Tag Archives: new year’s

New Year’s Recap and Looking Forward

If I can describe 2014 in one word, it’s “hustle.” Ryan and I were reflecting on this past year and came to the conclusion that we just couldn’t take a break. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. We went through the painful experience of apartment searching in New York, which was emotionally, physically, and financially draining. Ryan launched his own business and we’ve been adjusting to spending much more time together since we both work from home. And we’ve spent much of this year hosting visitors almost every month, traveling, and carving out new paths for our lives.

A fun mural while visiting my sister in Miami.
Displaying gifts from Ryan’s aunt

I’ve also been dealing with sick cats, with no real understanding of what’s making them ill. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem life-threatening, just uncomfortable. But this whole experience has been crushing and I feel like the worst cat mom. No matter how much money we spend or how many tests we run on them, nothing seems to be conclusive. There are bouts of a few weeks where they both seem well, then it starts up again. I worry that it’s environmental, since it started when we moved into this apartment, but my vet seems to think that’s highly unlikely. Regardless, this has never been more true for me.

Watson-in-Chair

Ryan and Riley

Each New Year, I have a blog tradition of looking back at my old New Year’s posts and looking at how much I’ve done. It’s overwhelming a bit, since so much has changed. Despite feeling stuck in the mud all of the time, each year I’ve grown and moved forward immensely. So much so, that I hardly seem to recognize who I was just a few years prior.

Recap of Last Year’s Resolutions:

  • Learn a new language – I did take a Spanish class and was using Duolingo with some regularity, but that’s slowed down and I’m nowhere close to proficient.
  • Run a half-marathon, hopefully two. – Yep, only one, in February.
  • Visit a New England state I’ve never been to. – Nope. Maybe this year?
  • Go to the beach (specifically in NYC). Done. It was gross.
  • Ride horses again.  – Yes, somewhat. I rode five or six times this year, which was way more than 2013. Still, I wish I could do it every day, but it’s impractical in NYC.
  • Celebrate holidays – Slightly better, not a 100% effort. We were asleep by midnight on NYE (I know, we’re such grandparents!). But we were really enthusiastic about Thanksgiving and Christmas. We even got a tree!
  • Document more – on the blog, my private journal, instagram, and in my food/exercise journal on myfitnesspal.  – I did blog much more than I did in 2013. I also did much better on instagram, joined facebook, and have been mostly consistent on MyFitnessPal.  Still working on the personal journaling part.
  • Practice kindness. – Yes.
I fell in love with this handsome guy.

In 2014 I:

  • Moved in with Ryan into a wonderful apartment in Brooklyn.
  • Struggled more with money than ever. This new apartment is pricey.
  • Took a fashion class at the Fashion Institute of Technology and loved it.
  • Took a few brainery classes and had a ton of fun: Doomsday Cults, Improv for Professionals, and the Dip Candle Workshop.
  • Gained more weight than I anticipated.
  • Ran/walked 197 miles, which is down more than 50 miles from the previous year and more than 100 from my peak.
  • Started taking really long walks just for fun.
  • Learned how to do a real push up and can now do approximately 30 or so.
  • Went skiing (and miserably failed!).
  • Learned how to loom knit and found my yarn-calling. I knit a hat!
  • Visited the MET, Natural History Museum, and the Intrepid (twice!)
  • Saw the following on and off-Broadway Shows: Cabaret (dream come true!), Violet, A Dolls House, Murder for Two, and possibly a few more I can’t remember
  • Saw the stunning Christmas lights on 5th Avenue. It was extraordinary.
  • Had some really wonderful times with friends. I love you guys!
  • Came out of a bad fog and fell more in love with so many things.
  • Redesigned my blog (thanks Jaime!) and started guest blogging (thanks Becca!).
Going to see Cabaret
Rooftop Garden at the Met
At the Finishing Line of the New Orleans Half Marathon
At the Finishing Line of the New Orleans Half Marathon
Visiting my best friend in Chicago

Top Blog Posts this Year:

2015 Resolutions:

I’m really struggling with ideas for this year, which worries me. I like to have goals, so I may update this as I think of more. I like to add a mix of achievable and fun goals with more challenging ones.

  • Visit 5 NYC Parks I haven’t been to
  • Do some hiking
  • Visit more museums
  • Write more. I’m starting slow and shooting for just two solid short stories.
  • Go ice skating.
  • Run another half-marathon. I’m not sure I want to do an actual race, but running 13.1 miles will be enough for me. I’d like to do a few smaller races though.
  • Get some plants. This house is really lacking greenery.
  • Travel – a lot of my early years with Ryan were spent exploring. Now that we are car-less, it makes traveling much harder. I really need to get back in touch with the adventurer that I once was.

