I am trying something new here. A few blogs I admire have weekly or monthly recaps where the writer talks about the goings on of their life, favorite products, activities, and general things they feel worth sharing. I enjoy reading when people share personal things like that, and maybe you do as well. So, I decided for the next year (2023) to do a monthly recap where I cover all things mentioned above, plus anything else you might be interested in. So, let’s give it a go.❤︎
2023 has been absolute insanity. I don’t want to lump the whole year together and throw it away with the “this isn’t my year” stamp of disapproval, but damn… Let’s chalk it up to January was not my shining month. I like to believe bad things happen to make room for all the good. 2022 was a great year, although it came with its own challenges. This year will be the same. Life is nothing without obstacles – they help us grow, build, learn, and understand things we may not have otherwise. All that being said, here’s what I have for you this month:
We’ve had a lot going on. Our move is happening at the end of the month, so naturally, I’ve been in full declutter mode for a few weeks now. I purchased this fantastic “Decluttering Planner Printable” through DesignStudioTeti on Etsy – link. Highly highly recommend it if you’re looking to declutter or reorganize your house.
Although it was work that didn’t just happen in one day, I had such a amazing sense of accomplishment after clearing out all the unnecessary items from our home. Things like board games, make-up/bathroom products, and random kitchen utensils started accumulating. Whenever I checked a box on the “declutter list,” clearing another space, I felt lighter.
My Essentials for Creating a Little Less Chaos & a Little More Tidy
- Decluttering Planner Printable by DesignStudioTeti: One of the reasons I loved DesignStudioTeti printable so much is it created a plan of action; rather than feeling overwhelmed by everything needing to be done, I had a list created for me.
- Novelinks Photo Case 4″ x 6″ Photo Storage: I purchased 3 of these guys, and I’m obsessed! I had photos all over the house from recent months to my grandmother’s childhood. It’s nice to have everything together.
- DYMO Label Maker
- Teskyer Big Capacity Pencil Case: I used this cutie case to hold all my pens and such after going through and throwing out all the ones drained of ink (which I definitely had been putting off).
- Stackable Bamboo Drawer Organizers for the bathroom drawers
I also made sure to set realistic goals for myself. Instead of trying to declutter my entire house in one day, I focused on completing one room at a time or one section/item at a time. That way, I could stay motivated and have enough energy to finish the project. Which I did. Yay!
My best friend lives in Whidbey, so I often visit to reconnect with her and explore the Pacific Northwest. Washington is truly one of my favorite places. The lush forests, majestic mountains, and rugged coastline create a landscape unmatched by any other region in the country. I’m surrounded by beauty, friendship, and love from the outdoors to the people whenever I visit.
As I said, I love Washington for its stunning beauty, but I also love Washington for the opportunity it provides to be outside. While there, I ran for the first time since my marathon. The air was misty gray and perfect. So I ran into town and grabbed a snack and a hot matcha – chef’s kiss.
My friend had some farm projects for us to do. So we cleaned the chicken coop and capped some pipes that previously froze and cracked. It was fun. We got what we needed to do and then a bookshop at one of the cutest bookstores on island Kingfisher.
Of course, I bought a few books, which admittedly went against one of the intentions I started for the year – no new books until I read a stack of one’s I already own…. oh well, I feel really good about my decision to cancel that intention.
It could be your own backyard, maybe it’s another state, or outside the country. What is your favorite place to visit?
Max had emergency surgery to remove a blockage (toy rubber) from his intestine. That has genuinely thrown this entire month into chaos. He wouldn’t eat for the first few days after surgery, no matter what I tried. We’re talking boiled chicken, roasted chicken, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, baby food (flavors like – turkey, chicken, and sweet potato), cottage cheese, greek yogurt, wet dog food, and wet cat food (as recommended by our vet). After that, he wouldn’t touch a thing.
The vet did not prescribe antibiotics. Which was odd, but we double-checked, and it was intentional. She said it was a “clean” surgery and he shouldn’t need antibiotics. Has this happened to anyone else?
Needless to say, he ended up with an infection. They gave us antibiotics and removed a stitch to help with the draining. Because our house is two stories, we’ve been sleeping downstairs with Max. Last night I forgot to put the baby gate on the stairs, not thinking he would try and go up there. He did.
We woke up at 4 am to give him meds, and the carpet looked like a crime scene.
He’s okay. The carpet is okay, aside from renting a carpet cleaner and OxyCleaning the hell out of it. We hired a professional carpet cleaning service to come in as well. Although, I hope whoever rents our house doesn’t disappear their spouse. With a little luminal, those floors will light up like a Christmas tree. I will spare you the photos, but it was crazy.
The whole experience has been challenging. As I write, this Max is at the vet again because of concerns regarding his infection. It brings back a lot of emotions from losing my Dad. The fear, the unknown, the instability, and the feeling that doctors are not being transparent. It may seem crazy to some of you, comparing my Dads experience with my dogs. But I know how the mistakes of humans can impact the lives of others; after all, doctors are humans. Unfortunately, their mistakes can cost lives.
I know this is different. I know that Max will be okay. And the reason you’re reading this now is that it all worked out. The antibiotics worked, and he is healthy again.
