away from me?
  • Do something creative for at least 30 min. a week. Some weeks, I did this, and it was great. Other weeks, not so much. Definitely something I want to take into 2017, however.

FOR ME:

  • Send 1 card/month. Ha. Hahaha. Nope.
  • Reduce procrastination and time spent on the internet. I’ve gotten better at both of these, but I like to have the reminder. This goal is very tightly coupled with all the others: you don’t get stuff done and you can’t be connected with others if you’re staring at a screen and passively consuming.
  • Go to the Margaret Mitchell house. Nope! I didn’t really want to do this after all.
  • Go to Fernbank Museum. Surprisingly, I couldn’t really find someone to come with me. Some coworkers are participating in a thing there before too long, though, so I might go then.
  • Go take photos in the country. I mostly just stared at the country when I drove out, but I did get some shots! IMG_8949.JPG
  • Save $3,500. Done!
  • Get credit card balances to zero—and keep them there. Weeeeelll, we’re close.

 

I was reading someone’s 2016 book list on Steph’s recommendation, and came across this blog post. I really like the approach, so I’m ripping it off!

 

What are your strongest memories of the year?
2016 sucked in so many ways. January kicked off in a terrible way with the loss of my grandma, and that’s still really hard. And that’s what it is: a loss. There’s a hole in my life that wasn’t there before this year.

There was lots of drama at work, with people leaving (whether they wanted to or not), but there were also some big accomplishments. I did a lot of really solid work and am starting to get some of the recognition I deserve.

But there are other things: the election (for better and for worse), seeing a friend I hadn’t seen in years (twice!), tons of patio and pool time, doing a ton of work on my apartment to make it a space I love being in. Seriously, I walk in and sigh with happiness when I unlock the door. It’s such a nice feeling.

What did you do that you’d never done before?
I took my first vacation by myself, and it was amazing. I was nervous about whether I’d get bored, so I kept the beach visit short, but by the end, I was having such a good time that I tried to extend it. I should totally go ahead and book another trip now, actually…

I also picked peaches for the first time, went camping in the Upper Peninsula and went to Atlanta’s Bacon Fest, which is awesome and hilarious. I brought personal stuff into my office for the first time. About time, I guess—I’ve been there more than four years.

I also got myself flowers every week, which is the only resolution I’ve kept. I highly recommend it. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s important to have a little spot of beauty in your day.

What did you want and get?
Personally: a lot of growth in terms of trusting myself and believing in who I am.

Professionally: a 23% raise—not too shabby.

What did you want and not get?
Personally: my way, in a lot of cases. Probably for the best, though. I’d get spoiled quickly.

Professionally: Um, a 37% raise. It’s totally justified, I swear. I work my ass off.

What would you like to have in the new year that you didn’t in this one?
Peace, more time off (these might be related).

Quote a song lyric that sums up the year.
I am gonna make it through this year
If it kills me.
– The Mountain Goats, This Year

What was your most enjoyable purchase?
This is so vain, but my best purchase really was getting my hair straightened. It makes life so much easier if you aren’t forced to spend an hour drying and straightening your hair, only for it to poof up when you step outside.

Did you travel? If so, where?
PCB for beach trips
Chicago
North GA mountains
The UP

Wow, is that really it? Next year I hope to use my SkyMiles to go somewhere awesome, plus either Mexico or Cuba.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Relaxed! Like, actually relaxed, doing the things I love with the people I love.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting things: time, money, energy on things that weren’t worth it.

Compared to last year, how are you the same? How are you different?
I don’t think my personality has really changed, I and I guess I don’t expect it to at this stage in the game. I do think I’ve come to trust myself, my beliefs and abilities more, as I said earlier. I’m also really trying to give myself and others more grace. We could all use a little more of that.

 

2016 collage.jpg

 

August 2016 Goals Update

Oh man, I’m the worst.* This is my second post of the year? Really?? Well, let’s see where we are.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • Knit a pair of socks. The sock cuff has grown. It’s actually rather sock-like!

sock progress

  • Knit a pair of mittens. Still in progress.
  • Get better at calligraphy. Haven’t done much here.
  • Do something creative for at least 30 min. a week. I think I’ve been okay at this one, but not as good as I’d like, and it’s seriously just 30 min/week. I’ve seriously got to carve out time for me, in a way that actually contributes to my happiness.

