Friday, January 27, 2012

Goals Year Two - Q2 Check In

Has it been six months already? Time to check in to see if I am on track to be able to complete my goals in half a year.
Culture Vulture
1. Read 15 books - I succeeded in this goal last year and thought I'd tackle it again. Between book club and random reads should hopefully not be a problem. Now as you read down the list at some of the other projects I am putting on tap for myself one might wonder when I will have time to read. . .
The Hunger Games - okay, consider me hooked.
The Paris Wife - Hemingway's First Wife Historical Fiction, call it "Loving Hem"
We Need to Talk About Kevin - disturbing, but engrossing, emphasis on the gross. Not sure I am going to be able to stomach the movie.
Unbroken - great story, filed in the "can't believe it's true" category.

2. Watch 120 movies - time to expand the horizons even further! Maybe this will be the year I finish out the Woody Allen oeuvre.
about 55 in so far. Just a tad behind at the halfway mark, better pick it up! Right now I am watching the Up documentary series and loving it all!

3. Two trips to the theater - My sister and I take an annual trip to see a show and this winter A Christmas Story is going musical! Methinks tickets shall be purchased!

4. Visit two museums - culture me, Chicago, culture me.
8/13/11 - a trip to the Art Institute turned a little special - Bob and I got engaged!


5. Travel to three new cities - Will this finally be the year I make it to New Orleans? What about DC? Or a road trip through Maine? Big plans in my head, lets put something on the calendar.
Consider me covered - Charleston, SC followed by San Antonio. Two February work trips include Boston and New Orleans - first time visits for me. We'll be extending our New Orleans trip for some fun!


6. Book an international trip - chant it with me now: London 2012! London 2012!
photo source
8/16/11 - the trip is booked! April 2012 here we come. . .

7. Have a day of fun and culture with my niece - she'll be coming up on three years old in May - time she got familiar with downtown Chicago! I think we might put off a trip to American Girl Place for another year though. No sense starting too early on that money train.

8. Walk the Willis Tower Ledge - I've been to the observatory deck of the then Sears Tower, but not since the glass box had been added. Face a fear and take the step out!


How Entertaining
9. Make a cheesecake - I have already borrowed the springform pan from sister. Time to try my hand at this new endeavor!

10. Bake bread - After reading through some recipes at a friend's house, I started to think that baking bread (without a breadmaker) was quite doable indeed. Challenge accepted: will it be sourdough or pumpernickel?

11. Love the crockpot - I loves me my meatballs recipe and chicken enchilada recipe, but lets get creative with the crockpot. 4 new recipes in this next year.
Made Taco Soup and a Sweet Chili.


12. Host 3 parties - Last year I took on 4, but with our impending move and a few months of potential dissaray at our casa makes me rethink how many we should commit to. I will tell you this - I am already planning a massive housewarming/holiday party come December!
Housewarming party check.
13. Plan someone else's party - If I can't host at my house I'll take my business elsewhere. Calling on friends and family: bring on your baby shower, your bridal shower or your bar mitzvah and let me take a crack at it.


Health and Wellness
14. Drink more water - My name is Lydia and I am dehydrated. I have never loved water, the taste just doesn't appeal to me. But the positive effects can't be denied. I will try to commit to filling up a water bottle each day at least a couple times.
Been making a considerable effort to fill up the bottle at work. It stares at me from my desk, but I've been good!
15. Run another 5K - time to get back out on the sidewalk and improve my game. When this intense heat finally goes the way of the buffalo I will strap back on the shoes and hit the pavement.

16. Go to the Dermatologist - This fair, freckled face should finally get checked out. Too many scary stories of skin cancer scares out there not to.

17. Build an Indoor Garden - is this health and wellness? I can't figure out what category it would go under. If the purchase of our next place goes through we may be sans outdoor space. How can I still incorporate some greenery?