The State of Other Things

I’m a deeply motivated person and am always looking toward the future. This constant pushing toward major life changes is stressful and when these events don’t come to fruition fast enough, I feel like a failure.

An example of this is my desire to go back to school. I’ve been struggling with this a lot this year. I’ve been talking about completing a Master’s degree for years. So long, in fact, that my GRE scores are about to expire (and I am not taking the GRE again). But the timing never seems right. First, I was in Florida and knew that I wanted to move, so I put it off. Now, I know I’ll be in New York for a few years, but am having a harder time deciding which school and route will be right for me. Should I go to a more prestigious school and follow an academic path? If I choose this path, it will mostly be the “follow your heart” route. My career prospects will be lackluster in terms of salary, but I might be able to justify it as “do what you love.” I’d only be pursuing this because I truly love academia. Or should I pick the  non-academic/business route and do a professional studies Master’s with the final outcome being a solid career? In considering all of these, I still have to face the obscene amount of money I’d have to spend and how I’m going to juggle a full-time job with pursuing an education and it makes me hesitant to make any decision at all.

Anyway, the subject of education is a conversation for 2015.

Drinks in New Orleans

So back to the hustle. I try to remember that I need to have the right set up to embark on any major life change and, let’s be frank, the past two years have, in essence, been nothing but major life changes. I’ve moved more time in the past two years than I have in the previous four. I ditched my car, moved to the biggest city in the states, co-habitated with my long-time love, and now, finally, have slowly started to fall into a nice groove with my life.

And even though I can say that things are calming down, I’m still working hard every day. To keep from overwhelming myself, I’ve cut my life into a few parts that I’m trying to focus on:

  • My health – I let this slack earlier this year, but am reeling this in. I’m back to running and eating much healthier. Our new neighborhood has tons of Seamless choices and it was just too easy to eat like crap.
  • My career – This has had a huge impact on my life this year and I’m trying to figure it out.
  • My relationship – Ryan and I were both really career-heavy this year and it took away from the relationship section of our lives. But we’ve regrouped and are finishing out the year solid and still very happy and in love.
  • Personal Development – It rarely seems to suffer, no matter what. I’m always taking classes, learning, creating, experiencing and exploring. I love this about me. The harder my life gets, the more I seem to reach out and find new things to do and learn.
  • My blog – When I have a good handle on the rest of the things in my life, my blog thrives. When the rest of the things in my life lose structure, my blog sadly suffers.

I know this was a long post, but that’s where I’m at. I’m honestly looking forward to this next year. I think some of the work I’ve put in last year will start to pay off this year.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year! Best wishes to all of my fantastic blog readers. Thanks for staying with me through everything.

And now I’d like to know, where are you at in your life? Do you have any resolutions? Is there anything you’d like to see more of on the blog?

PS. Since now is the time for committing to nutrition and health, you can follow me on MyFitnessPal. My username is monstercats.

new year’s recap: last year and this year

Each year on this blog, I take a look back at my life and the goals I’ve made for myself.  It’s refreshing, since, as I’ve mentioned before, I do get caught up in the day to day, and it’s hard to see how my life has progressed.

This year has been a particularly rough one. It was hard to look at my 2012 recap and read about how happy 2012 was for me, knowing 2013 didn’t compare. But 2013 was a year of change, and people aren’t necessarily happy during times of change. I know everything I went through this year was for the best and I feel like things are on the upswing.

New York Trains

This year, I left my home and friends in Tallahassee and moved to New York with Ryan. (My one-year NYC anniversary is next week!)

Career-wise, it was certainly a challenging year. I worked as a temp for a long time, which made me feel like I was just out of college again. The job market in NYC is rough and super-competitive. I faced a lot of rejection. I eventually got a full-time job that lets me work from home. So, it’s pretty exciting and it’s a relief to be going into the new year with some job security.

This has also been a challenging year for me and Ryan as we figured out who we are in this new environment. We grew and adjusted to New York in different ways, which wasn’t always easy. And we also leaned on each other more than ever, since we had fewer friends and a less than stellar social life in our new home. Although a lot changed around us, I think we’re still the same people at our core. We’re both really driven and talk about the future a lot. We were also really patient with each other as we figured things out. I am so thankful we’re capable of this type of patience and understanding.

