List-cember

December…but with lists!

17 Goals for 2019 (List-cember #8)

For the past two years I’ve made concrete lists of 17 goals that I hope to accomplish in the following year. The first year was cute, it was 17 Goals in 2017, but then I stuck to 17 (because it’s my favorite number) in 2018 and I’m going to continue sticking to it…

I’m sorry.

I’m know it’s not as catchy.

I also know I apologized for this last year, so I apologize for apologizing…again.

ANYWAYS.

Here were are, a mere six days away from the new year and I’m putting another 17 goals out into the universe. I’m sure they’ll frustrate me and stress me out and make me wonder what in the hell I was ever thinking, but then at the same time they’ll inspire me and excite me and encourage me to continue to make crazy lists of goals because I really can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Let’s see what we have in store for 2019.

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1) Journal daily

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This past year, in the month leading up to my birthday I gave myself a list of challenges in an attempt to give 28 a solid start. One of my favorite parts was the daily writing challenge. I liked having to write about something each day, even if it was just describing my favorite season or listing things that make me laugh. It got me writing, which always seems to sort my brain out, no matter how jumbled it might be at the end of a long day. So, in 2019, I’m going to journal every day. I’m going to buy myself a new moleskin notebook and write 2019 on the front and I’m going to write at least a few words it in every day. Not only will it keep me writing, but it will also be a way to preserve everything that happens in the next year, which I have a funny feeling is going to be a good one.

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2) Take a cooking class

This one is on my 30 Before 30 list and after what I would consider a successful year of trying new recipes (lots of which I’ve shared in my Strain then Stir series) I’m feeling inspired to go out and take a class. I don’t really have a preference for the genre of food or the type of class, I just want to learn something new and expand my cooking skills.

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

Piggy-backing off of that last one, I think it would be a fun challenge to actually cook my way through one of the (too many) cookbooks I own. I’m such a flip and pick kind of cookbook reader and I think I miss some recipes that I’d really like if I gave them a chance.

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4) Try the best drink from every state

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A while back I watched this YouTube video that showcased the best drinks from each of the 50 states. While I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t tried a lot of them, I was surprised that I’d never even heard of most of them. When my friends and I go out, I am a big sipper. I like to try what everyone’s drinking before I eventually order my favorite drink: a Dirty Shirley. I think this challenge will both feed my curiosity and force me to branch out a little. Who knows, I might even find my new favorite drink in there somewhere.

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5) Watch a sunset and a sunrise at the beach

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This one is almost embarrassing to include on the list because as someone who lives 30 minutes from the beach (when there’s minimal traffic) in a city that has incredible weather year round, there’s really no excuse for me not to go more often than I do. If I’m being 100% honest, I think I might have gone three times this year? And that’s a hard might. So, in 2019 I’m going to do better. I’m going to see (at least!) one sunset and one sunrise at the beach, both of which will involve me taking lots of pictures and pretending that I’m not cold. Can’t wait!

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

This one has become a staple and I love it! I still haven’t found a way not to procrastinate until the last minute to finish it…but it love it!

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7) See 3 WRLA’s

This one is another staple, but this year might be a little more challenging than others. Since I’ve seen most of the ones close to me, I’ll have to do some driving/flying to see those farther away. Luckily, I’ve managed to hook a few people with the wonderful weirdness of WRLA’s and I think they might be up for accompanying me 🙂

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

I am currently on track to pay off one of my last two student loans in June of 2019 and MAN, AM I EXCITED. Unless something drastic happens, this should be an easy goal to complete, but I’m putting it on the list because it will feel so. damn. good. to cross it off.

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9) Amazon Wish List splurge

Another piggy back goal. I’ve said for a while now that when I pay off all of my loans I am going to go through my Amazon Wish List and just go ape sh*t on it to celebrate. But while I’m on track to pay off one loan next year, my final one will probably take another year and a half to pay off. So, I’m going to do a mini splurge. Say 5-10 things that have been on my list and in and out of my cart forever. I think it will be just the push I need to get through my final year of loan payments.

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10) Stomp grapes and make wine

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This is another goal on my 30 Before 30 list, and I’m very anxious (and kind of grossed out?) to try it. My cousin and I were recently talking about planning a trip to Northern California to visit wine country and I think this would be something fun to do in between all the wine drinking. I mean, we gotta get some exercise in, might as well make it useful.

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11) Make my family tree

I’ve wanted to do this FOREVER. I come from a great, big, wonderful and loud family and I’d love to learn about all the great, wonderful and loud ancestors before me. I’m then hoping to turn the information I find into a book of some sort. Stay tuned!

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12) Hike the Narrows

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I found this Zion National Park hike a few years back and immediately put it on my family’s to-do list. Since then, I’ve seen a bunch of my friends do it, all of them coming back with rave reviews, so this year, I’m thinking it’s our turn.

Family! Let’s do it!

 

(If you’re interested, you can find information about this hike here.)

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13) Do (at least one) unassisted pull-up

I go to the gym a few times a week and one of my go-to exercises is the assisted pull-up. Essentially I use a machine that puts some of my body weight against me but not all of it, as I bend and straighten my arms in a pull-up motion. Slowly but surely over the last year I’ve made progress, but I’ve still got a little ways to go until I could do one completely unassisted. All I’m looking for is one at this point, then I can go from there.

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14) Get 100 rejections

In the middle of 2018, I read an article that encouraged writers to garner as many rejections as they can, explaining that if they are constantly putting their work out there to get rejected, they are also bound to find their work accepted at least a few times as well. This past year, aside from my blog, I put my writing on the back burner a little bit because I was so busy, so I’m hoping this goal will help fuel my fire to fail and thus (hopefully) succeed in 2019.

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15) Learn a song on my ukulele

A while back I got a ukulele as a birthday gift. I was so excited and immediately looked up videos on YouTube to teach myself how to play. I think I may have learned “Happy Birthday” but I was not very good and have since forgotten every single note. So this year I think I might take an online class or two and see if I can’t learn a song. Sure, it might be “Happy Birthday” again, but it’s the effort that counts, right?

