Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry (Day After) Christmas

I am spending the holiday week in Alabama with a friend and her parents, which is the next best thing to being with my own family. Thank God for blessing us with cell phones and FaceTime so I got to talk to them anyway.

My goal is to read a whole book before I leave my little vacation (I've been here since Tuesday night and will leave tomorrow) and I've chosen Amy Poehler's "Yes Please." I wasn't expecting to fall in love with it as much as I have, but I do. I love it.

Don't call me sweetheart unless you're my grandmother.

I feel like the page turns today to start thinking about the new year. Since that's also my birthday, I get a double portion of reflection. So, I'll be doing that quietly in the next week.

I hope each of you had a lovely holiday!

Monday, December 15, 2014

She lives!

Well, hello friends.

Long time no see.

I certainly didn't expect for three months of total silence to follow my last post. All I can say is that life got busy, and I still don't have a functioning home computer.

But here I am, thanks to a combination of the Blogpress app and my (not so) new iPhone 6, whose larger screen is much more blog friendly.

As the year winds down, I'm heading into my reflective season. What went well this year, what didn't, and what are my goals for 2015? One of my goals is to start writing again, in some capacity, since it's an outlet I truly miss.

What's on your mind with two weeks left in the year?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

virtual coffee date

Friends, I miss you.

Hello? Is anyone alive out there?

It's been a long time since I've posted, with my sad excuse being the fact that my computer is on life support and I really don't find posting from my phone to be user friendly enough. And yet, here I go. Because I miss you!

I'm hopeful I'll be able to buy a new computer soon and that posting will resume. I've got some ideas for a fresh start for this space I want to implement this fall.

Until then, pull up a chair and tell me about your life. What's something you're proud of from the last month? What's something you're excited for this fall?

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.

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. 

(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

(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

(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

(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

(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!
(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


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, 2012 :: 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


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. 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 wound 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? 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Progress Report: #11-25


11. Compile a list of my favorite inspiring quotes - Done June 2014
Since this goal is a continuous one, it won't be officially "complete" until my challenge ends at the end of the month. That said, I'm calling this one good. My favorite quote discovered during this project?
Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation. (Elizabeth Gilbert)
12. Swim with dolphins - Incomplete
Considering I haven't been on a vacation since this challenge started, this is a sad no.

13. Watch the sun rise over the ocean - Incomplete

14. Have a twice-a-month coffee date with myself - Done June 2014
I've absolutely treasured this goal.

From a favorite  East Nashville spot: Barista Parlor

15. Greet every day with a smile (no snooze button) - Done 01.31.12

16. Go to the opera - Incomplete

17. Listen to the symphony - Done 04.12.12

The first time I heard the Nashville symphony was in 2012 at Show Hope's staging of Cinderella. I haven't been back to the Schermerhorn since then, but I always love hearing them in the summer when they play at city parks!

18. Watch a ballet - Incomplete

19. Attend the theater - Done 04.16.14
One of my dear friends and I went to see Wicked at TPAC! This was my third time seeing it: first time, London. Second time, San Francisco. I can't say this was the best staging I've seen, but it's always fun.

20. Go to a comedy club - Incomplete

21. Ride in a hot air balloon - Incomplete

22. Watch 15 foreign films - Incomplete
I did watch a few movies on Netflix, but nowhere near fifteen.

23. Watch all the Oscar "Best Picture" films one year - Incomplete
I've sort of fallen out of the habit of going to the movies, especially new releases. Someday I'll do this.

24. Visit 5 museums - 4/5
I've been to four museums so far, and I'm hoping that I can fit in time for the final one this month so I can mark this complete!

25. Go to 3 concerts - Done 05.26.12
I've been to more than three, but definitely haven't taken as much advantage of living in MUSIC City as I should have over the past two and a half years. 

Six, maybe seven, out of thirteen complete. Looks like I'm holding pretty steady to my 50% completion rate.

Tell me: what's the last goal you completed?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Progress Report: #1-10

As I wrap up my second 101 in 1,001 project at the end of this month, I'm going back and updating my progress in each of the sections of my list. 

{home} goals 1-10

1. Move into a "big girl" house - Done 02.08.14

I love the new place, although it's not-so-new anymore. Check out this post to learn more!

2. Menu plan every week - Incomplete

I did pretty well at this in the first few weeks of the project, but have done absolutely nothing in the recent past. This has been a goal on the past two lists, and I've "failed" it every time. Whoops.

3. Buy a new cookbook - Done 12.24.13

Given the explanation above, you won't be shocked to learn I bought this book in December and haven't used it yet. 


4. Try 50 new recipes - Incomplete


5. Craft something for my house - Incomplete

I'm not a particularly crafty person and it might just be time to admit that...

6. Create a cleaning schedule and stick with it - Done 05.30.12

Completed this one two years ago and it would be to my benefit - and the cluttered state of my bedroom - to revive it soon.

