Monday, July 7, 2014

a walk in the woods

Given my confession that the category I failed most spectacularly on my last 101 in 1,001 was the reading category, I'm thrilled that the first goal I've made progress on in my Unfinished Business challenge is book-related!
My secondary habitat - mossy Pacific Northwest!

A couple of weeks ago I was up in Pittsburgh for work and then took some vacation time to hang out with family. In addition to time in Pittsburgh, we trekked out to central PA to see our mom, grandma, and extended family.

That's a tree! College-Amanda
 had been in the flat midwest too long.
While browsing antique stores one day, I snagged A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson because I thought it'd be a good book for the plane.
9791 

I'd never read anything by Bryson, but I had definitely heard great things and A Walk in the Woods didn't disappoint. I loved his sarcastic tone, especially since he balanced his wit with keen observations about both the Appalachian Trail and human nature. 

Oregon, you're gorgeous!

It felt very appropriate that the first book I read during this challenge was one about accomplishing an audacious goal!


I've never been hiking in the east. I grew up with the Sierras and the Cascades, but I've had it on my life list to hike at least a tiny portion of the AT.
This book made me itch to get into the mountains, and did inspire me to see parts of the trail. Definitely not going to try and do a long stretch, but I have a new respect for people who do.


One of the many places I call "home"
Highly recommended!

Progress Report
10. Read 50 new-to-me books :: 1/50

What are you currently reading? Are you into The Great Outdoors?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014 - March 28, 2017

Let's kick this third (and final) Day Zero Project off! 

After lots of tweaking, here is the list of 101 goals that I will attempt to complete in full by March 28, 2017. Instead of organizing my goals by category like I have in the past, this round has only 3 sections: unfinished business, old favorites, and new challenges. The numbers in parentheses equal the number of times I will repeat that goal (bi-weekly, weekly, monthly, quarterly, random amounts, etc.).

Unfinished Business
These are goals that previously appeared on my first two projects but went unfinished.
1. Complete a bi-weekly menu plan (x70)
2. Keep plants alive: one decorative, one food
3. Hang one of my own photos
4. Watch a foreign film (x15)
5. Begin studying a third language
6. Study/refresh my French skills
7. Visit a museum (x10)
8. Document and complete #100happydays
9. Read a book off my ever growing "to read" list (x50)
10. Read a new (to me) book (x50)
11. Read every book on my bookshelves
12. Take a solo vacation
13. Go camping
14. Be debt-free (excluding student loans)
15. Fully fund my Day Zero Savings goals including for this challenge: 
$5 for completed goals (owe $555) and $10 for incomplete goals (owe $910)
16. Visit a National Park (x5)
17. Print out my blog
18. Organize photos into albums
19. Back-up music and photo libraries
20. Organize/file/shred paperwork
21. Work on family history project each week (x143)
22. Complete a craft project
23. Swim with dolphins
24. See an opera
25. Watch the ballet (not the Nutcracker)
26. Attend a comedy show
27. Ride in a hot air balloon
28. Watch the Oscar Best Picture nominees 
29. Read the entire Bible
30. Read the Collected Works of William Shakespeare
31. Go on a cruise
32. Get another stamp in/renew my passport
33. Order something from the SkyMall
34. Participate in quarterly professional development initiatives (x12)
35. Read a book for work each month (x33)
36. Complete Couch to 5K
37. Run a 5K
38. Do a yoga class
39. Learn a new sport
40. Catch up on appointments
41. Buy a car
42. Buy a new computer
43. Go horseback riding

Old Favorites
These are goals that previously made an appearance on the challenge and I enjoyed so much I wanted to repeat
44. Donate clothes every 3 months (x11)
45. Visit a vineyard
46. Watch a musical
47. Attend a concert (x20)
48. Attend the Nutcracker 
49. Donate to my alma mater
50. Give up caffeine for a month
51. Renew my library card
52. For a month, drink recommended amount of water
53. Complete all of the exercise DVDs I own
54. Go on a road trip
55. Visit a new U.S. state (x5)
56. Go to the beach
57. Track all spending for a month
58. Save my spare change
59. Go to the drive-in movie theater
60. Go hiking
61. Visit a local restaurant (x40)
62. Attend a community event each month (x33)
63. Journal every day for a month
64. Give a gift for no reason
65. Complete a 5 year plan
66. Regularly blog about the challenge 
67. Create a new cleaning schedule and stick to it
68. Have a twice-a-month coffee date with myself (x66)
69. Listen to the symphony
70. Go to the theater
71. Attend a conference out of state
72. Attend a professional sporting event
73. Play mini golf
74. Discover new music (x30)
75. Do something spontaneous
76. Do something brave
77. Complete a goal I didn't know I have