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16) Finish my museum goal

One of my goals in 2018 was to go to 20 museums in Los Angeles. While I started off strong, the year quickly turned into one giant, busy, blurry tornado. Almost every single weekend was booked solid and it seemed like each time I would blink, a few weeks had passed by. On the rare occasion I did have an open weekend, I just wanted to stay home, so my museum goal kind of got pushed aside, which I was bummed about because I genuinely loved every museum I went to and was always researching which one to go to next. So, in 2019 I’m going to continue on the eight that I went to in 2018 and hopefully hit the 20 mark.

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17) Run a Marathon

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YIKES. It looks so scary typing it out like that. But yep, I am officially going to try and run the LA Marathon in March of next year. I’ve been training for about three months now and am so far on track to not totally and completely die come marathon day, so things are looking up. Please pray for my legs entire body as I continue to pursue this goal, and if you happen to think of me on March 24, send good vibes!

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Alright, there they are!

17 new goals.

Do I regret them yet? No.

Am I slightly terrified? Yes. But that’s kind of just my natural state of being.

Do you have any specific goals for the upcoming year? If you want to but don’t know where to start, check out this post and this post that will give you some ideas.

We’re all in this together!

Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂

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Check out my 2018 goals here.

Check out my 2017 goals here. 

10 Christmas Gifts My Siblings and I Loved/Hated (As Told by Photos) (List-cember #7)

On Christmas Eve, the day before those who celebrate Christmas sit around and eat and laugh and open presents and then crumple wrapping paper into balls and shoot them into trash bags being held by family members across the room, I sit looking at the gifts under my tree. I’m excited to give them to everyone and excited to see their face when they open it, I might even take a picture or two.

My family is full of picture takers, especially on Christmas, so I’ve made it a tradition during List-cember to share some of my favorite photos taken while we were opening presents. I like guess what was going through our heads in that moment.

And I think I’m probably right.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Remember Troy, no matter what’s wrapped in that paper, I’m one of the best gifts you’ll ever get.

 

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What my sister, Natalee, is (probably) thinking here: Every badass, superhero, fashion icon, and historical figure needs a soundtrack. And since I’m clearly all four, it’s high time I’ve finally found mine.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Okay, okay, okay, guys, PICTURE THIS: Pantsless Pez-days. Who’s in?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Yeah, the gift is great. It’s a Barbie and I’m super excited but uhh…does anyone else see the look she’s giving me? Does anyone else think she might be planning a homicide?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: I always hoped my future daughter would look like me and I mean, would you look at this?! It’s practically uncanny!

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: I GOT MONOPOLY! AND NOW I’M TOTALLY SLAUGHTERING DAD! HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING NEXT TURN! THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER.

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What my brother, Troy, is (probably) thinking here: Block!

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: First step Fashion Factory, second step runway model. Is this smile pretty?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Do these bracelets make the fur of my Santa hat look a little more subtle?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: Yes, that’s right Santa. Check that list twice. 

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

You can check out the previous editions of this series here and here. 

My 2018 Rec Roundup (List-cember #6)

One of my favorite end of the year posts to come across is roundups of recommendations.

Rec Roundups, if you will.

I just like to know what everyone loved throughout the year.

It’s the same reason I do my favorites posts every two months, just with the added excitement and pressure of it being the last month of the year, making them essentially the Academy Awards of favorites. And since I’m a huge fan of awards season, I’ll take any relation to it I can get.

SO, consider these my nominees for my favorite things I saw, read, listened to, wore on my face, etc, throughout 2018. I didn’t pick any winners because, well, I didn’t want to/didn’t have time to make formal envelopes, but I did give my top 10 favorites in every category, with a few bonuses thrown in at the end.

I just wanted to give you my Rec Roundup, in case you’re looking for recs to round up, you know?

Here we go.

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Books

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Nonfiction/Biography)
  • In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham (Nonfiction)
  • You’re Not That Great by Elon Gale (Humor/Self-help)
  • Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (Fiction/Medical)
  • Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach (Young Adult/Science Fiction)
  • Wildflower by Drew Barrymore (Memoir/Nonfiction)
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Young Adult/Mystery)
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Nonfiction/Self Help)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (Memoir/Nonfiction)
  • The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhymes (Memoir/Nonfiction)

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Podcasts

  • Heavyweight
  • VIEWS with David Dobrik
  • Modern Love
  • The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
  • The Mortified Podcast
  • School of Greatness
  • Ear Hustle
  • Dirty John
  • The Rise Podcast
  • Sandra

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Movies/Documentaries

  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Amazon)
  • Three Identical Strangers (Amazon)
  • Becoming Bond (Hulu)
  • Red Sparrow
  • A Quiet Place
  • Eighth Grade
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix)
  • To All the Boys I Loved Before (Netflix)
  • A Star is Born

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TV Shows

  • The Office (Netflix)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
  • American Vandal (Netflix)
  • Atypical (Netflix)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
  • The Sinner (Netflix)
  • Queer Eye (Netflix)
  • Love (Netflix)
  • The End of the F***ing World (Netflix)
  • A Million Little Things (Hulu or ABC)

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Music

  • Sweetner by Ariana Grande
  • Dan + Shay by Dan + Shay
  • Own it by Francesca Battistelli
  • Swimming by Mac Miller
  • Don’t Smile at Me by Billie Eilish
  • Reputation by Taylor Swift
  • Bloom by Troye Sivan
  • Golden Hour by Kasey Musgraves
  • Electric Light by James Bay
  • Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes

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Misc

These are the only ones that I figured needed a little commentary just so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

glassesComputer glasses: I talked about these in my most recent favorites post. They block the blue light from your computer, so if you are someone like me who spends most of their work day looking at a screen, they help A LOT with headaches and make my eyes feel less like they’re being sucked out of my head.

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Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder: I tend to have oily skin and so far this is one of the only powders that has truly helped me combat it! Plus, it’s cheap! (find it here)

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Wear Me Pro Sunglasses: These were an impulse buy on Amazon that I figured couldn’t hurt because it was only putting me out about $10. But I ended up truly LOVING these glasses and wore them almost every single day. (find them here)

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Uline Blanket: I got this as a free gift from a purchase we made at work and OH. MY. GOSH. It is the greatest blanket I have ever owned and am willing to fight to the (near) death with anyone who tries to take it from me. (find it here)

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Google Wifi: My parents bought this for their house and loved it so much that they gifted a set to my roommates and I. Now, I’m not the techie that can explain exactly how they work, but let’s just say if you are having trouble getting your Wifi to reach certain rooms of the house, these bad boys extend that reach. They have worked great for us! (find it here)

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Check out more List-cember posts here

10 Goals to Give Yourself in 2019 (List-cember #5)

I am currently in the process of making my list of goals for next year. I always like to make 17, and I always like them to be different (with a few exceptions) than the year before. I want to keep challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone, and I try to set goals that will allow/force me to do that.

