Goals for January

I know, another goals post. But hey, it’s January, and my brain is crammed full of ideas for the new year. I covered the long term ones already, so now let’s focus on the short term.

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Life Goals:

  • Put together and order our 2014 Family Yearbook. Every year since my daughter was born, I put together a yearbook of our family – crammed full of photos, with the occasional story to go with. I take an insane amount of pictures, and this is a great way to document our years together, and so much fun to go back and look through. I do all of this digitally, simply for ease. I find it much more efficient for me. Normally I use Shutterfly, but now that I have Adobe Lightroom, I may try Blurb as it is integrated directly with Lightroom.
  • Begin filling in the books pictured below. I received these as gifts for Christmas and am SO EXCITED to start them! I’ve always wanted to try out a Smashbook, but never really wanted to pay for one myself to test it out. Perfect gift! And the Draw Your World book is filled with the most fun little prompts for sketching – something I desperately need to work on doing more of! The Q&A book was something I snagged for myself, just for fun! Each day it gives you a little prompt, and space to fill in an answer with the year next to it. Then, below it, are spaces for four more answers for four different years. So this is a five year journal, in that I’ll answer the same questions each year and see how my answers change from year to year. I love that!

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  • Utilize the IGGPPC website more. I joined in August or September of 2014, and signed up for a penpal, but that was it. Granted, my penpal never responded past one email, but there is still so many fun things to do on the site! I’d like to participate a bit more, most especially in the form of their 30 Day Photo Challenges. I love photo challenges, even though I completely suck at keeping up with them.
  • Pick a piece of piano music and start learning it. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I know what piece I’m going to pick, but I may switch it. Playing piano again is a massive 2015 goal for me, and I intend to get started right away. I’m aiming for an absolute minimum of 15 minutes a day. I know that sounds like such a small bit, but it’s enough to get me into a habit, and then I can up it further in the year.
  • Relax! For the first time since what feels like October, I have ZERO plans for projects. I get to do WHATEVER I WANT!! Which means I plan on catching up on my Netflix shows, and focusing on some art that is just for me!

Blog Goals:

  • Join Bookworms In Dresses new link up – Fictional Fridays! For a couple months I’ve been doing 5 Fandom Fridays, and I’m getting a bit burnt. I was looking for a change and one just happened to fall into my lap, and from one of my favorite bloggers no less! I’m not committing to every Friday (at least not ’til I get in the groove of it), but I want to do at least two this month, especially since January has five Fridays.
  • Email a few artists about interviews here on the blog. I have the drafts ready, and the interview questions prepped if they agree. I need to just send the emails. The worst people can say is no, and that’s not the end of the world. And (unless I blog about it) no one will no except me. So there, self, just hit the send button!!
  • Make a decision about my new blog design. By which I mean figure out if I’m designing it myself, or hiring someone. Trust me, just because I”m artsy does NOT mean I have design skills. I don’t. And I know it. OR, if I do decide to do it myself, nail down a design, at least in Photoshop form.
  • Promote more. I want to work on promoting my posts more. I feel I am truly comfortable in my blog skin now, and I’d like to start sharing my work around! This will mean more work, with designing images to pin and post on IG, but I feel it’s worth it. Also, if I can work it into our budget, I’d like to buy some space on other blogs to advertise. This would be a double whammy of promoting and supporting the awesome bloggers I love!

Onward to 2015!

While I thoroughly enjoyed the holidays, I am actually really excited for them to be over! It’s such a hectic time, and it is a blast while it’s happening, but at the end of it I am so ready to get back to our regular life schedule. I always feel like it takes me a week or so to fully recover from the craziness that is the Christmas season¬† and it is really nice to have an entirely fresh new year beckoning, ready to be filled with ideas and plans!

That being said, I actually don’t have too many massive plans for 2015. When I was sitting down making my list, I was scribbling down all these ideas and thoughts and had the realization that I needed to take a step back. I don’t want to start my new year off overburdening myself with ideas, as I know it will lead me to get disheartened. So I’m taking a simpler approach. I focused on major goals, that I can make sure I get done for the year! I will still also be making monthly goals, which is where the little things will come into play.

