listcember

3 People to Look For in the New Year (List-cember #9)

When I am out doing errands, or making a delivery for work, or on a walk around my neighborhood, or just out doing whatever, I see all kinds of people. We all do.

When we go out into the world, we put our lives on a collision course with so many other lives. Sometimes I even get a little overwhelmed at just how many other lives are being lived alongside mine—some I’ll never know a single thing about.

It is easy to pass by people and never know a thing about them. It is also easy to figuratively walk by the people actually in our lives, to hold them at a distance and keep everything on the surface. It is easy to get wrapped up inside ourselves, in our fears and stresses, in our schedules and chaos. It is easy to focus our attention on the things we’re “told” to pay attention to. To follow the trends, to stay in “the loop”, to join the traffic.

There are so many people in this world, so many lives trying to be lived, and none of them are easy. But the one thing we all have in common is that we’re all trying our best, on our first try, and we’re making do with what we’ve been given.

We are each other’s best allies, and each other’s worst enemies.

So, in this new year, let’s look out for each other. And even more, let’s look for each other. Let’s notice one another.

In this new year, let’s look for these three people:

.

1) People who need grace

Whether I’m driving and I get cutoff, or I’m walking and someone rushes past me, bumping me in the process, or someone just gives me a little attitude, I have noticed that I’m quick to think, “UMM, EXCUSE ME!” Because yes, we all deserve respect. And when I’m minding my own business and someone appears to be asking the world to treat them like they are the most important person, I want to protest. I want to honk my horn or roll my eyes or say something just as rude back to them. Because yes, some people do believe they are more important than everyone else. Some people DO deserve the eye rolls, the honks and the reality check. But some people might be having the worst day of their lives. Some people might be in a hurry to get to a loved one that’s in trouble. Some people feel like their lives are spinning out of control and they are not even aware that they are treating the people around them inconsiderately. Those people don’t need more piled on their plate. They don’t need guilt, shame, or unkindness shoved in their face. They need grace. They need prayer. They need someone to let it slide and to give them kindness that they might not even deserve in that moment.

.

2) People who need help

We all live chaotic, busy lives. We all have about 50 things we’re thinking about at a time. We are all tackling different emotions, different losses, different challenges, every single minute of every single day. Some people find it to be too much and they ask for help. But some people are wandering around with a weight on their shoulders they don’t know how to remove. Some people think asking for help is putting that weight on someone else’s shoulders. Some people think they don’t deserve help. So let’s look for those people. Let’s be the light that shines into their darkness. It doesn’t take big gestures or knowing exactly what to say, sometimes it just takes one person noticing. One person looking out for another person. One person extending their hand and saying, let me help.

.

3) People with good intentions

In our world, there are a lot of things that still need correcting. There are still injustices, discrimination, and outright hatred taking place all around us, and there are people trying to weed those things out to make the world a better place. But there are also people who are determined to bring to light every single mistake every single person makes. There are people waiting in the wings to “cancel” other people. There are people who not only take pride but delight in finding fault in others. No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect. We are all learning how to do life each and every day. We are all learning to be better people. But tearing down others will never make us better people. Destroying people who have made mistakes, who dared misstep, misspeak or misunderstand will not make us better people. We need to stop looking at people under a microscope, ignoring context, growth, or the basic differences created from different life experiences. We need to stop looking—HOPING—for the bad in people that can be turned into clickbait, and start again looking for the good in people. To bring intention back into the conversation. To notice when something done or said was with actual malice, or whether you, I, we’ve decided to interpret it as such simply because it would generate harsh conversation, clicks, and a reason to be angry. Modern technology has taught us to have a short attention span, a need for continuous gratification, an insatiable impatience—let’s not let that carry over into our relationships. Let’s attempt to understand each other rather than race to ruin each other. Pause and listen, pause and watch, remember that we are all living different lives and we only know the ins and outs of our own. Look for the intention. Let that be the loudest.


Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.

May we all look out for each other in 2023.

You can find more List-cember posts here.

17 Goals for 2023 (List-cember #8)

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you might know that I typically set 17 goals at the end of each year. It is my jumping off point for the year to come.

In the six years (!) that I’ve done it, I’ve set some really good goals. They’ve pushed me out of my comfort zone, inspired me to try new things, and led me places I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.

This year, while trying to figure out my next 17 goals, I kept coming up with ideas that weren’t necessarily tangible or trackable. They were just things I wanted to improve on. At first, I set them aside, calling them “emotional goals” that I wouldn’t necessarily talk about. But then I decided to put them in the mix, to prioritize them with the rest of my goals.

So I’ve included them in here, and I’m honestly very excited.

Here are my 17 goals for 2023:

.

1) Learn when to pause

While listening to the podcast, Still Coloring, this year, I noticed how host Toni Collier was able to give her guests space to talk. Sometimes the conversations were difficult and there were points where there wasn’t anything Toni could say, there was just a need for a pause. To let what had been said just sit there. Toni is great at pausing, and I’d like to get better at that. To not feel like I always need to give a response, or to give the “right” response. I want to learn to fearlessly listen to what other people are saying and know when to just pause.

.

2) Take another UCLA writing class

I thought about saying, “finish my writing certificate”, but I’m honestly not sure if I will have time. I only need to take two more classes, so it’s very possible that I *could* finish, but in the interest of setting attainable goals, I’m going to say one. Anything else will be a bonus.

.

3) Don’t always apologize

I have a tendency to think that I am always on verge of doing/saying/assuming something wrong. Oftentimes, after I’ve hung out with someone, I’ll go home and replay everything that happened, and have a compulsion to text and apologize.

Sorry I talked so much about myself.

Sorry I was so reserved.

Sorry I wasn’t funny enough.

Sorry I kept circling back to that thing that was bothering me.

Sorry I was quiet.

Sorry for not existing correctly.

I could find an apology for absolutely everything. And while sure, there are times when I do need to apologize, there are also a lot of times when I’m just a person, when I’m not perfect, and when my friends know me and my heart and don’t need or want me to apologize for the small things my anxiety has decided make me a bad/boring/unworthy person.

.

4) Use my library card

I am an avid fan of the e-library. It is almost exclusively where I get my books. But at times it does require some *patience.* And sometimes, like while I was taking a writing class, I didn’t have time to be patient. So I ordered the required reading on Amazon. It was only after I had a stack of books that I remembered I also have a physical library card, AND I live less than a mile from a library. There’s something so magical about checking books out, so I’m sticking that on the to-do list this year.

.

5) Ask hard questions

This is sort of like #1 (learning how to pause), but it is also about not being afraid to go deep with people. I wrote this post in November about how I spent a long time being afraid to cry in front of other people because I thought it made me look weak. Recently, I’ve noticed that I get flustered when I’m talking to someone and they start to cry because I’m afraid that they too feel weak, and are in turn angry with me for making them feel that way. To avoid this, I often avoid deep questions. I try to avoid entering that territory all together. But then I have such a craving for deep relationships. So this year, as I continue my own progress in letting my walls down, I want to do better at creating space for people to do the same with me.

.

6) Take the train

I drove to San Diego a few times this year to visit my best friend and her family. When you time it right, it’s an easy drive, and I like getting those two hours of *me time.* But I’ve also been wanting to take the train. It’s one of the most scenic rides out there, and it gives you the power to take your hands off the wheel and zone out. Plus, when you don’t have to do it a lot, it’s kind of fun to be a commuter. To people watch and to become a part of that overarching question of “what’s her story?”

.