Now, I don’t know where you’re at in your life. If you’re someone that pops out of bed in the morning ready to take on the day or if you’re someone (like me) who moves a little slower and needs to muster up the energy—and oftentimes courage—to do something out of the ordinary.

It is so easy to fall into a routine.  But I know from experience how great it feels to stray from it, even if it’s for something simple like exercising or going to a museum.

So, if you’re someone who is looking for a few ideas to stray from the blah of the day to day but aren’t necessarily interested in a cold hard list of goals—because I also know those can be more stressful than exciting sometimes. Or if you’re someone who is just looking for ideas of things to challenge yourself with in the upcoming year, I’ve made a list to start you off.

Feel free to take them and manipulate them, make them simpler or harder or more geared toward your lifestyle. I’m not looking to make you feel guilty for not having a list of goals and a spreadsheet to track your progress throughout the year—because you know, only crazy people do that. I just want to encourage you to try something new. Get out there and see things that have always been around you that you never had the time to notice. Get to know your likes and dislikes that fall outside of both your comfort zone and your routine, because if there’s one thing these last few years of goal setting have taught me, it’s that I am more than my comfort zone and my routine. And you are too.

So try something new.

You don’t have to go crazy. Just work through this list. Do everything at least once and take pride in your accomplishments. After that, let the inspiration guide you onward and upward! 😊

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1) Try a new fitness class

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Like I said, you don’t have to get crazy with it. There’s no need to sign up for the monthly pass or promise to go every single week. Just try something new. Once. Then go from there. Check out Groupon to see if there are any deals going on at gyms or studios near you. A lot of places offer free first classes. Or, if classes just aren’t your thing or you can’t find one in your price range, go for a run, or a walk, or follow a workout video on YouTube, there are tons of great videos on this channel.

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2) Volunteer

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I know, I know, everyone says this. And when I see it on a list I throw my hands up and I say I KNOW. But trust me on this. It lives up to the hype. Start by looking into your local food back. Or check out VolunteerMatch.com

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3) Go to the doctor AND the dentist

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Do they both suck? Yes. Do I love going to either? No. But chances are you are overdue for a cleaning and/or a physical. So go fulfill your adult duties, it gives you a surprising feeling of accomplishment, like you’re truly adulting.

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4) Give blood

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This was one of my goals this year. I had never given blood before and was scared to try it, but I felt like it was a super easy way to help out and, you know, I do have some blood to spare, so I might as well share the wealth. That being said, the first time I tried to give blood, my iron was too low. So, if you’re someone who is unable to give blood, look into donating your hair, or donating money to your favorite charity.

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5) Meditate

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This is another thing that I’m not super well versed in, but I gave it a try for this first time this past year and can confidently say that it did not kill me. I rolled out my yoga mat, put on a face mask and tried this 10-minute guided meditation. And while I thought it would feel like I was laying there for six days (or that I would fall asleep) the time sped by and before I knew it the 10 minutes were up, my face was moisturized, and I genuinely felt a lot calmer. I highly recommend giving it a try. Also, just something to consider for those of us who “don’t have time” to meditate (something that more or less convinced me to try it in the first place): a podcast I listen to said that if you truly believe you don’t have time for 10 minutes of meditation, than you’re probably someone who needs an hour of meditation. (I know, I felt attacked by this too.)

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6) Read a book

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If you’re like my dad, you have every intention to read more, but by the time you get home from work and relax on the couch, reading is more of lullaby than a pastime. That’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re working hard and that’s not something you should beat yourself up about. That being said however, there are so many books out there. Books to make you laugh, make you cry, make you think. Books that take you out of your head for a little while and put you somewhere totally different. So I encourage you to find a book by someone or about something that’s always interested you. (Or take this “What Book Should I Read Next?” quiz that will give you some suggestions) Read it slow. (Or listen to it on audiobook.) One day at a time. However long it takes. But finish it.

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7) Bake something

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Don’t even try and tell me that you’ve never seen something on television or Facebook or Instagram or your friend’s blog that didn’t make you think, damn, I wish I could make that. Spoiler alert: you can! Will it look like the pictures? Probably not. I can’t think of a single time I’ve cooked something that looked picture perfect. But who cares? It’s all about it tasting delicious and you taking pride in the fact you made that delicious thing. So find yourself a recipe, for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, or whatever dessert you’d like to have in your kitchen for the next few days—or hours, depending how good they are/how little self-control you have—and give it a try.

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8) Go to a concert, sporting event or show

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Isn’t it crazy how you can get so sucked into a routine that you forget you can go places other than work and home? Sometimes I genuinely forget things like concerts and plays exist. But then, when I make time to go to a Dodger game or a spontaneous concert, I remember how happy they make me and how they make everything else melt away for a little while. So pick your poison: music, sports, theater, the movies. Go see one in person, it’s way better than watching it on television.

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9) Get your picture taken

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I realize this sounds ridiculous in the age of iPhones and social media as we are all taking pictures all the time. But as someone who doesn’t necessarily like having her picture taken, I can say that there have been so many times lately when I wished I would have taken my picture at a specific event. Not so I could post it on social media, but just so I could have it to better remember the day. The way I see it, in 20 years from now, I’m not going to love a picture of a mountain as much as I’m going to love the reminder that I was standing next to the mountain in my favorite jeans and that backpack that I lost somewhere along the line. So get your picture taken. Either with friends or alone. Document this year and the way you lived it, so you can relive it years from now.