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Life Goals for 2015:

  • Get my anxiety under control. I’ve touched on this a bit here on my blog, but lately I’ve been having a serious battle with anxiety, and in way more cases than I’d like – it’s winning. I’m ready to write about it, and there will be a post on it in January, but this is pretty much my top goal of 2015. Find a way to deal with my anxiety so I can start feeling like myself again.
  • Start reading and buying zines. This was a goal I made for 2014 and failed utterly at. I didn’t buy or read a single one! Luckily, I follow the ever awesome blog of Sonya Cheney, and not only does she write zines she has some amazing resources for them too. In fact, stay tuned for a post from me about one in January – I backed my first zine thanks to a post she had!
  • Pay off our credit card balance. It’s not actually that big, but we’ve kind of been dragging it out and the interest is killer. We need to just suck it up, and start paying it off in big chunks to get it done.
  • Keep the 1AM Promise for the entire year. I’m pretty sure I did this for 2014, but I’m not entirely sure as (for some reason) I didn’t write down my purchases each month! So in 2015 I’ll actually keep a record so I’m accountable each month. The best part is, this will tie right into zine buying!
  • Give my art a direction. I put a huge focus on my art in 2014, and it was amazing. It felt wonderful, it’s a big confidence booster, and I am so glad I chose to dedicate the majority of my free time to art. But in 2015, I’d like to give it a bit more focus in terms of what I’m doing with it. I’d like to open an online shop, push commissions a bit more, and really promote my art more in general.
  • Begin playing piano again. It is a point of personal shame that I haven’t really touched my piano in close to two years. That NEEDS to change. Even if it’s just for ten minutes a day, I need to be making time for it. Music is so incredibly therapeutic, and I need piano playing back in my life.
  • Read 35 books. This is just my new minimum. I had a goal of 30 books for this year, and I killed it – reading a total of 49 books (though that includes graphic novels). I actually just looked it up and that’s WAY more than I thought I read so yay!! Anywho, 35 will be my minimum for next year.

Blog Goals for 2015:

  • Move my blog over to being self-hosted. I’ll still use the WordPress features, but being self-hosted gives me way more customization options. I’m actually not too thrilled with what I’m paying for using WP Custom Design.
  • Redesign my blog. Nothing major, I’m just ready for a change again. I do like my little header images, so those will probably stick around (in some form), but overall I’d ready for a bit of a new layout. The question is, do I attempt to do it all myself knowing I suck at design, or do I save some money and pay someone who has a clue what they’re doing to do it for me?
  • Start artist interviews on my blog! This is something I’ve had planned for ages, and then finally decided to hold off until the new year before I started them. But throughout the year (I’m thinking twice a month?) I’d love to be interviewing artists for my blog.
  • Promote a bit more. Whether it’s via button swaps or social media, I need to be a bit more active about sharing my blog work, and ideally garner a few more readers. 2014 was a really big year for me and my blog – I finally feel really comfortable writing posts, and publishing content. I’ve got some awesome readers, and I follow some amazing blogs that have led me to fantastic internet groups and friends! I really hope to continue that trend in 2015!

I hope you have a wonderful (and safe!) New Years! As for us, we’ll be ringing it in at a friends house with some board games, in true geek style. See you all in 2015!

One Week In

Well, it’s almost a week into the new year and for once I don’t feel like time is getting away from me and I’m getting nothing accomplished. Just the opposite! I’ve been steadily working away on my first goal of 2014 – getting this blog revamped. I’ve hired a coder after making the decision to go big or go home with this. I’m at the point where if I’m going to put in the time and effort to make my blog feel more like me, I should put in the extra mile and make it EXACTLY what I want. Which needs a custom layout. Which I can’t do. Hence some hired help! So now I’m hard at work planning it all out, doing sketches galore, drawing up some illustrations I want incorporated (see above for planning/sketching/drawing shenanigans), and making mock-up page layouts in Photoshop.

Other than blog work, I have a new piece of artwork finished (but not photographed yet), and am re-opening commissioned portraits for 2014! My little miss had a sleepover at Mimi’s last night, so I have the whole day all by myself! You know you’re a mom when grocery shopping by yourself feels like a vacation. . .but it has been great to spend most of an entire day dedicated to my personal projects. I can get so much done!

I’ll still be posting while working on the blog revamp, but I’m really excited to start some new series once the new layout is launched. Hope your week treats you well!

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2014 Plans

Happy New Year! I spent New Year’s Day getting to sleep in, playing Zelda, and doing lots of art with¬† my best bud. Now that’s a good start to a new year!

I tell myself that I don’t make New Years resolutions, but that is a bunch of bologna. I think the word ‘resolutions’ just puts me off – I find it has taken on a meaning of things I MUST complete otherwise I have failed, and I don’t want that kind of stress! But I do like thinking about goals I have for a freshly laid out new year ahead of me. So (like most things in my life that require some thought) I made a list. Goals, hopes, and dreams for 2014.

