Friday, February 28, 2014

Goals Year Three: One Year Later

I'm a little late writing the completion post for my third year of goals. Frankly, I think I have been putting it off as I am a little disappointed with not having completed as many as I would have liked. That said, I can pick out a few I went above and beyond on that help me justify a productive and exciting 2013. 

Some of my stand outs:

  • Visited 8 new states in 2013 (Count 'em up: Virginia, Utah, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maryland).
  • Purged over 200 items from our house between a September yard sale and Salvation Army donations throughout the year.
  • Sold 6 of my sets of Every Holiday Blocks (4 on Etsy, which includes an awesome review from one of the purchasers!). 
  • Our laundry room makeover is complete!

Culture Vulture
1. Read 15 books - Book club always helps out with this goal. Although without the 1-2-3 punch of The Hunger Games books this year, how quickly will I be able to add these up?
The Forgotten 500 - a WWII book club pick that most said was too textbooky, but I liked. I considered it a cross between Unbroken, Argo and In the Garden of Beasts.
The Accidental Tourist - enjoyed this one. Looks like its time I put the movie on my Netflix list. 
Lottery - a bit schmaltzy for my taste, but a quick read.
Lean In - great book club discussion and a business book I actually enjoyed reading! 
Telegraph Avenue - Michael Chabon wins me back after a couple not-so-greats (in my opinion).
World War Z - a realistically written oral history. Sad that the movie version didn't take the same approach. Could have been amazing.
The Last Lecture - a little different than I initially thought it would be, but great reminders to go after what you want in life.
Beautiful Ruins - time travel (well, not literally) to 1960s Italian coastline. Would be a dream.
Summer at Tiffany - a nice little story about a young woman's adventurous summer in NYC. Not much substance, but nice none the less.
Wild - a woman hiking the PCT, read days after returning from our own hike along the Appalachian. We did two hours, she did three months. 
Sunnyside - A story about war, movies, relationships Charlie Chaplin and Rin Tin Tin. Sometimes a bit hard to follow, but all in all good stuff from the author of Carter Beats the Devil.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home - Don't let the strange title stop you from picking this one up.
Four Fish - follow the stories of tuna, cod, salmon and sea bass. Makes you think about where our food is coming from: the wild or the farm?
Man's Search for Meaning - amazing first read from a Leadership Forum I am part of. Could change one's outlook on life.
The Fault in Our Stars - I'm almost done with this book club read. I'm not sure I like it as much as I would have liked. 

2. Watch 120 movies - The Netflix queue never has had less than 100 movies on it (yes, we still rock the hard discs in the mail). 
My list shows 113, but I know there were several documentaries and a few flicks thrown in that I neglected to do reviews for, so I feel good about saying that I hit this one pretty close if not over! Plus, we got through all 5 seasons (100 episodes) of the amazing show Fringe. That's gotta count for some extra credit, right?

3. Two trips to the theater - We just got back from The Book of Mormon after originally purchasing the tickets last summer. I can't stop singing the soundtrack. Of course, not out loud - I might get fired!
In April we saw a friend's play in Baltimore - the closest degree of separation I've had from the people who put on stage shows! 
 We saw John Oliver at the Chicago Theater in October - an anniversary gift from me to Bob.
Finally went to the ballet in Chicago! Saw The Nutcracker this holiday season.

4. Visit two museums - last year we checked out the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Art Institute - what's coming up there this year?
Certainly got my fill in DC. Highlights included the Newseum and American History Museum. We also visited the Art Institute in August as part of an anniversary celebration. Also got to the Shedd Aquarium for some fishy action.

5. Travel to three new cities - Work always helps me out here, with a planned trip this summer to Park City for an event. Add to this a potential DC/Baltimore visit in April and our big New England Road Trip for the fall and this one is in the bag.
DC - check! Baltimore - check! And several cities throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine put this one into extra credit zone (Killington, Burlington, Concord, Meredith, Portland, Bar Harbor and Kennebunk to name a few!). Amazingly, I hit up 8 new states in 2013 including Virginia, Utah, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Indiana, Arizona and Maryland!

6. Book an international trip - OK, this might be one that gets put on the back burner, but hopefully not. With our New England Road Trip being our big to-do this year, here's hoping we'll have at least started talking about what 2014 has in store for us. Fingers crossed I finally get to cross South America off of my list!
While I suppose I can count a work trip to Toronto, the real excitement is coming up: Peru at the end of March!

7. Have a day of fun and culture with my niece - She's nearing four years old - the perfect age to check out the Shedd Aquarium if I do say so myself.
She is certainly a crafter off the ole block! We're planning a sleepover with her in these next couple months, so I've got to start stocking up now on my construction paper and supplies. 

How Entertaining
8. Take a knife skills class - Okay, I'm cheating just a little here because we just accomplished this long-standing goal this past week at The Chopping Block. Never fear me with a chef's knife again!

9. Make bread and cheese - We received a breadmaker as a wedding gift, and although it has gotten quite a bit of use already it has been driven by Mr. Kamicar. I'd like to find a couple recipes to try out. The idea of making my own mozzarella keeps popping up on Pinterest and I figure its time to give it a shot.
Didn't get to either of these, but I did buy a lot of bread and cheese from the local farmer's market. Does that count?