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10) Splurge

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This past year I bought myself a new desk for my room, something I’d been wanting for years. I decided that I’d had enough of my whining that it was too expensive. I mean, it was too expensive for me to buy outright, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t save up for it. And so I did, I put aside a small amount each week until I had enough and then I bought that damn desk and it. is. beautiful. It felt so good to buy myself something fancy. (Or at least something I consider fancy) So this year, buy yourself something you consider fancy. Something that you’ve been wanting for a while, that you’ve been working towards and would brighten your day. If you can’t afford it now, save up for it— sometimes that makes it all the more exciting. Treat yo’self in 2019. You deserve it.

6 New Things I Tried this Year that You Should Try Too (List-cember #4)

Alongside my list of goals this year, I really tried to let my curious eyes wander. Over the last few years there have been things that I thought, “I’ll try that one of these days” but never did, and so I decided this year was as good as any to finally change that.

They are mostly small things. I didn’t jump out of any planes or shave my head or anything. But I made small little discoveries that made my day to day a little brighter and I’m hoping they can do the same for you! 🙂

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1) E-Library Card

Are you one of those people who can drop money on books even though you’re pinching pennies to make rent and pay other bills? I know you can’t see it, but my hand is raised—HIGH. Thankfully, the library is here to help. I mean, it’s always been here, but I had no idea there was an online library that will lend you books straight to your Kindle.  It’s so easy! It’s so wonderful! It’s so free! I highly recommend looking into it.

If you’re in the LA area, you can get your own e-library card here!

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2) Audiobooks

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I never thought I’d be someone who could listen to a book rather than read it, but this year I decided to try them. Turns out, they’re the perfect driving companion, and getting ready in the morning companion, and during the slow hours of the work day companion. All I’m saying is, audiobooks are your friend and you should give them a shot. If you’re into classics, I recommend To Kill a Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek, and if you’re into memoirs, I recommend Drew Barrymore’s Wildflower.

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3) Spiffing up my Inbox

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My email inbox goes through phases of being organized and a complete disaster, but this year I noticed how unexciting it was regardless. I was never excited to get any emails because they were always work related, bill related, or complete spam. SO, this year I decided to spiff it up a bit.

I subscribed to newsletters:

  • The Skimm: A daily newsletter that gives you the bullet points of important events happening around the world.
  • Goodnewsletter: A weekly newsletter full of only good news, and you know I’m all about good news!
  • The Rise Newsletter: Another weekly newsletter run by Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face) that gives you little doses of inspiration to help you to take on the week!

And some weekly devotionals:

  •  The Monday Club: Probably my favorite find of this year. It arrives every Monday morning with some encouraging words to help start your week off right.
  • The Cathe Laurie Devotional: A weekly Bible study that gives you a specific goal to focus on for the week.

I would recommend any and all of these. They brightened up my inbox throughout the year with doses of inspiration and positivity.

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4) Birchbox

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I would definitely consider myself to be an amateur in the makeup department, but like any other department of my life, I’m curious and anxious to be better. So, I enlisted Birchbox to help me level up. I was probably subscribed for about six months, and while it was very exciting to get a package—that only cost me $10!—every month with new things to try, I just couldn’t keep up. I ended up having a big pile of samples sitting on my bathroom counter that made me anxious and sad and annoyed whenever I looked at it. I might pop back in once in a while to get a few more things to try—or just to get another one of their incredible boxes, which I plan on using to wrap gifts this holiday season—but for now I’m on pause.

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5) Imperfect Produce

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This is probably my favorite thing that I found this year. I’ll be honest, I was definitely a victim of consistent marketing on this one. THE FACEBOOK ADS GOT TO ME. But hey, it’s a super easy (and cheap) way to get fresh produce, and I’ve used each box I’ve gotten to inspire to look up new recipes with food I might not otherwise have tried. I highly recommend giving it a shot if they deliver in your area!

If you are interested in trying it, you can sign up here and get $10 of your first box—which is amazing because an average box for me costs about $12.

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6) Rev Captioning

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With student loan payments, bills, rent, and my failure to win the lottery this year, there were definitely times when I was sweating my finances. I thought about getting a second job, but was struggling with having to give up my free time. When I get home from my current job, I like to relax, but I also like to exercise, write and work on my goals for the year. So, I started looking around for options that could fit in to my schedule, which led me to Rev. It is a captioning service that pays you to either transcribe or caption videos. The application process is a little tough (I went through it twice before being hired) but once you’re in, you get to make your own schedule and work as much or as little as you like. You don’t necessarily rake in the money, but if you are consistent about it, you can give your bank account at least a little buffer.

Check it out here

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Overall, I’d definitely say that my curiosity paid off this year and I’m excited to see where it takes me next year! Do you have anything you tried this year that you loved?

 

2018 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #3)

One of my favorite List-cember traditions is going through the ornaments on my family’s Christmas tree and giving them superlatives. This year we were on top of our decorating game and had our tree up two days after Thanksgiving, giving us ample time to appreciate our extensive collection of ornaments, and giving me ample time to reward them just for being them.

Thus, here is the third installment of Ornament Superlatives, enjoy!

(Also, in case you missed it, you can check out the first installment here and the second installment here.)

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Most Likely to Give You PETDMD (Post Emotionally Traumatic Disney Movie Disorder)

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Most Likely to Have Seen Better Days (And Make You Wonder if Whoever was Given the Skinny Stocking Felt a Little Unloved)

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Most Likely to Make You Start (Punny) Caroling 

(And Grab a Seasonal Drink from the Fridge)

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Most Likely to Make Dodger Fans Relive Their World Series Sadness

(for the second year in a row)

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Most Likely to Inspire Your Crafting Spirit…and then Awaken Your Perfectionist Mindset…and then Make You Lay in a Pile of Your Own Untalented Despair

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Most Accurate Representation of a Third Child’s First Christmas

Note: please refer to the ornament celebrating my first Christmas in the 2016 Ornament Superlatives

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Most Likely to Have Been Upcycled into an Ornament Just Because it’s Pretty

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Most Likely to Ignite the Argument: Ginger Angel Sitting in Front of a Fireplace OR French Fairy Hovering in Front of a Fireplace?

