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Archive for the ‘Positive Living’ Category

Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to the beginning of 2023 and a blank slate ready for all sorts of adventures to develop and to be recorded throughout this upcoming year. I chose a one-word theme this year that will bring (something) into existence, cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions, (of an actor) originate a role by playig a character for the first time, and invest (someone) with a new rank or title. Keep reading for the one-word theme reveal.

I am also super excited about everything I have included on my 23 for 2023 List. Most of the items on my list are new; however, I did carry over eight items from last year that I did not complete but still feel like they are important enough to accomplish this year. Take a look at what I have planned for myself for 2023.

Kat’s 23 for 2023 List

  • 1. Schedule dental appointment (implant crown).
  • 2. Buy myself flowers quarterly.
  • 3. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.
  • 4. Buy two white bookcases for office.
  • 5. Buy a book cart.
  • 6. Deal with digital clutter (email, photos, documents).
  • 7. Organize home office.
  • 8. Organize home library.
  • 9. Write my personal manifesto.
  • 10. Write a will.
  • 11. Scrapbook monthly.
  • 12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.
  • 13. Learn StreamYard to host sprints on my YouTube channel.
  • 14. Host two Readathons on my YouTube channel (February/May).
  • 15. Read 23 Books that I did not get to in 2022.
  • 16. Have a Year of Christie (Agatha Christie).
  • 17. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  • 18. Read The Galveston Diet by Mary Claire Haver, M.D.
  • 19. Revisit Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin.
  • 20. Read Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam.
  • 21. Complete Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.
  • 22. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.
  • 23. Update theme (layout) for blog.

Other Fun Plans for 2023:

  • I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Outside23in23. Basically, you spend a total of 23 minutes outside every day in 2023. According to Gretchen Rubin, “Going outside boosts our physical and psychological health, gives us more time in nature, and helps us mindfully appreciate the moment and our senses.” Going outside every day will be an easy daily challenge for me because I LOVE so many characteristics about being outdoors. Some of the activities I plan on doing outside are ones I pretty much do every day already, such as walking for exercise, walking my dogs, reading, exploring nature, taking photographs, having outdoor adventures (at a park/zoo, in a city, or my own backyard). These are just a few of the activities I can do with so many other possibilities to add to my list.
  • On Goodreads, I joined the 2023 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 75 books this year. Follow me on Goodreads (Katherine Loyacano).
  • I will continue participating in the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.
  • I will participate in the FOMO Book Club on booktube.
  • I will be doing a Birthday Message Project in 2023. This will replace my Instagram projects I have done the last two years. Even though I will not be doing a specific project on Instagram, I will still be active on there. Follow me on Instagram (katherineloyacano).
  • I plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2023. This list is for goals or activities that I accomplished throughout the year but were not included on my original list. These accomplishments should be celebrated, too.

Last but certainly not least, I will continue creating videos for my Youtube channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. I released my first video for 2023, and it is all about my one-word theme and my 23 for 2023 list. Please consider subscribing to my channel in 2023, giving me a like, and leaving a comment.

There you have it, dear reader, lots of enjoyable plans for the new year. What do you have planned in 2023? Have you made some resolutions or a 23 for 2023 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? Mine is CREATE, and I cannot wait to start creating more happiness and joy in my life. I would love to know what your plans are for this year. You can comment on this post or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

“In order to be successful in the new year, stay focused, develop a positive attitude, and be passionate with your dreams.” ~ Bamigboye Olurotimi

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As promised, dear reader, I am sharing my TA-DA List for this year. 2022 has been a fantastic year for me! I am grateful for all of my adventures (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that I experienced and all of the wonderful memories I have made throughout the year.

I may not have completed my 22 in 2022 list; however, I kept myself busy with working, traveling, spending time with family and friends, reading, acting, and taking care of my health, family, and home.

