Monthly Archives: December 2015

2016 Goals

I have never been much of a New Year’s Resolution person. In general, I feel that I’m leading a pretty decent life, and that any vices I have at this point are vices I have by choice. That’s not to say that I’m perfect, or that there’s not room for improvement – there is. Plenty. But, mostly, I’m too lazy to do anything about it.

My husband, however, is the opposite. Each year, he sets goals. And what’s more, he tracks them throughout the year and crosses them off as they’re accomplished. Basically, he gets shit done. In the past, I’ve managed to avoid being drawn into his over-achieving plans for self-betterment, or I’ve been able to slide by setting “goals” that I knew I could get done, or that wouldn’t require much effort.

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This year, though, my husband’s inner Richard Simmons has emerged in full force and I’ve been tasked with setting no fewer that 5 goals that will “actually challenge me”. Keep in mind that, in the words of the Goal Nazi himself, they must be SMART goals (Specific, Meaningful, Action Oriented, Realistic, Timely), which is something we were taught in business school but that I promptly dismissed as irrelevant marketing jargon. I tried to wiggle my way out of actual goal setting by listing “be a better person”. That didn’t fly.

In return for his unbearable enthusiasm and encouragement, my husband has resolved to cut his sugar intake from 2+ sweets a day to 1 a month, and to increase his water intake from about 16 ounces a day to the recommended 100.

Although I’m not big on goal setting, I am quite the fan of making lists, so this whole thing might not be so bad after all.

In order of personal importance, here are my goals for the upcoming year:

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Photo from the 2015 Bridge of the Gods race. (Source)

  • Delete Facebook app from phone (and keep it deleted). This basically translates to: do something more valuable with my time than creep on other people. Although my dear friends and family are on Facebook, my account is also full of people I haven’t spoken to or seen in years. I’ll keep my account active, but I don’t need the temptation of pulling up the app every time I’m waiting in line or am “bored”.
  • Stick with snowboarding & get more comfortable going fast. Learning how to snowboard is easily the most frustrating/difficult thing I’ve done in my adult life. I am not patient, and I don’t like failing. Which is silly, I know, especially because virtually no one is good at snowboarding the first time. Or the second. Or the third. It takes practice (ugh, imagine that) and time. We’ve had 3 lessons and I can see dramatic improvement, but hot damn I just want to be good already.
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Shit snowboarders say. (Source)

  • No cell phone use after 9pm or in bed. Like most people these days, my cell phone is the last thing I put down at night and the first thing I reach for in the morning. It’s my primary source of news, entertainment, and connection to the outside world. For years, I’ve seen articles popping up that tout the dangers of cell phone use before bed. And for years, I’ve ignored them, reasoning that I don’t have problems falling asleep. But now, I’m realizing that getting good sleep is not the same as falling asleep quickly. The older I get, the more sleep I seem to need, and putting down my phone and actually reading a book at night seems like a win all around.
  • Learn Spanish in preparation for our Fall 2016 Europe trip. After much deliberation, and an afternoon on Google Flights, Adam and I decided that our 2016 trip will be to France and Spain (flying into Paris and out of Madrid). We contemplated buying Rosetta Stone for French, but then my mom told us about Duolingo, which is free. Since free is hard to beat, we gave it a shot and are totally sold. Adam learned French as a child and I studied Spanish in high school, so we agreed that he’d learn French and I’d brush up on Spanish. Duolingo isn’t perfect (some of the sentences are wacky, and occasionally you repeat exercises), but again it’s free and I think it’s actually a lot of fun. I downloaded the app to my phone which is really going to tax my above resolution regarding cell phone use at night.

