January 31, 2017

Ten Places I've Travelled...

I've made no secret of my love of travelling on this space of mine over the last 4+ years (I probably talk about it too much actually...).  Travel is just something I need to do, and I haven't done nearly enough of it yet! This past year wasn't the best year for me when it comes to travelling and exploring new places, but I don't know if anything will ever top Vegas/NYC/Mexico all within the same year. 

2016 was the first time in 8 years that I didn't make it to Vegas (gasp!). I haven't even been on a plane in over a year and a half since I last went to Vegas to celebrate my sisters Dirty Thirty in July 2015. I did, however, get to cross a new state off my list when MN and I took a day trip to Wisconsin, I was introduced to the gorgeous Duluth, MN area, I travelled to the Twin Cities 7 different times, and I even got to take in some bird watching in Kansas City, Missouri. Okay, now that I have it all written out there I guess 2016 wasn't so bad when it comes to travel! 

My biggest 'problem', when it comes to travelling, as I've mentioned before, is that I tend to fall in love with each new place I travel to and then all I want to do is revisit the same places over and over and over again because one trip is just never enough. 

I've been lucky enough in my almost 30 years of existence to get to travel to some really awesome places. Today I'm sharing a little bit about some of my favourite destinations

Ten Places I've Travelled...

San Antonio, Texas 
The River Walk is one of my favourite places that I've ever been - there's just so much to see/do! Having a beer and eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor at Durty Nelly's is a must and so is touring The Alamo. I've also been to New Braunfels (where my aunt and uncle live and most time in Texas is spent) and to Corpus Christi where I put my feet in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time. Collecting sand dollars on the beach is one of my best memories from my first trip to Texas - I still have some of them! Floating down the Guadulupe River is also one of my favourite memories ever.  I've road tripped to Texas three times now but I'm hoping for many more trips that way. I was supposed to go last August but my brother and sister found out they were expecting so that trip was cancelled and instead my sister and I road tripped to Kansas City, Missouri at the very last minute to take in some bird watching. I will make it back to Texas one day though - my favourite restaurant of all time is there after all!
Kansas City, Missouri 
My sister and I spent less than 24 hours actually in Kansas City last August but we accomplished exactly what we went there for - to do some bird watching at Kauffman Stadium. We took in two games of the Royals vs Blue Jays series (my sister's first ever MLB games) and I got to cross Kauffman Stadium off my list of stadiums to visit. We also got to buy liquour in Target (a first for us) and had Chick-fil-A for the first (but not last!) time - some highlights of our whirlwind road trip aside from the baseball games. Sleeping in my SUV in a Wal Mart parking lot in Fargo, ND is up there too...