7) Move slow

This has been a goal of mine for a while that I’ve never fully been able to articulate. Whenever I described it, I felt like I was saying I wanted to move in slow motion. But really what I want to do is find confidence in myself that allows me not to rush through interactions and tasks. I want to take calm, slow steps through the grocery store. I want to listen to what a stranger is saying and then respond, rather than sit on the edge of my seat while they talk, feeling like I have to make a witty comment in response or I’m going to burst into flames. I just want to dial it down a bit. To be more deliberate, more present, more calm.

.

8) Break in my new hiking shoes

A while back my dad, sister and I hiked Mt. Whitney. In training for that hike, I bought new hiking shoes. I then kept those hiking shoes up until last year. Did I mention that we climbed Mt. Whitney in 2014? And did I mention I somehow never twisted my ankle or rolled down a hill in the no-tread, sorry excuse for hiking boots that they became in the eight years I insisted on wearing them?! It’s a miracle. And it’s an even bigger miracle that I bought a new pair. So this year I’m hoping to get back out there and do a few hikes. These boots need to be broken in, and I need to get back on the trail.

.

9) Use better self-talk

As a whole, I can easily say that my improvement on this from, say, when I was sixteen years old is INCREDIBLE. However, I think I could still do better. I am quick to criticize myself, quick to assume I’m in the wrong, quick to say I should have done better or that I should look better. And sometimes it isn’t jarring, loud self-hatred, it’s almost imperceptible micro-aggressions. It’s apologizing for my hair being messy, or calling myself lazy or “bad” if I don’t exercise for a few days. It’s calling myself dumb or embarrassing for not knowing something, rather than embracing the opportunity to learn something new. This year, I’m trying to weed out those little things that I put myself down for. To give myself more grace.

.

10) Staycation

I’ve always wanted to do this but have never really given it a proper go. I just think it would be so fun to rent a hotel for the night or for the weekend—not in a new place, but right where I live. To be able to explore a different part of where I live by placing my home base in a new spot for the weekend. And to be able to get free breakfast and someone to make my bed and bring me fresh towels. Maybe even order room service and spend the entire day in a hotel robe watching movies. I don’t know. The possibilities are endless, and the drive is easy. 

 .

11) Assume people like you

This was also on the List-cember post for “Best advice I got this year”, and I liked it so much I’m making it a goal for next year. I really want to embrace this mindset. To go into interactions and situations assuming people do (and should) like me. Not everyone will, and that’s okay. But eliminating the idea that nobody will (or should) like me, will put me in a better headspace to meet new people, and might make those interactions a lot less stressful.

.

12) Log unplugged hours

I have talked in the past about my struggle with social media and my attempts to try and separate myself from it—or at least lessen my need for it. I always find that I feel better on days when I don’t spend a lot of time on my phone. Earlier this year, I saw Hannah Brencher mention her quest to unplug for 1,000 hours. She made a conscious attempt to put her phone down—put it away as much as possible. If we do the math, 1000 hours is just over 41 days. And when I think about the fact that we are spending DAYS looking at our phones, I get a little sared—and sad. So I’m going to start putting my phone down when I get home from work. I’m going to stop spending as much time getting sucked into social media—I’m looking at YOU Tik Tok. I’m not saying I’m going off the map or deleting all social media, I’m just reminding myself that I don’t have to look at it all the time. I don’t have to open Instagram every time the TV goes to commercial. I don’t have to spend my first hour after work scrolling through my For You page on Tik Tok. I can do other things. There are other things to do.

Hannah’s goal was 1,000 hours, but I’m not going to focus so much on the number. I’m going to keep a log and just see how many I have at the end of the year.

.

13) Say you’re welcome

I heard this advice on the Best Advice Show and I loved it. I also felt *slightly* called out by it, but sometimes that’s a good thing. While I consider myself to be very well mannered—perhaps compulsively polite at times—I also have a habit of using manners to deflect compliments. Sometimes I even use compliments to deflect compliments.

If someone were to say, “thank you for doing that” I might say, “thank YOU for giving me the opportunity.”

If someone said, “you look nice” I might say, “I was just about to say YOU look beautiful. I love your dress!”

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s spreading positivity, it’s creating an air of appreciation and gratitude. But it is also preventing me from absorbing the appreciation and kindness someone is trying to share with me. It’s preventing me from hearing and thus believing that I am worthy of that compliment, that I am loved, appreciated, etc.

There is nothing wrong with paying people compliments, there is nothing wrong with paying good deeds forward, but I want to better accept kind words. To say you’re welcome when someone says thank you.

.

14) Compliment strangers

Speaking of compliments. In May of this year, a group of friends and I went wine tasting. While we were standing at the counter, a woman walked up behind me and put her hand on my shoulder. “I have this same dress at home!” she said, “it looks marvelous on you.” I had been feeling self-conscious the whole day, but she changed that. She made me feel beautiful with the smallest of passing compliments. When I like something, I tend to lean into the person I’m with and say, “I like her purse” or “I like her hair” or “I like his shoes,” and then slyly point at someone across the room or in front of us in line. Maybe it’s because I’m introverted, but I tend to keep those compliments like secrets. I want to try and change that. This goal won’t be limited to strangers, but I’m trying to encourage myself to go the extra mile. Compliment people. You never know how much they might need it.

.

15) Do the Jar Full of Joy Challenge

I saw this idea (created by Ingrid Fetell Lee) on The Art of Noticing newsletter and I loved it. It is a win win.

Win #1) You notice when you are having (or had) a joyful moment during a particular day, and you write it down. This helps you stay present and to notice the happy things happening in your life, both big and small.

Win #2) You put each thing you wrote down into a jar, and then at the end of the year you get to relive all of those happy moments! It is a scrapbook of all the joy you experienced throughout the year.

I bought my jar. I might even go so far as to decorate it!

.

16) Be in more pictures

I, like my mother before me, do not like having my picture taken. I get too in my head. I have trouble looking at a picture objectively and thinking, “look at this moment we captured,” and instead think, “I look terrible.” Whether it’s my outfit, my body, my face, anything and everything really. I can almost always find something to dislike about myself in a picture. What’s worse, I am constantly bummed I’m not in more pictures—that I don’t have better proof that I visited a cool place, or that I don’t have better documented memories of good and exciting days. I want to do better at this. So I’m setting a goal to be in more pictures. To take more pictures. To ASK to have my picture taken, even if I—GASP—don’t look perfect. (This goal will tie together nicely with #9)

.

17) Post monthly recaps

This one is kind of funny when you take into account the unplugged hours goal of #12, but this is something that I really like about social media. When a new month starts, I love seeing people post groups of photos and videos that summarize the last month. It’s amazing how we are able to memorialize those experiences, allowing us to remember them a lot longer than we may have otherwise. I also think it might be a good way to reflect on each month, rather than let them slam into each other. I think this will be a great way to force myself to pause and ask, “what did I do this month?” And ideally, if I’m in more pictures (#16) these recaps will be a lot easier for me to pull off 🙂

.

Wishing you luck with any and all goals and/or resolutions you might be setting for the new year!

May we all find somthing we’re looking for.


You can find more List-cember posts here.

5 People I Had a Crush on This Year (List-cember #7)

In middle school, admitting you have a crush on someone feels equivalent to setting

yourself on fire. It is painful and horrifying, which makes sense because everything about being a middle schooler is painful and horrifying.

As an adult, well, it doesn’t get that much easier. Being vulnerable is never fun, setting yourself up for rejection is always terrifying. But we get through it—maybe not gracefully, maybe not easily, but we get through it.

Luckily, we’re not talking about those kinds of crushes today. Because as I’ve grown up, I’ve found that those are not the only ones that exist.

