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Archive for the ‘Happiness Project 2020’ Category

2019 was a terrific year for me. I had made significant strides in different areas of my life (health, home, acting). Along with so many people, I was excited about 2020. I felt like it was going to be my year to make a breakthrough as an actor. I started improv classes in January. I knew from the very first class that improv was going to be an important piece of the puzzle concerning my acting career. In February, I completed a series of private sessions with my acting coach, Lance Nichols, and we had outlined acting goals for the remainder of the year. And, then COVID-19 derailed everything in early March. 

Since 2018, I have made a list of tangible goals to accomplish throughout the year with that year setting the number of items on the list. I got this fun idea three years ago from Gretchen Rubin, who is the author of The Happiness Project. In 2018, I completed 14 of the items on my 18 for 2018 list. In 2019, I completed 11 of the items on my 19 for 2019 list. In 2020, I have only completed 5 of the items on my 20 for 2020 list. For me, like for many people all over the world, the pandemic affected the accomplishment of several items on my list this year.

Therefore, let’s start with my 5 accomplishments. I took my first improv class (#7) back in January. Since we can’t meet in person for classes, my improv teacher, David Hamilton, graciously offers bimonthly virtual hangouts to his students to keep our improv muscles in shape. What an awesome gift! I read So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer (#3). Reading this book has taken my desire to create a podcast to the next level. I finally bought new bras (#12). I found a new eye doctor and scheduled an appointment for January 2021 (#14). Lastly, I spent the summer with Poe (#16) by reading a great deal of Edgar Allan Poe’s work.

There are 3 items on my list that I almost completed, but couldn’t quite finish. Is there a possibility I can complete them by the end of 2020? Anything is possible, but it seems highly unlikely with other activities that I have planned between now and the end of the year.

  • #8 Organize the home office. (moved in, not completely organized)
  • #18 Complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. (several layouts lack journaling)
  • #19 Organize my master bedroom closet. (two attempts made, with so much more to do)

There are 4 items on my list that were impacted directly by the pandemic, so I was unable to complete them the way I would normally.

  • #6 Get professional headshots.
  • #11 Try 20 new restaurants. (only tried 8 due to restrictions; 2 of the 8, curbside pickup)
  • #15 Host a Bunco party.
  • #20 Run a 5K. 

There are 7 items on my list that I made NO attempt to complete. Lack of motivation and poor time management are the culprits for not accomplishing these items. I definitely had the time to complete them.

  • #1 Create a vision board.
  • #2 Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  • #4 Try intermittent fasting. (Clean & Lean)
  • #9 Organize the kitchen pantry.
  • #10 Learn ways of living sustainably to be more eco-friendly.
  • #13 Write a will.
  • #17 Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Workflow

Last but not least, there is 1 item on my list that I failed to complete in the most miserable way. And, there are NO excuses. I did not lose 20 pounds (#5) this year. In fact, I gained weight and added two more pounds to my blubber. As of today, I am 161 pounds which makes me about 40 pounds overweight. I won’t sugarcoat the situation, even though sugar plays a big part. As I have written in previous posts this year, I have the knowledge. Apparently, I lack the desire to make health and wellness a priority as demonstrated by a weight gain instead of a weight loss. 

Indeed, dear reader, I am not humming Beck’s “Loser.” There is no need to beat myself up or get down on myself. Am I disappointed? Sure, only because I had expectations. Keep in mind, I may not have accomplished most of the items on my 20 for 2020 list, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t accomplish other things this year. Life certainly can be unpredictable, as illustrated by this year, and uncertainty can wholeheartedly make us anxious, frustrated, and unhappy. However, unpredictability can also be adventurous, interesting, and exciting. Maybe that is one reason why I’m drawn to the art of improv. Therefore, I choose the latter attitude towards unpredictability. For me, making this type of list is a more enjoyable approach to achieving goals than traditional New Year’s resolutions. It will definitely not thwart my intentions of making a 21 for 2021 list. In fact, I’m looking forward to making a list for next year. I already have ideas swirling around in my head as well as my one-word theme for 2021. Happiness!

