A 2017 Retrospective (plus some reading goals)

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Happy 2018, everyone.

I hope that you had a good New Year. I spent New Year’s eve with my family, celebrating my Nana’s birthday, and then my husband and I spent New Year’s day driving back home from Portland.

The New Year is always a great time to look back on the year behind you and think about what you’ve accomplished and what your new goals are. I did something a little different this year and thought about it on the Winter Solstice too, which I really enjoyed. It was almost like I was more prepared to make goals on New Years because I’d thought about my accomplishments and what I needed to work on for the next year already. I did something unheard of for me, which is set only one Resolution–to do yoga every day. We’re only 5 days in of course, but so far I’ve met that goal, which is pretty much a first for me.

2017 was an interesting year–in blogging terms it doesn’t even feel over yet because I still have a lot to say about different things that happened throughout the year, but it was full of ups and downs and lots of work. Not to mention, I sort of dropped the ball on blogging.

I didn’t quite meet my book goal–I ended up being five books short of finishing the Popsugar reading challenge–but I did meet my Goodreads goal of 75 books and even exceeded it by a couple of books.

This year I’m not participating in any sort of formal reading challenge (besides the Goodreads one). I have a couple challenges that I’ve entered into with friends, and I will be posting about those. I’d like to do 12 of these, one for each month, so if there’s a particular book (or two) you think I should read, or a challenge you’d like me to write about, please let me know in the comments!

The first challenge is sort of a book club challenge of sorts–my friend and I are reading Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott first and then Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe by the end of January. These classics have been sitting on our shelves for a while, and we figure if we don’t read them together we’ll never be motivated enough to read them at all.

The other challenge was given to me by a different friend. She thought it would be interesting to read about the same event or period of history from two different, opposing perspectives. If anyone has a suggestion for this, please let me know. I’m thinking that the US Civil War might be the easiest historical period for me to find (though it is certainly not my favorite…).

My blogging plan for the year is to do a lot more movie/book posts. I have a lot of fun writing those. I’m also going to share some travel/DIY/recipes–whatever comes to mind.

Is there something you’d like to see on the blog? Have a reading challenge for me? Let me know in the comments.

Happy New Year! 16 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2016

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New Year’s tea with homemade scones and lemon curd. More on these scones later today.

I hope everyone had a wonderful (but maybe not too crazy) night last night. Now that we’ve all rung in the New Year, it’s time for some reflection on last year and the year ahead.

In a way, I’m not sad to see the back of 2015. It’s been an intense and fairly stressful year. But so many wonderful things happened too that it’s all kind of mixed together. Still, I’m grateful for new beginnings, which is why I wanted to take a moment and share some of the things I’m hoping to do in 2016.

I’ve never been good at New Year’s resolutions. That is, I’m good at coming up with them (I usually have 10 in any given year), but the word ‘resolution’ is tricky for me. Like required reading and plans to go running, if it feels obligatory I’m less likely to do it, or do it only grudgingly.

So this year I’m trying something different. I’m making 16 goals, or bucket-list items for 2016. These are things I’m going to work towards, and because they’re goals and not requirements, I think I’ll be more motivated to achieve them. I invite you to make a goal list too (possibly in addition to a resolution?), and then spend the next few weeks coming up with plans to meet your goals.

These don’t really include book-related goals. I’ll be talking about those more next week.

Writing/Blogging Goals:

  • actually post one baking post per week–as I’ve said many, many times, I love doing these posts and I never seem to make enough time to accomplish them. I want to make them more of a priority this year.
  • finish editing my first two books–which is essential if I have any hope of:
  • pursue a literary agent–not in a stalker kind of way, but in a sending out inquiry letters kind of way
  • submit my poems to literary journals–rejection letters, here I come!

Things to Make:

  • alter dresses–I frequently buy thrift store dresses. Most of the time they already fit, but sometimes they need alterations. I want to expand my wardrobe without dipping into my funds too much. I might share some of the more involved projects on here because who doesn’t like sewing tips? or disasters?
  • the digital scrapbook for the trip Paul and I took in 2013–because it’s about time
  • new connections–I want to find a community of readers and writers in my community as well as the one I’ve found online
  • make others a priority–I try and do this already, but it never hurts to remind myself of what’s important.

Things to Do:

  • take more pictures of Paul and I together–we need to have pictures to pull out in the future and we don’t take very many.
  • floss for two whole weeks straight–anyone else really bad with flossing? It takes 14 repetitions to get a new word into your brain, so I figure it’ll take at least 14 days to make flossing a habit.
  • work up to a yoga headstand–because how cool would that be?
  • lose 5-10 pounds for my friend’s wedding in August–I had to have something weight-related on here. I’m an American, and it’s the new year. But I think this is very doable and realistic.

Things to Learn:

  • Something new about another culture–there will always be so much to learn. I always want to be open to new ideas.
  • How to use Illustrator for calligraphy–I like that I haven’t had to go digital yet, but I’ll need to learn soon.
  • Italian–I’ll probably never be fluent, but I’ve always wanted to learn so I might as well start sooner rather than later.
  • How to make strudel–my great-grandmother used to make strudel and I want to learn too. Also, how to make croissants from scratch.

 

But even as I look ahead, there are still 2015 things to accomplish. I made my reading goal, but there are still posts to write, so I’ll be finishing up those in the next few weeks. When those are done, I’ll start posting on 2016’s reads.

As ever, if there are books you want me to cook from for my Baking for Bookworms feature, let me know in the comments. Also in the comments, let me know what your own New Year’s Resolutions or Goals are.