Week 6 of 52: My 19 for 2019

Snowy day

It was a tiny bit chilly here this past week. Nowhere near the polar vortex level of cold the rest of the country recently experienced, but nippy enough that Sally the Civic’s battery finally gave up the ghost on what I had planned on being a very productive day. That threw me for a loop this week, but I think I’m finally back on track.


Healthy habits

I’m going to focus on the positive this week! I drank a big glass of water every single morning before I enjoyed a cup of coffee. I made it to a lovely yoga class that was exactly what my mind and body needed. I made two delicious dinners that were chock full of healthy vegetables and the rest of the week I managed to eat a few green things and not too much chocolate.

Currently reading The Artist's Way, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and Better Than Before. Photos from Good Reads.gif


Read 25 books

I’m going to start with the ugly and then head over to the good. I’m struggling through The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. It’s for my book club, and it’s a doozy. I’m hoping that if I can give it a few more chapters that maybe I’ll get hooked. We talked a lot about the concepts in this book when I took a few digital communications classes at the community college a few years ago so I know that it should be interesting, but I just can’t get interested.

Better Than Before is by the author Gretchen Rubin, who is half of my inspiration for starting my 19 for 2019 list. I read her book The Four Tendencies a few months ago and adored it, so I’ve requested the rest of her books from the library. I’m only a chapter or two into this one and I like it so far!

Next up is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I borrowed this from the library a year or two ago, and returned it without even cracking it open. This book is supposed to be life altering and is actually a 12 week program to unlocking your creativity. I’m on week one, so this will be on my reading list for a while. Wish me luck!

Books I’ve read so far this year: Rock Needs River

Thor giving me the look

Thor giving me the look


Dog barking

Coming home to the dogs has been at least 70% less stressful since implementing Sasha’s bark less plan. Thor is doing really well with the treats for a quiet greeting arrangement because he loves food. I can hear him losing his mind barking as I walk up the sidewalk, but by the time I make it inside the door he’s as quiet as a church mouse and is ready for his reward. I use these treats because they’re tiny and I can give them three or four in the first minute of being home instead of a single big treat, which tends to lead to lead to loud noises. Barkley is less food motivated, so I’m experimenting with keeping a tennis ball with the treats and throwing it to get him playing and distracted.


monthly date

Ok, so we’re not dressy people. I’m officially updating #4 on my 19 for 2019 list to going on a date, any date, that’s not a Saturday lunch at our favorite sushi or Thai place.

Last week, we ended up taking a road trip to the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center. We had the place to ourselves and ended up spending a little more than an hour looking through the exhibits. I love museums and galleries, so this was especially fun for me and is something that I really miss from my time living in DC. I take my time and tend to look at everything and read all of the little signs and do the activities, and my husband is wonderfully patient and just waits for me at the exit.



Another week of staring at the paint samples on the wall! Despite being super high up on my list, it’s not really a priority at the moment. I’ll probably tackle making over our master bathroom in the fall.


(for now) project

I’m finally making some headway on this project! It’s just a tiny bit, but the progress feels good even if it will be a long time before I have anything to share. This is something that I’ve dreamed about for a long time, and I’m finally putting in the time and effort into making this a reality.


Write more

I’ve been writing up a storm this week! I have to hand write three pages doing a stream of consciousness exercise each morning for The Artist’s Way, and starting this week I’ll need to do a few additional writing exercises on top of other writing projects that I’m working on and my weekly writing class. It feels good to work out my brain!


Be more social

I met my girlfriends for some coffee and had lunch with sister and her family.

It was a great week!



Not much to report:


Automate bill payments


Go on 10 camping


Girls’ trip


Home cleaning routine

Plant starts


Plant a garden

It’s not much to look at now, but this right here is hopefully the start of a beautiful and bountiful garden! I made newspaper pots last week and started seeds over the weekend. These plant labels were made from nearly dried out years old Sculpey, so that was a thrilling and inexpensive DIY win!

Not much to report:


fashion makeover


12 craft projects


Launch FOLL website


Organize cabinets & closets


spend less time
on my phone

What are you working toward in 2019?

I’d love to hear about your goals in the comments

A lot of links

When I read an especially good article, I always save it down to my notes to look at again later.

How to save a website to your notes to view it later. This is an easy DIY tutorial for saving websites to Notes for iPhone users.

