2018 New Year’s Resolutions: Final Recap

365 days ago, I set 4 goals that I wanted to accomplish in 2018. I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions countless times before and haven’t stuck with them, but this year I was really committed to making them happen. And I did! I met all of them except one, and even on the one I failed to complete I still made progress. What made this year so much more successful than other years? I think two things: 1) I set goals that were a stretch but still attainable and 2) I set goals that I believe in. Here are the 4 goals I set and how well I achieved them over the course of 2018:

Log everything I eat: This I was able to do! I started a nutrition program called the 2B Mindset back in June and I absolutely love it. There are only four guidelines that you have to follow: drink lots of water, eat lots of veggies, track all your food, and weigh yourself daily. Following this program has made logging my food become an automatic thing I just do which I think is a great habit to have. The program is also super sustainable because it’s not some crazy fad diet that’s really restrictive– it’s just a few tweaks that make eating healthy and losing weight easy!

Resting heart rate below 60: I didn’t achieve this one, sadly! However, I did bring my resting heart rate from 71 bpm in January to 65 bpm as I’m writing this at the end of December. It’s not perfect, but it’s still progress πŸ™‚ I think this can be attributed to losing weight, being more active, and lowering my stress by changing my environment and meditating.

Credit @frauki

Travel to five new countries: Completed! I visited Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. 6 countries total and 5 of them were new. I think this is the most countries I’ve been to in a single year. I wonder if I’ll ever top that?

Move to a new city: Done! I moved from DC to San Diego in August and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love the culture, my grad school, my friends, the beach, the weather…pretty much everything!

Setting these resolutions pushed me to be more self-disciplined, to try things outside of my comfort zone, and to ultimately grow in leaps and bounds. It was an extremely positive experience and I can’t wait to set resolutions for 2019 and see how I continue to grow and change!

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Lunchtime Reading: December 28

  1. Internally freaking out about “tech neck”, the newest thing that causes wrinkly skin. Oh boy. (Spine Health)
  2. If you are now as worried about your neck as I am, fear not: this skincare guide is a good intro. (The Everygirl)
  3. My sister got me Glow Recipe’s blueberry cleanser and wow is it amazing! πŸ™‚
  4. Love this beginner’s guide to winter skincare. (The Work Edit)
  5. This is what happens when you don’t drink enough water. (Eat This Not That)
  6. Losing weight is hard, but you can make it easier by enlisting help from your doctor. (Very Well Fit)
  7. Can’t wait to try the 8 best beauty products from Trader Joe’s. (Barefoot Blonde)
  8. Thanks to Abra’s suggestion, I am now drooling over this beautiful workout jacket that’s on sale at Nordstrom!
  9. I just finished The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and loved it πŸ™‚
  10. 40 things you can do to be happier and healthier in 2019. (The Everygirl)

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Lunchtime Reading: December 21

  1. This morning travel routine looks so calming and soothing. It makes me want to start one for my own trips! (Hitha on the Go)
  2. My parents got me this Tyrolean cookbook for Christmas and I can’t wait to try out the recipes πŸ™‚
  3. This homebody gift guide is so luxurious and I love it! (Gal Meets Glam)
  4. What is Korean skincare and why is it so popular? (CNN)
  5. I started using this meditation app and it has worked wonders in the few days I’ve been using it. You have to pay after the five days, but it is so worth it!
  6. Old Navy’s luxe tees are my go-to for travelling. They are extremely comfortable and look expensive but are a complete steal!
  7. I hiked part of the Hardergrat this summer and I am already dreaming of going back. My hope is that next time I go back I can run the entire trail!
  8. This Mandala coloring book looks super relaxing and perfect for de-stressing.
  9. Why it’s important for everyone, but especially teachers, to take care of themselves during the holidays. (Concordia University- Portland)
  10. This eye-opening piece on self-care after surgery is a must-read for anyone who is healing, physically or otherwise. (Girls’ Night In)

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Lunchtime Reading: December 10

