Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions 2011!

So I decided to go with Happy, Healthy, and Heart as the 2011 Theme... but with additional 10 monthly goals. My business life will also have a separate set of goals. Oh, I love goals!

* Find a two hour time each week to have "me time". This could be sitting at a coffeeshop reading, or hiking by myself. I need this time.

* Have a 1 hour a week check-in/organize for the week time. I also really need this time.

* See friends an average of 2 times per week.

* Take my dogs hiking/long neighborhood jogs 1x/week

This is going to be one of my big pushes this year...
* Set a PR in Austin Marathon on 2/20/11

* Run a sub 2:15 half on 4/16/2011

* Set a PR on a half or full marathon after the above

* Run a sub 55 min 10K

* Run 1000 miles (trying again after last year's miserable fail)

* At least one visit to NYC & Baltimore to visit family

*Have intimate time with my guy at least 4 time a week... things get so busy and I need to make sure there is plenty of time for us.

* Read and follow through with a personal development book I have

* This isn't measurable at all, but just be more present in my relationship. I am bad about letting deadlines and other times get in the way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Personal Training

My good friend, Ms. T and I, were at the gym. I have temporarily joined a second gym. Yes,  goofy, but I get a great month to month deal through my employer. We were attempting a weight machine, when I made it go **Clang!** A trainer walked by and gave me a hard time about breaking the machine. We chat with him for awhile... new training, just got out of the Marines, and he told us to come do our free orientation with him.

So we did. And at the end of it, Ms. T had signed up for 9 personal training sessions with me as her sidekick! Ms. T has always struggled to get in shape (at least in the 5 years I've known her) and felt like this was the only way to ensure success. We had had success one other time when we did a boot camp together. At this gym, it doesn't cost any extra for me to tag along, so when I can, I will and just give her money towards the cost of that session.

We had our first session last night.  Oh my gosh, I've lost a lot of strength.  This will be good for me too!  I love the idea of personal training and think I would really benefit from it... just not as much of a fan of the cost! It's fun doing with a friend as well. So this should help, since he is also going to function as an accountability buddy!  We even have to do a food diary. Ms. T is doing the next two on her own while I'm out of town, and then I'll join up again.

I'm excited!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Final Two Goals

Streamlining My Work & Organizing My Life...

Oh boy, I kind of set myself up to fail on these two. They are way to big, and I struggled making the monthly goals. I feel like I made small progress on these, but it is very much two steps forward one step back.

I still work after 7:30pm (or just get up at 5am!), but I consciously try to have some nights when I don't do any work at home. I still need a better system, and I am trying to stay on top of things better. The big things I need to stop doing are procrastinating and being late!!!  I am a chronic over scheduler, and I know this!

I am trying to place the right scaffolding around me to help me relax while still being productive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Goal Review!

If I grade each on 0=fail, 1=minimal success, and 2=success... for goals 1-8 I have  10/16 points!

Goal #1: Spend More Time with Dogs
FAIL - I did not do so well on this one. I really need to work on this. I think it's more a time management issue then an issue with the dogs personally. (When I do take time with them, they are so much fun!)

* Note, I also said I was going to post weekly progress... oops. :-(

Goal #2: Finish Paying Debt to Mom
SUCCESS - I did great on this!  I paid that debt off easily, and I am making even bigger payments to the other loan from her. (She helped pay off my student loans when I bought my house, and I pay her back each month, even though she tells me to stop.)

Goals #3: Get In Better Shape
MINIMAL SUCCESS -  While I ran two marathons, I did not really train for either. Let's investigate the mini goals further

a) Go to the gym and do some basic weight training at least 3 days a week
FAIL: I really need to add weight/strength training back in

b) Run at least 4 days a week
FAIL: Darn it... must do, must do, must do.... even if they aren't "good" runs, just get out there!

c) Try the Gluten free diet and see if that helps
SUCCESS: I went GF from Jan-Oct and enjoyed it. I am back on some gluten for November and December to see how my body reacts. I think I am going to just keep the gluten to a minimum but not totally eliminate unless I start having tummy problems again.

d) Sign up and complete another marathon at a fast time
SUCCESS & FAIL: I ran one half and two full marathons, but failed at the fast time part. Oddly, due to not running fast, I have guaranteed entry into next year's Nike Women's Marathon!

e) Run more than 1000 miles this year.
FAIL: Not even sure I made it to 500....

Goal #4: Explore More Foods
MINIMAL SUCCESS: While going gluten free did force me to explore more foods, and this fall I started cooking more, and we went to a few new restaurants, I would love to start cooking more. Going to Thailand also helped expand my food experiences. We even did a cooking class!

Goals #5: Wear More Jewelry
SUCCESS: Yay! I did well on this one. I am much more conscious about wearing my beautiful jewelry, and I really enjoyed this goal.

Goal #6: Increase Engagement with T
MINIMAL SUCCESS: This went up and down... I had a tough 6 months or so where I just didn't feel like myself. I feel like this is something that is important to ALWAYS be working on. We did do well about date nights. :-)

Goal #7: Be More Social
MINIMAL SUCCESS: This went up and down as well with my mood, which was frustrating. It's something I have to be aware of... otherwise I use any free time I have to power through the to-do list. This is slowly getting better though, and I expect it to keep increasing!

Goal #8: Save Money
SUCCESS: This was probably my biggest success. Check out the mini goals!
1) Save $2500 towards a Thailand trip (my best friend will be in China this summer)
SUCCESS: It ended up being a little more per person, but well worth it. And I paid for it all easily!

2) Increasing emergency fund savings to $5000
SUCCESS: I have $10,000 in savings!  Woohoo...and just opened an investment account. (I feel so grown up!) I also maxed out my Roth and put a little into my SEP.

3) Have 6 months where my credit card statement is under $1000 (I put EVERYTHING on my credit card, phone bills, gas, etc. since I get cash back rewards.)
ALMOST: I think I had 5 months, but I'm all good with that!

4) Pay off my small mortgage
SUCCESS: Paid it off right after we got back from Thailand!

I am going to go over the last two goals later today, since I am actually working on them today!

Goal Setting is Hard!!!

So I am working on my 2011 goals, and I am struggling! I have thought about going with 10 like last year... I've thought about a theme to the year (Happy, Healthy, Heart!), just do goals per month since things always change.

What is exciting is some of the things that I had as goals last year, are basically automatic now. Mainly financial things, but hey, one piece at a time.

So how do you decide to do your goals?

I feel like the first step is to figure out my priorities...
My relationship with T & my family
Feeling more on top of things, calmer
Reconnecting with friends
Improving myself professionally

That feels like I've covered everything however! arg...


Saturday, December 4, 2010

November Goal ReCap & December Goals

1) Put $1000 into my SEP - DONE!
2) Get windows ordered for house - all picked out, the bf is putting in the order today or tomorrow
3) Get majority of Christmas shopping done - I'm about halfway there...
4) Create and start running plan - must do today...
5) Begin making spare bedroom into my private business supply room! - got a great start going, more this weekend
6) Get pictures up in bedroom - halfway... got current pictures up, still need to do new pictures

December Goals:
I'm going to leave out the obvious things like finish Christmas shopping and travel plans...

1) Read 4 books at least!  My reading has slacked a little in the past few months, and I really miss it. I picked up a new book at work (book exchange) and I'm excited to read it. It's the Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Has anyone read it?

2) Run 100 miles: I finally started going back to the gym yesterday. I went twice... at 5am and around 5pm. I just did a mile plus elliptical in the morning, and in the afternoon I just did the elliptical plus the bike. Hopefully, with a little more free time, I can make this goal!