FOR ME:

  • Send 1 card/month. Nope.
  • Reduce procrastination and time spent on the internet. In general, I’m getting better, but definitely have to remind myself every now and then to read a book instead of staring at a screen.
  • Go to the Margaret Mitchell house. Nuh uh.
  • Go to Fernbank Museum. Negatory.
  • Go take photos in the country. Does the beach count?
  • Save $3,500. $2,250 so far. 64% of the way there. There was an auto-deposit in May that didn’t go through for whatever reason (I think that happens at some point every year?), so I just adjusted my auto-pay amount to make up for it.
  • Get credit card balances to zero—and keep them there. I’m at $5400 (urgh).  I got a rewards card to earn SkyMiles, but then I hate pulling money out of checking to cover it. Well, guess what? That money is already spent, and now I’m in debt. Given this, it turns out that I have to rely on the technology to work for me here, like I do for savings. I’ve paid off a big chunk over the past couple of weeks, and I’ll keep plugging away at it through not using the cards and then upping the auto-payment amounts. (82K SkyMiles, though. Time to go somewhere fun!)

* I maintain that 2016 is actually the worst, not me.

2016 goals

Whaaaat, two posts in one day? That’s right! (Am I still putting off packing up my apartment? Maybe!)

My 2015 goals were kind of a wash, and I think that comes down to a few things. First, I was busy—like, really busy—at work. I hate when people say that because it sounds as if they’re trying to sound important, but dudes. So busy. The end. Second, I had some kind of mushy goals that were hard to measure, and I also had a lot of goals that I didn’t check in on.

At the end of this year, when I’ve taken some time to breathe and to recuperate a little, I’ve repeatedly caught myself saying that I like “vacation me.” This is the kinder, gentler version of myself who has time to breathe and who makes things.

With all of these things in mind, I’ve decided to go with a different plan this year. I will measure the things! I will take tiny first steps! I will make some time for myself!

resolutions.jpg

Image courtesy ASAP Science.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • Knit a pair of socks. Remember this sock cuff? I started it alllll the way back in 2013, and I’m still not done with the damn thing, let alone its mate. I want more squishy handknit socks, and I want them to be made by me.
  • Knit a pair of mittens. I’ve started on these striped mittens, and because they’re made with worsted weight yarn, they’ll go a lot more quickly than socks. The yarn feels huge compared to sock yarn!
  • Get better at calligraphy. Yeah, I know: remember that time I said I’d measure my goals, a whole three paragraphs ago? Not sure how to do that with this one, but I can:
  • Do something creative for at least 30 min. a week. That really seems like a pitifully small amount of time, but I haven’t been giving myself that, and I think I suffer as a result. I can always crank up the minimum time if I like.

FOR ME:

  • Send 1 card/month. This will force me to practice calligraphy, and I’ll end up taking some time to reconnect with others.
  • Reduce procrastination and time spent on the internet. I’ve gotten better at both of these, but I like to have the reminder. This goal is very tightly coupled with all the others: you don’t get stuff done and you can’t be connected with others if you’re staring at a screen and passively consuming.
  • Go to the Margaret Mitchell house.
  • Go to Fernbank Museum. (I has a car now! I think this will make it easier to just get in the car and go to places).
  • Go take photos in the country. I like to drive out of the city and see what there is to see. This is how I ended up stuck wayyyyy the hell out in the middle of nowhere with a dead transmission a few years ago, but it’s also how I got some good photos and got to pet some donkeys.
  • Save $3,500.
  • Get credit card balances to zero—and keep them there.

This is a longer list of items, but it’s much more clear and outlines actual goals. I think 2016 is gonna be good!

2015 goals check-in

Goodbye, 2015. And good damned riddance. The last half of the year was fraught with family stuff, and work was ridiculous because I was the entirety of my department for most of the year. Here’s how my goals progress went down.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • 10 projects. I made jewelry dishes and worked on some knitting. Um, that knitting is a single sock. The hell, me? I am learning pointed pen calligraphy, though, and I enjoy that.

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Lose 40 lbs. Nope! As I mentioned last time, it’s hard to lose weight when you aren’t taking care of yourself.
    • Go to the gym twice a week. I did really well on this, actually. I went more often than I thought I would, and really only slacked off in December—I knew it would be nuts with end-of-year things, holidays and finding a new apartment.
    • Run a mile without stopping. Hit 120 lbs. on the lat pulldown. Hit 96 lbs. on the rowing machine. Scrapped ’em in favor of riding the bike in the gym. It’s much more enjoyable.