It’s December!!!! Arguably one of the best months of the year πŸ™‚ In honor of the holiday season being upon us, today’s lunchtime reading is all about Christmas πŸ™‚ 

  1. Have you ever wondered what happens to unsold Christmas trees? (USA Today)
  2. I am waiting with bated breath for this year’s Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog. To keep busy while we wait, here’s the one from last year. (Deadspin)
  3. Is this holiday dress from Gal Meets Glam practical? No. But is it lovely? Yes!!!
  4. The 23 best places to spend Christmas. (CN Traveler)
  5. A beautiful repository of Christmas cookie recipes. (Real Simple)
  6. I can’t wait to try out this neck pillow on my way home for the holidays πŸ™‚
  7. A gift guide for the person in your life who is always anxious or stressed out. (Refinery 29)
  8. Another gift guide!Β This one is for your friend who loves staying in as much as you do. (Girls’ Night In)
  9. The holidays aren’t easy for everyone. If they bring on feelings of stress or depression check out these tips for coping. (Mayo Clinic)
  10. This list ofΒ go-to holiday outfitsΒ will definitely be my guide as I pack to go back to Maryland! (The Everygirl)

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Lunchtime Reading: November 30

Happy Friday! Start the weekend early with these 10 fun things:

  1. I’ve been waiting all year for this and it’s finally here! Check out Into the Gloss’s Top 25 Beauty Products of 2018.
  2. The definitive Christmas Countdown Checklist for all your holiday season needs. (Real Simple)
  3. Fancy water bottles aren’t worth the money, but they may change your life. (Bloomberg)
  4. Speaking of which, I just ordered this teal Hydroflask and can’t wait for it to come in!
  5. The Everygirl’s holiday gift guide has something for everyone on your list. I really like this pink scarf and these cream slippers.
  6. Seven creative ways to give thanks this holiday season. (Gal Meets Glam)
  7. How Away made luggage an attainable status symbol. (CN Traveler)
  8. I can’t wait to try this Christmas Cookie Bars Recipe. (The Rebel Chick)
  9. The definitive guide to keeping your bathroom clean. (Into the Gloss)
  10. How to make the best of a long layover. (The Everygirl)

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Boring Self Care

I am a huge fan of self-care, but recently it’s been turned into a gimmicky marketing ploy used to sell expensive skincare products, weird stones to massage your face with, and $100 candles–all in the name of “self-care.” I was excited to find an art series about “boring” self-care: namely, things that actually promoted nurturing yourself instead of being a self-care consumer. Here are some of the ideas the artist included:

  • Made breakfast
  • Cleaned the toilet
  • Went outside
  • Realized I could not heal in the place I got sick
  • Curated my insta-feed to be positive
  • Opened a window
  • Brushed my teeth
  • Picked up my meds
  • Washed my hair
  • Drank enough water
  • Rested
  • Replied to emails/texts/DMs
  • Booked a doctor appointment
  • Showed up to appointment on time
  • Did the dishes
  • Got out of bed
  • Remembered to breathe
  • Survived a day at work
  • Brought snacks to work/school
  • Went food shopping
  • Put sunscreen on
  • Did my homework
  • Stuck to a healthy routine for me
  • Did a devotional
  • Vacuumed
  • Did not hang with people I don’t like
  • Got an eye exam
  • Cut my toenails
  • Did my skincare routine
  • Changed my sheets
  • Let myself cry
  • Started a budget
  • Had compassion for myself
  • Went out in the sun
  • Said something nice to my body
  • Went for a blood test
  • Celebrated my period and took it easy
  • Did my banking
  • Attended to my dental care
  • Woke up and got out of bed at a reasonable hour
  • Opened my mail
  • Calculated my spoons
  • Had a cup of tea
  • Sorted my paperwork
  • Opened the curtains
  • Went to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Wore day clothes in the day and night clothes at night
  • Went to a fellowship meeting
  • Learned to identify when I am self-sabotaging
  • Took my medicine as prescribed
  • Put the recycling out
  • Did my laundry, took it down, and put it away
  • Made my bed
  • Was honest about how I feel
  • Met with friends
  • Cooked and ate a nourishing meal
  • Had a shower
  • Went to therapy
  • Made that important call I’ve been putting off
  • Made a list of early warning signs and things that help for my mental illness
  • Picked my underwear up off the floor
  • Practiced good sleep hygiene
  • Engaged in my hobby
  • Asked for help

