Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter Hook

So, this is mostly about my beer review, with a little Austin exploring thrown in.  As someone without a car, I am not afraid of a little walking.  For example, last week I walked over two miles to go to that tango event because I missed my bus (sigh, I know), but at the time, did not think it was a big deal.  However, my coworker was so appalled/impressed that I went home and mapped it, discovering it was actually a 2.34 mile trek, and that damn, I was booking it!

That is a lot of introduction to say, I walked down to the capitol building with my boyfriend tonight to look at the big decorated fir tree.  We took an extremely long route that mostly involved wandering around the UT campus talking seriously until we decided to really go somewhere.  I don't know, is it weird to get pleasure out of looking at a freakishly large tree with lights and Styrofoam stars on it?  If so, I'm such a freak.  I mean, I didn't giggle and skip around or anything, but my boyfriend was pretty surprised by my "joy" at seeing the tree.  While I wouldn't say I was joyful, I do like what the tree represents.  For me, Christmas time is family time.  It's when little things are special.  We pull out ornaments we only get to see once a year.  We make foods that signify "yep, it's the holidays!"  We watch movies and read books and poems that put magic back into our lives.  Sure, it's an overly commercial holiday and I have issues with perceived gift giving inadequacy.  But it's a time when people are (or can be) nicer to each other.  When we take stock of the great people and things in our lives and actually take the time to make memories and be with the ones we love.  I think that's great.  I love Christmas music and decorating, cookies and being around my family, advent calendars and anticipation.  While the getting of gifts has lost the amazing luster and excitement from my childhood, I still love carefully removing wrapping paper.  Sometimes ripping it off.  I love seeing everyone's reactions to the gifts I have tried to tailor to my friends and family.  It's fun, it's magical, it's special.  Who doesn't want a little extra special in their lives?

Winter Hook (12/14/11)
Red Hook, Seasonal
WA, NH, OR (not sure which it is??)
2 out of 5 
Soooo heavy.  The tagline is "Has absolutely no interest in sitting on Santa's lap," which is appropriate, considering how bitter it is.  I mean, it says "Dark and Bold" on the packaging- I should have been appropriately warned, no?  Sigh.  I just can't help my penchant for trying seasonals.  Slightly unimportant note- I love their packaging.  A+ to whoever redid their logo and bottle design.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pardon My Dust

Please bear with me as I get everything set up on the blog!

I am backdating all of my goal explanations to the date I started the project, but as soon as that's done I will begin updating to the present and filling in more information on the goals I have already completed and am currently working on.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Too Hot. Way Too Hot.

I ask you, whose bright idea was it to have a hot sauce festival in the middle of August, one of the hottest months in Austin?  And then I have to ask, who thought it would be an awesome idea to go to it?

Yeah, that last one was me.  I had good reasons- It's an Austin tradition!  I'm trying to get over my dislike of spicy things!  It will be a fun outing with my boyfriend!  Unfortunately, those reasons did not really outweigh the pain and discomfort of the event.

Triple digit heat- check
Blazing sun and no shade- check
Stupidly not bringing water- oh boy, check check

And here's the best part- something so spicy, so hot that I could not stop crying.  I felt the unrelenting burn ALL THE WAY DOWN MY ESOPHAGUS!!  My sunglasses kind of helped hide the crying. . .but I felt so embarrassed.  Luckily, my sweet boyfriend (after he finished laughing/patting me on the back in a somewhat patronizing way) bought me a beer to try and soothe the burn.  It kind of helped.  Better than water, anyway, because at least it has some carbs.

Anyway, it was good for me to get outside my culinary comfort zone, it gave my boyfriend and I something different and unique to do on a Sunday afternoon, and I learned an important lesson about festivals- in general, no matter how exciting or different they sound, it's still going to be a bunch of people you don't know milling around with overpriced food and beer in the vicinity.  Expectations appropriately altered!

And, to get in, you had to donate canned goods, so there was a little good Samaritan in the mix, too.  What's not to love about that?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

098. Plan my meals/snacks in advance

To complete this goal:  Create a meal plan on a weekly or monthly basis at least 4 times.  Prepare meals and snacks in advance so I actually follow the meal plan (with reasonable deviations) at least 4 times.

Why?  Eating right is a huge contributing factor to how good I feel.  To be more responsible about taking proper care of myself food wise is a big step in the right direction.  I'm sick of being on a stupid blood sugar level induced emotional roller coaster.

097. Get my diploma framed

To complete this goal:  Have my Bachelor of Music diploma framed.  When I get my Master of Music diploma, have that framed too.

Why?  Even though it's just a piece of paper, I am proud of myself for earning those degrees.  I want them to be safe and protected- and displayable! 

096. Clean up and organize my computer

To complete this goal:  
Go through all the folders on my laptop and external hard drive. 
Reorganize into easy to find categories. 
Delete unnecessary files. 

Clean keyboard/fan out with compressed air.
Clean laptop screen.

Why?  It's so hard to find things on my computer, and I know there's a lot of crap on there I'll never need or use again.  Simplify and organize, divide and conquer- make it easier for me to get stuff done.

095. Sort through Zune music and make playlists

To complete this goal:  Download all music from my old (broken) Zune to my computer.  Listen to all music and delete the stuff I don't like.  Make at least 10 playlists and upload them to my new Zune.

Why?  I have so much random music that I'm not sure I've ever listened to!  Because music is such an important part of my life, I want to make it easier for myself to listen to music that fits my mood.