TA-DA 2022

  • Health (Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, Nerve Test, Mammogram, Bloodwork + Yearly Doctor/Dental appointments)
  • Lunch dates, movie nights, and drink nights with friends and family
  • Instagram (Year of JOY Project)
  • Collabs with Kelsi (Year of King, Halloween, and Christmas)
  • Live Streams with Kelsi (books and horror movies)
  • Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club (run monthly with Kelsi; January-November)
  • Elton John Concert in NOLA with Shelly (January)
  • Matthew Morgan’s Actor Audition Workshop in MS with Brian and Maria (January)
  • Pokeno Sub (January and July)
  • Welcomed Luna to the Family (February)
  • Puppy Training Classes with Luna at Petco
  • Move-In Day for Helen (February)
  • Friends of the Library Book Sales with Andrew and Michelle (February/April/August/November)
  • Move-Back Home Day for Andrew (March)
  • Attended Plays (Puffs, Lion King, Hamilton, The Way We Say Goodbye, The Jungle Book)
  • Proctored/Supervised ACT at Southeastern University (February, April, October, and December)
  • Improv Workshops (April-Anubis; July-Rich Talarico)
  • Hand-Lettering Class (April)
  • Vera Cost in the mystery dinner theatre Phantom of the Columbia at the Columbia Theatre (April)
  • Travel (visited The Killians in Atlanta in May for Emma’s Graduation; visited NYC with Andrew in June)
  • Zombie Awareness Month (May)
  • Annual Crawfish Boil (May)
  • Van Gogh Immersive Experience with Barry (May)
  • Quit my job as an Instructional Coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School (May)
  • Subscribed to Beachbody on Demand (June); finished 4 fitness programs
  • Kaitlyn and Marc’s Engagement Party (June)
  • Scrapbooking (attended TAC Scrapbook Event with Shelly, Heather, and Donna in June)
  • Readings for The Jungle Book (June/July)
  • Oral Surgery: dental implant (June)
  • Summer Fun List (June-September)
  • 4th of July with Family @ Kerry and Natalie’s house (July)
  • Halloween Decor Shopping with Kelsi (August)
  • Volunteer at HGCS’s Book Fairs (August and November)
  • Buddy Read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle/Zoom Meeting Discussions with Rachel (August-November)
  • Anubis: Improv Level 1 8-Week Class (August-October)
  • Connie Khan in the mystery dinner theatre Murder! At the Disco at the Columbia Theatre (September)
  • L.M. Montgomery Readathon (September-November)
  • Fall Fun List (September-December)
  • Anubis: Improv Level 1 Showcase (October)
  • Fall Fun Day with Kelsi (October)
  • Octoberfest @ Gnarley Barley with friends (October)
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show with friends (October)
  • Sleepover with Michelle (October)
  • Launched YouTube Channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures (October)
  • Anubis: Improv Level 2 8-Week Class (October-December)
  • Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge (October-December)
  • Greta Van Fleet Concert in NOLA with Barry, Jr. (November)
  • Friendsgiving with high school friends @ Wendy’s house (November)
  • Cloak and Dagger Christmas Readathon (December)
  • Christmas Evil Readathon (December)
  • Anubis: Improv Level 2 Showcase (December)
  • Help Mrs. Billie with health-related issues (December)

As you can see, dear reader, 2022 was about making memories, having adventures, and spending time with family and friends. Even though I did not cross off every item on my 22 for 2022 list, I still feel like I accomplished a great deal in 2022. I am extremely grateful for being in good health and able to have all of these experiences this year. As I mentioned in last year’s post regarding my TA-DA List in 2021, “Although I am a planner by nature and love setting goals and making resolutions, I also enjoy learning and trying new activities. When opportunity knocked, I opened the door and accepted whatever adventure was across the threshold. Life is truly an adventure.” And, I still feel this way today as I reflect on 2022. Happiness!

“Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  ~  Albert Einstein

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Today is the day to reflect on my 22 for 2022 list! I chose CHANGE as my word for 2022, and there have been a few significant changes that have occurred in my life in 2022. My family and I said good-bye to our 13 1/2 year old dog Sophie when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge in early January. We unexpectedly welcomed Luna, a ten-week-old puppy, to our family in February. And, I quit my job as an Instructional Coach at HGCS in May. I only completed six items on my list this year and started the process of completing four others.