Sometimes you have a crush on someone that is not based on romantic feelings, but rather that longing to be more like a person, or a wish that you were friends (best friends?), or a productive envy that inspires you to better yourself.

These kinds of crushes are the kind that make you want to say, “I just think you’re so rad.”

Even if you never use the word “rad” in your everyday vocabulary. (Which I don’t.)

This year, I crushed and I crushed hard.

These five people inspired me and made me laugh and cry (in a good way) and just overall made me feel cozy.

.

1) Meghan Trainor

If you are/were on Tik Tok this year, you might have run into a lot of Meghan Trainor content. She kind of took the social media world by storm. At some point, I looked up her podcast and then binge listened to it, smiling and giggling my way through every episode. I then proceeded to follow her on Instagram, listened to her music, and simply just fell in love with her. She is so fun and genuine and goofy, and she is upbeat while never being afraid to be honest. At times I would forget that she was a mega pop star known and beloved by the world, and would scroll past her on social media thinking she was one of my friends. (find her here)

.

2) Nora McInerny

After finding Terrible, Thanks for Asking, during a Google search for “podcast recommendations”, I quickly and gladly snuggled into its orbit. The premise of the podcast is to embrace your feelings—even and especially the hard ones—which is why the name is phrased as a response to the question, “how are you?” Having gone through multiple harrowing losses herself, Nora founded a community that invites its listeners to just be, and I was hooked instantly. While keeping up with the podcast, I listened to Nora’s audiobooks and even went to a live show she put on in Los Angeles. The content she creates makes me feel safe and seen, and it gives me courage to write about the hard parts of my story.

.

3) Toni Collier

On another night spent searching for new podcasts (the subplot for this blog might be my podcast addiction) I found Still Coloring hosted by Toni Collier. It is Christian based, and it encourages those who are walking/have walked through hard seasons. Not only do I find inspiration in each episode, but I am constantly in awe of Toni’s ability to hear and have hard conversations. She leaves space for people. She’s not too quick to respond, she doesn’t try to fix or explain or bandage, she just says, “mmhmm” allowing her guests to know she’s listening, while giving them room to keep talking. She’s not intimidated by gaps or silence. I am in AWE of this, and I want to do better at it in my relationships.

.

4) Kelsey Kreppel

I started watching Kelsey Kreppel’s videos on YouTube a few years ago. They have always been funny and easy to watch, cozy and casual without all the flash and show that you find in many other popular videos. She is just a normal person, going about her day, sometimes thriving, sometimes struggling, never afraid to admit either. She is funny, sweet, and comfortable in her own skin in a way that I am striving for.

.

5) Ashlyn Sailsbury

I mentioned Ashlyn in a List-cember post a few years back and she remains one of my favorite people to follow. She is so funny and sassy and is always sharing her latest hobbies and travels. I like that she goes with her own flow and is never ashamed of that. She feels like a big sister I can check in with that encourages me to speak my mind and define my own bliss.

.

You know that saying “you are who surround yourself with”? I have seen it be true in my real-life relationships, and in the people I follow on social media. I am proud that I actively pursue people who encourage me to be myself. It’s a good reminder of how far I’ve come on this journey to self-love and acceptance. And I’m thankful for all the people (online and IRL) that continue to help me on that journey.

Here’s hoping we all crush next year.

I know I will!


You can find more List-cember posts here.

Five Reasons Why I “Like” a Post (List-cember #6)

The term “like” took on a whole new meaning after the dawn of social media.

Now, alongside its traditional meaning of: enjoying/appreciating/admiring something, it means physically tapping a heart or star or some other mystical symbol on your screen. It means adding your name to a count of other people who saw, read, enjoyed, or admired a picture, blog, tweet, post, or video.

The other day, as I was scrolling through Tik Tok, I started re-watching some of the videos that I’d liked. There is a feature in the app that lets you sort and save those videos so you can more quickly access them. It was a slow afternoon, and, like a stack of miscellaneous papers, I wanted to organize my favorite videos into folders that I could refer back to. I wanted to create collections reminiscent of my Spotify playlists, that I could curate based on my mood.

In sorting and scrolling for the next hour or so, I got a good look at the posts I like, and started to formulate ideas as to why I liked them.

I found five main reasons.

.

1) It’s adorable

Hi, it’s me, the target audience for cute animals and babies. If I scroll past a picture of a dog with its happy tongue out, or a baby giggling, it almost seems wrong not to acknowledge it. Did you ever get chain mail when you were younger that had the threat at the bottom that essentially said, “send this to 10 friends or the world will collapse into flames and it will all be your fault”? That’s how I feel when I come across adorable internet content. I must “like” or the world will think I reject joy.

Also, I just love seeing cute sassy animals and cute sassy babies. Sue me.

.

2) It made me cry happy tears

This is a two-fer. If a post makes me cry happy tears—which to be honest is not hard to do—I like it because:

a) I want it to gain popularity and reach other people, thus causing more happy tears around the world

and

b) because sometimes you need some savings in the bank. Sometimes I will go through a day thinking, dang, I could really use a good cry right now, and so I will go home, pull up those posts and just *sob.* It’s therapeutic. It’s invigorating. It’s exhausting. It works.

.

3) I’m saving it to show my friends later

Sometimes a post will pop up on my feed that is so niche, so quintessentially me or my friends that I HAVE to show them. Oftentimes I will share the post immediately, be it over text or through direct messages, but sometimes I am desperate to see their live reaction, so I save the post until we are together in person and then show it off like a good grade on a test. Look at this, I say. And then we laugh or cringe or just make wide eyes at each other, bonding. It’s wonderful.

.

4) It made my brain ding

A brain ding is a diverse feeling. It has levels, layers, colors, all sorts of things that make them enticing and unique. Also, a brain ding is something I just made up. But sometimes you see something and think, “huh” or “woah!” or “are you kidding me?” or “how in the world?” or “I must” or “I need” or “I have to watch that nine more times.” I love finding inspiration in unique places, I love seeing the weird and creative things people come up with all over the world, I love getting that feeling of, I wonder if I could do that. This has to be the reason I like 90% of posts. But if I were to venture another statistic with no research to back it up, I’d say I only return to about 17% of these posts. Still, I like to think the inspiration gained was poured into some kind of proverbial measuring cup in my head that is constantly being stirred, waiting for just the right moment to make me realize: I HAVE TO DO THIS! Whatever this may be.

.

5) I’ll use it as emotional support content

One of the great things about social media is that it gives you things to talk about when a conversation takes an awkward turn. Sometimes I reach a point where I don’t have much to say. I’m fine with that but I’m usually convinced that the person I’m talking to is horrified and thinks I’m a boring piece of bread that they’d like to get away from. Sometimes it comes in handy to have a post in your back pocket, ready to fill the dead air. There is also something wildly validating about telling a story and then pulling up the corresponding post that makes an entire room laugh, gasp or “awwww”, and concludes with a few individuals saying, “oh my gosh you HAVE to send that to me.” Excuse me while I add a few stories to this building to make room for my self-esteem that has just SKY ROCKETED.

 .

What makes you “like” a post?


You can check out more List-cember posts here.

Best Things I Bought this Year (List-cember #5)

There are few things I love more than a listicle full of links to things I can BUY.

Things I need, things I don’t need, things I’m convinced will make me feel better or give my life/home/closet/car that little oomph it’s been missing.

So if you’re in the mood to open a few extra tabs, or if you just want to be a little nosey, these are some of the best things I bought this year.

