2017 Goals: Checkin In – 6 Months

2017 is halfway over and I’m in a constant state of panic because of it. June was the most insanely busy month I’d ever had (the small business I co-own launched another product) and went by as quickly as if it were a week long. Around the end of April, I decided that I would break up some of my goals and focus on one more than the others during each month, and so far it’s been working…sort of okay, mostly not. Anyway, it’s time to go over how well I’m doing with my goals for the year.

Design & Illustration

In the month of May, I focused on practicing hand lettering! It went fairly well, though I didn’t do as much as I wanted—I’d wanted to do one piece a day, but only ended up doing about half. Still, I definitely see an improvement in just that short of time and want to do more to get even better. I’m still not great at it, but a few of them turned out great. Along with this, I’ve been wanting to redesign book covers of some favorite books for two reasons: 1) to do more design projects in between other work that I’ve been doing and 2) to get more works that could go in my portfolio, specifically because I’d like to start marketing myself as a freelance designer that does book design covers (as well as branding and marketing design). It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and think it’s a good time to focus on it more. I’ve done one book cover with some hand lettering on it (still in the works, will post along with whole hand lettering post). In other ways, I’ve done very little design work outside of my day job (and even within that, hardly any) because June was so chaotic. And guess which month I chose to be my month of illustration focus? That’s right! June. I did very very little sketching and illustrating. But it’s okay, because I plan on choosing another month to focus on illustrating later in the year. Disappointing, but okay. I just have to press on!

Writing

Guess what I’ve been doing very little of? That’s right! Writing. But it’s okay. I posted about it last month here. July is writing and reading focused, so I’m going to be taking some extra time to write. Do I try to do to much? Too many interests? Probably. Anyway, my other writing month is September and then again in November (NaNoWriMo baby!), so I know I’ll be doing a lot more later in the year. Hopefully, July will be good to me and I’ll be able to care out the time to write.

Reading

Don’t look at me. I’ve only finished five books. FIVE. The year is half over and I’ve only read FIVE BOOKS. How does this happen to me? I feel like I read all the time but I just…am not. Again, hopefully July will be super great with reading. Well, I know it will be, because BookTube-A-Thon is this month! It’s my favorite time of year, where I stress myself out trying to read every extra minute I have for an entire week straight. I don’t sleep enough, I stop functioning as a normal human adult. It’s great.

Film: Import

I’ve actually watched a lot of films this year! I’ve seen almost 15 already. However, none in theaters—yet. I planned TWICE to go see Alien: Covenant in theaters, but couldn’t make it both times for dumb reasons (like work and stuff, ugh) and now I have no money to see any films in the theater. I do want to see Atomic Blonde, Valerian, and Baby Driver but I don’t know if I’ll be able to. But there are even more films I want to see in the fall, so I’m not worried. Five films in the theater is manageable, I don’t know I’m struggling. Stay tuned.

Film: Export

Though I haven’t made any film-based projects this year so far (my camera has been hijacked by a relative who needs it for work, as her camera broke, so I’ve been unable to really do anything yet) but I plan on doing some later in the summer. But—as I said in my last goals update post, I finished writing a short film called Anya, and I spent some time in May editing it. So there’s that.

Exercise

THIS IS THE ONE I’VE MADE MOST PROGRESS ON! I’M VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT! I made a post recently about changing up my diet and how I’ve been walking/jogging nearly every day (except for most of June and the first week of July, but I’ve been getting back to it now) and have lost a total of 25 pounds! That’s the most I’ve ever lost! I’m extremely happy and pumped up to keep going. I’ve reached my first weight goal, so now I’ll be targeting a second goal and aiming for it to be hit by the end of the summer!

Instagram

I’ve still been posting every day (or at least having one post per day, sometimes catching up with two or three a day) and I’ve been really loving it. I’ve almost hit 200 days and love a lot of the photos I’ve posted. Some are just okay, needing something to post or just posting a fun memory, less of a Photograph but it’s been a lot of fun.

2017 has been a difficult, busy year. But it’s all exciting! And hopefully worth it! I do know that I’ve already decided to lessen my goals next year. I have so many interests and things I want to accomplish, but I have to remember and realize that I can’t do it all. I can’t fit everything in one year. Doing two “everyday” projects in one year is too much (sketching daily and an Instagram post daily) and pressuring myself to create a certain number of illustrations, books read, and movies watched is taking the fun out of it. So I know what I want to change for next year, but want to finish this year out before doing anything different. Hopefully I don’t start to feel burnt out by the time 2018 comes along…ha ha…

2017 Goals: Checking In – 3 Months

Three months have passed since the beginning of the new year, so a quarter of the year is over (how did that happen so quickly?) and I’ll be checking in on my goals I set for myself this year. Overall, I think I’m doing fairly well, though I could better with some. I have changed my goals a little (which I’ve posted about) and will go off of those.

