listcember

17 Goals for 2020 (List-cember #8)

It’s that time of year again, y’all.

I’m going to be honest, this list was not easy to make this year.

My 2019 was absolutely CRAZY in terms of busyness, so a lot of my goals were left unattended and it made me very discouraged. For a hot second I thought about not setting any goals at all, but then I was tempted by the mistress of a new decade and here we are.

In the past, I’ve picked goals based on their grandeur and their promise of a big, impressive challenge, however, I’ve worked hard on learning to pick things that I like, that I want to do, and that can challenge me in ways I want to be challenged.

So, with that being said, I am very excited to share my goals for the new year, the new decade! May we all make 2020 our bitch.

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1) Kick a field goal

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I have exactly zero talent in anything relating to football (except watching it) but I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to kick a field goal. So, this year, I plan on 1) buying a football, and 2) trying my hand foot at field goals.

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2) Learn Spanish

I replaced one of my original goals for 2019 mid year with “learn Spanish,” and since I am in no way a linguistic prodigy, I am not yet fluent in the language, thus I’m keeping it on here. And since there’s no way to really gage how far along in a language you are, I’m going to base my progress on the app I’ve been using to learn it. Duolingo divides languages into sections and as of now I’m at the end of Section 1, so my goal by the end of 2020 is to finish Section 3. Deséame suerte!

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3) Do a pull up

This is another repeat from last year because damn it, I’ve made progress but not enough. Upper body strength has just never been my strong suit, but I’m working on it!

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4) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

This is a regular on my list of goals and it never fails to be one of my favorites.

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5) Write positive Yelp reviews

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I didn’t put a concrete number on this one like I usually do, but that’s only because it’s hard to know how many new places you’ll visit in a year, you know? But I wanted to put in on this list because I feel like there aren’t enough good reviews on the internet. People are quick to log on and write horrible, scathing reviews, but often forget to share their positive experiences. So I’m hoping to find good things and write good reviews about those good things, so that other people can find those good things.

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6) Donate plasma

A couple years ago I made it a goal of mine to donate blood, and while it took me two tries to do it, I was so glad I did! This year, I’m hoping to donate plasma, which can be in just as high of demand as blood. Check out where you can donate plasma here.

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7) 30 Cleaning Challenge

I have been in desperate need of a deep clean in my life, and I think this challenge is just the place to start. I don’t plan on doing the challenge in order or all at once, I’m just using it as a checklist/baseline for the massive clean I’m going to do around my house. Call me a nerd, but I am PUMPED.

30dayCleaningChallenge

You can download the PDF here.

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8) Savings Challenge

This one makes me a little less pumped, only because it’s been pretty fun spending money I don’t have for the last couple years. But I would really love to get back into the habit of saving, and build up an account that I can use for splurging, rather than just closing my eyes, hitting purchase and crossing my fingers that the stars align and all my bills get paid. I’ve seen a bunch of different challenges out there, and while I don’t think I’m going to stick to any by the letter, I’m going to use this one as a baseline.

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9) Purchase one charity t-shirt per month

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A few years ago I wrote a blog post all about t-shirts you can buy that will benefit great charities. I love a t-shirt with a cause, and so I decided a cool way to donate money to charity each month would be to buy a t-shirt from a specific charity. The way I see it, you donate money to a charity, you get a great t-shirt, which then gives visibility to that charity! It’s a win win win. I can’t wait! (Find this t-shirt here)

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10) Pay it forward

Have you ever had someone in front of you pay for your food/coffee/etc? I have had someone do it for me once, but I have never done it myself. So this year I’m hoping to give it a try. Personally I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do it in front of anyone, but I’d love to hop in a drive thru, pay for the person behind me, and then sneak away so the receiving party could be surprised.

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11) Take a self defense class

I think this is important for anyone, but I feel particularly drawn to it as a woman. What can I say, I want to feel safe, I want to feel tough(er), and I want to give off that BDE. You know, badass defense energy.

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12) Go to (at least) 5 concerts

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Last year I was lucky enough to go to a handful of amazing concerts and it reminded me why I love them so much. There are few things better than live music, and so I want to make it more of a priority to see it. As of now, I’m happy to report I already have 3 on the calendar! 🙂

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13) Take a writing class

I love blogging and it has always been my dream to write a book, but since it was a passion I found after college, I never took a class that might help hone my skills and better my ability to express myself through writing. So I’m hoping to find a class online that is both fun and challenging—something that can move me forward in this field of mine.

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14) Go to 5 breweries

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Being a beer drinker, raised by a beer drinker, who loves trying and drinking new beer, I find it surprising how few breweries I’ve been to in my lifetime. This year I’m hoping to change that, both by visiting breweries in my state, and possibly a few others. We’ll see what we find.