New Challenges
Just to freshen things up, I'm including a few new items to this round!
78. Work my way through a tourist guidebook of my city
79. Visit my college for homecoming
80. Join a professional association
81. Watch all of the DVDs in my collection (and get rid of those I don’t like)
82. Don’t eat out at all for a month
83. Run 100 miles over the course of the challenge
84. Ship the last of my books from California
85. Watch a Civil War reenactment
86. Complete my collection of presidential biographies
87. Complete my collection of Supreme Court biographies
88. Go through a corn maze
89. Go to the movies alone
90. Go to a midnight movie showing
91. Frame my diplomas
92. Cook my way through a cookbook
93. Buy flowers every month (x33)
94. Go to the rodeo
95. Ride Megabus
96. Get fitted for running shoes
97. Go stargazing
98. Visit an amusement park
99. Put an entire paycheck into savings
100. Plan for Antarctica trip
101. Write about goal setting/the Day Zero Project

and we're off!! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Round 3: Unfinished Business

The Day Zero Project Round 3: Unfinished Business

To start, a little history.

Over the years, my blogging identity has shifted multiple times. But since January 2009 one constant presence has been the Day Zero Project (also fondly referred to as the 101 in 1,001). The concept is fairly straightforward: you make a list of 101 goals and give yourself 1,001 days to complete them all. In order to facilitate that, your goals should be concrete and measurable in some way - "be happier" doesn't lend itself to the challenge, although that very well might be the end goal of it all. The first two rounds saw me in very different life stages, going from student to professional and from California to Tennessee.

Round 1: 2009-2011 69/101 (68.3%)
Start: I was 22, just returned from France and living in California, and had just finished with my first semester of law school.
End: I was 25, living in California, graduated from law school and had just taken the bar exam.

Round 2: 2011-2014 42/101 (41.6%)
Start: I was 25, living in California, graduated from law school and had just taken the bar exam.
End: I was 28, living in Nashville, Tennessee, had passed the bar exam and changed careers (twice).

I won't go into an exhaustive analysis of the past nearly five years, but suffice it to say that this project has had a huge impact on my life, all for the better. For a perfectionist, it obviously irks me that I haven't completed either of my challenges to 100%. While some of that was unavoidable and I accept it, much of the "incompletes" were purely inattention and lack of follow through. That just won't do.

I've given this concept a lot of thought, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not done with it! So Round 3 starts tomorrow, with a twist. Instead of inventing 101 brand new goals, my list will have four categories.

  1. Unfinished: Round 1
  2. Unfinished: Round 2
  3. Old Favorites
  4. Fresh Focus
Goals in the "Unfinished" category are items that appeared on my first two lists, but weren't completed. Old Favorites are things that also appeared on those lists, were completed, but I enjoyed so much I want to revisit. Finally, the Fresh Focus are new arrivals on the list that come from my life long bucket list or that I just came across and find intriguing for whatever reason. 

The list will go "live" on July 1st and I couldn't be more excited! 

Round 3: 2014-2017
Start: I'm 28, living in East Nashville, and feeling motivated. Bring it on.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Progress Report: #54-101 (the end)

This iteration of my 101 in 1,001 came to an end yesterday, June 28th, 2014. I was out of town all last week and didn't want to move onto what's next (there's something next!) without taking time to look over the second half of the list. Granted, in lesser detail than earlier posts. 

{connections}
(54) College Roommate reunion DONE 12.28.11
(55) Attend my 5 year college reunion Incomplete
I wanted to make it up to my alma mater last fall, but my pesky broken ankle intervened and cancelled the trip.
(56) Attend my 10 year high school reunion Incomplete
This is due to happen in July, but it has been on and off and on again to the point I doubt it will happen. I have work travel the same time, so won't be attending (and have to admit that I'm not heartbroken with disappointment).
(57) Catch up with a friend each week DONE June 2014
(58) Send 20 handwritten letters Incomplete
I didn't mail one single letter.
(59) Make a list of my friends' birthdays and send each of them a card on time for a year Incomplete
(60) Give a "just because" gift DONE 06.27.14
I went antiquing with my mom last week and bought her a set of vintage metal glasses. She loves them!
(61) Babysit for a friend with kids so they can have the day off DONE 10.04.12

