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My Word for 2016: Methodical

My Word for 2016: Methodical

Whew! I'm still a little sluggish after climbing out of my self-imposed holiday season cocoon. How about you?

If you've been reading (or listening) along for a bit, you know that 2015 was a hefty year for me and mine. Though my word for last year served me well (pun intended), I still felt as though I was operating in a very reactive way. Spending so much time on the road is partly to blame and I think I simply kept moving forward without giving myself the space to put much-needed systems in place that would have made life easier.

So, this year my word is METHODICAL.

Ask anyone who truly knows me and they'll tell you that I'm a standard Type A personality. I make lists, I plan (and sometimes over plan) and the unknown makes me uncomfortable. However, I spent a lot of last year pushing my own boundaries, letting the unknown be more exciting than scary (it worked!) and allowing room for change. It was a growing year, that is for sure.

Now I'm feeling the need to let a least a little more of my Type A self back in. Going with the flow is great, but I've missed giving myself the time to map out both my work and life a bit more. I figure that if I bring some tried and true methods back into my world, I can (hopefully) capture the best of both worlds.

I can't wait to see how this word works its way into everything coming down the line in 2016. It's already been incredibly valuable as I take advantage of my podcasting break to work out a plan for Season 3 of the show.

So tell me friends: have you picked your word for the year?

p.s. Here's a little inspiration from the gal who got this whole "one little word" thing started.



Shoulder Seasons Are the Best Seasons

As we head toward winter and get ourselves ready for the holidays, I find myself pausing to reflect on how fantastic fall has been: the colors, the temperate weather and the slow darkening of our days. It's been lovely. That said, springtime has a similar draw. Flowers begin to bloom, days brighten and there's an energy that simply cannot be matched throughout the rest of the year.

If we get right down to it, shoulder seasons -- if we define them as those few delectable months tucked on each side of long, cold winters and blistering summer days -- really are the best seasons.

Shoulder seasons are the best seasons - via @jensnyder


Here's why:

They're a great time to travel.

Shoulder seasons have been a well-known treasure in the travel industry for many, many years. Shoulder season travel costs tend to be lower, you can often avoid peak-season crowds and most places/activities are still open for business.

They offer a chance to catch up with friends and family.

If I map out the year in quarters, I can easily attest to busy summers and downright hectic winters in my world. It always seems like spring and fall are perfect for getting together with that former co-worker I haven't seen in months or making plans to finally get the whole family together for a nice meal.

They're the best time to go outside and explore.

The weather is just about perfect during the shoulder seasons. There is no better time to head out for a walk, hike, jog or bike ride. Period.

They give us time to reassess personal and professional goals and accomplishments.

I don't know about you, but I'm always thankful for time to catch my breath -- especially during the autumn months. As we come down from the buzz of jam-packed summer schedules and gear up for the holiday rush, it's nice knowing that we have a little time to look back at where we've been and take advantage of upcoming opportunities.

They can be the perfect time to get your house in order.

Just like assessing personal and professional benchmarks, making sure your living space is up to snuff can be a lifesaver. I find that purging unnecessary items from our closets, cupboards and cabinets can make it easier to find just what we need, right when we need it. It wouldn't matter if we lived on a farm, in a studio apartment in the city or traveled full-time in a tricked out van, getting our house in order truly helps maintain a level of sanity during the busier seasons.


So, tell me: are you a fan of shoulder seasons? What are your favorite tips to make the most of those short snippets of time?

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Featured: Clementine Daily + How to Think Big Without Losing Your Mind

I am thrilled to be featured over on the beautiful site, Clementine Daily today. I've penned a piece titled "How to Think Big Without Losing Your Mind" and I have to tell you: these are just a few of the things that keep me from jumping ship on my big dreams and aspirations. I drafted this piece several weeks ago and have since printed out a copy and tacked it to my cork board.


To read the full article, click here.

Nothing is certain when it comes to chasing your dreams and I find that having these tips where I can see them is a great reminder not to lose faith in my own abilities and strengths. I hope you'll find them helpful as well.