1) Skeleton Yoga Sweatshirt

I came across this crewneck on Etsy and immediately loved it. I ordered up a size for a baggier fit, and it is so cozy! The perfect sweatshirt to cuddle up in at night. (find it here.)

2) FitBit Versa 3

I have always stayed loyal to FitBit over AppleWatch, mostly due to familiarity and a preference for simplicity. So when the time came to get a new model, I stuck to what I knew, and it didn’t let me down! It gives me everything I’m looking for: workout tracking, sleep stats, V02 scores, and notification alerts. Plus it’s comfortable and easy to use. (Note: It looks like the Versa 3 is no longer available on the website, but the Versa 2 & 4 are, and they’re both on sale! find them here.)

3) Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

This was an absolute impulse purchase. It felt like going to a pet store and having a kitten curl up in your lap, making it impossible not to take it home. It batted it’s proverbial eyes at me, and I just couldn’t resist! It now sits below my kitchen window and I call it Figgy Azaelia. (I bought mine at my local hardware store, but there are some available on Amazon too, find them here.)

4) Merrell Hiking Boots

I had my last pair of Merrells for seven years. This is probably, like, five years longer than you’re supposed to. Especially when you hike consistently–including casually climbing a mountain. At one point, both my dad and sister looked at my boots, horrified and truly shocked I hadn’t slipped or sprained my ankle with how little traction they had left. Needless to say, I’m excited to break these new guys in. (find them here.)

5) Coiled Lightning Cable

When my Apple Car Play cord started to fray, I found this one. And honestly I wish I bought it earlier. The coil keeps it from constantly getting stuck in the door, and it just looks a lot neater in general. (find it here.)

6) Beyond Yoga bike shorts

Can shorts be the love of your life? If so, these are mine. They are so soft and so cozy. They say, you do you today, Kim, I got you. And while yes, they are a bit pricey, they are WORTH IT. I have two pairs and would probably buy 50 if I didn’t have to make rent. (find it here.)

7) Gaiam Yoga Mat

I had a Gaiam mat for the longest time and when it got thin and worn, I randomly switched to a different brand. But it didn’t have anywhere near the grip as my old yoga mat, so I went back to the tried and true. I got this beautiful mat from Target and have loved it. (find it here.)

8) JoyLab Sports Bra

Speaking of Target, their JoyLab active brand is marvelous. I got this seamless sports bra and it instantly became one of my favorites! It’s comfortable, it doesn’t dig in anywhere, and it does its job. It’s everything you can ask for in a sports bra. (find it here.)

9) Kate Spade purse

I LOVE a Kate Spade purse. But even more, I LOVE a Kate Spade purse on sale. And that’s pretty much the only time I’ll buy one. I got this purse (in blue) for 75% off, and I bring it up pretty much every time I wear it. (find it here.)

10) Velvet hangers

About a year ago my sister switched out all her plastic hangers for velvet ones and I was instantly jealous. Not only does it make your closet look neater, it also saves a ton of space, and helps those stubborn shirts actually stay on the hanger. When I moved into my new apartment, I jumped on the velvet hanger train and I’ll never look back. (find it here.)

11) Mini Vaseline

To make a very long, very infuriating experience very brief, my lips went crazy this year. There was a big chunk of time when seemingly every lip product I used gave me a wild allergic reaction. The ONE thing that helped was Vaseline. And while I know this isn’t necessarily a ground breaking recommendation. You can’t deny this tiny size is adorable. Perfect for keeping in your purse and preventing you from ripping your lips off your face. (find it here.)

12) Thrifted Dresser

This is one thing that I won’t have a link for since I found it at an estate sale. So this is more of a recommendation to go thrifting every once in a while because you never know what you might find. I found this guy for $40!! And it is now one of my favorite things that I own. Plus, you know it’s true love when you notice the dresser even when there is a giant box of flushable wipes on top.

13) Stanley 40oz Tumbler

If this were a list numbered by ranking, Stanley would be near the top. It is truly worth all the hype. The handle. The straw. The ability to carry over half my recommended daily water intake at once. Stanley has easily become my favorite emotional support water bottle and I will recommemnd him over and over and over. (find it here.)

14) SKYVOO Blue light glasses

I am always on the hunt for the best blue light glasses since I spend so much time on the computer. Early this year, I bought a pair of *stylish* blue light glasses, but quickly learned they did almost nothing for blocking blue light. So I went back to the drawing board, and eventually found these. They were more affordable than quite a few of the other pairs mentioned on “best of” lists, but they still boasted a lot of positive reviews. I am very happy both with the style, the blue light blocking, and the comfort on my face! (find them here.)

15) 40 Watt Light bulbs

Part of me hesitates to put these on the list because they are literally LIGHT BULBS. And not specialty, environment saving, made from recycled glass or everlasting gobstopper light bulbs, they are just plain light bulbs that I got at my local grocery store. BUT they were a fantastic purchase for me because they are *soft.* I spent the first couple months in my apartment trying not to turn on my bathroom light because it was so bright and unflattering. I dreaded doing my makeup every morning because turning on the light instantly gave me a headache and announced every single flaw on my face. So at my mom’s recommendation, I scoped out 40w bulbs, and it wouldn’t be dramatic to say that they have improved the quality of my life. (I got the Phillips 40w Ultra Defintion bulbs)

16) Fanny Pack Bag

I know that fanny packs are having a come back right now, but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think they were cool? I mean, my mom rocked a fanny pack when I was a kid, and could anything be more convenient?! I grabbed this bag at Target to have as an on-the-go bag for when I’m running errands, headed to a workout class, etc. It’s super light and easy and has enough room for my wallet, phone and, of course, my mini vaseline. (find it here.)

18) Slipper Socks

If it seems like every other item is from Target, it’s becaue I’m a stress shopper and always add cute/cozy things to my cart when I have a lot on my mind. With that pattern of behavior, Target is essentially a death trap for me, but, like, a nice death trap. A peaceful one. One that knows exactly the way I’d like to go out: with oversized sweatshirts and furry socks. When I touched these slipper socks, I immediately put them in my cart. They are nearly irresistable and under $10. My feet write me thank you notes every day. (find them here.)

17) Shelf from IKEA

If you’re wondering if I have an eye for interior design, when shopping to decorate my apartment, I typed, “a bookshelf” into Google. I had no idea what I wanted or what key words to use, I just knew that I wanted a shelf to go right *points to corner of room* there! Eventually, I came across this bookshelf and I’m so happy I did! It was easy to put together and the final product was exactly what I was looking for. I also love how cute it looks next to my green thrifed dresser! 🙂 (find it here.)

19) Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care

Similar to the onslaught of allergies I experienced this year, my scalp seemed to have an identity crisis. I kept getting bouts of dry scalp and NOTHING I did seemed to help. After some Googling, I found out that sometimes dry scalp can be caused by eczema, which I’ve struggled with in the last couple years. Reviews of this product claimed it helped with eczema based dry scalp, so I decide to give it a go, and I’m happy to say that I agree! (find it here.)

20) Shoe Rack

Similar to the velvet hangers, I bought this shoe rack to add some organization to my life. I’ve always kept my shoes pretty neat, but I wanted a space saving, more concrete shoe home, and this was the perfect solution. One downside is that it made me realize, contrary to what I tell myself when I’m in DSW, I actually don’t need anymore shoes, but that is an issue I’ll deal with at a later date. (find it here.)

.

Did you buy anything especially great this year? My wallet is both scared and curious to know.

Check out more List-cember posts here.