3) Go hiking with the dogs 6x. We used to be really good about this, but not lately. It's much cooler out, and the dogs love it. We have so many great hiking places here too.

4) Get my January calendar done. Scheduling is going to be a bit more tricky this spring with my small business.

5) Finish organizing stuff for my small business, so I can start 2011 off right!  I have a good start going, now I just need to finish!

6) Relax for the holidays!  (Easier said than done for me!)

What are your holiday goals?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Breaking the Cycle

Jenny at Life After College had a post that really resonated with me. She talked about taking time for herself and then going into a spiral of anxiety because of trying to catch back up. This is something I feel like I go through almost daily, if not weekly. I'm trying to find a way to break the cycle... here are some ideas I have come up with:

* Have a weekly time set up just for me to go to a coffeeshop or bookstore or something where I can review where I am, what I need to do, and a little me time.

* Set up some type of schedule for housework to get done

* Make a concerted effort to pick up things as they are dropped!

*  Build in fitness and healthy eating more

I'll keep updated on my progress. :-)

Please let me know ANY ideas you have!!!

November? Goals?

Yes, it is November 22... and I have yet to post any goals for the month. Here's the quick rundown...
1) Put $1000 into my SEP
2) Get windows ordered for house
3) Get majority of Christmas shopping done
4) Create and start running plan
5) Begin making spare bedroom into my private business supply room!
6) Get pictures up in bedroom (from August!!!)

Turning the Corner

I've had a hard past few months... I have felt constantly unhappy with myself, and somewhat powerless. It came to a culmination this weekend when I almost finally pushed away someone extremely important to me. Perhaps, that was what I needed, for I have felt more like myself the last 36 hours than I have in awhile.

I have a bunch of half written articles that require me to look in depth as various aspects of my life. I hope to get to these this week. 

Also, Trent at the Simple Dollar had a nice article about taking the time to make sure his life was aligning with his future goals.

It is quite timely that I feel better with it being Thanksgiving week. I need to take the time to acknowledge those who make a difference in my life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

October ReCap

Oh October...where did you go?
The happiness thing happened a little...but fell apart as soon as I got a whiff of November. Sad, isn't it? (Literally...) This is something I really need to focus on more; I just need to find the energy. (Crazy cycle isn't it?

Money-wise I'm very happy!  The credit card total was $1036. Although it is just over $1000, I'm still considering it a success. At the Marine Corp Marathon, I splurge on two winter dresses and a desperately needed belt from my favorite store H&M (which I don't have at home) and two MCM Christmas Ornaments. One was for T and I, and one for my grandfather who was a Marine.

I'm debating whether to set goals for November at all... or to just try to live the month with a smile. Ideas?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quicken 2011 Giveaway at Give Me Back My Five Bucks!

Krystal over at Give Me Back My Five Bucks has a fantastic giveaway!  She has two copies of Quicken 2011 for Personal and two copies of Quicken 2011 for Personal & Small Business. The Quicken for Personal & Business would be fantastic for me, since I run my own small business and have not found one program that can do it all!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Actually Relaxed Some!

This weekend was better than most!  T was working during the day on Saturday; I had to work about 8-1 and then spent the afternoon getting things done!  While I didn't get everything done; I did enough that I felt good and not super stressed on Sunday. (Sunday Stress seems to be a common ailment for me!) Sunday I had to do a short bit of work, but overall, relaxed with T. We ate dinner outside, went grocery shopping, relaxed on the couch. And we went to bed nice and early. I read in bed until about 10:15 and was out!

The only thing I didn't really accomplish was much physical activity. No running or gym. That will be my focus come November.

So here is to this week being a good one!!!  Just M-F and then we are off to Cali for my marathon!

Today's Happy Task: Easy jog on one of my favorite trails that just reopened & curling on the couch with T to watch a monday night show!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October So Far...

October is happening, whether I was ready for it or not!  I'm struggling with the Be Happy goal right now, but I am trying. Last night was the worst, but I feel much better today despite less than 5 hours sleep.

It looks like the money challenge will go well this month. So far I'm only at about $260 on the credit card. We are heading out of town next weekend, but will barely have to pay for anything between Saturday and Tuesday, so that's helpful. (Thanks family!  I love you!)

I'm not at all ready for the marathons, but there isn't much I can do about it now. I am going to just try to enjoy them for the gorgeous scenery and not worry about times. I have signed up for one in February, so that will be my new focus.

Today's Happy Task is date night!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today's Hapy Task

Today I am going to make it to the gym or on a run!  I've been under the weather all week and so have not done that. I always feel better after. If I go to the gym, I will try to swim a little too. I always find that relaxing...

Tonight we are probably going to high school football game which is always fun!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today's Happy Task: Happiness Articles!

My latest alumni magazine from my university is all about happiness. The university is extremely research oriented and so I would think they would cover some good information. So that it my goal today to read it!!!

This being happy thing is hard sometimes...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yesterday's Happy Task Today!

So we ended up both getting home last night and being exhausted and had easy leftovers. I did take about 15 minutes for myself to read last night which was great! Not Eat, Pray, Love but the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Tonight should be steak, wine, and a walk!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today's Happy Task: Feeling a little better

I am feeling a little better today, not great (or even really good) but more functional. Today for my happy task, I want to enjoy a good steak, a glass of wine, and a walk around the block with my man. :-)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sick Happy Task

I started not feeling well late Friday night, and have not recovered. My nose won't stop running and my head is pounding. I canceled my first two appointments, but hopefully will make it to my 10:45 one. I'm not sure about the rest of the day.

My happy tasks today is to have a cup of tea this morning and flip through the latest Real Simple magazine I have. :-) That and try to feel better!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Today's Happy Task: Recipes!

Today I want to find 3 yummy recipes from my new cookbook, Cook Yourself Thin, that I want to make this month.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Today's Happy Task

T is working all day and possibly all night unless he gets sent home sick... so it's just me today!  While I have work and such to do, I'm going to try to set a "Happy Task" for myself each day.

Without further ado, today's happy task is:

Read the new book from book club for at least 30 minutes. The book is Eat, Pray, Love :-)

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Goal: Be Happy

Instead of setting a bunch of goals, I am setting one: BE HAPPY.

This has been a tough week and yesterday was an especially tough day.  I need to find a way to get over things faster, to enjoy life more, etc.

So that is my goal for October.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Felt Good, But Not So Much On Paper

I barely made any of my September goals, but I felt fairly good about this month overall! Funny how that works...

This month flew by; things were way busier than I originally planned. I took over running Special Olympics where I work and that took up a lot of time to figure it out.

Running: I did not run 100 miles, but I did do a little better here and there. I ran close to 30 I think.

Money: As noted in last post I didn't make the <$1000 challenge, but I'm okay with that. I'm going to attempt it again

Business: I have been working on it, more in the first half of the month, but I am making strides. My 1 year plan isn't quite as concrete as I would like, but I have some time to work on it again today.

Home: This is going slow!!! All the weekends away and working. We have things in place and organized. We just need wall decorations.

Social: I did fairly well on this goal!  Book club is this Friday (my friend I run it with had to postpone) and I went scrapbooking with a friend. I also went to lunch a little and saw some old friends. I have a couple of friends I need to see that I miss, but they are on the October list!

Cooking: I made a new dish two nights ago!  And I found some cooking shows and a cookbook I really like. I did a good amount of cooking, but I need to start using recipes!

Money Oops Lets Do It Again

Yes I watched Glee this week (if anyone gets the reference!)

So I didn't make my <$1000 on the credit card goal. Not even close actually! I spent a little over $2000. Some of this is to do having unexpected car repairs (including a spare): $300

We had to book hotels and flights for our DC marathon; we opted to stay with family for SF: $600 (just for hotel!  We wanted it to be close, and have decide we are financially secure enough to stay at a nicer place)

I decided to sign up for another marathon: $110

All in all I am okay with it. I did almost all the grocery shopping this week and went to lunch a few times at work.

