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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

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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My Daddy and I recently took a road trip to Atlanta (12-16 May) to visit my sister and her family for my niece Emma’s graduation from high school. I have been to Atlanta several times over the last 18 years, but this was the first time I drove there. Taking a road trip with me behind the steering wheel is 100% out of my comfort zone; however, I refuse to let that stop me from going on an adventure. If you remember, dear reader, I drove my Daddy and me to Kentucky to visit my Uncle Manuel back in September 2020. Besides, my Daddy does not like to fly anymore because he always ends up getting sick; therefore, I sucked it up and volunteered to drive us there and back. We left on Thursday, 12 May around 9:00 in the morning. Although driving to Atlanta was a piece of cake, driving through the city of Atlanta is no picnic. The last 15 minutes of our journey was daunting, but we prevailed. I am super happy we made the trip.

We arrived at the Killian homestead around 7:30 p.m. Atlanta time. Atlanta is an hour ahead of Louisiana. We were greeted warmly with smiles, hugs, and BBQ. My last trip to Atlanta was for Emma’s Confirmation back in November 2019. My Daddy’s last trip was Thanksgiving 2021 with Barry, Jr. (my oldest son). We all hung out and caught up for the remainder of the evening. On Friday, Emma and Lee had graduation festivities to attend and my sister had to work, which was great, since I also had to do some work for HGCS. My Daddy binged-watched the Jack Reacher series. Later that evening, since Lee and Emma were attending a graduation party, Rachel ordered Chinese food for us. I finally took a ride in her elevator. It is really cool to have an elevator in your house. We took a ride up to the attic. Instead of a skeleton in the closet, they have a skeleton in the attic.

On Saturday afternoon, Emma and I went shopping for clothes at a boutique called Vestique and book shopping at Barnes and Nobles. Emma is a voracious reader like me. Of course, we could not leave the bookstore without me buying us books and Starbucks. My evening was spent watching a horror movie called The Twin with Emma and her friend Marissa in the home theater. It is even cooler to have a home theater in your house, especially with comfy chairs. Austin does not care for scary movies, so he left quickly after the movie started. HA! A scary dog instead of a scary cat.

Sunday rolled around for the big day, Emma’s high school graduation from Pace Academy. We all woke up early, got dressed, and headed out to Pace Academy’s Sports Complex. It was an outdoor graduation. Thankfully, it had stopped raining before we arrived, and we encountered cooler temps for the majority of the ceremony. My heart swelled with joy watching Emma walk on the field to take her seat among her classmates. I got a little teary-eyed watching her receive her high school diploma. I am proud of my sweet, talented, and beautiful niece who also happens to be my goddaughter. In the fall, she will be attending Santa Clara University in California.

After graduation, we all went to eat lunch at Del Frisco’s Grille in downtown Atlanta. We started off with Cheesesteak Eggrolls and Del’s Deviled Eggs. Rachel and I each got an entree and split them. I ordered Strawberry Cobbler French Toast, and she ordered Braised Shortrib Hash. The food was excellent! Then, we all went back to the house. Emma had two graduation parties to attend (one in the afternoon and one in the evening). Lee helped host the afternoon party. It was nice to just relax after all the graduation festivities, especially with having to drive home early the next morning.

On Monday morning at 6:30 a.m., my Daddy and I said our good-byes to Rachel and Lee, thanked them for their hospitality, and got on the road heading towards Louisiana. I dropped my Daddy off at his house at 1:30 p.m. and arrived back home at 2:30 p.m. Louisiana time. What a wonderful road trip, graduation, and time with family!

The school year officially ended on Friday, 20 May along with my job as the instructional coach at HGCS. The closing of this school year ends a chapter in my work life. Technically, I have retired from the world of elementary education. One would think I was whooping it up as I left the school parking lot; however, I felt exactly the way I always feel on the last day of school – free and thrilled for the onset of summer break. The “whooping it up” will eventually happen, during the last week of July, when all of my teacher friends are going back to school to attend PLC meetings and to get their classrooms ready. I will not only feel relief at that moment in time, but I will also feel excitement and joy because I will be embarking on my next adventure.

My summer break kicks off tomorrow morning, dear reader. I will begin decluttering and organizing my home, starting with my scrapbook room which is a total disaster. Luna is getting spayed on Tuesday and will be out of the house until Wednesday afternoon, so I plan to take advantage of that time to get my scrapbook materials organized and my photos ordered for my annual scrapbooking event that I am attending with my girlfriends in June. I have quite a few activities and appointments scheduled this summer, especially throughout the month of June. I will be making memories, practicing self-care, and preparing for the next chapter of my life. Happiness!

