inspiration

2018 Goals Final Wrap Up

Last week I released my list of goals for 2019, but before I can truly dive into those new ones, let’s see how I did on my goals for 2018.

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1) Do a handstand

COMPLETED

While I can’t say I can walk to work in full handstand while carrying my purse with my feet, I have come SO FAR from the beginning of the year.

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2) Take a kickboxing class

COMPLETED

Guys. Seriously, take a kickboxing class. I mean, I figured I’d like it. Love it, even. But I didn’t realize it would be therapeutic. I genuinely worked through some things while I was punching and kicking that damn bag. So it’s safe to say that I will definitely make my way back to some classes in 2019.

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

WILL CONTINUE IN 2019

I only ended up making it to museums this year, which is a bummer, but not that surprising when I look back at how busy my 2018 was. Instead of just letting it go however, I decided to make finishing this goal one of my goals for 2019. Hopefully this year I’ll find some more spare weekends to get out and see some ‘seums.

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4) Get CPR certified

COMPLETED

That’s right, folks! According to the certificate that was emailed to me by the Red Cross, I am officially CPR and First Aid certified! I can officially save your life (if you’re having a minor crisis that was covered by the training)!!

If you’re interested in getting certified, you can find more information here. 

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

(ESSENTIALLY) COMPLETED

I fell off a little at the end, but I shot 13 total rolls of film this year so I’m calling it good. I absolutely love that I set this goal and the pictures turned out SO COOL. Here are a few of my favorites:

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

NOT QUITE

Yeahhhhhh. I just didn’t get around to this one, to be honest. I thought it would tie in really well with my film goal, but I just didn’t put in the effort to take pictures that corresponded to the prompts in the book. As of now, I could probably fill half of it, and while I will continue to fill it, I just couldn’t do it in one year.

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

FULLY PLANNED 

I have worked out all the details needed to take this trip, and my roommates and I have thrown out potential dates. So while we didn’t take this trip in 2018, I think we will definitely make time for it in 2019.

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8) Go to the dentist

COMPLETED

Yes, I went to the dentist. No, it was not fun.

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9) Watch 20 documentaries

COMPLETED

This was another goal that I loved more than I thought I would. There are SO MANY documentaries out there that cover SO MANY different topics. And since I’m already someone that loves dropping fun facts, watching these documentaries this year gave me more material than I knew what to do with!

If you’re interested, these are the ones that I watched. I put my favorites in bold!

  1. Happy (Netflix)
  2. The Mortified Guide (Netflix)
  3. The Mortified Sessions (Netflix)
  4. Minimalism (Netflix)
  5. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Amazon)
  6. Three Identical Strangers (Amazon)
  7. Amanda Knox (Netflix)
  8. Icarus (Netflix)
  9. Evil Genius (Netflix)
  10. The White Helmets (Netflix)
  11. Tiny Shoulders (Hulu)
  12. Conor McGregor: Notorious (Netflix)
  13. The Mind of Jake Paul (YouTube)
  14. Zion (Netflix)
  15. Seeing Allred (Netflix)
  16. Ballet Now (Hulu)
  17. Becoming Bond (Hulu)
  18. The Barkley Marathons (Amazon)
  19. Blue Planet 2 (Netflix)
  20. Batman & Bill (Hulu)

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10) Perfect an omelet

DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO ANYMORE?

Yeah, I don’t really know what to say about this one. I mean, I had every intention of learning to make an omelette and I constantly mentioned buying a new pan that would help me do so, but then I just kind of…didn’t want an omelet? I don’t know. I guess I was really craving them in 2017, craving them enough to make perfecting them a goal for 2018, but here in 2019, I just want hard boiled eggs in my lunch box and fried eggs on my burgers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

ONLY MISSED DECEMBER

Similar to the film goal, I did fall short at the end on this one, but I think I more than made up for it the rest of the year.

Here are all the movies I saw in theaters this year. And again, my favorites are in bold! 🙂

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. Book Club
  9. Incredibles 2
  10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor
  11. Three Identical Strangers
  12. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
  13. Eighth Grade
  14. Skate Kitchen
  15. Crazy Rich Asians
  16. A Star is Born
  17. Bohemian Rhapsody

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

COMPLETED

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it one thousand times: AUDIOBOOKS. They are the only reason I made it through this goal, and since finishing Time’s list is on my 30 Before 30 list, I’m sure they’ll be the driving force behind completing that as well. #teamaudiobooks

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  2. Dear God, it’s Me Margaret
  3. On the Road
  4. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  5. Lord of the Flies
  6. To the Lighthouse
  7. The Day of the Locust
  8. The Great Gatsby
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird
  10. Never Let Me Go
  11. Revolutionary Road
  12. The Painted Bird
  13. Red Harvest
  14. The Big Sleep
  15. Mrs. Dalloway
  16. The Moviegoer
  17. Housekeeping
  18. A Clockwork Orange
  19. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
  20. 1984

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13) Pay off credit card

MAKING PROGRESS

About halfway through the year I had to pull the plug on this one because I just didn’t have the resources to continue, but I’ve since got back on track and am making progress slowly but surely!