I think I'll go for the <$1000 challenge again next month. We are traveling for two weekends, but will have family around which always helps. :-)

Goal review and October Goals coming up!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Living on Pennies!

It's only the 13th and I have $245 left for the month. T and I are going to dinner tonight and I have a $25 gift card at least.  We are going out of town with T's parents this weekend, so I shouldn't have to pay for much, if anything, for three days.  I need the rest of the week to be No Spend Days with the except of gas.

Otherwise, money is good!  I just got a new client, so that is good. I think I will be able to hit my new savings goal without any problem.

The main difficulty I am having is running. I had a super busy weekend and allergies were beating me down, so T and I went for about a 2 mile walk last night, but that was it. Therefore, the alarm went off at 5:45, and I'm finishing my tea about to head out the door for a run!

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tricky Money Challenge

Just a quick update...but I didn't realize the room for the wedding hadn't been charged when I reserved it. In summary, 9 days into September and I have charged $620 so far. This is going to take a bit of finesse to stay under $1000!  All I know that I'll need is gas, one grocery run, and 1-2 lunch/dinners out for T. (We have some treats planned.)

No splurges this month!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

California Dreamin'!!!

T and I are in California this weekend for a wedding of a good friend of mine from high schools. I got to spend yesterday hanging out with old guy friends that I've missed. It's been great so far!

The last week was super busy at work. We had a coworker whose job overlaps with mine leave. She left some big programs unfilled, and I was asked to step in and take over one of them for an extra half days worth of pay for the year. I'm excited about the opportunity (and the pay raise!) T and I have also been talking about how to expand my business more. Life feels like it's picking up and yet I have more social time than usual!  It's nice for the most part... but I do need to keep hyper organized, and remember to keep running!

Being in California, where I grew up and love, always makes me think of goals. I would love to be able to live here again or at least visit more often. (I did have an opportunity to move here this summer, a good offer, but we decided against it.)

Things are really good in the money realm. I have paid off my mom, paid off my small mortgage, paid for the trip (which we went over budget for), paid for a new garage door, paying for a new bedroom set, and already have $6000 in my emergency fund. Despite the traveling we have coming up, I still think I can be ambitious and up my e-fund savings goal to $10,000. This gives me more than 3 months living expenses (and many more if T is splitting the mortgage.)

Now, to figure out how to get the rest of life to go that well!  I'll brainstorm some ideas while I'm California dreamin'!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Goals!

I like the idea of focusing on different areas and setting a goal for each. So here we go!

1) Running: One of the marathons is only a month and a half away so this month has got to be good. I want to follow the plan and run at least 100 miles.

2) Money: Keep credit card <$1000: This is going to be difficult, but I really want to try. We are going to a wedding this weekend which will mean paying for some food and drink, gas, and a gift. However, I am going see some old high school friends and I'm super excited!!!

3) Business: I want to have a more concrete 1 yr plan, and get started on a vague plan for years 2-5 as well.

4) Home: We still need to do more decorating in the master and guest bedrooms. We have pictures to put up and just general organizing to do. That is this month's focus.

5) Cooking: I want to cook three new recipes this month!

6) Social: I have been working so hard to not have to work so much!  I want to be social again... I have already signed up to scrapbook with a friend. I want to start up my book exchange club again. I want to have people over for BBQ or dinner at least 2 times. I joined a soccer league as well, so that should be fun!

August Goal Review

So how did I do with just a little over 2 weeks to complete August goals...

1) Credit Card <$1000 : Success!!!  I'm only about $25 under but it's under!

2) Running: Fail. Big time... I ran a total of 22 miles in the last two weeks. As usual, I need to step it up!!

3) Finish September Calendar: done... although it is always changing.

4) Business: I did make a list of some loose ends, and I make some good progress on them. I am working on increasing the business, and I feel good about what I did. :-)

5) Cooking: Well, it depends on how you define cook!  I did cook a couple nights, and so did T. However, there were a couple nights, like last night, where we were tired and not very hungry and just had some chips, or a simple quesadilla. Overall, we didn't eat out much which was part of the goal!

6) September Goals: I have them on paper... I just need to type them up!

I feel good about everything in August except the running.

We got a new bedroom set so we've been having fun setting up the room and figuring out what to do with the two other rooms now!  We are working on a hodge-podge guest room and it's starting to come together.

Look for September goals shortly!

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Goals

First, the trip was great!  We had a few unexpected things occur and a few chances to do things we would be unlikely to do anywhere else, so we splurged a little. We also picked up some nice gifts for the Moms! So we were almost $1000 over the budget I had hoped to hit, but just under our absolute max budget. As it worked out, the amount over for me personally is on my credit card. We did a liveaboard for scuba diving one night which included room, awesome food, and 7 dives!  That leads me to my first goal for the remainder of August

1) Keep Credit Card under $1000: I have about $400 left for the month, and I'll need to get gas a few times and have the pest guy charge of about $150. We just stocked up on groceries so we shouldn't need much more than a quick milk run.

2) Marathon Training: We were very active on the trip, but I didn't actually go for a run ever. (Except through an airport...) I did a little bit at the gym yesterday and need to get back into it. I need to do at least 50 miles in these next two+ weeks.

3) Finish September Calendar for Work: easy enough... I'm through about the 18th.

4) Make a List of Loose Ends for my Business: T and I were talking about how I want to grow my business over the next few years. I'm scared to even think about it because I have so many things I want to improve on first at this level before I move ahead. I need to get those things written down.

5) Cook at least 8 nights: I cooked last night so that's 1. That is me cooking at least half of the remaining nights. T should pick up another few of those, and we sometimes splurge after yoga for Chipotle. I'm also supposed to meet a friend from high school who just moved here for dinner as well.

6) Make September Goals before September Starts!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July Loose Ends

Since we head out in less than 2 days, I though I'd update on my July goals!

1) August Calendar: DONE! And the first bit of September is completed as well! Gold Star for me!

2) Get rid of caseless CDs!: I kept the ones I wanted and the rest went to Goodwill!

3) Put pictures up in bedroom: We decided to wait until we got back from Thailand so we can include a picture from there, so fail on this one.

4) Get Thailand itinerary worked out: Funny-not-so-funny story, things changed, but we have 3 nights hotels booked, and we might just backpack and wing it! So semi done?

5) Fill out health care applications (for business): Negative...

6) Work on my field related blog: Not yet...

7) RUN MY TAIL OFF!!!: Darn, a little, not really

8) Organize my iTunes and get more good running songs: Got some songs, made a running playlist. That's as far as I got.

9) Organize the office: DONE! And it is AWESOME :-) We have some little things to put on the walls, but the organization part is so much better. We rearranged which helped a lot

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Money Challenge No More

So my goal of <$750 before I leave on my trip did not happen! It was a combination of things. We decided to reorganize the office since we have more room now, so I bought a bookshelf and some bins for that. I also spent a little more on our anniversary (2 years!) than originally planned, but he's worth it! And finally, I found good deals on flights to the marathon in San Francisco so we booked those along with flights to California for a wedding over Labor Day.

Overall, I'm still keeping it down, just now below $750!

I'll shoot for August then!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July Money Challenge

This month we leave on the 22nd, so I am going to do my <$1000 challenge a little differently. My goal is to keep the credit card purchases under $750. This should be easy. The only difficult part is if I buy my tickets for one of my destination marathons this fall.

