08 January 2015

32 Before 32

  1. Learn how to carry a tune
  2. Read 3 Classics
  3. Read 3 Best Sellers
  4. Hike trails around our house
  5. Make art for our dining room
  6. Do another 30 day challenge
  7. Go for a major bike ride
  8. Thin out my closet
  9. Plant a garden
  10. Finish knitting my Abrigado blanket
  11. Perfect a wing eye
  12. Build a fire pit
  13. Make a piece of jewelry
  14. Make a DIY Camera bag insert
  15. Make Créme Brûlée
  16. Take a silhouette photo
  17. Improve my posture
  18. Finish one design project per week
  19. Go candlepin bowling
  20. Find more balance
  21. Watch Game of Thrones
  22. Buy fresh flowers once a week
  23. Get more sleep
  24. Eat a vegetable at every meal
  25. Make art
  26. Decorate for Christmas
  27. Take a trip
  28. Try a new sport
  29. Get my eyebrows done
  30. Get a massage
  31. Visit a new museum
  32. Display my camera collection

07 January 2015

31 Before 31 Update

  1. 100 Pushups
  2. Do another 28 or 30 day challenge
    I started trying to learn Spanish using Duolingo. I decided this was my challenge. So for the whole year, I certainly used the App, but I also succeeded in reaching my 30 day Spanish challenge.
  3. Log my food and exercise every single day for a minimum of 3 months
    I would start doing this and I was really good at it for about five days, then I would lapse into forgetfulness and laziness and stop doing it. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  4. Go ice skating
    Boom.
  5. Run a 10K
    Why do I keep doing this to myself? Every time I work my way up to a 5K, I lose steam. We did do a 15 mile bike ride, this year...does that count? I feel like a broken record!
  6. Go to sleep early
    Moved over an hour away from work. Need to wake up in time to take the commuter rail. Bedtime is now 9:30.
  7. Improve my postureI have done noting quantifiable to accomplish this goal, and it is definitely something I've noticed.
  8. Buy a house
  9. Knit a sweater
  10. Schedule "me" time at least once a week. Strive for at least two hours of solitude
    I don't think I met this goal, measurably, but I was able to be more conscious about the time I needed with myself, and to try to make only half of this time "computer time."
  11. Meditate
    I downloaded Headspace, which got me started on a daily meditation program.
  12. Visit a new state
    Shockingly, had never been to VA. Boom. Done.
  13. Visit a new museum
    We saw Gropius House in the winter, and had a private tour. It was beautiful, and I would highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in art, architecture, or just New England History in general.
  14. Go to at least one lecture or creative performance
  15. Read Four Classics:
    The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) - Started
    The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton) - Didn't even acquire
    The Stranger (Albert Camus)
    The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
  16. 52 Weeks listing Things for which I am Grateful
  17. 52 Weeks to an Organized Home
  18. 90 minutes of Yoga at minimum once a week
    Nope, although I did more yoga at home due to my subscription to MyYogaPro (courtesy of my sister!)
  19. Learn about my family tree
  20. Make a cheese souffle
    Did this for our anniversary!
  21. Buy a watch
    I did this, and it was gorgeous, but I am glad I did not buy a very expensive watch, because it turns out I do not like to wear it everyday.
  22. Make hot buttered rum
  23. Take a stunning photographGot some Milky Way photography done in El Paso. Can't wait to try again, although I doubt I will find anything like that Texas sky up here!
  24. Write a haiku
    Thirty-two, doing
    "old person" activities
    like feeding the birds
  25. Make a pair of earrings
  26. Get my eyebrows shaped professionally
  27. See a Penn State Game at Beaver Stadium
    J, you had one job.
  28. Letterpress
    I letter-pressed our holiday cards, and I am very very happy with the way they came out!
  29. Buy number or letter balloons for an occasion
    Like, what occasion? Sitting at home and watching Netflix?
  30. Find a new shade of lipstick
  31. Buy It's a Wonderful Life on DVD
    Now I can relive the moments from my childhood when I used to wrap Christmas presents and watch this Jimmy Stewart classic with my grandmother in my own house instead of trekking to the Brattle Theatre—or maybe do both!