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14) See 3 WRLA’s

COMPLETED

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada in March, I was able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

After what seemed like a promising start, I once again found myself scrambling a little bit at the end. I did get my five slots in, but it wasn’t without a little sweat and frantic planning. The main charities I volunteered for this year were Food Forward and Children’s Hunger Fund. Check them out!

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16) Donate Blood

COMPLETED

Yes, I did it! Was it my favorite thing ever? No. But will I do it again because it’s an easy way to help out? Definitely!

Find out more about donating blood here. 

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

COMPLETED!

This was probably the most stressful goal for me because I was constantly having to remember to film a second for each day, but I genuinely love how it turned out. Shout out to everyone in the video! You are all reasons why this video/year turned out great because you were part of some of my favorite moments of 2018 🙂

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Overall, I’d say this was a very successful year! It was a little crazy, a little blurry, and a little bit overwhelming, but I’m very thankful for all that it had to offer.

Now we’re off into the mysterious world of 2019!

I hope it treats you well and that you feel inspired to go for it! Whatever it may be for you. ❤

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You can read more about the goals I set for 2019 here.

And if you’re looking for inspiration on goals you should set this year, check out this post!

 

31 Good Things that Happened in December

Hello and welcome back to the final edition of All the Good Things for 2018!

I started All the Good Things in January of 2017 and I’m so happy its continued thus far and am hopeful it can continue for a long time moving forward.

If this is your first All the Good Things post, it is a monthly series where I highlight all the good things that happen in each 30-day (or so) span, in the hopes that it can be a reminder of all the undercover good happening in our world amongst all the well known bad.

It’s one of my favorite traditions on my blog and I hope it gives you as many warm fuzzies as it gives me! 🙂

Let’s dive right in!

You can catch up on every month of All the Good Things for 2018 here. 

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1) The Kansas City Symphony set a new Guinness World Record for the largest tuba ensemble

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2) This man drew adorable cartoons about life with his wife and toddler

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3) Macaulay Culkin recreated scenes from Home Alone

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4) This girl perfectly summed up one of the true joys of wrapping presents

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5) This guy found a way to prank package thieves

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6) This boy opened the best Christmas present

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7) Both Kid Rock and Tyler Perry paid off layaways at Walmart

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8) This woman got her book published

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9) This man donated 200,000 miles so people could fly home for the holidays

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10) This horse comforted patients in the hospital

View this post on Instagram

I love this so much. @equideo_

A post shared by Ellen (@theellenshow) on

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11) This radio host kept a suicidal caller on the line until an ambulance arrived at their house

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12) This boy asked to be adopted

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13) This man dressed up as Buddy the Elf and had pillow fights with people

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14) This boy found out he was getting new lungs

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15) These woman helped out a mother on an airplane

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16) This man shared good news

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17) This group of volunteers split the cost of a lottery ticket and won $1 million.

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18) This kitten snuggled up with its favorite toy

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19) Cardi B went on Carpool Karaoke

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20) The Holidays!

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21) This charity donated 3,000 wheelchairs to people with disabilities

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22) This man became the first to trek across Antarctica alone

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23) This man danced for his son

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24) JetBlue ran a contest that turned people into gifts and flew them home for Christmas

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25) After losing their home in the Camp Fire, this couple made a sad scene a little brighter

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26) This student gave their teacher a gift from the heart

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27) After being born premature in January of 2017, Fiona the hippo hit a weight milestone

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28) This boxer plans on donating his entire earnings from his latest fight to help the poor and homeless

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29) This Arkansas couple adopted seven siblings at once

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30) This airport worker guided a plane with dance moves

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31) And this boy tried to catch Santa on camera but instead got THIS

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Here’s to all the good things that happen all around us every day.

May there be many more in 2019!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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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 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?