Adventures in DIY
18. Build a craft table - because I can't bring myself to pay a fortune for this Pottery Barn beauty to the left, lets see how two bookshelves and my old IKEA Malm headboard look together.
It's done and it is wonderful! Check it out here

19. Pinterest Projects - use the knowledge base and take on at least one new project a month based on the wonderful pins that make the world go round. 
Count 'em up with me: Thumbtack Vase Fillers, Egg Roll Wrapper Mozzerella Sticks, Yarn Wreath, Plant Markers, Housewarming Party apps

20. Make a rug - Speaking of Pinterest projects, this one is a doozy. Do I have 60 manhours to commit to making this bad boy? Will I get two steps in and realize I don't know what I'm doing? We'll see what develops. . .
All done! Check it out here

21. Make 100 cards - seems daunting at first, but considering I get about 25 out of the way come Christmastime I could be able to make this one happen.
Christmas has been the only cards thus far, need to get going!
22. Plan a renovation - this one has some considerations. a) We need to be in our next place. b) It needs to have enough wrong with it to look at totally rehabbing a room. c) we need to have some moolah saved up.
The wedding may put this one on the back burner!


Professional and Personal Development
23. Join a networking group - For a person who works in association management, I haven't taken advantage of many career enhancing opportunities myself.

24. Do something with the Wisconsin Alumni Association - I miss my Badgers!
I did go to a Badger game in October. Does that count??

25. Volunteer once a month - keep it up with Chicago Cares, those little three year olds we read to are too adorable for words.
Knocked out signing up for three months at a time to close out the year with a Library Maintenance activity, Read With Me night with the little kids and making dinner at the Ronald McDonald House!

26. Donate to 3 charities/fundraising activities - Lets help some people out in the things they are fighting for, or fighting against.

27. Look into an Etsy shop - could I possibly turn some of my little endeavors into a selling opportunity? I'm not committing to anything, but will definitely look into what it might take to set up a shop and invest the time.
I just bought 500 one inch blocks to make a bunch of my holiday blocks. So I better start looking into how I'll be offloading them!

28. Learn how to use my camera - I really don't know what I am doing yet with my point and shoot. Time to make a change.
Oh my gosh - there is a setting for incandescent lighting! My indoor photos look 10 times better!

29. Implement video into the blog - I recently got a Sony Bloggie. Let's play.

30. 100 blog posts - with an impending home purchase this shouldn't be a problem at all. There has been a struggle to find enough quality stuff to write about the past few months once the old apartment was pretty much the exact way we wanted it. But the idea of a brand new place? Bring it on blog.
About 45 in so far, still some work to do to hit 100!


31. Develop Adobe skills - Photoshop, thy will be tamed.

32. Wardrobe rehaul - now this is a fun goal: spend lots of money on clothes! It has been awhile since I invested in some new pieces. Already got a jump start by finding the perfect pair of jeans for Casual Friday at Gap this week.
photo source
I plan on treating myself to a couple new outfits for engagement photos - the plus side being that they should also double as cute London trip outfits!

Money Matters
33. Pay off one student loan - Sort of cheating on this one because I already have a plan to get my ECSI loan out of the way come August 1. I decided to take a little bit of extra cash I had and put it towards my smaller loan. After putting the extra minimum payment against my larger loan I should be able to get that one done with in 2012!
8/2/11 - one is done. Ahh, that felt good.


34. Increase percentage of 401K savings - I believe I am already on my way to a healthy retirement considering I was able to start my account at age 22 and take advantage of a company match. However, there is always room for a little more. Look at increasing by a percentage point or two to bring even more money my way when I am in my wisened older days.

35. Assess the portfolio - Do I know what that 401K really means? Not really. I haven't readdressed the investments I am working on in quite awhile so it may be time to make sure I'm doing the best for myself.
Done! We have complimentary access to UBS advisors through my work so I set up a meeting and re-adjusted where I was putting my money. Feeling smarter already.
36. Find three ways to earn extra cash - And no, I won't turn to a life of crime. Working a street festival weekend, market research studies or simply selling off unwanted stuff can help me pad the bank account little by little. Bob and I are going to be able to buy our new bed for the next place based off of a three day weekend working at Lollapalooza!
photo source

8/7/11 - Now that was an exhausting 3 days but the money earned on Lollapalooza weekend will help pay for our new bedroom.
9/10/11 - Worked another fest - this time the Wells St. Fall Fest in a beer tent. Not a bad gig when Sixteen Candles, the 80s music cover band, is playing on the stage right next to you.
9/13/11 - Those focus group sign ups pay off with another one! $150 free in my pocket!


Finally
36.5 Be an excellent Aunt to one - no, make that two - little girls! With a new niece on the way this fall I have plenty of auntie love to go around.
That new niece is here and she is quite something! And I think I'm starting to earn some cool Aunt points with Ella - check out the book I made her for Christmas here.

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