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Reduce procrastination. I’m doing pretty well with this, I think, though I’m definitely writing this post in order to put off packing.
  • Send one card a month. Nope! I may just have a pile of still-unwritten Christmas cards on my desk as we speak. I definitely am learning calligraphy so I can send pretty mail, so hopefully I’ll do better about this next year.
  • Cut down on wasting time on the internet. Hard to measure, but I think I did pretty well on this.
  • Write two pages/day, two days/week. I actually found this to be kind of a burden. I think it helps, but not if I feel obligated to do it.

FINANCIAL HEALTH:

  • Finish paying off credit cards. I paid off the big balance transfer I did, and have charged about $2k more. That’s only 4.75% of my available credit limit, though, and I’ll be paying that off in 2015 ASAP. Again, automatic transfers are perfect for me.
  • Save $3000. Already done! I saved $3400, which has come in handy for this season of moving house. 😛
  • All in all, I’ve paid $13K on debt, savings and student loans. Pretty happy about that one!

TO DO:

  • Read 15 books this year. Done!
  • Go to four museums or Atlanta things. I went to Atlanta History Center and theMuseum of Design Atlanta. I also went to a craft fair and a festival, which weren’t exactly what I had in mind, but they were still fun. I’m calling it done!

All in all, my goals progress this year was a mixed bag. It’s not everything, and this isn’t how I define who I am, but I will say that I kicked ass at work this year. I just pulled together info for my review, and this year, I not only was the marketing department for most of the time, I pulled off a lot of things: website traffic is up 40% to 1.73 million visits, and the blog (my baby) accounts for three-quarters of that traffic. We’re writing on-brand, timely, informative posts that are SEO-friendly, so blog posts are hitting the front page of Google search within a day of being published. The blog has gotten 1.6 million pageviews this year, an increase of 81%. So yeah, I’m super proud of that.

I’m also proud that I learned a lot about advertising, strategic planning and the nuances of the different platforms we work on—I’m able to converse with our internal web teams on our projects and, say, the Android team about what’s new in their updated book with some authority.

And you know what? Screw just recapping progress on my goals. I did some great things this year. I had a lot of wonderful times with friends and family, I visited four beaches and got to pet a whole lot of dogs. I didn’t forget to look up and see the sunset.

2015 collage

December goals check-in

Have I seriously not written since January? I am the very worst about keeping up with the blog. If I call it a December check-in, then I’m technically early, right?

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • 10 projects. I made jewelry dishes and am learning pointed pen calligraphy. That’s definitely a project! (So far, I haven’t spilled ink all over the floor, so that’s awesome.)

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Lose 40 lbs. Ha. Haha. Hahaha. Ugh.
    • Go to the gym twice a week. I’ve actually been pretty good about this! Aside from travelling or when I’ve been sick, I’ve made myself go. Woo gold star.
    • Run a mile without stopping. Hit 120 lbs. on the lat pulldown. Hit 96 lbs. on the rowing machine. I decided that I don’t care about these. I hate running, I know it, it was making me dread going to the gym, so I switched to riding the stationary bike. It doesn’t feel as awful and tough, so I feel like I’m not doing as much. I sweat a lot and I ride fast, so massive eyeroll to myself and my midwestern Puritan ideals there.

Basically, I need to eat better. I’ve let myself eat carbs even though giving them up is really the fastest, best way for me to lose weight. I do like lifting, and I’ve built some muscle. I just want to slim down so you can tell that.

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Reduce procrastination. I think I’ve made progress here, even if it’s by virtue of simply having to plow through. I was the only person on my team for five months this year, and I may as well have been the rest of the team, thanks to offboarding/onboarding people.
  • Send one card a month. Argh. No. Didn’t do this either.
  • Cut down on wasting time on the internet. This has remained on my mind throughout the year, and I do think I’ve gotten better in general. I still check Facebook too much, but it’s usually a quick check.
  • Write two pages/day, two days/week. Oh yeah, I was going to do that. Man, 2015 has been hard and I haven’t been feeding my creative side. No wonder I haven’t lost weight, either.

FINANCIAL HEALTH:

  • Finish paying off credit cards. I’m so close! I paid off the card I transferred everything to, right on time, but I also charged $2k. I hate that, but it’s yet another reminder that auto payments are what I need in order to pay things off.
  • Save $3000. Already done!

TO DO:

  • Read 15 books this year. I read the Harry Potter and Sookie Stackhouse novels again, and that’s definitely gonna take care of it. I also finished James Herriot’s books and am a good way through The Warmth of Other Suns.
  • Go to four museums or Atlanta things. I went to Atlanta History Center and the Museum of Design Atlanta. Both trips were for work (weird, right?), but it counts! I’m also counting the craft fair I went to. Looks like I need to go to another museum!