“The unpredictability of the future means absolutely nothing to the dreams of an ambitious positive mind.” ~ Edmond Mbiaka

 

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When I created my 20 for 2020 list back in December of 2019, I had no idea that a world-wide pandemic was looming large on the horizon. One of my items on this year’s list was to try 20 new restaurants (#11). I do not eat out often, so I figured when given the opportunity to dine out, try somewhere new. I have already shared on my blog three restaurants that I have tried so far: Pho NOLA, Oceana, and Cena. Let me catch you up to speed on a few others I have also tried up to this point.

There are two restaurants that I tried this year that were take-out only. Back in July, I was scrapbooking with Shelly at her house. We convinced her hubby to pick up lunch for us from The Real Deal: An American Kitchen located in Hammond. This restaurant is run by an award winning BBQ pitmaster and specializes in BBQ brisket, pork, burgers, chicken, and ribs. I ordered red beans and rice with smoked sausage instead of BBQ. I was starving by the time our food arrived, so I failed to take a picture. I did enjoy their red beans and rice; however, when I order from this restaurant again, I will select a BBQ item. Back in September, my Daddy came over to help my hubby install crown moulding in our foyer area. We ordered lunch from Twisted Tomato Pizzeria in Hammond. I ordered a yummy BLT pizza. Everyone was pleased with the selections they had chosen. Since then, we have ordered again from this restaurant.

In October, my high school friend Helen came to visit from Colorado and stayed with Shelly and her family. Since it had been many years since her last visit to the area, she had a few restaurant requests. Luckily, I had not eaten at two of the restaurants on her list. Our first stop was Blue Tomato on Jefferson Hwy. in Jefferson Parish. It is an eclectic restaurant that features Mexican, Italian, and American cuisine. Helen, Shelly, my hubby and I met Helen’s sister Valenna and her husband Leroy at the restaurant. Helen recommended the Bacon Cheeseburger, so that is what I ordered along with a side of French fries. The burger was huge and scrumptious! Blue Tomato is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, dear reader.

The second restaurant that my hubby and I tried during Helen’s visit was Café Maspero in New Orleans. Helen’s main reason for wanting to eat at Café Maspero was the muffaletta. For my dear readers not from New Orleans, a muffaletta is a sandwich with ham and salami piled high on a seeded bun topped with swiss cheese and olive salad. There are variations of seeded bread, meats (pastrami, mortadella), and cheeses (provolone) used to make this sandwich, depending on which restaurant you order your muffaletta. The sandwich can be served cold or toasted. Personally, I am not a fan of the muffaletta, so the hubster and I split a golden fried seafood platter that consisted of fish, Gulf shrimp, calamari, jalapeno hush puppies, and steak fries. Barry and I decided to split the seafood platter because we were having beignets from Café Du Monde later in the day. We thoroughly enjoyed both the seafood platter and the beignets.  

The last new restaurant that Barry, Sr. and I tried was Margaritas in Hammond on 24 October. After seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas at the movie theatre, we decided to grab something to eat nearby. The first thing to catch my eye when walking into the restaurant was its colorful décor. We sat in a booth where the back of each seat had a pretty, vibrant panel. Barry had a radiant yellow sun behind him, and I had a hummingbird with brightly colored flowers behind me. I ordered a small Mango Margarita and items off of the à la carte section of the menu which consisted of a hard beef taco, a beef enchilada, and a tamale. Barry ordered a combo plate and a beer. We were both pleased with our dinner choices.  

Well, dear reader, I have only tried eight new restaurants this year. In a normal year, I could have easily met my goal. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this year. I have decided that I will add the remaining 12 new restaurants on my 21 for 2021 list. Hopefully, I can try one new restaurant each month in 2021. What new restaurants have you tried this year, and would you recommend them? Happiness!

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” ~ Dione Lucas 

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Reading is my favorite way to pass time, so I added a new reading goal for 2020 inspired by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. In 2019, as part of her yearly Design Your Summer and 19 for 2019, she took a literary adventure with Summer of Proust. After reading her blog post “Reflections on My ‘Summer of Proust'” and seeing how much she enjoyed reading all the works of Marcel Proust, I decided I wanted a “Summer of Poe” and put it on my 20 for 2020 list (#16). What a fantastic idea!

