new things to try

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

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

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


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

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

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


1) Becoming a Backyard Harvest Leader

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

2) Writing “More Love Letters”

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

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

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

3) A Proverbs 31 Bible Study

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

4) Using both a Planner and a List Making App

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

5) Showering in the morning

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

Did you try anything new this year?

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?