10. Invest in freezer meals - My recipes posts as of late have certainly had a theme - and our freezer is reaping the rewards. Keep 'em coming with at least 4 more meals like these breakfast burritos or this delish pasta.
Spent a long weekend making meatballs and sauce to freeze and later a chicken noodle soup. One more round of breakfast burritos is currently in our freezer and my tried and true Velvety Squash Soup found its way to the freezer this winter.

11. Host 3 parties - With the wedding yesterday's news, I am ready to plan a few smaller scale bashes. Not to mention we still have a ton of liquor left over from the reception.
Summer Party centered around my Birthday was a success. Our Harvest Party 2013 was great fun. Throughout the year I also hosted book club and a bunco night and we had a number of relatives over for Bob's grandmother's birthday party this past July!

12. Clean up as we go - I'm sure I am not the only one with this bad habit. I make a great meal and the dishes sit in the sink. Sometimes rinsed off, sometimes not. Why don't I just put them in the dishwasher you ask? Well, it is probably filled up with clean dishes we haven't put away yet! It is time to clean as we cook. I think we'll all be a lot happier in the end.
We have been doing a great job with this one! It is finally relaxing to look into the kitchen.

Health and Wellness
13. Cut down on soda - I don't think I overdue it to begin with - I'm not guzzling three before noon or anything, but some days I realized all I have had to drink that day is a soda for lunch and a soda with dinner and I get a little sad for myself.
I think I have done decent on this one, trying to drink different things and even filling up my water bottle at work every once in awhile!

14. Run another 5K - I failed miserably at hitting this goal last time. Literally got out to run three times since my big 5K of 2010. But I'm not giving up on me yet.
Not even close.

15. Safeguard - I'm talking wills, emergency plans and kits, checking out life insurance and all that good stuff you really don't ever want to tackle.
I started making an emergency kit, but it didn't really go anywhere. Need to figure out some motivation to get this one done.

16. Make appointments - It is a strange thing. I'm not scared of the dentist, I don't shudder at needles, and I can't say I am that bothered by wasting time in a stale waiting room reading an old Ladies Home Journal. What I am is a procrastinator. The type who doesn't make a dentist appointment until half her tooth breaks off because the temporary filling on the root canal she had seven months ago finally gives out. True Story. So, let 2013 be the year I make regular check up appointments for no other reason than keeping up with  keeping my health.
Well, the boys got taken to the vet and we found out they both need teeth extracted because of decay! I'll make a quick plug for oral care dry food, because I'm wishing we would have gone that route. . .other than that, I haven't been very good. Very behind on the dentist. . .

17. Eat more Fruits and Vegetables - Wait, how many servings a day are you supposed to have? Does pizza count? What about cold pizza? I'm thinking an easy way to start is to never leave home in the morning without a small container of grapes, carrot sticks, apple pieces, etc for snacks during the workday.
Check out my DIY Bistro Boxes. The snack packs continue most weeks, at least when I remember to go to the grocery store to stock up.

18. Wake up earlier - I sleep until the last possible second and then rush to get ready for work without time to even sit down. The sad part is I am not even sleeping that last hour. Just shutting my eyes and curling up tight to avoid getting up. If I can find a way to give myself an extra half hour at least a couple times a week I think I'll be a happier camper.
Sort of making this work - I definitely don't feel as rushed as I used to, but I could use a little more prodding in the morning! On weekends, however, I have definitely been getting up earlier. There is no better feeling than having most of your Saturday errands done by 10am!

Adventures in DIY and Home Ownership

19. The Second Bathroom - This could be a big one for the year - but luckily it is a small bathroom. A little bit of new floor tile, a pedestal sink, add some storage and we will be good to go.
Ideas have been forming and this is our "next big project" after the laundry room. Stay tuned!

20. 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. Last year I made a rug and a project table. What will I find this year?
Nothing as huge as the shag rug, but some of my projects included a Halloween Diorama, Christmas Card Inspiration, Harvest Party recipes, an Easter centerpiece, Tomato Soup Mac and Cheese, and Christmas Present Tags

21. The Entryway - A small area, but with three potential additions: 1) hooks along the wall for coats and scarves. 2) a bench for putting on our dancin' shoes before heading out the door. 3) a small table with an option to collect our junk mail, keys and such.
The church pew is here! More to come. . .

22. Learn how to sew - the sewing machine Bob's mom got us for Christmas a couple years ago sits forlornly in my Project Table shelves. But, come March, my Aunt Christine will be heading down for ScrapFest 2013 (check out the 2012 festivities when my crafty aunt, sister and I all get together) and she's going to impart some knowledge.
Done! With a Halloween banner to prove it. 

23. Do something with all those Yarn Balls - I have 150 from our wedding centerpieces. So far I have used 1 to create a cute felt owl. Now I have 149. All ideas are welcome. 
I made 6 more of those felt owls and sold a half dozen at our yard sale. Still lots to go.