094. Clean out and update all social networking sites

To complete this goal:  Right now I'm on two social networking sites- Facebook and Myspace.  I never did anything with my myspace account, so I would like to just delete it completely.  As for Facebook, update my profile (haven't updated it in at least three years), remove any friends that I'm not actually friends with, update profile picture, and download all tagged photos of me (then untag the unflattering ones).  If I decide to get on Linked In or any sites like that, similarly keep things updated.

Why?  I don't really enjoy social networking sites.  I find that they become a time suck and are emotionally draining in terms of the bs that ends up on there.  However, they come in handy for some things, so I don't want to get rid of them completely.  Making my web presence a more accurate reflection of my real life presence just makes sense.

093. Go through my room at home

To complete this goal:  Sort through my things that I have left in my room at my parents house.  Decide what to get rid of, what to keep with me, if anything is appropriate to temporarily leave in the (now) quasi-guest room, and what to put into storage (only if absolutely necessary!)

Why?  My parents want to be able to use that room as a real guest room, and I really don't need all that stuff anymore.  Going through all those papers and books and knick knacks should be nice a cathartic.

092. Keep a simple housekeeping program

To complete this goal:  Develop a simple, consistent schedule to keep my apartment tidy and not like a sad tornado has ripped through it, making it difficult for people to find places to sit, to set their glasses, or to walk unmolested to the sink.  It would be nice for me to not be embarrassed to have people over.

Why?  As I mentioned, it would be so great if I could invite people over without shame.  Also, my mom makes those little comments that I so dislike about the state of my living place.  And that's not even including how tiring and frustrating it becomes for me personally, to live like this.  Time for a change!  Time to grow up a little bit!

091. Have a camera and notebook with me

To complete this goal:  Carry my camera around.  Have something to write on and write with.  Be prepared to record ideas, moments, or tasks at any given time. 

Why?  So often I'll have an idea or think of something that would be good for me to do, only to realize I have nothing to write it on.  Granted, most of those ideas are probably not as great as I thought they were at the time, but still.  The camera is because I am trying to be better about capturing moments or events or just things that amuse me.  I have almost no pictures from my undergrad years, and it makes me a little sad.

090. Embrace a different kind of style

To complete this goal:  Play around with fashion.  Try an outfit with gothic touches- corsets, heavy eye makeup, split gauge earrings, colored hair clip-ins, etc.  Or go more boho- flowy, bat wing tops, brown boots, delicate necklaces, etc.  Clearly I have some ideas about this already, though the category names are pretty arbitrary.  Anyway, wear at least one outfit that's not my normal style, like I've wanted to but have been too embarrassed to.

Why?  I don't want to be afraid to try something new in something as innocuous as fashion.  Also, I've always loved thinking about outfits to put together, but play it very safe regarding what I actually wear.  It's time to let that go, while I'm still young enough for it to not be a big deal to experiment.

089. Wear sunscreen!

To complete this goal:  
Step 1: Find a sunscreen that won't make me break out or look shiny.
Step 2: Incorporate magical sunscreen into my daily makeup routine.
Step 3: Do this consistently (this means at least 20 days out of 30).
Hopefully this will make it a habit.

Why?  As a fair blonde with blue eyes, I am extremely likely to get skin cancer at some point in my life.  Add to that my 3+ serious sunburns and an immediate family member that was diagnosed with skin cancer, and I'm almost certainly going to have it.  There is no excuse for me not to make this happen.  Hm.  Maybe I should have put this under health, as those are the driving factors, but it is way too late for that now.  Too many tags to change!!!

088. Manicure/Pedicure Bi-Monthly

To complete this goal:  Give myself (or have one done) a manicure and/or pedicure every other month.  I will accept a total of sixteen manicures/pedicures, so long as they are done well and on different months.

Why?  Another step in my "be more polished and put together" plan.  Nice nails show that you take care of yourself and can make a very nice impression.  Plus, it's a little me time I might not otherwise take, but probably really need.

087. Have an acupuncture treatment

To complete this goal:  Go to an acupuncturist and be treated.

Why?  So, I have this problem with needles.  This is a part of my "yep, going to be a badass" program in that way.  Also, supposedly acupuncture can help with allergies, so that sounds promising.  Let's find out what all the fuss is about!

086. Figure out three different ways to do my hair

To complete this goal:  Figure out three different ways to do my hair that are quick and relatively polished.  Actually use these three ways at least three times each.  Probably going to be buns and twists, as my hair doesn't hold curls or sleek straightness well.  Perhaps I'll be able to make the sock bun curls thing work, though.

Why?  Again, tired of being mistaken for a high schooler.  A few new looks that aren't ponytails would be great for my more polished image.

085. Follow a skin regimen

To complete this goal:  Develop a basic skincare routine (i.e., what do I wash my face with?  how often?  special makeup removers?  moisturizers?  masks how often?), and then maintain it with reasonable regularity (this means it doesn't have to be every day, but generally at least 5 days a week.  I know this sounds vague, but I and my skin will know if I'm doing this right).  Tweak as necessary.  Must be set at least two months before the end of my 1001 days.

Why?  Miraculously, I have pretty nice skin.  Or so I've been told.  I don't break out often or in very many places at once, however, my pale and sensitive skin retains marks forever.  If it gets red, it will stay red/purple for at least a week (usually more).  Also, I have many blackheads.  I'm hoping that if I'm just more consistent with my skincare, my skin will look brighter and nicer and clearer a larger percentage of the time.