“The two most joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school.” ~ Alice Cooper

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Daylight Saving Time begins TODAY! I am thrilled, dear reader. Crossing this threshold of the year is the kick in the pants I need to get moving and grooving, especially after the challenges of COVID, Hurricane Ida, and the dark, wintery season. I am ready to tackle the remaining days of this school year, to get back walking on a more regular basis, and to announce some changes in my life that will be taking place soon. Frankly, I could not be more excited about the time change.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Helen and I went to the movies to see The Batman. This is the film where Robert Pattinson plays Batman and has to outwit the Riddler. It was awesome, and I love Pattinson as Batman. Do you know what is more awesome than the movie? Helen has officially moved back to Louisiana after living out of the state for 12 years. YES! In addition, she lives in Hammond, which is super close to where Shelly and I live, so we get to see her all the time. We have all been friends since high school.

This weekend, our area experienced a cold snap after weeks of warmer temperatures. Normally, I would be bummed, especially since I just put my plants back on the porch last weekend. However, it gave us a pleasant opportunity for my hubby to build a fire in our fireplace. This is the first weekend, this entire winter season, that we could enjoy a cozy fire in the fireplace. When Hurricane Ida caused the tree to hit our house, it knocked off our chimney stack. We just got it reinstalled this past Tuesday. What an unexpected treat!

The day is young, and I am looking forward to accomplishing a few tasks, attending a Baby Sprinkle for my friend Melissa, and going for a walk in the beautiful sunshine. What are your plans on this Sunday, dear reader? Whatever you choose to do, I hope it brings you some joy. Happiness!

“With the coming of spring, I am calm again.” ~ Gustav Mahler

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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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I woke up yesterday morning in my own bed at home filled to the brim with gratitude after spending an incredible week in Utah with my sweet Aunt Carolyn and my awesome cousins. Their hospitality was AMAZING, the mountains were beautiful, and the memories will last for a lifetime. My Aunt Carolyn is one of my favorite people on the planet. We always have lots to talk about, and we pick up where we left off, like no time has passed since the last time we saw each other or talked to one another on the phone.

The only two people missing from this visit were my cousin Max, who now lives in San Antonio, and my charming Uncle Charles, who passed away three years ago. Uncle Charles was one of my Daddy’s older brothers and Aunt Carolyn’s sweetheart. Thankfully, I was able to visit his place of rest to tell him how much he is missed. He loved to tell stories and jokes. I always enjoyed spending time with him.

The last time I was physically in Utah was back in June of 2000 when my Daddy, my hubby, and me flew to the beehive state. With my Aunt Carolyn turning 80 years old in November 2020, and it being seven years (yikes!) since I had last seen my family from Utah at my cousin Max’s wedding in San Antonio, I knew it was time for a visit. I sent a message to my cousin Karen, who Aunt Carolyn lives with these days (in her beautiful basement apartment), and we set a date for me to come stay with them.

Back Row: (Daddy, Karen, Kat) and Front Row: (Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Charles, Barry, Sr.)

The week started off with my friend Kathryn and I traveling together. We flew out of the NOLA airport early Monday morning (12 July), changed planes in Houston, and landed in Salt Lake City before noon. While I was visiting my family in Tooele (about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City), she was visiting her daughter and son-in-law in Salt Lake City.

Karen and Aunt Carolyn retrieved me from the airport, and my vacay in Utah was underway. This trip to Utah was all about spending time with family. Karen is married to John, and they have three terrific children (Samantha aka Sam or Sami, Zach, and Taylor). The last time I was in Utah, they were all young children.

Zachary, Taylor, and Samantha

On Monday and Tuesday while Karen and John were at work, my Aunt Carolyn and I hung out at the house or ran errands in Salt Lake City or Tooele. We ate lunch at Applebee’s on Monday and Chili’s on Tuesday. On Monday evening, Karen picked up pizzas on her way home for dinner. She bought them from Papa Murphy’s Pizza where they make fresh from scratch pizza that can be baked, grilled, or smoked at home. I had a couple of slices of pepperoni pizza along with salad and a breadstick. The meal was delicious! Sam along with her adorable three-year-old twins, Carsen and Cory, joined us for dinner.