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Most Likely to Make You Want to Buy A Roll of Sugar Cookie Dough

(or Most Likely to Convince Overly Egg-Nogged Family Members it is a sugar cookie)

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Most Likely to Have Written an Article for Cosmopolitan on How to Improve Your #LashGame

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Most Likely to Start a Light-Hearted but Extremely Passive Aggressive Argument between College Football Fans

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17 (More) Things that Inspired Me This Year (List-cember #2)

About halfway through the year I posted this blog that listed a bunch of things that had inspired me so far in 2018. I felt bad holding them hostage until December when they might be just the burst of inspiration someone was looking for in July.

Now, as we’re (already!!) making our way through December, I’m hoping this list will give you all warm fuzzies and encouragement you need to close out this year and welcome the New Year.

2019 is going to full of good things, y’all. I promise.

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1) Girl, Wash Your Face

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  • “Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”
  • “The only thing worse than giving up is wishing that you hadn’t.”
  • “There are hundreds of ways to lose yourself, but the easiest of them all is refusing to acknowledge who you truly are in the first place.”

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2) This little act of kindness

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3) The Monday Club

This is a newsletter I subscribed to about halfway through this year. It comes every Monday with inspiring words that aim to get your week off to a good start. This is a snippet from one of my favorite ones:

“When your dreams go unfulfilled because you didn’t start the work, the world won’t even know how to be heartbroken by the loss of things that would have made them better people. That’s the thing about the things you don’t do: you carry the loss.”

(find it here)

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4) The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

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  • Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. And every single time you get the chance? Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard.
  • Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

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5) This documentary

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6) The School of Greatness Podcast

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My favorite line (from Episode 721):

“Fear can be:  Fear Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise”

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7) Teen Vogue’s “Compliment Battles”

It’s just such a wholesome segment. We should all compliment each other more.

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8) My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles

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I highly recommend this book, especially the audiobook. Each chapter starts with Sara Bareilles (BEAUTIFULLY) singing a portion of one of her songs and then she talks about how that song applies to a specific part of her life.

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9) #Last90DaysChallenge

I talked a little about this challenge in the most recent edition of My Google Search History. The challenge was started by Rachel Hollis (see inspiring thing #1) and it essentially dares you to be as aggressively passionate and optimistic about the last 90 days of the year as you normally would about the first 30 days of a new year. I love the concept and it has help me scare off that “I’ll start that next year” mindset that always tends to sneak in during this time of year.

(find it here)

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10) This milkshake from the Ventura County Fair that showed me no culinary dream is too small

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11) Tuesdays with Morrie

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Read. This. Book. It will make you smile, it will make you cry, it will make you think.

I could have highlighted, underlined and dog-eared the entire thing.

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12) “Don’t let anyone rent space in your head or heart unless they’re a good tenant.” – Anna Faris Unqualified

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13) Francesca Battistelli’s album Own It

I love the ENTIRE thing.

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14) This:

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15) The White Helmets

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16) Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, who inspired me to write this blog post.

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17) And finally, this:

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Inspiration is all around us, all the time. Sometimes it gets hidden by frustration and discouragement, but if we look closely, there’s always something there to make us smile, or laugh, or cry (in a good way) or just feel.

Keep your eyes open for all the magic around you and I promise I’ll do the same. heavy-black-heart_2764

 


 

Find more List-cember posts here

20 Popular Christmas Decorations: Ranked (List-cember #1)

It’s officially December! Which means it’s also officially List-cember!

In case you have no idea what that means, List-cember is an annual blogging tradition I have where all the posts in December are centered around lists!

It’s fun. It’s organized. It’s has pictures. I love it!

Let’s jump right in.

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For the true purists out there who wait alllll the way until December 1st to embrace the Christmas spirit, I can imagine you spent your weekend pulling down boxes and putting up decorations.

My roommates and I decorated a little early these year. We didn’t even wait until Thanksgiving…but SHH don’t tell my mom, she didn’t raise me like that.

After decorating our house, and then my grandpa’s house, and then my parents’ house, you could say I’m well-versed in the world of decorations, though I’ve never really taken the time to choose a favorite. I usually just say, “pretty!” over and over again until everything is hung up.

So this year I decided dig deep into my psyche and figure out which decorations are the best decorations. Because nothing says “holiday spirit” like pitting inanimate objects against each other, am I right?

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20) Nutcracker Dolls

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Let’s be real, these things are creepy. Are they traditional? Sure. But are they comforting to look at when it’s cold outside and you’re snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate? Absolutely not.

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19) Elf on a Shelf

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These also fall into the creepy category for me. I know it’s a tradition in some families and I mean no disrespect, but as an adult who already has a hard enough time pretending she’s not scared to be home alone, the concept of having a doll watch me and wander around my house at night while I’m sleeping is a hard pass.

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18) Lawn Inflatables

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Photo credit: Walmart

I’ll admit, these are fun to look at for like, a minute, but then they just turn into hazards. With the wind and rain (and snow for you non-Southern Californians), these guys are just waiting for the right gust to send them soaring through the neighborhood.

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17) Nativity Scene

This is probably asking for trouble, seeing as this showcases (at least what I believe to be) the actual purpose of Christmas. It’s main reason for being so low on the list is its breakability. Some years the pieces simply weren’t wrapped good enough, so when you pull them down in the fall the stable’s roof is falling apart or the donkey is missing a leg. There’s also the chance you’ll have someone like me put in charge of setting it up, who takes advantage of that responsibility by making everyone look as if they are worshipping one of my baby pictures.

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16) Poinsettias

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Photo credit: The Home Depot

Bottom line: no one pronounces these the same and it’s frustrating and confusing.

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15) Scented Candles

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Photo credit: Yankee Candle

I have what my family calls a “pregnant nose”, meaning it’s as sensitive to smells in its everyday life as an average nose would only be during months of, you know, baby growing. So stepping into houses during the holiday season and being assaulted by smells of Cinnamon or Holiday Frost or Wooded Cottage or Rudolph’s Kitchen is just a bit much for me.

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14) Garland

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One of the decoration staples in my parents’ house is a long strand of garland that sits on top of the fireplace. I think it looks great, but it’s heavy duty and has a mind of its own and sometimes decides to jump off the ledge for no apparent reason, taking anything and everything else on the ledge with it. Points deducted, my friend.

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13) Mistletoe

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To be honest, I rarely see mistletoe outside of Hallmark movies. And while I love a cheesy well well well looks like you have to kiss and fall in love movie moment, I can’t say I’ve seen or would overly enjoy being placed in that situation in real life.