Venice, Italy
When I was 15 and in Grade 10 I went on an EF Tour that took me through Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Venice was probably my favourite of all of the places we visited. There were so many different shops and alleyways, I got lost for hours with my friends but every turn we took there was something new and exciting to see. I ate gelato every single chance I got but with all the walking I did it was justified! A gondola ride in Venice should be on everybody's bucket list and watching a glass blowing demonstration was pretty neat. I'm not a huge fan of birds but standing in the middle of St Marks Square and feeding pigeons as they perched on my shoulder and in the palm of my hand was such an awesome experience. I also spent time in Verona and visited Juliet's balcony, which was pretty interesting for this small town girl. Italy was also the place where my friends and I were chased down the beach by men pretending to shoot at us but all the fun that was had and the memories made outweighs that one negative thing.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas is my favourite 'fun' destination - its perfect for a girls weekend, stag/stagette, celebrating a birthday, etc. Plus its relatively inexpensive to travel to so its the perfect long weekend getaway. I've pretty much lost count of how many times I've been to Vegas now but I don't think I will ever get sick of it. A few years back I wrote my own Guide to Sin City and though a lot of it has changed now there's still quite a few of my favourite things included in there. I'm going back this Summer to celebrate my own Dirty Thirty and I'm already dreaming about Amaretto Pineapples from Fat Tuesdays and Volcano Nachos from Margaritaville. Mmmmmm...
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 
My friend Scooby and I flew to Harrisburg, PA in August 2012 to visit Mri, Scooby's friend that was doing her medical residency at a hospital in Harrisburg. We were gone for 10 days but three of those days were spent in NYC (Scooby and I took the Amtrak train from Harrisburg to NYC - Mri had to work so she got left behind). Most of our days in Harrisburg were spent inside Mri's apartment in the air conditioning - I didn't realize how humid it would be until we were there! We also spent a night out for Mri's birthday with a bunch of her PA friends - we had supper at Benihanas' (my first time!) and then went out to a club afterwards, where guns were pulled out during a fight on the main floor while we were on the top floor of the club - something this small town girl never expected! We also took a day trip to Hershey and toured Hershey's Chocolate World and went to Hersheypark (not recommended when you're hungover af...). Tons of shopping was done both in Harrisburg and at the outlets in Hershey and it was also the trip where Scooby got her nickname!
New York City, New York 
I spent through glorious days in NYC in August 2012 and I completely fell in LOVE with the city. I was actually only in NYC for two nights and less than 72 hours but my friend and I fit in as much tourist-y things as possible. We went to the top of the Empire State Building, spent time in Central Park exploring the zoo, had breakfast at outside Tiffany's, enjoyed a delicious muffin from Magnolia Bakery, ate a hot dog on the steps of the Met, took a ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and saw Chicago on Broadway - just to name a few things.  It was definitely a trip to remember and I cannot wait until the day I make it back to NYC
Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo, Mexico 
One of my oldest friends got married in Ixtapa at the Las Brisas Resort in December 2012. Every room has an ocean view, the resort has its own private beach, and the staff were SO friendly - I will definitely be making it back to this resort one day. This trip had many firsts - I went snorkelling for the first time, swam in the ocean for the first time ever, and even tried duck for the first - and only- time (not good, y'all. Not good). I was also mistaken for a local many, many times during our time in town - considering I don't speak a lick of Spanish it was pretty comical. 
Jasper, Alberta
My cousin got married in Jasper in 2007 at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. I was in college in Medicine Hat at the time so my parents, along with my brother and future SIL (my sister stayed behind because the day of the wedding was Rae's 1st birthday), picked me up on the way. The scenery on the way to Jasper is just breathtaking - if you ever plan on visiting Canada then Jasper is a great destination! We didn't have much time to explore Jasper because of the wedding festivities but what we did see was just ah-mazing. I absolutely need to make it back there one day. Most of my family rode up the Canadian Rockies in the Jasper Skytram (even my Granny!) the day after the wedding which was an awesome experience (though I'd recommend doing it when you're not extremely hungover... haha). My family stayed at the cutest little cabins while we were there - they had a full kitchen area so would be perfect for a longer stay! On the way home we went towards Banff and Lake Louise instead of heading back through Edmonton - the views were so gorgeous! This area is an absolute must see
Rothenburg, Germany
Rothenburg is a town straight out of a fairytale and was the first destination of my Europe Trip after my flight landed in Frankfurt. There's a wall that surrounds the whole town and everything about it is so medieval - I felt like I was transported back into the olden days. The town was a little confusing to navigate, even though its pretty tiny, and our tour guide had given us a strict time to be back at the bus... that time came and went and a group of kids plus one of the chaperones were still missing. I think we waited almost an hour for them to find their way out of the town and to our bus (thank goodness it wasn't me because I would've had an anxiety attack thinking our bus left without me on it). I can't believe I even remember that considering its almost been 15(!) years. I need to make it back to Europe asap... if only to upgrade all my pictures since all of mine were taken on disposable cameras and are terrible quality

Lucerne, Switzerland
Switzerland was absolutely breathtaking - every single part of it that I saw was so beautiful. Everything about it was just so different from SK. We took a boat tour around the Lucerne area and the town was another area where I felt like I had been transported back in time. We also made a stop at Rhine Falls, Europe's largest waterfall. I'm sure almost 30 year old me would be so much more appreciative of the beauty of all these things than 15 year old me was! 