 

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

30 Good Things that Happened in November

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) Fans paid tribute to Stan Lee

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2) These teens created an app to help prevent teen suicide

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3) These people were reunited with their pets after they were separated by the California fires

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4) This man had a conversation with his goat

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5) This high school teacher won big on the Steve Harvey Show

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6) These girls set out to make “powerful panties”

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7) This girl offered her *hand* to help her cousin announce her engagement

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8) This veteran made a podcast to help others suffering from PTSD

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9) This dog waited patiently at the (invisible) door

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10) Pete Davidson’s apology on SNL turned into a call for unity

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11) This book finally had its day

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12) Customers bought this donut shop’s stock so the owner could visit his wife in the hospital

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13) This girl asked people to brag about their 2018 accomplishments

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14) And tons of people responded

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15) This volleyball team gave their opponents new uniforms after they were burned in the California wildfires

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16) This couple spent their vacations helping fire evacuees

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17) The WSU band learned their opponent’s fight song when their band was unable to make it to the game

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18) This 10 year old got to meet the bone marrow donor who saved his life—who by the way only got in line to donate because he liked a woman he saw in line, who BY THE WAY is now his wife!

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19) This care package was put out for hardworking postal workers

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20) This cow took the internet by storm

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21) This family continued their tradition of donating blood on Black Friday

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22) This little one finished a Turkey Trot

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23) This Powerball winner donated $500,000 to the Travis Mills Foundation to help wounded veterans

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24) Wholesome lifestyle brand, Kristin Made, released this recipe for pumpkin cookies (which I’m still dying to try!)

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25) Toyota gave a deserving man a new car

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26) This rookie quarterback had an amazing debut

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27) This boy, known as Bat Kid, was proclaimed cancer free!

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28) Robert Irwin introduced Jimmy Fallon to some more animals

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29) Nasa Insight landed on Mars!

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30) And amazing celebratory handshakes ensued

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what December brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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Embrace the Change, Even if it’s a Rental

For the past week or so I’ve been driving a rental car. I was in a minor accident at the end of October and so my car—who some of you might know I call Jeffrey—is currently in the shop getting himself a new passenger’s side door and an overall spiff up.

In the meantime, I’m driving a white Kia which, when it’s parked in the garage next to my roommate’s white Acura, has officially been dubbed half of the “white car crew”—because we try to make everything a little exciting.

The Kia, which I’ve named “Ren” (for rental) is vastly different than Jeff, and in the last week of driving him around, I’ve really been able to pinpoint the distinctions.

For starters, Ren is a 2017 Kia Optima while Jeff is a 2007 Saturn Ion, so obviously I’ve taken a huge jump forward in terms of technology. There’s Bluetooth, a backup camera, automatic headlights, shortcut buttons on the steering wheel, and automatic windows. (Swoon)

But even with all of these positives, I spend most of my time picking out things I don’t like about the car. Things I’ve grown comfortable with in my own car, that I miss and would rather not lose, even if it’s only for a few weeks.

The other day, as I was sitting at a stoplight, I was turning my steering wheel back and forth, a habit I’d picked up while driving Jeff because the steering wheel squeaks. Ren’s steering wheel however, does not. It’s silent and smooth and doesn’t have the cracked exterior I pick at when I’m nervous.

This got me thinking.

We’re always looking for the bigger and the better, right? We dream and we look forward, craving the possibilities of the future, rarely looking back at the comforts of the past. I likely wouldn’t have noticed many of the oddities I’ve found that I like about Jeff until I was put in a situation like this where I’m in a completely new car with completely new oddities. The same goes for a new job, a new house, a new relationship, etc.

No matter how much we might be looking for a change in a particular situation, we are always going to have parts of our old situation that we will miss if/when we finally do make that change.

One day I’ll get a new car and all the things I love about Jeff will be gone. I’ll have to break in the driver’s seat and get the mirrors right. I’ll have to find the perfect air temperature and restock the backseat and the trunk with the odds and ends I always like to keep with me.

When that day comes, I will undoubtedly be sad. Sure, I’ll be excited to have a new car, but I’m sure I’ll spend many an afternoon drive thinking about things I liked about my old car. But just as I’ve tried to tell myself now, in the wake of this rental: I can’t dwell on it.

When we make these big changes, either by our choice or by the choices of those around us, we are forced to deal with the ripples. Maybe that new job won’t have your favorite restaurant next door or that tradition you have with your coworkers. Maybe your new relationship won’t have the same dynamic or will take longer to find a new normal. Maybe your new car won’t have a squeaky (yet weirdly comforting) steering wheel.

We are always going to find things to miss about what we had, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, there is a reason you wanted to make this change or why this change found you. And even if the change is only temporary, like this rental car, it would be a waste to spend our days comparing and complaining.

Embrace where you are, what you have and who you’re with right now. Find out what you like and don’t like about what’s right in front of you, not in comparison to what’s behind you.