084. 5 pictures of myself I like

To complete this goal:  Take/find/acquire five pictures of myself I actually like (good barometer- would I leave the tag on facebook? - though facebook posting not necessary or particularly likely).

Why?  Partly to prove it can be done.  Partly for the self esteem boost.  Partly so that I take more pictures of things I do/go to.  I so rarely like pictures of myself that I see this as quite the challenge.

083. Get a massage or spa treatment

To complete this goal:  Get a real, honest-to-God, massage from someone trained and paid to do so.  Alternatively, get a facial or wrap or something besides a mani-pedi from an esthetician or professional.

Why?  To be kind to myself.  Also, I've never had a "real" massage, so I want to see what the fuss is about.

082. Create a working closet

To complete this goal:  Five stop process:  Purge (go through, try on everything, get rid of anything that doesn't fit, is unflattering, or is falling apart), Assess (take inventory, make a list of needs and another list of wants, experiment with combinations of clothing I already have), Organize (self explanatory- make it easy to find things in my closet), Shop (find the things from my need list first!). Remix (figure out what to do with the new items and your old, plan outfits for the week). (this particular order and helpful hints and tricks from Kendi Everyday.

Why?  I am so sick of being mistaken for a high schooler, and I generally want to dress in a more stylish, sophisticated way.  This plan will help me work with what I have and figure out what I need to make that happen.

081. New perfume

To complete this goal:  Somehow acquire a new perfume that I really like and works with my body chemistry.  Possibilities include Kate Walsh Boyfriend and Gucci Guilty.

Why?  I have recently discovered the joys of a nice, subtle perfume (thanks to my cologne collecting boyfriend), and I would like to have another scent to play with.

080. Build classic wardrobe basics

To complete this goal:  Acquire 12 pieces of clothing or accessories that are good quality and classic in design, so I can wear them for years to go.

Why?  I'm trying to transition into a more polished, professional style.  I still want to look like me, but honestly, I've always wanted to dress in a more sophisticated way. 

079. Get a Menstrual Cup

To complete this goal:  Buy and use a menstrual cup for two menstrual cycles.

Why?  I don't really like tampons or pads.  They leak, I forget to change them or it's inconvenient, and I'm always running out.  The cup seems like a great alternative, and I'm not freaked out by the blood, so no problems!  (Sorry if you're squeamish about this stuff.  It's really not that big of a deal, though.  Happens to all women at some point.)

078. Estate planning

To complete this goal:  Put together and sign both a will and living will.  Keep a copy in my parents' safety deposit box, make sure they and my brother know and accept my wishes.

Why?  I'm trying to make sure I have all my ducks in a row, like a responsible adult.  And if, god forbid, something should happen to me and I am incapacitated, I want to be sure those that love me know what my wishes are.

077. CPR/Basic first aid Certification

To complete this goal:  Train and receive either American Red Cross or American Heart Association certification in CPR and/or Basic first aid.

Why?  I've always felt like this is important information for me to know regardless, but considering my interest in teaching, it seems like a natural advantage for me to get certified.  Plus, while I'm still in school, I can do the training more conveniently and more cheaply.

076. Take the GRE

To complete this goal:  Study, register for and take the GRE.

Why?  Well, I need it to apply for a second masters, if that's what I decide to do.  Funnily enough, I didn't have to take it to apply for the MM in performance.  It's almost a pride thing, too- I want to prove that I can do really well on what is admittedly an arbitrary standardized test.

075. Look into second masters degrees

To complete this goal:  Explore what my options are for second masters degrees and figure out what I need to do to apply for them.

Why?  I wish I could have fit more pedagogy/psychology of teaching classes into my first MM, as well as completing either the Nonprofit or Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship portfolio programs.  I don't think I want to continue on to another performance degree (DMA), so a second masters might be the best idea.

074. Get my driver’s license

To complete this goal:  Take the practical driving test and have the restrictions taken off my learner's permit.

Why?  Ugh, at some point I really will have to get a car.  Also, it's getting a bit sad to be almost 24 and still only have a learner's permit (to be fair, I didn't get my permit until I was 22).  This must happen.

073. Earn my masters degree

To complete this goal:  Obvious.  Finish my masters degree (and walk!)

Why?  As of now, I am halfway through my MM.  Though I know this is something I will complete no matter what, and some might consider that to be a cheat goal, it is very important to me, so I put it on here.

072. Orientation at the Regional Foundation Library

To complete this goal:  Schedule an orientation at the Regional Foundation Library.

Why?  As mentioned in previous goals, I want to gain more experience in grant writing.  Though technically this could have fallen under goal 66, I feel that this orientation will help me in more general ways regarding nonprofit operation and research writing.

071. Get Suzuki certified

To complete this goal:  Complete Suzuki viola certification through book 2.

Why?  I want to be a better teacher, and the more I can learn about various pedagogical techniques the better.  Plus, Suzuki is a widely recognized method, so it adds to my credibility as a teacher.

070. Make and implement a business plan for viola teaching/gigging

To complete this goal:  Make a business plan to bring in more consistent gig work or more viola students.

Why?  I enjoy teaching and gigging, and even if I decide not to make those into my main job, they provide an excellent supplementary income, which I will probably need (you know, considering my likely jobs and the things I want to do while I'm still young).