Design & Illustration

I’ve been doing more illustration work lately, with a goal of sketching for a half hour daily (though it’s become almost every other day, when I can) and full illustrations once a week. I’m a bit behind on the full illustrations, I should have 14 done out of 52 but I’ve only done 9. However, I’m doing better and expanding my skills, which was the point, so I’m doing well here. I’ve also been working on more design projects, like a few prints, a calendar, and working on doing some screen printing, which is exciting. I haven’t done any freelance work or hand-lettering practice, but am working toward it still. Each month, I’ll be focusing on one goal more than the others, and plan to do this with hand-lettering. Overall, I think I’m heading in a good direction in this department.

Writing

Now, my writing goals changed significantly (as I wrote about here) and have changed my goals to writing one new draft, start revising it, finish the first draft of the book I did NaNoWriMo 2016 with, complete NaNoWriMo 2017, and continue working on the other books I’d been working on before, here and there. Still a lot, but I’ve already began the first draft of the new book. After realizing I need to schedule my goals a little, focusing more on one than the others in a month, I’ve planned for writing to be the focus in May—April is reading.

Reading

As I just said, my goal focus for the month of April is going to be reading. I’ve read one single book so far. Well, that’s not entirely true. I finished one book. Because I finished reading some of my 2016 reads in January (I read most of the Luminaries by Eleanor Catton in 2016, so counted it toward last year’s count, but it still took most of January to finish—it’s long, y’all) I haven’t had as much time as you’d think. So really, I started in February. And in the two months since, I’ve finished one book, but have started three—I’m still in the middle of all three, all long. It’s my own fault to starting out the year reading this way. But hopefully, I’ll be back on track by the end of April as it’s my goal to set aside a few of the other goals to spend more time reading (like sketching a few times a week instead of every day, pushing some time working on design projects, etc.).

Film: Import

I’m doing pretty well in watching films this year! I’ve watched ten films so far this year (though, sadly none in the theater yet) and have found a new favorite (Frances Ha). I’m halfway to 20 new films not in the theater, but still have seen none of the 5 I’ve set to see in a theater—though I have plans to see Alien: Covenant when it comes out, so I’m not too worried. And there are several other movies coming out later in the year that I’m more excited to see anyway.

Film: Export

I haven’t done any film projects as of yet, but again with the monthly focuses, I plan to do them during summer. However, I did accomplish something big! I wrote a short film. I didn’t think that I’d get it done so soon in the year, but I have, and I love it. It still needs a lot of work, especially because it’s my first finished screenplay, but I’m incredibly happy that I actually did it.

Exercise

I haven’t done a lot of exercising lately, but with my Fitbit, it’s been easier to keep track of eating and getting more steps, which has brought my activity up a little. But now that the snow has melted and it’s getting warmer, I’ve been walking in the morning more and more, and have been more focused the last two weeks to keeping it up.

Instagram

I have posted every day since the beginning of the year, almost 100 days in and still enjoying doing it. Though, I will say, sometimes I post for the sake of needing to post for the day, and not really stretching my photography skills with some of them—which was sort of the point. But I’m still doing it and hopefully will be able to focus more on taking quality photos and not just posting anything.

I think I’m doing well! There’s more that I need to do and focus on, but I think with focusing on something every month, I’ll be able to accomplish more. But so far, 2017 is going fine.

2017: New Year, New Goals

2017

It’s a new year and the following are my new goals—some the same as last year, some tweaked to better suit my life. 2016 was definitely a year of realizing things (you were right, Kylie Jenner) and I realized I needed to stop aiming so high.

So here are my goals for 2017:

Design & Illustration

In the new year, I want to work on more design projects for future plans of mine, continue working on my illustration skills, and practice my hand-lettering skills more. Since I just finished with school, I’ll be hopefully doing some freelance work here soon (after I’m able to quit my current job and make all the necessary preparations to start) and I’ll continue to do all the design work for the small business I co-run.