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15) Go to a comedy show

This is another one that seems crazy to be so inexperienced in when I live in a state that is home to so many great comedy houses. There’s something special about setting out on your evening with the intention of laughing. And with so many great comedians out there right now, I’d love to spend a good amount of time doing just that.

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16) The Emotion Scrapbook  

I feel like every year I have that one goal where my inner art major shines through, and this year, it’s this one. I have always loved pictures and the way they can capture parts of a moment or experience that you can revisit even years later. And so, to make a unique kind of scrapbook for this year, I made a list of 20 different feelings/emotions that I’m looking to capture in 2020. The idea is that when I find myself feeling one of those feelings, I want to take a picture of whatever can capture it best, so I can have a memento of it. Not all of these emotions are happy ones, but I think the list as a whole can give me a good idea of where the year took me and what it taught me, so I’m excited.

In case you’re interested, the list I’m going to work off of is as follows:

Take a picture when you’re feeling…

  1. Happy
  2. Sad
  3. Angry
  4. Peaceful
  5. Free
  6. Afraid
  7. Confident
  8. Love
  9. Relaxed
  10. Thankful
  11. Nostalgic
  12. Inspired
  13. Adventurous
  14. Stressed
  15. Bored
  16. Important
  17. Brave
  18. Optimistic
  19. Curious
  20. Determined

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17) Make a time capsule

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Since 2020 is going to be the beginning of a new decade, I thought it would be cool to make something to commemorate this decade. The last 10 years of my life have brought about a lot of change, and I would have loved to see a collection of things I valued at the beginning of 2010 compared to now. So, I’m going to find myself a box, gather up some things that I think best represent who I am and where the world is at the beginning of 2020, and then seal it, stash it, and open it at the end of 2029.

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And there they are in all their glory!

This might be the first year that I’m more excited than terrified. That has to be a good sign, right?

Don’t tell me if it’s not, I don’t need that kind of energy going into a new decade.

I hope you feel as optimistic and excited as I do about this new year, and I wish you luck on any goals you might be setting!

My Decade Recap (As Told by Old Facebook Statuses) (List-cember #7)

I have seen a bunch of posts in the last month where people recap their decade, going through the highlights of each year to cringe, reminisce, feel nostalgic and propel themselves forward into this new decade.

When I sat down to do a post of my own, I struggled with what I wanted to share/not share and how I wanted to share it. Then I saw an update from my Facebook page. “On this day 6 years ago…”

That’s when I realized that if there’s anything that can accurately recap the last 10 years, it is my Facebook statuses. 10 years ago, I was ALL ABOUT Facebook statuses. I liked trying to be witty and clever, I liked updating the Facebook universe on things they probably didn’t need to be updated on, and I often posted quotes from my favorite movies and television shows, or just funny one liners from my family and friends.

So, as we close in on 2020, on the 20’s, let’s see what my Facebook has to say about the 10’s.

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2010

I experienced loss.

2010 blue pen

And triumph.

2010 donkey kong

I set goals.

2010 goals

I had road rage.

2010 peds

And I made myself laugh.

2010 witty

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2011

I made a wish

2011 accent 1

I started my first blog when I studied abroad in Australia…

2011 first blog

…where I was able to manifest my wish.

2011 accent 2

I made important cuts

2011 ipod

I asked important questions

2011 robert pins

And I continued to have road rage.

2011 road rage

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2012

I graduated from college

2012 college

I was grateful

2012 camel

I got into hockey

2012 hockey

Like really into hockey

2012 hockey 2

I took my stance on soul patches

2012 soul patches

And yes, I continued to have road rage

2012 driving

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2013

I met Bobby

2013 bobby

I charted a new career path

2013 career

I found a new motto

2013 motto

I questioned my brother’s plan for the zombie apocalypse

2013 zombie

And I got into puns

2013 hammer

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2014

I started this blog

2014 blog

I started my presidential campaign

2014 president

2014 president 2

I beat sinus congestion

2014 sandra

And I climbed Mt. Whitney.

2014 whitney 2

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2015

I decided to start eating healthier

2015 fealth

I stood up to the man

2015 time warner

I got published

2015 writing

And I continued my relationship with puns

2015 whoop ass

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2016

I became a meme

2016 meme

I cooked

2016 dinner

I questioned parenthood

2016 siri

And I lost control

2016 target

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2017

I earned my black belt

2017 karate kim

I splurged

2017 ice cream

I introduced the world to Kevin

2017 kevin

And I got better at laundry

2017 laundry

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2018

I started exercising

2018 gym

I embraced my true self

2018 old lady

And I expressed my true fears

2018 sneeze

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2019

I let everyone know I ran the marathon…

2019 marathon

…and then did nothing else except share my blog posts and spy on people.