It’s just been a crazy, scary windy road, and man, am I glad that one’s over.
New Year, New Goals, Same Me
I love it when a new year begins and a unique opportunity for intention and goal-setting kicks off. With the new year, you’re also given the opportunity to reflect on your favorite things from the past year, memories and experiences, joys, and disruptions. Now is the time to make space for this reflection which we don’t often do in our everyday lives. And in so doing, I came up with these six 2023 goals for myself:
Writing Full Time | I am taking the year to write full-time. My number one goal for 2023 is to run full force in the direction of literary success. Which is, admittedly, a scary proclamation to make publicity.
Gardening Projects | I really want to get into gardening this year. Our “retirement” dream is to open an animal sanctuary and have a mini veggie farm. This year I want to focus on building my own garden beds and growing more of my own food. This shouldn’t be hard, considering “more” is any amount because I currently grow 0% of my own food. I will undoubtedly be sharing this journey with you on the blog. So be on the lookout for that.
Travel | Originally, I had a trip planned for Peru in March. However, due to the region’s civil unrest and aggressive protests, our group made the difficult but appropriate decision to cancel. But that doesn’t detour me from dreaming, planning, and conspiring at least one big trip, and this year I have my sights set on a December in London.
Fitness & Wellness Goals | Incorporate yoga routine into weekly schedule and maintain a workout routine that feels good for me and my body. All I want is to feel good in my body. I feel my most confident when I feel strong. But as I get older, how I “workout” and why I workout has changed. I want this year to reflect that.
Life-Long Learning | I love the term “life-long learner.” I have always identified with that, and it’s been easy because I’ve been in school for so long. But now that the tides have shifted, and I’m not pursuing my master’s this year, it’s important to me that I find other ways and resources to continue learning. I love MasterClass, and I am always on the lookout for quality non-fiction books. What’s the best non-fiction book you’ve read?
Making Time to Be Creative | My mind is in a healthy place when I am creating art. I want to make more space for that. I’ve always wanted to take a pottery class and make my own dishes. Has anyone out there taken a pottery class before? Would love to hear about your experience. I also have a habit of not filling sketchbooks before buying another. So, I would love to fill well this year.
What are your goals for 2023? Do you enjoy setting new goals each year?
5 Favorite Things
Every month I’m thinking of sharing my favorite things, things you may also enjoy, not because I think I’m some crazy influencer and that you’re dying to know everything about me, but because sometimes it’s fun to share what we enjoy with others in hopes they will enjoy it too.
And Things doesn’t necessarily mean products; they might be interesting/funny/entertaining articles, free resources, videos, or new routines.
1. The Best Year Journal | a little more in-depth than I was expecting it to be, this journal really prompts you to reflect on your previous year before thinking about the things to come.
2. Millie’s Sipping Broth | This lemon grass broth comes in little tea bag pouches. I am a broth gal. At times, I love sipping on mushroom broth in lieu of tea. I found these guys at a market in WA, and I am obsessed!
3. The docuseries Live to Lead, you can stream on Netflix right now. I’ve been on a documentary kick this month, trying to mix up my watching instead of watching the same episodes of Modern Family or Law and Order (SVU, of course) repeatedly. This series is incredibly inspiring and a good watch for anyone.
4. Free yoga series by Yoga with Adriene
5. Whitney Simmons final Gymshark collection – because it makes my body feel good, and strong, and I feel confident and cozy when I wear them.
January Book List
- A Court of Mist and Fury (book #2) by Sarah J. Maas (currently reading)
- Book Lovers by Emily Henry ★★★☆☆
- Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen ★★☆☆☆
- Spare by Prince Harry ★★★☆☆
- The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama ★★★★☆
- Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion by Jia Tolentino (currently reading)
Out of the 4 completed books I read this month, the one I would recommend the most is: Spare by Prince Harry ★★★☆☆ which seems a bit off considering The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama actually got my best rating; however, I think Spare was the most broadly reaching and controversial.
I’ve genuinely never been one to follow the royal family, and it was that fact that piqued my interest. I have no stakes. I neither like nor dislike the monarchy, and I was interested to know the workings and going’s on from a member themselves. Prince Harry shares more than you’d expect, and not in the ways you’d (or I) expect.
I am curious to know your thoughts on this book. Have you read it? What did you think? Do you have any interests in the royal family?
I recently partnered with Bookshop. A website alternative to Amazon, connecting readers with independent booksellers. When you make a purchase through my affiliation link I may earn a portion of the sales at no additional cost to you.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of the above-mentioned books, you can find them on my “Books of 2023” – here or by clicking the image below, which is a hyperlink to my bookshop page.
Also, in case you missed it – I am now hosting a book club, A Movie Lover’s Book Club. February’s book pick is A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman. You can find everything you need to know – here.
Post’s You May Have Missed
In case you didn’t notice, I was on top of it this month with the blog. I had a lot of posts to catch up on from previous trips and general interests just sitting in my draft folder.
Here’s what came out that you may have missed:
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post. It was fun to make, and I was able to capture and keep track of experiences over the month in a way I’ve not before. I would love to hear about your favorite things from January, books you’ve read, experiences you’ve had, and even the hard stuff too.