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite American authors. My love affair with Poe’s work began in the 8th grade when I chose to recite the poem “Annabel Lee” for my Reading class. Throughout high school and college, Poe was assigned literature for English classes which always brought me considerable joy. As a junior high English teacher, I felt it was only fitting to impart my love for Poe to my students. For years, my students and I read and discussed “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Raven.” Therefore, choosing to spend the summer reading one author’s work was a no-brainer. 

PoeUnlike Rubin, I did no preparation prior to reading Poe’s work like she did for Proust. In hindsight, I probably should have done a smidge before starting my own literary adventure. From the beginning, I knew the odds of me reading everything written by Poe in one summer would be impossible. One reason, his writing is challenging. I personally cannot read his work quickly. Another reason, because his writing requires so much concentration on my part, I knew I would also need to read other books written by other authors that did not require so much mental effort. Therefore, I chose to read The Edgar Allan Poe: Anthology of Classic Tales since it did not contain a complete collection of Poe’s stories and poems, and it was given to me as a gift from Andrew. To my dismay, while perusing the table of contents, I soon discovered that over my lifetime I had only read six of his short stories and two of his poems. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

I chose to read all of the short stories, poems, and the one novel, which were organized by genre, in the order presented in the anthology.  It was wonderful to revisit tales that I was familiar with like “The Fall of the House of Usher” (still scary after all these years), “William Wilson,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death” (haunting), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (never gets old), “The Black Cat,” “The Raven” (nevermore), and “Annabel Lee” (beautifully written poem about death). If you notice, dear reader, the tales of Poe that I have previously read over the years are included in the horror genre. And, I must confess, his short stories and poems in this category are quite riveting and are probably my most preferred of his writing. Of my new horror favorites, two are revenge stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” (confirms that I will never visit catacombs) and “Hop-Frog” (never underestimate a jester). “Morella” and “Ligeia” are equally creepy and best read during the day. 

My leisurely excursion through this treasury revealed to me that Poe was so much more than a horror writer. He is credited with inventing the detective story, and the two stories in this collection, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” are suspenseful and quite enjoyable. There are seven short stories and his only completed novel under Adventures of Sea and Sky. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the short stories, especially “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall,” “The Gold-Bug,” and “The Oblong Box.” “Mellonta Tauta,” which is set in the far future seems to eerily parallel our current societal times with the past of the narrator who is writing letters while on a balloon flight.  His novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, is about the adventures and misadventures of Arthur Gordon Pym on the high seas. While it took me a long time to read, this novel is interesting and entertaining. At some point in my lifetime, I will revisit it. Surprisingly to me, until I read this compilation, I was unaware that Poe wrote humorous and satirical stories. There are only three of those types of stories in this book; however, in my other book Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, there are a total of 25 stories. Of the three that I read, I adore “The Spectacles” and “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.” Both are incredibly amusing. I cannot wait to read his other stories in this genre. Finally, there are only four poems in this collection, and I fancy all four of them. When checking my other book, Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, it revealed a total of 55 poems. All gems, I’m sure. 

My “Summer of Poe” was a huge happiness boost and has made living through a pandemic more bearable. Clearly, I still have so many more stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe that I must read, so another “season” of Poe is necessary. In the meantime, I will delight in the stories and the poems that I have read by Mr. Poe as I venture into a realm of other books by other authors awaiting my discovery. Have you, dear reader, ever devoted a period of time to reading a certain author or genre? If not, would you consider it, and which author or which genre would you consider? Happiness!

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe Collection

 

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Jackson SquareA month ago, my hubby and I stayed overnight at the Blake Hotel in New Orleans. Since he travels a great deal for work, he occasionally receives a free stay at a hotel. With COVID-19 cancelling plans and limiting activities this summer, we decided to take advantage of the change of scenery. Between me working as a supervisor for the ACT at Southeastern earlier in the day and restrictions in the city, we knew we would not be able to do much in New Orleans except maybe enjoy a nice dinner and go for a short walk around the French Quarter.

