101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014


  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.


  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.


  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.


  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.


  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.


  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.


  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.


  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.


  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    


Image source


my life + musings: finally a new post!



It goes without saying that I haven’t updated this blog recently, and when I was updating it wasn’t frequently.

All I can say is I’m not made to be full-time blogger, I suppose. I love the blogging community and I’ve dreamed of working from home and blogging full-time like every other blogger out there, or at least of having a blog that reaches many people and creates  a mini-community itself. But my life isn’t fit for that. Blogging semi-regularly, in ways that enrich the activities I already engage in? That encourage me to be a better person? Yes. But full-time, scheduled, disciplined blogging? No, at least not right now.

I think a hard part of growing up, at least for me, is letting go of expectations. Specifically, expectations I have for myself. I was that kid in high school, and I guess in college, who wanted to do everything, be everything, and do it super well. Not be a jack of all trades, master of none, but a master of all trades attempted. I still have been attempting to do that in life. Be the best daughter, fiancee, friend, coach, teacher, blogger. Be good at cooking, cleaning, working out, being on top of things. I can do it all and I can do it all well.

This is a stupid, obvious thing to say and I’ll probably come to this realization over and over again in my life: “I can’t do it all and do it well. I can do some well and I can do some others decently. Other things, I just don’t have time to do in a positive manner or plain just can’t do. I definitely can’t please everyone. I can’t achieve all I want. I will fail. I will let people down. Things I want will take time. Everything will be okay. Most things are not as big of a deal as everyone makes them out to be.”

My life is fit for a unique sort of rhythm, and I have to find ways to make it the strongest, most beautiful rhythm it can be – not alter it. Change the tempo, change the volume, sure. Change its basic make-up? No. And that means realizing what is most important to me in life, and not apologizing for it: my family (fiancé, his family, and our dog included) and our all-around health; my friends and my career; pretty much everything else. Unfortunately, highly time-consuming hobbies? Turns out they are not a great fit for what has become the natural rhythm of my life the past several months or what I currently anticipate my life will be like…and blogging is definitely a time-consuming hobby.

So the past few months, blogging was toward the bottom of my daily agenda. I was hired as a long-term substitute for at my alma mater, an urban high school in a suburb of Cleveland, where I taught and cotaught U.S. Government. Though it took up every ounce of my time that wasn’t reserved for eating, sleeping, family and friends, and then some, I was thankful just to have such an opportunity. Little did I know how much it would truly impact me.

It was stressful. I am highly knowledgeable in my content area, and due to my participation in a special program during my undergraduate studies, I do have more experience in the classroom than the average first year teacher. However, having control of your own classroom for the very first time is so much trial-and-error, especially when you work with students who are not always very motivated or organized. I learned so much every day. Was there ever a second where I didn’t feel like the stress was worth working through? Absolutely not.

If you have read this blog in the past, you probably know I have anxiety. When I get overwhelmed, I try to reason with myself if what I am worrying about actually matters. When I would worry about my job and ask myself that question, the answer was always YES. It did matter, because it would impact if a student understood something about the government of the nation in which they live. It did matter, because it would impact grades in a class required for graduation in the state of Ohio. It did matter, because it influenced young adults’ attitudes toward learning, responsibility, and themselves.

Instead of overwhelming me, it empowered me. I can’t let my students down, so I better suck it up. They are struggling, so I better show them what a product of this school can grow up to be. They may not remember me, but they are as sure as hell going to remember the lessons I teach them.

However, my long term sub position ended due to some reassigning of teachers within the district, and I was hired as a district substitute, meaning I work every day at various schools in the district as a sort of “teacher on call.” While this is a wonderful opportunity that does provide for more free time outside of the work day, I greatly missed my students, so I added this new cache of unused energy and time to my coaching efforts. So after time with my family and friends, and career efforts, I haven’t had time to blog. I’ve barely had time to plan my wedding, get a good night’s sleep, make it to the gym. Do I want to live every year of my life like that? No, of course not. You have to take care of yourself if you are going to effectively take care of others. But will I ever regret or resent sacrificing for students in my classroom or on my team? Never. Learning how to balance all aspects of life comes in time, especially once you have a firm grasp of what those most important aspects are.

Since graduating from college, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, including about what is important in life – what’s worth worrying about, what you should cherish, how you should approach situations. But the past few months deepened these lessons. They filled in the details and hardened the roots. This year was pretty hard at times, but it was also pretty darn great. It taught me so much – how great the people in my life are, the power of staying positive and focused on moving forward, how to take better care of myself, how to take balancing life demands day by day, the importance of relaxing and enjoying life, and that working and waiting for a full-time classroom position is 150% worth it.

