food forward

5 Things I Tried this Year (List-cember #1)

Hello and happy December List-cember to you! I have made it a tradition on my blog that in December every post is centered around lists, and here we are again, in year six! (That almost rhymed.)

You can check out some of the previous List-cember posts here, otherwise let’s get started!


By nature I am very curious, and this bleeds into many areas of my life.

I am constantly Googling things, asking “I wonder if” questions, and taking different routes on drives, walks and runs, just to see where certain streets go.

I also love trying things. I love the feeling of dipping my toe into something new and loving it. To me, finding new hobbies feels like finding new parts of myself. So I’m always excited to look back at the end of a year and see all the parts of me I’ve found over the last 365 days.


1) Becoming a Backyard Harvest Leader

I have long been volunteering for Food Forward, an organization that fights food waste in California, but at the beginning of this year, as my community (and many parts of the world) remained shut down or at limited capacity, I was given the opportunity to try something new. A call for “Backyard Harvest Leaders” was sent out, asking willing individuals to sign up to “solo harvest” properties with full fruit trees and bushes. After some minor training, I was able to harvest hundreds of pounds of fruit and deliver them to local food shelters. While at first I was a little nervous to work on my own, without the guidance of a leader, I soon grew confident and excited to sign up for new harvests, and always looked forward to the Saturday mornings I spent picking.

2) Writing “More Love Letters”

I fell in love with this idea the moment that I saw it. More Love Letters was created to send encouragement, support and love to people who are going through challenging seasons. Each month, a handful of “requests” come in, telling the story of those who need letters.

I have tried to send at least one or two letters a month and sometimes I feel like I get more out of writing the letters than the recipient might. It’s just a wonderful thing to send someone love, because it always comes back to you.

Note: you don’t have to be eloquent or wordy or to say the exact right thing, you are simply given the opportunity to send someone hope and love, and a reminder that they are not alone and that you are rooting for them.

3) A Proverbs 31 Bible Study

A little while back, I started listening to the Proverbs 31 (P31) podcast, and in one episode this summer, they mentioned an upcoming women’s bible study that would follow the book The Dream of You by Jo Saxton. I had never done a bible study outside of my own church, but I liked the idea of connecting with women all over the world that might be going through similar walks of life as me. I’ll admit, finding out there were thousands of people doing this study made me both intimidated and—at least initially—disappointed. I thought I’d get lost in the shuffle or would be too shy to say anything. But in doing the six week study, I found that in seeing the thousands of comments flooding in during each session, I saw so many thoughts and fears that mirrored my own, and it made me feel incredibly seen. And even though I was sitting at home, listening to the online studies in my headphones rather than a room full of people, I didn’t feel alone. In fact, during that study, I felt less alone than I had in a long time. Needless to say, I will definitely be doing another P31 bible study and would recommend it to anyone who might be curious!

4) Using both a Planner and a List Making App

In previous favorites posts, I have recommended both this planner and this to-do list app.  This year, as things got busy again, and I took on many—sometimes *too many*—projects, I decided to use them together. Each Monday morning, I would open up a new sheet on my planner and map out my week, including events, meals, chores, goals, etc. Then I would open up my to-do list app and input everything as individual entries to help me stay on task throughout the week. That way, if I was ever wondering should I be doing anything besides scrolling through Instagram right now? I could open up the app on my phone and attempt to be productive. Overall, it worked pretty well, and it made me feel more organized. Sure, some things stayed on both lists for weeks even though I knew said thing would take me five minutes to accomplish, but nobody’s perfect. And it got done in the end. Mostly.

5) Showering in the morning

This one kind of seems like small potatoes compared to the others, but I have to mention it, if only for myself, because it was an out of left field change for me. I am not a morning person. I always snooze my alarm. I enjoy rolling out of bed, going through my routine at a brisk pace and barely getting to work on time. So to add a shower into that mix has always been a hard no for me. For literally 30 years. But one day I just decided to stop taking showers at night. At first it was to test out to see if my hair would stay fresher (i.e. less greasy) by showering in the morning rather than at night—which it did—and then I just liked the feeling of giving myself a true fresh start to a day. Forgive me if this is all obvious news that you have known your entire life. Also, to those who have suggested I take showers in the morning in the past, whom I laughed at and said NEVER, please accept this admission of defeat. Privately. Not to my face. Especially not in the mornings.

Did you try anything new this year?

17 (More) Things that Inspired Me This Year (List-Cember #3)

Last year I decided to make this a bi-annual post, so I can have two editions of all the happy, cozy things that made me smile, cry, laugh, etc. throughout the year.

In case you are new here and a stickler for clean numbered lists (i.e. lists that are multiples of 5 or 10) and are wondering why on earth I would choose 17 of all things. 17 is my favorite number and my family kind of goes hard in the favorite number department.

With that being said, you can check out the first 17 here. 

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1) This quote:

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2) Ashlyn Sailsbury

I found Ashlyn through Kristin Johns who I mentioned in a previous version of this post, and she has quickly become one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. She is so funny and sassy and genuine and she shares the adventures of her adorable, fun family in Copenhagen. 10/10.

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3) This song by Ella Henderson

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8) Daisy Jones & the Six

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This was such a great book! Even though it was fiction, it read like a Rolling Stone interview and I was hooked the whole time. Plus the writing was absolutely brilliant. Here are some of my favorite lines:

“Don’t count yourself out this early, Daisy. You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.”

“Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”

“Acceptance is a powerful drug.”

 

 

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9) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I mean, Mr. Rogers played by Tom Hanks? I loved it before I even stepped foot in the theater. It’s such a good tribute to a wonderful man and a great reminder of how much we can do for someone simply by being kind.

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10) This writer who gets it

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11) The Try Guys

I have been following the Try Guys for a while now but this year I really dove head first into their content. I started listening to their podcast The Trypod which always makes me laugh, and I kept up with their YouTube videos which always brighten my day.

Here is one of my favorites:

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12) My sister

Raise your hand if you’ve been going to school for 600 years and have spent that time working your ass off, borderline losing your mind, and definitely questioning if any of it was worth it. Now raise your hand if you overcame every obstacle that was put in front of you, grown into an incredibly smart, well spoken, badass Speech Language Pathologist that will undoubtedly go on to do great things.

Natalee, please raise your hand.

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13) The Grapes of Wrath, which inspired me to write this blog post.

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14) Mitch Albom

I read my first Mitch Albom book last year and immediately fell in love with his style of writing, so this year I read three more of his books and they continue to make me feel all the feels. One day I hope to write something that moves people the way his books move me.

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15) Glamour Friendship Test

This is such a sweet, hilarious series and this episode is absolutely one of my favorites.

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16) Iliza Shlesinger

I first found Iliza last year when a friend highly recommended her Netflix special, Elder Millennial. After watching and loving it, I was very excited to see that she released a new special in November of this year called Unveiled. Spoiler alert: it is just as good. Not only is it hilarious, but she is so well spoken and has so many good messages within her comedy, she is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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17) Food Forward

This is one of my favorite local nonprofits to volunteer for. It benefits such a great cause and is run by such lovely people, so if you live in Southern California I would highly recommend checking them out!

 


 

Check out previous versions of this post here, here and here.

Check out more List-cember posts here.