Other minor goals include:

  • Take a yoga class at least 2 times a month. Because sometimes I need to slow down and breathe. Also, I need to work on my flexibility.
  • Eat a fully vegan meal dinner at least once a week (as a family). Adam was not thrilled when I announced this goal, but little does he know that some of his favorite meals – stir fries, Indian lentil stew – are already vegan or easily adaptable. Now that I have a killer cashew “cream” sauce in my wheelhouse, I’m pretty confident that this won’t be a significant challenge.
  • Simplify weeknight meals – prep more on weekends and utilize the freezer. Truthfully, I love to cook. Even after a long day, cooking is my stress relief. I have no problem spending an hour each night making dinner, but sometimes that just isn’t feasible. Because of sports and my dad’s work schedule, I grew up eating dinner at 7:30 or later, so it’s not an issue for me to come home from the gym, spend an hour cooking, and sit down to dinner at 8:30. But my poor husband doesn’t enjoy that as much. This year, I’m going to work on building my repertoire of 30-minute meals and prepping ingredients ahead of time.
  • Reduce food waste and find new ways to use leftovers. Did you know that the average American household throws away $2,000 of food a year? That equates to 35 million tons of wasted food in our country. Y’all. That. Is. DISGUSTING. Just yesterday, I thew away 4 perfectly good acorn squash because I had ignored them in the pantry for too long. Time to stop. It’s a waste of money and it’s a slap in the face to the 795 million people around the world who don’t get enough to eat. This year, I resolve to do better.
  • Get back on Weight Watchers and lose 5 pounds. With Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays, suffice it to say I have not been tracking my food or alcohol properly (pretty sure I would have broken the app with all the cheese and wine I consumed). Starting tomorrow, I’m getting back on track. (Tonight, though, I’m making queso dip.)

Hrm, that was longer than I expected. I told you I had plenty of room for self-improvement! What about you – do you make New Years resolutions?

 

 

 

 

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Things I’ve been doing other than blogging

  1. Traveling for fun. We took our family trip to Germany and Belgium back in October (over 2 months ago – how crazy is that!) and I promise I will get around to blogging about that soon. Traveling with my parents was different, in a good way, as our budget was rather higher than what Adam and I usually have when we travel on our own. I discovered that Germany wasn’t my favorite country, and that I never care to go back to Brussels. But Bruges – that my friends is a magical city. I’m already planning our next trip; I’m thinking either Spain/Portugal or back to Italy (the country of my soul).

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    In summary, we did a lot of this.

  2. Traveling for work. In addition to my normal trips to DC, my company picked up a new client in Las Vegas, and I was there for two weeks – which, as you can imagine, is a looooong time to spend in Vegas. It’s hard for me to complain though, as the flight to Vegas is less than half of my flight time to DC, and Las Vegas restaurants are exponentially more enjoyable when someone else is picking up the tab. While we didn’t eat on the Strip every night, we did get to try several highly rated restaurants in different casinos, which is an experience in and of itself. One night my boss came to town and took us to Emeril’s Delmonico restaurant which was over-the-top delicious (with a price tag to match – not something I could ever afford on my own dime!) and served me the absolute best ahi tuna I have ever had in my entire life. I’m still dreaming about that meal.

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    I also got to drunkenly spend time with this stud, who is an exact replica of the original David, even down to the marble used. #onlyinvegas

  3. Hiked my first (and possibly last) 14’er. In Colorado, hiking a 14’er is a rite of passage. These routes are so named because they climb to an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. The “easy” 14’ers take about 5 hours round trip and are only 5 miles in distance. They go up in difficulty from there, with some covering 10 miles and requiring an 8+ hour time commitment. Because, in the words of my husband, “hiking is just walking, but for longer” (wrong – nothing is ever “just” at 14,000 feet altitude), we were over-ambitious and chose Mt. Bierstadt as our first mountain (ranked 38 out of 53 in terms of difficulty), rather than the much friendlier Torrey’s Peak (ranked only 9 out of 53). As we quickly learned, a 6-mile, 2,000 ft. elevation gain is nothing to laugh at, and 1/2 way into the ascent, neither of us were remotely pleased with life. But we stuck it out, were rewarded with Clif bars, buffalo jerky, and excellent views at the top, and I can cross it off my bucket list.

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    Reached the top! Finally smiling.