069. Find a full time job to support myself with or go back to school

To complete this goal:  After I complete my master's degree, find a full time job, enough freelance work to support myself, or go back to school for a DMA.  I am giving myself a 9 month grace period, as I know it may take time to move to a full time job or acquire enough freelance work to fully support myself.

Why?  Can't mooch off my parents forever.  Seriously.

068. Find at least 2 audition opportunities and take them

To complete this goal:  Take two viola auditions.  I really intend for this to be professional auditions, most likely orchestra, but I feel that my DMA audition will count.

Why?  I've been in school for the past five and a half years studying music performance, but I have yet to take a professional audition.  While I am relatively sure that the life of an orchestral musician is not for me long term, I don't want to wonder what I could have done, had I ever tried.  Plus, it's one of those rites of passage for musicians.  I need to do this for myself.

067. Professional development activities (5x)

To complete this goal: Complete 5 professional development activities.  Activities may include informational interviews, mock auditions, seminars/webinars, networking events, or conferences.

Why?  Two reasons: not only am I trying to make myself more marketable, but I also just need to figure out what I might be happiest doing for a living!  These types of activities will hopefully begin to point me in the right direction.

066. Familiarize myself with grant writing

To complete this goal:  On the face of it, this seems like a very vague goal.  However, to accomplish this requires a three-pronged approach.  The theoretical, like reading a book or taking a webinar/seminar; the practical, or actually working on a grant; and the analytical (? maybe), or learning more about the other side of things, the reviewing of grant proposals.

Why?  I had a taste of grant writing this past summer at my development internship.  I ended up rewriting a grant proposal that had been originally put together by two people, so it was disjointed and lacked a common voice.  We ultimately won the grant, and I learned that I enjoyed working on the on the writing portion of things, and I like that I feel I am helping worthy causes achieve their goals.  This is also an excellent skill set for me to develop if I am to continue working for non-profits.  Even the for-profit business world can require this type of writing and research abilities.

065. Make business cards

To complete this goal: Make/acquire business cards; either general cards or general and music related cards.

Why?  There's just no getting past this one.  I am reaching that wonderful point where I am going to need to be self supporting, and between the freelance nature of much of my skill set and the 9 to 5 type job search, business cards are very important.  It's already been a problem, as I have been asked if I have a card at various gigs or events, and I haven't had any!

064. Find a site to play around with investing/the stock market

To complete this goal:  Find a site where I don't have to use real money, but can get an idea of how investing works and play around with the stock market.  Use it consistently for 3 months.

Why?  At some point I would like to build an investment portfolio, and I want it to include at least some stocks.  I don't know anything about stocks or investing, and my cautious nature won't allow me to just tossing around money (ha, this makes it sound like I have money!).  It's not like I'm skipping the book and more serious educational options totally, but I think this would be fun and I like that it will hopefully mimic an actual stock buying experience.

063. Save $2500

To complete this goal: Save $2500 on top of the money I have already saved.

Why?  I don't really have any savings to speak of, and that is not ok.  What will I do if something happens and I have to support myself while in between jobs?  I will be screwed, that's what.  Right now, while I'm in school and only have part time jobs, my parents are helping me pay for my apartment and electricity and stuff, but of course I want to be self supporting.  While I would like to think I will be able to get a job with which I can support myself after I graduate, there are no guarantees, and any money I can save now will help keep me from calling on my parents to bail me out.

Progress:  Money, Always Stressing Me Out

062. Check my credit report

To complete this goal:  Straightforward- find out what my credit report looks like.

Why?  Credit is important, and I have no idea what my credit score is.  Although, I know it's pretty good- I don't carry any debt and I get a billion credit card offers in the mail.

061. Renters insurance

To complete this goal:  Catalog the contents of my apartment and acquire renters insurance.

Why?  Stuff happens.  Bad stuff.  Which is why I really need to take care of this- it would be so difficult for me to replace either of my violas or any of my electronics without insurance.

060. Find/create secondary source of income

To complete this goal:  Have a source of income independent from my main job.  This can be teaching private lessons, wedding gigs, tutoring, proofreading, grant writing, a monetized website, a web business with my boyfriend- anything that is not dependent on my regular job situation, so long as the income is relatively stable.  Granted, freelance anything can't be guaranteed to be completely consistent, but using my personal discretion for what counts is the important thing. 

Why?  Eh, I'm trying to do a lot of these things anyway- it's an expected part of being a classically trained musician.  This goal is more to get me to be more methodical and focused about acquiring regular freelance work.  I already teach and gig and do a small and irregular amount of grant writing, but I would like those things to be more consistent and a more reliable alternate source of income. 

059. File my own taxes

To complete this goal:  Really, this is self explanatory.  It's ok if I get help from my parents, but I should be the one filling out the forms and whatnot.

Why?  Ah yes, the boring section of my 101 list.  If, as I have set out to do, my main goal is to become an independent adult, this is very important.  Death and taxes.  You know the drill. . .

058. Make a project list and complete 5 things on it

To complete this goal:  Put together a list of creative/fulfilling projects I would like to complete.  This can be further categorized into viola projects, writing projects, creative projects, etc., though it shouldn't include food goals as I feel those are well covered by my 101 list. 

Why?  I'm always coming up with ideas for little projects I'd like to pursue, but I tend to forget about them or just not think about them because I have so many other things going on.  A list would help me organize and prioritize those creative outlet ideas.