Bronx Botanical Garden

As for this blog, well, I did a pretty terrible job at keeping up with it. I don’t know if I’ll be any better about it next year, but it’s still fun to have around and I’m pretty proud of all of the work I’ve put into it.

Hiking in the Catskills Mountains

2013 Recap

(You can view my 2013 resolutions here.)

In 2013 I:

  • Moved to New York City.
  • Lived in three different apartments.
  • Got a new job after a brief stint of unemployment.
  • I went sledding for the first time
  • Went camping three times and did actual mountain hikes, which are totally different from Florida hikes (the picture above is from one of these hikes)
  • Took too many months off from exercising, but picked it back up.
  • Opened a Roth IRA
  • Embroidered some, cross-stitched more.
  • Ate some of the best food of my life (Smorgasburg!)
  • Learned how to use my DSLR.
  • Met lots of new people.
  • Ran a total of 243 miles
  • Took far too many pictures of my cats.
  • Did some incredible New York things like visited the MoMa Rain Room, walked through tons of gardens and parks, and saw Macbeth on Broadway.
  • Gained a few pounds, but eventually lost them.
  • Sort-of redesigned my blog.
  • Continued taking monthly pictures with Ryan, mostly.
  • Cooked a lot, shopped at the farmer’s market often, and signed up for a CSA.
  • Signed up to complete a half-marathon in Feb. 2014 and started my training.
It feels really good to see all of those things I did last year.

Looking Forward in 2014

It’s hard for me to envision what 2014 will look like, because 2013 was just unlike anything I could possibly have expected. I do think my adjustment period is over and overall things are looking up. I hope to get a lot more done in 2014.
In 2014 I will:
  • Learn a new language (my first class is Wednesday!)
  • Run a half-marathon, hopefully two.
  • Visit a New England state I’ve never been to.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Ride horses again.
  • Celebrate holidays (Ryan and I sucked at this in 2013)
  • Document more – on the blog, my private journal, instagram, and in my food/exercise journal on myfitnesspal.
  • Practice kindness.

new year’s eve: resolution recap and next year’s commitment

My puppy

So, what a year. 2012 has been one of the most fun years of my life. I guess it’s pretty great to be 25.  I laughed a lot, exercised, and got lots of sun. It’s amazing how these three things can be a recipe for happiness.

2012 has also been one of the most challenging years of my life, mostly because of how difficult I found my “dream job” to be. In my personal life, Ryan and I are still growing into independent and driven individuals, which can create challenges. But with that, we are also becoming more supportive, loving, and understanding.

Since I’ve started his blog, I’ve taken an annual look back on my life each New Year. And it’s been pretty rewarding. Sometimes I get so caught up in the day to day, that it’s hard to feel like I’ve ever accomplished anything. I’m so driven, once I complete a goal, I can only think of the 20 others on my list.  I hardly have a second of satisfaction and find it hard to appreciate the things I’ve done. Ryan is really great at reminding me these things when I feel like a complete failure. And I’m working on taking more frequent pauses to appreciate myself and my accomplishments throughout the year. Here are my 2012 resolutions, you can see how I did below.

this year

This year I:

  • Ran my first 10k and then a half marathon
  • Rode horses
  • Made $500 off of my first professional freelance gig (I built someone a legit website!)
  • Beefed up my web development, photography and photoshop skills
  • Lost weight (approx. 10-15 lbs)
  • Spent too much money
  • Bought my own domain and began hosting my own blog (thanks for reading, everyone!)
  • Made a pizza cat
  • Biked the St. Marks trail (a few times)
Next Year
Next Year I will:
  • Make a quilt
  • Do a pull up
  • Write more
  • Continue taking at least a photo a month with ryan
  • Open up a Roth IRA
  • Re-design my blog, it’s still using a default template (obviously)
  • Learn how to embroider
  • Open an etsy shop (or some equivalent)
  • Run another half marathon
So what about you? How was your 2012? What are your goals for 2013?

it’s not too late: last minute new year’s resolutions

We’re only two weeks into the new year. Maybe you’re sick of hearing about resolutions. Maybe they’re passé and maybe everyone has given up. But here are some last minute resolutions that are easy to incorporate into your life. Plus, they’re completely achievable.

Plan a menu for the week and stick to it. Plan it on Sunday, then do all of your shopping and cooking. You’ll never be thinking, what am I going to eat today?

Keep a current resume and carry a business card at all times. You never know who will ask you for one.

Open a retirement account. I know most of my friends don’t have retirement accounts and it scares me. Start saving folks!