7. Every 6 months, donate clothes that haven't been worn - Done June 2014

I have my last delivery all bagged up and ready to be taken to Goodwill, as soon as I arrange to get a car. 

8. Get all photos in albums - Incomplete

Technically all my photos are in albums. But I meant organized by this goal and organized they are not.

9. Decorate my own Christmas tree - Done 12.16.12

2012 was the first year I've had a tree in my house since probably the early 2000's. 

10. Can something - Incomplete

I think I was inspired by the episode of Friends where Monica makes jam. I've made no jam.

So, of the first ten goals I completed five. Not too shabby!

Friday, May 23, 2014

down to the wire

My second Day Zero Project concludes on June 28th. With just about a month left to go, I've come to accept that I will certainly not complete all 101 of the goals I set back in 2011. With everything the past two and a half years has included, I'm actually happy I've accomplished as much as I have. The last time I updated the page itself (click the tab at the top to see the project's details) was October 2013.

I've talked about a goal here and there sporadically this year, but haven't done a comprehensive recap. Whoops. My plan over the next few weeks is to bring y'all up to speed on where things stand and talk about where I'm going from here, when the 101 in 1,001 is over.

How are your goals for the year looking?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

the little things

In my last post, I talked about how I was going to make an effort to participate in the #100happydays photo project. I think that most people interpret that to mean 100 consecutive days, but I'm trying to not be too legalistic about it. That would defeat the "happiness" purpose!

It's probably about time for me to do an update on my Day Zero Project as well, seeing as how it ends next the meantime, here's a peek at some of my happy snapshots over the past week. Last Sunday a good friend and I went to brunch and to see Le week-end at the Belcourt Theater. If you get a chance to see it, especially if you're a francophile, do! It's fantastique. And if you're ever in Nashville, give the Belcourt some love. It's one of my favorite things about our city.

Day 1: roses from my yard that match my pink walls

Day 2: brunch in the afternoon (peach mimosa required) before seeing le week-end at the Belcourt

Day 4: a #throwbackthursday circa 1990

Saturday, May 10, 2014


My friend Christy has been doing this project on Instagram for awhile and even though I'm not always the best at sticking with these things (take this entire blog as Exhibit A), I've decided to sign on.

My life is good, very good. I'm grateful every day to be where I am and doing what I am...but sometimes I lose sight of that. In the midst of five year plans and the inevitable existential crisis that accompanied the announcement of my ten year high school reunion I need to take time to appreciate the present. And to focus on the beautiful and happy more often than the challenging.

So here's to 100 days of happiness. Feel free to follow along on Instagram! I'm @amandalouise01

Sunday, April 27, 2014

to lazy weekends

I'm lounging on the couch watching Netflix and I plan to stay here all day. Sometimes you have to embrace the lazy.

(PS-it's been a month. I know. How are you?)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

valuable time

(14) Have a twice-a-month solo coffee date

This is one of the goals that I didn't put a lot of thought into when I chose it, but has turned out to be so amazing for me. As an introvert, I need lots of quiet time for reflection, and it's best that I carve that out for myself outside the house.

Since I got rid of my car, it's been a little bit harder to find time for myself. That seems counterintuitive, but if I'm going to spend an hour on the bus on top of my regular commute I usually use that to see friends. Truth, though?

I'm a better investment of my time.

Are you good about making time for yourself?

Monday, March 24, 2014


(01) Move into a "big girl" house
Completed 02/08/14

When I drafted my current 101 in 1,001 list, the very first item that came to mind was moving into a house. At the time, I seriously doubted whether I would cross this one off, as the thing I hate most is moving.

I've been pretty happy with the places I've lived since graduating from college, but every single one of them included sharing a wall with my neighbors. The older I got, the less I wanted to be that close to people.

I talked a little bit last winter about my housing search (what I thought would be a two week process stretched into three months!). Although it was excruciating at the time, I'm glad it took as long as it did because I love my new place. I found my roommate on Craigslist, surprisingly enough.

Not sharing space with neighbors and having an actual yard (with a fire pit!) is amazing. It's an older house which I love, and is miraculously all one floor. That wasn't a deal breaker, but ever since I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle, I've been iffy with stairs. Another perk is living in East Nashville which is one of the most up and coming neighborhoods in town. The area is crawling with hipsters and I'm definitely not cool enough, but that'll rub off on me a little I'm sure.

My word for last year was "rooted" and moving here definitely feels like another way I'm putting down roots in Nashville. It hasn't been easy to fight for a future here, but I'm glad I haven't given up.