Here's to Monday everyone! We ended our 4th with one dog on the porch and the other missing all night. A neighbor found him this morning. I must get a run in today and we have poker night at a friends later. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those really long, but really fast weeks!

Friday, July 2, 2010

July Goals: Cleaning Up Loose Ends

This is a short month for me in some senses. We leave for our big Thailand trip on the 22nd. So I only really have 3 weeks to get everything done this month!

The "theme" this month is tying up loose ends! So without further ado here are some of the loose ends I need to tie up!

1) August Calendar: We get back the 12th, but I still need to get the whole months schedule for my business (and contractors worked out) It's also transition back into the office job time.

2) Get rid of caseless CDs!

3) Put pictures up in bedroom

4) Get Thailand itinerary worked out

5) Fill out health care applications (for business)

6) Work on my field related blog


8) Organize my iTunes and get more good running songs

9) Organize the office

10) PLAY! :-D

June Goal Review

I set some goals for June that were work-life balance based. Let's see how I did!

1) Birthdays: Pass with honors! I rocked this one... this included hiding a giant grill in one of the bedroom closets! My credit card definitely has some side effects though...

2) Following running training plan 25 of 30 days: Fail! Oops... started out pretty good, kept it up in California, then it just fell away. Getting back on that horse for July.

3) Pay $1500 to small mortgage: PASS Still waiting for some work checks, but already put $500. I should be able to accomplish this without any problems

4) $2000 to savings: PASS This will be close... due to all the birthdays. Again, I'm still waiting for some work checks to come in. I will definitely put a $1000 into savings and hopefully the full $2000.

5) Get at least halfway through my online literature class FAIL I did nothing. Doh

1) Read 4 books PASS I think I read at least 6 books! 3 Jodi Picoults, one field related book, The Happiness Project, and I think there was one more somewhere!

2) Go tubing at least once. FAIL but not our fault, for most of the month tubing was closed due to flooding.

3) Go hiking 10 times SEMI PASS We didn't make it 10 times, but I did do 3 great walks with my mom and at least 5 hikes with with bf and dogs.

4) Cook 3 new recipes SEMI PASS I did 2!

5) Play with dogs (walk, fetch out back, etc.) 20 of 25 days: FAIL I probably did closer to half of the days... which is an improvement but still not where I want to be!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Goals Update Part 3

And for the final two goals. These were a bit more complex...

Goal #9: Streamline My Work : B
Personal business, I am getting better as staying on top of things. I have a plan to have one of my contractors take on a bigger role, and T set me up with a billing software. I have semi organized paperwork, but I still need to work on that. I have a good idea of where I want my business to go, but I need to hammer out a more detailed plan.

Office work is chaos but not too bad. I organized a bunch of files, and I feel pretty good about things for next year. I need to get in there a little before school just so I feel ahead of things. I have a list of things to get running on as soon as the year starts again.

However, I still have a long way to go before I feel like either is a well-oiled machine!

Goal #10: Organize My Life : C+

Two steps forward, one step back, fall asleep and forget to move at all. I think that adequately describes how I feel about this goal.

The sub-goal to not work past 7:30pm comes and goes. Overall, I have been doing better, but then I'll get super overwhelmed and be up half the night.

Being early. Gosh I want to accomplish this one, but I'm so bad about it. I think I need to just keep a book with me at all times, and take those few minutes as personal time. I'm looking into getting a Kindle... so that would help!

Gathering Goodwill and trash... I think I did the best on this one! I almost constantly have a Goodwill pile going, and I'm on a missing to clean out. I scanned a ton of articles from graduate school, so I don't have to keep the paper versions anymore. I'm on a minimizing kick! T is also starting to join the bandwagon.

Processing incoming papers. I am getting better at this. I try to sort my inbox about once a month now, but I still need to figure out a more permanent solution.

So there are all my goals so far. Wish me luck!!!

2010 Goals Update Part 2

Without further ado, goals #5-#8

Goal #5: Wear More Jewelry : B+
I have really made a conscious effort on this one! I am trying to find fun jewelry that goes along with what I am wearing. I also organized my jewelry which makes this much easier. I do default to my favorite when life gets busy, but I think that's reasonable.

Goal #6: Increase Engagement with T : C+
::Sigh:: This should be my main priority, but life just seems to get in the way. I am trying, I'm just not very successful yet. :-( However, I am constantly thinking about this and with the roomies gone, we have much more time to ourselves which helps.

Goal #7: Be More Social : B-
We started up our Sunday BBQ's again. I finally made it scrapbooking again with girlfriends. Happy hours are harder, but when I have a cancellation, I've tried to sneak in meeting a friend for coffee or something similar. I need to make a list of those I must get together with so I don't like time take over!

Goal #8: Save Money : B+
So far I have already paid for my flight and T's, so that should be only ~$500-1000 max more for me for our big trip this summer.

Even assuming $1000, that still leave me with $2000 in savings. Not quite 3 months income, but it will get there.

I have had 3 months so far keeping expenditures under $1000: February, March, and May. Right on track!

My small mortgage is down to $2500. That will be paid off this summer!

2010 Goal Review Part 1

Here is review of my 2010 goals. This will be split into 3 posts. Please leave comments and feedback!

Goal #1: Spend More Time With Dogs : D+
Overall, I failed at this one. Since the roomies moved out I have made much more of a conscious effort to spend some time with them each day. Usually we go outside and play quasi-fetch! Hopefully, we'll start getting more walks in too. In May I took them on a few runs with me as well.

Goal #2: Pay off House Debt to Mom (by April) : A!
I paid this debt off in March! I am continuing to make monthly payments for student loans as well. Hopefully I will up those in the fall.

Goal #3: Get in Better Shape : C+
While I did try to run more, it was sporadic at best. Going gluten-free did help, but that wasn't enough. T and I made a habit of going to yoga once a week at the gym (a strength training based yoga). Overall, I need to establish a more consistent routine for getting in shape.

Goal #4: Explore More Foods : C
We have been cooking more variety of foods, but do fall back on the old standards. Going gluten free has increased my food variety and exploration some! I am trying to focus on this one more this summer, since we finally have the house to ourselves. Going out to eat we didn't do well... we need to find new restaurants!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Goals: Work-Life Balance

One of my major focuses this year is achieving a better Work-Life Balance. To honor that goal, this month's goals are separated into "Work" type goals and "Life" type goals. Feedback is welcome!

1) Birthday: brother, mom, and T's. His is the big one for I need to figure out my plan of attack and execute. Luckily, I have until the end of the month!

2) Following running training plan 25 of 30 days

3) Pay $1500 to small mortgage

4) $2000 to savings

5) Get at least halfway through my online literature class

1) Read 4 books (I started one last night, but that counts in June! I only read a chapter!)

2) Go tubing at least once. Yay summer!

3) Go hiking 10 times

4) Cook 3 new recipes

5) Play with dogs (walk, fetch out back, etc.) 20 of 25 days

Look for a update on my year long goals as well as information on some big changes at my house happening today in fact!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

<$1000 Challenge?

So I originally thought I would do an <$1000 on the credit card challenge minus the tickets for our Thailand trip this summer. (Yay we bought tickets!) Just over halfway through the month I'm easily at $700. I know I have another $50 on a gift card for a friends wedding. Plus I have my brother's bday and his girlfriends in the next two weeks. I am going to try my best though! The only debate I have is whether I can not count gas over memorial weekend when I am going to a conference. I will get mileage reimbursement and per diem, so I think I will still satisfy the challenge if I remove those things. Perhaps I'm just justifying!

A lot of the money this month has been spent on treating friends out, the bf's brother, a movie. Nothing too extraneous, just more eating out than necessary.