Here are five posts that I read this past week that I thought you might enjoy.

Tell me your take in the comments below!

What poverty taught me about being too generous

What poverty taught me about being “too generous”

by Kristine Levine

A Q&A with the 'Crazy Rich Asians' Costume Designer

A Q&A with the ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ costume designer

by Elizabeth Holmes

Polarization is everywhere. But it’s being challenged in Poland by a handful of magazines across the political spectrum. They’ve begun sharing articles, to show readers a variety of viewpoints.

The magazines publishing one another’s work to fight political polarization

by Tina Rosenberg

Instagram's sneakiness makes SB ads look quaint

Instagram’s sneakiness makes Super Bowl ads look quaint

by Sheila Marikar

Recipe I'm trying this week

Recipe I’m trying this week

Red lentil soup with lemon by Melissa Clark

Week 5 of 52: My 19 for 2019

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions, but this year I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s 18 for 2018 and one of my fave bloggers Mavis Butterfield’s weekly goals updates, so I’m going to try this out. Some of these items are long term, some are short term and could be completed in a weekend, and a few of them may not be finished at all. And that’s ok! This is just what I’m striving toward this year.

1: Focus on healthy daily habits: yoga, water, fruits and veggies, and activity

I feel like I’m back on track this week. Or at least back on the track. It’s funny how having just one thing go right can really turn the tide.

I did really well with drinking enough water this week. I was helped greatly because my husband, likely inspired by the episode of Mari Kondo that I made him watch a few weeks ago, cleaned out our absolutely terrifying glass cabinet. It was a mishmash of random cups, wine glasses, and mason jars that was absolutely anxiety inducing because I always feared that something would come crashing down on me every time I opened the door. He boxed up the random assortment of glasses and kept a reasonable amount of mason jars and the wine glasses we like. The bigger mason jars on the bottom left hold about 16 ounces of water, which means that I only need to finish about five of them to reach my goals. I like to top them with these lids and a straw, and take them with me throughout the day. And — shocker! — now that I can easily find my mason jars, I’m more likely to drink water. So thank you, honey. Now please organize the rest of the cabinets and closets in the house so that I can cross #18 off my list! ILYSM

A newly organized glass cabinet. Thanks, honey!

Thanks to the help of some patient and very talented workout teachers, I also kicked butt with my activity levels this week. I went to two yoga classes and even checked out a swimming class at our aquatic center. Go me! I’ve always wanted to take a water fitness class but I’ve always felt incredibly self-conscious in a bathing suit. I took my niece swimming a few weeks ago, and it felt so good to be in the water and since I was entirely focused on 1) her safety and 2) making sure she was having fun, I gave almost exactly zero thoughts on what my body looked like in my one piece. Emboldened by this experience, I packed my one piece and a towel, and hit the pool. And it was great! For the first time in my life, I experienced what I believe is an exercise high and plan on doing it again next week.

Now that I’m fully hydrated and sore from exercising a few muscles that I wasn’t aware that I have, it’s time to fuel up. And now that I have my cooking groove back and it’s not all quesadillas all the time, it’s time to healthify these meals. Like most things in life, I’m either all or nothing and I swing widely back and forth when it comes to meal planning. I’ll have a six months streak of being incredibly organized and trying out new recipes and shopping at a normal pace to absolutely wanting to never step foot in our kitchen again. I feel like I’m at the beginning of one of those organized times, so I think I’m going to follow the advice that was left in the comments of last week’s update:

Meal planning: this trick has been helping us a ton. Every week I [write] the week’s menu in the notes app on my phone, just a running list of weekly menus. I have about six months worth now. When I feel stuck for ideas, I just scroll down and peek at previous menus, problem solved. Sometimes I just use a whole week without changing anything. For me planning is the hardest part so this trick has helped so much!
— Sasha L., reader comment

I will usually write my menu out in my notes, and then delete it or copy over it the next week. I really love the idea of being able to look over a few month’s worth of menus so that when the quesadilla days roll around again, I can just copy a few weeks worth of menus until I’m feeling like cooking again. Thanks, Sasha!

2: Read 25 books

I am the world’s worst book club member, usually only finishing a few of the books each year. We recently went from reading a book every month to every other, and I am committed to reading the other five left on the list plus the super popular January book that I procrastinated in requesting from the library. Our March book is The hero with a thousand faces by Joseph Campbell. I have it checked out from the library and on my person, and have even read about ten painful pages so far.