On Tuesday evening, Karen and Sam cooked dinner for all of us which was yummy (pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans). I got to spend some more time with the twins. They are so much fun! Zach, his wife Teshia, and their adorable baby Maverick joined us for dinner. Zach has a lovely family. Later that evening, Taylor and I took the family dogs, Hobbs and Murphy, for a walk around the neighborhood. Even on vacation, I need to keep up my walking streak, and Taylor was the perfect walking buddy.

On Wednesday morning, Karen went with the twins to swim lessons because Sam, who is pregnant with her third baby, had a doctor’s appointment. Afterwards, Karen, Aunt Carolyn, and I had lunch at American Burgers which is one of Aunt Carolyn’s favorite places to eat. I ordered a BLT (my favorite sandwich) which was tasty. Later, Karen took us for a scenic drive. I love the mountains! We passed through Pine Canyon, and when returning to the house, we stopped above Deer Hollow; then, we rode through some neighborhoods where we spotted lots of deer. Deer are beautiful creatures. Utah is unfortunately experiencing a drought, so they’ll come down from the mountains searching for water. In fact, recently, Karen filled up a baby pool for a deer that wandered in her backyard. Her kind gesture was greatly appreciated.

Later that evening, I went out to dinner with Aunt Carolyn and her girlfriends from church. Her friend Cindy provided transportion for us as well as for Joyce, Janine and Janine’s daughter Barbara. Joanne met us at the restaurant, Los Primos (formerly Stockton Miners Cafe), which is located in a nearby town called Stockton. Karen had driven us to Stockton earlier in the day on our sightseeing adventure. I decided to order breakfast for dinner (French toast with two sausage links, an egg, and coffee). I was so excited about the French toast that I forgot to take a picture when I first got my food. HA! The food was awesome and the company was wonderful. Aunt Carolyn’s friends are cool, and I was thankful to be included in their outing. Back at Aunt Carolyn’s place, I walked around the neighborhood (definitely needed a walk after all those carbs). I spotted some quail in a neighbor’s driveway before heading inside. Sam and the twins had come over, so I was able to see them for a little bit. After they left, I hung out with Karen and John. Karen and I stayed up pretty late talking that night. What a delightful day!

On Thursday after noon, we drove to Salt Lake City and spent time at This Is The Place Heritage Park. I am writing a separate post about this excursion later this week. This is the day that I finally got to meet Sam’s husband Michael. Stay tuned!

On Friday morning, I walked around the neighborhood before breakfast since we were having a big family gathering in the evening. Karen had to work, so Aunt Carolyn and I ran a bunch of errands and ate lunch at Jim’s Family Restaurant. I ordered breakfast for lunch (avocado, mushroom, and cheese omelette with hashbrowns and coffee). Scrumptious! On the way back to Karen’s house, we stopped at the cemetary to visit Uncle Charles’s grave. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend his funeral because I was out of town for a professional development conference for work. Back at the house, I spent the afternoon getting organized for my departure on Saturday morning. I also spent some quality time with Murphy. Both of Karen’s dogs are super loveable.

Friday evening was FANTASTIC! My cousin Scott and his wife Kim came to the house for dinner with their three children. Zach, his family, Michael and Carsen were all there. Sadly, we were missing Sam and Cory. Cory was feeling unwell, so Sam and Michael decided that he should stay home for the evening. It was an enjoyable evening spent eating fabulous food (everything was sooooo yummy), engaging in carefree conversations, and taking family photos. Karen’s savory macaroni salad and mouthwatering key lime pie were a hit with my taste buds. Scott’s daughter Tylee made a delicious chocolate cake that I thoroughly enjoyed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (and chocolate sauce). I definitely splurged this week. Carsen came inside to find me, so I could see the rainbow she spotted in the sky. What a perfect way to end such an amazing week!

Well, dear reader, Saturday morning arrived too quickly. Michael drove Aunt Carolyn and me to the airport where we said our final good-byes. It was time for me to meet Kathryn for our returning flight to Louisiana. What an incredible visit with Aunt Carolyn and my Utah cousins! This trip was assuredly well-spent with some of my favorite people. I felt so welcomed and enjoyed everything that was done for me to make this visit special. The hospitality, generosity, and thoughtfulness of my extended family will never be forgotten. Happiness!

Kat and Kathryn at the Utah Airport (heading back to Louisiana)

“The memories we make with our family is everything.” ~ Candace Cameron Bure

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