Fortunately, that Saturday (June 13th) Phase 2 was implemented for the city. We had originally planned to eat dinner at the hotel; however, the hotel was only serving breakfast and lunch. The front desk clerk made a few suggestions of restaurants that would be open and gave us a couple of brochures with menus. So, after looking over the menus, we decided to call Oceana to see if we could dine in and if we needed to make reservations. As luck would have it, we did not have to make reservations, and we could eat in the restaurant. Additionally, eating at Oceana would count as trying a new restaurant (#11 on 20 for 2020 list). It would be the second new restaurant that I have tried this year.

Oceana-tiniWe were greeted by a friendly hostess who asked us to write our names and phone numbers in a notebook before being seated. Apparently, due to COVID, this is a social practice for restaurants in New Orleans. Appropriate social distancing was implemented within the dining area, so we felt comfortable. Emily was our waitress for the evening. She was lovely and took great care of us throughout the meal. Since this was the first time eating out in New Orleans in some time and probably would be the last for quite awhile, we opted to splurge. We started the evening off with Eggplantcocktails. I chose the Oceana-tini (Absolut Vodka, Bols Sour Apple Pucker, Midori, & a touch of sour mix) and the hubster ordered a beer. Our appetizer was fried eggplant sticks. Yummy, crispy, and not greasy! I love fried eggplant, but I do not prepare it at home. When given the chance to order it while dining out, I take it. Next up, the entrees!

I ordered the Mardi Gras Pasta, and Barry chose Blackened Catfish. Our chef did not disappoint us. Our meals were scrumptious, and we both ate every last bite.

Mardi Gras pasta

Mardi Gras Pasta

Blackened Catfish

Blackened Catfish

NOLA Bread PuddingWhen Emily approached us about dessert, we ordered the New Orleans Bread Pudding (to split) without hesitation. I adore bread pudding, and there are so many ways it can be prepared, so I rarely pass up the opportunity to indulge in such a delightful treat. Yum-yum…yum-yum-yum! It was one of the finest bread puddings that I have ever eaten. I’m actually fantasizing about it right now.

Of course, after eating all of that delicious food and feeling like a pregnant whale, we had to walk around to let our meals digest. Unbeknownst to us, we were about to get a surprising eyeful. One of the restrictions that was lifted in Phase 2 was the opening of bars. While there were not nearly as many people frequenting the bars on Bourbon Street as on a normal Saturday evening, there were more than we expected considering social distancing limitations. Anyway, as we were strolling along, I spotted butt cheeks (three sets in fact) through the open doorway of one of the bars. Imagine my surprise! At the exact moment that I am telling Barry what I had seen, a group of scantily clad bike riders passed right in front of us. We didn’t find out until the next day that we had witnessed World Naked Bike Ride NOLA. You really never know what sights you will see in the French Quarter.

We returned to our hotel to enjoy the rest of our evening. The next morning we had a pleasant breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Café at the Square. Shortly afterwards, we headed home. Our overnight trip may have been brief and lacked some of the bells and whistles the city of New Orleans normally offers; however, Barry and I had a fantastic time because we were together, and we rather enjoyed the change of scenery without the usual hubbub. Happiness!

Kat & Barry-Oceana

“A change of scenery can help everything.” ~ Drew Pomeranz

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June has come and gone, and yesterday America celebrated Independence Day. Due to the impending bad weather and social distancing, I spent the day at home. I walked in the morning, read some, and finally wrapped up answering some questions from Mind Over Weight that I needed to answer before rebooting (again) my exercise/clean eating routine. Needless to say, I was not successful with getting back on track with eating properly or incorporating additional exercise into my daily routine. Clearly, I was not really ready to change my indolent ways. So, since I have now listed all the reasons I want to take this journey, selected some motivational strategies to keep me on track, and created an action plan with some realistic goals, I think (eye roll) I’m ready to take the first step starting tomorrow morning.