Places I Sat This Year (List-cember #4)

At the end of last year, I came across a few bloggers that participated in the Take Up a Seat challenge. According to the website, the challenge asks you to take a picture of “places you sit, you might sit, or art about sitting.” Weekly posts showcase couches, chairs, benches, rocks, etc., that follow the theme. I liked this idea and so I decided to make participating one of my goals for 2022.

Throughout the year, I took pictures of places I sat, but rather than the physical chair, I tried my best to photograph me sitting in the chair. To capture that moment. I held the camera up high, getting my legs in the picture, as a kind of documentation that at one point during the year, I was sitting right here.

It’s been fun looking back at the photos and I wanted to share a handful. So many offered glimpses into small moments that I otherwise might have forgotten. I also liked seeing the documentation of rest. Because I most often remembered to take a picture when I felt relaxed or peaceful, so looking at the pictures as a collection was like reliving some of my most calming of the year.


1) Two Days In

In January, I got COVID. I spent a solid 5-6 days in my room, in my bed, sometimes sitting upright, but most often laying down asleep. My FitBit thought I was hibernating. It was not a good time. But shout out to my ZZ plant poking into frame which has grown A LOT since this picture was taken.

2) Backseat Sushi

In February, my sister’s coworker invited the two of us to see a show in Santa Monica. She offered to pick up sushi from her favorite local spot, and we planned to meet at the theater. “Get in,” she said once she pulled up. We had almost an hour until show time and she wanted us to have a “dinner with a view.” We drove to the beach and rolled the windows down so we could hear the waves. I wrote this post from the same night.

3) Engagement Sandwiches

In March, I helped my now brother-in-law plan his proposal to my sister. It was in one of our favorite places, and it was truly one of the most perfect days! Everything went off without a hitch, and she said yes! The next day, we woke up in a happy glow. We grabbed sandwiches from the local grocery store and then ate them lakeside on a bench near one of our favorite fishing spots.

4) Bible in the Spare Room

In April, shortly after my sister and I moved out of our apartment and I moved into my parents’ house, I found a lazy Saturday morning with no plans. Our church had provided a Bible reading plan for the year and I was very behind. So I tip-toed into the spare bedroom and caught up on my reading. (Note: don’t ask if I stayed caught up for the rest of the year, we’re looking at the positives here.)

5) The Downton Fizz

In May, my mom and I saw Downton Abbey: A New Era in theaters. For a while, we had a checklist of movies to see and we were becoming regulars at our local theater. On this particular evening, we grabbed our popcorn and then decided to try the Downton promotional drink called the “Downtown Fizz.” We cheers-ed and took our first sips and then our eyes lit up. It was DELCIOUS. So delicious that I dm-ed AMC for the recipe—and they answered!

6) Car Meeting

In June, as I was hastily making my way home from a chiropractor appointment, I hit a burst of traffic that I knew was going to make me late. I had a 5:30pm meeting, was 20 minutes from home, and it was 5:23pm. So I got off the freeway, pulled into the parking lot of a gym, hung a flannel in my window to block the sun, and took the meeting in the car. I wondered if I had the frame angled enough for no one to notice, but as soon as I logged onto Zoom, the first question asked was, “Hey Kim, are you in the car?”

7) Dodger Game

In July, on a last minute offer from some friends, my mom and I got tickets to the Dodger game. Typically, we sit up in the Loge or Reserve section, but these seats were Field Level! We grabbed a beer and some hot dogs—and I also impulsively bought a bag of Cheetos that were perhaps the best Cheetos I’ve ever had in my life?—and watched the boys take home a win!

8) A River Runs Through it—in Texas

In August, we visited some family in Texas. I’ve written about Jim and June before, so you might already know how special these visits are to me. It is always a breath of fresh air. We sit and talk and laugh and eat junk food. It’s the best. One day, we hung out and watched A River Runs Through It, which none of us had seen in a long time. It was the perfect slow movie for the perfect slow day.

9) Sushi on the Floor

In September, after getting approved to move into my apartment, I ordered myself sushi to celebrate. I didn’t have any of my furniture yet, and I was going over every day after work to unpack boxes. I was looking forward to the days when it looked like a home instead of a chaotic storage unit, and I was eating my sushi on floor while watching Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on DVD.

10) Mrs. Fields Saves the Day

In October, my friends and I went to the When We Were Young Festival in Las Vegas. It featured all kinds of bands we listened to in high school and it was a very nostalgic and fun day. However, since it started at 12:00pm, we got there at 11:30am to get in line. And since the last band was set to go on at 10:00pm, and after the sun went down the temperature dipped into the 40s, the prospect of staying until the end became very daunting. My sister, her husband and I cut out a little early, and we Uber-ed back to our hotel where we bought some snacks and then went to bed. I barely made it through this cookie before passing out.

11) Left on Tenth

In November, as I finally began to feel settled in my apartment, I had some lazy weekend mornings where I would make oatmeal and then read on the couch. One of my UCLA Extension writing instructors recommended Delia Ephron’s new memoir, Left on Tenth, and I loved every minute of it. Not only did it teach me a lot about writing, it was also a crazy story! After losing her husband of over 30 years, Delia not only finds new love, but fights (and beats!) cancer.

12) Here

And finally, in December, as I write this blog post, I sit in my chair, in my apartment, next to my Christmas tree. I have two candles burning, my heater running, and my favorite slipper socks on. This is where I have been doing a lot of my writing, and I foresee a lot more of it in the future.

I’m thankful for this year and for the many places that I sat and found rest. I hope I continue to notice these little moments of peace.

If you’re interested, here are a few more pictures I took for this project. You might not know the story, but you still get that sense of place. You can still see that moment of me capturing, I was here.


Check out more List-cember posts here.

My 2022 Rec Roundup (List-cember #3)

My favorite part of doing a Rec Roundup at the end of the year is realizing how many things I watched/read/listened to. I’m always surprised to look at my lists and think, I read that THIS YEAR?! Because once you reach December, January and February don’t just seem like months ago, they seem like a lifetime ago. So it’s nice to reflect on all the lifetimes I’ve lived in the course of one year.

Wanna relive them with me?

Here are my favorites of 2022:

Books

  • The Night the Lights Went Out by Drew Magary
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
  • The Gift of Forgiveness by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
  • Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
  • The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
  • Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge
  • One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Podcasts

  • Terrible, Thanks for Asking
  • Correct Opinions
  • Back to the Beach
  • Workin’ On it Podcast
  • Still Coloring
  • Circle Time
  • Brooke & Connor Make a Podcast
  • Minnie Questions
  • Podcast but Outside
  • Funny Cuz it’s True

Movies

  • Everything, Everywhere, All At Once
  • The Tender Bar
  • Father Stu
  • Thirteen Lives
  • Redeeming Love
  • West Side Story
  • Persuasion
  • The Alpinist
  • Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Elvis

TV Shows

  • Ghosts
  • The Bear
  • Abbott Elementary
  • Conversations with Friends
  • The Terminal List
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty
  • House of the Dragon
  • The Man in High Castle
  • Wicked Tuna

Music

  • Sidelines by Wild Rivers
  • Circles by LEON
  • Good Person by Ingrid Andress
  • Midnights by Taylor Swift
  • Raised by Hailey Witters
  • Harry’s House by Harry Styles
  • Subject to Change by Kelsea Ballerini
  • the farewell debut album by Avenue Beat
  • Humble Quest by Maren Morris
  • Renee Rapp EP by Renee Rapp

Misc

JVN Conditioning Hair Mask: My hair went through a *journey* this year and it was a fight to find products that made it happy. This was one of those products! It is super conditioning, but doesn’t weigh my hair down. I use a dime size of it once a week and it leaves my hair feeling so refreshed and soft. (find it here)

GooGoo Clusters: During the holidays my sweet tooth likes to shoot for the stars. So I figured if you’re anything like me, you need to know about these. I tried one for the first time a couple years ago and then completely forgot about it. But then when we went to Nashville in the spring, I was reunited with this absolute magic. My favorite are the pecan ones. Do yourself a favor and go buy some, you deserve it. (find them here)

5 Things We Don’t Have to Do (List-cember #9)

I feel like a lot of end of year posts tell of things you did, and New Year’s posts tell of things you want to do or think you should. But for this last List-cember post, I wanted to share five things we don’t have to do—even though the world suggests we should.