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My 12 Favorite Fall Activities

This might be a basic opinion to have, but I loooove fall! From the colorful leaves to the delicious seasonal drinks to finally getting to wear sweaters again, I just can’t get enough. Here are the twelve activities I’m enjoying the most this fall:

  1. Apple-picking (and baking afterward!)
  2. Going for a hike or drive to see the leaves
  3. Eating and drinking all things pumpkin
  4. Dressing up and handing out Halloween candy
  5. Going shopping for back to school supplies and new clothes
  6. Making a blanket fort and watching old movies
  7. Going to a corn maze or hayride
  8. Having a bonfire and roasting s’mores
  9. Go pumpkin picking at a local farm
  10. Watching Harry Potter
  11. Hosting a Friendsgiving potluck
  12. Decorating the house for fall

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Lunchtime Reading: October 8

  1. What to pack in a carry-on, according to the pros. (CN Traveler)
  2. Currently reading Circe by Madeline Miller and oh my gosh is it good.
  3. Gal Meets Glam is the newest blog I’ve started following and I love it!
  4. Anyone who loves fall will appreciate this list of fall activities, ranked. (The Cut)
  5. Interesting read about how non-scale victories can actually help you lose weight. (Women’s Health)
  6. Solving common organizing challenges with Abra. (The Work Edit)
  7. Aziz Ansari’s new standup is a cry against extreme wokeness. (The New Yorker)
  8. Thinking of getting this bottle-cleaning brush from Amazon. Thoughts?
  9. Everyone who wears sandals needs to read this foot care guide. (Into The Gloss)
  10. I love almost everything Julia Engel designs, but this dress takes the cake.

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New Year’s Resolutions: 9 Months In

It is finally fall– my favorite season of the year! Even though we don’t get much of a proper fall here in San Diego πŸ˜‰ As it is the last check-in of the year before the final sprint towards my goals, here’s where I’m at πŸ™‚

  1. Log everything I eat: going well! I started the 2B Mindset program in June and it’s been so simple and easy to stick to. One of the principles is to log all your food and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing, using the Beachbody Nutrition app! Tracking is so much easier when you get in the habit of doing it!

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  1. Resting heart rate below 60: In progress! This is probably the hardest goal for me this year because it requires so much consistent effort to make it happen. I know what I need to do though– exercise, stress management, and weight loss will be the keys to success. Just gotta make it happen! It’s actually so much easier to be healthy here in San Diego than it was in DC because there’s so much fun active stuff to do and there’s healthy food everywhere.

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  1. Travel to five new countries: done! I visited Ireland with my dad in May and then did a solo trip to Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein over the summer. Seriously so many unbelievable experiences, and I can’t wait until I can travel again! I probably won’t visit five new countries again next year, but maybe one or two. I have this long-term goal of visiting 30 countries before I’m 30.

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  1. Move to a new city: check! I moved from DC to San Diego back in August and love it so far. I live in a cute little house about a mile from the Pacific Ocean with some awesome roommates. My job is working in the first-grade classroom at a Catholic school on Coronado and I’m working on my masters to become an elementary school teacher. Moving to a new city isn’t without challenges, but I love it here πŸ™‚

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Rachel’s Guide to Washington DC: The Arts

While DC is best-known for its politics, it also has an art scene that is worth talking about! There are a number of concert venues that cater to every possible interest, outdoor music experiences, and quirky theaters for cinephiles. Check out my recs for the best places to enjoy the arts in Washington DC! πŸ™‚

The Anthem

This new concert venue on at The Wharf is a must-visit for a few reasons: 1) they have an amazing lineup, 2) it’s close to a bunch of great restaurants, and 3) it’s right on the water! I went to see The Head and The Heart there this spring and absolutely loved it. Before the show, grab dinner or drinks at somewhere nearby like Hank’s Oyster Bar or Mi Vida.