  • Time-track in January. YES
  • Tweak morning routine. YES
  • Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant). YES (April; implant process started in June)
  • Learn a 30-60 second monologue. YES (performed at auditioning workshop in January)
  • Buy a new vacuum cleaner. NO (suffering from decision fatigue; bag or bagless?)
  • Get wedding rings resized. NO (waiting on hubby to find jeweler)
  • Clean out and organize master closet. NO (procrastinating)
  • Plant new garden in front of the house. NO (procrastinating)
  • Purge paper and organize file cabinet. STARTED (plan to carry over to 2023)
  • Go paperless (bills and statements). STARTED (plan to carry over to 2023)
  • Scrapbook monthly. NO (only in June; not feeling it-making me sad)
  • Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook. NO (tried in June at event; too overwhelming)
  • Have a Year of King (Stephen King). YES (collaborated with Kelsi)
  • Update theme (layout) for blog. NO (suffering from decision fatigue; super disappointed)
  • Research video editing software. YES (sticking with iMovie until new laptop purchased)
  • Complete a puzzle. NO (kept forgetting; need a space; try again in 2023)
  • Write a will. STARTED (received paperwork; need to complete in 2023)
  • Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. YES (buddy read with Rachel)
  • Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. NO (disappointed; plan to try again in 2023)
  • Complete the WordPress Blogging course. NO (disappointed; plan to try again in 2023)
  • Take a WordPress Podcasting course. NO (did not make time; concentrated on YouTube instead)
  • Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow. STARTED (need to complete in 2023)

In addition, I participated in three reading projects which I am still participating in until the end of December. I did the #Read21in21 challenge again, where I read daily for 21 minutes. Instead of reading nonfiction like I did in 2021, I am reading children’s literature (middle-grade/young adult) books. I joined the Goodreads Challenge again and set my goal to read 50 books in 2022. I reached my Goodreads goal back in September and hope to complete 75 books this year. The children’s literature books read for #Read21in21 will be included in that total number of books. I also read 11 awesome books with members of my Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.

I participated in Collabs with Kelsi, participated in Frugal February, and posted joyful pictures regularly on Instagram for my Year of Joy Project. Finally, I kept a TA-DA list for 2022 which I will be sharing with you soon, dear reader. The only two extra projects, where I dropped the ball, were #Rest22in22 and #Walk20in20. I just did not commit to either one.

Overall, I think I did okay with my 22 for 2022 list considering a few of the changes in my life this year. I knew when I made my list last December that it was slightly ambitious, especially with us still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and COVID restrictions becoming almost nonexistent. I also had more acting and improv opportunities along with all the preparations for launching my own YouTube channel. Once you see my TA-DA list, dear reader, you will understand why I was not focusing all of my attention on my 22 for 2022 list. HA!

Currently, I am working on my 23 for 2023 list, and I think I have my new word for 2023 picked out. I usually reveal my one-word theme and yearly list in January, but I may try posting it earlier if I can get my act together. No promises, since I am up to my eyeballs in books for my December readathons and movies for my movie marathons. How did you do with your goals in 2022, dear reader? Happiness!

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ~ Bruce Lee

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Greetings, dear reader! Gretchen Rubin has created a Calendar of Catalysts, “a menu of dates to use as reminders to stop, evaluate, and plan.” According to Gretchen Rubin, July 2nd is Halfway Day. What a great day to spend a few moments reviewing your goals for the year! In my case, I reflected on my 22 for 2022 list.

My one-word theme for the year is CHANGE, and there have certainly been a few changes in my life so far this year. In January, my family and I said good-bye to our beloved 13.5-year-old German Shepherd Sophie. Surprisingly (especially for me), we welcomed a new puppy Luna into our family on 14 February. But, the biggest change this year has been my decision to quit my job as an Instructional Coach which ended this past May. Without a doubt, more changes are on the horizon for the remainder of this year, and I am actually excited about exploring the unknown and seeing where life takes me.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kat’s 22 for 2022 List

1. Time-track in January.

2. Tweak morning routine.

3. Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant).