There are so many good things in this world. So many good people, good hearts, good intentions and good words, but they are so often shoved into the background by greed, selfishness, jealousy, pride and fear—many of which are celebrated or encouraged—intentionally or not—by and on social media.

So, as we reflect on the year we’ve just finished and look forward into the year we have ahead, let’s try and remember that we don’t have to do these things, even if they seem easy, popular or what everyone else is doing.

Also, please hear me when I say that I don’t write this post from a motherly, all knowing, “perfect” perspective. I am just as guilty of these things as anyone else, and I write this as a letter to myself as well as anyone else who might come across it.

.

1) Take things personally

Have you ever been driving on the freeway and wanted to change lanes but the person next to you is either going too slow, too fast, or for whatever reason, just won’t let you over, so you are FUMING, spewing words of hate at this person for being a terrible, selfish driver? Have you ever done so without turning on your blinker, thus not giving the person next to you any reason to know anything about your desire/need to change lanes, thus making them not a selfish, clueless idiot, but just an uninformed driver who is simply trying to get to their destination just like you?

I saw a post on Twitter a while back where a girl shared that one of the most valuable things her therapist ever told her was: “Not everything is about you.” While this seemed obvious at first, I realized how often I too assume this—as a driver or otherwise. Not necessarily in a selfish way, but in an anxious one that suggests, somehow, that everything everyone is doing is targeted at me—whether that be in a positive or negative way.

This is not necessarily surprising, as digital media has made us all believe we are the center of the universe. Algorithms are designed to cater to our needs and technology has been created to satisfy our every whim within seconds. As a result, I think we tend to forget that we aren’t the center of the universe. That there are opinions, perspectives and values that are different than ours—will always be different than ours—and those differences aren’t an attack on us, but rather a truth for someone else.

Don’t get me wrong, our values are important. Removing toxic people and things from your life is important. Unfollowing and/or muting friends and family members that only bring you frustration is important. Fighting for what you believe in is important. But encouraging progress and community by holding room for healthy conversations between opposing perspectives, rather than submitting to the taught behavior of blocking and ignoring all opinions and people that don’t agree with or celebrate you, is one of the most important things we can do right now.

Take a minute. Turn on your blinker and look out for others’. Remember that the things people say and the opinions they hold are built on more than just impulsivity. We are all products of our unique upbringings, and our values are defined by our core experiences. Your way of living is not the only way. So while you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to those blatantly trying to belittle or destroy your or others’ way of life, you also shouldn’t always assume that someone else’s way of life is a direct attack, slight, or even remotely related to or taking concern with yours. It is not always about you, or me, or any single person. Life was given to and made for all of us, and we can all make the world a better place by sharing our unique perspectives and listening to those of others.

.

2) Have the last word

The idea of the “clap back”—of having a good retort to an insult or sarcastic comment—has become very popular online. People love to see the drama, to see the perfectly worded arguments and digital slaps to the face. I get it. I’ve tuned in to the drama and I understand wanting to be the smartest, wittiest or toughest. It can give you confidence, it can make you feel like the bigger person. But a lot of the time, it just drags you down.

Sometimes you might say something you don’t mean, just because you were trying so hard not to be the person who was left speechless or proved wrong. Sometimes you set yourself up for more hurt than the comment is worth. Sometimes you forget you can just let things go.

You can let the argument end, you can release the negativity associated with the situation. You can be the better person and realize that, maybe it doesn’t serve you to continue to try say the most hurtful, most clever, or most sarcastic thing. A lot can be said with silence. With not giving in to the invitation to fight or tear down.

Plus, the thing about drama is there will always be more, and people will always move on to the next big thing. But you, me, we are all left with the consequences of our actions, of our “last words.” So maybe sometimes we don’t throw that final punch, maybe we react with kindness, or maybe we say nothing at all.  

.

3) Lean on drama for conversation

I am someone who at times is self-conscious about lulls in conversations. I often feel very responsible for keeping conversations going and read awkward silences as a fault or failure of mine. As a result, sometimes when I can’t think of anything else to say, my mind will reach for details that I’ve seen online or heard in passing conversation. Rumors beg to be spread in those moments, it’s what keeps them alive. But maybe next time you catch yourself without an obvious next topic of conversation, you don’t turn to the gossip and drama of other people’s lives. Maybe you just relax into a moment of thought. Maybe you get a little vulnerable and share something about your own life that you’ve never shared before. Maybe we stop spreading (or starting) negativity or judgement just to protect ourselves from discomfort or awkwardness.

.

4) Make sense to everyone

2021 was a big year of getting to know myself. I spent a lot of time alone, a lot of time experiencing my own company and everything that entails. I got to know what I like and don’t like without the context, and thus the opinions or judgements of other people. Sometimes it was magical, sometimes it was terrifying and lonely. Because when you really get to know yourself, you learn who you truly are, and in understanding and accepting that person, it becomes harder and harder to present anyone else to others. And sometimes, when you present your truest self to others, it doesn’t make sense to them.

But that’s okay.

Your likes, dislikes, values, opinions, quirks and choices will not always make sense to everyone—and sometimes won’t make sense to anyone but you. But you are the only person living your life, so when it comes down to it, the only person you should make sense to is you.

The term “relatable” has become so enamored and sought after. We want other people to relate to and understand us, especially in our most vulnerable places. But it often takes someone stepping outside the box of relatability to share something actually relatable—even if it’s only to a select few people.

So let’s stop worrying about making sense to every person we meet—or every person we love. Let’s just learn who we are in our most honest states, and start introducing those people to the world.

.

5) Witch Hunt

I get that the world has a lot of flaws, and I agree that some of them are unforgivable. I believe that there are people who abuse their power, manipulate others, commit unimaginable crimes, and treat people as less than human. There are people who need to be taken down, laws that need to be changed, directions and attitudes in the public that need to be adjusted and corrected. But waiting in the wings, listening with ears that only aim to cancel and condemn, and borderline hoping that someone makes a mistake solely so you can put them in their place—namely on video or in the spotlight of the social media comment section—does not actually do the world any good.

We live in a world that thrives off of cancel culture. Everyone claims to be furthering a greater cause, when most people are really just screaming at each other from opposing sides of an argument. We’ve stopped looking for ways to connect with each other and instead obsess over ways to destroy each other. We dig into each other’s pasts, unwilling to take notice of whether previous opinions, comments or mistakes have led us to become better, more productive, more educated human beings. We negate all progress and feed only on persecution, convinced that the destruction of bad people will result in the flourishment of good people. But we forget how much life goes into forming an opinion or person, and how far a simple redirection can go. How far a story can go. How far our vulnerability, our willingness to explain where we stand and why we stand there, can go.

So don’t write people off after one mistake. Don’t witch hunt. Don’t feed off of the failure of others. Communicate, encourage, and redirect. Prioritize community over cancellation.