So there’s some good progress, and some not so much progress. And while I’m a little twitchy that I’m not getting all the gold stars, it really is ok. I’ve had kind of tough year (I think I say that during this time every year) at work, and certainly a lot of family and friends have had a hard time this fall. I definitely see that having the accountability of this blog is important to helping me check things off the list!

January goals check-in

One month down! I don’t recall this list being so long earlier this month. I can’t check off a ton of things for January, but I am super proud of the things I did achieve.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • 10 projects. Nuh uh. Lots of looking on Ravelry, though. 😀

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Lose 40 lbs. I’ve actually put on a couple pounds, but I’m pretty sure it’s muscle. So that’s ok!
    • Go to the gym twice a week. Done. Every week this month!
      8/8 = 100%
    • Run a mile without stopping. Man, will I never stop hating running? Still getting a tiny bit faster every few weeks, though!
    • Hit 120 lbs. on the lat pulldown. At 72 lbs. still. I can do 90 lbs., but not for 10 reps. Getting there!
    • Hit 96 lbs. on the rowing machine. Still at 60 lbs., but I’m getting more callouses. Yay?

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Reduce procrastination. I think so?
  • Send one card a month. Not a card, but I sent a very sincere text with feeeeeelings. Close enough, since the point is to communicate with the people I love! (Mom, don’t cringe. It’s fine.)
  • Cut down on wasting time on the internet. I still played on the internet more than reading books.
  • Write two pages/day, two days/week. Nope! I wrote once in January.

FINANCIAL HEALTH:

  • Finish paying off credit cards. Huh. I think I’m actually on track to pay these off in November, not December like I thought. Awesome!
    $600/$6,315 = 9.5%
  • Save $3000.
    $600/$3000 = 20%

TO DO:

  • Read 15 books this year. None. None books. See above comment about internet time. I’ve also been going out a lot.
  • Go to four museums or Atlanta things. I’ve started a spreadsheet. I am a crazy person! 😀

2015 goals

I love this introspective time of year, when things are quiet and calm and you get to assess all that you’ve done, and think carefully and thoughtfully about what you’d like to be. When else in the year do we stop to think about where our lives are going? Life is such a rush the rest of the year, but early in the year, you get to be calm and introspective.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • 10 projects. I haven’t hit this goal in the last three years, but it’s still a good goal. I’m thinking that I’ll at least finish a pair of socks.

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Lose 40 lbs. Ok, this is the year. I’ve put it off for the past several years, and now it’s time. I saw some photos lately that horrified me, but in all honesty, I think I’m pretty cute. I want to be healthy too. To this end, by the end of 2015, I want to be able to:
    • Go to the gym twice a week. 
    • Run a mile without stopping. I had some problems with running in early-mid 2014, with shin splints and doing something to the tendons on the top of my foot. Long story short, I did too much too soon. I got new shoes, and that’s helped a lot. Plus they’re pretty. Anyway, I’ve been running a couple times a week since October, but I haven’t really gotten any better at endurance (both in terms of stamina and in terms of enduring it!). I have gotten faster, though, and that’s pretty sweet.
    • Hit 120 lbs. on the lat pulldown. I’m at 72 lbs. now, and have already increased the weight I can lift. It’s sort of amazing to lift something that use to feel heavy and realize it feels light now. Being strong is awesome.
    • Hit 96 lbs. on the rowing machine. At 60 lbs. now. The plates on the machine at the gym are in increments of 12 lbs. for whatever reason, hence the weird numbers in my goals.

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Reduce procrastination. Focusing on this in 2013 and 2014 definitely helped. It’s still something I need to be reminded of, so it’s on the list.
  • Send one card a month. I want to send a card a month to someone I love, just to say hey.
  • Cut down on wasting time on the internet. I’m so bad about this, and I don’t want to waste my life.
  • Write two pages/day, two days/week. A little less ambitious than last year, but still a great goal.
  • Declutter. This is tied into the financial stuff, but I spend too much money on impulse buys or shopping to make me feel better. I want to get rid of things! How many black eyeliner pencils does one person need? The answer: not seven.

FINANCIAL HEALTH:

  • Finish paying off credit cards. This is a slog, but I’m on track to finish paying off all my cards by the end of this year!
  • Save $3000. This should be easily doable with automatic payments.