This is just the first of many features I'll be contributing to Clementine Daily and I must say, I'm pretty excited to work with the incredible people who make the site an absolute haven for modern women everywhere. If you're looking for a bit more inspiration, I'm loving this article about meditation, Executive Editor Erin Loechner's editor's letter for this month and this super simple DIY herb facial steam.

If you have a moment, feel free to chime in with your tips in the comment section of the story. I'd love to read how everyone else strives for the best without losing it and I'm sure my fellow Clementine Daily readers would too!  

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Four Simple Goals Before 2014

In my Friday Favorites last week, I linked up to this inspiring blog post  written by Elsie over at A Beautiful Mess, in which she talks about setting four simple, activity-oriented goals for the rest of the year. I always find myself both loving and loathing the goal setting process I usually embark upon around the new year, so setting really basic goals prior the the busy holiday season seems sort of genius.


Here are the things I'd like to work toward over the next two months: 

1. Focus my holiday gift spending/efforts on homemade, handmade and locally-sourced goods, services and experiences.

I've been trying to do this for the last several years and -- with a few exceptions -- have been pretty successful. It's still a bit of a challenge every year, so I'm hoping you'll keep me motivated! 

2. Make it up to the north coast before the new year.

We're sticking around the Sacramento area for the holidays this year, but I would love to find a small block of time to visit my family up north. Fingers crossed!

3. Spread my creative wings a bit by exploring creative outlets outside of writing and photography. 

Admittedly, I've already started tackling this goal. I'm enrolled in Jessica Hische's "Introduction to Lettering: One Letterform at a Time" class on Skillshare, which launches tomorrow (New to Skillshare? Click here for $10 off your first class!). If you follow my adventures on Instagram, you've already seen my recent fun with oil paint on canvass.

4. Go to bed by 9 p.m. as often as possible.

This one is tough for me. I always feel the most creative at night, but I'm infinitely more productive after a solid night of rest. Here's to letting sleep win from time to time. 


So how about you? Anyone else interested in setting a few simple goals to see you through the end of the year? I would love to read about your goals, so please feel free to link up or simply list them out in the comment section below! 

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My Mighty {fine} Life List


So, here's the deal: I make lists regularly. I love ticking boxes and putting lines through items I've accomplished. For some reason, however, I found it difficult to finish my Mighty {fine} Life List. Created by the amazing Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl, the lists (and the movement that surrounds them) are meant to capture 100 things you'd like to do before you go.

The premise behind the popular life lists is pretty great. You simply list out your goals - both big and small - and act upon them. The lists can change as we grow, which is key. Maybe an opportunity comes up that you could have never imagined... put it on the list and cross it off! Maybe you decide one of your goals is no longer as important as you once thought... remove it!

I started my own list years ago - long before I started blogging - and just let it sit unfinished. Well, not anymore! I finally took the time to write it all out and get it ready for public consumption. I feel like putting this out to the universe (well, at least to you lovely people who read this blog!) will help motivate me to really seek out new experiences and make sure they come to fruition.

Without further ado, I'd like to present:

My Mighty {fine} Life List

(Note: Accomplished items are in bold.)

