2017 In Review

Saturday, December 30, 2017
As I'm writing this I'm wearing two pairs of socks, leggings and sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt and my boyfriend's cashmere sweater which is about two sizes too big for him, meaning it's about four sizes too big for me. It's a tiny bit cold out. (I just looked at the weather forecast and the high for the last day of the year is only -1. And that's without wind chill. Whyyyyyyyyyyy??) Even though I'm barely warm enough to move, I've been setting up my 2018 bullet journal and, in the process, taking a look back on my previous year. There have been quite a few highlights, so I thought I'd take a minute to share them with you lot!

In a lot of ways, 2017 was rough. The political climate was pretty horrid, so I did a lot of hunkering down and trying to find a balance between staying involved and protecting my own happiness. One of the greatest ways I could have imagined starting off the new year under the new administration was the women's march in January. Living in a conservative state when you don't agree with those politics can be hard, but seeing how many people showed up reminded me that there is still hope. 

On a brighter note, 2017 involved a lot of fun trips. I started April with a quick trip down to Kansas City and Lawrence for a bit of art, shopping and music. John and I saw the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, did a little window shopping around the Plaza and then headed out to Lawrence. In Lawrence we had some delicious pizza at Limestone Pizza, walked and shopped Massachusetts street, enjoyed some coffee and then indulged in a little nostalgia at the Newfound Glory concert at The Granada. On the way back home the next morning we couldn't resist a quick trip to Ikea to cap the whole thing off.

In May we headed to Las Vegas for a week with John's family to celebrate his parents' anniversary. I had never been before, but this was John's third time. It was certainly a sight to behold. Neither of us are really much for gambling so instead we did a lot of shopping, even more eating and enough walking to thankfully counteract all the other indulgences. Some of my favorites included Bobby's Burger Palace and the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.

Not long after visiting one of the most over-the-top, commercialized locations on earth, we took another trip to practically the polar opposite; Yosemite National Park. Technically we started with a few days in San Francisco, staying at Hotel G, a truly adorable boutique hotel right off of Union square. After a few days of seeing the sights (Tartine bakery was a favorite) we met up with my parents in Yosemite to camp for a week. The scenery was truly unbelievable. Be sure to check out the Vernal Falls mist trail and the Sentinel Dome hike.

Even back at home there were a lot of fun moments. It wouldn't be life in Lincoln, Nebraska without outings to Jazz in June, the Seward 4th of July festival, a few Husker events (some more notable than others -- hello, fifth volleyball national championship!) and, most notably, the total solar eclipse! I also spent a lot of time eating delicious food and enjoying the company of a lot of great friends, whether that be for birthday celebrations, anniversaries, housewarming parties or the annual Friendsgiving dinner.

In my personal life, I really dove into minimalism, financial planning, meditation, skincare and zero-waste ideas. I successfully Kon Mari'd my whole house (ignore the fact that I still have a whole big pile to try to sell or donate), I saved more for retirement than ever before and I've been working to cut down on how much waste I'm making. Next year I hope to improve on all of these things!

And then there are the things I unfortunately didn't capture on film that I truly regret. My brother-in-law graduating with his PhD in Music Performance, my sister dopey from painkillers after a successful foot surgery, celebrating John and I's one year anniversary, painting my house, getting a brand new roof, and finally pressing 'Buy Now' on two tickets to Europe for next spring. Regardless, this has been a fantastic year filled with great memories (maybe even a few bad ones, but that's life right?). I am ready for everything that next year brings, and I look forward to sharing those events here.

See you next year!

December Bullet Journal Spreads

Sunday, December 3, 2017
December already?! How'd this happen?

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Happy December everyone! I think I'm finally done recovering from my week long food coma after attending 6 Thanksgiving dinners this year. Please don't make me eat turkey again any time soon, thanks. Now that all that eating is behind me it's time to start prepping for the next eating season, aka Christmas. With all the gift planning and holiday events, I think that December always ends up being the month where I rely on my Bullet Journal the most. Conveniently it's also the last month I use my Leuchtturm1917 notebook so I've always got a few extra pages to work with and try to use up. For my month overview this month I've used up two pages for the first time since last March, but I love how it turned out!

All the extra gift buying going on also means that my budgeting spreads are more important than ever. I gave myself a whole page for each paycheck this month because I'm sure they're fill up quickly. I'll record how much I get paid, then subtract half of my monthly fixed expenses, more for retirement savings (woo adulthood!) and then create my monthly budget from there. Here's to hoping I can try to stick with it...

Trying to retain a semblance of normalcy in December is probably just as hard as sticking to a budget, but I've got to try. I always set out a few goals for the month and write them down so I can check up on my progress each week. I've yet to decide what they'll be this month, but I'm sure they'll not be too ambitious. Maybe just 'Don't forget to sleep?'

While budgeting and sticking to a routine might be hard, it's definitely not hard to feel grateful during this season. I love spending time with family and friends and I do the most of it around this time of the year. This is the first time I've used two pages for my gratitude log but I'm certain I'll be able to fill it all up with no problem.

This is my favorite spread of the whole year! I had a single page version last year which I loved, so naturally this year I decided to just make it even bigger. I color in a light each day and use this as my own little Christmas countdown! Last year I used red and green for the lights, but I haven't decided what I'll do this year yet. It definitely builds my anticipation of Christmas morning up sky high and I love it.

Meal planning is always a big thing for me and is probably the only reason I ever manage to eat any vegetables, especially this time of year. I'm am even going to try to use my Bullet Journal as a grocery list this month as well, which is a first for me. We'll see how it goes. More than likely this pages will just end up saying 'Buy more pie,' repeated a few dozen times. 

This one is pretty obvious. With all my pie eating, I'll be making sure I get some good workouts in. If nothing else, it's a great way to stay warm when it's cold, dark and icy outside (I type this while it's actually currently 61 degrees out. Nebraska is a weird place. Tomorrow it'll probably be snowing or something.) I've left a lot of space because I like to record which lifts I do, how much weight and how many sets whenever I do weightlifting, and what yoga videos I do off of YouTube (P.S. everyone check out Yoga with Adriene. She's great!)

I had a lot of fun making all these spreads a little more elaborate than my normal minimalist style! I should be ready to hit the ground running at the start of this month with all these spreads. Hopefully I make it to the end of the month without losing my mind, just in time for the planning-obsessed girl's favorite time of the year -- the new year!