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Happy New Year!
How can it be 2019 already?
I remember when I was in high school and the year 2000 seemed like an age I would never see.
Not because I was reckless or irresponsible (well, maybe a little), but because I was 17 and the year 2000 seemed like an age from a science fiction movie…not something that could really happen and would be upon us before we even knew it.
And now here it is 2019, many, many birthdays later and it feels like it all happened in a blink. Where does the time go? And how do we make it slow down?
If anyone has that answer, please lemme know, k?
If you’re like me, every email you’re receiving this month is centered around starting over, or new beginnings, or clutter control, with some healthy recipes sprinkled on top. And if you still subscribe to magazines, you’ll probably realize January’s issue is noticeably thinner than other months.
Why is that?
I personally think it’s because we are all so burned out from the rush of the Christmas holidays, and the overeating and over drinking, and possibly overspending, that we just can’t fathom the idea of even taking the time to turn more than 25 pages in a magazine, or even look at another cube of butter, or barely bat an eyelash at one more holiday cocktail recipe.
We want less mess, less cooking, less responsibility. A new start!
That’s my theory, anyway.
And while I’d like to tell you this newsletter will be inherently different than those other ones you might be reading this month, I think you might still find some similar themes within my paragraphs.
However, mine will be cooler.
And much more interesting.
And will make you a highly sought after person of influence.
Okay, maybe these are teenie fibs, but stay with me. I think you might find something of interest.
Here’s something you may not know about me: I love organizing things.
And I truly mean that.
Bookshelves, cabinets, drawers, wood piles (eh…what?), socks, shoes, spices, you name it, I can probably organize it…it’s just the way I’m wired I guess.
So it probably comes as no surprise that I love planners and calendars and all types of journals and organizers — but only the ones that you have to actually write in.
I can’t do the electronic, app-based planners.
Oh I’ve tried to use my phone’s calendar. And I’ve tried calendar apps. But I just could never get into them.
For me, there is something magical about actually writing down the event on the calendar square with the date, and then drawing a line through it when the thing is done that just makes my brain so dang happy.
I know. It’s the little things, right?
So this time of year, I try to think ahead about some aspects of life, and put them into a planner.
- Deadlines for work
- Birthdays and anniversaries
- Children’s sporting events (can I get an amen!)
- School productions
- Dental and medical checkups
- Important financial deadlines (i.e. April 15th, baby!)
And once I have those in the planner, I add a few other important dates.
- Trips and/or vacations I would like to take
- Personal monthly goals for work
- Bucket list revisions for the year
- Books I’d like to read
- November Nanowrimo for my next book
- Hikes I would like to take
- New places to visit in Oregon
- Birthday gift ideas
- Christmas gift ideas
And even if I don’t actually visit any of the places I’ve put down on my list, or meet all of my work goals, it’s still nice to get the information out of my brain and onto paper.
I feel like the act of writing it down opens up additional space in my frontal lobe. Space that allows me to remember more important things…like the names of my children, for example. Or where I parked at Target. Or the fact that I’m out of cereal…again.
In case you are interested in taking a look at some of the forms I use for these yearly calendar events, I’ve attached a few of them below. Check ’em out!
Birthday planner page
Birthday gift planner
Christmas gift planner
Story outline template
Novel Premise template
You might recognize that some of these forms are taken from the creative idea of bullet journaling.
And while I’ve never gotten into the idea of a bullet journal, it does seem like something I would really like. And it would be nicer to use something pretty for list making, rather than the back of a junk mail envelope.
For more ideas about bullet journaling, please see my Pinterest board here.
On that note, cheers to a creative, organized, and FUN 2019!
What I’m Reading Now
What did I read in December?
I read a lot of rolls of holiday wrapping paper.
I read a lot of price tags while shopping for Christmas presents.
I read some social media posts, and I read some online research about canine hypothyroidism.
My 7-year-old labradoodle, Henry (you can see pictures of him here), has a thyroid problem. Luckily it’s common in older dogs and it’s very treatable.
He lost a lot of hair, but thankfully with medication (that he has to take every day for the rest of his life), it has grown back and he’s handsome as ever now.
Consider this my PSA for the year: if your dog suddenly begins losing patches of hair, have the vet test for thyroid issues right away. It will save you a ton of money and time and it’s a quick, easy test.