Only buy clothes that fit. Stop spending money on something that doesn’t look perfect on you.

Mend your clothes. If you have a nice pair of jeans that are a bit too long and you never wear them because of that reason, drop the $20 to get them altered. Else, they’re just collecting dust in your closet. Or mend them yourself!

Make sure your financial accounts are working hard for you. If not, switch. I recently switched to an Ally interest checking account and savings accounts. They have the best interest rate (hello, interest checking!). Every savings account I have has lowered its interest rate this year. Also, make sure you’re not being charged outrageous interest by your credit card company. Call and see if they’ll lower it. If not, think about switching.

Take someone special out to dinner. This is an easy one. It’s always nice to make someone’s day.

Upgrade your pet’s life. Set a resolution for your cat or dog. Make them happier. I just resolved to spend more time playing with my cats. They think it’s a good resolution.

new year, new opportunities

Last night my friends and I discussed our 2011 and 2012 New Year’s Resolutions. I took a peak back to my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions to see how I did at reaching them.

On this day, last year I discussed how fearful I was of everything. I set a few resolutions that I thought would challenge me and put me outside of my comfort zone. Here’s the recap:

2011 Resolution Recap

– Take the GRE: Done. Rocked it.
-Complete a 5k: Done. Also, rocked it.
-Apply for jobs that I want: This was the hardest. I applied for jobs weekly and had a couple of interviews that didn’t go anywhere. I faced 12 months of rejection. It wasn’t until the last few days in December that I was finally offered an awesome job. The interview was grueling and I felt mostly under qualified for the position, but despite that, I was offered a project management position. This was significant for a lot of reasons. I’ve wanted to get out of the Communications field that I currently worked in.  It’s hard to find work and it’s saturated with qualified grads. And I love doing project management. This is a position in a growing market and my future career prospects (and paycheck) just skyrocketed.
-Cut down on plastic: This was another tough one. Except from using reusable bags, I think this one was a bust. It made me realize is that plastic is everywhere. I can’t buy anything without having some form of plastic attached to it: straws, clothing tags, all food packaging. This resolution caused a lot of awareness and stress. I’m not sure how to move forward from here. If you have any ideas for using less plastic, I’d love to hear them. Consume less is the only thing that comes to mind, which isn’t so bad.
-Meditate often: Well, I tried, but not very hard. I just couldn’t find the time. I guess that’s not very Zen. I did go to a Buddhist temple and work on finding a meditation group. I never went back though. See fear above.
-Make money doing something freelance: Yes. It wasn’t quite what I expected. But I got a paycheck. No, it wasn’t sex work.
-Learn to crochet: No. But I did take a knitting class and am working semi-diligently on a scarf I’ve never done before. I also have really enhanced my cross-stitching skills.  Crocheting will be on the horizon.
– Learn to do without: Certainly I’ve made a lot of progress toward this. I got rid of a lot of stuff this year. Cutting consumption is difficult when we live in a society that glorifies consumerism. I know things won’t make me happy and stuff is just future trash. I hope to cut even more this year.

2012 Resolution Time

-Blog more: I spent a lot of my free time this year studying for the GRE and applying for jobs. I’m hoping that I can spend more time blogging and be more honest in my blog.
-Run a 10k: The 10k is set for April. I have to double my longest distance in four months.
-Cook through a cookbook: I’m not sure which one yet. If the book is too thick, I might just make it a resolution to cook 50 items out of a cookbook or some variation of that.
-Meditate Often and be Zen about things. Also, worry less and don’t fear change or the future. 

I set fewer goals for 2012 because I’ll be spending most of my efforts on that last one. Pretty much, any given second, I’m worrying about something, fearing the future, or having anxiety anticipating some type of change. It’s no way to live, and I’d like to be free of these things.

Happy 2012 folks. What are your resolutions?

the weekender: new year’s eve dress edition

via

It’s already New Year’s Eve. Everything about it is so overwhelming.

2010 Recaps:
Graduating and officially starting my life
Being fortunate enough to find a job I love right out of college
Going to Portland with my best friend
Serving as editor of The Yeti and publishing its first issue in years
Starting a running club – one of the hardest things I’ve ever done
Being with my boyfriend, who makes me happy every day of my life
Starting this blog, which was terrifying

I’ll work on my 2011 goals in another post.

Until then here are some gorgeous dresses to drool over. I wish I was wearing these tonight (all @ Modcloth).

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Here are some cheaper, skimpier dresses from F21. They had a lot more New Year’s Glitz.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Have a Happy New Year everyone!