4. Learn a 30-60 second monologue.

5. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.

6. Get wedding rings resized.

7. Clean out and organize master closet.

8. Plant new garden in front of the house.

9. Purge paper and organize file cabinet.

10. Go paperless (bills and statements).

11. Scrapbook monthly.

12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.

13. Have a Year of King (Stephen King).

14. Update theme (layout) for blog.

15. Research video editing software.

16. Complete a puzzle.

17. Write a will.

18. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.

19. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

20. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.

21. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.

22. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.

As you can see, I have not made much progress on my 22 for 2022 list. What have you been doing, Kat? Well, it turns out a puppy takes up A LOT of time. Luna is wonderful, sweet, and a momma’s girl; however, she is also high energy, high maintenance, and time-consuming. *SIGH* She is also not the only fur baby in the house.

I am reading a ton (35/50 books so far)! Kelsi and I are killing it with our Year of King project, and our book club continues to meet monthly. I have also been participating and exploring other projects that have cropped up since I made my list back in December. These opportunities may or may not impact where I end up at the end of the year, but I feel they are worth pursuing. Currently, I am working on a few of the items that I consider ongoing; they are just not fully completed, yet. These items include: #5, #7, #9, #10, #12, #13.

Finally, I created a Summer Fun List with all kind of activities I have been enjoying this summer. Plus, I tacked on It’s a Charming Life’s Summer Bucket List for more enjoyable summer activities. Clearly, I cannot help myself this summer. HA! The good news is I still have the second half of the year to finish my list. I am hopeful I can complete my list because I am NOT giving up!

There you have it, dear reader! What have you accomplished or not accomplished this year? Any surprises or regrets with how you have spent the first half of 2022? At this point, I can honestly say I have experienced more surprises than regrets. The key is to keep progressing daily towards those goals no matter how big or small the steps. Every step forward gets me closer to reaching my goals. Happiness!

“One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.” ~ Karen Casey

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Last year, I recorded my “Year of Gratitude” through pictures on Instagram with the intention of creating a physical scrapbook. I still fully intend to create that scrapbook; however, it may take me some time. In hindsight, I should have scrapbooked by the month to keep up with it. I am a SLOW scrapbooker. HA! It will include all the people, places, things, books, and experiences that I was essentially grateful for in my life during 2021. In all fairness to myself, I was not really sure how my project would evolve or if I’d even keep up with posting a daily picture. Now that the year has ended, I have some ideas.

As part of my #Read21in21 Challenge last year, I read Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee (December). I realized shortly after reading it that the pictures I posted for my gratitude project were of people, places, and things that brought be a great deal of joy and provided me with lots of happiness boosts. I loved documenting my Year of Gratitude so much, I decided to do another project for 2022, Year of JOY.

Now, I have been taking joyful pictures since the new year started, but I am a bit behind on posting them on Instagram. I will catch up in the coming weeks. I recently read a post, “JOYSPOTTING 101” on Lee’s blog called The Aesthetics of Joy where I downloaded her Joyspotter’s Guide for free. According to Ingrid Fetell Lee, “Joyspotting is a simple practice of tuning your attention to the joy in your surroundings.” Additionally, I joined her 7-day Joy Jumpstart program. It is self-guided, so I can work on it at my own pace which is generally a snail’s pace. Furthermore, I have requested to join Lee’s FaceBook group, The Joyspotters Society. I think this group will add more joy to my year.

In addition to joyspotting, which is physically seeing something you could not see before, I will also be joyfinding. What is the difference? For me, joyspotting is finding joy in the wild. It is unexpected, a joyful surprise. However, the more joy you SPOT, the more noticeable it will become in your life. Whereas joyfinding, in my opinion, is something acquired or that you already own (a physical object); it is already a part of your life (a person, a fur baby, your home), or it is something abstract like love. You basically FIND joy interacting with people, places, or things that already exist in your life or expecting to experience at some point in your day, month, or year. Either way, the goal is to experience more JOY in 2022.

