2015 recap

I really, really had a good 2015.

One of my goals was being less negative, and I worked hard to change things about my life and self to make my attitude better. I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I changed jobs mid-year to find more freedom and time in my life when the commute/job/life got too overwhelming. It was a great change, and I feel really content with my work and career direction.

I did some craft projects. I did the ones that made me happy until they didn’t and then I put them aside.

I read books. More than I thought I would be able to. And while my life doesn’t allow the endless Saturday hours of holing up and getting lost in a book, finding the time for fiction in audio form has made life better.

I was less rigid with myself and the goal-setting. When my clothing budget goal didn’t work anymore because of the new job, I suspended it.

A lot of the year was spent focusing on me and making life better/easier, and yet, I still didn’t have much time for myself. I find myself challenged by knowing just how fleeting the time Thomas will be a toddler is — just how little time I have with him, overall — and needing an hour, an effing hour, with no one talking to me, touching me, climbing on me, holding my hand, needing pet (I’m looking at you, cats). I’m sure that finding that balance will me the struggle of the rest of my adulthood.

 

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 2015: Goals progress

It’s a few days before the end of the year, but I’m going to go ahead and sum up December.

1. Being less negative. Still about 10% negative.

2. Projects. Two in December.

So far this year:
Play for Thomas
Completed
-Felt board
-Playdough (it only worked for a day, then I bought some)
-Cardboard house
Curtains
Train layouts

Clothes for me
Completed
-Kimono
-Mending (three sweaters, a black shirt, a running jacket and slimming a kimono)
-T-shirt upcycle
-Shirt
-Fascinator (hair accessory)
In progress
-Pants (I just need to sew them)
-Skirt for work (I just need to sew it)
-Dress (I just need to sew it)

Christmas decorations

Home decor
Completed
-Gallery wall progress (I found free pics online, printed them through Shutterfly, bought frames at Michaels and hung them up.)

Others
Completed
-Clay jewelry holders
-Nail polish swatches

3. Track my food on my Fitbit app. Didn’t happen.

4. Back health. Did some yoga, bought new shock pads for my device, which makes it better.

5. Clothing budget. Still suspended.

6. Read 25 books. 37/25. I am constantly not remembering what I’ve read/listened to.

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Magicians King by Lev Grossman
The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
That Summer by Lauren Willig
–Four re-reads–
The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
My Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson
The Martian by Andy Weir
Armada by Ernest Cline
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Finding Fraser by kc dyer
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

7. Declutter. Sold some clothing items to ThredUp, gave some stuff away, sold some stuff.

Trains and Advent Calendars

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to do an advent calendar with Thomas this year?” I looked at Target, but I didn’t really see any I thought were any good.

On Friday, as we were setting up our Christmas stuff, I had to marvel, because 2014 Stephanie just KNEW that 2015 Stephanie would want to do that. She’d bought me a calendar and put it in the Christmas boxes and it was everything I was looking for.

 Except, we’re going to Florida for Christmas. So we won’t be here to do the whole calendar. Rather than forego it, Josh and I opted to start the calendar early and countdown to leaving for Florida instead of Christmas. While means we’re basically a few days behind.

Because I hadn’t found a calendar, I hadn’t put in much thought to what I’d want to put in it.

My requirements:
-Things that won’t clutter my house
-Things that bring Thomas joy
-Things that are little and not really “presents”

This could be food stuffs, etc., but I also wanted to make little experiences for him. Something he really, really loves are his trains. We bought him the IKEA wooden railway for his 2nd birthday, and it’s been a big hit. We bought more track a few months ago, and it came with a paper of track layouts. T loves pointing at one for us to help him build.

So, I scoured the internet (Pinterest) for more track layouts and made a couple PDFs of just the images. I printed them out, folded the pages and tucked each one into a different day.

Wooden train track layout #1
Wooden train track layout #2

(Sources: This. This. This. and This.)

(Note: Part of the picture is missing on the top of train layout #1. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get that photo to show up right in Photoshop. Sorry, people.)

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!