I have two main goals:

  • Lose 20 pounds (#5 on my 20 for 2020) by 06 December 2020. I weighed in this morning at 159 pounds. I haven’t lost anything since June 1st, but I also haven’t gained anything.
  • Run a 5K (#20 on my 20 for 2020) by the end of 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has currently halted road races. Therefore, if I cannot actually register to run a race in 2020, I will have to create my own 5K. I ordered new running shoes which should arrive sometime this week. I will start my run/walk program next Monday.

I must think about my future self. Obviously, I am not getting any younger. If I do not commit to a healthier me TODAY, it is evidently not important enough to pursue, and my future self will be the one that suffers when it’s all said and done. If not now, when? Without sounding overly dramatic, the answer is never. I have made the decision that if I cannot change my ways in the health and wellness area of my life at this point in time, then I’m done. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of thinking about it. Frankly, I’m tired of dealing with it.

Additionally, I will be spending the next 30 days breaking up with my phone. A couple of weeks ago, I listened to Episode #6 (“Dial D for Distracted”) of Season 2 of The Happiness Lab podcast. It was an eye-opening conversation between Dr. Laurie Santos and Catherine Price, a science journalist and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. Yes, I bought the book! Sadly, I am addicted to my phone, and COVID-19 has added fuel to that fire. In order to protect my brain, I must reevaluate the relationship I have with my phone and set some boundaries with it.

The next few weeks of my life should be interesting, dear reader. I’ll be going through withdrawals from sugar, a breakup, and the pain of having a tooth extracted, so approach with caution if you see me in public. I hope my future self appreciates everything that I’m doing for her. Happiness!

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But when I am for myself, then what am “I”? And if not now, when?” ~ Hillel the Elder

Books & Coffee Cup

 

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June 2020 CalendarToday is the first day of June, and it falls on a Monday. What do I like about that fact? For me and my personality, I like to start a new fitness/diet routine on a Monday. I like the fact that it is a brand new month, a blank slate, which makes it mentally great for me to keep track of my progress. And, my summer break officially begins today. This summer I want to settle into a routine that encompasses several goals that I have set for myself. I am ready to make changes in different areas of my life which I have been ready to make for some time. Some changes have already been put into motion, some need action steps to set changes into motion while other changes need more time to come to fruition. Basically, I want to reboot some old routines and establish some new ones.

First order of business is rebooting my diet routine. Dear readers, I fell off the wagon hard during the mandated stay-at-home period due to COVID-19. I am an emotional eater and addicted to sugar. Therefore, it is no huge surprise that I ate my feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and restlessness throughout the last two months in lockdown, and many of my food choices contained sugar. I lost 13.5 pounds before the new year and have gained 10 pounds back. Today, I weighed in at 159 pounds. It is what it is, and I do NOT plan to cry about it, dwell on it, or shame myself.

What is the goal? My goal is to lose 20 pounds (#5 on my 20 for 2020) this year starting TODAY. What is the plan? Increase my water intake, complete The Clean 20 program, replace emotional eating, and rev up my fitness routine. Thankfully, I have been walking daily since March 23rd. I need to add some strength training, cardio workouts, more stretching, and eventually running to my exercise regimen.

Mind Over WeightI recently finished reading Mind Over Weight written by Dr. Ian K. Smith, who is the author of The Clean 20. It is a wonderful little book that gave me a much-needed pep talk. I will be referring to this book for motivation throughout my weight loss journey. It has some terrific questions to reflect upon, tips on curbing cravings, and suggestions on dealing with emotional eating. Journaling and tracking my progress is also part of the plan.

The excitement of a new beginning energizes me, dear reader. There are so many avenues that I want to traverse this summer, and I invite you to tag along. I can always use encouragement and support from you, my tribe, since my mind likes to play tricks on me, inviting doubt and fear to put up roadblocks. Any routines that you want to reboot this summer or new ones that you want to establish? If so, please share, and we can encourage each other. Happiness!

“A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. The routine is exceptionally powerful.” ~ Darren Hardy

 

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It has been a little over a week since I went on my adventure to Pho NOLA with my awesome friend Michelle. She is quite adventurous when it comes to trying new restaurants and new foods, which usually entails a good bit of ethnic food. In addition to American fare, we have eaten Korean, Cuban, and Mexican together. Because of distance, we do not get to hang out together as much as I would like, so when an opportunity presents itself, I take it. I can always count on Michelle to suggest somewhere terrific for us to enjoy a fantastic meal and a wonderful conversation.