.

Happy New Year, y’all. May we take extra time and care to make this year as bright as possible, for as many as possible.

Wishing only good things for you, see you in 2022!


Check out more List-cember posts here.

2021 Goals Wrap Up (List-cember #6)

As always, the goals I set for this year took me a on a ride.

I am forever learning to go with the flow when things don’t quite go as I plan, and to tweak goals when appropriate.

I am also still learning and growing every year, which I love!

This is how my goals went this year:

1) Volunteer 5 timescompleted!

I mentioned in my Things I Tried this Year post that I took on a new role at Food Forward this year, which opened me up to volunteer more than I usually could. I also started actively volunteering at my church each month, and the combination of the two not only helped me reach this goal, but double it!

.

2) Watch the sunrise completed-ish!

Early in the year my sister and I went to our first big wedding since COVID. (I wrote about it here.) We were both bridesmaids and so the weekend consisted of a handful of bridesmaid duties, including getting up super early the day of the wedding to get our hair and makeup done. My goals were fresh on my mind and my sister knew them too, so as we got in our car on the morning of the wedding, looking disheveled and tired, we noticed that the sun had only recently poked its head above the horizon.

“I think this counts as watching the sunrise,” my sister said, drinking her coffee.

“I think so too.”

In the moment, I assumed I’d plan another day where I would intentionally and officially watch the sunrise, but sleep won that argument for 40 straight weeks. Oops.

.

3) Raise my VO2 Max score to 40completed!

To the distinguished court of “pics or it didn’t happen”, I’d like to call to the stand, my sister, Natalee, who can testify on my behalf that I did in fact raise my score to 40 in the summer of 2021. No, I did not take a picture, and yes, I did stop running about the time of my birthday and so my cardiovascular level, and thus my VO2 max score, has gone down to a 38 in the meantime BUT IT DID HAPPEN. I was a 40 for like, two whole months. Thank you, your honors, I rest.

.

4) Get published

I think if I didn’t get so much writing done this year, I’d be more bummed about not being published, but I really did make great progress on so many projects. I wrote pieces that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, both for UCLA Extension classes and for myself, and I completed a big writing project that I can hopefully tell you about soon! Overall, I’m just really proud of how much time and effort I put into my writing this year, so I think that’s good enough.

.

5) Donate blood or plasmacompleted!

The process of figuring out when and how it is best for me to give blood has been a journey (one that suggests I stick to donating only blood for now) but I did give blood twice this year and I’m going again tomorrow! So I’m very excited about that and I hope to keep giving in 2022!

.

6) Reduce screen time to four hours (or less) day(barely) completed!

I initially set this goal to be three hours or less, but I changed it to four about halfway through the year. While I set this goal both to bring awareness to how much I’m on my phone, and to break the habit of reaching for my phone whenever I’m bored, mad, sad, etc., I started to become a little too obsessed with how much time I was on my phone rather than what I was using my phone for. After doing a little research into my screentime, I found that on a good week, when I don’t lean on social media or stare mindlessly at my phone rather than go to sleep, my screentime is about 3 ½ hours per day. It was hard for me to get it below that because I’m busy and like to check in with friends, take pictures, scribble out notes, scroll through new music, etc.  So for me, staying below four hours is both an attainable and maintainable goal both for now and the future.

Fun fact: My average screen time for 2021 was about 3.99 hours a day. So I made it by the actual skin of my teeth.

.

7) Finish writing prompt book

I simply did not do this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I remember being in a pretty good routine for the first few months and then I completely fell off. I just didn’t want to. But the point of this goal was to get me writing, which I did plenty of otherwise, so I’m not particularly bummed about this one.

.

8) See one WLRAcompleted!

In case you missed our Epic October Trip, while in North Carolina visiting some family we did in fact check off one of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions: The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. It was gigantic, it was ridiculous, it was fantastic. I loved it.

.

9) Read 5 books on this list

If you didn’t see the initial link for this list (which was in a post that is unfortunately gone now) I typed up the list and you can find it here. It is a list of 75 inspirational books, and I’m going to keep working my way through it in the years to come. This year, I read: The Noticer by Andy Andrews, The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, and Story of My Life by Helen Keller, which were all fantastic. My favorite of the bunch was probably The Noticer and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for some fresh inspiration. Obviously, I didn’t reach the goal of five, but what can you do?

.

10) Try 1 new recipe every month

I’m not really sure what happened with this one but come September I just kind of…stopped. I think it’s just because I got busy (and have remained busy, and will remain busy until roughly 2025) so when I was at home to make dinner, I just stuck with some of my reliable favorites rather than risking something new. I’m hoping to do more cooking next year though!

These are the recipes I tried this year:

January: Honey Garlic Pork Chops

February: Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi

March: Naan Pizza

April: Apple Spinach Salad

May: Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

June: Honey Garlic Chicken Skillet

July: One Pan Italian Sausage & Veggies

August: Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza

.

11) See all the movies nominated for best picture

Again, I started out so strong. When the nominees were released I watched half of them in a month. But then, I just…stopped. The ones I missed are still on my long list to watch, but the nominees for next year are right around the corner so I can’t make any promises. Of the nominees, I watched: Nomadland (which won!), Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal (which was by far my favorite), and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

.

12) Finish my Dodger stadium cross stitchcompleted!

There came a point where I thought that I might be stitching grass for the rest of my life, but I did eventually finish, and I am so happy with the way it turned out! I got it framed at Michael’s and it now hangs on my wall as a testament to both 2020—which is when I started the cross stitch as my quarantine project—and to my grandma, who taught me how to cross stitch when I was seven ❤

.

13) Learn to curl my hair

I asked for a straightener for last Christmas because I heard you can use it to curl short hair. I had such high hopes for this hack and for me not having to bug my sister to curl my hair whenever I want to look fancy. But she is so close—she is literally across the hall—and she is so free and all I have to do is sit there, so I remained curl un-educated. I did use the straightener to straighten my hair though, so it’s not like I completely neglected the straightener—just this goal.

.

14) Try acupuncture

I was feeling really good going into this post but now I kind of feel like I did nothing? I opted out of trying acupuncture because I started going to the chiropractor regularly. Again, I’m not bummed, I stand by my choice, but I keep throwing up goose eggs on these goals and I’ll admit, it stings.

.

15) Read 12 books of the Bible

I actually did better on this one than I thought I would. I wanted to read the Bible more and so I thought I’d cheat by making it a goal to read 12 books (or one book per month) because a good chunk of me is logically minded and I love checking off a goal. I did struggle however, finding a time to read. In the mornings I am running on routine alone and in the evenings I’m too tired to really focus, so it took a concerted effort both to open my bible rather than look at my phone (or read a different book) and to do it consistently. So I made it a point to do specific studies or to participate in guided readings of certain books, that way I could stay on task and actually absorb the text rather than just read it. In the end, I read eight books: Genesis, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Ruth, Esther, and 1 John.

.

16) Keep my plant alive(can barely be considered) completed!

This was perhaps the biggest roller coaster of all. My sister gifted me a plant last Christmas that I was SO excited to receive and determined to care for and keep alive. Unfortunately, by April, that plant was dead. In May, I went to Ojai and bought a new plant because it was too beautiful not to buy, and once again set out on a plant mom journey. But by July, that plant was also dead. Clearly I have “the touch” but in my case, the touch is death. Finally, in August, I was gifted another plant—a ZZ plant which, and I quote, “tolerates neglect.” Now, neglect has never been my problem, I am more of a helicopter plant mom, but it was nice to be given guidelines to leave this plant ALONE. So I do. And it is still thriving. I think it’s even grown! So, with a live plant closing out my year, I think I’m going to count this goal as a success. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

.