Writing

My goal for this year is to continue revising the two projects I’ve been working on. Both books (and related series) still get me excited after years of writing and rewriting and outlining and planning whenever I could fit it in while being a student and working. (And now that school is finished, I may have more time? Fingers crossed.) Whichever book is the strongest when finished, I’m planning on using it to start the process of querying for a literary agent (which may be this year or next year—the hope would be this year). Another writing goal is to finish the book I won NaNoWriMo with in 2016—I still love that story and want to get back into it, just to finish the first draft. And the final writing goal of mine is to again participate in NaNoWriMo. Though the election sort of made it more difficult to concentrate, making it harder and less fun, I had a blast doing it in 2016 and I want to do it again!

Reading

After the disaster of a reading year 2016 was, I’m setting my goal much lower: 35 books. That’s it. I always set it for 50 on Goodreads, always mark it down several in July and again in December after I realize 50 is too much. Not this year. I’m starting low and being less rigid with my list and schedule, because it only made reading more stressful than fun. I think I’ll be able to reach my goal this year of 35, which will be more than 2016’s 24 books and 3 books more than any other year of reading for me. And who knows? Maybe because of being more relaxed about reading, I’ll hit 50? Probably not, but you never know. (I know, actually. I probably won’t.)

Film | Part One: Import

Last year, I had a goal to see at least 12 films in the theater (as I realized I hadn’t seen a single one in 2015) and only saw two films in the theater; better than nothing, but disappointing. My goal for this year is similar, but on a smaller scale: I want to see 5 films in the theater, as well as watching 20 films via other sources (DVD, Netflix, TV, etc.) bringing the total of 25 new films in the year of 2017. A goal, I think, I can do—at least I will with the 20 outside of the theater, as I see most new (to me) films that way (and I’ve already watched 3).

Film | Part Two: Export

I want to do more film projects, but on a small scale. I first want to write a short film (should this have been up in the “writing” goals? oh, well)—I have ideas and ideas scribbled in notebooks and on files on my computer and on notes in my phone, but I’ve never sat down and finished a screenplay (though I’ve started a few). Second, I want to do more experimenting with the camera, making smaller videos like I used to do. It’s a muscle I haven’t stretched in a while.

Exercise

Hahahahahaha—No, wait. I’m serious this time. I started 2016 off really well with walking/running almost every day for a while and I lost ten pounds. I’ve since gained it back and slowed down on walking to a full stop, only to slowly start up again at the end of the year. But when I was doing it, I loved it. Now that I have a Fitbit Alta, I’m really getting back into it. My goal is to just try to exercise more. I don’t want to have a rigid schedule, I don’t want to set too high of expectations—especially in the winter when it’s more difficult to get up to drive to use the treadmill. I do have a recumbent bike at home that I can use and the treadmill once in a while, and I have an app on my phone for a 7 minute workout (which should be called 7 Minutes in Hell because omg working out like that instead of just walking is so awful how do people enjoy it???) So I’m going to start slow and really get going for when spring arrives and I can walk/run outside again—I really, really enjoyed it when doing it outside in the fresh air. It truly makes a big difference.

Instagram

I’ve been wanting to post more on Instagram and decided to post one a day for the entire year. Some will be from planned photo sessions, spread out over a few days, some will be just random and whatever I’m doing that day. I’ve already done it for 14 days in a row and I’m really enjoying it.

Those are my goals for 2017!

2016 Goals – How’d I Do?

DESIGN

Now that I’ve finished school, I have more time to focus on design and working toward my goals here. Most of the year, I didn’t do much outside of school, but I started working more on my illustration skills but unfortunately didn’t get to practice hand-lettering skills at all.

WRITING

2016 was not the best with my writing. Mostly I just didn’t have much time. But in November, I took out as much time as I could to participate in NaNoWriMo with a new story and I did it! I wrote 50,000 words in a month, and most excitedly, I wrote 13,000 on the final day just to finish. That’s the most I’ve ever written in any amount of time, and though the year didn’t go well with writing anything else, I did have the success of winning NaNoWriMo with a story I really love and want to continue writing it until it’s finished (I’m at around the halfway mark at 50,000.)

TRAVEL

I traveled to my family’s yearly vacation destination and to Madison, WI for a weekend vacation the month before to visit family. Both were great trips, and though I’ve never traveled to Madison before (except a trip a long time ago when I was young that I barely remember), I didn’t travel anywhere really new.