I didn't include much of Canada, besides Jasper, since I live here and don't really think of it as 'travel' and also didn't include the Twin Cities since I'm there all.the.time. now. Each year I just want this list to keep growing and growing - there's so much more I want to see!

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list" - Susan Sontag

Make sure to stop back next Tuesday to see the next 10 places I want to visit! 

January 27, 2017

Links & Love (January 2017)...

I absolutely love when Kate from the Small Things Blog does a Links + Love post so I decided to give it a whirl! I'm aiming to *hopefully* get one up once per month. There's always those random things that I think of putting in a blog post but am never quite sure where they fit in - now I have a place for them!

My lips have been so dry throughout this entire winter, to the point that they are constantly peeling. I apply Blistex medicated lip balm at least 20 times a day but they are still super dry. I was so close to purchasing an $8 lip scrub in Target last week but at the last second I decided that I could probably find a DIY online with products I already have at home and I hit the jackpot when I found this article for 23 Homemade Lip Scrubs

I was in the Twin Cities for a few days last week. I know, I know I was just there for NYE but MN got tickets for us to see Eric Church so of course I had to go! I liked Eric Church before but now after seeing him live I am obsessed. I haven't listened to anything but his music on Spotify over the last 10 days and I'm pretty sure I now know every single song. If you live around somewhere where he is touring then you have to go see his Holdin' My Own show! I'm already plotting ways I can go see him again plus cross off another state from my travel list. He is playing in Chicago this spring...

I've been wanting a S'well water bottle for the longest time. My friend Scooby has one of the large ones and loves it but the price tag is always what held me back (though Scooby promised it was worth the price). I was pumped to find a 15 oz S'ip by S'well bottle at Target on clearance for only $12.99(!) last week. Yes, its the smaller size but it functions just the same in that it keeps my water SO cold throughout the day. I love it!

I laughed so hard over the answers to this question. Something I needed after seeing all the hate/negativity floating around the interwebs this week.

I'm two episodes into Game of Thrones and I am honestly shocked at how much I am loving it.  Now I just have to wait until I'm back in Minnesota next weekend so I can get through some more episodes (why isn't it on Canadian Netflix?!). Back in June I watched the last few episodes from the newest season but it was so hard to follow with not knowing what was actually going on. Now that I'm starting from the beginning everything makes a lot more sense. I can't believe it's a show that I'm into but I've been realizing lately that things I thought I would hate (like the Star Wars movies...) I am actually into. Who would've thought?!

I had Noodles & Company for the first time ever last week. TBH I had no idea what it was until I got through the doors, I just knew that there was one by the food court in the MOA that I have walked by many a time on my way to Chipotle.  I had the Penne Rosa with the parmesan-crusted chicken breast and it was delish - it definitely won't be my last visit!

Happy Friday y'all!

January 26, 2017

My Life In Numbers (Jan 2017)...

I've spent some time recently going back through all of my old posts (and laughing at some of my early ones!) and compiling a list of posts that I want to update, move back to draft, or post about again to show differences from the time in between when I've posted. That's right, I've actually been spending time on this blog of mine. Go me!

In 2014 I saw a post that Erin had done about her life in numbers and I 'borrowed' the idea. Today I've got an update of sorts about my current life in numbers.

448 - Number of blog posts I have hit publish on 

118 - Number of draft posts waiting to see the light of day

3 - Number of full time jobs I have had since convocating from college

29 - Number of years I have been on this earth 

44 - Number of months I have been at my current job 

11 - Number of times I have been to Las Vegas

3 - Number of times I have been to Texas

13 - Number of times I have been to the Twin Cities since 2013 (for some reason that number has gone up drastically over the last 8 months... haha)

10- Number of months until my SUV, Eleanor, is paid off

3,255 - Number of times I have tweeted 

15 - Number of things on my to do list for this weekend 

33 - Number of emails I need to reply to 

827 - Number of pictures I have posted to Instagram 

24,138 - My current Snapchat 'score'

2 - Number of provinces I have lived in (Saskatchewan and Alberta)