17) Tuesday’s of 2021 projectcompleted!

This was a fun project and I kept up with it pretty well. The goal was to take a picture every single Tuesday of the year so that I could have a kind of Tuesday scrapbook. You will be able to hear more about this particular goal on Tuesday 12/28 a.k.a the final Tuesday of the year, but overall I say I both completed the goal and liked it!

.

And that wraps up my goals for 2021!

I won some, I lost some. I completed some, I neglected some. But overall, they got me through the year and taught me a lot.

I’ve got 17 new goals for 2022 on the docket. Come back on Thursday to find out what they are!


Did you set any goals this year?

Check out more List-cember posts here.

The Best Things I Bought This Year (List-cember #3)

Since we are in the spirit of recommendations this week, and because I never get tired of reading lists of random things people like/bought/just thought were cool, I thought I’d share a handful of things I’m glad I bought this year. It’s a little bit of everything, which I personally find to be the most dangerous kind of list, because you can’t immediately convince yourself you won’t be tempted to buy anything because you don’t know what’s coming next.

In other words, this list is my (wallet’s) worst nightmare. So I apologize in advance if you find yourself *adding to cart* but just know that I love everything on this list so actually that apology was fake and I think you should do it.

1) Third Love Bras

These were mentioned on an early favorites post and they hold up. They are the first bras that have ever really fit me and they are SO comfortable. I will recommend them until my dying day. (find them here)

2) Ray-Ban sunglasses (Erika Classic)

For years I bought $10 sunglasses that I would throw in my purse and wear until they were too scratched to see out of, thinking I was a bargain shopper. But then I bought these and realized I was just being cheap and more or less going blind because none of those glasses were polarized and how was I even driving while wearing them? Things are better now. (find them here)

3) Aerie no-show underwear

I don’t know how to recommend underwear other than by saying, BUY THIS UNDERWEAR, because that’s the kind of customer review that really drives home a sale for me. So just, like, buy them. (find them here)

4) Free to Grow Tote bag from The Tote Project

I love this company and the causes it supports, and so I was happy to purchase a tote. I did not plan on falling in love with this tote, but I did. I take it on every grocery shopping trip. We have bought so much ice cream together. (find it here)

5) Lounge shorts from Old Navy

In the dead of summer, we all need a pair of shorts we can put on after we get home from work and rip our professional pants off. These were my go-to shorts. They are comfortable and just the right amount of high waisted. (find them here)

6) Big bottle of First Aid Beauty moisturizer

I feel like I could go on and on about this moisturizer as a moisturizer, but I also feel like that’s been said and done on many a beauty review. So instead I’m just here to tell you to buy the big bottle. It has lasted me almost the entire year, which is magical for any skincare product. So if/when (and it should be when) you buy this, go BIG. It’s worth it. (find it here)

7) Bralettes from Forever 21

I love doing yoga, but it is hard to find good shirts to do yoga in. Sometimes tank tops are too tight, other times t-shirts are too baggy and you wind up borderline suffocating while trying to hold downward dog. So, I started wearing these bralettes that are both cheap, comfortable, and not in danger of having a boob pop out. They check all of my boxes. (find them here)

8) Plain white Vans

For a long time I’ve wanted a pair of plain white sneakers because they go with everything and, if you can keep them relatively clean, I feel like they make you look like you’re put together. These were the perfect pair for me. (find them here)

9) Amazon Smart Plug

I never foresaw myself being one of the those people who has a “smart house.” I thought I might get a clap-on light—maybe. But I didn’t think I’d dip my toe into the world of Alexa being my appliance secretary. However, when my sister and I moved into our new apartment at the beginning of this year and the plug for my lamp was in seemingly the most inconvenient place, I decided to try an Amazon Smart Plug so that Alexa could do the footwork for me. Now I ask her to turn on my light every night and I say thank you as if she is a real person. (find it here)

10) Candles

In the last place my sister and I lived, it was part of our lease that we weren’t allowed to have candles in the house. This was devastating to me because I love candles and there are few things I enjoy more than standing in the candle aisle at the store sniffing. In our new place however, candles are fair game and I have been taking FULL advantage. Life is better and our apartment smells like heaven. (I like this one from Trader Joe’s and this one from Target)

11) Kate Spade purse

This is easily the most expensive thing on this list but not nearly expensive as it could have been because I bought it on super sale and felt like I was getting away with murder. For anyone out there wondering if they should get a new purse, this is your sign. Check out surprise.katespade.com. I won’t tell anyone. (find it here)

12) Small crossbody purse

Speaking of purses, shortly after I bought my Kate Spade bag, I realized that there are probably going to be a lot of occasions when I don’t need my Mary Poppins purse. Say, when I’m traveling, or going to the beach. So I grabbed this guy at Target that gives me just enough room to carry my phone, a small wallet and some chapstick and it has been perfect. (find it here)

13) Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Cream

I’ve had some troubles with eye allergies for the last couple years and at times it’s felt like I was Ryan Gosling, standing in front of Rachel McAdams in The Notebook, asking my eyes, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!” Because it felt like everything I tried made things worse. But, with the help of these eye drops that I mentioned in a past favorites post, and this eye cream, I feel like me and my eyes are finally friends again. (find them at Target)

14) Pill case

This is the cutest little guy that I like to fill with varying assortments of (non prescription) pills in order to be the person that says, “yes! I have that” whenever someone should need an Advil, Benadryl, iron supplement, lactaid, etc. (find it here)

15) Floral Laptop case

I started a big writing project this summer and decided I wanted to buy a new laptop case to celebrate. It was kind of like buying a new outfit for the first day of school and I loved it. (find it here)

16) Amazon Utility hooks

I bought these when we moved into our new apartment on the off chance I might use them to hang things. And let me tell you, I hung EVERYTHING. These are so easy to install and can hold a good amount of weight. At this point they are like hidden Mickeys in our apartment. (find them here)

17) Foam Roller

I started going to the chiropractor this year and she recommended I buy one of these to do back stretches at home in between sessions. For me, it is a night and day difference. Plus, I learned to roll out my legs and my IT band has never been so happy with me.  (find it here)

18) Chick-fil-a Sauce

One day I was at the grocery store and I saw a two-for-one deal on full size Chick-fil-a sauces, so naturally I partook. I assumed I’d use it every once in a while, but I ended up putting it on practically everything. I was completely devastated when I ran out and I bought more the minute I went back to the store—it wasn’t on sale anymore but I didn’t even hesitate. That’s true love. (I found it at Ralph’s but check your local grocery store sauce aisle or probably Chick-fil-a…)

19) Olive & June Dry Drops

Let me start by saying, I have no idea how these work. All I know is: they do. If you do (or at least attempt) home manicures, you have to try these. I am the queen of smudging my thumb the minute after I paint it, and then proceeding to hate-remove the polish on every single nail as a result. But these babies dry your nails almost instantly, leaving little room for even me to mess them up. They are magic! (find them here)

20) Target blankets

At the start of fall, my sister and I decided to clean out our blanket stash. Some, of course, are sacred and irreplaceable, even when they’re shredded and old and barely alive. But others simply sit at the bottom of the pile, unused and unpicked, still in great shape but very much not the favorite. So, we separated out the ones we never use and donated them, and then bought two new ones from Target. Cozy doesn’t even begin to describe them.  (find them here and here)


Did you buy anything especially great this year? My wallet is both scared and curious to know.

Check out more List-cember posts here.