{career}
(62) Pass the Bar Exam DONE 11.18.11
(63) Set up budget to pay back student loans DONE 01.16.12
(64) Attend one professional development or networking event each quarter Incomplete
Since I've reoriented my career goals over the course of this challenge, this didn't wind up happening.
(65) Read 42 new books or articles in my field Incomplete
(66) Volunteer as a mentor for undergraduate or law students DONE 12.18.11

{body}
(67) Complete the Couch-to-5K program Incomplete
I got very close to completing this before I broke my ankle and am so sad that I haven't yet resumed running.
(68) Run a 5K Incomplete
(69) Sign up for yoga classes Incomplete
(70) Play a game of kickball Incomplete
(71) Learn a new sport Incomplete
(72) Set a weight loss goal and meet it DONE 12.30.11
(73) Give up soda for at least one month DONE 02.09.12
(74) Give up sugar for at least one month DONE 02.09.12
(75) Get my wisdom teeth pulled Incomplete
Nope...and I do need to get this done. Likely all 4. Ouch.
(76) Get a pedicure Incomplete
(77) Get a massage Incomplete
(78) Sign up for a CSA box Incomplete

{finances}
(79) Put $5 in Paris account for every goal completed Incomplete - balance owed $210
(80) Put $10 in savings for every goal that goes uncompleted Incomplete - balance owed $590
(81) Be {consumer} debt free Incomplete
(82) Buy a new (to me) car Incomplete
At the start, this was meant to upgrade my car. Now I don't own one at all!
(83) Donate money to my college DONE 02.01.14
(84) Sponsor a missionary DONE
(85) Choose 3 organizations to contribute to financially DONE June 2014

{amusement}
(86) Play a round of miniature golf DONE 12.20.11
(87) Play bingo Incomplete
(88) Go to the drive-in Incomplete
The town I grew up in had a drive-in theater and it means summer to me. There isn't one in Nashville and I haven't figured out where the closest one is yet.
(89) Ride a horse Incomplete
Fun fact: I have never been horseback riding. In my life!
(90) Pick some fruit Incomplete
(91) Go on a sailboat Incomplete
(92) Discover 10 new (to me) musicians (4/10) DONE June 2014
(93) Learn to drive a stick shift Incomplete
(94) Finish Oman study abroad photo book Incomplete
Not even started...
(95) Buy something at a garage sale DONE 06.26.14
I'm calling an antique store the equivalent of a yard sale. I nabbed two of my childhood favorite: Nancy Drew!

Photo: Hit the vintage Nancy Drew jackpot!

(96) Watch The West Wing from start to finish DONE 07.01.13
(97) Buy 25 things off of Etsy Incomplete
(98) Do something spontaneous DONE 05.30.13
(99) Do something out of my comfort zone DONE 10.30.12
(100) Complete a goal I didn't even know I had DONE 05.03.12
(101) Document the completion/progress of each goal DONE 06.29.14
Not as faithfully as I'd have liked, but documented nonetheless.

And there you have it. One thousand days later, it's finished. The final verdict? 42/101 Complete
The first time around I managed to cross off many more, nearly 70 I think. Although I'm disappointed in myself, over the course of this endeavor I've moved cross-country, had multiple job transitions, moved several times, and had a major injury. So to get to nearly fifty percent is commendable. 

I've spent a lot of time over the past few months as the project drew to a close wondering whether this was the end. Certainly six and a half years is a long time to keep up with anything! Although I wavered, I determined I wasn't done - I had one more round in me. So come back tomorrow to hear about Round 3: Unfinished Business!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Progress Report: #47-53

{community}

47. Attend a community event every month - DONE June 2014
This is another goal that was a repeat of my first 101 in 1,001. It's right up there with my coffee dates as my favorite goal. I've been to some super fun corners of Nashville thanks to this project. I couldn't possibly pick a favorite event, but it's fantastic.

Oh, I do have a favorite memory. The Nolensville, Tennessee Buttercup Festival. Amish food, and a pig on a leash. Naturally.


