January 08, 2013

Here's Looking at You, 2013!

Throughout the year, I always hear people saying how you don't, and even shouldn't, wait until January to make a change or set some goals. While I get what they are trying to say, for me, there's something really exciting and re-energizing about starting a new year. It's like a fresh slate, a blank page in your book. Maybe the previous year wasn't such a great one, or maybe it was your best year yet. Either way, it's always exciting for me to start that next chapter in my life. That doesn't mean I save all my goals for January. If I want to start eating healthy or working out regularly, I won't wait for months to start. But I find the fall months leading up to the holidays always pass by quickly and before I know it, January is right around the corner and I've let a lot of things in my regular life fall to the way-side. Like eating well, exercising regularly, keeping documents from work organized, meal planning, staying on top of household clutter, etc, etc, etc! For me, January has always been a quiet month. There are no holidays in January, very few birthdays and overall it's just a cold, slow month. Which means I find it the perfect month to re-evaluate all the things in my life that I've been neglecting and decide what's important to me to work on for the new year.

While in the past (pre-blog), I've never written down my goals and resolutions, (because then I might feel more inclined to follow-through with them!), I think it's time I started. And putting them somewhere public and somewhere where I can easily refer back to, has encouraged me to be more thoughtful and thorough in the goals I decide on.

Things I'd like to work on in 2013, in no particular order:

My Bible
1. Get Back to Basics: A few years ago, around this time, I discovered Tosca Reno and her Eat-Clean Diet. I purchased The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged book and read it cover to cover in a matter of days. I loved everything about Tosca's philosophy to eat clean, wholesome foods. It clicked. It made sense. I was obsessed. I started paying attention to nutrition labels and actually cared about what I put into my body. I made a lot of healthy changes in a short period of time, and I stuck with the basic principles for a long time. But then, with a move from another province, coupled with wedding preparations and buying a home, I lost my way. Now that we are settled (more or less), I can no longer make excuses. Eating well, meal-planning and cooking healthful foods make me happy. I will resume meal-planning on Sundays, grocery shopping with a purpose, cooking more suppers and packing lunches (instead of always buying something on the run).

2. Get Off My Butt: It's very easy to become house-bound and sedentary during the winter months in Alberta. It's bloody cold out there for months on end and it's hard to leave the house when it's all warm and cozy inside. But exercise, like eating well, make me happy. And for me, the two go hand in hand. When I'm regularly active, my body craves healthful foods. I already play soccer and Ultimate Frisbee once a week, but often these sports are followed by a beer at the pub. Which I've been told, sort of negates the whole exercise component of each. So in addition to the sports, I will start including other neglected activities such as yoga, running and fitness classes at the gym (bodypump!). Once I get going, I'm pretty good at keeping it up! It's just building it into my routine those first few times that's tough for me.

3. Walk the Dog: Don't get me wrong, Saigon gets walked regularly, sometimes even twice a day. But there's no routine with when he gets his walks, and sometimes I feel this is unfair to him. In BC, I was really good at walking Saigon first thing in the morning. Now, the majority of his outings are in the evenings, even on my days off. My goal, on my days off, is to walk Saigon first thing - before I sit down at the computer, before I catch up on a show or do a few chores. That way I can go about my day without feeling guilty for not having walked him yet. On the days Jim and I both work, we will start walking Saigon together in the evenings, rather than trading off like we are often inclined to do.

4.  Cook-Book Scrap-Booking: On the last day I could use my book-store staff discount, I purchased this recipe binder. All my recipes that I've copied from friends, family or from on-line are on scrap pieces of paper held together by one big paperclip. It's a horrible, ugly system and I'd love to start a scrap-book for all of my favorite recipes.

5. Abolish Clutter: Clutter is my nemesis. I can't stand it, yet it constantly has a presence in my life. It's on our counters, on our kitchen table, but the worst of it resides in our second spare bedroom upstairs. I not-so-lovingly refer to it as our shit room. It's an abyss of things that don't really have a place in our home but we can't bear to part with (yet), boxes that still haven't been fully unpacked since moving in, and the place where clutter from downstairs gets thrown when we're tidying up the main floor. I usually keep the door to this room closed so I don't have to acknowledge it, but I hope that by posting a picture, I'll be shamed into tackling this room once and for all.

For Shame!

6. Write: Before Christmas, I bought myself this Q & A journal. A different question every day for the entire year. Repeat x 5 years. Simple yet brilliant. It's not overwhelming, it's not time consuming yet it still provokes thought. Is it realistic to think I can keep it up for 5 years? Probably not. But I desperately want to try my hardest. I started the journal on January 1 and make a point of taking a few (literally) minutes to answer the question of the day.