Books I’ve read so far this year: Rock Needs River

3: Get dog barking and door behavior under control

Exhausted from barking at the neighbor cat lounging in her catio

Exhausted from barking at the neighbor cat lounging in her catio

So I have mostly given up in the ah-ah-ahs and thank yous, but have been trying this trick from this prolific writer of helpful comments:

I too am working on LESS BARKING... When people are coming in or out, I put dogs in bedroom, every single time, so eliminating the over excited greeting barks. When I do let them come out to say hello they are much calmer, and if not, back they go. Also, treats. Lots and lots of treats, with good quiet whispered. Someone told me when you yell *STOP BARKING!” your dog just thinks you are also barking. Woohoo, a barking party. So very quiet voice.
— Sasha L., reader comment

I now have one treat jar at the back door and moved another to the front. The dogs absolutely loose their stuffing when they see me walking up to the house so I can hear them yapping about a mile a minute. Once I walk in the door, I grab the treat jar and then I tell them quiet/no barks and once they’re quiet, I give them a treat. And then if they stay quiet they get another treat. This has worked well the past few days, so I’m going to keep it going and will hopefully stick. I’d like to eventually train them to stay quiet when the mailman comes and when my husband walks in the door, too. But I’m just focusing on the small victories until we get to the big ones! So thank you, once again, Sasha!

4: Get dressed up once a month and go on a date (with my husband)

So it’s week 5 and still no dress up date. I am not getting pushback in any way, shape, or form on getting dressed up from my husband, but I’m not feeling very motivated to make this happen either. Maybe it’s just winter time and I want to keep layers and layers of clothes on? A typical date for us is hitting up our sushi or Thai spots for lunch on a Saturday, so maybe we could change this to doing something out of the ordinary for us once a month. We ruled out white water rafting a long time ago, so perhaps bowling or put put golf might be a better more us option.

5: Makeover master bathroom

Week 2 of 52: My 19 for 2019 update

We were in and out of Lowe’s last week in less than $5 and five minutes flat so I did not tempt fate or my credit cards to slow us down and look at paint. There’s 47 more painful weeks of this to go this year.

6: Secret (for now) project

I have not made much progress on this goal yet, but I’ve started a list. And that’s a good place to get started.

7: Write! Write! Write!

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
— Ernest Hemingway

8: Be more social

I wasn’t super social this week, but I’m ok with that. I went back to yoga after a break, and it was lovely to catch up with the regulars and my teacher. It’s a lot more motivating to make it to class when you like the people you’re breathing with.

9: Post regularly on Instagram

It didn't happen this week.

10: Automate bill payments

This is what popped up on Pexels when I searched for “bills” — I like this much better than a photo of a checkbook and envelopes. What do you think?

This is what popped up on Pexels when I searched for “bills” — I like this much better than a photo of a checkbook and envelopes. What do you think?

I’m about half and half on this. Maybe by next month.

11: Go on 10 camping trips

One down, nine to go! Here’s the write up of our trip to Northern California earlier this month.

12: Plant a garden and grow 125 pounds of produce

I picked up some newspapers to make these seed starters, so that’s on my list for this week.

13: Go on girls’ trip to the hot springs

Still working on this.

14: Perfect home cleaning routine

The delay end button on my washer is an absolute life saver for a clothes mildewer like me

Do you have this button on your washer? Have you ever used it? I thought it was kind of a dumb feature for a long time, but recently I’ve started putting dirty clothes in the washer at night before bed, set the timer so that the washer will turn on around the time I need to wake up, and then I can throw clean clothes in the dryer before I go about my day. This thing has been a godsend for a chronic clothes mildewer like me. Please note: I do not run the dryer when I’m not home

15: Fashion makeover

Another week of less than stellar fashion moments.

16: Complete 12 craft projects

0 down, 12 to go!

17: Launch FOLL website and create email template

Still plugging away.

18: Clean out and organize cabinets and closets (and keep them that way)

My husband organized a cabinet so I’m counting that! 1 down, 30-ish more to go?!

19: Spend less time on my phone

One night last week, I managed to keep my phone in a drawer almost the entire evening. I would like to do this more often.

What are you working toward in 2019?

I’d love to hear about your goals in the comments