Dear reader, you bring me joy every time you stop by to read my blog posts. I hope your year is off to a spectacular start. It is hard to believe that January is almost over. I finished my time-tracking challenge scheduled for 10 January-16 January but decided to track my time for an additional week which will end tomorrow night. I will share my results with you soon. Also, if anyone is interested, Kelsi and I will be hosting our live discussion on Misery tomorrow 23 January at 2:00 PM CT. Click the link below to set a reminder. In the meantime, I hope you have a joyful weekend. Happiness!

“You have a whole world of joy right at your fingertips. There’s no method you need to learn, no discipline you need to impose on yourself. The only requirement is what you already have: an openness to discovering the joy that surrounds you.” ~ Ingrid Fetell Lee

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Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to the beginning of a new year with endless opportunities waiting for us to experience, explore, and embrace. I am excited about 2022 for many reasons which will emerge as this year unfolds.

CHANGE is my word for 2022. I have been craving change for my life for quite some time, and Hurricane Ida has inspired me to engage change. Today, I am enthusiastically embarking on a journey to change several areas of my life.

In addition, I created a 22 for 2022 list with my aims for the new year. Most of the items on my list are new; however, I did carry over six items from last year that I did not complete but feel they will encourage me to make changes this year. Take a look at what I have planned for myself for 2022.

Kat’s 22 for 2022 List

1. Time-track in January.

2. Tweak morning routine.

3. Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant).

4. Learn a 30-60 second monologue.

5. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.

6. Get wedding rings resized.

7. Clean out and organize master closet.

8. Plant new garden in front of the house.

9. Purge paper and organize file cabinet.

10. Go paperless (bills and statements).

11. Scrapbook monthly.

12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.

13. Have a Year of King (Stephen King).

14. Update theme (layout) for blog.

15. Research video editing software.

16. Complete a puzzle.

17. Write a will.

18. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.

19. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

20. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.

21. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.

22. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.

Other Plans for 2022:

  1. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Rest22in22. Basically, you rest for 22 minutes every day in 2022. According to Gretchen Rubin, “Research shows that rest is an essential element of working well and working smart. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking time to rest can refresh the mind, boost productivity and focus, and replenish mental energy.” Rest will look different to me from day to day depending on my schedule for the day; however, rest could be taking a nap, meditating, reading, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting on my front porch, or talking with a friend.
  2. On Goodreads, I joined the 2022 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. Follow me on Goodreads (Katherine Loyacano).
  3. I will continue reading daily (#Read21for21) for at least 21 minutes per day, so no day goes by without having read something for pure enjoyment. Instead of reading nonfiction books during this allotted time, I have chosen to read children’s literature. This will allow me to track the number of books I read during that time frame and read the piles of unread books I currently own in that category.
  4. I will continue participating in the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.
  5. I will continue doing Collabs with Kelsi. Our collabs can be viewed on her YouTube channel, Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel. Consider subscribing to Kelsi’s channel in 2022.
  6. I will continue my walking streak and walk daily for at least 20 minutes (#Walk20in20).
  7. I will participate in Frugal February again. This is a NO spend month.
  8. I plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2022. This list is for goals or activities that I accomplished throughout the year but were not included on my original list. These accomplishments should be celebrated, too. 
  9. In 2021, I did an Instagram project called #yearofgratitude2021 which I plan to scrapbook. I posted a picture every day of someone or something I am grateful for in my life. This year, my Instagram will focus on JOY and is called #yearofjoy2022. Follow me on Instagram (katherineloyacano).

As you can see, dear reader, I have quite a bit planned for this year. What do you have planned in 2022? Have you made some resolutions or a 22 for 2022 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? I would love to know what your plans are for this year. You can comment on this post or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

“If you are going to reach your goals and create the life you desire, you will have to make new choices that will lead you to new actions.” ~ Debbie Ford

Note: I do not own the image in this post, nor do I claim to own this image. 

