things to try

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?

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?