5 - Number of provinces I have visited (SK, AB, BC, MB, & ON)

9 - Number of states I have visited (NY, TX, PA, WI, MN, ND, NV, KS, & NE)

1,285 - Population of the town I grew up in (according to the 2011 census)

12 - Number of tattoos I have 

3 - Number of books I have read so far in 2017

127, 118 - Number of KM's on my SUV Eleanor 

6 - Number of countries I have visited - not including Canada (United States, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, & Austria)

138 - Number of photos on my iPhone camera roll 

2 - Number of children that call me 'Auntie' (soon to be 3!) 

178 - Number of days until I turn 30

1,456,765 - The approximate number of photos that I need to order prints of 

13 - My favourite number 

8 - Number of months I've known MN

2 - Number of Christmas trees still up at my house 

The things that come to mind when you're thinking about your life in numbers are so random y'all!

January 24, 2017

Ten Things I Keep Putting Off...

I am the QUEEN of procrastination. I could fight almost anyone for the title. I pack for vacation at the very last minute, finished essays in College with only hours to spare, and regularly use dry shampoo as a replacement for actually washing my hair because telling myself 'next time' doesn't actually work to get it done (I do shower though, I promise)

Though I do actually seem to do my best work under the pressure of a deadline there are certain things that I just need to bite the bullet and get done. Because if I don't my list is just going to keep getting longer and I might not be able to get out of bed because of the pressure of it all. Overdramatic I am not...
Ten Things I Keep Putting Off...

1| Calling the service department of the car dealership I bought Eleanor from to schedule work for a recall for 'side door hem corrosion'. I actually did call in the early fall and they said someone would call me back and they never did. Hmph

2| Posting items on a FB garage sale site. I went through all my closets (and so did my Mom) and there is a HUGE pile of clothes/accesories (mostly brand new with tags still attached...) to be sold but I just can't be bothered to do it. Someone send me some motivation because not only will the extra $ be nice but so will having my fitness room back to normal

3| Calling to book a massage appointment. This is a must before the end of this week!

4| Getting back into a fitness routine. I finally got my braces off (yay! - more on that in another post) and have been indulging in all the thing I've been missing out on over the last 2+years but if I don't get back on track with my fitness then I'm not going to achieve my goal!

5| Cleaning the spare bedroom. Christmas threw up in there and just the thought of starting to reorganize it all again gives me hives

6| Contacting SGI to have my windshield and drivers side window replaced. I live in SK so its inevitable that I'll have a cracked windshield but its gotten progressively worse and is finally to the point where it just needs to be replaced. I also have had a chip in my drivers side window since July 2015 that slowly turned into a large crack. It never bothered me until now because now my window won't roll down at all and its a huge pain in my ass. That means no drive thru for coffee on the days I work in the city - no bueno!

7| Upgrading my cell phone. I've been eligible for a new phone for almost a whole year but I keep putting it off because $$$. Also, they keep coming out with a new iPhone so often that I don't want to get a new one and then two months later they release the newest version. The struggle is real

8| Quitting my second job. I started in mid August 2015 and really only planned on being there until I had saved some money back up after my brothers wedding and after my braces were paid off (in June 2016). Here I am almost to the end of January 2017 and I'm still there. I did cut back my hours a bit late last Spring but I have had the intention of dropping the second job completely for a few months now but I just keep putting it off because I really like the owners of the business and I don't want to inconvenience them. I will do it by Spring. It will be so nice to have my Sundays back!

9| Ordering new tires for Eleanor. Both my Dad and MN have been giving me crap about Eleanors tires because I have the same tires on her from when I bought her brand new a little over 5 years ago. I have the tires picked out I just need to finalize the order and schedule the appointment to have them put on. Which I keep putting off because I hate the thought of seeing that money drain out of my savings account. Adulting - ughhh

10| Ordering photos from the past 2+ years. Once again because of $$$. I also want to order a few photobooks from trips/special events and that is pricey so I've just been putting it off. What I have to keep reminding myself is that the more I put it off then the more pictures I need to order and the pricier it all gets...