7. Finish Unfinished Projects: In the summer I started on a few furniture projects. But before I knew it, cold-weather was upon us and the projects got moved from the garage down to the basement, where they have sat, unfinished, since. These projects include the repainting/refinishing of two small bookshelves, an end-table and a small chest of drawers that I plan to use as a jewelry cupboard.  Our basement is unfinished, so there's really no reason why I can't finish these projects before summer rolls around. I mean, other than my sheer laziness.

Future Home to all my jewels.

8. Catch Up: It's no secret that I fell behind in blogging sometime last year. I struggled to find my groove, and in feeling pressured to post more often, I ended up just not posting at all. 2013 is a new year and while I'm not going to dwell on last year, I do want to write about the books I read but didn't blog about. These posts will most likely be shorter posts and more for "me", but it's something I need to do or it will always bother me.

9. Read:  Duh. More specifically though, read 50 books this year. It shouldn't be that hard, yet I didn't make it in 2012. I really want to hit that number this year.

10. Stop Biting my Nails: Self-explanatory. It's on my "resolution" list every flippin' year and it never happens. And no, that gross-tasting polish does not work. But I'm open to other suggestions!

Tell me: What are your resolutions for 2013?


  1. I love the recipe scrap book idea! My mom is an amazing cook, so when I'm in the city in my apartment without her to cook for me I'm totally lost. I've been slowly accumulating recipes though, so I like the whole idea of putting them all together like that. :D I might have to start collecting more and putting them in a book, too. :)

    I'm a clutterer too, Brie! Pretty much all my stuff in my apartment is piled up in my room...it's hard to get it all organized, and that's just in a small room, so I definitely sympathize with your "shit" room. :P Hopefully once you get started it won't be too hard to find places for everything. :)

    I'm a nail biter, too...but I go through phases. I won't bite them for a while and then I start up again. I agree that the nail polish doesn't work though...it's just nasty but not that effective. I think usually to stop doing stuff like nail biting you have to try and stop it at it's source and usually people bite their nails because of stress. I know that's when I always start up again, so maybe if you have the urge to bite your nail grab a stress ball or something...I haven't tried this, but it might just work. I might have to get one myself. :)

    Thanks for sharing your list, Brie! I Good luck with your resolutions!

    1. I've been wanting to do a recipe scrapbook for years! I also have tons of recipe magazines that I want to incorporate into the scrapbook as any time I want to make a recipe from one of them that I've already made, it's impossible to find it again! I guess I could start using sticky notes, but I'd prefer all the recipes to be in one spot.

      I think I bite my nails when I'm bored and when I'm stressed. My husband always says, but you're not stressed right now, life is good - you're just driving in your car! Haha, but if we're running late, that's enough stress to cause nail biting ;) I used to go through phases of biting too, but lately it seems I've been in a "on" phase for a long time...*sigh*

    2. Then your recipe scrapbook is definitely a great idea! :D

      Exactly! The littlest things can cause stress and sometimes I think you can be stressed without even knowing it. Your body could even be stressed. Awe, well hopefully you can turn it off. :) If I hear of any good tips, I'll let you know. :)

  2. I started a recipe scrapbook for my bestie at her wedding shower this year - all the guests contributed their favourite recipe or 2. Don't throw away all those paper scraps - keep them behind the new 'fancy' copy - you (and your children?) will appreciate them down the road....

    My husband and I are 'collectors' too - I've been slowly going through all my things and trying to find storage solutions. I want to re-claim my basement back too :) Good luck with yours (I also have boxes we haven't gone through since we moved in - that was 15 years ago!!)

    I thought about the 50 book challenge too - but I figured that that means about a book a week - and I like to spread my favs out to about ever 2 weeks, so I figured I'd just stress myself out with that challenge...

    1. Oh, that's an awesome idea for a wedding shower gift! I would have loved getting something like that! :)

      The boxes are the worst! Sometimes I'm tempted to just get rid of the boxes that haven't been opened in over a year because, really, do I even need that stuff if I haven't needed it in this long?, but I just can't! I'm very good at getting rid of stuff though, it just seems to pile up faster than it's donated/thrown out!

      See - a book a week doesn't seem that had in theory, BUT it's actually tough! And like you say - if it's a really good book, or even a large(r) book, a week often isn't long enough. Unless I have an extra day off and read all day!