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Many of you know I am a superfan of Gretchen Rubin and her work on happiness and good habits. On her podcast back in September of 2017, she talked about writing a “TA-DA list” if you are feeling dragged down by your to-do list. This year, I decided to keep a TA-DA List of activities I participated in or endeavors I accomplished throughout 2021, so I would not beat myself up too much for not completing everything on my 21 for 2021 list which I reviewed yesterday on my blog.

TA-DA 2021

  • Instagram (Year of Gratitude Project)
  • Collabs with Kelsi (Movie Musicals, Holiday Horror, Zombie Awareness Month, Slashers, Fear Street Trilogy, Halloween, Christmas…check out her fantastic channel for horrorific content)
  • Live Streams with Kelsi (books and horror movies)
  • Became Mr. Mike’s Godmother at the Easter Vigil (attended weekly RCIA classes with him; huge honor)
  • Travel (visited Helen in Colorado in April; visited my Aunt Carolyn and cousins in Utah in July)
  • Scrapbooking (attended TAC Scrapbook Event with Shelly, Heather, and Donna in June)
  • Weekly lunches with friends and family (part of summer fun list)
  • Created the Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club with Kelsi (meet and greet was in April; monthly Zoom meetings)
  • Zombie Awareness Month
  • Completed Level 3 Improv Class (in-person in June)
  • Improv Showcase with The Improvables (June)
  • Friday the 13th Date Night with the Hubster (August)
  • Survived Hurricane Ida (still dealing with the aftermath; currently in recovery mode)
  • Survived Tendonitis in my right wrist (finally had to get the shot)
  • Welcomed Ice Cream Bar to the Family
  • Halloween Decor Shopping with Kelsi (October)
  • Vlogs (Hurricane Ida, First Day of Fall, Halloween Decor Shopping/Thematic Fun Day with Kelsi)
  • Halloween ReadaThon
  • Mrs. Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill, at the Columbia Theatre (October/November)
  • Successfully throwing Mrs. Billie a surprise 90th birthday party
  • Halloween Fun List
  • Christmas Fun List
  • Christmas Evil Challenge

As you can see, dear reader, I kept busy in 2021 even though I did not cross off every item on my 21 for 2021 list. I am absolutely grateful for all of my experiences this year. Every single one of them carried a blessing into my life, making it richer and creating wonderful memories. Although I am a planner by nature and love setting goals and making resolutions, I also enjoy learning and trying new activities. When opportunity knocked, I opened the door and accepted whatever adventure was across the threshold. Life is truly an adventure. Happiness!

Ta-da list: I was surprised to learn that many people get very fired up by making a ta-da list. By reminding themselves of everything they’ve already accomplished, they find the drive to continue.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

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Today is the first day of my much-needed winter break. What a perfect day to reflect on my 21 for 2021 list! I chose FOCUS as my word for 2021, and for most of the year, I did a pretty good job. I completed nine items on my list and sort of completed two others.