TO DO:

  • Read 15 books this year. This was actually tough in 2014, but it’s a very worthy goal.
  • Go to four museums or Atlanta things. I might define this as visiting new restaurants, but I definitely want to keep exploring my city. This list from the Atlanta History Center is a great start.

December goals check-in and 2014 recap

2014 was all about doing and growing and achieving. It was an incredibly full year, to say the least, and even though I didn’t blog about it (since, um, March), I thought a lot about my goals. Here’s how it went down.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • 10 projects. Just two finished projects, the shelf liner I put in when I moved, and another I worked on nail polish swatches. It turns out that I have a lot of nail polish (132, to be exact.)

nails-ring

FINANCIAL:

Y’all, I killed this. I am super happy with how well I did, and I’m giving myself a gold star.

  • Pay down credit card from 2013. I not only paid off this card, but got two credit cards to drop interest rates by at least a percentage point. In July, I transferred all my remaining debt onto a card with 0% interest for 18 months. I’m on track to pay the rest off by Dec. 2015!

6619/1700 = 389%

  • I also made some good strides with my student loans. I consolidated them later in the year and cut my payments in half. Once I’ve paid off my credit cards, I’ll use some of that money toward my loans and pay them off earlier. 
    What I’ve learned:
    Ask for a reduction, whether it’s lowering your interest rates or consolidating. Automatic transfers rock my socks off—they let you “set it and forget it.”
  • Plan and stick to a budget. I didn’t do so hot on this one, in terms of making a spreadsheet, but I did really well when it came to buying things with cash, rather than putting it on a credit card. This year, I bought a new mattress, plus plane tickets to Ohio, Hawaii and Chicago with cash. I wouldn’t have done that in the past. I’m also trying that thing where you’re responsible and buy things like groceries on a credit card, then pay it off every month.
  • Save $2500. Done and done. I also repaid the money I took out for vacation in Hawaii.

3450/2500= 138%

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Drink 64 oz. of water a day. I don’t know why I don’t do this. I definitely feel better when I do it, and I was really good in the middle of the year, but then I quit for some reason.
  • Lose 45 lbs. Ehhhhh.
  • Walk 4,000 steps a day. I completed this 208 days in 2014. I walked 1.9 million steps—that’s about 856 miles, or the distance from my house to New York City.

208/365= 57%

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Reduce procrastination. I think I got better at this, but it’s hard to tell when everything at work is haywire.
  • Send one card a month. I definitely didn’t do this for very long!
  • Cut down on wasting time on the internet. Early in the year I said this, and it’s still true: Not so good at this. I am always feeding info of some sort into my face, even when I’m blow-drying my hair. I think I need to cut that out.
  • Write two pages/day, three days/week. This went how I expected: I started out strong, then petered out. However, I did finish a full journal, and that’s something I haven’t done for a long time.

However, the aforementioned travel really helped my mental state.

Kua Bay, HI

Kua Bay, HI

Rambutan in HI

Rambutan in HI

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Destin, FL

Destin, FL

McComb, OH

McComb, OH

TO DO:

15/15 = 100%

  • Go to four museums or Atlanta things. I didn’t go to museums, but I did “Atlanta things” like spending a lot of time on the Beltline walking to different places, going to new-to-me restaurants and attending festivals. My intent with this goal was to get myself out of the house and take advantage of what Atlanta has to offer. I’m calling this one a win.

4/4 = 100%

THE TOOLS:

I tried a couple of new tools to help me keep track of my goals this year. It’s not only that I love data (and I do), but they help remind me of the goals in the first place. Being very honest, I flat-out ignored YNAB, but I like the Habit List app, and the Fitbit app got a lot better this year as well.

Aaaaaagh.

You guys. I recently rolled all my credit card debt onto one card (this one – it had a 0% balance transfer for EIGHTEEN MONTHS when I signed up and is still at 14 months).

I just set up semi-monthly payments that will be tough but manageable. Here’s to being free of credit card debt!

Party with the Past

I think I’ve found something that qualifies as an “Atlanta thing”! The Atlanta History Center is hosting “Party with the Past” and it sounds amazing. Image 

This month:

Party with the Past will focus on the unique culture and history of Southern food and will be held on the History Center’ s 1840s Smith Family Farm. Charleston-based food writer, photographer, and blogger Brys Stephens will be on hand to discuss his latest book The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited. Brys will talk about the importance of food and cooking in Southern culture while museum interpreters prepare recipes from The New Southern Table in the farm kitchen.