weekly gems

Aw, grumpy Frieda.




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!!! : )

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 7.30.44 PM













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

get fit get strong recap: weeks two and three

Overall summary – Both Week 2 and Week 3 started off well (eating decently and working out), but then fell apart as the week went on, which is similar to how Week 1 went.
Healthy eating – Same problems as during Week 1, in that I am struggling with eating well when out with friends and avoiding the concession stand at work. I think I am doing a bit better with eating well when out with friends, but I need to get better about not eating unhealthy snacks at work. I think I just need to make sure I pack a variety of snacks to choose from and not bring any cash with me, as well as stay hydrated so I don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
Exercise – I didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to, but I did do some activities other than just walking the dogs, which is good.
Attitude – Similar struggles to Week 1. I tweeted this on Thursday: “It boils down to a lack of discipline. I need to push myself. Not for perfection, but for my best effort. I am only hurting myself.” I used to be such a perfectionist, and I still am, in many regards. But I am also aware of my perfectionist tendencies and how they worsen my anxiety, so I often try to resist pushing myself too hard. I have especially done this with getting in shape because I didn’t want to develop any other negative eating or fitness issues. I think I’ve taken it too far to the other extreme of not being disciplined and motivated, though. I need to be mega-determined again, just more forgiving and encouraging to myself when I slip up rather than negative and harsh.
Goals for Week 4 – I have a few goals for Week 4: (1) Track my food every day using My Fitness Pal. (2) Walk the dogs every day. (3) Use habitforge to help me achieve 1 & 2. (4) Work out at least 3 times using 30 Day Shred or Nike Training Club.
Other Notes – I’ve decided to work toward a sort of prize. Every day I track my food, I set aside a dollar. Every time I walk the dogs, I set aside a dollar. Every time I work out, I set aside a dollar. Eventually, over the course of a month or two, I will have enough money for this. I plan to have it engraved with some sort of phrase or quote that reminds me what determination and hard work can achieve. So, not only will I have enough money for a pretty and inspiring piece of every day jewelry, but I will have formed strong new habits.
Anyone have tips for how to handle slip ups without being too hard on yourself?

weekly gems

Tree at the Ohio State Fair, August 2009 (edited)
Well, this has been an interesting week! Monday off due to a national holiday, Tuesday the first day of student teaching, Wednesday an amazing snow day, Thursday a terrible horrible no good very bad day, and today T.G.I.F. How has your week been? What do you have going on this weekend? I’ll be working, planning various things, spending time with my boyfriend and friends, and hopefully cooking or baking a new recipe. In the meantime, weekly gems!

weekly gems (a day late)

cuddly snowpeople!
Hi, everyone : ) I hope your weekend is treating you well so far! I’m sorry again for the scattered nature of posts the past couple weeks. Thanks for sticking with me! Things should get back on track starting Monday. For now…weekly gems on a Saturday!
  • Love everything for Mrs. Winter Wondress.
  • Excited to try this recipe sometime soon. Red velvet anything = love.
  • So inspired by & happy with this quote.
  • I really want to read this book, written from the perspective of Marilyn Monroe’s dog. Have you heard anything about it?
  • This post about being a good friend makes you think…and gave me some nice reminders.
  • These Grinch cupcakes are adorable – love the heart on the inside!
  • Aren’t these earrings gorgeous? And this ring?
  • An inspiring and positive post from Jess.
  • Awesome gingerbread houses! (via Design Crush)
  • Favorite weddings as of late: one, two, & three.

What are your favorite web finds from this week?