  4. Hosted my first Thanksgiving. Although I’ve done Thanksgiving cooking for Adam and I for the past 4 years, it’s always been only the two of us, so the quantity of food isn’t that different and the pressure was never very high. Usually, we just grill Cornish game hens rather than doing a full turkey. This year, though, my parents came up from Florida, and even though they have to love me no matter what, the stakes were raised a bit. Fortunately, the turkey turned out wonderfully – even I thought so, and I’m not a turkey fan. I dry-brined and spatchcocked it for more even cooking. Served along with traditional Thanksgiving sides, it was a wonderful meal, and of course it meant so much that my parents made the journey out. My mom spent most of her time cleaning, reorganizing, and helping me complete house projects I’d been meaning to get around to, but we also took some time to play in the snow, grab Starbucks peppermint mochas, shop, and pick out a Christmas tree. It was a pretty perfect week of vacation.

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    My mom is loving this. My dad is wearing long underwear, two sweaters, a scarf, a hat, gloves (with hand-warmers), extra-thick socks, and is tolerating this.

  5. Waking up earlier to enjoy morning coffee and sunrises in a quiet house. I used to be a huge morning person – even in college I was up before the sun (and everyone else) 98% of the time. I was that weirdo who purposely scheduled 8AM classes – and liked it. But since I started working from home, I slipped into a bad habit of sleeping until my husband’s alarm clock went off at 7:15. I make him breakfast every morning, and he needs to be out of the house by 7:45 to make his daily 8AM meeting. Waking up that late kept stressing me out, and even though getting out of a warm bed while it’s still cold and dark isn’t easy, I’m so much happier overall. My alarm goes off at 5:45AM and I have time to make coffee, do some dishes, catch up on emails, and watch the sun rise. It’s the perfect routine for me and I’m glad to have rediscovered my inner morning person!

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    Trees on fire

  6. Trying to compose a Christmas list like a gosh-darn adult. Here’s what I should be putting on my Christmas wish list: a new faucet for the kitchen, snow tires (as we just got another foot of snow here in Denver and we’re on track to have one of the snowiest winters in recent memory), furniture (right now our TV is propped up on a chair from the kitchen table and we have a spare mattress doing stand-in duty as a couch in the basement), Home Depot gift cards, money to pay someone to put insulation in our 50+ year-old home (see the part about the snow), a snowblower, and so so many other things we need for our first home. What I want to put on my Christmas wish list is a little different: a jewelry subscription from Erin McDermott (you know, because I toooootally get dressed and wear jewelry when I work from home #not), overpriced gym clothes (but they’re SO CUTE – send help), money to put towards our next Europe trip, cozy sweaters, and a gift card to our favorite pizzeria in Denver, plus a bajillion other superficial things that I just don’t need, dammit. Adulting is overrated.
  7. Ordered new blinds. The front of our house has two large sets of windows – my husband pulled one set of blinds down within 2 weeks of us moving into the house, and a foster dog shredded the other set when we left her alone in the house for too long and she escaped from her crate. They were the cheap, plastic variety, so I don’t mind replacing them, but talk about the least fun thing to spend money on in the history of ever. I suppose it’s a small price to pay to spare our 80-year-old neighbors the shock of seeing us walk around less than fully clothed.h5qsgltx6rzmzr9y8xvrwc1dcuspc2itfdldryckbpaizqd4mvgbj-dvjwqhs3gtwbaaemf1bi-q_5-2po_td3zdfnch_6sxda68ttvhzh-tc_gy5x49c3rrva1

And that’s about it! I was trying to get to 10, but I simply haven’t done enough fun/cool/blog-worthy things. We leave for Florida next week to spend Christmas with my family, which will be a weather change from this snowy tundra, to say the least. Denver is predicted to have a white Christmas while Florida is….predicted to be 85 and sunny. I never thought in a million years that I’d be saying this, but after spending the past week bundled up like an eskimo and shoveling snow from our driveway, sidewalk, and walkway, I might not might a bit of warm weather.