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Overall, I’m happy with where I came from and how I used that to get where I am now.

And even though my Facebook statuses are slim, if not completely nonexistent these days, at least I have this blog where I can do everything I was trying to do in those three sentence updates—including make myself laugh. Here’s to another 10 years.

 

A Christmas Quiz (List-cember #6)

We are less than a week away from Christmas, which means that most schools are closing for winter break.To celebrate that, I thought I’d take us back to school for a minute for a little Christmas quiz.

I invited/politely forced my sister and two cousins to participate in a friendly Christmas themed quiz in order to win bragging rights and familial pride. What started as a cordial match quickly became a heated quest for Christmas glory.

Here were the results:

1) What kind of Christmas does Elvis Presley sing about?

Answer: Blue

Natalee: (singing) Bluuuuuuuee…Christmas without you….

Amanda: Wait, should I give a different kind of answer? I’m going to say he’s devastated by the thought of his loved one not going to be with him on Christmas. So that’s my word. Devastated.

Cory: Maybe he just likes blue Christmas lights.

Point awarded to Natalee. 

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2) What is the name of the Grinch’s dog in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

Answer: Max

Amanda: I know! I know!! MAX!

Point awarded to Amanda.

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3) In which century was the Christmas tree first used?

Answer: 16th century

Natalee: The 1300’s! So, the 14th century.

Cory: 16th.

Amanda: I’m going to say the 18th century.

Me: It’s the 16th.

Cory: HA HA.

Amanda: Okay, now it’s on.

Point awarded to Cory.

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4) What is the name of Rudolph’s dad?

Answer: Donner

Natalee: Ugh, I know his girlfriend’s name.

Amanda: Oh my gosh. You can totally–

Natalee: –Prancer! Wait, no.

Amanda: No, they said it in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when they introduce the mom and dad.

Natalee: He’s one of the reindeer.

Cory: I feel like it’s something really bland like…Steve.

Me: Yes, Steve the reindeer.

Amanda: I’m gonna say Donner.

Natalee: Damnit, that’s right.

Cory: Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Comet? Is Comet the father?

Me: It’s Donner.

Amanda: YESSS!!!!

Natalee: I knew it right after you said it.

Point awarded to Amanda

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5) What is the best selling Christmas song ever? 

Answer: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

Natalee: Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas is You.

Amanda: *shakes head* I’ve heard this before. I heard it on KOST 103.5. It’s not Mariah and it’s not White Christmas, but that was everyone’s guess.

Cory: (singing) Feliz Navidad.

Amanda: I’m gonna go with Jingle Bells. 

Me: It was White Christmas.

Amanda: Damnit! You know, maybe that’s why I immediately thought of White Christmas…because it was the right guess.

No point awarded. 

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6) In Home Alone, where are the McCallister’s going on vacation when they leave Kevin behind?

Answer: Paris. 

Natalee, Cory & Amanda: In which one?

Me: The first one.

Natalee: Europe! Um….we just watched this. France?

Cory: Where did they go in the first one? I know in the second one they go to Florida.

Amanda: Dangit, I was thinking Florida.

Cory: Well she takes the bus with that guy to find him and they’re in the snow…Canada?

Amanda: Niagara Falls?

Me: It was Paris.

Natalee: YES!!!

Point awarded to Natalee.

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7) What well-known Christmas carol became the first song ever broadcast from space in 1965?

Answer: Jingle Bells

Natalee: (singing) Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Clause Lane.

Cory: It’s Jingle Bells.

Amanda: Oh Holy Night.

Point awarded to Cory. 

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8) What Christmas beverage is also known as “milk punch”?

Answer: Eggnog.

Cory (before I even finish the question): Eggnog.

Me: That’s correct.

Natalee: Hey! Wait until the question is complete.

Cory: I’m sorry, there’s just no other Christmas beverage.

Amanda: Yeah there is. There’s cider.

Natalee: There’s peppermint shit.

Cory: It’s eggnog.

Point awarded to Cory. 

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9) In the early 1800’s, the first gingerbread houses were reportedly inspired by what famous fairy tale?

Answer: Hansel & Gretel

Natalee: Shrek! I mean, no.

Amanda: She said Shrek. She commits to Shrek!

Natalee: I was thinking of the gingerbread man!

Amanda: I’m gonna go with Hansel & Gretel.

Cory: Alice in Wonderland.

Natalee: Goldilocks & the Three Bears.

Point awarded to Amanda.

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10) Which one of Santa’s reindeer has the same name as another holiday mascot?

Answer: Cupid

Cory: Cupid.

Me: That’s correct.

Natalee: That was so fast. I was only on Vixen in the song.

Point awarded to Cory. 