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12) Snowmen

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Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Frosty. But I feel like snowmen are quite possibly the most overdone decoration of the holiday season. People make snowmen out of EVERYTHING. Sometimes a jar just wants to be a jar, you know?

Also, I’m bitter because I hardly ever get to see snow…

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11) Wreath

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I feel bad for placing these so low on the list because I genuinely love wreaths and think they add so much holiday spirit. But man, are they a HASSLE. (At least in my experience.) They always make the door hard to close and then if you have a screen door it just kind of leans there, awkwardly open. I don’t know, unless you hang them inside or have giant front doors that make average sized humans feel small to walk through, I think they might be more trouble than they’re worth.

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10) Bells

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I love the sound of bells, both the ding and jingle type—because that’s how they’re categorized right? I mean, have you ever watched people play the hand bells? It’s incredible. So really my only reason to mark them down is that I think they shouldn’t be restricted to holiday months. #justiceforbells

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9) Angels

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I think angels take the place of Santa in our eyes when we grow up. They become the source of Christmas miracles after we’re told that a grown man doesn’t actually climb down our chimney and leave us gifts. I like this transition, since I sincerely believe in angels and their capability to perform miracles, and I like that the Christmas season displays them in abundance.

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8) Advent Calendars

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When my siblings and I were little, our aunts used to put together advent calendars to open during the month of December. They wrapped little gifts in tissue paper and tied them to pretty gold rope that we hung up in the living room. The three of us then took turns opening gifts each day. It was fun and magical and remains to be one of my favorite Christmas memories growing up.

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7) Santa

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If you ever want to see a fantastic collection of Santas, you need not look any farther than my grandpa’s house. He has a western Santa that moves his hips like Luke Bryan, he has one that raps, he has one that is attached to a serving tray that is always filled with chocolates. So honestly, I’m here for whatever portrayal you’re willing to give me.

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6) Tree Topper

I think this would have less of a special place in my heart if my roommates and I didn’t have the greatest topper of all time.

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Yes, that’s right, folks, it is a cheeseburger with legs and it cannot and will not…be topped.

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5) Snow Globes

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My sister collects snow globes, something she got from my parents who also have more than a few to display every holiday season. To me, snow globes are one of those undeniably charming things, always ready to give you a little taste of magic whenever you pick one up and shake it.

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4) Christmas Lights

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There’s nothing like a decoration that brings literal light into the world! Last year my sister and I spent an entire evening driving aimlessly around our neighborhood looking at lights. They never fail to make me smile.

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3) Christmas Tree

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Come on, you know this guy has to be near the top. There’s almost nothing more Christmassy than a tree—unless maybe…

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2) Ornaments

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…THE ORNAMENTS YOU HANG ON ITS MAJESTIC BRANCHES. Y’all know I love ornaments and may or may not be surprised that they didn’t top out this list. I mean, ornaments can be anything (as demonstrated by my family’s ever growing collection) and they are some of the best memory keepers. That being said, the only thing that could have possibly beaten them out for the top spot are…

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1) Stockings

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I don’t know if you can tell, but one of these stockings is homemade.

It’s also our favorite stocking.

Stockings are just so homey and I love seeing them hanging above the fireplace, showcasing all of the members of a family—be that human and/or animal members. And in my opinion, finding the smallest little gift in your stocking, even if it’s just candy or a fuzzy pair of socks, can be more magical than opening the biggest present under the tree.

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However you decorate your house during the holiday season, I hope it makes you smile and brings you all the joy that this month is made of.

Merry Christmas and Happy List-cember everyone!

 


 

You can check out last year’s List-cember posts here.

17 Goals for 2018 (List-cember #9)

If you followed along with my blog this past year, you’ll know that I set 17 goals for 2017.  A brief summary of the experience would be: it almost brought me to my death, but a more in depth summary can be found in my final goal update which I will be posting next week.

Even though this year’s goals proved to be tough however, that didn’t stop me from creating 17 more goals for myself for 2018. (Note: I know 18 for 2018 would have rolled off the tongue better, but 17 is still my lucky number and I don’t want to be on the hook for 45 in 2045, you know?)

I’d like to think these goals are a little less intense, though somehow, I also thought the list I made last December wasn’t totally ulcer inducing, so I’m thinking maybe I just shouldn’t be trusted. Regardless, I am back with a new list of goals for a brand new year.

Let’s dive right in!

1) Do a handstand in yoga

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When we were little, my sister and I both took dance lessons. I took tap, she took jazz/hip hop. As a result, I got really good with my feet and she got good at everything else. She could do the splits, she could do cartwheels, she could do handstands, she could even do these things called coffee grinders, which you’ll have to Google because I can’t demonstrate. Years later, when we both got into yoga and saw people doing headstands and handstands and a numerous other “stands” that seemed physically impossible, my sister was much more of a go-getter. In her mind, she figured she’d get it eventually. In my mind, I figured I’d eventually break in half.  However, in the spirit of doing things I never thought I could do (like run 1000 miles in one year, which I did this year and you can read about here) I’ve decided to get back into yoga (which I’m not mad about) and finally go for a handstand. I’m not talking up for two seconds and then falling over. I want an arms extended, blood rushing to the brain, awkwardly long high five to the ground type of handstand.

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2) Take a kickboxing class

In a similar pursuit of strength and overall badassery, I want to take a kickboxing class this year. Because as much as I love yoga, and will love getting back into it, sometimes I just want a workout that involves hitting things, you know?

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

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So my original goal here was going to be “visit ALL the museums in Los Angeles” but that was before I found out there are 50! I’m not saying it would be impossible to visit all 50, but you figure, that’s about four museums per month and that’s only if I stuck to it, which let’s face it, I’d more than likely fall behind and wind up in November with 45 museums left to see and no time to see them. So, in the spirit of setting obtainable goals, I’m shooting for 20.