  • Manage time. YES (accomplished this item by periodically tracking my time and then scheduling my time weekly)
  • Maintain a regular fitness regimen. YES (accomplished this item by walking at least 20 minutes daily)
  • Create weekly meal plans. SORT OF (only during the nine-week Fast Burn Challenge; beneficial)
  • Eat more vegetables. YES (proud of this accomplishment; tried new recipes; will continue)
  • Try intermittent fasting for one month (Clean & Lean). YES (accomplished with Fast Burn; same author; continued intermittent fasting since the Fast Burn Challenge; beneficial)
  • Declutter and organize each room in my house. NO (too ambitious; need to be more concrete)
  • Write a will. NO (procrastinating and don’t have any clue why)
  • Try one NO spend month. (accomplished this – Frugal February; beneficial; will do this again in 2022)
  • Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. NO
  • Complete The Four Tendencies course (Gretchen Rubin). NO
  • Read Atomic Habits by James Clear. YES (accomplished this item; beneficial; recommend to anyone who wants to develop good habits)
  • Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. NO
  • Create a vision board. NO (procrastinating)
  • Take a WordPress Blogging course. YES (still working on this course; like the P2 community; made a friend across the pond, fellow blogger Rita; beneficial; renewed for 2022)
  • Take a WordPress Podcasting course. NO (did not make the time; renewed for 2022)
  • Purchase podcasting equipment. NO
  • Complete Write a Bestseller course (Jeff Goins). NO
  • Try 12 new restaurants (one per month). YES (not one per month, none in February, September, or December; 18 new restaurants for the entire year; 4-Colorado and 4-Utah)
  • Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow. NO (disappointed that I did not accomplish this item; will attempt in 2022, especially since I will be doing another Instagram project)
  • Scrapbook at least two times per month. SORT OF (January, February, March, June; needs to be a priority for 2022)
  • Learn how to use my Cricut Maker. YES (thanks to Shelly; took online workshop; beneficial)

Additionally, I participated in two reading challenges which I am still participating in until the end of December. I joined Gretchen Rubin, her sister Liz, and the rest of the Happier community in the #Read21in21 challenge where I read daily for 21 minutes. I read only nonfiction books for this challenge. I joined the Goodreads Challenge again and set my goal to read 50 books in 2021. The nonfiction books read for #Read21in21 will be included in that total number of books. In addition, I kept a TA-DA list for 2021. I will be sharing more information on all three of these activities in the coming days.

Overall, I think I did pretty well with my 21 for 2021. I knew when I made my list last December that it was a bit ambitious, especially with all the courses. However, once COVID restrictions relaxed with vaccination numbers increasing, I was not much of a homebody like I was in 2020. In addition, the impact of Hurricane Ida on my home and in my community affected some of my plans. I am still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that our home will be back in order soon (praying for January), and Andrew will be back in his bedroom before the start of the spring semester at SLU. We FINALLY got a new roof last Friday, and sheetrock installation in Andrew’s room happened on Saturday.

I am currently working on my 22 for 2022 list and will reveal it and my new word for the year in January 2022. In the meantime, dear reader, for the rest of today, I will read, go for a walk, watch television, basically enjoy the first day of my winter break. Happiness!

“Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it, but your arrow may fly far higher than if aimed at an object on a level with yourself.” ~ J. Howes

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On the first Saturday of October, Kelsi and I spent the entire day together (which spilled over into the evening) hanging out and participating in many Halloween-related activities.

We created a vlog of our jam-packed day, and I want to share it with you today, dear reader. It includes us enjoying a scrumptious lunch at La Madeleine: French Bakery and Cafe, shopping for Halloween decor, baking cookies, and so much more.

Kelsi and I are collaborating on a few more Halloween activities. In fact, tomorrow, 09 October at 3:00 p.m. Central Time, we will be having a LIVE CHAT on Kelsi’s YouTube channel. Our discussion will be about Stephen King’s book, Cycle of the Werewolf and a review of its movie adaptation, Silver Bullet. Of course, we will also sprinkle in all things related to Halloween. I’ve included the link to remind you to join us. It should be a lively discussion.

I am having an awesome time vlogging. I loved working in television, and vlogging is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate my television knowledge and skills in creating content. One of my goals in the near future is to get editing software, so I can edit my own vlogs. Kelsi has been sweet enough to help me out with the ones I have done solo which I am extremely grateful; however, she is super busy between her day job, Halloween-related activities, and creating content for her YouTube channel. It is the logical next step in my creative journey.

As I am wrapping up, a special shout out to Simon, mon frere, who is having a birthday today. He and I have been friends since the 10th grade. What a blessing he is to me! And, later this weekend, I will reveal some exciting news. No, I am not pregnant. Yes, it has something to do with my creative journey. Enjoy your weekend, dear reader. Happiness!