In other news, our roommates are moving out this month. This will increase our monthly expenses for the mortgage and bills, not quite doubling it. But the amount of sanity and serenity it will bring to my life is well worth it. My job is good; my business is going well. I will be more productive with room in the house... it's time. :-)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1 Happy Things for Me A Day

One of my favorite personal blogs is Well-Heeled. She has a post up about squeezing more time out of her day and one suggestion is doing one happy things for herself each day. This is something my guy is always trying to tell me to do. I'm a bit of an over-achiever who tends to set unrealistic expectations for what I can accomplish in a day.

So I'm going to adopt this one happy thing a day mantra of sorts...

Today's: Going to read for a good 15 minutes in my current book.

Yesterday was my birthday... I turned a grand 27! I'll be posting more about that later!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Refinance Complete!

On the second closing attempt, I signed my closing paper for refinancing. Our goal was to make our monthly payment as low as possible and I think we achieved that!

Money is doing well... now I am working on how to best allocate it. I won't be under $1000 this month. There is already a good $200-$250 that is donations/charity race sign ups. And the last three nights we went out to dinner. (Need to slow that down!)

My credit card goal this month is going to be to keep it under the old mortgage payment amount, since I won't have a mortgage payment due in May. I think I can manage that!

I am working on relaxing a little more. I'm still not great at it. On foot doctor's orders, I have started some yoga to work on stretching my legs out, and it's not as bad as I thought.

The Project M-31: Simplify Your Life in 30 Days at The Minimalist Path is going slowly!

I have done a couple of the days, but we haven't done them all yet! I will give an update on that soon as well!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 3: Vehicle

As you may remember, last week I started doing Project M-31: Simplify Your Life in 30 Days at The Minimalist Path.

Last Tuesday, I was supposed to attack my car! Now I need to explain something. With my office job I am still traveling between about 6 different sites. With my business I travel even further between more sites. Given the population I work with I need certain materials in my car. So the complete minimalists in the car concept just doesn't work for my career. That aside, I spent a day last week on Saturday when I cleaned out my car. I went through the glove compartment. I cleaned out under the seats, in pockets, etc. It was fantastic!!! I did everything but only put in the minimalist items.

Then yesterday, I got my oil changed and they vacuumed the car. I feel much more calm in my car so I'll count that as a success!

So I have completed Day 2 and Day 3 so far! Look for more posts soon!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lots of Appointsments Made

Less than a week ago, I posted my Big To Do's for April.

So far I have already completed the following:

* Make a dentist appointment for me (I've told T, but he's technically on his own. I did buy us new toothbrushes and flossers though!)

* Scheduled my annual doctor's with a doc who can give referrals for all things (including gastro)

* Scheduled an appointment with a foot specialist

* Got my oil changed this morning!

* Set up my online account to pay the government electronically (so part way on that one)

Feels GOOD!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Credit Card Challenge Thoughts

I was looking through my credit card statement last month when I successfully kept it under $1000.

And I realized...
That wasn't very hard!

I bought groceries, lots of gas, two gifts, two cheap bracelets for myself, AND even spent over $200 on clothes.

And I still made it!

Now this month we should be buying our tickets for Thailand, which will be around $1000 alone. But perhaps taking out plane tickets I can still say under $1000.

Perhaps instead of it being a challenge, it should be the norm.

Friday, April 2, 2010

March Money Update

I did it!

Even with spending a little over $200 on clothes (Friends & Family time at Gap, Inc.!) and buying one of my friends an early graduation gift, I still came in under $1000.

So excited!

I am set to refinance next week as well, and apparently I'm unique in that I want to bring extra money to closing to pay down the loan amount.

Things are good in that department!

April Goals Coming Soon

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday: Clean a Junk Drawer

When I was a kid, I remember staying up way too late and secretly cleaning out my junk drawer when I couldn't sleep. Don't ask me why...

So when the first task was to clean the junk drawer, I was a little excited. This is a task I've been meaning to do! Our junk drawer is a small drawer in the kitchen. It's full of JB Weld, dog flea and heartworm stuff, pens, pencil, notepads, recipe calendar pages, and more.

I spent about 10 minutes cleaning it. While I definitely didn't eliminate <10% of the stuff as instructed, I did get rid of at least half of it. Part of it isn't mine, so I feel bad just throwing it out. Also, all the pens worked and notepads are always being used in the house.

Am I justifying? Perhaps, but I still feel better having cleaned the drawer!

Big To Do's for April

There are a couple things that I have just been putting off, so here's what I need to get taken care of!

* Dentist for T and I
* Annual check up for me (and get gastro referral)
* Oil change
* 60K mile check up
* Back to the gym!

* get foot checked out
* Figure out and pay quarterly taxes

I'll go through my March Goals later and a year long goal update too!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Starting to Simplify! PROJECT-31

And so I begin Project 31 today... Here are my first 5 days...

Monday: Day 2 - Junk Drawer

Tuesday: Day 3 - Vehicle

Wednesday: Day 4 - Night Stands and End Tables (This for me will be dresser and two entrance tables)

Thursday: Day 5 - Start Thinking Differently

Friday: Day 8 - Collections

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Project M-31: Simplify Your Life in 31 Days

As I have mentioned before, I'm participating in the Manage Your Money Challenge over at Enemy of Debt. Well, I won a prize this week!!! I won the bonus prize which was a free copy of Project M-31: Simplify Your Life in 30 Days at The Minimalist Path

Basically, this is a 31 Day Guide on how to simplify your life simply! Perfect... since I love the idea of getting my life in order, and one of my New Year Resolutions was to Organize My Life more... this was the ideal prize for me.

So I started to go through it... and was excited to find that some things I have already simplified or just don't need to. These lucky six are:

Day 6: Travel Packing - I am known for my ability to travel light. I have even taught one of my roommates how to do so. I spent 80 days backpacking Europe with 40 pounds on my back, and got rid of extra stuff as I went. I even have a box in the closet of travel things. So I am good on that one!

Day 7: Bathroom Drawers - Completely randomly, two weekends ago, I decided to clean out the whole vanity. T had already redone the medicine cabinets and one other drawer so I attacked the rest (and some of my closet). Those are all nice and organized now. I still could do my jewelry, but that's a different story, for a different day...

Day 13: Storage Unit - Don't have one! Go me! We barely have anything in the attic either! (and remember, the garage wholes the stuff of 4 adults and still fits my car.)

Day 14: Finances - We just switched my Roth and SEP to a new company, all my other accounts are organized. I'm in the process of refinancing. I have minimal credit cards... I'm good!

Day 21: Paper & Plastic - This one is about cleaning out plastic bags and using the reusable bags. I have a couple of the reusable ones, and I keep some in my car! So check on that one! I do need to go recycle some of our plastic bags at the house, but we do try to use them around the house.

Day 27: Latte - I only let myself go get one if I have a gift card (that I got as a gift) to spend. So I'm good on that one! I used to only let myself if I was going to sit there and work for at least an hour. (I'm more productive there compared to at home.)

I also had to do a little rearranging for some things (like cleaning my desk/office area) that I know I'll need more than just an evening for. In the next post, I'll put up the first five tasks I'm working on!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Money Update

It's March 25th, do you know where your money is?!

Some quick money updates:
- The <$1000 money budget is going well... I have just over $100 left for the month. I know I'll need to get gas at least once. This included a HUGE grocery shopping trip.

- I am refinancing my house!!! Yay! I qualify for the HARP program so it is nice and easy. T's and my goal is to put some extra towards the principal so I can refinance for the smallest amount possible... thus making our monthly payment as small as possible. (And for anyone who is wondering, the mortgage is still entirely just in my name.)

- I am sending the last of the small amount I owe my mom today! That's an extra $200/mo I will have. (Although I have sent $3600 this year to her!)

