things i tried this year

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?

10 Things I Tried this Year (List-cember #2)

I’m a sucker for a new hobby.

I’m also a sucker for going hard into a new hobby and then forgetting about it for months.

But alas, I keep searching. I keep hobby-ing. I keep trying to find things that I like, that I could maybe, eventually even love, and things that can help me learn about myself, about the world and how I fit in it.

This year, with so many things being closed for so long, it was hard to try new things, but with so much extra time on my hands, it was hard not to try new things.   So I did a little bit of both.

Here are 10 of my favorite things I tried this year:

1) Digitizing National Archives

If you don’t mind a little bit of busy work, this is a great thing to do both to pass the time and to help make historical records more accessible. It’s super easy, fun, and can be done remotely. I usually try to log on and do it for about a half hour at a time. (Check it out here)

2) UCLA Extension Writing Class

Taking a writing class was actually on my list of goals for 2020, and I was very excited to not only find a class through UCLA Extension, but also a Creative Writing Certificate program that I am now a part of. Next week, I finish up my first class of the program and I can’t wait for the next one! If you are interested, they have all kinds of classes and open enrollment for the winter quarter is now open! (Check it out here)

3) Pickleball

If you have never heard of pickleball, or have never taken the time to look it up (like me) it is essentially the love child of tennis and ping pong. You play with paddles and a wiffle ball, on a court about half the size of a tennis court, and you are worse than you think will be when you start. One of my best friends and I decided to take it up as a new hobby and we are having a blast. Look out for us on the courts, we plan to play until we qualify for the senior citizen leagues, grey hair and all.

4) Going to the chiropractor

My mom and sister have been going to the chiropractor for years now but I have always been way too scared to join them. The thought of willingly letting someone crack your neck sounded like a recipe for disaster to me. But, after having a few years of constant pain in the base of my neck and shoulders, I decided to give it a go, and let me tell you, I am now a believer! I’ve gone twice now and I would have never expected the results I have gotten. Not only did she *literally* realign me, but she pointed out some things to focus on with my posture that might have been contributing to the neck pain, and overall just performed voodoo magic on my bones.

5) Using a planner

I mentioned this planner in my favorites for May & June, and I still very much love it. I will admit, I’ve fallen out of the habit a little bit and sometimes make to-do lists that I don’t look at for weeks at a time—which is not only frustrating for my desire to make a habit of using the planner, but also quite frustrating when I open the planner weeks later and find I still haven’t completed items on my to-do list. That being said however, if you are looking for a planner, this one is great and it is undated, which works wonders for forgetful people like me.

6) Mealime

I go through phases of planning my meals, not based on interest but rather the willingness to plan and then go to the store to buy the ingredients to carry out said plan. It was by pure impulse that I downloaded this app that helps you pick and plan your meals and even makes you a grocery list to keep track of which ingredients you will need. I love the layout of the app and definitely foresee myself using it more after the holidays—when my diet isn’t primarily cookies.

7) Overnight Oats

These were truly a love that I did not expect to find. I have never been an oatmeal person as I find it too mushy, so I never expected to like overnight oats. But this recipe really surprised me and there have been few weekday mornings since I found it that I don’t have a mason jar of oats to grab on my way out the door.  YUM.

8) Modified HIIT workouts

I hate HIIT workouts. I hate jumping, I hate circuits, I generally hate feeling like I’m going to die for every minute of a workout. This is why I stick to running and yoga and pickleball. However, my friend Mel recently graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy and started releasing weekly HIIT workouts that I wanted to check out. And lucky for me, she showcased a lot of modifications that are not only friendly for those (like me) looking for lower impact/non jumping workouts, but also those (like me) who might be working out on a second story, with my sister working from home right below me. (Check out @ptmelmel on Instagram for the workouts, especially those of you who ski/snowboard, her “ciabatta” series is designed especially for snow season!)

9) Pimple patches

If I’m being honest, I’m almost upset by how great these work, because I feel like this is a secret that has been kept from me for TOO LONG. I especially like these ones you can get for very cheap on Amazon. They are small, barely visible, super effective and don’t leave your skin dry and irritated. High school me would have died for these.

10) Join a book club

I have always wanted to be a part of a book club, and when COVID hit I was pretty devastated that this was something that was pretty out of reach for me to find. But then in October, I came across Literati, which is a group of book clubs that all have different themes and are run by different moderators. And what’s more, while you choose which club to be in, if you are more interested in the book of another club for a specific month, you can switch! There’s also an app you can download to join the conversation about the book, and while I’d love to tell you all about it, I am already behind on my reading and have not opened the app once so one could argue I am failing at being in a book club but I would disagree, if only to maintain my dignity.


Did you try anything this year that you loved?