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11) In the movie Elf, what was the first rule of The Code of Elves?

Answer: Treat every day like Christmas

Cory: Treat every day as Christmas.

Me: *nods*

Amanda: DAMNIT CORY.

Natalee: OH MY GOSH.

Me: Cory is coming in and slaughtering you guys.

Point awarded to Cory.

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12) How many gifts in total were given in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song?

Answer: 364

Natalee: Ugh, this is math.

Me: NO CALCULATORS.

*Amanda, Cory & Natalee start mumbling as they do mental math*

Natalee: 76!

Cory: 78.

Amanda: I think…120?

Me: Amanda is the closest. Remember each day they get all the gifts from the previous days as well.

*a collective nod*

Me: So Amanda gets the point.

*Amanda smiles while Natalee and Cory nod a little bitterly*

Point awarded to Amanda.

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13) In the movie A Christmas Story, what was the name of the neighbors’ whose dog ate the Christmas turkey?

Answer: The Bumpuses

Natalee: Oh shit.

Amanda: I’m going to go with a classic…

Natalee: The Chungs.

Amanda: A classic…Max.

Cory: Steve.

Me: It was the Bumpuses.

Natalee: So I was the closest.

Me: Absolutely not.

No point awarded.

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14) On average, what day do most Americans put up their Christmas trees?

Answer: The weekend after Thanksgiving

Natalee: The day after Thanksgiving.

Amanda: The Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Me: You guys can both be right.

Point awarded to Amanda & Natalee.

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15) On average, what day do most Europeans put up their Christmas trees?

Answer: Christmas Eve.

Natalee: Christmas Eve.

Cory: First week of December.

Amanda: Two weeks before.

Point awarded to Natalee. 

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16) What does Clarence get for accomplishing his task in It’s a Wonderful Life?

Answer: Wings

Cory: A new show.

Natalee: His life back.

Amanda: He becomes a better person.

Me: He gets his wings, y’all. Clarence is the angel.

Amanda: And with his wings he becomes a better person.

Natalee: Well I was right about the actual man, he does get his life back.

No point awarded.

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17) Which company was the first to use Santa in an advertisement?

Answer: Coca Cola

Amanda: COCA COLA!!!

Natalee: Oh my gosh. That came out of nowhere.

Amanda: I know this, well, because I just do.

Point awarded to Amanda. 

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Final Score

Amanda: 6

Cory: 5

Natalee: 4

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Congratulations to Amanda for being crowned this year’s Christmas Quiz winner!

If you are interested in Christmas trivia, I found these questions (and more) here, here and here. 


 

Check out more List-cember posts here. 

2019 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #1

Hello and happy December 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! If you can believe it, this is already the fourth year!

Over the last week, I have decorated not one, not two, but three houses for Christmas, giving me a full face dunk into the Christmas season. The first of those three houses was my grandpa’s house, and upon arriving there on a Sunday afternoon, I quickly took my place at the Christmas tree to fluff branches and hang ornaments, a job that has been mine for the last 15 years or so.

Similar to my parents’ tree, my grandpa’s hosts seemingly thousands of ornaments. Some cute, some questionable, many sentimental and a few downright strange, which is perhaps why I love it so much. So once we were finished, I decided to look around and hand out some superlatives and these were the results:

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Most Likely to be Mistaken for the Charmin Toilet Paper Bear

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Most Likely to Put the Bob the Builder Theme Song in Your Head

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Biggest Overachiever

(We get it, Karen, you can sew, but no one needs a stocking that big.)

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Most Likely to Ask Kids What They Want for Shredmas

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Most Likely to Make You Ask Questions Like, “Why?” and, “No, Seriously, Why?” and, “Aside from Everything Else, Why is this Giant, Terrifying Mouse Wearing a Headband?”

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Most Likely to Make You Do A Doubletake

(Things you might notice in your doubletaking: the horse has no feet, the horse is giving the woman incredibly sassy side eye—which could perhaps be attributed to the intense amount of overfeeding she has been doing, which could perhaps be the reason he has no feet, or more specifically that his feet have been swallowed by his belly—also the woman’s glasses are a disaster and can’t possibly be providing any assistance.)

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Most Likely to be Hung Front and Center

(because I made it and want your praise)

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This is a three time winner for: 

-Best Style

-Most Athletic Golf Ball

-Best Legs

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Most Likely to Make Me Jealous for the 31st (even though I’m only 29) Year in a Row

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Most Likely to be Out of Date Almost Immediately after this was Purchased

(As of now, if you include wives, husbands, grandkids and great grandkids, there should be upwards of 15 more stockings on this fireplace.)

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You can check out past editions of Ornament Superlatives here, here, and here.

Happy List-cember, y’all!

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?

 

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.