READING

I don’t even want to talk about it. I read 24 books from an original goal of 50. I’m not entirely thrilled I has such little time to read, as it’s something I love and do to relax. I definitely learned that I put too much pressure on myself to read a lot and with the limited time I had all year, it just wasn’t going to happen. However, I’m always proud that I read anything and this what I read:

FILM

Two films is still better than none. I had plans to go to the theater a few times, but they fell through a few times because of money or schedule changes of other things. But the films I did see I loved: 10 Cloverfield Lane and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (in January while it was still in theaters). But I did see several films on DVD that were new to me that I enjoyed immensely, and though I’d rather see more in theaters, I still wish to see them more in any form. I also watched: Gone Girl, Edge of Tomorrow, Far From the Madding Crowd, Birdman, and Mad Max: Fury Road—all of which I loved, and some I’ve even added to my top favorites.

EXERCISE

I started the year off great, lost ten pounds, walked/ran often, and exercised semi-regularly while eating a bit healthier. And then I slowly started going back to old habits and gained the weight back. But it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

2016 VIDEO

I’m actually incredible proud of myself that I filmed a short clip (nearly) every single day for the past year. I did it so often and became so used to it that I filmed a few times the first few days of January forgetting I didn’t have to anymore. I still have to compile and edit the clips together (which I wanted to have done by the end of the year) but I’m excited to get it completed and look back at my 2016.

And that was my year! Some failures, some success. On to 2017 with new goals!

2016 Goals – 9-Month Checkup

It’s been (approximately) nine months and three quarters of 2016 is over. I was a little negative in my last update of my goals because of the way my summer months were going (terribly) and I think things are going a lot better this time around.

DESIGN

I have a plan in motion for all the design work I want to get done and that’s a huge step in the right direction. I’m no longer worried about getting it all done right now and more focused on doing smaller chunks of it and really planning ahead instead of jumping in. But I have been working on my illustrating skills the last few weeks and I posted about that here. I haven’t been working too much on hand-lettering but hopefully I will this winter.

WRITING

I haven’t worked on any of my writing projects in a few weeks but I have been working on the outline for my novel I’ll be writing in November for NaNoWriMo. Throughout December, once school is over and I’ll have more time, I think I’ll be able to get back to the projects I’ve neglected.

TRAVEL

This summer, I traveled a little and felt satisfied for the rest of the year. I just don’t have the money like I thought I would to go on a few mini road trips like I wanted. But I’m okay with it, because I know I’ll get to more traveling soon.

READING

A goal of 50 books is difficult and I don’t know why I have such lofty goals with my reading. I just get excited about all the books and over do it. I know that I can’t read most books within a weeks time, so I don’t know why I think, every year, that there will be more than 52 weeks in the year. I’ve cut back my goal again to 30 books. I’m currently on my fifteenth book and I know that seems like I’m setting myself up for failure, but I’ve been taking steps to carve out more time for reading—like spending less time scrolling on social media. And several of the upcoming reads are shorter, like graphic novels and independent short stories (not included in a collection or anthology, which wouldn’t count as separate—in my own rules for the challenge). I have hopes I can reach 30!

FILM

Of all the goals, I’ve been failing the most at seeing films in the theater. I don’t know why I bothered at all with trying to see one a month. It’s a new type of goal for me, but I just didn’t expect not to be able to do it. Mostly, I didn’t have the money to even go see a film on my own—and the theater near me went under construction and wasn’t showing anything for nearly two months. But I’ve seen two so far and plan to see a few more by the end of December, so I’ll be happy with whatever the number of films I see ends up being (especially because the whole point to this was that I didn’t see a single film in the year 2015).

EXERCISE

I’ve been trying to work out more lately and eat better to get back on track. After losing and gaining 10 pounds since January, I’ve really been trying to be more motivated to get back to it. Time is a big factor—once I have any extra free time, I’m usually much to tired to work out. But that should be changing soon with some more time freeing up in the next few weeks.

2016 VIDEO

I’ve still been taking a short clip every day (that’s a lie, some of them have been a few days later) and am starting to compile the clips and edit them per month. It’s been fun looking back and remembering the day that I shot it.

2016 is almost over! We’re in the home stretch now!

2016 Goals – 6-Month Checkup

At the beginning of the year, I posted about my goals for 2016. And now with more than half the year over, I thought I’d do another checkup on my journey to achieving those goals. (Most of the summer since my last checkup has been insanely busy and I’ve barely had time to make much progress.)

DESIGN

I’ve put a hold on practicing hand-lettering since I just don’t seem to have the time this summer. Instead, I’ve decided to start in the fall when my final semester of school starts up again (when I’ll— surprisingly—have more time.) For the most part, I’ve been able to do a few sketches here and there, but not much has come of anything. Though today, I had a full day off and spent a few hours on a new piece that I’m excited about. Hopefully, as I said, in the fall I’ll have more time to dedicate to my design work.