For me, I can’t wait to get my car back, but I’m thankful I’ve been provided a car to drive in the meantime. And as long as I have it, I solemnly swear to cherish these automatic windows.

31 Good Things that Happened in October

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

1) The first thing this man heard after receiving his cochlear implant was his partner proposing

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2) This artist gave new meaning to Humpty Dumpty’s “great fall”

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3) Mark Ruffalo explained empathy

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4) This comic illustrated what it’s like to have a dog

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5) This little guy looked at his mom with loving eyes

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6) This daughter wrote her mother a letter to remind her that she is enough

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7) This teacher added some fun to her paper grading

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8) This cat walked the red carpet at the premiere of its new Netflix show

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9) This dog got his picture taken for the yearbook

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10) This artist collected sayings from different cultures and illustrated them

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11) These writers shared why they write

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12) This Kindergarten class learned to sign “happy birthday” for their hard of hearing custodian

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13) These teenagers invented a helpful way to prevent ice cream drippage

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14) This wife saved her husband shortly before giving birth

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15) This girl raised money to buy her best friend new shoes

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16) This wild magpie became the best pet a family could have asked for

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17) This girl found a way to make an amazing change in the world

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18) This photographer took an incredible engagement photo of a couple he didn’t even know…

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19) …and then he found them!

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20) David Schwimmer made light of claims that this criminal looked just like him

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21) This girl took her mom to Sesame Street

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22) This woman donated 1 1/2 tons of vegetables to families in need

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23) This brother supported his sister

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24) These Muslim Americans raised more than $120,000 for those affected by the Pittsburgh shooting

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25) This mother had a conversation with her daughter

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26) This article highlighted all the things going right in the world

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27) Nike surprised this runner with a contract

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28) This grandpa went all out for Halloween

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29) As did this dog

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30) And you gotta hand it to this pilot for his sense of humor

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31) And finally, this reminder was posted to be thankful for the little thingsIMG_5667

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what November brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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Stay Loyal to Your Team, Stay Loyal to Your Dream

On this blog I often talk a lot about dreams. I wonder and I hope and I try to be honest about what I’m doing to try and make mine come true, in the hopes that it can inspire you to do the same. Sometimes I talk about baseball, and my boys in blue, and how their dreams tend to mix with some of my dreams, especially in October.

Last night, I watched Game 5 of the World Series, and unfortunately saw the Dodgers lose to the Boston Red Sox. It was hard, the way it always is when you know the season is officially over, but also in that deeper, tougher way that you can only experience when your season ends in the World Series and it’s not with a trophy in your hands. My mom, sister and I watched from home and my dad watched from a seat in the stands, and we all slumped our shoulders and sighed when the last out was made.

Not this year.

It’s a phrase I’ve become rather familiar with, both in baseball, since the Dodgers haven’t won the World Series since 1988—two years before I was born—and in life, because there are a number of dreams that haven’t necessarily come true yet.

Not this year. Not this job. Not this time. I’m sorry, but no.

The difference is, it’s easy to take the loss in baseball. Well, not easy, but easier. When the game ends and you watch the other team run into each others arms and hold the trophy up  over their heads, you sulk and you sigh and you wish things were different, but eventually you move on. And as the months go by and April comes into focus, you put on your hat and your jersey and you show up to your first game with a new attitude, a new set of possibilities and a new determination to win.

You stay loyal, no matter what. No matter how bad last season was. No matter how far from the finish line you stood when the last out was made. You take a seat in the stands and you say, “let’s try again.”

But how often do we bring that same positive mindset into our own lives? How loyal are we to our own reset buttons? How quick are we to bounce back and try again after our own losses and failures?

At the beginning of every season, every team in the MLB has a 1/30 chance to win the World Series. And after 175 (or so) games, that crazy, farfetched whisper of a possibility becomes a reality for one team.

The dream you’re striving for, the dream that I’m striving for, while they might have better or worse odds, still have that one chance. And unlike being a fan, we have the power to take it. We’re not sitting in the stands, complaining about what we would have done different, we’re in the game, responsible for our own successes and failures, and even more, responsible for gathering up the nerve to come back and say, “let’s try again.”

I’ll always root (root root) for the Dodgers. I’ll always show up in April, no matter how heartbreaking October was, and I assume you’d do the same for your team. But we need to start employing that loyalty in our own lives, for our own dreams. We need to take all that passion and frustration and undeniable determination and make things happen.

I’m looking at you, and I’m looking at me, and I’m looking at you, Dodgers. We may not have won this round, but there’s always a new one on the horizon. Maybe it’s in April, maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s in a few years from now. We just have to keep working, keep trying, keep putting ourselves in the game, and one day, that trophy will be ours.