January 8, 2018

A New Year: Our 2018 Goals & Intentions

Tell me I'm not alone in feeling like the start of a new year is like having a new chance. In all the hustle and bustle that comes with day to day life, this is a time of year we actually take the time to pause and look back, reflect and realize we're making this life of ours. It's also a chance to think about where we're headed, what we're dreaming and how, perhaps, our dreams have changed.

This past year, if I'm being honest, was a more challenging one for the memory books. With unexpected changes to navigate at work and a couple of health related hiccups — I found my typically optimistic outlook and low stress mindset tilting slightly off course. With challenges come milestones and wonderful things too — this was the year Brandon graduated from college and Stephanie got engaged. We were adventurers, eating our way through Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and even Mexico. This year Basil turned 7, we planted the largest vegetable garden we've ever managed and we crossed a couple of the more fun projects we'd been wanting to tackle off our home list. We even made my ten thousandth sale in my Etsy jewelry shop. Ultimately, while the year came with it's fair share of complexity, we have our health, each other and family to be thankful for along with new learnings to take forward.

 <<<<< A 2017 SCORECARD >>>>>

This time last year we had a big ol' list of goals and intentions we'd hoped to accomplish; you can read them all in this post if you're curious. We wanted to get serious about new hobbies, finishing portions of our home remodel and tightening up the blog.

Tim was eager to plant a proper vegetable garden, expanding upon the varieties of plants we'd previously grown. We're both happy to say that with a little sweat equity, it was officially the year of the garden! Tim cultivated all of the raised beds this year and we were literally bringing in vegetables by the basketful from late spring through mid autumn. We recapped all the garden plans we made and the resulting summer bounty in this post. This is one hobby we're both enthusiastic to carry forward.

My heart was ready to bring my guitar out from storage and find a regular program to pick up swimming again. I'll tell you right away that swimming went nowhere. We looked into local programs at the start of the year and this one fell by the wayside, but I'll share more about how we're thinking about movement in our goals for the year ahead below. What I'm most proud of is being able to say the opposite for picking back up guitar. Just by pulling it out of the case and hanging it in plain sight was a welcome reminder it was there when I fell into other "free time traps." Making the time and starting slow over the past year has turned my wish into something that's now just a normal part of doing what I love instead of something I'd like to do again someday or something I'll get to when I have time.

At home, we were shooting for a laundry list of projects we'd hoped to get to. Some of the highlights we crossed off the list included a full restoration and makeover of our master bedroom, painting the facade of our carriage house out back and landscaping our front walk.

We'd talked about waterproofing our cellar, and over the summer we completed a major overhaul of the space, setting up an entirely new organizational system that we love. Our littler nieces and nephews refer to this cellar as the scary basement — can you blame them? As a next phase, we'd like to have the old boiler removed and move the laundry upstairs to create even more storage down here.

We'd also hoped to approach a light kitchen remodel, ripping out the decking out back and smoothing over our downstairs ceilings. When looking into the kitchen, we ultimately decided we want to do some heavier renovations than we originally anticipated. Given the larger degree of the work, we've had designs drawn up and pushed the timing into spring of this year. This one's going to be fun!

Finally, we'd set out to refresh the blog with a new layout, refocus the types of content we were posting to dial down the noise and launch an Instagram account for my jewelry shop. We stayed on track pretty well in these areas — if you've visited the main page of our blog you've seen the new design and we launched a new monthly series of Etsy Edits to share some of the unique finds I come across in my day to day. In terms of Instagram, I quietly launched an account for the jewelry shop back in February. It needs a little nurture, but there's a new year ahead for that :)

 <<<<< HOW WE'RE THINKING ABOUT 2018 >>>>>

We're genuinely excited to see what the year ahead holds — there's a lot we have to look forward to and are approaching the surprises that are sure to come along the way with optimism and open hearts.

The two big events we have in store are Stephanie's wedding and a big vacation from our bucket list, Greece! The wedding will take place in autumn, which means many happy surrounding events leading in. And Greece! We're in the early stages of vacation planning to coincide with our 5 year wedding anniversary. Have you been to Greece? We need all the help we can get, so we're all ears for any not-to-miss see/do/eat stops on your list.

As mentioned earlier, we have plans to tackle an extensive kitchen remodel as early as this spring and I'm dying to put finishing touches on some budding transformations in both our dining and family rooms as well.

Those of you that followed along with our master bedroom makeover this fall know that we refreshed our radiator with a coat of satin black paint. It may be one of our favorite smaller updates we made all year and now I've got it in my head to paint at least 2 (if not more) additional radiators over the course of this coming year. I know Pantone declares this to be the year for ultra violet, but I'm claiming it as my year for black!

Finally, with each new year we're reminded of our good intentions to make small changes in our daily habits that impact better health. This is an area we're less than perfect in (and allow ourselves to be), but are implementing a few things to keep pushing ourselves in the right direction:
  • Dry January: We've closed the bar cabinets for the month of January and while it certainly won't be the end to celebrating with spirits for good, we're both into reaping the health benefits of living sans alcohol for 30 days. We got the idea from one of our bartender friends this time last year and loved the thinking. This is more of a personal exercise, but if anyone is interested in how it goes or how we feel at the end, we'd be happy to chat!
  • Cooking at home: We've shared over the past few years my desire to cook more at home. Plated (as a meal delivery service) has played a big role in helping us achieve that goal. This isn't an ad for Plated, just a service we genuinely love and use every week. This year we've decided to up our subscription from 2 to 3 meals per week and incorporate fish into at least one of the 3. Our intent is simply to eat more food with less processed ingredients and generate less overall waste. If any of you are interested in trying Plated, we have 6 invites for a free first box up to $72 we'd be happy to share.
  • Make time for rest: Who knew sleep was so important to overall health? This year we're aiming to get as close to a full 8 hours a night as we can — and on weekdays we're making a habit of rising earlier in order to make more time for movement and mindfulness before the daily grind takes over.
  • ...and movement: The less glamorous part of working remotely from home is the sedentary lifestyle it inevitably encourages. Tim and I are great at taking good, regular long walks with Basil around the neighborhood and this year we're building time in for some moderate exercise in the mornings, mainly focused on meditation and strengthening the core and back. The ease of smart TV's and free Youtube workouts make this a goal with no excuses. So far we're digging a few 15 minute beginner weight & yoga programs and look forward to mixing it up more in the coming months. If you have any favorites you think we'd like, let us know!

...And now, back to the bucket list!
Four years ago we began tracking a bucket list of the "pie in the sky" dreams we'd like to do someday when the time/finances/flexibility is right. We like to think that by creating an actual archive that we're holding ourselves accountable for making our aspirations into reality.
  • The Greek Isles: When we got married, we'd originally talked about honeymooning in the Greek Isles. Our honeymoon week near Hatteras turned out to be exactly what we needed and we wouldn't trade it for anything. That said, we're celebrating a milestone anniversary this year and are making early plans to go! 
  • The Ghia: My first car was a 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. We still have it, though ultimately garaged it the summer before last after an evaluation for what it would take to bring it back to life. We'd love to take on the restoration of this old gem at some point.
  • Machu Picchu: Ever since I took a Pre-Columbian art history course at VCU, I've been convinced we need to see this hidden city among the clouds in Peru. Taking a shorter trail to get there where we could actually camp along the way would be amazing.
Thanks so much for taking time to check in on us today. If you'd like to see more of the goals, intentions and bucket list items we've set our minds on in years' past, have a look through these posts: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

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