October 2015: Goals progress

1. Being less negative. Still at about 10 percent negativity in life. But I’m constantly working at it.

2. Projects. I didn’t really do any in September.

So far this year:
Play for Thomas
Completed
-Felt board
-Playdough (it only worked for a day, then I bought some)
-Cardboard house

Clothes for me
Completed
-Kimono
-Mending (three sweaters, a black shirt, a running jacket and slimming a kimono)
-T-shirt upcycle
-Shirt
-Fascinator (hair accessory)
In progress
-Pants (I just need to sew them)
-Skirt for work (I just need to sew it)
-Dress (I just need to sew it)**New this month!**

Christmas decorations

Home decor
Completed
-Gallery wall progress (I found free pics online, printed them through Shutterfly, bought frames at Michaels and hung them up.)

Others
Completed
-Clay jewelry holders
-Nail polish swatches

3. Track my food on my Fitbit app. I am still terrible at this. I did a few days in October, but again, gained the weight back when I stopped being so diligent.

4. Back health. Still using my device. Still haven’t tried yoga at the company gym. <– I’m just going to leave this here for the rest of the year because I think it will always be true.

5. Clothing budget. I am WAY over the line. But I’m reining my spending back in and probably will go back on budget next year.

6. Read 25 books. 32/25. I am constantly not remembering what I’ve read/listened to.

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Magicians King by Lev Grossman
The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
That Summer by Lauren Willig
–Four re-reads–
The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
My Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson
The Martian by Andy Weir

7. Declutter. I had AmVets pick up six bags to donate in October. I also joined Yerdle and have “sold” items through the app. I can actually walk through part of my garage now.

September 2015: Goals progress

1. Being less negative. I feel like I’ve washed away 90 percent of the negativity in my life. That last 10 percent is hard, but I feel like this is a really good effort, and probably about the normal amount.

2. Projects. I didn’t really do any in September.

So far this year:
Play for Thomas
Completed
-Felt board
-Playdough (it only worked for a day, then I bought some)
-Cardboard house

Clothes for me
Completed
-Kimono
-Mending (three sweaters, a black shirt, a running jacket and slimming a kimono)
-T-shirt upcycle
-Shirt
-Fascinator (hair accessory)
In progress
-Pants (I just need to sew them)
-Skirt for work (I just need to sew it)

Christmas decorations

Home decor
Completed
-Gallery wall progress (I found free pics online, printed them through Shutterfly, bought frames at Michaels and hung them up.)

Others
Completed
-Clay jewelry holders
-Nail polish swatches

3. Track my food on my Fitbit app. I am terrible at this. I did it three days of one week in September and lost 2 pounds that week. Then, I didn’t do it for six days straight and gained the pounds back.

4. Back health. Still using my device. Still haven’t tried yoga at the company gym.

5. Clothing budget. I am totally beyond this original $500 line. I’m probably in the $750-$800 range. But, I think that I’ll be good for a long time again.

6. Read 25 books. 31/25. I know there are more books that this, but I can’t think of them for the life of me. Having a shorter commute does mean that I can’t listen to as many audiobooks, though. OH DARN.

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Magicians King by Lev Grossman
The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
That Summer by Lauren Willig
–Four re-reads–
The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
My Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson

7. Declutter. I have gotten rid of so much stuff in the past two months. For seriously.

July and August 2015: Goals progress

1. Being less negative. Less negative in July because I GOT A NEW JOB. Also, my really annoying coworker started working from home, so I had less interaction with her. All good things. I have more flexibility in my life, too, so I feel a lot more positive.

2. Projects. I started making a skirt for work. It’s going slow. But I made a fascinator in August for an English-themed tea bridal shower.

So far this year:
Play for Thomas
Completed
-Felt board
-Playdough (it only worked for a day, then I bought some)
-Cardboard house

Clothes for me
Completed
-Kimono
-Mending (three sweaters, a black shirt, a running jacket and slimming a kimono)
-T-shirt upcycle
-Shirt
-Fascinator (hair accessory)
In progress
-Pants (I just need to sew them)

Christmas decorations

Home decor
Completed
-Gallery wall progress (I found free pics online, printed them through Shutterfly, bought frames at Michaels and hung them up.)

Others
Completed
-Clay jewelry holders
-Nail polish swatches

3. Track my food on my Fitbit app. I’ve done a few of these days since starting my new job. But ugh. It’s so annoying to track food.

