2014: Now What?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year! I hope that you all had happy, safe, New Year's Eve festivities and that 2014 is treating you well. Ken and I had a fabulous time at a  Vinny and Victoria's house, where I consumed far too many pierogies, we played Cards Against Humanity, and basically missed the ball dropping because they don't have cable and we couldn't get our act together to stream it over the laptop. New Year's Day was spent sleeping in and lounging around, and then I drove up to see my friend Julie and her boyfriend Mike and their dog, Watson (who we refer to as "The W" on occasion). I had never been to their apartment, even though they moved in July, so it was great to finally go visit. And no, they don't live 5 hours away, they live 45 minutes from me and I'm just a terribly over-scheduled human being. We drank tea and exchanged non-sectarian holiday gifts and then we went to dinner at a pub near their house. I totally forgot to take any pictures, so you'll just have to imagine how amazing the molten chocolate cake was that I ate for dessert.

Anyway, so now it's 2014! I'm not one for resolutions because I usually forget they exist and totally fail at completing them, but I do like lists and goals. Also, lots of other people seem to be posting their goals and New Year's resolutions etc, and I was starting to feel left out. Also also, it's absolutely freezing here and feels like it's -21 outside, so I am pretty sure that my neurons are frozen.

Before I get to the list, though, I want to send a shout-out to Melyssa of The Nectar Collective for her superb idea! She said it best when she posted:

"I finished 2013 with a hunger to explore, learn, and make more. So this 2014, I vote that we stretch ourselves in fresh, freeing ways. That’s why I decided to start The Creative Collective — a year-long initiative designed to help the both of us learn, grow, and have a freakin’ blast doing it . . . Because let’s be real, whether your daily routine calls for calculators or confetti, we all have room to try and make new things."

Can I get a "hell yes!" to that? You should definitely go check it out, and I can't wait to get started! I'm especially excited for picking a "word" for 2014. If you want to play along, the first link-up is January 15th, so pick out a word for your year and get creative! (And seriously, my day should really include more confetti. Or any confetti.)

I guess it's kind of clich├ęd, but I do love a new year. Even if it's completely arbitrary for when it starts (actually, this is a pretty cool article about how astronomers define a year), it's still like opening a blank book or looking out over a field of freshly fallen snow. I love the idea of being able to start anew. I don't any delusions that I'll make grandiose life changes this year, but I like to think about all the possibility. (Also, I love any excuse to make a list!) Chrystina (of Chrystina Noel) posted her goals for the year, and I love hers, so you should go check them out. Here's what I've been thinking about trying to achieve this year.

1. Get into med school...? - Will 2014 be the year of my glorious (?) return to the medical education? I really don't know if this counts as a goal, because I have very little control over what happens now that my applications are turned in. Either I'll get interviews, or I'll get rejections, and if I get interviews, I'll do my best to make the admissions committee believe that they simply cannot live without my presence at their fine institution... but again, that's about all I can do. So,  yes, it's definitely a goal to make 2014 the year I return to med school, but I guess you can say I've done all I can with that for now.

2. Knit a sweater - I've been knitting on and off since I was 7, and have been trying to learn new techniques for awhile now. I am still working on that shawl that I posted about previously, but I really want to knit a sweater this year. I bought yarn for it approximately a hundred years ago (read: probably in 2009) and I just never did it. Perhaps this will be my year!

3. Find a seamstress/tailor - I am constantly lamenting my inability to find clothes that fit properly. I need to just accept that I cannot usually wear things off the rack and that I will have to budget for tailoring in my life. I have a few pairs of pants that need to be taken in and hemmed, and embarrassingly, not even my bra straps are the right length, so this needs to be remedied posthaste. 

4. Put money away for savings - I mentioned previously that I will be using the 52 week money challenge to help me do that. I'm also excited to probably pay off some debt this year! Whoo hoo!

5. Go to the freaking gym... or quit it - Last semester, I was in class on Mondays and Thursdays until 9:30, which meant I didn't get home until after 10 pm some nights, and on Friday, I was in class from 5-7. I've decided that since I will only have class on Thursday this semester (pause - HALLELUJAH - okay, unpause) that I should replace 3 nights a week of class with 3 nights a week at the gym. And bonus, I'll be home WAY before 10 pm, even if I go on my way home from work. Here's what I'm thinking:

Monday: Cardio/some light weights
Tuesday: Barre class
Friday: Cardio/some light weights

And then, if I'm feeling extra-motivated, something over the weekend, but let's be honest, probably not. There is a Barre class at a dance studio near the house on Saturdays, which might be fun. And if I can't get myself into this kind of habit, I need to seriously cancel my membership b/c that's $45 a month that I could be saving or using for something else.