WRITING

I think that every summer I should just expect not to be able to get any writing done because it’s happened the last three years in a row. I’m always far too busy in the summer to even think about sitting down and churning out a few thousand words—or even a few hundred. I’ve had moments and a few hours here and there that I’ve been able to get some writing in, but for the most part, every time I have extra time to write, it either seems to disappear in more work, a family thing, or sleep. My hope is that I’ll be able to get a more regular, easier schedule in the coming months to work, write, read, etc. more steadily at certain times, on certain days.

TRAVEL

Surprisingly, I’ve had time to travel! I went on two weekend trips in July/August (with a bit of time during them to get some writing and reading done) and had a great time. The first trip was to Madison, WI to visit family with my mom and we had an amazing, relaxing time. It came at the perfect time as I was starting to feel like I’d have a breakdown at any moment (and I may have had a few micro ones) because I felt over-scheduled and frustrated with things that were happening at work.

While traveling to Madison for a weekend vacation to visit family. 😄 #latergram

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Salt water pool is my new favorite hair product. 🏊🏻

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A few weeks later, we were off to our annual trip to Copper Harbor, MI—and though it was a rocky trip, we had a good time (though a weekend never seems to be enough time; we must try for a whole week once.)

Dinner at my favorite place in Eagle River right on the water of #LakeSuperior. #latergram #vacation #Fitzgeralds

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Fog over Lake Fanny Hooe this past weekend. #CopperHarbor #latergram #lake #vacation #camping

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READING

With the 50 Book Reading Challenge, I always always always believe in myself far more than I should. Like clockwork, around mid-summer I set the goal down to 35. It happens every year, though I think 35 is more attainable this time (I read 32 last year). Though I didn’t do so well earlier in the year, BookTube-A-Thon helped bump up my joy for reading and I was able to so far read 10 books. Not a lot—I’ve definitely read more by this time of the year in past years—but I have high hopes that I will reach 35 this year. And, I’ll be posting a reading update soon about which books I’ve read and what I thought of them.

FILM

I haven’t seen a single film in the theater since 10 Cloverfield Lane in April. But I knew that might happen since there were more films I wanted to coming at the end of the year. I may not make 12 exactly, but that’s okay. I watched not one film in 2015 at the theater, which is why I made a goal in the first place for seeing more films. I’d wanted to see the new X-Men but completely forgot about it, heard terrible things about Suicide Squad so didn’t bother, thought I’d like to see Nerve but didn’t have time. I’d like to see Kubo and the Two Strings, The Light Between Oceans, and Don’t Breathe. I don’t know. There’s more films coming out later in the year. I know I won’t get to 12, but I’m happy with even having seen the two I have so far.

EXERCISE

Since January, I’ve been trying to be more active and trying to lose weight. I’ve been walking/running for a while, but recently I’ve been putting it off and just not getting out and doing it. I’m ordering a Fitbit soon and hopefully that will motivate me enough to get back to it. And I just downloaded a 7 Minute Workout app on my phone. I started using it once a few days ago but just need to get into a the rhythm of it again to keep going.

2016 Video

I’ve been filming clips nearly every day all year for a project I’m working on and it’s been going decent. Once in a while I’ll forget to film a clip and will have to do it the next day, but I’m not worried about that. I just need to get to editing it all together soon so that it’s not all at once later.

And that’s that! Some positives, mostly negatives, but that’s okay. I’m hoping that once summer is over and my life starts to calm down again this fall, I’ll be able to refocus on my goals and get all of them (kind of) accomplished!

Summer Goals – 2016

Oh, man. The last three weeks have been a mess. With the end of the spring semester and starting my summer/soon-to-be-year-round job, all the while co-running a small business, I’ve had very little time for anything else (hence the inconsistent blog post schedule)—including writing and reading. Because I’ve had a lot of projects and things on my mind that I’ve been wanting to do, but just haven’t had the time, I thought I’d write about it here to keep me on track.

Here are my goals for the summer of 2016!

I recently purchased my first car and there are a few things that need to be fixed on it (minor things like rust spots on the exterior). My hope is to be working on it during the first few weeks of summer so that the car looks better on the outside than it does now. And on the inside, the stereo system, while having a CD player (a would-be plus for me if it were, say, 2009 when I still bought CDs) doesn’t have an AUX jack to plug in a smartphone to listen to music. So I’ll be looking for an inexpensive one soon.