31 December 2014

Wrapping up 2014

Wrapping up 2013
  1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
    Bought a house!
  2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
    From Last Year
    • A bad habit I'm going to break: Snacking mindlessly (NOPE)
    • A new skill I'd like to learn: Photoshop (like a pro) (MEH, although for work, I've had to step up my game)
    • A person I hope to be more like: My manager, who is patient and kind and outgoing (Sometimes I feel like I was starting to learn, but ...)
    • A good deed I'm going to do: Donate blood. It's been a while since I've been able to do this (NOPE. I also found out that I am AB, so in addition to any inability to donate on my part, it's also the least helpful blood type...)
    • A place I'd like to visit: The El Paso Mission Trail (I was not able to do this this year, but we did go to Carlsbad Caverns, instead, which was a really good trip)
  3. This Year
    • A bad habit I'm going to break: Buying snacks from a vending machine
    • A new skill I'd like to learn: How to do a stunning cat eye
    • A person I hope to be more like: My husband, who is mindful and organized.
    • A good deed I'm going to do: Donate to one of the many public services we utilize
    • A place I'd like to visit: All of the conservation trails in my neighborhood
  4. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Indeed! We had a baby girl come into the world shortly before Christmas
  5. Did anyone close to you die?
    Thankfully, no.
  6. What trips did you take?
    Mexico! It was just Cancun for a few days, and it was for work, but hey! I got a passport stamp.
    Nashville—another work trip that was tons of fun
    El Paso—we went down for a family wedding and had a blast
  7. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
    A diet and exercise routine
  8. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
    June 1, the day we moved to our new house
  9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Getting our shit together and buying a house. There were a lot of obstacles and hurdles, and it was emotional and financially terrifying, but everyday we are in this house, I feel better and better about our decision.
  10. What was your biggest failure?
    My big mouth
  11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    Just the usual colds, allergies and sinus things.
  12. What was the best thing you bought?
    Our house!
    A 10' Tall Christmas Tree
    A new couch that J actually fits on
  13. Whose behavior merited celebration?
    Our families all came up to spend Thanksgiving with us, and it was wonderful.
  14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
    There was an incident of "baby name theft" that left me pretty angry.
  15. Where did most of your money go?
    Our house...I'm beginning to see a theme.
  16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    My birthday present, which was a vinyl recording of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins album. Buying a house (HOUSE!)
    The potential of a whole new world in the kitchen when I got a stand mixer for Christmas.
  17. What song will always remind you of 2014?
    Let Her Go by Passenger (THANKS, BUDWEISER)
    Counting Stars by One Republic
    Argentina I, II, III by Tokyo Police Club
    I Wanna Get Better by The Bleachers
  18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
    Taking advantage of our beautiful neighborhood and all of the trails near our house.
  19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
    Being hung over—it's not like it was in my 20's. Now if I have a hangover I spend 3 days feeling like shit instead of one morning.
  20. How did you spend Thanksgiving?
    We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year
  21. How did you spend Christmas?
    With our MA family, eating a delicious dinner and drinking the best Old Fashioned I have ever tasted.
  22. How will you be spending New Years?
    Probably sleeping
  23. Did you fall in love in 2014?
    As always
  24. What was your favorite TV program?
    Sherlock
    Gilmore Girls on Netflix
  25. Do you "hate" anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
    I think that I've come to decide that "hate," even the mild pretend "hate," is a completely wasted emotion. This doesn't mean that there isn't anyone that could have made this list, just that I choose not to participate in this question anymore.*
    *I have added an addendum to include the strong sense of dislike that I feel for people who mark up library books.
  26.  What was the best book you read?
    The Handmaid's Tale
  27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
    WERS
  28. What did you want that you also ended up getting?
    The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness on vinyl.
    A new dining room table and a new couch
    Cowboy boots from Nashville
    An Aqua Stand Mixer
    A HOUSE
  29. What did you want that you did not end up getting?
    A greyhound, which happens every year. One day I will have a house and a schedule that allow for a dog, but right now it wouldn't be fair to a four legged family member
  30. What was your favorite film of this year?
    The Imitation Game
  31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I turned 30, the big doble-quinceañera. We went ice skating, had some dinner at Border Cafe and then went to Harvest for some great dessert and cocktails. We had a piñata, but decided to save it for the summer when more people were able to join in the fun.
  32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    If I had done a better job re-learning spanish
  33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
    Plaid and Flannel
  34. What kept you sane?
    Prozac and Klonopin, and allergy medicaiton
  35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
    Benedict Cumberbatch, Alli Speed
  36. What political issue stirred you the most?
    I got pretty riled up about our local ballot questions. Turns out we moved to a red zone.
  37. Who did you miss?
    I always miss my grandmother—buying our house and settling down up here made me think of her and her house quite a bit when I found myself trying to figure out what makes my house my home.
  38. Who was the best new person you met?
    Our neighbors are wonderful
  39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014
    "Don't spend time with people who don't treat you well," among other things.
  40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
    Two sips from the cup of human kindness
    and I'm shit faced, just laid to waste.