057. Document Austin life in photos and essays

To complete this goal:  Actually take pictures of all the things I'm doing in Austin, and write essays or reviews about my life here.  Bonus points for pictures that actually have me in them!

Why?  I don't want to only write about the bad times, which is what I tend to journal about.  It's nice to have a record of the fun things I've done and what my life was like while I was here.

Progress:  Winter Hook

056. Start a blog

To complete this goal: Put together a blog that gives me an outlet to explore things I'm interested.  Some of my ideas include a sort of unschooling/continuing education post-secondary school type thing, a "tourist in my own town" type blog, or a chronicle of my efforts to figure out this whole being an independent person thing.

Why?  Oh, so, so many reasons for this one!  I miss writing.  I feel like I used to be a much better writer, too, so this would be a great way for me to improve my chops.  Any of my current ideas for blogs would help give me focus and accountability for other projects I am currently working on.  Finally, there is a certain amount of catharsis in getting things out on paper.  I think this will be really good for me. 

055. Sing karaoke by myself

To complete this goal:  Sing karaoke in front of people.  Doesn't matter if it's at a karaoke bar or on a little machine at a party, as long as there are people there.

Why?  Singing is fun.  I like to sing along with radio, in choirs, sometimes in the shower- but I'm not very comfortable singing alone in front of people.  I'm ready to change that.

053. Go to a shooting range

To complete this goal:  Head out to a shooting range and hit a target!  You know, preferably more than once.

Why?  People have this funny assumption that just because I'm from Texas, I know how to properly fire a gun.  While I have some experience from a visit to some relatives in the hill country, I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination.  However, I enjoyed improving my aim in that one short experience, and I'd like to continue to get better.  Also, what an excellent stress reliever!

052. Be able to do a ‘beast skill’

To complete this goal:  Be able to complete at least one of the skills on the website these are those skills which seem impossible, or "beastly."

The frontrunners for my super beginner status are the handstand and the back lever.  I'd love to be able to do the planche progression, the flag, or the L-seat, but let's take it one step at a time!

Why?  I'm a twin- and people seem to be unable to keep themselves from putting us in opposing boxes.  One of us was the funny one, the other the antisocial one.  The smart one, the dumb one.  And, one of my personal favorites- the strong one, and the weak one.  Guess which I was?  My brother was always the one who people seemed to think capable and fit.  I don't want to feel like the weak, helpless girl that needs to be taken care of, and perhaps this is a superficial way to prove I'm not, but aren't this skills amazing??

051. Do something terrifying and crazy

To complete this goal:  'Terrifying' and 'crazy' generally means falling from great heights in a controlled manner, considering my fear of heights.  Bungee jumping, cliff diving, sky diving, etc.  Might accept hang gliding or flying a small plane, depending on how scary that ends up being.

Why?  Facing my fears- all of my fears -is an important part of me growing up, figuring myself out, and living my life to the fullest.  Not too long ago, riding a roller coaster would have qualified for this goal, but it's time to up the ante!

050. Try a Warrior Dash type activity

To complete this goal:  Complete any obstacle course type run- examples include Warrior Dash, Gladiator Games, Tough Mudder, Metro Dash, Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, etc.

Why?  Um, because it sounds fun!  And, let's face it- a little crazy.  Some of these courses involve fire!  As I get stronger and more capable while I work towards my fitness goals, I want to push myself with something like this, something that represents how far I've come from the weak, unmotivated woman I was, to a strong, able athlete. 

049. Bizarre foods at least 3 times

To complete this goal:  Eat something "bizarre" (i.e., a food item not commonly eaten in the US)- this can include bugs, lamb balls, oxtail, tripe, etc.  Has to be something I haven't tried before, though.

Why?  Oh, Andrew Zimmern- your show is awesome and crazy!  My boyfriend introduced me to the tv show Bizarre Foods, and my life has never been the same.  So many possibilities for me to get out of my comfort zone and do something exciting and unusual!

048. Check out 20 new artists

To complete this goal:  Listen to at least 3 songs by a musician I'm not familiar with.

Why?  I listen to a lot of music in a huge range of genres, but I'd like to gain a little more depth, rather than knowing one song by a ton of artists.  Any suggestions?

047. Ask for movie recommendations and watch 10 of them

To complete this goal:  Ask anyone and everyone I know for movie recommendations and watch 10 of those total.

Why?  So many people I know have evinced shock, dismay, even annoyance at my apparent lack of movie watching depth that I felt like it was time to attempt to address it.  People I plan to ask include my best friends, my documentary/foreign film buff friend, my brother and mother, my boyfriend, my classic movie fiend aunt, and my viola teacher.  Also, if anyone reading this has a favorite, feel free to chime in!

046. Read 75 books

To complete this goal:  Very straightforward- read 75 books. 

Why?  I have always loved to read- my mother used to catch me reading by the nightlight when I was 7.  However, since starting grad school I have not been making time to read for pleasure.  The purpose of this goal is both to make time for a pastime I love, and to expand my mind.  Ideally I won't just be reading all fantasy or sci-fi- I'd like to read some of the classics I have always meant to, try some plays, and read a lot of non fiction.  Topics I'd like to explore at this point include food science, performance psychology, music pedagogy, health/nutrition, and biographies.

045. Explore poetry

To complete this goal:  Read at least 5 poems by 10 poets- preferably poets who write in different styles/time periods.  Some ideas include Frank O'Hara, Archibald McLeash, William Blake, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Atwood.