  1. Visit all 50 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  2. Take photos of iconic bridges in all 50 states
  3. Really understand the settings on my digital camera
  4. Run (and finish) a marathon
  5. Visit all 59 National Parks in the US: Acadia, American Samoa, Arches, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Congaree, Crater Lake, Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Denali, Dry Tortugas, Everglades, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Basin, Great Sand Dunes, Great Smokey Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Isle Royale, Joshua Tree, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kings Canyon, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Lassen Volcanic, Mammoth Cave, Mesa Verde, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic, Petrified Forest, Pinnacles, Redwood, Rocky Mountain, Saguaro, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgin Islands, Voyageurs, Wind Cave, Wrangell Saint Elias, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion
  6. Take singing lessons
  7. Get on stage and sing again (even if it’s just karaoke)
  8. Take snowboarding lessons
  9. Live in a state other than California
  10. Start practicing yoga
  11. Teach a class on any subject (or be a mentor)
  12. Meet the President of the United States (it doesn’t matter who it is at the time)
  13. Go to a concert and hang out with the band backstage
  14. Go ice fishing in Alaska
  15. Let go of the material things cluttering up my life
  16. Go snowshoeing
  17. Figure out what it takes to do voice-over work and do it
  18. Take an extended (months-long) trip to anywhere
  19. Go back to England to visit family and re-visit places important to my family history
  20. Write a book
  21. See a moose (in the wild)
  22. See a grizzly bear (also in the wild, preferably from far away!)
  23. Road trip through Canada
  24. Sing at a wedding
  25. Become a tour guide
  26. Create a photo book of all of my favorite bridges
  27. Make my health a priority
  28. Foster a puppy dog
  29. Hire a stylist to tell me – once and for all – what not to wear
  30. Join a book group
  31. Be an extra in a show/movie
  32. Attend a Beastie Boys concert (Keeping it on the list. You never know. RIP Adam Yauch)
  33. Go to a grown-up summer camp like this one
  34. Travel somewhere beautiful by train
  35. Spend an entire day reading a good book on a tropical beach (without feeling guilty…like I should be doing something)
  36. “Pay it forward” at the coffee shop by paying for a stranger’s morning fix
  37. Experience the Aurora Borealis
  38. Go back to D.C. to re-visit the monuments/museums/etc.
  39. Write an article/story for a large print publication
  40. Learn more about creating and editing beautiful videos
  41. Visit Greece
  42. Visit Croatia
  43. Go glamping in the Swiss Alps
  44. Create a road trip around the world's largest everything (see unfinished Pinterest board here). Take said road trip.
  45. Eat baklava in Turkey
  46. Spend a week in a rental house with my best friends in Cape Cod
  47. Own an Airstream (and maybe live out of it for a bit)
  48. Join a CSA
  49. Take a backpacking trip
  50. Start painting again
  51. Skinny dip
  52. Travel through the Amazon rain forest
  53. Attend an awards show (preferably the Grammys)
  54. Go to Australia
  55. Visit New York City
  56. Learn another language
  57. Take a European road trip
  58. Take a Northern California road trip to experience the super cool things I usually just drive right past
  59. Sleep in a tree house or lookout station
  60. Spend hours wandering the High Line
  61. Take a Chicago girls trip
  62. Remove all of the grass from our property and replace it with a more sustainable ground cover
  63. Go geoducking
  64. Cook through an entire cookbook
  65. Find a reason to go to Antarctica
  66. Be present when my nephews experience something incredible in nature
  67. Re-vamp my print shop business model to better showcase my photography work
  68. Star gaze in the middle of nowhere with my husband
  69. Tour the White House
  70. Take a soak in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  71. Go hot air ballooning
  72. See Machu Picchu
  73. Change out all of the boring doorknobs in my house and replace them with beautiful ones
  74. Travel on a private plane
  75. Experience Germany’s Oktoberfest at least once
  76. Take a bicycle trip through Holland (tulip fields + windmills, please!)
  77. Attend Camp Mighty
  78. Cook lobster at home
  79. Take a road trip to see the fall colors
  80. Attend Sundance Film Festival
  81. Go sailing
  82. Be brave enough to cut my hair super short
  83. Take a helicopter ride
  84. Visit the San Juan Islands
  85. Go canoeing/kayaking somewhere beautiful
  86. Be an artist in residence in a national park (like this)
  87. Successfully grow fruit trees in our backyard
  88. Live outside of the U.S., at least for a short while
  89. Renew our wedding vows
  90. Travel to Easter Island
  91. Have dinner (and dessert, of course) with Nigella Lawson
  92. Visit Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore
  93. Learn to can fruits and vegetables
  94. Go hunting with my husband
  95. Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats during Speed Week
  96. Photograph a ghost town at sunset
  97. Make pasta from scratch
  98. Feel the mist from Niagara Falls on my face
  99. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  100. Take a photo trip to the Galápagos Islands


Anyone else have a life list they want to share? Feel free to link up in the comment section. I'd love to see how your lists are shaping up!