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

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What a busy week! So many adventures, surprises, and milestones happened throughout the past week. I had to take my car to the dealership to check on an emissions leak that turned out to be nonexistant. I received an Easter surprise from my dear friends, the Picone family. I hit the one year mark of walking daily for at least 20 minutes per day (walking streak). Kelsi and I had a ZOOM meeting to finalize details before we launch our virtual book club on April 1st. I got my 2nd COVID shot. And, Sophie, my German Shepherd, turned 13 years old. What a blessed life!

Not only has the past week been busy and a blessing, but the first quarter of the year has also proven to be stellar. I have some PROPS and FLOPS for the first three months. As you know, dear reader, I created a 21 for 2021 list with goals, activities, and courses that I want to accomplish this year. For the first quarter, I chose seven items to work on during January, February, and March. I’m happy to report that I get props for six of the items on my list with only one item being a flop.

PROPS

First of all, I completed #11 (Read Atomic Habits by James Clear) and #8 (One NO spend month). I picked up some great strategies to build good habits from Atomic Habits and saved some money during Frugal February. I now subscribe to Clear’s weekly newsletter to continue receiving terrific information and inspiration about habits, and I plan to do another NO spend month later in the year since it was a vast victory.

#1 (Manage Time) is going well. I schedule my time weekly, and it has been quite effective. #4 (Eat more vegetables) has been a huge success thanks to my hubster. He enjoys cooking way more than I enjoy it, so he has been the one cooking the new veggie recipes. He definitely deserves the props for this item. #14 (Take a WordPress Blogging Course) is going smoothly. I am half way through the course and have picked up some helpful tips. I anticipate completing the course next quarter. #20 (Scrapbook at least two times per month) has been a delightful way to spend my time. I’ve been catching up on the journaling portion of Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. All of these items are ongoing, so they will appear again on my 2nd quarter list.

I’m happy to report that the various schedules that I created back in January, with the exception of one, have been working really well. I’ve been wholeheartedly sticking to my housekeeping schedule and course schedule. As for my self-care schedule, I have (for the most part) been sticking to everything in that category. My daily routine (#Read21in21, Walk 20 for 2021, gratitude journal, and daily Instagram photo) is an enormous happiness boost, and I look forward to it every day.

Finally, I must mention that I have engaged in some additional fun and fulfilling activities this first quarter. I completed one movie marathon in February and started another one in March that will conclude in April. I am participating in RCIA at St. Margaret Church where I am sponsoring Mr. Mike (Shelly’s step-dad). He will become a member of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, and I will become his Godmother. I’ve been involved in a project called Tranquility by Tuesday with the author, Laura Vanderkam, who writes about time management. And, last but not least, I’ve been working with Kelsi to create a Horror Book Club which will launch this upcoming Thursday. There is still time to take a survey (deadline on March 31st) and help us choose our book club name.

FLOPS

My one flop this quarter was #6 (Declutter and organize each room in my house). I created a decluttering schedule back in January that would have me decluttering and organizing one room in my house each month. Needless to say, it was ambitious and unrealistic to think I could tackle such a monumental item, even broken down into smaller tasks, with everything else I want to accomplish this year while also working a day job. Does that mean I am abandoning this item on my 21 for 2021 list? Absolutely NOT! However, I have set it aside for the time being until I can shed some of my other responsibilities.

My other flop is minor but still needs to be addressed. Since Daylight Saving Time has started, I have not been going to bed on time. I can now walk later in the evenings which puts more pep in my step, and I stay up later doing all sorts of wonderful things. Thus on Friday evenings, I am in bed and asleep by 8:00 p.m. because I basically run out of steam. I need to practice better self-care and adhere to my bedtime, so I do not get sick.


Not too shabby, dear reader. I am pleased with my progress and productivity. So many activities and adventures await me in April. The second quarter will mean the end of some events and the beginning of others, including a book club, Easter break, and summer break. Anticipation, what a glorious feeling! Happiness!

Easter Surprise from Jeff, Joanna, and Jackson

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” ~ Jonas Salk

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