Since two springs ago, I’ve really been interested in gardening and planting flowers. I always used to help my mom plant her flowers and we would go to flower shops together and pick out the best ones. This past spring, I decided to build my own tiny garden beside the vegetable garden in the backyard. I raked leaves, weeded, cut down bushes and small trees, and cleared a nice spot for a small patio and a few flower beds. My plan is to continue on the project slowly, first with finishing the clean up and then planting, moving on to the patio later on in the summer. I’m really excited about this project!

My extended family (my mother’s parents and siblings) bought a house and property on a lake about two or three years ago—only a five minute drive! It’s been a lot of fun having a place on a lake that we’ve all grown up visiting (even more extended family already live on the lake) to swim and have family get-togethers at. The house is still a wreck—we plan on renovating soon—but we put in a beach and a fire pit and have been having a blast the past few summers. I really want to make sure that I go out more and do some fun projects for the inside to help fix it up, as well as just to swim and hang out. Most of last summer was full of work stuff, so I want to make sure I’m taking the time to plan a few extra days to spend there.

I don’t think I’ve had a worse spring in the reading department. I’ve only read three books and it’s already almost June. Having been so busy with my “summer” job starting much earlier this year, this spring semester throwing craziness my way, and keeping our small business going—I’ve barely read anything. I usually have only a few books read by May, but it’s at least seven or eight. Summer is always when I read the most, but this year, I’m hoping to double my usual amount of books read to catch up. With things like Book-Tube-A-Thon and a few days off for reading, I’m hoping to do it. Summer is my favorite time to read graphic novels and comic book bind-ups, so I’m hoping that will bring my number higher in a shorter amount of time.

Just like with reading, my writing time has suffered, too. I’m currently working on two novels (more on that in another post soon) and have barely made a dent in progress since February and have written nothing since April. Once I start to get a hold on my summer schedule, my hope is to fit in a writing day or two (and more time to write a little everyday) to keep up with my goal of finishing one of the books and start the querying process for a literary agent this year or next year.

Both of my current jobs (the “summer” one and my small business) has me doing a bit of design work here and there. But I have my own goals as a designer and I’m hoping to get that going in the next year after my final semester (woo-hoo!) in the fall. This summer, I’m hoping to really put in some time creating and getting some design work accomplished. I want to practice my skills in hand-lettering, create more prints, work on some design ideas that I’ve had, and just put pen to paper, finger to mousepad, and create. I want to work on more art, too. I haven’t painted or sketched for fun in ages—since high school—and I want to work on more this summer.

Since January, I’ve been working hard (off and on) to be more active and lose some weight. I’ve been jogging/running/walking daily (though the last few weeks have been a nightmare) and I have my eye on a Fitbit, which will hopefully keep myself on track. I want to bike more and swim more and just work out more in general. This summer, I plan to make a bit of a routine to keep things interesting and do more activities like tennis (which I love and miss so much) and hiking.

Most of all, I want to be better at saving money. I’m a budget lover and can usually stick to one pretty well—with the occasional moment of over-spending—but it’s more difficult to do it with an inconsistent income and, like this winter, none at all. Now that I’ll be working more regularly and getting a flow of income all year—and because I now have more bills to pay than ever with my new car—I want to get better with keeping up with my budget, especially with saving for the future and saving for things that I want.

And of course, I want to post more here. In January, during winter break, I was able to write a few blog posts ahead of time in just a few days, giving a nice buffer for the following month. I’d like to do that again so I have a few posts at the ready.

So those are my summer goals! A lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of keeping my life in order. I’m excited for summer 2016!

2016 Goals – 3-Month Checkup

The end of March marked the first quarter of 2016 gone (um…what. how.) and since posting about my goals for the year (here), I decided that I would do updates every three months to keep myself on track and to look back at what I’ve done so far and what I have yet to do. So here we go!

DESIGN

So far this year, I haven’t been doing great on design work. Of course I do it everyday with school and my job, but I haven’t been able to work on the stuff I’ve wanted to just yet. I still want to practice my hand-lettering skills and illustration skills, especially working digitally. I will, of course, be posting more about that here as the year progresses.

WRITING

I’ve been posting periodically about writing and what I’m working on now. That’s changed a little—as I said in the post I shelved a project that I’d been working on for the last few years and started to focus more on a different project since January. While that’s still true, I had a breakthrough with the first project and started to go back and forth. I’ll be making another post on that later.

