Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Goals & Resolutions

Happy New Year, guys, gals, and 4 legged friends! We're really enjoying having the day off and just spending some time together at home, cleaning up from the holidays and reflecting on the past year. Mary redeemed herself from last year (she fell asleep at 9:40pm while I watched the ball drop) and made it much longer than I did. We ended up staying home again; Stephanie and Brandon have recently gotten us into watching marathon sessions of The Walking Dead, so we dove deep into Season 2 while Stephanie and a few of her friends hung out and got gussied up at the house before heading out on the town to celebrate in the best of their 21 year old style.

In keeping with what's become blog tradition, today we're taking a look back at the goals we set for this past year, seeing how we managed with them and are ready to set a few new ones for 2014. So, for the sake of holding ourselves accountable and just to see how much has changed (or stayed the same) since last year, here's a brief checkin on what we said our goals and resolutions for 2013 were and how we faired (full post here):

2013 Goal: Urban Gardening & Food AwarenessOK, gotta keep it real — this past year we admit we let wedding planning take over and our little urban garden got neglected as we basically just maintained what we could. We set goals like installing a rain barrel, making a mason bee house and growing normal sized sweet potatoes — none of which we made happen and all of which we'll take another stab at this year! We did pick up new skills like mastering the art of natural propagation, growing brussels sprouts, horseradish root, turmeric, and showed steady progress in our ongoing projects like grapevines and avocado trees. We even made a garden storage shelf from a pallet in the spring, so not all was a failure!

2013 Goal: House Progress. House progress was a little slower going than we originally imagined, but we may have bitten off more than we could chew with all the other big events going on in 2013. We did bring in some new key pieces of furniture and decor, like our dining room sideboard and rug, kitchen locker console and hanging framed artwork, but we didn't make as much progress on things like painting the upstairs or transforming our front room into a functioning office.

2013 Goal: Staying Sane (And a Little Silly). Aced it! While we may have slacked off in some areas, we kept it real throughout all the festivities without sweating the small stuff — we celebrated our wedding, Brandon graduating high-school and going off to college, Stephanie turning 21, my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and my own big change in career path. It was quite the year for big life moments, and we're happy to say we have nothing but the best of memories from each.

Image by Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography

2013 Goal: Blogging. Through all of the hustle and bustle, we managed to keep a pretty good record of what went down and feel lucky to have created such an incredible archive of the things going on in our lives to look back on. We've successfully experimented with blog ads and sponsored posts, we finally got with the program and set up 17Apart Pinterest and Instagram accounts; heck, I even quit my corporate day job to do this thing called "blogging" full time!

So, that's how we faired with the goals we set for this past year. It's a little surreal to look back at where we were this time last year and see just how many things have changed — and how other areas and goals have remained the same.

Now, how about 2014? We've got high hopes (sing it with me, we've got hiiiiiigh hopes) for the year ahead and figure putting it all out there is a great way to stay somewhat accountable and a fun way to look back to see where we were at this point in our lives. Here's what we're thinking and where our heads are right now...

2014 Goal: Home
In keeping with last year's goals, we'd love to continue to work on making this house more our own. Transforming our front parlor into a functioning office is at the top of our list (we just need to get the right pieces of furniture to make it happen), along with continuing to paint up the stairs and in a few bedrooms. We have 3 major home repairs coming up early this year including some hefty roof repairs, re-pointing of the brick along the side of our home and repairing the interior walls where some water damage has leaked through — all of these will take a big chunk of change and while they aren't the most exciting or visual of updates, they are necessary repairs to ensuring a solid home. If we're able to switch out the lighting and fans in a couple of the upstairs rooms and hallway, we'll call it icing on the cake!