4. Back health. Still using my device. Might start doing yoga in the company gym on Fridays during lunch. Maybe.

5. Clothing budget. I am totally beyond this original $500 line. I’m probably in the $750-$800 range. But, I think that I’ll be good for a long time again.

6. Read 25 books. 27/25. I know I’m forgetting some audio books I listened to, but I guess that’s just how it goes. Like my food, I can’t be bothered to track my books so closely anymore.

I have to say, though, I’m feeling really good about the number of books I’ve read so far this year. Reading has been one of my favorite activities my whole life, and the past few years I’ve been so limited. I don’t LOVE audiobooks, but I have a new appreciation for them.

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Magicians King by Lev Grossman
The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
That Summer by Lauren Willig
–Four re-reads–
The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

7. Declutter. I have gotten rid of a lot of clothes. I have a lot of stuff to get rid of… I feel slightly overwhelmed by this. But it’ll be fine!

June 2015: Goals progress

1. Being less negative. Nope, super negative in June. Not even checking.

2. Projects. I hemmed that shirt. I think it was in June, but it could have been May.

So far this year:
Play for Thomas
Completed
-Felt board
-Playdough (it only worked for a day, then I bought some)
-Cardboard house

Clothes for me
Completed
-Kimono
-Mending (three sweaters, a black shirt, a running jacket and slimming a kimono)
-T-shirt upcycle
-Shirt
In progress
-Pants (I just need to sew them)

Christmas decorations

Home decor
Completed
-Gallery wall progress (I found free pics online, printed them through Shutterfly, bought frames at Michaels and hung them up.)

Others
Completed
-Clay jewelry holders
-Nail polish swatches

3. Track my food on my Fitbit app. I can’t think of any days I did this.

4. Back health. Still using my device. Did yoga four times.

5. Clothing budget. I bought more tops, a dress for an interview (got the job!), more Stitch Fix items, etc. I guess it was just time for a bit of an overhaul. Most of the clothes I like a lot and wear a lot are 5-7 years old, so… yeah. My life has changed a lot. I should have anticipated that things are different.

6. Read 25 books. 15/25. At least six in June. (I know I’ve forgotten some.)

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Magicians King by Lev Grossman
The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
That Summer by Lauren Willig
–Four re-reads–

7. Declutter. Slowly but surely.

May 2015: Goals progress

1. Being less negative. Six days of discussing my coworkers on gchat with Tasha. That probably correlates to a few more times at home… I’m working on it.

2. Projects.

So far this year:
Play for Thomas
Completed
-Felt board
-Playdough (it only worked for a day, then I bought some)
-Cardboard house

Clothes for me
Completed
-Kimono
-Mending (three sweaters, a black shirt, a running jacket and slimming a kimono)
-T-shirt upcycle
In progress
-Pants (I just need to sew them)
-Shirt (needs a hem)

Christmas decorations

Home decor
Completed
-Gallery wall progress (I found free pics online, printed them through Shutterfly, bought frames at Michaels and hung them up.)

Others
Completed
-Clay jewelry holders
-Nail polish swatches

3. Track my food on my Fitbit app. I maybe did this once.

4. Back health. That device I bought is magical. I could do better on the yoga and finding a chiro. Maybe this summer!

5. Clothing budget. $441.02/$534. I bought two pairs of shoes and a top at Target ($67.97) and bought all the things in my Stitch Fix box ($184). I’m not over budget yet, but let’s face it: this isn’t happening this year. I still would like to keep it reasonable. It’s just that many of my clothing from “before” doesn’t fit my life now. That’s OK. I made a major life change. It was unrealistic to pretend this wouldn’t be the case.

6. Read 25 books. 15/25. Four in May. Audiobooks ftw. (Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten some books. I generally can’t remember everything I’ve read at the end of the month.)

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Magicians King by Lev Grossman

7. Declutter. I got rid of a ton of stuff from our linen closet, making room for things that were cluttering up other areas. I also passed on some baby things to friends. I organized a box of cords and started a box for electronic recycling. Slowly but surely. Is there a charity that does pickup? I think that could motivate me to mass purge.