08 January 2014

31 Things to do Before 31

  1. 100 Pushups
  2. Do another 28 or 30 day challenge
  3. Log my food and exercise every single day for a minimum of 3 months
  4. Go ice skating
  5. Run a 10K
  6. Go to sleep early
  7. Improve my posture
  8. Buy a house
  9. Knit a sweater
  10. Schedule "me" time at least once a week. Strive for at least two hours of solitude
  11. Meditate
  12. Visit a new state
  13. Visit a new museum
  14. Go to at least one lecture or creative performance
  15. Read Four Classics:
    The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
    The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
    The Stranger (Albert Camus)
    The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
  16. 52 Weeks listing Things for which I am Grateful
  17. 52 Weeks to an Organized Home
  18. 90 minutes of Yoga at minimum once a week
  19. Learn about my family tree
  20. Make cheese souffle
  21. Buy a watch
  22. Make hot buttered rum
  23. Take a stunning photograph
  24. Write a haiku
  25. Make a pair of earrings
  26. Get my eyebrows shaped professionally
  27. See a Penn State Game at Beaver Stadium
  28. Letterpress
  29. Buy number or letter balloons for an occasion
  30. Find a new shade of lipstick
  31. Buy It's a Wonderful Life on DVD

07 January 2014

30 Before 30 List Update


Up until 30, for some reason it made sense to me that I wanted to to x-1 things before I turned x. But 29 before 30 seemed kind of...silly. 30 is big. 30 is...thirty. So without further adieu, my list of thirty things I wanted to do before 30:
  1. Visit Fallingwater
    Frank Lloyd Wright's PA treasure was beautiful, and definitely worth the wait. We got tickets for the in-depth tour, and we learned some really interesting facts about the house, plus I was allowed to take some really great pictures with a wide angle lens that I rented from borrowlenses.com.
  2. Visit a new state
    I was not able to do this this year. We made it up to Maine, out to California (twice), Nevada, and back to PA, but we've been to all of those places before.
  3. Visit a new museum
    I visited the Andy Warhol museum while I was in Pittsburgh over the 4th of July weekend. It was pretty awesome, and although they didn't allow photos, I was too mesmirized by the David Bowie interview to really pay attention to anything else (well, besides the silver clouds)
  4. Make my own flavored vodka
    I made cherry flavored vodka with a mini-bottle of Bully Boy and some in-season black cherries. Sonic ain't got nothing on my homemade cherry limeade slushes!
  5. Make ice cream
  6. Find a piece of good furniture
    I feel like I did one better and got a very beautiful rug by Austin artist Alyson Fox (from West Elm). It is gorgeous and I love it. We even bought a vacuum cleaner JUST BECAUSE I love this rug so much, and want to take care of it properly forever. We also finally got around to getting a cube Expedit for our vinyl collection.