2014 Goal: Garden
As usual, we'd love to continue to grow and nourish the gardening projects we've started and tackle some new ones as well. A rain barrel and mason bee house are both going back on this year's goal list, along with a beehive to sit on top of our garage. We actually already have the top bar hive I built with Josiah at Lockhart Family Farm in the fall, but the key will be actually installing it on the roof and learning the practices of minimal bee-keeping. The idea is do a very small part to nurture the bee community and they will help pollinate our garden and surrounding areas — if we get honey, that's great, but not the goal. In other gardening goals, we'd like to successfully root the beginnings of what might become a rosemary bush in our front yard from one of the cuttings we propagated this past year. We'd also like to try growing a contained fruit tree or bush either indoors or out at some point this year to add to our more permanent plant collection.

2014 Goal: Sustainability & Personal Goals
You probably already know that sustainability, local communities and food awareness are important to both of us. We're far from perfect, but are always striving to learn and take new steps into better choices when and where we can. Last year we took part in CSA programs, feel lucky to have made friends with local farmers and I've been really proud to be able to volunteer some time in the kitchen at our local food bank, Feedmore. We'd both like to continue on our path to learning more and implementing new practices of sustainability into our daily lives. As far as getting out and about, we've enjoyed watching the excitement of the Monument Avenue 10k from the sidelines for the past 2 years and this year we're talking about walking the course. We haven't registered yet, but feel like if we write it down here that we're holding ourselves accountable to take part. Another area of our lives we've discussed between the two of us is our interest in finding and contributing to a charity or organization that's near and dear to our own interests and beliefs. We're still on the search, but have talked about ideas like our local food bank, SPCA, Weim Rescues and more. This is an area we're still new to and open to ideas you might have.

2014 Goal: Blogging
In keeping with the main goal and driver of this blog, we'd like to stay dedicated to making time to post and document those things that we love looking back on — it's always amazing to us when looking back at just how many things we've done that we would have forgotten about otherwise. Aside from documentation, we experimented with monetizing our blogs over the past year and it went pretty well. So well in fact, I was able to make it a full time venture and realistically pursue doing something I love for a living. Now that we have a full year of data to look at and analyze, we'd like to explore ways to streamline and improve on how we did last year without adding any bells and whistles that feel annoying, spammy or unauthentic to us in any way. To that point, over the past year we were able to work with a lot of fun companies to bring giveaways to you guys. They seemed to be pretty popular, so we'd like to try to offer even more this year. We're also toying with the idea of a weekly roundup of all the things we're digging or into at the moment that we'd love to share on the blog but might not fit into a single post for one reason or another.

As for Basil, he let us know he's resolved to be a little calmer when we come across our feline friends while walking through the neighborhood:

So that's how we stacked up in 2013 and many of the things we're thinking about right now for the year ahead. Thanks for following along as we try to hold ourselves accountable year after year by posting our goals and resolutions out there for everyone to see — especially when we bite off more than we can chew and fall a little short!

Image by Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography

We also thought it would be fun to toss in a "pie in the sky" bucket list to keep track of over the years. These items are basically the ideas and things we've love to do someday when we have all the time/money/inhibitions in the world to tackle them all.

Bucket List:
  • Budapest with the Family. We'd like to go on another family trip back to Budapest, Hungary with both my parents and Stephanie and Brandon. Mary and I share Hungarian heritage and made the trip with my parents early in our relationship when my kids were much younger. Now that they are both adults, we'd love to introduce them to all the sights and memories we've made, and have my dad show them where he grew up. It's beyond incredible to be able to visit with him since he's still fluent in the language and has such raw memories he's able to recall everywhere we go.
  • Machu Picchu. Ever since Mary took a Pre-Columbian art history course at VCU, she's convinced me we need to see this hidden city among the clouds in Peru. We'd love to take one of the shorter trails to get there where you actually camp along the way.
  • The Ghia. Mary's first car was a 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia — you read that right. She still has it, though it's in rough shape and not running. We often talk about how fun it would be to repair over time and have as a garaged car to pull out on nice days.
We'd love to know what goals, projects and resolutions you've got on your mind for 2014.

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  1. I stumbled upon your blog.
    it is so beautiful that I immediately inserted into the blogroll of my gardening blog!

    I do not know the English language and then use google translator.

    1. We are happy to have you as a reader! Happy New Year!