A few of these things are on my January Goals and there's only one more week for me to get those crossed off so I guess I better get to it... 

Do you also see the pattern of putting off things that require talking on the phone? I'm pretty sure I hate talking on the phone more than anything else on earth. I need a personal assistant just to make all my phone calls for me. Applications accepted in the comments ;)

January 18, 2017

Currently (January 2017)...

Reading a bit more lately than I have in a long time, which is great! I read All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda on the train to the Twin Cities for NYE. It was SO good, I'd give it 4.5/5 stars. I also found out over Christmas that I had just over $50.00 in credits on my Nook because of some Apple settlement so I purchased The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham -  now I'm just waiting to purchase a new Nook (since mine bit the dust quite some time ago) so I can read them! I also got a $30.00 Chapters gift card from my brother and sister in law for Christmas so when I was in the Queen City last week for my orthodontist appointment I picked up another mystery/suspense novel for my train ride tonight

Listening to only Eric Church music to prepare for his concert on Friday night!

Celebrating not really anything lately. Now that Christmas is over there's not much to celebrate (#crazyforchristmas). My brother and SIL both have birthdays coming up but I'll be gone to the Twin Cities over their actual birthdays 

Watching episodes of The Office again now that I finally finished Parks and Rec. My parents got me the entire series of Parks and Rec for Christmas - since it isn't on Canadian Netflix I was only able to watch it when I was at MN's- so I was finally able to finish it last week

Drinking just water and coffee. I had a half a bottle of Moscato on Saturday night while I was hanging out with some girlfriends and it just didn't sit right -probably because I was still on antibiotics - so I'm hoping that doesn't happen while im in Minnesota this weekend

Waiting for my nephew to make his arrival. My brother and SIL stopped at my parents house last night after Kenton's curling game and Kels said she thinks she might go early - here's hoping!

Working two jobs still. I've cut back a bit at my full time job - still doing my same job and all my responsibilities but just not taking on the overtime that I used to - something I needed to do for my mental health

Wearing my Christmas present from my full time job- a super comfy bunny hug (Saskatchewan lingo! haha). It's so comfy I could live in it. The only downside is all my staff got the same bunny hugs so now everyone is wearing them to work. I think mine will be more of a weekend wear for the most part 

Anticipating the Eric Church concert. Also, Friday is Trumps inauguration (barf) and downtown Minneaopolis is supposed to be a little crazy because of protestors so I'm feeling a little anxious about that 

Loving that I get to see MN tomorrow! It's only been a little over two weeks since I was last there but it feels like forever

Making some plans to revamp this space of mine. I've had this design for over two years now so its time for a change, especially now that I'm committing to posting regularly 

January 17, 2017

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward To...

As I've mentioned in the past, life in SE Saskatchewan is not the most interesting. Like at all. In the Summer months there is definitely a lot more to do but the Winter months usually bring the Winter Blues and they tend to get the best of me. Luckily I've managed to avoid them so far this year - probably because of my frequent trips to Minnesota - but I always like to have a list of things to look forward to help keep them at bay. I did a similar post in March of last year when Karli had the Ten on Tuesday link up. That link up may be no more but I'm still going to reserve Tuesdays for Ten Things (because I love lists)

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward To...

1| My nephew (finally) making his arrival. We've only got about a month(ish) until his arrival. His due date is Valentine's Day and its coming so quick - I can't wait to snuggle him and never let him go. I swear it was just yesterday that I found out that they were expecting and now the countdown is on

2| Warm weather. Last week we were hitting -45°C temperatures with the wind chill. By the end of this week we are supposed to get to above freezing (before factoring in the wind chill). Bring on the flip flops and patio drinks!

3| Baseball season to begin. Yes, already. I've missed bird watching so much over the last 3 months. Only 75 more days until opening day. Not that I'm counting...

4| Crossing things off off of my 30 Before 30 list. Just a little over 6 months left - eeek! There's a few things I need to revamp on my list and then I need to kick it into overdrive!