The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center, credit @amber_kendrick_

The Kennedy Center is definitely the most famous concert location in DC, and for good reason. I never caught a show here while I lived in DC, but it’s on my bucket list….maybe I’ll go when I’m back in DC for the holidays? πŸ™‚ There are tons of famous ballets and Broadway shows that come through here which can be pretty pricey, but there are also free shows at the Millenium Stage every day at 6pm if you’re on a budget!

Air Force Memorial Concert

Air Force Memorial, credit @airforcememorial

Seeing an outdoor concert at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington is a quintessential DC summer activity. The memorial itself is breathtaking (I mean look at this place!), and the music is amazing, too. Check out the schedule here to see when the next concert is.

Black Cat

Black Cat, credit Black Cat

If you passed this place on the street during the daytime, you’d have no idea that it’s a concert venue. The garage door entrance is pretty unassuming, making it the perfect place for all the *hip* indie bands to perform when they come through DC. If Black Cat were a playlist, it would be called Deep Cuts. If I look at their lineup on any given day, I am lucky if I know even 2 of the bands. I never made it to a show here, but it was always on my list. Do yourself a favor and check this place out!

9:30 Club

930 Club, credit John Stone

I love the 9:30 Club. It’s small. It’s intimate. It’s the perfect place to catch a show in the city. The first concert I saw here was Switchfoot in 9th grade and I’ll never forget it (yes, I still listen to Switchfoot!). I’ve also seen The Wombats and Ren Weaver here and enjoyed both immensely. My advice is to go early and head upstairs– there’s a little bar where you can grab a drink and of course their famous 9:30 cupcakes from Buzz Bakeshop!

Meridian Hill Drum Circle

Meridian Hill Park, credit @ssykids

This Sunday tradition has been going on for literally decades and is like nothing else in Washington. People of all backgrounds and walks of life gather in Meridian Hill Park to drum, dance, and be in community together. If you’re interested in joining the group, email drumcircle.talkindrum@gmail.com to register your drum. Otherwise just show up and soak in the good vibes!

Marine Silent Drill Parade

Marine Barracks, credit @matthewharris5774

Summer Friday nights are a big deal on Barracks Row. The entire strip of stores and restaurants hums with activity as the community prepares for the weekly Marine Corps Silent Drill Parade. People come from all over the country to see this– how lucky is DC to have it right here! This is definitely an event you’ll want to dress nice for, so go ahead and make an evening of it with dinner at one of the nearby restaurants like Rose’s Luxury or Chiko.

E Street Cinema

E Street Cinema, credit Washington DC Stock Photography

This is probably my favorite movie theater in the city. They show some blockbuster hits here, but their specialty is definitely lesser-known titles. Think movies with Oscar-potential that wouldn’t play at Regal Cinemas just up the street. In addition to playing current movies, E Street Cinema also hosts special film events. I went to their Japanese Film Festival in honor of the cherry blossom festival this spring and loved it.

Miracle Theater

The Miracle Theater, credit @themiracledc

If E Street Cinema is the Indie theater, Miracle is definitely the throwback. This small, intimate location on Barracks Row only shows 4-5 movies at a time, but they’re definitely not ones found in other theaters. I’ve walked past their doors before and seen signs for Harry Potter night, Rom Com throwbacks for Valentine’s Day, and even an Alfred Hitchcock Friday series for the month of October. Not only do they show great movies– they also have the cutest interior ever! It’s what I imagine old movie theaters used to look like “back in the day.” Definitely one of my favorite places to catch a movie in the city!

Feature image credit @theagnesapp