Meatball Pho

Meatball Pho

When deciding where to eat lunch, I shared with her that one of my 20 for 2020 (#11) was to try 20 new restaurants this year. Since I had never eaten Vietnamese food, she suggested Pho NOLA in Metairie. I relied totally on Michelle to help me order because I had no clue. Of course, on my first visit, I had to try the pho (pronounced fu).

Brisket Pho

Brisket Pho

For those of you not familiar with pho, it is a popular Vietnamese soup traditionally found on the streets of Vietnam that is served in restaurants globally. It consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. The key ingredient in the soup is the broth which simmers for many hours. A variety of meats can be used, including chicken and shrimp.

Trying PhoI ordered a combo meal: meatball pho with a grilled shrimp Banh Mi, a Vietnamese PoBoy (sandwich). Michelle opted for the same, but ordered brisket pho. The bread used to make the sandwich comes from a well-known Vietnamese bakery in New Orleans East called Dong Phuong Bakery. The bakery is famous for their king cakes. I have not been fortunate enough to try one of their king cakes; however, the bread that was used to make my Banh Mi was delicious.

SmoothieMy first experience eating Vietnamese at Pho NOLA was gratifying. My food was scrumptious. The meatball pho was heavenly and a perfect choice for the cold day (warm with a perfect blend of seasonings). A basket was brought to the table with basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, and scallions to garnish the pho. I chose only to add bean sprouts and cilantro. My sandwich tasted fresh and flavorful with the right combination of grilled shrimp dressed with aioli (light mayo mixture), pickled carrots and daikon (radish), cucumber, and cilantro. YUMMO! We topped off lunch by ordering BOBA Smoothies with tapioca pearls. I requested a mango and pineapple smoothie (delicious), and Michelle requested an avocado one (equally delicious). She was sweet enough to let me taste her avocado smoothie. Now, I dream about these delightful concoctions. What a wonderful treat with my AMAZING friend! Pho NOLA was a hit and a perfect place to start trying twenty new restaurants this year.

Pho NOLAHaving lunch and spending time with Michelle is always a happiness boost. Trying a new restaurant AND a new cuisine with her was a joyful adventure. I will definitely eat Vietnamese cuisine again, and I look forward to trying the different types of pho. Dear reader, I highly recommend having an adventure eating a cuisine that you have never tried before or visiting a new restaurant. You can even be adventurous at a restaurant that you frequent often by trying something new. I’d loved to know what new foods or new restaurants that you have tried recently. Please share your adventures with me because I have 19 more new restaurants to try before the end of 2020.

“Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

 

 

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Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this morning which means, according to legend, that we will have an early spring. I sure hope that is the case because I am over this funky, cold, and damp weather we have been experiencing in Louisiana as of late. Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us a reprieve today and provided us with a lovely day of sunshine and warmer temps before our next bout of rain comes early this week.

Emma & KatToday, the happy factor is not only limited to the groundhog, but also to the hedgehog. Yes, it is in fact National Hedgehog Day. Those cute, little critters share their special day with Phil. It also happens to be Super Bowl LIV. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs later this evening at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. However, while all these events are wonderful and provide a happiness boost to many, nothing compares to the biggest happiness boost for me on this day. Today is my beautiful niece’s birthday. Emma has officially turned sweet sixteen. She is not only beautiful and sweet, but she is also intelligent, vibrant, compassionate, and cheerful. Happy 16th Birthday Blessings to Emma! My only regret is that I cannot be with her today to celebrate.

Although February is starting off with a bang, I must address January 2020. Where did the first month of this year go? I’m astonished with how the rapidity of time has slipped by me with nothing much to show for it. Yet, I have done more last month than most Januarys of the past. Generally, the winter months with dreary weather and lack of extended sunlight hours often relegates me to hibernation after the workday. I surmise taking a weekly improv class (#7 on 20 for 2020 list) on Tuesday evenings, meeting with my acting coach most weeks, reading daily, and diligently sifting through paperwork to discard has contributed to time passing more quickly. My only regret is that I did not blog more.