TRAVEL

One of the 2016 goals was to travel more! I haven’t traveled anywhere so far. I’ve barely left my house in the last three months. So…Though I do have a quick trip coming soon (nothing exciting; it’s for work and I’ve been there hundred times, but it’s something.)

READING

I will be posting more frequent reading updates on my goal of 50 books/novellas/stories throughout the year, the first one this month (probably my next post).

FILM

My goal of seeing 12 films this year in the theater—about once a month—is going fairly well. I’ve seen two films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens in January and 10 Cloverfield Lane a few days ago, in April. I have a Letterboxd if you want to know what I thought of them—or you could follow me on Twitter, as I usually post immediate thoughts there. (Spoiler alert: I loved them both.) I’m okay with only seeing two in four months to start with because a) I don’t have a lot of money right now to see that many films, but will later in the year and b) there are far more films coming out in a row this summer/fall that I know I’ll be seeing close together.

EXERCISE

All of January, I rode the recumbent bike twice a week and walked one to two miles on my grandparent’s treadmill twice a week. Since, I’ve been doing much less—maybe the treadmill once a week only—and it’s really been driving me crazy. I’d lost a few pounds, felt more energy, and was more motivated overall. That stopped and I’ve been wanting to get back to it hard for a few weeks. There’d been about two weeks in March when the snow had melted completely and it had warmed up enough to walk outside every morning. I would get up at 6:30 and go for two miles. I loved it—I didn’t have to drive to the treadmill and I didn’t feel as stationary and bored on the bike. And then it snowed again, became too cold, and I just haven’t even made an effort to go on the treadmill again. I’m hoping for warm weather soon to get back to it.

2016 VIDEO

I’ve been taking a one to five second clip every day for the last three months. My hope is to document my year visually and make a video to look back on. I don’t plan on doing it every year, I’m just doing it as an experiment for this one, to do something new and stretch my filming muscles, as I haven’t made anything creative with film in a long time.

And that’s my goals update! I’ll still be working toward my goals for this year every month, week, day, and be posting it here. I can’t believe we’ve reached the quarter mark of 2016 being over. Absolutely insane!

Travel Plans

At the start of this year, I wrote about my new goals for 2016 and one of them was to travel more. Because it’s only January, I haven’t traveled anywhere yet, but I did want to post about my plans for traveling, whether it’s this year or in a few years or eventually sometime in my life.

THIS YEAR

Food Trip

For years and years, I’ve watched Food Network and Cooking Channel shows that feature restaurants all over the country with food that looks incredible. And I have said over and over again that I want to take a trip, maybe not around the whole country, maybe just one region, and find those restaurants and eat there. I would love to finally do it this year, but of course there’s a money factor that will come into play and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. It might be a short trip. Maybe it won’t happen this year, but I sure hope I can do it.

Copper Harbor, MI

This trip is every year. My family heads north to Copper Harbor, usually in the summer time, for a weekend in a cabin. We always stay at the same cabin, though this year they’re booked and we may have to find somewhere else, and have a great time. Though three days never feels like enough, it’s always a highlight of the year, looking back.

Anywhere

Honestly, any small trip counts. If I take a trip a few hours away, that’s still visiting a different city, a different state. Any opportunity that gets me away for a bit counts as travel. And I’m going to be looking for those types of trips to go on this year and report back here with the details.

IN A FEW YEARS

Road Trip, USA

The plan for a trip around eating at delicious restaurants, most likely just one region of the country, is one plan. I have another plan to take a trip around the entire US, visiting different cities I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ve primarily only traveled around the midwest and down through to Georgia once, and through Canada to Vermont. I’d really love to travel to the west coast, the south, and more of the New England area and the east coast. I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip, but because I could never afford it right now and I wouldn’t want to go alone, I would have to go with my parents, but they don’t have the time or funds to do it either. Maybe some day, maybe alone or with others, but I want it to happen while I’m still in my twenties and am able to.

Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia

Recently, with the help of Ancestry, I’ve learned that my third great-grandmother Zelire was born and grew up in Canada (her ancestry being French) on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia. I was so excited to find that out because it reminded me of Anne of Green Gables and it’s a place I would love to visit. Not even just because it’s  a beautiful place, but maybe it would be a place to find out more about Zelire and her life there and more of the family that lived there. Maybe if I visit I’ll feel a connection to the island or the town she grew up in. Maybe I won’t, but I’ll never know until I go there to find out for myself.