  • Give my blog a facelift. A revamp. An overhaul. When I initially put this blog together in June I had very little (read: zero) solid plans about it’s content. But I knew that if I over-thought it, over-planned it, and over-analyzed it, I would never actually get it off the ground and launched. So I took a couple weeks to come up with some basics and pore over layouts, and now here I am. Six months later, I’m ready for a change. I have a better (though still not perfect) idea of what I want the content of my blog to be, along with the tone as well. And I want the visuals to match that. Along with the revamp, I really want to venture further into the blogging world – discovering other blogs, participating in other events (doing my first 30Lists was SUCH a great experience!!) and hopefully meeting some fab bloggers along the way!
  • Get my art displayed publicly. I don’t care if it’s a gallery (my long shot goal) or at a fair, I really want to make more of an effort to get my art out there and bring in more commissions. This goes hand in hand with promoting my art online as well. I haven’t quite ironed out all the details about HOW to promote my art online, but I’m getting there.
  • Daily journaling. I really like to write in my journal. I find it extremely therapeutic. In fact, when I get way too self analytical or old doubts creep into my brain, I always go write it out in my journal. But I always seem to slip into the habit of only writing it when I’m having a mental crisis which (fortunately, I suppose) means barely once a month. So I’m really going to try and stick to writing daily – even if it’s just two sentences before bed.
  • Exercising/yoga. For awhile there I was doing great with daily exercise, but around mid-November it just fell apart and I’ve done NONE (in terms of specific workout time – this doesn’t count ‘natural’ daily exercise that comes from having a three year old!). I really want to get back into the habit of workout time. It’s not just about body image, though that’s a factor. It’s more about improving myself – back when I was working out regularly I could feel the difference in my body – my strength growing, my endurance for running getting better. And that was a GOOD feeling. I miss it, and I want it back!

Those are my four biggies for 2014. I have some littler ones, (sticking with the 1AM Promise, planting a bigger garden, redoing our living room. . .) but I’m definitely putting more focus into the major ones. Do you have any big goals for 2014?

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The New Year Beckons

What a fun holiday season! As you can see, I’m a bit behind on my holiday baking post. But better late than never yes?! I can’t believe I’m sitting on the doorstep of 2014. Part of me is really ready for the new year with new goals and new projects, but part of me is like WAIT! SLOW DOWN!! If the new year is here that means I actually have to start DOING those goals and projects. And I don’t quite feel ready. But I’ll get there.

Now, without further ado, here are the recipes (and photos) of my holiday baking gifts.

First up, Peanut Butter Blossoms. I whipped up a (huge) batch of these for friends and a couple events we went to in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I only ever have these at Christmas time, so even though they could be an any-time cookie, I always think of them as a holiday cookie!

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Get the recipe here!

This peanut butter cookie recipe spreads out quite a bit, so don’t smush your rolled dough balls too much with a fork. I love this recipe however as it makes wonderfully soft chewy cookies (my favorite!).

Next I made two batches of Peanut Butter Buckeyes. Apparently I was in a chocolate peanut butter mood for my treats this year!

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Get the recipe here!

These are a little messy when it comes to the chocolate dipping part (either that or it’s just ME who is a little lot messy) but they are so tasty. I have a lot of little candy boxes left over from doing the farmers market years ago and these tucked perfectly in there to give as gifts.

Every year I make a Chocolate Mousse Pie for my best friends mother. She adores it. I also made one for Thanksgiving this year and it was a hit.

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Get the recipe here!

I love this pie. It is the most decadent, rich, smooth, chocolatey thing I eat all year. Just heavenly.

I tried out a new bread recipe and whipped up some Honey Spice Bread to go with the Apple Butter I canned earlier this year. This was the only recipe I tried this year that wasn’t my own!

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Get the recipe here.

If I’m being 100% honest, I wasn’t over the moon for this bread recipe. I found it REALLY dry. It had great flavor, but the texture was too dry and crumbly for my taste. But with some apple butter and a cup of tea it was just perfect!

And lastly, I whipped up two batches of the Lemon Bar Brownies (from my previous baking post). One batch for my mum, and one for my mother in law.

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Get the recipe here.

Compared to last year, this was a relatively small holiday baking session for me. But I loved it. It was so nice not to feel swamped with baking and be able to enjoy each treat I made for people. See you in 2014!

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