6. Take more photos - Last year, I took a photo workshop at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center to learn how to use my DSLR, and it was really fun. I actually bought a second Living Social voucher to use for a second class, but stupidly let it expire (hurrah for wasting $30... 6a - Stop buying Groupons/Living Social vouchers that you won't use) so I want to just practice a lot. A friend of mine who is a photographer, Sarah Hoppes, actually gives private photo workshops in NYC, so if I save up some money, I'd like to take a workshop with her. That's more of a long-term goal, though. This year, I really want to get an f1.8 f1.4* 50 mm portrait lens and really practice shooting!

7. Build my blog - I started this blog right after we got married in October of 2012, but didn't really post with any real regularity until the spring of 2013. Since then, I feel like I've met some wonderful bloggers and gotten a little better at figuring out this whole thing, but I want to get a lot better in 2014. That means more readers, investing more time (and money) in the blog, and writing with more purpose. Mini-blog goals:

a. Write at least 3 times a week
b. Buy the domain for Simply A (.com!)
c. Get the blog redesigned (Already in progress, thanks to Sarah of Venus Trapped in Mars! I can't wait to see what she comes up with!)
d. Sponsor 4 blogs over the year
e. Go to a blogging conference, or at the very least, a meet-up
f. Have guest bloggers

I recently hit 10,000 pageviews, according to Blogger, and over 1,000 visits on Google Analytics, but I want to definitely increase that and get it more consistent. Side note - How do people learn how to grow their blogs? How did you learn?  Are there classes in stuff like this!? Haha

8. Be more intentional with my time - Hello, vague goal. I'll admit it; I'm a chronic multi-tasker. So what does being more intentional with my time look like? It means not looking at my phone while I'm out with friends. It means not surfing the internet while I'm watching TV with Ken. It means doing one thing at a time, as much as it pains me. I'm not saying I'm going to stop multi-tasking permanently, because I think I'd have to be dead to have that happen, but as far as when I'm spending time with my friends and family, I want to really be present.

9. Read more books - One of my goals on my life list is to read 52 books in a year. That... might not happen, but I'll go for 26 books in a year. That seems reasonable, right? If you have any favorites, leave them in the comments. I'm always looking for something new to read!

10. Attend synagogue more regularly - Read: At all. I love services, but Friday night class totally killed going to Shabbat services, and Saturday lab killed Saturday morning services (which I don't really prefer, anyway). I'd like to go to synagogue once a month, at least. This kind of goes along with being more intentional with my time, because at temple, I literally can't do anything else but be there and in the moment. It's good for me.

So there are ten, big, goals that I have. There are always the run of the mill things, like cleaning the apartment more regularly, being more organized, being a better friend, and general things that I think fall under the "like an adult!" category. Every year I think I get better at this, but there's always room for improvement. There's also some more private/personal things that I'm working on that I won't mention here, but just know that they're being worked on.

So what are some of your goals? How do you plan to achieve them?

Perhaps most importantly, how are you staying warm in this POLAR VORTEX!? ::insert dramatic music here::

On that note, everyone stay warm and healthy, and have a lovely Tuesday!

- A

*Chrystina made me realize that I meant to put 1.4 here originally... whoops!



  1. I'm pretty sure that "far too many" is actually the only way to consume pierogies. It's just not possible to eat less.

    Re: knitting a sweater - it'll be your gateway into more and bigger and better knitting. At least it was for me. The very first sweater I made, which I have never worn save for the photos to prove I'd finished it, really boosted my confidence in my knitting abilities, which let me branch out and try other types of projects and learn new techniques and such. Do you have a specific sweater pattern in mind to start with?

    And good luck with the rest of your goals as well! :)

    1. I think you're right, about both the pierogies and the sweater knitting! I'm thinking about the following patterns:





      And someday, I seriously want to do this: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/owls-2

      And you can bet that I'll be harassing you for help every step of the way! Haha.

  2. Re: Build Blog - Can we go to a meet up/conference together? I am scared out of my bajesus to go alone because people might eat me or be mean or something.... (hello anxiety).

    Re: Books - Any funny or somewhat funny books you read send my way! Because I'm loving the last one you recommended so far!

    Re: You - I LOF YOU ALWAYS!

    1. Absolutely! I think my friend Chrystina wants to go to one, too. And no one will eat you, I promise.

  3. Re: Find a Seamstress/Tailor - Who needs pants? I mean REALLY.... who? Not us. Please. There's no time for pants there's a war on!

  4. I definitely think we should make the meetup happen. But blog conference is also on my list, I'll let you know which one I decide on. Also, if you want the 1.8, I'd totally consider buying the 1.4 :)

    1. Definitely! And dur, I totally MEANT to put 1.4! That's the one that's on my Amazon wishlist. Have to go edit the post now!


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