Hawaii

I’ve never been anywhere exotic, I’ve never seen the ocean. For my entire life, I see people go on these great trips and have vacations, and I’ve never been able to experience that, and I’d love to. From what my parents tell me, Hawaii is beautiful and I want to experience it soon. I’d love to be able to go on a family trip with them. That would be incredible.

EVENTUALLY IN MY LIFE

Europe & Asia & Australia & Everywhere

My entire life, I have been obsessed with the idea of visiting the world, specifically Europe. Both sides of my family come from Europe. On my mom’s side: mostly Swedish, French, and German. On my dad’s: mostly Italian, French, and German. I want to visit these places and feel the history of them, because where I live, the history only goes back a hundred or so years. I’ve never seen a building that was older than 100. I want to feel the history, I want experience the cultures. I’ve been a bit of a francophile and an anglophile for most of my life, wanting to visit France and the UK. Here’s a list of the countries I’d love to visit:

  • France
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • China
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • Switzerland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • The UK
  • Egypt
  • More of Canada
  • And literally all of them. Just, all of them.

So will I be able to do it? I hope I can travel to all of these places in my life, whether it be soon or twenty years from now—I’d rather it be sooner—I just want to go, I just want to experience it all. And, related to my feeling on travel, here is a little excerpt I love from one of my favorite books:

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

– Lila Bard and Kell in A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Design: Career Goals + Recent Projects

At the beginning of 2015, during the spring semester, one of my classes (Business for the Designer, I think it was called) really changed what I wanted to do with my design degree. Most of my life, I’ve wanted to be a published author, and because that could take years and years before I ever see any money from it, I chose something that I loved just as much to get a degree in, a more “safe” career to fall back on as I used to say to those who asked the crippling question “What do you want to do after you graduate?” Since I’d always been interested in art and design throughout high school, graphic design seemed like a good fit.

Even throughout my first few semesters, I didn’t really like it—I mean, I sort of realized that I more enjoyed the idea of design, and I could appreciate good design, but doing it wasn’t for me. That terrified me. I spent a lot of time panicking, believing I’d made a mistake. But slowly, I started to not only like it, but love it. As I learned more and honed my skills, it became something I enjoyed doing, not just appreciating. And it was that business class I took, almost a year ago now, that finally pushed it over the edge for me to realize graphic design is on the same level as writing.

This class is the same class that I started this blog for—a semester-long project to focus your goals and a place to network in the industry. While working on the blog and coming up with different ideas to do with it, a thought came to my mind: I always saw these incredible prints and posters and calendars online or on a wall in someone’s apartment, and it had always intrigued me about the idea of doing that for myself, creating those things. And it all sort of clicked together.

My goal is to design and illustrate prints, calendars, cards, and anything else I’m inspired to create and open an online shop. Now of course it will be small at first, I don’t expect this to be a great money generator (especially right away) but with the combination of my other business and writing, I think that it will all be enough to support me—hopefully. I’ll have to keep my job at the restaurant I work at for a while longer until it does, I’m sure.

I don’t have a projected timeframe, but I’m designing 2017 calendars at the moment…so…maybe? I don’t know. If they aren’t completed by then or if it’s just not working out, adjusting them to be 2018 won’t be too difficult.

That’s what I’ve been working on for the last year, slowly and not knowing exactly what I’m doing, but getting ideas down and sketching and making plans. Of course, with my job and school and business, it’s a bit hard to carve out the time, but it’s working nicely for now.

Hopefully within the next year, I’ll be able to set everything up and start promoting my work around on social media and in my area.

Projects:

Here are a few things I’ve been working on this passed fall/winter.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 11.07.29 PM

Inspired by Charli Prangley’s map outline poster tutorial, I made an inverted version of my home state as a Christmas gift for my aunt and I’m really proud of the result. And because it was so cheap to have printed, I printed a few extra and sold them to a few friends and family who asked for one.

For the business I co-own and run (called Mamacita’s, we sell our Salsa Fresca locally—working toward expanding) I’m the social media manager and designer, among many other things. I do all the design work for our marketing and create images for the recipes using the salsa we post on our blog. Here are a few of the recent ones.

Design Goals:

For 2016, some of my personal design goals include:

  • design 3 calendar sets, and 2 holiday card sets
  • practice hand-lettering skills more often
  • design and illustrate at least 2 prints
  • set up online store, or at least begin the process

2016 is going to be a big, busy, and beautiful year—I can just feel it.

Yes, I used beautiful because of the alliteration. I couldn’t help myself.