5| And on that note, turning the Dirty Thirty. Yes. I'm actually looking forward to it. I had been dreading it for so long but now I'm embracing it. It doesn't hurt that I'll be going to Vegas to celebrate...

6| Seeing Eric Church in concert.  I head to the Twin Cities tomorrow night and MN and I (and his sister and her bf) are going to EC's Holdin' My Own Tour on Friday night. I haven't been to a concert since February 2014 when I saw Luke Bryan when I went on a girls trip to Bismarck with my mom, aunt, SIL and cousin so this concert is long overdue. This tour is just Eric and his band, no other acts so its two full sets with an intermission in between - I can't wait! I'm only listening to Eric on Spotify this week in preparation

7| Getting a new tattoo. I got some money for Christmas from my parents and I've decided to use it for my next tattoo. It's been in the works for almost a year for Toni, Scooby, and I to get tattoos together so I'm hoping to convince them we need to do that sooner rather than later - it has been over 6 months since my last tattoo after all

8| Getting away for MN's Dirty Thirty. We still have to finalize our plans but we are hoping to go back to Duluth around MN's 30th. That area is so gorgeous I could go again and again and again 

9| Daily yoga practice. At some point last year I stopped doing daily yoga and I desperately want to get back to this. One of my goals for 2017 is to establish a morning routine, which is going to include yoga

10| Paying off all my debt. This is the year it happens and I can't.freaking.wait!

January 13, 2017

2017 Goals...

Can y'all believe we're almost two full weeks into January already?! The older I get the more I feel like the years just fly by. I'm always super sad when Christmas is over but someone just reminded me the other day that the way time flies it will be Christmas again before I know it (regardless of that fact I'm not taking my Christmas tree out of my room for at least another month) and they are absolutely right. That just means I need to learn to enjoy everything life throws at me since its goes by so fast

The start of a New Year is always such a great feeling. You get to leave any worries or troubles behind in the previous year (or try to) and start fresh again with a blank canvas. For me 2016 wasn't quite the shitstorm of a year that it seemed to be for a lot of other people.  I met MN, my brother and SIL found out they were having a baby, my sister and her girls finally got their new house, my moms scans continued to come back with good news, and my dad started a new job which meant that the oil industry was finally starting to pick up. I worked really hard on hitting some financial goals and though I didn't quite achieve them I got myself that much closer for 2017 and I definitely can pat myself on the back for that. 

Though 2016 was a pretty good year for me I was still looking forward to 2017 because I have BIG plans for it. I'm not going to be sharing everything quite yet because somethings are still in the works but I have set myself some goals to accomplish for the year and I'm excited to get started on them (some I already have - go me!)

In 2017 I am going to follow a bedtime routine
I set a goal for myself to be in bed by 10 each weeknight and so far so good! I work at 7:15 every day and my alarm goes off at 5:30 so in the past when I've went to bed at later times it negatively affected my entire day. My bedtime routine includes removing my makeup, a nightime skincare routine (I am turning 30 this year after all..), brushing my teeth and putting in my retainer, removing my jewelery, slathering hand cream on my poor chapped hands (unavoidable during Winter in SK), getting into my pajamas, and having my butt in bed by 10. All things that seem simple but without setting these goals for myself would probably never happen at all (except for brushing my teeth!) or would happen at 1 in the morning when I should have been in bed hours earlier

In 2017 I am going to be in the best shape of my life 
I was there last year and it killllls me that I have done a bit of a backslide. When I met MN in May 2016 I was at my smallest weight since probably high school. I had just finished my second Whole30 of the year and had been doing the 21 Day Fix up until I left for the Twin Cities. Then came Summer and with travelling back and forth from SK to MN quite often throughout the rest of the year my fitness goals just slipped away. With turning 30 this year (eeeek!) I am determined to be in the best shape of my life by my 30th birthday and the trip to Vegas that I am taking to celebrate! 