Hence the lack of posts. I still greatly enjoy blogging! and I hope you still enjoy reading my blog when there is new material, and that you will continue to do so. I just wanted to share why it hadn’t been updated much and why sometimes there might be lulls in my posting pattern. Because despite my best intentions and efforts, I can’t be a master of all trades attempted. And I’m okay with it : )

Here’s to a great 2013, full of all the things we love and cherish. I hope it’s even better than your 2012 was.



my life: hello again and some great news!

Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest


Hello everyone! Long time, no see, huh? Sorry about that. It’s not because I’m still sick like in my last post! No, luckily, the absence has been due to something truly wonderful that occurred around the same time – A JOB : )  I have accepted a position as a full-year, long-term substitute for a teacher on a year-long leave of absence. The best parts of this development (other than getting to do what I love and get paid for it)? It’s at my alma mater, the school where I am also the head swim coach. I’m mega-comfortable with the building itself, have the most supportive co-workers ever because I’ve known them for years, and I’m teaching U.S. government, which I have experience with because I taught it during student teaching. Plus, since I am living with my parents right now, it’s a two minute commute!

The worst parts of this development? The sudden and complete lack of time to do anything besides drink coffee, go to school, go home, drink coffee, plan, and grade. The first year of teaching is totally overwhelming and exhausting. Just think about it: you are creating all your lesson plans/strategies and gathering all your teaching resources from scratch, you don’t have a routine set yet that you can fall back into so you’re trying to find a rhythm that works well for you, you’re still relatively inexperienced at classroom management, and while you have led a classroom before, it’s the first time the ultimate responsibility for everything falls directly onto you. It’s a lot to take in and balance.


Source: dailyspark.com via Kelly on Pinterest



It’s definitely a challenge…but I love challenges. They drive me to try my hardest, do my best, learn lessons, and do it again. Have I been stressed? yes. Have I felt lost? yes. Have I had some victories? yes. Is making me happy? totally.

I want to thank you all for your support the past year during the discouraging job search. While this isn’t a permanent position, it is an incredible opportunity and you better believe I’m going to embrace every second of it!

…which means, as you can probably guess from the date between my last post and this one, that I won’t be able to blog as much. I’d like to say this is temporary, just until I get into a routine, but once I get into a routine swim season will be starting and I’ll be thrown for a loop some more. I am for sure going to continue blogging – because I love it and it’s a great creative outlet – but I can’t do five posts a week anymore. I’m not sure how often I was doing that this summer anyway, unfortunately, but it was always my plan and, even though this is a hobby I do for my own enjoyment, I would feel guilty if I didn’t! Crazy, right?! So just to be upfront with myself and you all, my awesome readers, I will most likely only be doing 2-3 posts a week for the near future. If you are looking for other places for entertainment and inspiration on the other days or just in general, be sure to check out my recommended reads page!



Again, thank you all for your support. It means the world to me on this journey! What is new with you? Any exciting developments, challenges, or victories? What topics would you like to see focused on with only a couple posts a week?

Hope all is well with everyone! Talk to you soon : )


welcome to the new and improved beagle & bear!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to Beagle & Bear at its new location and in its new format! Dan, the amazing man that he is, has always supported my interest in and efforts at blogging, and generously set me up with this domain and switched the blog over to WordPress. I am very excited about all the opportunities and possibilities awaiting the new and improved Beagle & Bear, and hope you are, too!

If you’re a regular follower of the blog, please make sure to change your bookmark from the old location at Blogger to our new location here. And if you’re a regular follower or a newcomer, be sure to look around! The left sidebar has links to Beagle & Bear elsewhere on the web, as well as the archive. The top navigation bar provides links to the various pages on the new Beagle & Bear: the new about page, changed contact information and updated policies, recommended reads such as blogs and favorite websites, and a list of regularly featured series. There is also handy search bar that allows you to search the site easily.

Please note that in posts created before March 26, 2012, some links within the posts may direct you back to a past post at Beagle & Bear’s old Blogger location. Any such post can also be found here on Beagle & Bear’s new site if you search for it by title or by one of the categories under which it is filed. Eventually these links will be fixed so they will direct you to the past post here on the new site instead. Your patience during this transition period is greatly appreciated : )

So again – welcome! Have a look around and let me know what you think.