48. Participate in 10 acts of community service - Done June 2014
At first I was going to count this incomplete, since I had it in my mind that a week-long service trip should only count as one act, even though we had three or four unique service projects each day. Under that thought process, I completed seven out of ten. But then I got greedy and decided to call it good :) 

49. Join the Junior League - Incomplete
I have a lot of friends in the JL and have meant to get involved since I was in law school, but just haven't done it yet. I love the opportunity to serve the community and network with other women in my city.

50. Join the DAR - Incomplete
One of my grandmother's relatives has our family tree all approved, I just need to pull together the proof for the few generations between us that are different. I just haven't bothered to do it yet, but have been more interested since I've resumed working on our family history project. I know some people have negative feelings about the Daughters of the American Revolution, but I'm not interested in perceived stigma. I just love family (and American!) history and am proud of my relatives who helped found our country. Plus, I enjoy talking to older people and let's be real - that's mostly who's in the DAR :)

51. Discover 40 new local restaurants - DONE
Lord, have mercy. Nashville is such a foodie city. There are so many amazing places in this city, and I haven't even scratched the surface. This goal is long completed - in fact, I probably got close to finishing it in the first year I lived here (2012).

52. Buy a tourist guidebook for my city and explore - DONE April 2014
I actually have three guidebooks now: a traditional "touristy" guidebook, the Wildsam Nashville Field Guide, which I call The Hipster's Guide to Nashville, and a guidebook about Tennessee as a whole. I haven't really dived into any of these in depth, but I did reference them when I had company twice this year and am really looking forward to seeing what I've missed in my own ramblings about town! 

53. Attend a professional sporting event - DONE 8.17.12
This was done thrice over - the first big event was an Atlanta Braves game in Atlanta in summer 2012. It was a lot of fun, but reinforced that I am just not that into baseball. You know what it turns out I am into?? HOCKEY. Oh my word, I am shocked to discover that I actually love hockey. I've been to a few Preds games and have totally bought into the "Smashville" team spirit.



What's your favorite thing to do in your community?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Progress Report: #34-46

{on the map}

34. Visit 3 states in the US I've never been to before - DONE 
January 3-4, 2012 :: Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Tennessee
May 3, 2012 :: Kentucky
August 17, 2012 :: Georgia
I admitted that I had put goals on this list I didn't think I would finish. This was one of them. During grad school, I barely had time to travel and I wanted to try and make that a priority once I had "free" time. I thought maybe I would hit one new state. But six?! Never in my wildest dreams. Just goes to show that you never know when spontaneously moving across the country will help you accomplish more than one goal at a time!

35. Take a cruise - Incomplete
I'm a little iffy about being out on the open ocean. My fear of being eaten by a shark is pretty strong. Hence why I abandoned my childhood dream of being a marine biologist. I've been listening to Stephany rave about cruises for years now, and it's about darn time I tried one. Someday.

36. Get another stamp in my passport - Incomplete
I haven't left the United States since 2008, and that makes me so sad. For a hot second this spring I thought I might have an international trip on the horizon but it fell through. Alas. Wanderlust is a real struggle, friends.

37. Visit 3 national parks - Incomplete
I only managed to get to one park. Over Thanksgiving, my family and I went to Gettsyburg to see the memorial to my great-great grandfather's company. He was nineteen when he fought at Gettsyburg and there were really no words to describe being there. 




Memorial to my great-great grandfather's company who fought at the Battle of Gettsyburg
38. Go on a roadtrip - DONE
January 2-5, 2012 :: California to Tennessee, cross-country move
May 3, 2012 :: Tennessee to Pennsylvania, my sister's wedding
December 6, 2013 :: Nashville to St. Louis, girls' getaway with Betsy
I freaking love roadtrips. I have driven from coast to coast several times, and most of those have been solo trips. I'm never bored! One of the things I miss most about not having a car is the ability to just "hit the road."

39. Go camping - Incomplete
I was a Girl Scout. I love camping, but I haven't been since probably 2008 and then it was overnight at the beach, not proper camping in the woods.

40. Climb a mountain - Incomplete
Sorry Maria, I didn't climb any mountains. 

41. Take a trip by plane - DONE 04.26.12
A few months after moving to Nashville, I flew back to California for my best friend's wedding. It was glorious (and exactly seven days before my sister's wedding, which happened to be on the other side of the country. That was a whirlwind).