Improv 1I thoroughly enjoyed the Level I Improv class, so much so, that I’ve decided to continue with Level II Improv this month. David Hamilton is an awesome teacher who makes the class interesting, challenging, and enjoyable. Every week builds from the previous week. I’m feeling more confident and less fearful when making choices, and I’m hoping to see that carry over in future auditions. My classmates are wonderful actors, and with the exception of one student Michael who will be traveling to Spain, our class will be together again to learn and play for the next session.

I read five books in January: The Institute by Stephen King, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, Count All Her Bones by April Henry, and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. I enjoyed all five of them, and I’m one book ahead of schedule for the Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge.

What are your plans on this gorgeous 02/02/2020, dear reader? I plan to bask in the sunlight and the hopefulness of an early spring, crack open a new novel to wile away a couple of hours, and await joyfully for anything else the day may offer. Happiness!

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~ Hal Borland

 

 

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My winter break ends today, and I’ll be back at work tomorrow morning. While I have several projects still left undone and didn’t get to connect with folks I had the best of intentions to get together with during the break, I did get to recharge. Now, I’m ready to leap into this new year and experience all it has to offer. I have PURPOSEFUL plans for 2020. For the third consecutive year, I have created a list of tasks/activities that I would like to complete to add more happiness to my life. Here is my 20 for 2020 list of which the last three items are carried over from last year:

1. Create a vision board.
2. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
3. Read So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer.
4. Try intermittent fasting (Clean & Lean).
5. Lose 20 pounds.
6. Get professional headshots.
7. Take an improv class.
8. Organize the home office.
9. Organize the kitchen pantry.
10. Learn ways of living sustainably to be more eco-friendly.
11. Try 20 new restaurants.
12. Buy new bras.
13. Write a will.
14. Find a new eye doctor to schedule an appointment.
15. Host a Bunco party.
16. Have a Summer of Poe.
17. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Workflow
18. Complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook.
19. Organize my master bedroom closet.
20. Run a 5K.

Purposeful

Other Plans for 2020:

  1. On Goodreads I joined the 2020 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. I met my goal of 50 books in 2019 on 31 December, so increasing my goal did not seem like a good idea.
  2. Shelly and I will be seeing Elton John in concert this June. I’m super excited that he decided to come back to New Orleans on his farewell tour.
  3. I will be attending my annual scrapbooking convention with my gal pals June 25th-June 28th.
  4. Andrew and I will be seeing the Impractical Jokers in August.
  5. I will strive to live each day with purpose.

Do you have plans in 2020, dear reader? Have you made some resolutions or a 20 for 2020 list? Does having a one-word theme appeal to you? If so, what word would you choose? Let me know what plans you have for 2020. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of this beautiful weekend. I’ll be at Shelly’s house watching the Saints game. Happiness!

“Everything God does is purposeful. And since God is in each of us, each of us has a purpose.” ~ Iyanla  Vanzant

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Finger Lakes Connected

Finger Lakes Connected connects consumers to local businesses.

Eat Think Wellness ᐈ Health, Wellness And Fitness Blog

Our blog provides dietary supplement reviews and health articles to help you make informed decisions to achieve your health, wellness and fitness goals.

Health Matters

Health matters at your finger tips

The Kat Files

Finding Adventure in Everyday Life

Never Alone

Empowering Oneself

Creating Websites From Scratch

HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

Get On With It

Writing and drawings about work, family and the stuff in-between

theleadlesspencil

Musings on the 3Rs: Reading, Running and t-Ravelling. Or anything else that makes me ponder.

Daniel J Bockman

Businessman, Author and Speaker

Li. A. Wake

Author and Screenwriter

dastardly.reads

procrastination.queen

This West London Life

Attempting to live a better story ... and scrapbooking it.

Ask Dr S.

Lifestyle, Performance, Physical Medicine

ilovemyhomebusiness.wordpress.com/

Helping families one family at a time.

From scene to seen

Adventures in time and space. My diary of film and TV locations I've visited across the world.