One of my favorite things about this house is the little breakfast bar (with glitter countertops!). And my third roommate Sampson is pretty cool too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

renewed focus

Thanks to those of you who chimed in on my off-the-cuff comment about not knowing whether or not to continue blogging. I still waffle back and forth, as I have been for the past nearly five years. I've had a blog for almost a decade (oh my!), but as I made my way through grad school and into the professional world I've wrestled with whether this KIND of writing is something I want to be known for. It isn't my aim to be a big-name blogger, or to be identified as a blogger at all. That's not my calling. This space isn't a means to some kind of social media platform-building end.

I'm not saying that's an improper motive. It's perfectly fine, if that's your calling. But since it's not mine, I need to be extra careful not to let the online current pull me too far in that direction.

The question then becomes, what IS the purpose of this space in my life? I initially meant it to be a chronicle of what I was reading, but the truth is that I am reading sporadically and slowly and that does not good book blogging make. I think at the moment, my inclinations are to use this corner to keep tabs on my goals. That will alleviate some of the pressure to post constantly, since I can just post when I have something relevant to update.

I would love to have y'all chime in when you feel so led. I know I haven't been commenting on your blogs as often as I should. I confess I've barely read anything in months. But even if this just becomes a personal log of my progress, that's fine.

And on the day when it feels like I've run totally out of things to say or desire/ability to say them, that will be fine too.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Living without luxuries I've become accustomed to is inconvenient. I haven't had a car or a consistently functioning computer since Thanksgiving.

And it's probably the best thing that could have happened to me this year.

As I've been trying to be more mindful of the world around me - and how I feel about it - I've discovered that I can talk a good talk about simplicity and sustainability. Walking that out in the short term is relatively easy. LIVING it out over the long term? Inconvenient.

It's inconvenient that it takes me two bus rides and an hour to get pretty much anywhere. It's inconvenient that there are a lot of things I have to say no to because the bus doesn't go there. It's inconvenient not to be easily able to go to church or join a community group. It's inconvenient to have to carefully plan and time my grocery shopping because I have to take whatever I buy on the bus then walk half a mile home.

For the last couple of weeks I've been sort of wallowing in the inconveniences. I've been letting them prevent me from doing the things I want to do. (Exhibit A: I started this post 2 weeks ago)

I'm using the onset of spring as my launching point to say no to "inconvenient" and yes to embracing my new lifestyle.

What's new with you?

While I might have been frustrated recently, I do seriously love this city.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

what a kickoff...

I don't know about you, but 2014 has completely gotten away from me. I've already abjectly failed at a new year's resolution which is a bit embarrassing for a girl who talks so much about goals.

Work was hurtling toward two major events, one which ended up cancelled due to weather in the south and the other which wrapped up at the beginning of the week. It officially feels like my introductory chapter is over and I'm settling into the next season in my job, which is a great feeling.

After 2.5 months of looking, I've finally found a new place to live and I move this weekend. The only downside so far is that I will seriously need to buy a car ASAP since it's not very convenient to the bus (sad). I wasn't planning on doing that until the fall, so there's my extra challenge for the spring :) budget and save!

I keep going back and forth over whether it's worth it to keep blogging, since I'm so sporadic without a computer (and also wondering how it reconciles with my professional life). No drastic actions being taken, but it's on my mind.

What's on yours? I've missed you!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 in a word

This is my third year to be part of the OneWord365 community. Shepherded by my lovely friend Alece, this project has been an amazing way to define my life in Nashville. Year One was all about "pluck"; Year Two was about being "rooted"; and Year Three?

Well, as my third year in Nashville begins (this weekend was my two year Nashiversary!), it is all about being MINDFUL.

As with my last two words, mindful came to me on its own. This spring I bought a little canvas because I knew I needed a constant reminder to just "be". In November I was playing with the words "intentional" and "simplify" and neither was just right. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I spent time at my family's small organic farm, and as we sat around the table I was so satisfied. Everything was done with care, and with an awareness that we lack when we're disconnected from nature. I came back to an inoperable vehicle, no permanent place to live, and a blank slate.

As the repair costs skyrocketed, I explored the idea of attempting a car-free lifestyle. Simultaneously, I was pondering adopting a new attitude when it came to food, and since I was in the midst of moving I'd been systematically purging my possessions.

2014 began to look like a year that was going to be all about intentionality. But instead of making my year about my goals, I decided to make it about the thought and feeling behind my choices. I want to spend this year being mindful of why I do what I do. In some cases, this will reveal my passions and values. In others, it will expose unhealthy patterns and motives. I'm eager to take on both!

As I said last week, I can't quite abandon measurable goals. It's not in my nature. So I've divided my year of mindfulness into four quadrants, each with its own sets of goals. The more I've thought about it, the more excited I've become as I add goals on. It's a lot to tackle at once, but since the thrust behind this year doesn't necessarily lie with outcomes but with motive, I'm willing to risk overdoing it a bit. The bottom line is to always show ourselves grace and not to give up.