    2. I would love to get rid of the boxes too - but there is some of the hubs stuff in them and I would start a war if I chucked it with out his knowing!! He has a harder time getting rid of his collections than I do - and that's saying something!

  3. Those are some ambitious resolutions for the year! I recently started a recipe binder which was a BIG step up from my recipe-sorta-folder-but-also-some-pages-over-there organization method. I also had a room that looked just like your room in #5 and it stayed that way for a year until the threat of people coming over and having to stay in the room meant it finally got cleaned up.

    1. See! I need lots of people to come spend the night so that I have a reason to use both spare rooms! Cause you're right - that would totally motivate me to clean that room up fast!

      For your recipe binder, do you re-write out all the recipes, like say, ones cut out from a magazine, or do you paste in the original?

    2. Oh I definitely don't re-write stuff. Well not yet anyway. I just punch holes in the recipe, whether it's from a magazine or printed out from online and then stick it in the binder. Though some of those magazine pages are larger than the binder, so it's still not the neatest thing.

    Seems like I must have copy-pasted your list somehow, haha! I'm actually on year 2 of writing in my Q&A "journal" and paint my nails to keep from biting them. Still struggling with fly-away scraps of recipes and an unfilled scrapbook, and my room is still a mess. I should get to those...
    Good luck with your resolutions!!

    1. Year 2! That's awesome. Is it neat to be be reminded of what you wrote last year?

      I've painted my nails in the past to stop biting them, but they're so short right now that polish makes them look even worse lol. Little stubs.

  5. These are some honourable resolutions. #4 is a great idea and something I really have to do, too. And #5, yes! How is it we can hate clutter so much and yet go ahead and build clutter all around ourselves? What's with us? Must be #9's fault. Totally worth it.

    1. Haha! #9 is at fault for a lot of the things on my list! ;) Especially #2. Why go for a run when I can curl up with a book?!

      Clutter is scary. I am constantly throwing things away and donating things, yet every day there seems to be more stuff!

  6. A few years ago, the hubs and I were SO healthy and ate from our garden, lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of unprocessed foods. We've definitely fallen off that wagon, so we'll have to get back into it. I love cooking home-cooked meals with whole foods!

    I love your recipe book idea! I'd like to do something special with all of my favourites -- I never seem to know what to cook, but I know we've had lots of favourites over the years.

    Yay for walking Saigon! I can't even imagine walking 3 dogs ... they really aren't behaved well on walks (except for one, who loses her gusto after about 10 minutes). And they run around a lot outside anyway.

    You have some AWESOME goals! Good luck with them all!

    1. I am sooooo not a gardener (I can barely keep potted herbs alive!), but I would love to have a veggie garden! But I would need a gardener haha. I'm hoping that if I organize all my favorite recipes into that binder, I will be more inclined to cook more often, because you're right - sometimes I can't think of anything to cook either! I love to try new recipes, but I don't have the time or the energy to do that more than once or twice a week! So the binder would be a good starting point.

      I can't imagine walking 3 dogs either! If we lived on lots of land it would be different too. We'd definitely play more with Saigon instead of actual "walks". Our back yard isn't even fully fenced off yet so he doesn't even get the full freedom of running around the yard when he goes outside :( Which is also why we try to walk him as much as we can.

  7. The recipe scrapbook sounds awesome! I love looking at recipes, but I don't usually have all the ingredients to make it anyways.

    Clutter... I have a bunch of random stuff around my desk and under my bed, so I kind of get what you mean!

    Where did you get that Q&A book? It looks and sounds so interesting, I want to try it out for myself. :)

    Bah, I was ahead of my blog and had things scheduled for this week since last week (for once). But then school started and I've read 50 pages so far this week. It's kind of hard keeping up with everything, but I think I'm just going to start posting more and reading in my own time. Or maybe take a break from the blog and get everything that I need scheduled and ready to go instead of doing it last minute like I usually do.

  8. Love your goals Brie, i am right there with you on eating healthy and keeping active! Maybe we will run a half marathon one day together :) And Saigs will be pumped for a walking schedule, after a few days of being there he expected us to go out each morning for a big romp and i couldn't say no to that face. Have you taken him to the big snow field to chase him around yet? Great workout for everyone, we would run so hard id fall in the snow and saigs would get soo excited and come jump and find me.

    Your clutter room is hilarious, some shelfs or something are definitely needed. I also think coming to visit me should be a goal for you ;) I miss having you guys in Chilliwack, so a trip out here is a must!