Why?  I'm trying to push myself outside my comfort zone in the things I read or watch, hence many of the goals in this section.  I've never really tried very hard to explore poetry, but I remember enjoying those units in middle school and this is something I feel like could be very exciting to delve into.

044. Try 15 new cocktails

To complete this goal:  Try 15 mixed drinks I've never had before.  Bonus:  mix some yourself!

Why?  When I was a teenager, I read the Old Mr. Boston's book in my dad's study and picked out drinks I wanted to try someday, like the Tuxedo.  The quasi-chemistry nature of drink making fascinates me- now I have this fantastic cocktails book that I would like to try some things from!

043. Make 25 new recipes

To complete this goal:  Make 25 new to me recipes.

Why?  Again, becoming more comfortable and self sufficient in the kitchen.  I read food blogs and I've found tons of recipes that sound delicious- it's time to make some of them!

042. Try 5 food experiments

To complete this goal:  Complete five food projects that aren't things people usually do- examples include infusing vodka, making cheese, mulling wine, making pasta, meringues, etc.  I would also consider anything that involves a lot of effort, like candy making or macarons a food experiment.

Why?  I love a good experiment, and I'm always up for a challenge.  My mom teaches a food science class, so she knows how to make cheese and pasta and all that good stuff, so she's going to help me with a few!

041. Complete a series of basic cooking projects

To complete this goal:  Successfully try at least 8 of these techniques:


When I have more time to research, I will add some good basic dishes that I feel I should know how to make.  I will try at least 10 of those.

Why?  I'm trying to become a self-sufficient adult, here.  It's not good that I don't feel comfortable in the kitchen.  Plus, I'm always reading food blogs and then trying really complicated recipes and feeling frustrated!  This would help give me a better foundation.

040. Try and rate 10 beers, wines, and teas

To complete this goal: 
      Critera: Name (date)
Serving style: size bottle, loose tea, etc.
Place of origin: country/state
Rating: x out of 5
Comments: description and recommended or not recommended

Why?  The beer is because I can't seem to help myself- I'm always trying new beers.  The funny thing is that I usually don't like it.  There are a few that I like, but honestly, I've tried so many so sporadically that I forget which ones I like the best!   A record would help me keep that straight. . .

The wine goes back to when I was 15ish and my parents had a subscription to Food + Wine.  I read all the sections about wine, made lists of the things I wanted to try. . .I was kind of weird.  Anyway, I'd like to have a record of what I like and don't like for that too.

My best friend is pretty obsessed with tea (has been since high school), and I have acquired a lot of tea because I thought that was so cool.  Also, my dad has this intense and complicated tea making method- but I don't want to go that extreme!  I need to get around to drinking that stuff, though.

Progress:  Beers- Winter Hook

039. Make a recipe notebook

To complete this goal:  Put together a book (or binder or whatever) with at least 30 recipes that I have made and liked a lot.  Can't just be desserts/baking!

Why?  I want to have a personalized record of tried and true recipes.  This is part of my desire to cook for myself more often.

038. Try 3 things with my boyfriend outside of my usual interests

To complete this goal:  Whole-heartedly try something with my boyfriend that I wouldn't really have done on my own.  Things that come to mind are learning to ride a bike (yes, I know, it's sad), following March Madness, skiing, statistics, and proper knife technique (it's not that I don't want to learn, I just really don't care as much).

Why?  I'm always looking for ways to broaden my horizons- and how nice would it be to try something new with someone who already enjoys it- and that I already enjoy spending time with?

035. Meet someone for a meal or coffee once a week

To complete this goal:  Meet someone and hang out (acceptable general guidelines include coffee and a meal because they tend to be things people have to do anyway, and are thus easy to set up) at least once a week.  I am not counting my boyfriend in this, because we hang out a lot already- that would be cheating!

Why?  This is because I clearly need to be more proactive in trying to connect to people.  I know so many people that I think are interesting and would really like to get to know better, but I often let myself think they wouldn't want to hang out.  This is to try and force me to be more social and get out of my shell.

034. Start getting down stories from parents

To complete this goal:  Record (either on my Zoom H4n or on paper) at least five stories (each) about and from my parents growing up.  Ideally, at least five from each of my maternal grandparents, too.

Why?  I'm pretty close to my parents, and I generally think they are cool, awesome people.  In a slightly morbid vein, I'd like to get some of their exciting histories down in their own voice or words so I'll have something of them after they're gone.

033. Find a social group to join

To complete this goal:  Find some kind of group with similar interests to hang out with, like a Meetup group, my undergrad alumni association, the alumni chapter of my music fraternity, a book club, etc.

Why?  I am lonely, kind of a lot.  I love the friends I have, but most of them do not live nearby, and it's hard when I want to be social and hang out and feel like I have no one to call.  This is a much more concrete and achievable goal than "make a new friend," see?

032. Have a crepe party or brunch

To complete this goal:  Have friends over to my apartment for crepes or brunch.  If I made everything from scratch and it was more than 2 people, I might accept dinner at my apartment as an acceptable substitute.

Why?  I don't really have friends over to my apartment- it's usually too messy for me to feel comfortable letting people in.  However, I had a brunch/crepe party at my apartment my last semester of my undergrad, and it was really fun.  Crepes and board games!!