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4) Get CPR Certified

For a long time my mom, aunt and sister worked at a preschool which required them to be CPR certified. Every two years they would take a class to get educated on the newest skills/tactics associated with CPR so they would be best prepared in case an emergency situation came about. Since I never went with them, we always decided that should any combination of us be together in an emergency situation, they would do all the hard work and I’d call 911. They even taught me the script associated with the person who calls 911, because yes, that’s a thing. (MY JOB IS IMPORTANT TOO, OKAY?) But while having this “job” gave me a small sense of purpose, it also left me feeling helpless and overall useless should I not be with them in the case of a CPR emergency. So, this year I’m upping my usefulness. Watch out world, a double threat is headed your way. (In case you’re interested, you can find information on how you can get CPR certified here)

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5) Shoot (at least) one roll of film per month

Another thing you might not know about me is I love taking pictures. I actually majored in photography in college and probably spent 80% of my time in the photo lab developing film and printing pictures. It was my happy place. Since then however, I’ve shot almost zero film. With all the advances in the iPhone cameras and the implied need for instant results, I’ve been more or less consumed by all things digital. So this year I’m hoping to go back to my roots a little bit. I want to shoot at least one roll of film per month. I have a collection of old cameras I want to shoot them on and then hopefully develop and share the results. I’m also not barring the possibility of shooting with a disposable camera. I just want to get back to appreciating picture taking and not caring about getting a perfect result right away.

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

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On the same token as shooting with film, I thought this book would be a really cool way to get my creative juices flowing. Similar to an outline of an assignment I might have gotten back in college, I’m hoping the freedom to photograph the listed image in my own way will give me all those inspirational feels. (If you’re interested, you can find the book here)

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

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I’ve always wanted to visit a sea glass beach and I’m lucky to live relatively close to one. This year I’m hoping to finally pay it a visit and hopefully take home a souvenir or two. Stay tuned. (Find other sea glass beaches here)

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8) Go to the dentist

I’m almost ashamed of this one, but I figure this is the best way to hold myself accountable. Let’s just say it’s been a while since I paid my neighborhood dentist a visit and I feel like I should probably get over there before my teeth start falling out.

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9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

If there’s one thing I consistently miss the mark on, it’s keeping up with new additions to Netflix. Granted, they seemingly add about 300 things every month, but I still manage to be a solid two or three months (MINIMUM) behind even the most popular contributions. Among those I am always behind on are documentaries, which are arguably the most beneficial pieces of work available. Not only do they educate you, but they expand your mind and help you get to know yourself and your opinions a little bit better. This past year I watched a grand total of two documentaries: Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two and Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, both of which I loved. I’m hoping that this coming year I’ll find some more good ones based on all kinds of subject matter. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

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10) Perfect an omelet

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You know that whole cooking initiative I started a few months back where I decided that I wanted to make myself a better cook/overall human being? Do you remember episode two where I talked about learning how to best utilize leftovers? (If you do, great! If not, you can check it out here.)  Well, of all the 2nd or 3rd day uses for leftovers, omelets are probably one of my favorites. Similar to pizza, you can pretty much throw anything inside an omelet. The only problem I have is I SUCK at making omelets. I never get the flip right and it always tears apart and so my “kitchen sink omelets” are always more of a “leftover ingredient smorgasbord with a side of ripped eggs.” Let’s improve that.

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

One of my goals for 2017 was to watch every movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and while I could go on and on about those movies, I could sum up the experience simply by saying that I LOVE movies. This isn’t necessarily a new discovery about myself, however, in watching all of those amazing films, I realized how many I let slip through my fingers while they were in theaters. So, in an attempt to stay more in the know, I’m making it a goal to see at least one movie in theaters per month, because other than lying in bed on a Saturday morning, there’s really no better way to see them.

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

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As you may recall, on my 27th birthday I posted a list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I’m 30—because yes, I’m a crazy person with multiple to-do lists. On that list was “read every book on Time’s 100 List.” This goal is kind of already a stretch to begin with, but in the interest of trying, I’m breaking it up into segments. We’ll see how far I get.

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13) Pay off my credit card

Another goal on my 30 Before 30 list is to pay off my current credit card and open a new one that can start earning me airline miles. So I figure I might as well get a jump start on that goal and get this thing good and paid.

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14) See 3 WRLA’s

Ah yes, an old friend! As mentioned in this post a while back, a WRLA (pronounced wool-rha) is short for “World’s Largest Roadside Attraction” and I hope to one day see them all. Last year I made it a goal to see five on the list, and this year I’m shooting for three. I figure since I’ve already seen most of the WRLA’s closest to me, I’m going to have to do a little traveling to find the others which might be a little more difficult. (You can find a complete list WRLA’s here)

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

Another old friend! This exact goal was on the list last year and I’m planning to keep it on my list every year! It just feels so good to donate your time to something that matters and I think we could all stand to lend a helping hand these days. (Find places you can volunteer here)

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16) Donate Blood

This has been on my to-do list for a very long time, but has always been put on hold due to fear. I’m not the best with needles, so the prospect of signing up for a voluntary appointment with one isn’t exactly at the top of my list. This year, however, I’m going to give it a shot. (HA) Worst case scenario: I pass out and embarrass myself in front of a few overworked nurses and then never have to do it again. Best case scenario: everything goes smoothly and I can start donating on a regular basis. (For information on how you can donate blood here)

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17) Do the 1 second per day video challenge

Being an avid watcher of YouTube, I’ve seen a handful of people make these videos where they record snippets of their day, every day, for an entire year, then compile it into a video at the end, showing one second from every day. They always make me smile and I think it will be a good challenge! Here is an example of one:

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There you have it! 17 new goals for a new year. I’m already excited and nervous!

Do you have any specific goals for the upcoming year? Let me know! We’re all in this together!

How I Ran 1000 Miles in One Year (List-cember #8)

Of all the goals I set for 2017, the one that most worried me—both in questioning my sanity for setting it, and questioning my ability to complete it—was to run 1000 miles.

As someone who has hated running for the majority of her life, it was definitely what you would call a wild card. Most people I told thought I was crazy and the rest thought I was actually insane. I would have been right there with them if I hadn’t climbed Mt. Whitney a few years ago and gotten a big ole’ taste of “I CAN.” That experience inspired me to run my first 5k, two 10k’s and three half marathons, and ultimately led me to setting this goal for this year.