- We moved my IRA and are in the process of moving my SEP. T is teaching me about investing more.

Also, I won a contest recently for a cool simplify your life book... I will start that probably this weekend, and I am going to chronicle my progress here!

Make it a great day! (yes, this is from the person who got up at 3:30am)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Dark!

Although it was nice to have it stay dark a little later last night, I'm really not sure how I feel about it still being DARK at 7:30am. Wow does that make it hard to get up and get work done.

I'm a morning productive person; I ignored it for years, but slowly, during college, learned to accept it. Once the sun goes down, I'm pretty much useless. Perhaps this light later thing will help; I can still be productive in the morning when it's dark...

Perhaps I just need to work less ;-)

Monday, March 15, 2010


A little over a week ago I discovered fraud on my checking account... because I mainly use one bank that means they had to reissue EVERYTHING! So for over a week now I have been without a credit card...which is good and bad. It is annoying when I have to get gas. I had to do that today and go inside. "$20 on #1 please!" Seems like forever since I had to do that.

I also have spent $20 on dinner out with my old roomie who was in town for a week. We had a blast just running, playing dominoes with our elderly neighbors and relaxing when possible.

My credit card shows $270 right now, and I have spent that $40 in cash as well. My phone bill bounced on autopay so as soon as I get a new card that will be another ~$85.

I'm still just under $400 which is exciting given the month is half over!

This whole no credit card things has really kept my spending to a minimum, since I hate spending cash! Luckily, T was nice enough to pay me part of his rent in cash, so I could have some as needed.

The spending challenging is going well, now if I could just control the to do list!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mangage Your Money Challenge

I'm participating in the Manage Your Money Challenge over at Enemy of Debt.
We had to talk about how our partner and I feel about money and accountibility to each other. Here was my answer:

We have lots of discussions of money; he is more of a spender because he works hard and wants a higher level of life. He is more of a risk taker and investor of sorts, whereas I am more of a frugalist and saver. (However, I am the one with the house!)

What He Wants: He wants to be able to travel, have a nice house, be able to buy me things because he sees them and thinks I would like them. Luckily, my tastes are not very high end (i.e. Target having a budget category). He wants to not have to worry about if he has enough money to go out to dinner, or catch a movie one night. He wants to work because he gets something out of it and not just money. He wants to be able to give his children what he had and better (without spoiling!)

What I Want: I hate debt of all kind and I love my job in education, so I work more on the saving end. Like him, I am big on traveling and am willing to scrimp in other areas in order to do so. I want to be able to provide my children with all necessities and give them experiences and opportunities in life. I want to have enough money that I would feel secure to work less when I have children.

To Sum It Up: I’m a spend less, he’s a make more! Together we can be quite a powerful force!

As far as accountability, we are both responsible, paying off balances in full each month. If I need to borrow money or vice versa it’s never an issue. Things are split pretty fairly. I tell him when I am trying to keep my budget at a certain point, and he will tell me how much we need to save for upcoming travel. He is teaching me how to invest my money. We balance well.

For example, after the gym last night, I had planned on cooking dinner. He wanted to stop at Chipotle, so he paid. :-)

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Money!

Despite March being a long month, I am going to attempt the <$1000 on the credit card challenge again!

Here are last month's numbers:

Gas: $126 - this will be higher in march due to work ($200)

Dining Out: $151 - This will probably be the same ($150)

Groceries: $92 - this will likely go up with more days and our stock running low ($150)

Gifts: $214 - this should go way down ($50)

Target: $90 - this should also go down, all I kinda want is rain boots (into Misc for

Misc: $92 - this should go down since I got the purse I needed, for march I'll have $190 not assigned

Phone: $80 - this stays the same ($80)

Gym: $75 - stays the same need to go more! ($75)

Taxes: $81 - no more!

So let's keep it under $1000!

So far I have spent $85 on a gift and some necessary home stuff

February Goal Review

I had a few lofty goals for February! Let's see how I did...

1) Credit Card <$1000: This one is super close... I went about $20 over, but I bought my roomie's bday present for April (~$45) and had one meal that someone gave me cash for their portion. I am going to count that as a SUCCESS!

2) Running Plan: FAIL...big time. I did well the first two weeks, then it all went downhill from there. I am working 8am-11pm today, so running will not happen. Starting tomorrow however, I will get moving again.

3) Taxes: DONE! and refund received!

4) Organize Office: We made a TON of progress on this. While it's not perfect, we cleaned through a lot, and got rid of things, and found places for others. While I didn't completely success, I made a lot of progress.

5) March Calendar: It's done!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Contests around the BlogWorld!

Well-Heeled is doing a $100 Amazon gift card giveaway! She is all fired about about Mr. Rebates so check that site out as well!

There was a contest from Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks, but it seems to have disappeared...check later I guess!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Old 2009 Goal Complete!

Thanks to my tax return and T's insistance, I just fully funded my 2009 Roth IRA!

The under 1K credit card challenge is going well! It will be close, but I should make it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

So Busy...

My brother and his girlfriend were in town for a long weekend. It was an absolute blast and I loved having them here, but now I'm playing major catch up.

I feel like I'm always busy... I try to plan in break time and then something comes up and there goes relaxation time!

I know its hard on T, but he is being so supportive; I really appreciate it. Now to just find the time to let him know how much I appreciate it!

I need to keep working on streamlining my work... it's getting better but it's not quite there yet. And I don't think I ever posted my #10 resolution: Organize my life!

On a happy note, in preparation for our visitors, we SUPER cleaned the house. I did a lot of organizing in the office. It's not perfect yet, but it's SO much better. We are making a conscious effect to keep it as nice as we got it! We've been doing well so far! I also took a big old bag to goodwill and a bunch of old VHS and DVDs. I also took a bunch of books to the used book store. (And only came back with one that is semi job related.)

Here's to life calming down soon!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Taxes Done!!!

Yesterday I felt awful, so while T went to a Super Bowl party I stayed home and finished my taxes. Thanks to putting solar panels on this year, I am getting quite a large refund back! Woohoo :-)

First thing it will be used for it paying the small loan I owe my mom. Then some will go towards a new garage door and towards my small mortgage. I still will have enough to beef up my savings a little.

This makes my money stress level go down quite a bit. However, I am still trying to spend minimal this month.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Money Update

So I've spent about $80 in groceries last night, which should last most of the month. T should get the rest for the month. I also spent about $50 for rodeo/concert tickets for the 4 of us when my brother and his girlfriend visit Valentine's Day weekend. The trip is part of a late college graduation gift for him.

I also forgot about my gym membership... it's $75/month. Before anyone gets flabbergasted over the price, I do have some justifications! I went to a different gym before that was half the price, but T went to the fancier one. I finally switched and got about $150 in gym money to use on their spa (massages and facials for us!), and they have a MUCH nicer facility. There is an indoor 24 hour lap pool, many more machines, more (and better) classes, and an outdoor pool area. There is also a good little cafe and they have all different activities going on. Given that T goes there, I definitely go more and we get time to go together.

Hopefully this weekend will be a no spend weekend. T is working Saturday and I am working most of the day and going scrapbooking that night. I already paid to go scrapbooking and I'm not going to by anything there. Sunday is just relaxing and cleaning and watching a little Superbowl. I have a lot of work to catch up on, so I should take care of most of that as well.

Anyone else having a no spend weekend?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interval Success!

I went to the gym tonight with the goal of doing 7 X 400s at an 8mi mile pace. That's 2 minutes per 400. I gave myself a minute walking work up and 1 minute intervals between each 400. I walked the intervals at a 3.5mph pace. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I was determined to give it a shot!