  7. Grow tomatoes
    Yeah, baby
  8. Add a lens to my camera collection
    After some deliberation, I decided to rent the lens I wanted whenever I needed it. This worked out for the best, financially. Although I'd still like to add it to my collection eventually, the cost for this one was prohibitive.
  9. Take bird pictures
    Done! Got a photo of a hawk a week after I posted this, which was more than I ever could have dreamed! Now I need to use the good old telephoto lens and get some "real" bird pictures as the telephoto intended.
  10. Make a lightbox
  11. Finish knitting a blanket
  12. Sew a skirt
    I will update with this project soon!
  13. Make a travel book for guests/Scrapbook about Boston
    I collected some maps from the airport, and gathered all of those plus soaps, shampoos, and a list of suggestions for things to do.
  14. Take a haunted trolley tour
  15. Ride the Swan Boats
  16. Learn to play guitar
    Ha. Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking.
  17. Take spanish lessons
    I didn't really follow through on this, even after I looked it up and asked around.
  18. Read Three classics: War and Peace, Persuasion, and Crime and Punishment
  19. Start waking up early
    I had to start waking up before 6:30 for my new job. So...done!
  20. Visit a national monument
    Turns out that Symphony Hall is a National Monument, so check!
  21. Run another 5K
  22. Repaint/refinish our kitchen chairs
  23. Overhaul the sh*t out of my closet
    My intentions were good, but I did not have time for this.
  24. Overhaul the sh*t out of my online portfolio
    I kind of did this, but not to the depth or extent I wanted.
  25. Serve on a Jury
    Okay, this wasn't strictly on my list, but I did finally get to serve jury duty. It felt great to do my civic duty, even though the trial was pretty abysmal and left me with little sense of justice. Innocent until proven guilty, though, right?
  26. Get my first tattoo
    I decided I'd rather have a house. We'll see what happens after we save all our extra $$$ and buy property.
  27. Do 30 days of yoga
    I did this challenge
  28. Keep a Therapy Journal
    I never got around to this, but I do jot down some of the more important things when I think of them or when they help me more than usual.
  29. Set a measurable goal in therapy
  30. Eat a cleaner diet
    J and I started doing Paleo in July. We hoped to make it a lifestyle change instead of something we did for a few weeks. I think it made us more aware of where our food was coming from, and how lazy we had become since I started working full time. We're still making adjustments, but it was good for us, and we both lost some weight and learned some things.
Total: 20/30
 

31 December 2013

Wrapping Up 2013

Wrapping up 2012


1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
  • Planted tomatoes and peppers
  • [Finished] Strip[ping] and repainted furniture
  • Visited a Frank Lloyd Wright house (Fallingwater)
  • Visited the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh
  • Saw the Boston Pops with J
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
From last year:
  • Run a 10K • I did not do this, but I did run two 5Ks. That counts, right?
  • Open an etsy store • I also did not do this, but I got a job, which was really the point of the etsy store at the time the goal was made. I would still like to do this, but it's no longer at the front of my mind.
  • Redesign my website • Nope. I did move everything over to Behance, though.