So, with the BIFC door wide open, I laced up my shoes and went on my first run. It was only three miles, but it was hard and I had to stop multiple times to catch my breath. Fast forward 369 days and 226 runs later, I finished my 1000th mile, winded only from all the celebratory screams I made throughout the final five miles.

Now that I’m finished, I’ve had multiple people ask me how I did it. And while a truthful summary would be: “I have no idea,” I broke it down to a few key aids. So, in case you’re among the curious or perhaps inspired to try this goal yourself, here are seven things that helped me run 1000 miles:

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1) Be Crazy

I’ve kind of already said this, but it’s worth mentioning twice that to achieve a goal like this, you need to become slightly insane. You have to be willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone over and over and make sacrifices over and over. Over the course of this year, I ran on almost every surface: asphalt, grass, dirt and concrete; I ran indoors, outdoors, and sometimes a combination of both in one day; I ran early in the morning and late at night, wearing jackets in 40 degrees, wearing shorts in 90 degrees and wearing hoods and hats in the wind and rain. My schedule was dictated by running, whether it was an average workday, a weekend or even a vacation day, and I had absolutely no time to get sick. When I look back at it now, I want to laugh because I really was, by all accounts, crazy. But then again, I know if I hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have finished.

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2) Listen to Those Around You

After the first few months of running, my friends and family started to realize that I was actually serious about this goal. As a result, it became a very popular topic of conversation. When we would get together, they would always check in on my progress. Near the end of the year, when I reached the 900 mile mark, I started posting Instagram videos to track my last 100 miles and a number of people messaged me with both encouragement and graciousness, saying that my quest for crazy was inspiring them. It was an important reminder of how my actions, even though they felt small and meaningless in the grand scheme of things, could not only affect but also inspire others. This was a huge motivating factor for me. I wanted to inspire them as much as I wanted to inspire myself.

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3) Don’t Listen to Those Around You

Amongst all the encouragement, there was also a lot of implied doubt and protective paranoia. My friends and family didn’t want to see me fail. They didn’t want to find me at the end of the year burdened with discouragement. Not to mention, this year happened to be a very busy one for me, so there were many points when I found myself far behind the pace I needed to finish on time. At one point in August, I was almost 60 miles behind, which equates to almost 22 days off pace. “Are you—do you think you’ll be able to finish?” people would say. And while I knew it was rooted in genuine worry, there were parts of me that absorbed the negative connotations—They don’t think you can do it. You’re way too far behind. You should just quit—so I had to learn to block that out. Because in the end I was the one who knew if I could do it. I was the one who had to decide if I could make up the ground I had lost. I was the one who knew I wouldn’t and couldn’t quit.

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4) Be Consistently Patient

Before I started this goal, I had this vision that once I made it through the first month I’d be in incredible shape and I’d never get winded or have leg cramps or feel like I was going to pass out—which is how I’ve felt for most of my running career. To my unfortunate surprise however, even in these last few months I still had days when I’d leave my house to run a route I’d run countless times before, only to find myself so short of breath I thought I might pass out. “HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING?!” I would think as I slowed myself to a walk. On these days I’d get so down on myself, and I’d wonder why I ever thought I could do something like this. But then I’d wake up the next day and feel so good on my run that I’d go two or three miles more than I intended. Thus, I had to learn that running will always be a learning curve, and I can’t let a few bad days get me down.

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5) Expect Injuries and Work Through Them

I have never been someone you would consider “injury prone.” I’d like to say it’s because I’m lucky/indestructible, but the truth is, I’ve never really pushed my body to its limits before. And while I have a high tolerance for pain, I just wasn’t a “work through the pain” type of person. For this goal however, “if it hurts, stop” wasn’t really an option. I strained the Iliotibial Band in my left leg, I got shin splints in my left leg, I had two toes on my right foot split open, and I worked through sore muscles in seemingly every part of my body. And while every single one of these SUCKED, none of them took me out of the game. I iced when I needed to, I took days off when I needed to, and most importantly, I got right back out there.

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6) Feed Your Senses

Before the start of the year, I spent a lot of time formulating the perfect running playlist. I scrolled through my entire iTunes library and I did a good amount of Googling to find songs that would (ideally) make me forget how hard running is. A few months into the goal however, I was already sick of this playlist. And not only that, I was sick of the routes I was running. I was getting bored of the songs and the scenery, which made it exponentially harder to motivate myself to run. So, I spiced up my routes. I took turns I never made before, and ran familiar routes backwards. As for ear food, I started alternating in podcasts. It was a nice break from hearing the same songs over and over, and I was surprised how easy it was to get sucked into other people’s conversations. If you’re looking for suggestions, some of my favorite podcasts were: Serial, Happy Sad Confused and Modern Love. Also, during the summer, I spent an entire month on the treadmill, binge watching Prison Break, so if you’re an indoor runner looking for some eye candy, Wentworth Miller is there for you. As far as songs go, I made this playlist, aptly titled, “These Songs Helped Me Run 1000 Miles” which you are welcome to listen to whether you’re running 1000 miles, 1 mile, or are just needing some pumped up tunes to drive to.

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7) Keep Track

As some of you may know already, I’m an avid spreadsheet maker. Thus, when the opportunity arose to track my running progress, I went all out. Here is a screen shot of my year of running, the yellow being days I went on a run, the blue being days I went on two runs—one outside in the early morning and one on the treadmill in the afternoon to try and work around the triple digit degree days in the summer.

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Download this Running Tracker Here

This spreadsheet proved to be both motivated and discouraging as it showed me both my progress and how far behind I was. In the end however, it gave me one less stress, as I never had to worry about losing track of where I was on this quest.

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There are probably a bunch of other things that helped me, both big and small, some I might not even realize. For example, to everyone that ever asked me, “How’s your running going,” you are one of those things! As of now, I’m very proud of myself, and even more, I’m excited to see what the future holds. Inspiration and adrenaline are as addicting as they come, and now that I’ve unlocked another level of “I can” in myself, I’m already craving what’s next.

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A mantra I gave myself this year was, “if it’s still only a daydream, the answer is no, but if you’re out there trying and failing, the answer is not yet.” I’ve wanted to be a runner for a long time, but until this year, was never able to break the barriers that surrounded that goal. Now I’m ready to see what else I’m capable of, and turn another “no” into a “not yet.”