031. Donate a million grains of rice through

To complete this goal:  Answer 100,000 questions correctly on

Why?  I'm not going to lie, a lot of this one is because I like goals I can track via numbers and I enjoy answering the art and vocabulary questions on  It helps that it is also a good thing to do.

030. Donate blood 5 times

To complete this goal:  Donate whole blood 5 times (the full amount!)

Why?  I am eligible to donate blood.  Donating blood helps save lives.  Why wouldn't I do this?

029. Volunteer 101 hours

To complete this goal:  Volunteer for charitable or cultural/arts organizations for 101 hours.

Why?  I like volunteering.  I feel strongly that if I have the means, I should try to give back and spread some goodwill.  In high school, I did a lot of volunteering, but I haven't done much lately.

028. Learn how to sew

To complete this goal:  Sew something I'll actually wear in public- with pride!

Why?  I am not really off the rack proportions.  I've had to get jeans and dresses altered to fit right, and shopping is not really a fun experience.  I dream about having clothes tailor made for me- but I think maybe I can manage to some easier things myself.  After all, both my mom and my grandmother are great at sewing, and my grandmother made lots of her own clothes and clothes for me when I was little, too!

027. Watch 2 TED videos or 1 educational show/video a month

To complete this goal:  Either watch two TED talks or one educational show or video a month (examples include, nature shows, Empires, Great Museums, etc.)- my Great Courses videos do not count.

Why?  I want to know things.  I've always been curious and interested in learning, and this is a great way to explore a bunch of different topics and become more well-rounded.

026. Watch my Great Courses videos

To complete this goal:  Watch all five of my Great Courses series:
                                       The Joy of Science
                                       Understanding the Fundamentals of Music
                                       How to Listen to and Understand Great Music
                                              (those two are really for/with my boyfriend :-P)
                                       Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre
                                       A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev

Why?  I've either borrowed these or been given them as gifts.  I like this series, and I'd like to continue to learn and broaden my mind by actually watching them- I just always seem to forget I have them!

025. Know what you’re doing at the grocery store

To complete this goal:  Be able to say that you know how to comparison shop both before the store and at the store, and have a better idea of what constitutes good deals.  Also, know what to look for in produce.

Why?  I haven't been shopping for myself that long, really, and I still feel a bit adrift.  I'd much rather feel sure and adept.

024. Learn to dance the Argentine Tango

To complete this goal:  Be able to go to a milonga and have fun dancing without having to explain I'm a beginner.  Also, look good and graceful doing it.

Why?  I used to take ballroom dance classes, my first semester as a graduate student.  Argentine tango (and waltz) were my favorite, and I will admit that I have watched a lot of ballroom dance and dance movies.  I'm not very good at dancing, but it makes me happy and I want to be better at it.

023. Relearn HTML

To complete this goal:  Return to at least the basic level of HTML I knew back when I was in high school- preferably surpass this, though.

Why?  I want to be able to do more with websites and blogs, and I also used to love figuring out HTML code.  This is also a great skill to have as an enhancement to my resume, considering the types of jobs I am looking at applying for.

022. Learn Basic Russian

To complete this goal:  Be able to carry on a simple conversation in Russian with my dad.

Why?  I've regretted not continuing Russian when we moved back from Moscow (I lived there for a little over a year when I was 8) for a long time.  I think it is such an interesting language and culture, and I would really like to at least attempt to become bilingual.

021. Type 75WPM

To complete this goal:  Be able to type consistently at least 75 words per minute.

Why?  I used to have a love-hate relationship with Mavis Beacon- I liked the games, I liked the accomplishment I felt, but I wasn't persistent enough to get super good, so I got frustrated.  One of my non-list goals is to take the spelling and typing tests at my college to get them put on file, as I may end up applying for clerical jobs to tide me over if nothing bigger works out in the interim.

020. Take an aerial class

To complete this goal:  Take an aerial class- could be silks, corde lisse, trapeze, hammock, or lyra (though lyra might be a cop out, as I've already done that).

Why?  I bought a groupon for 5 classes at a pole fitness place in my area last year.  When I finally used it this summer, I ended up doing almost all lyra (aerial hoop) classes, and bought another groupon to take more.  It is crazy, crazy fun!  There's just something very empowering about pulling up your own body weight and dangling from the ceiling. . . I would really like to try some of the other aerial apparatus, especially silks (a blogger I follow is an awesome silk aerialist, very inspiring).

019. Start doing yoga again

To complete this goal:  Do yoga at least 5 times in the same studio/gym.  This should be a class, though if I worked out a legitimate personal routine, that would count.

Why?  The summer after my sophomore year (I think?) of college, my brother and I had memberships to the same gym, and I went a lot.  Like, five or six times a week, usually for at least an hour, often more.  Best shape I've ever been in, seriously.  Plus, I walked either to or from the gym.  Anyway, I took a yoga class there regularly, and I loved it.  I like the focus, and the breathing, and the always trying to go farther and be more body aware.  I haven't found a regular yoga place since, though I've done it on and off and I always incorporate sun salutations into my stretching.  I want to get back to that feeling I always got after yoga class!

018. Learn how to play racquetball

To complete this goal: Play a real game of racquetball and follow the actual rules. 

Why?  The first time I played racquetball, I was a scared little freshman in college.  One of the other violists in my section invited me to play with them, and it was both a nice gesture to the new girl and a lot of fun, despite how horrible of a player I was- I always want to jump for the ball, dammit!  Anyway, I played sporadically and with varying levels of rule following for a few years, but I would love to try again.  My dad used to be really good at racquetball, apparently.  I'm a pretty competitive person, too, so this would be a good outlet for that. . .