24. Pillows, pillows everywhere - It is a sad home indeed when you don't love any of your pillows. The couch pillows are flat and boring (and once so new and bright in this post!). Our bed pillows misshapen and unsupportive. It's time to upgrade.
Thanks to two generous gifts (completely unrelated, interestingly enough), our entryway bench now has two India-inspired pillows. We also recently splurged on our bedding and brought home two beautiful king-sized and down-filled firm pillows for the bed. A trip to Garden Ridge gave us two new couch pillows (and a new ottoman!)

25. The Laundry Room - like the Second Bathroom, this one takes a bit of doing. Our laundry room is less a room, and more a "large closet" but the walls go vertical forever so visions of a stacked washer and dryer and shelving as high as the eye can see for additional storage has had our wheels turning for quite some time. And, of course, we'll keep it classy with the cat litter box.
Done and Done! Check out our mini-series of posts: Getting a plan together and installing the washer, setting up the dryer and shelving, and the benefits of extra storage as demonstrated by our newly clean coat closet.

26. Build a hamper - this sort of goes along with the Laundry Room re-do, but our current method for collecting dirty clothes is by shoving a laundry basket in the corner of our bathroom. The cats have adopted this as their new bed. The idea is to use all of the wasted space against our bathroom wall and create an enclosed hamper with additional storage.
I knew this was a risky one to commit to. Nothing accomplished here, but perhaps soon?

Professional and Personal Development
27. Start driving in the city - Okay, so you can drive to your sister's house in the suburbs. That don't impress me much! Yeah, yeah Shania - I hear what you're saying. It's time to get over the fear and start tackling city driving (=one way streets, parallel parking and crazy Chicago cab drivers!)
I drove in my sister's new hometown. A bit white knuckled but a good start. . .need to do better here!

28. Volunteer once a month - Between dinners at Ronald McDonald House and a couple different Chicago Cares activities, it's just a matter of remembering to sign up months in advance!
Tuesday was always my volunteer day and I've been spending them as of late at my Second City writing class. Hmm, time to stop making excuses since I definitely didn't get something in once a month.

29. Donate to 3 charities/fundraising activities - Lets help some people out in the things they are fighting for, or fighting against.
Supported Global Explorers Kids by going to a benefit fundraiser on a recent Friday night with friends. Our company raises money every holiday season for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. I contributed to a department "Favorite Things" basket with a restaurant gift card. I'll "contribute vicariously" through Bob, who donated a day of his time and some dollars to the Alzheimer's Association's Longest Day.

30. Get better about birthdays - I'm not sure what happened. I used to be the one who always remembered a card, sent a gift at least a couple days in advance or generally kept your big day on my mind. 
I don't feel good about this one. I still feel as though I scramble to send a card on time. I'll think about what can make a positive impact to keep this one going.

31. Finish scrapbooks - I have kept scrapbook photo albums since freshman year of college (and scrapbooks in general since kindergarten) so it is a bit shameful that I haven't made my wedding scrapbook yet, let alone added any photos to the books since Christmas 2011. Yikes.
The wedding book is finally done! Now I need to set aside some time with my "life" album. Is this the year I finally catch up?

32. 80 blog posts - I have had a lackluster year in the post department - hopefully I can commit myself to at least a post a week and sometimes more to help keep the momentum up!
56 total from February 1 - January 31. Could be better, but I found myself without as many projects to focus on this year. I'm ready to kick this back up a notch!

Money Matters
33. Have at least 2 "no-spend" weekends - I wrote about one of these a long time ago in this post. I came close last weekend, but we had a quick run to Whole Foods which bumped us up to $30. It is amazing the dent it helps take out of our credit card bill when we decide against a drive to the suburbs for the day which results in going out for lunch, hitting up the stores, etc.
Achieved one of these right after Christmas. We ate lots of leftover pizza in the fridge and even got out of the house a bit. I'm going to ignore the fact that three days later we put a new washer and dryer on the credit card!

34. Achieve money goals - Bob and I set up a somewhat lofty savings goal for our first two years of marriage (you know, to prepare for....well, whatever might come next after love and marriage!) Let's stick with it Kamicars!
Doing very well here, although a bathroom remodel or big splurge on lighting could trip us up a bit in 2014.

35. Sell those blocks - I recently set up my Etsy shop for my Every Holiday Blocks. I am not sure how much like hotcakes they'll sell, but let's at least try to get them to sell like the tiny pancakes you make with that little bit of extra batter.
3/17/13 - 2 sold!
2 more sold before Christmas via Etsy. Woohoo!
2 more sold in February 2014!

36. Donate at least 1 bag of clothes - I think I do a good job regularly purging my closet, so keep it up. Bonus: this means more room for new clothes that you like to wear!
Done! We also took part in a family yard sale this past September, which helped me purge even more from our house.


36.5 The Standard Goal: Be a terrific Auntie to the best girls around! And a good wife, a good daughter, a good sister, a good co-worker, a good friend. . . .
No complaints so far. . .and Bob and I survived Year One of marriage!

Next up, determine my 2014 goals!

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