And guess what?!

I DID IT! It was awesome :-)

Just to keep everyone updated... with tonight's 1.75 in fast intervals, but I jogged out the remaining .25 after...

Mileage Goal: 22/1000

T working = Productive Laura

T is working a 24 hour shift that started at 7pm tonight. I try to use the time when he is working to be super productive so I have less to do when he's there! Oh the fun of owning your own business.

Here's tonight's To Do List:
1) Collect and take out trash
2) Finish Lit Assign #1
3) Do Lit Assign #2
4) Type notes from office today
5) Do laundry! (completed 8:45pm)
6) Make pile of books for little brother to go through when he visits (completed 8:30pm)
7) Do scheduled training run (completed 7pm)
8) Figure out dinner for Wed.
9) More pick up in office!

Working Out Therapy

I forget how good working out makes me feel. Since I finally have a plan, and I am starting to feel a little control over my life, I've been making time for the gym more. I feel SO GOOD after a great workout. I have been trying some new classes at the gym and I'm determined to stick to my half marathon training plan.

Last night, I got the gym in time to do a fast-ish 2.5 miles (24 minutes; 9:36 pace) before a 30 minute core class, then I did the remaining 1.5. Normally that remaining 1.5 would not have happened.

Tonight I'm going to do 7 X 400 (.25 mile sprints, seven times with walking or light jogging in between) I'm hoping to do them at a 8min/mile pace.

I have started cleaning out too... I have a bag full of mainly clothes to go to GoodWill. I have some books to sell on amazon. I posted them up this weekend and sold two for a total of $21.57 already. The only money I have spent was getting gas on Monday and the two post office charges.

I think this is going to be a good month :-) How is your February looking?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Half Marathon Training Plan

I have 8 weeks until my half marathon and I really need a plan. I have semi used Hal Higdon in the past and I'm a fan! Given that, I am going to use (and just slightly modify for my schedule) his intermediate half marathon training plan.

Today: 4mi run
Tuesday: 7 X 400 at 5K pace
Wednesday: Fitness Pilates (unless I have a meeting, then just stretching at home)
Thursday: 3 mi run + strength
Friday: rest, or strength
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 8 miles

I'm excited!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

February Goals

Without further ado, here are my February Goals:

1) Credit Card charges of less than $1000: Everything goes on my credit card, except my mortgage, IRA payment, and electric bill (and sometimes gas.)

2) Develop a running plan that involves running 5k per week and follow it!!! (Follow it meaning at least get out there and run. If I don't actually run the whole mileage plan, I at least walk it or make the distance in the following day or two)

3) Get my taxes done! I should have a refund, so that's motivation.

4) Get office ORGANIZED... this is a huge undertaking, but I desperately need to do it.

5) Have March calendar planned out

And of course, I'll keep tabs on the 2010 goals as well...

Friday, January 29, 2010

February's Focus: Money!

The last two months, I have spent way more money than usual. While most of the big expenses were ones I don't regret, I still need to reign it in and revamp my sayings. I wrote about my money stress in more detail here.

So in February, I am going to really watch my spending. My brother is coming to town and I know there will be a few expenses with that, but my mom has offered to take the four of us to a nice dinner as our Valentine's Day gift. I am going to work on cleaning out the pantry instead of buying food, eating at home more, maybe having a few game nights, and just keeping the money side low key.

I'll keep updates on my progress here. Thanks for any support!

Goal #10: Organize my Life

Truth be told, I'm a wanna be Type A person... on the grand scheme, I'm more Type A than not, but I end up over-scheduling and things just get out of hand. For this goal, I've spent most of the month trying to figure out how exactly to quantify this. Do I write goal of concrete things to do; or is it more a goal of "when I can do X without having to worry/reschedule" It's probably going to be a little of both. This is also going to be something that I need to continually work on. I want to set up systems to keep things organized, but I can't seem to find the time to. (Go figure!)

So here are some of my general goals to go with it:

a) No working past 7:30pm. This is usually the latest any of my private business goes to, and I need to stay onto of work so I don't procrastinate and end up working half the night. This will also allow for more time for T and I.

b) Be everywhere 5-10 minutes early: This one has not happened in January, so I need to focus on it now. I will get up plenty early and end up bustling around around just trying to get ONE more thing done. Then I'm late. I'm not usually super late that it has effected my job or anything, but just enough that it drives me nuts.

c) Each month gather one trash bag of Goodwill and one of trash

d) Find a better way to organize incoming papers... I had an inbox but I only cleaned it out every few months (read: 9 months?!)

I think I also need specific goals and parts of the house to work on each month:

January: Bathroom & Bedroom; we re-cleaned out the bathroom and go that back together, but the bedroom still has a ways to go. That's on this weekends agenda.

February: Office!!! (this is the worst!)

I just want to not feel overwhelmed like I do so much of the time!!! Any suggestions are welcomed, encouraged!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Goal #9: Streamline My Work

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how exactly to accomplish this goal. My private business is rather small, just me and a couple of independent contractors. This year I have a couple of things I need to get, including insurance and looking at what would be needed to turn my contractors into employees. I also would like to offer a few more things with my business.

Office job wise I just found out I am doing a great job this year, but of course, I feel like I could always do better. My office is a bit of a mess right now and I really need to come up with a way to keep myself organized. I think I have mastered using my outlook calendar, but now it's a matter of keeping track of everything else!

In order to accomplish this goal, I decided I needed monthly goals instead of a yearly one.

January: Business:
1) Make new invoices and timesheets that are pre-filled in as much as possible for the first 6 month
2) Pick one client per month to provide a yearly report

January: Office:
1) Clean out drawers with random papers and file them
2) Sort through and organize the new set of materials I just received

Living Paycheck to Paycheck

I had a fun realization this month that I am, at the moment, living paycheck to paycheck. There are a number of factors contributing to this: paid for solar panels this month, christmas, travel during christmas, scuba lessons, paying for flights for my brother and his girlfriend to come visit, an unexpected interview trip I had to buy a flight for, paying my business quarterly payment, going on an extended vacation this month, and not working half of Dec. These factors have all left me scrambling a little bit to make all of my payments this month.

Lucky for me, I not only live with an amazing man who was willing to give me February's rent early, but I am still able to pay all my bills and not go into any debt. Yes, technically I'm fine, nothing will default. However, this has really shocked me into revisiting a budget and fully concentrating on my savings.

So I have looked ahead, we get back next week and I shouldn't have any additional costs once we get back except gas. I am going to start to try having no spent days and focus on keeping my costs as low as possible. I'm also going to try and get my taxes done as I should have a refund coming my way. Finally, I'm going through my house and looking for things to sell and give away.

Any suggestions? What strategies have you used to go on a money diet after a bit of binging?!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekly To Do's: Jan 18-21

Around midnight Thursday we are heading off on our vacation... between now and then there is a lot to get done!! Here's the list of private business and personal To Do's:

1) Get February private business calendar hammered out (completed 2/18)

2) Start 30 Day Shred (schedule for Monday or Tuesday) - due to being sick, putting this on hold

3) Finish posting remaining two goals for 2010

4) Get in some quality dog time!

5) PACK!

6) Reserve our place to stay on vacation

7) Go through pile on coffee table and process (this involves a couple of small mailings, some magazines, business cards for emails) (finished 2/18)

8) Get all invoices for private for the first half of the year prepped

9) At office, start working on next big presentation (mid-Feb.)

10) Mail in car registration check/form (completed 2/19)

11) Return dive equipment (completed 2/19)

12) Mail out 1099's for private business - I can do 3, the rest are back ordered...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Goal #8: Save Money

This past year involved a lot of house projects and some unexpected travel (due to sad family events) instead of much savings. While I'm not in any debt outside of my mom and my mortgage. I want to amp of the savings this year.