017. Go on an outdoor adventure

To complete this goal:  Go outside and do something awesome.  Examples include canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, camping, hiking, mountain climbing, spelunking, etc.  It really needs to be at least half a day to qualify as an "adventure," preferably a whole day.

Why?  I've been hiking a little bit in Hawaii and Colorado, but I've never done a real full out outdoor excursion or adventure.  Maybe I won't enjoy it, but I want to try something new and get out there and do more things!  If you've read many of these posts, you may be seeing a pattern emerging :)

016. Lose 10lbs or gain definition by losing a total of 4 inches

To complete this goal:  Weigh 144 lbs or lose a total of 4 inches (cumulative from my hips, waist, thighs, and arms).

Why?  I'm already pretty thin (I'm 5'11"), but I want to be leaner (lower body fat percentage) and more defined, hopefully as a side benefit of my work to get stronger.  I've recently lost ~10 lbs, but I'm less defined than I used to be.  I'd like to be more tight and toned.  Vanity goal!

015. Be able to do a pull-up

To complete this goal:  Be able to pull my whole body weight up with just my arms.

Why?  This is the ultimate, "yeah, I'm a badass" move for a woman.  I'm going to be a badass.  The end.

014. Be able to do the splits

To complete this goal:  Be able to go fully into right and left splits.  Center splits would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.

Why?  I took some aerial hoop classes over the summer and I loved it!  Increasing my flexibility would really open up some cool new tricks for me and make a lot of the ones I already know look better.  Plus, I want to try taking some more dance classes, so this would be a good thing for that, too.

013. Run a 5k

To complete this goal:  Run (the whole way!) a 5k.

Why?  I've wanted to get back into running for a while, and this seems like a good beginning goal to get me started.

011. Look into allergy shots

To complete this goal:  Find out if allergy shots are an option for me and my cat dander allergy.  If they are, start treatment.  If they aren't a viable option,  devise and follow an allergy preventative routine for my general allergies.

Why?  I'm tired of feeling like crap all the time because of my allergies.  Also, someday I would like to have a pet, and I would love to have a cat.  Stupid allergies!

010. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

To complete this goal:  Decrease my social anxiety by actively putting myself in situations that make me uncomfortable.  Little things that progress to bigger things.  Use ideas from your social anxiety workbook, as well as opportunities as they present themselves.

Why?  I want to turn off the little voice in my head that says, "be quiet- no one will like you."  My social anxiety is no where near as bad as it used to be, but it's still a bigger issue in my life than I would like.

009. Seriously try meditation to decrease anxiety levels

To complete this goal:  Research some meditation techniques to help me decrease my anxiety, then try them and see what actually works.

Why?  I get anxious very easily, and I've had medication recommended.  However, I would rather see if I can control it by myself.  At least exhaust my other options first.

008. Make an inspiration board

To complete this goal:  Not really a traditional inspiration board, but put together some type of inspirational or beautiful collage/art wall/thing that I will see every day.

Why?  I've never gotten around to decorating my apartment, but I'm always happier when there is beautiful art around me.

007. Fix my sleep schedule

To complete this goal:  Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night regularly.

Why?  I do not sleep enough to function properly.  It's a real problem.

006. Leave the state

To complete this goal:  Get out of Texas!  Has to be at least a weekend, preferably more.

Why?  I like where I live, and there are tons of things I want to do in the area, but I want to travel!

005. Complete 30 of 365 things to do in Austin

To complete this goal: Originally, I intended to use only places/events listed on the website 365 Things to Do in Austin, but there are so many cool and exciting things in Austin, that not everything could be on there.  I will consider this goal complete when I have gone out and visited/done 30 things fun or unique in Austin.

Why?  There are so many great things to do here, I want to make sure I take advantage of them.  Sometimes I let myself get a little too comfortable, and I'm making it a point to really get out there and enjoy my life.

Progress, (18/30):  The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

004. Try 10 new restaurants

To complete this goal:  Go eat at ten totally new to me restaurants.  The goal is really to try different types of places and not get stuck in a rut.

Why?  I can get into a routine and let myself play it safe, so this will at least help my palate.  This will also help me with my indecisiveness- new places mean new and unknown choices!  I really want to try more new things and experience more of life.

003. Spend an afternoon reading in the park

To complete this goal: Go to a park on a beautiful day and lay out reading a good book!

Why?  I love to read.  This past year I've not had very much time to devote to reading for pleasure, though I am finally getting back to it.  I would love to get out of my apartment and spend an afternoon relaxing with a book.

002. Stay a night in a nice hotel with someone I love

To complete this goal:  I'm not talking about a La Quinta or a Days Inn.  A really nice hotel, like one of the places where it's luxurious or unique.

Why?  Hotels have always held a sort of magic for me.  You're away from home, you don't have to clean up after yourself (within reason!), it's like a break from reality.

001. Go to the Beach

To complete this goal:  Spend some quality time at a beach.  It doesn't have to be a warm beach, I don't have to be in my bikini, but I want to enjoy my time there.

Why?  I love the beach.  The sound of the waves, the salty spray, the way sand feels as you try to walk across it.  I haven't been in a while (I don't live near the ocean), and I really want to make an effort to go back.