In 2017 I am going to complete this reading challenge
2016 was not a good year for me for reading. And I LOVE to read. My Nook finally died at the beginning of last year so that didn't help at all but it was also just a busy year with working two jobs and looking back I feel like I hardly had any 'me' time.  Really the only time that I did any reading was on my train travels to and from the Twin Cities. That is going to change this year for sure - I miss snuggling up under the covers with a good book!

In 2017 I am going to create a vision board 
I bought a super cute cork board from Target sometime last year and I think it will look so cute as a vision board! Having the visual reminder of my goals for the year will hopefully help me keep on track 

In 2017 I am going to CONNECT
2017 is the year I work on my friendships and relationships and also the year I make time to connect in the blog world - and I can't wait!

In 2017 I am going to take time for myself
Like I said, I feel like I hardly had any 'me' time in 2016 and that all changes this year. I am going to set aside time to get tonthly massages, get my hair done, get pedicures, have my nails filled,etc. I'm going to set aside time to read a book and not feel guilty that I should be doing something else or spend hours wandering the aisles of Target and not feel guilty about neglecting my to do list. I just need to find that balance and work on my 'me' time

In 2017 I am going to stop using credit cards
I am SO close to being completely credit card debt free and it feels so good! This was a plan put into motion last year and though I didn't completely make it through the year credit card free I did a lot better than previous years and I paid off a LOT of debt. I do still plan to use my credit cards to earn the rewards but they will only get used like a debit card and I will pay off any purchases immediately so I don't end up back in a situation like in the past. If I don't have the money it won't be bought!

In 2017 I am going to travel somewhere I have never been 
Chicago, Seattle, and Toronto are at the top of my list but I will take anything I can get! Last year I spent most of my time travelling to the Twin Cities to see MN so I didn't get to expand much on traveling to new places. I travelled to the Twin Cities 7 different times last year and aside from a whirlwind road trip to Kansas City that was it for my travels for 2016. I did get to cross travelling to a new state off of my list when MN and I took a day trip to Wisconsin to visit the Leinenkugel brewery and a stop for lunch at what is now my second favourite restaurant of all time (behind the Gristmill in Gruene, TX).  I also got to explore Duluth, MN which was absolutely gorgeous - I can't wait to go back! I didn't even make it to Vegas in 2016, the first year since 2008 that I didn't go! 

In 2017 I am going to spend more time in the kitchen 
I love cooking and baking and I feel like I hardly got to spend any time in the kitchen in 2016 (more on why in my next goal). I haven't tried any new recipes in forever and that is going to change in 2017. I want to cook at least two nights a week and try something new at least one of those days. I purchased The Pioneer Womans' A Year of Holidays cookbook late last year and I'm excited to try a bunch of things from it

In 2017 I am going to take a step back in my professional life 
I have been at my current job for almost 4 years (May 4th is my 4 year anniversary) and this business has been my baby since even before then. Way back at the beginning of 2012 I met with a lady in the community and started the groundwork for the business. Even though I didn't know if I would leave my job at the time to run the business I still put everything into getting it up and running. I have poured my heart and soul into it over the past 3 1/2 years but I have realized lately that its not exactly healthy and I need to take a bit of a step back. Not only was I scheduling myself to work 10+ hour days to help the business out financially but I was also taking work problems home with me and constantly stressing myself out and that wasn't helping my mental health at all. By the time I would get home at night, most nights after 6pm, I was just completely drained. I had zero energy and felt stuck in a rut. I don't know when exactly I started to change my thought process but I just had a realization that I won't be at this business for forever and that I needed to take that step back and that it needed to happen sooner rather than later. I'm going to stick to my 8 hours a day (unless I have to fill in for someone else which is unavoidable at times since I am the boss) and I'm really hoping this will help me to achieve some of my other goals, like sticking to my nightime and morning routines, spending more time in the kitchen, and sticking to a fitness routine. It's hard to let go of control but I know that I need to. I'll still be fulfulling all my responsiblities but won't be taking on the extra that I did in 2016

In 2017 I am going to follow a morning routine 
Gone are the days of hitting snooze a million times! My morning routine includes making myself presentable for work - I never used to wear makeup to work and now its a must. I will make my bed each day for work, put all my clothes away in hampers, make sure my bathroom is cleaned up after I finish getting ready, etc. After a long day of work it is so nice to come back home to a clean and organized space

In 2017 I am going to pay off my SUV
And it's going to feel so good! Having that extra $600+ every month is going to be the best. This is obviously a goal that I know I will accomplish since I only have 7 more payments left but its nice to have something on here that I know with certainty will be achieved. Eleanor and I still have a lot of years left together (or at least I hope!)