I'll lay out my specific goals for the year later this week, so for now tell me: what's your theme/word for 2014?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Looking Back at One Word 2013: a year of putting down roots

I was going to share my goals for 2014 with you today, but quickly realized that I wasn't ready to write about 2014 without looking back at 2013 for a moment.

In 2013, my focus was on being rooted. To see more about my OneWord365, click on the category in the sidebar (apologies for not linking, I'm writing this on my iPhone). I chose the word "rooted" for a host of reasons, but in the end it was my attempt to feel connected to my community in a way I never have been before.

I've moved more times than I can count, and Tennessee is the fifth state I've called home in the past ten years. All of that wandering makes it hard to feel a part of something and to foster deep relationships. Nashville is where I'm called to be for the inevitable future and I wanted to make an effort not to continue my detached ways.

This time last year I thought I knew exactly what putting down roots in my community would look like. However, by May everything had changed and I can honestly say that not one thing about how I ended 2013 was like it was when the year began. While that wasn't easy, it was certainly all for the best. I could never have predicted how drastically my life would change last year, but having chosen to commit helped me in significant ways.

There was a point this fall where I wasn't sure I would stay in Nashville. That was a supremely painful season (both literally and figuratively) but it showed me that I couldn't bear the thought of uprooting myself from this city I've come to adore. In the past, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about moving on. Instead I chose to stay, and fight, and nourish my roots.

Choosing to value community and commitment has helped me to grow in huge ways this year, and I can say without exaggeration that it has marked me and completely reframed my worldview. I'm encountering 2014 with a new mindset, and I'm so glad.

I talked yesterday about letting my theme for the year guide my goals. I had no idea what would come from it all, but in the end I think my roots are strong and that I, as a result, am stronger.

I can't wait to share with you my word for 2014 on Monday! To learn more about the OneWord project, visit

What would you say was the theme of your year? Is it what you thought it would be back in January?

To help me remember to be rooted even as my focus shifts, I bought some plants. Let's see if I can keep them alive!


It is common to hear people dismiss the art of making new year's resolutions because of their failure rate. If the odds aren't with you, why bother? You swear every January you're going to change __________ this year. Really.

And come February everything is as it was before your lofty goal setting.

I'm no expert on resolutions or goal setting. I have, though, had a bit of experience in not only achieving major life goals in the past few years but also in failing spectacularly. If you're wise, you'll allow your failure to inform your behavior and while you may (and likely will) fail again, at least you won't be repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Here is how I've crafted my resolutions this year. Maybe some of these strategies will help you:

1. I choose a theme for my year - a word or concept that I feel (or hope) will define most of my life over the coming months. While many in the OneWord365 community choose a theme to completely replace resolutions, I prefer to let it inform my resolutions. What can I say - a word isn't enough for me, I need a list!

2. Keeping my theme in mind, I evaluate my greatest success and my greatest frustration of the preceding year. My goals for the new year will include doing more of what I'm doing well, and working to address and get a handle on what frustrates me.

3. I'm honest with myself. I realistically appraise my time and resources, so I don't overdo it on goals I won't be able to achieve from the start. I prioritize what matters most to me, and limit my goals to those areas. This is probably my greatest weakness when it comes to goal setting. I constantly try to do too much at once!

4. I aim to be as specific and concrete as possible. "Being healthier" is vague and provides no way to measure progress. However, vowing to raise my heart rate by being active a certain amount of time each week is something I can evaluate, and still moves me toward my overarching desire for "health".

5. Take time on a regular basis to take a pulse check - how are things going? If you're prone to forgetting (or ignoring) your goals, write them out and display them where you'll see them.

6. Finally, be flexible. As you evaluate your progress, you may find that you need to tweak your goals. Modified success is better than complete failure, so don't be TOO rigid. Discipline is important, but don't take it to the extreme. You'll only get discouraged and give up.

That's a snapshot of how I begin the goal setting process and structure achieving my resolutions. I won't claim any of those strategies are revolutionary or original, but I find them to be useful.

Tomorrow I'll lay out how I've categorized my goals for 2014, and give you a glimpse of what's to come around these parts this year.

Do you struggle with keeping your resolutions or achieving your goals? How do you set yourself up for success?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

cheers to the next blank page

Like everybody else, I place great significance on the power of a new year to herald a fresh start. True, January 1st doesn't have any magical powers and I'm no more able to change today than I was yesterday. But as people, we need symbolism and tradition and so I am here to say: Welcome 2014. May you bring with you beauty and growth.

I'll be back later with "year end" posts, as well as updates on my word for 2014, my goals, and some catching up on what happened in the past couple of months. I'm so glad I decided to resume blogging (albeit sporadically it seems) and that I got to share 2013 with you!

I hope you have a lovely, fresh start to the year! My only goal today is to find a cupcake since it just so happens to be my birthday.

Happy New Year!

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