1) Save $2500 towards a Thailand trip (my best friend will be in China this summer)

2) Increasing emergency fund savings to $5000

3) Have 6 months where my credit card statement is under $1000 (I put EVERYTHING on my credit card, phone bills, gas, etc. since I get cash back rewards.)

4) Pay off my small mortgage

These will be attacked at varying intensity. First I am focusing on paying off my little loan to my mom, next is the small mortgage & travel. The fall will be hardcore saving time.

Goal #7: Be More Social!

This last fall killed my social calendar. I felt like I was always having to get work done or study. My goal if having people over a couple times a month went out the door. The only person I really had energy to be a bit social with was T. I'm hoping that changes this year


1) Meet up with friends 1x/week (even if that means taking a walk with one of the roommates)

2) Go out with friends at night at least 2x/month

3) Have people over 1x/month (at least!)

4) Go to 75% of work happy hours

Progress so far:
1) um, have in the other categories, but not so much this one; part of that is scuba lessons on the weekends

2) We went out for a friends birthday this week for dinner and trivia, so that's 1!

3) We have a game night scheduled for the 30th :-)

4) 1/1 so far!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goal #6: Increased Engagement with T

The fall was tough for T and I. I was overly busy and he got left to the side a little. I want to really focus on strengthening our relationship even more and making sure he always knows how I feel about him.


1) Date night out 2x/month

2) Show love everyday

3) Send love (email/text) Mon-Fri

4) Do something new together 1x/mo

Goal Updates:
I went for a 2 mile run yesterday at a 9:36 pace! Hey, it's a start! And we're going to the gym tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting Better

The week has gotten better. I am feeling a bit more on top of things. The presentation is going well. T and I are good...

In fact today is our 18 month anniversary. I have a special dinner at the fancy all you can eat beef place in town! He was sweet; first thing he said to me was happy anniversary.

I am getting the last of my 2010 goals hammered out and should post them shortly. I'm excited about some of the ideas I have in store.

Also, on the work front, I just found out some interesting information regarding a coworker who could be leaving. This means there's a chance I could be bumped to full time (I'm at 80%) It would be perfect timing.

Now all that is left is to catch up on sleep and resume running! I'm planning on a quick 2 miler before I stuff myself at dinner!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yesterday's To Do: FAIL!

Let's try again today... so far it's been fairly productive. I had to rearrange my schedule a bit today, but it all worked out.

My presentation is done, copied and all! So all I have to do is show up tomorrow now :-)

We still need to book our hotel for our upcoming vacation and I need to start on the organizing the room and office.

Most of all, I need to sleep...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goal #5: Wear More Jewelry

So this might be a little silly of a goal, but I have more than my share of unique and beautiful jewelry that I have gotten as gifts or gotten on travels. However, more often than not, I just wear studs in my ears (I have two holes in each ear) and the necklace I got for T & my 1 year anniversary. In fact, my boss even told me I should start wearing more "Bling" instead of just my romantic pretty stuff.

So one goal is to vary up my jewelry.


1) Wear at least 3 difference necklaces a week.

2) Wear fun earrings at least 2 days a week.

Left To Do Today

1) Update a client's file
2) Rough powerpoint for presentation at work
3) 5 minute room clean up
4) 5 minute office clean up
5) Update another client's file
6) Email a client
7) Book hotel for vacation in 1 1/2 weeks!
8) Relax with T

Tough First Week Back

I'm exhausted... this first week back from winter vacation has run me completely down. Feeling like this is tough, since I pride myself on being a productive person. I just can't seem to get anything done when I need to. I know a number of things are contributing: lack of sleep, body adjusting to the gluten free diet, two days of scuba lessons (over 8 hours of pool time) this weekend, crazy busy at office job, attempting to clean house, and not having much time left over for T or myself.

This all culminated in a long talk last night with T regarding ways in which we aren't satisfied or happy. I hate those conversations despite knowing they are necessary at times. I just feel so drained after, and that feeling is hard to shake.

I hope this week is better, T woke up with me this morning super earlier which made me smile.

I'll post my To Do's for the week shortly.

On the exercise front, giving all the in the pool scuba diving I did combined with subfreezing weather, I didn't head out to the gym or around the block with the dogs.

On the dog front, they didn't want to be outside either! Until we gave them the bone from our steaks last night; then they wouldn't come back in!

Here's to a better week...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Goal #4: Explore More Foods

T and I tend to stick to the same standard meals all the time. Partly because neither of us is a food snob (although he is a picky eater!) and part just because we're lazy and tight on time. Trying the gluten free diet will make some of this even more important!


a) Try 2 new recipes a month.

b) Try 1 new restaurant a month.

Anyone have any good gluten free recipes?!

Goal 1 & 3 Updates

#1: I've taken the lab out twice and the puppy once so far this week and plan to this weekend. It's been freezing here yesterday and today so that has made things difficult. They barely even want to go out!

#3: I've run 4 miles so far this week, two 1 milers, and 1 two miler, and made it to the gym twice. I also ordered Jillian Michael's 30 Shred

and Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

to join the Well-Heeled Blog 30-Day Shred Challenge

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goal #3: Get in Better Shape

Overall, I am in decent shape... I'm within 13lbs of how much I weighed 10 years ago (based on my driver's license) and if need be I can run a 8 minute mile (or pretty close). However, I have gained a few pounds and lost a little muscle in the year and half I've been with T. Also, this fall was so insane I felt like I never had a chance to work out and run anymore. I've been having some funny tummy stuff as well that I want to figure out, so without further ado... here are my mini goals for this one:


a) Go to the gym and do some basic weight training at least 3 days a week

b) Run at least 4 days a week

c) Try the Gluten free diet and see if that helps

d) Sign up and complete another marathon at a fast time

e) Run more than 1000 miles this year. (yes, no where near the 2000 of Aron, but still!

Optimism Goal: Run a half marathon in under 2:15!
I have run 3 half marathons in the past and only semi trained and pulled off a 2:17 almost every time. So I'm close... if I can get my act together. I'll be tracking that progress moreso at my other blog at

Goal #2: Finish Paying Debt To Mom (by April)

In 2007, I got a great deal on a house, but somewhat last minute. My mom lent me $10,000 towards my down payment and I've been paying back $200/mo every since. I have $3600 remaining.

Here are my minigoals for it:

a) Pay $600 in the February payment

b) Pay $1000 in the March payment

c) Pay $2000 in the April payment (with tax return help)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Goal #1: More time with Dogs

One of my and T's goals for 2010 is to spend more time with our two dogs, especially outdoors. One dog I've had for 2 1/2 years, and the other is a puppy we got around May. Both are about 70lbs with tons of energy!

To make this a SMART goal, I want to take the dogs out (walk, park, etc.) at least 4 times a week (assuming we are in town.) We just got back into town really really early Monday morning, and last night one of the roomies and I took both dogs walking for 30 minutes. While they aren't the best walkers, they love doing it?!

So there is one of our first goals of the year... 9 more to follow!

I'm going to try and keep weekly progress reports on most of these goals on this site.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Need Some 2010 Goal Ideas?

Check out all these fantastic goals posts!

For the runner in you, one of my biggest runner blog motivators: Runner's Rambles

Tired of setting goals to accomplish something, how about some goals to not do something: Smart Passive Income Blog

Not sure what your future holds, here are some uncertainty goals: Well-Heeled Blog

Some classic adult goals: Gather Little by Little

One of my favorite fellow planners has some nice goals laid out: Always the Planner

Need help organizing yourself and your goals: Finance for a Freelance Life