This year:

  • A bad habit I'm going to break: Snacking mindlessly
  • A new skill I'd like to learn: Photoshop (like a pro)
  • A person I hope to be more like: My manager, who is patient and kind and outgoing
  • A good deed I'm going to do: Donate blood. It's been a while since I've been able to do this
  • A place I'd like to visit: The El Paso Mission Trail

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One of my besties from college had a baby boy, and managed to name him after a member of N'Sync. Another College bestie had a baby the same month. Babies, everywhere!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
None this year—we stayed Stateside.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A house

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
January 29th, because that was when I was hired to contract at my new job, which I love. December 11th, because that is the date they told me I would be hired as an employee.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finding a job that I love, learning that I need to love myself first.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not loving myself enough, blaming myself for things I cannot control.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the usual: colds, stomach flu, banged up fingers and toes.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
An Alyson Fox rug from West Elm, and a Rabbit bottle opener for my mother-in-law.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My managers really went to bat for me when it came to hiring me after I temped for almost a year

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Only my own

14. Where did most of your money go?
We've been saving for a house this year, but as usual, a large percentage of our non-housing money went towards travel: travel for weddings, travel to see family, and vacation(s).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
  • Seeing Fallingwater
  • Getting hired at [job]
  • House hunting
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Cinema by Skrillex, which will forever remind me of J's 30th birthday that we spent in PA with his brother. A great weekend, for sure.

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hiking and general outdoorsy-ness.

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Eating. Particularly processed and canned foods.

20. How did you spend Thanksgiving?
Vegas, baby!

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In PA with J's family.

21. How will you be spending New Years?
Probably at home with Dial-A-Pizza and a mini champagne bottle.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Again and again.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Breaking Bad, which went out with the biggest bang and most satisfying ending since Six Feet Under, although like Six Feet Under I was devastated when there were no more episodes.

Then we rewatched it and realized it's just revenge porn.

24. Do you "hate" anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I think that I've come to decide that "hate," even the mild pretend "hate," is a completely wasted emotion. This doesn't mean that there isn't anyone that could have made this list, just that I choose not to participate in this question anymore.*

*I have added an addendum to include the strong sense of dislike that I feel for people who mark up library books.

25. What was the best book you read?
Crime and Punishment

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
fake electronic music (only the pop stuff for me!)

27. What did you want that you also ended up getting?
A trip to Fallingwater, time with a very expensive wide angle lens (from borrowlenses.com)

28. What did you want that you did not end up getting?
A greyhound, again. We had finally started to pull the trigger, even going to an adoption agency to meet dogs, then I got a job downtown, and realized I couldn't juggle those two life changes. One day we will have a dog, and a house, and kids, and chickens. One day.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
We didn't really see any movies this year that were stand outs...probably my most enjoyable theatre experience was It's A Wonderful Life at the Brattle—our yearly Christmas tradition.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29. J and I went to one of our favorite tapas/cocktail places, CasaB, and were treated like royalty—they even had champagne cocktails waiting for us when we arrived! It was wonderful and low key and perfect.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A patch of land in the country.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Recycled

33. What kept you sane?
Prozac and Klonopin

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Benedict Cumberbatch—I even had a series of dirty dreams about him. As Sherlock Holmes, of course.

I didn't realize how many things I've seen that he's been in because really, this started out as a Sherlock thing more than a Cumberbatch thing. And I hardly seem like the only one to have realized this in 2013.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Pretty much the same as always.

I was upset about the Marathon Bombings, and the aftermath of how it was handled. I don't believe in the goodness in people the way I did when I was younger, and all of it just rang so false to me. It made me very angry, and I was too close to the issue to appreciate it when other (far away) people got worked up about it.

What does any of this have to do with politics? Nothing, which is why I got worked up when people tried to talk about this awful thing in terms of political action, inaction, or different sets of (religious/political) rights and wrongs.

36. Who did you miss?
I always miss my grandmother, but this year I missed her especially. I have no idea why it was so difficult this year in particular since she passed in 2005, but it was nice to be able to sit with her memory for a while longer than usual this year.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Many of the people I work with now

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
To love myself.

I'm still working on it.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Raskolnikov felt sick, but he couldn't say why
When he saw his face reflected in his victim's twinkling eye
Some things you do for money, and some you do for fun
But the things you do for love are going to come back to you one by one.

13 November 2013

Your Body on Yoga

A great info-graphic from the Huffington Post. See more information here.

yoga infographic