I have so much to look forward to in 2017. The birth of my first nephew in February, my 1 year anniversary with MN, my 30th birthday and a trip to Vegas to celebrate, Krickit's third birthday, and so much more - I can't wait to see what else 2017 has in store for me! I also have BIG plans for this space of mine, which include my goal of CONNECTING more, and I'm excited to get started on them. 2017 is going to be the best year yet!

(Also, it's fitting that this post is going up on one of my favourite days - Friday the 13th!)

January 11, 2017

January Goals (2017)...

It's almost mid-January already (what?!) and I'm just now getting to my January goals - that's what having the plague for the first half of January does to a person! 

Since its a new year I'm starting off fresh and won't be recapping my monthly goals (mostly because December was a write off and I think I only accomplished one thing from my Dec goals...). I'm going to try my absolute hardest to make sure that I am working each month to accomplish my goals. There's just something about a new year that makes things seem more attainable. Let's hope I can stick with it! 

In January I want to...

Get a massage
Through my benefits for work I can get up to $500 in massages every year and every single year I maybe get two massages all year long. This year I'm going to make sure I use up that money by getting a massage every single month. I think it will definitely help with my stress levels!

De-clutter and organize the spare bedroom
It currently looks like Christmas threw up in there so I need to set aside a full day to organizing and de-cluttering this room.

Organize photos on my laptop and order prints 
I've been putting this off for too long and now that its a new year I want to start fresh and organized! I also haven't ordered any prints in over a year so its long overdue. I'm not looking forward to the price tag for this one though...

Read at least two books from my reading pile 
I love to read but for the longest time I just wasn't making it a priority. I started getting back into it in mid December and I have a bunch of books that I'm excited to start so I'm pretty sure this will get crossed off for sure. I have another train ride to Minnesota coming up so I can probably knock the two books off in just that trip but I'm aiming small for this month since for so long I didn't make the time to sit down and read. If I read more than two then that's just a bonus!

Work on my photography
I've had my DSLR for a year and a half now and I still don't know how to use it outside of auto mode. I want to read some tutorials and play around with it a bit so I can function outside of auto mode.I also want to take some new blog photos so I can test what I learn then!

I have a post in the works about my 2017 Goals so I kept my January goals to just 5 things - look for my 2017 Goals post later this week!

Happy Humpday!

January 9, 2017

One Little Word (2017)...

Happy Twenty-Seventeen y'all! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season and New Years celebrations. I spent NYE in Minnesota, taking in my first ever NHL game so I definitely can't complain about how I ended 2016 and rang in the new year. 

I had big plans to start the new year off right with a bunch of blog posts but I ended up coming down with the plague while still in Minnesota so those plans went straight out the window. I'm still only at about 50% but I have antibiotics now so at least I'm on the mend. I have those posts in the works, they'll just be posted a bit later than I had hoped for. 

Back in early December I started thinking up my One Little Word for 2017. It's something I've wanted to do for years but could never narrow it down to one word. After much thought and consideration, I decided on: 

Trying to narrow down to one word is hard. I had a word picked out, engage, but I thought it could get misconstrued to mean engage-ment and that might send MN running for the hills (haha) so I just chose to change it to connect to save myself the hassle. 

In 2017 I want to work on my relationships with friends and family, and with MN. I also have big plans for this space of mine, which includes connecting with other bloggers so connect just seemed perfect for 2017. 

As I said, I've got big plans in the works for this space of mine and currently have 6 posts on the go so make sure to check back in for those! 

What's your OLW for 2017?