Ok, so I was not able to read any of the books on my TBR. And what’s worse? I received two MORE books from my Book of the Month club.
Did I order those two books? Yes.
Is it my own fault my TBR list keeps growing? Also yes.
Could I cancel the membership to the book club and save myself a lot of headache? NO! What are you? Crazy?
So here’s what came in the mail:
No Exit, by Taylor Adams
An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
We shall see how these two babies pan out.
And here are two more than I want to read:
Tattered, by Devney Perry (best covers ever)
Hidden Star, by Nora Roberts
What did you read in December?Anything worth passing along?
Is there a new non-fiction book you’ve loved, or perhaps you picked up an old favorite and gave it a re-read?
How about a book you loved that was totally outside your genre wheelhouse? Or maybe you heard a friend talk about a book and you just had to pick it up?
Spill it, friends! I’m always on the lookout for new reads.
For the Love of Music
Music can change your life. Here’s what’s making a difference in mine lately:
Hope ~ The Chainsmokers (featuring Winona Oak)
Sunflower – Post Malone & Swae Lee (Spider-Man soundtrack)
Rewrite the Stars – Zac Efron & Zendaya (The Greatest Showman soundtrack)
Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
Every Step That I Take – Tom Morello (feat. Portugal. The Man)
Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists
Since 2014, every single January 1st, without fail, I make Hoppin’ John.
I first heard about this recipe through the Pioneer Woman (love you, Ree!) When I read it, not only did the recipe sound good, but I loved the tradition of starting the New Year off with a bit of good luck fortune.
You can read about the history of the recipe here.
This recipe is so good and is so perfect for a cold January day.
If you want to be extra lucky, maybe add a fortune cookie for dessert.
Products I Would Give up Coffee For
If you know me, you know I have serious love for coffee.
You might also know that I’m kind of a snob about it.
Ah ah ah, stay with me now..I only meant that I have a few favorites kinds of coffee that I like to drink more than others.
That, and the fact that I use a french press to make my coffee, so I guess I am kind of snobby about it. But it really does make a difference in taste! And if you have an instant hot water dispenser, your coffee can be in your mouth in less than a minute!
Anyway, I thought I would share with you my top three favorite brands of coffee, just in case you also have a strong love of that magic little bean, too.
Here are my top three favorites, in order.
1. Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass blend, $11.99/10 oz.
2. Sisters Coffee Company, Black Butte Gold, $12.95/12 oz.
3. Stumptown Coffee, Hairbender, $15.00/12 oz.
Kicking Horse really is for serious coffee lovers only.
Their Kick Ass blend is almost black it’s so dark, and the taste is mouth wateringly (is that a word?) good. Grinding this in the morning makes the whole house smell like a coffee shop.
And I love that.
And, total bonus, they sell it at Target. However, they are OFTEN sold out, so it’s best to order online. Here’s something else I literally just learned: Kicking Horse coffee company is out of British Columbia.
And they have a cafe.
Where they serve their coffee.
Like, to customers.
Like, to me.
Hello, summer road trip!
And speaking of Kicking Horse and coffee, here is one of their mugs that I want immediately:
If you live in the PNW, you know that once winter hits, you’ll need a good pair of waterproof (and warm) boots. And boy did I find the perfect pair.
These waterproof boots from Ugg are so insanely comfortable and warm, I almost can’t stop wearing them. The footbed is lined with Ugg supersoft wool so they are soft and cozy and they don’t require any breaking in. They are ultra awesome straight out of the box! These are on the spendier side ($199.00), however, if you happen to have some Nordstrom notes to use, or someone gave you a gift card, I would highly recommend them. They will last you forever and will get you through snow, rain, and sleet here in the Pacific Northwest, all while making you look stylish.
Another way to spend your Christmas money is on a new jacket. Here’s one from Patagonia that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it in REI
Here’s a top from American Eagle that’s on a major sale ($15.98) and goes with everything this winter, and on into spring.
What are your plans for the New Year?
Any resolutions or life changes you want to implement? Any habits you’re trying to break or new hobbies you want to try?
Me? I’m just trying to keep editing Definitely, Maybe and then begin working on the next story!
Oh, and squats. I resolve to do more squats in the gym.
Wish me luck!
Cheers and Happy Reading,