42. Meet a blog or Twitter friend - DONE
I actually wound up meeting ELEVEN of your lovely faces in person over the course of this challenge. [full list on the project page] Some of you have become incredibly close friends, who happen to live far away. Others were Nashvillians I met online before moving and who became some of my dearest, and first, friends in a new town. The most recent internet sensation to stroll through my life was Linda, who happened through town back in December. It was so fun to introduce her to some of my favorite things about this city!


43. Attend a conference in another state - DONE 01.18.13
Originally I probably intended this to mean a conference for grown-ups. Instead, I took a bunch of pre-teens to a conference in Atlanta. Nothing like spending a weekend responsible for a couple dozen ten and eleven-year-olds!

44. Go on vacation by myself - Incomplete
I haven't traveled solo in years, and I miss it. I also miss real vacations that are more than just a day or so. 

45. Buy something from the SkyMall - Incomplete
I failed to make any purchases this go around, but this goal did lead to a hilarious Twitter exchange with the SkyMall people. 

46. Visit 10 historical markers - Incomplete
This failure was pure laziness. I saw two - one at a plantation in Franklin, TN, and this one below. Which left me in a profound state of awe for most of the day. 



If I thought for sure I'd ace my reading goals, I was equally sure I wouldn't accomplish any of my wandering goals. But five completed and several more partially complete is wonderful! 

Where's the next place on your wander-list?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Progress Report: #26-33

{words}

26. Sign up for a refresher French class - Incomplete
I haven't regularly spoken French since I moved back to the States in 2008. Le fran├žais me manque! This was a carryover from my first 101 in 1,001 and yet again...I didn't make time for it. Quel dommage!

27. Begin formally learning a third language - Incomplete
I've been intending to pick up a third language since I traveled to the Middle East in college and spoke only a few words of Arabic. I haven't had time to start one, but would definitely love to add one or two more in the future.

28. Read 75 new-to-me books - Incomplete
This goal was intended to "force" me to expand my horizons and not just re-read old favorites. When I came up with this list in 2011, I had just finished the bar exam and was relishing the thought of having time to read for pleasure again after three years of only reading law. Well...it took way longer to get back my reading mojo than I ever thought it would. In fact, three years post-grad and I'm still not back to where I used to be. I didn't even come close to 75. Nowhere near it. That said, I just picked up a brand new book two days ago and I love what I've read so far.



29. Read the entire Bible - Incomplete
My friend Melissa was so sweet and bought me a chronological Bible for my birthday to inspire me to finish this goal. I would up reading about 20-25% (that doesn't count random verses, but means entire books). Brittany inspired me to do a Bible in 90 days plan, but I haven't been able to focus on it with my work schedule the way it is right now. Hoping I can rearrange my routine soon.

30. Memorize Scripture - Done June 2014
While this wasn't as extensive as I had first intended it to be, I did in fact manage to do some memorizing over the past 1,000 days.

31. Read the complete works of Shakespeare - Incomplete
I've read a lot of Shakespeare in my lifetime. A lot. I think I read my first Shakespeare in elementary school (which is truly ridiculous, but what can I say - my grandfather loved it!). But I've never read it all, and it's been quite some time since I've gone back to it. I didn't read one single play during this challenge.

32. Read every book on my bookshelves - Incomplete
This goal had a dual purpose: finally read the books I had purchased but never read (oops) and re-read old favorites to see if I wanted to keep them. I did read many of my books, but nowhere near all. And I still have boxes of books in storage in California that I haven't had shipped to Nashville yet, and I've lived here 2.5 years. The shame.

33. Read a book of poems - Incomplete
I started reading the collected work of Emily Dickinson last year, but I never finished it. Which is sad, because I actually quite like poetry. 

There were goals, when I put them on my 101 in 1,001 list, that I was 99.9% sure I would never accomplish. But that didn't stop me from aiming for them. Then there were goals that I was 100% certain I would complete with ease. Most of the goals described in this post fell into that category. I am stunned by how little I read over the past few years, when I have arguably had the most time to read that I've had in my adult life. In fact, back when I re-started this blog I initially described it as somewhat of a book blog. And then most of the books I introduced, I never came back to. Many of them I have yet to finish. And then eventually...I stopped talking about books entirely.

Given what a huge part of my life reading has always been, I find it incredibly interesting that of all the sections to fail miserably at, I chose this one. Until I started typing up this review, I hadn't even realized just how much reading had slipped out of my daily life. It's too late to fix that for this challenge, but I'm certainly going to be much more intentional as to how I incorporate books into my life this summer.

What was the last, best book that you've read? 

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