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  1. Good riddance 2013!

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

    Honestly, I am really not sad to see 2013.

    While it was a great year in some aspects - like getting engaged, working on paying off debt and some new blogging opportunities - it really sucked in others - like losing my job, losing friends and losing interest in things I love.

    I've felt very stifled and stuck in a rut lately, and I'm hoping a new year can bring a refreshed outlook on life. As one is wont to do at this time of year, I'm taking some time to regroup and take a look at what I want to focus on in 2014.

    Write more, write better

    I want to do more and better blogging, and expand my vintage/history writing to other websites, magazines and companies.

    I only posted 54 blogs in 2013, compared to 88 in the first year of Retro Reporter. While I always argue quality over quantity, I don't think my heart has been into blogging lately, and it makes me sad because I love blogging, vintage and history more than anything! I want to do it MORE but feel like I never have time, but I know I need to make time.

    I'm also struggling with compensation for blogging. While I blog here for myself and my readers, it does take time to write, take photos etc and when I do that for outside companies (either in my space or theirs) I would like to see something in return, but at the same time I don't want to feel like I'm a money grubber.  I also want to expand Retro Reporter and bring in guest bloggers of my own, but I want to compensate them - even though I make only a few cents a month via Google Ads.

    I also want to explore other writing/photography freelance opportunities, but again I have no idea where to start. I really struggle with putting myself out there and selling my talents and I know that needs to change. I already have a few ideas of what I'd like to do, which includes combining my talents with my hubby-to-be's. So stay tuned!


    I am sure this is a goal I set every year but I always seem to do good on it, so it's in there again.

    Relax: Aside from the usual medical stuff - going to the dentist, getting my eyes checked, getting a physical etc etc. - I also want to take more time to relax and do things that make me relaxed, even if it's something like doing the dishes, because I know when the dishes start to stack up I get twitchy.  

    #3goodthings: I also want to start doing the #3goodthings challenge on Instagram, where I post about what 3 good things happened that day (pretty self explanatory). I plan on getting an agenda to write in every night and post photos of my good things so I also have a hard copy to reflect on at the end of the year as well as a digital gratitude post. I'm conflicted on doing this because on one hand it's good to reflect on the good, but I don't want to be one of those people with a "my life is perfect" online persona, so expect lots of silver linings (For example, yesterday I hit a snowbank in my own driveway AND cracked my bumper getting out of said snowbank, but at least I met my new neighbour who helped me get out of trouble!)

    Lifeguarding & Teaching: I've gotten the ball rolling on getting re-certified as a lifeguard and swimming teacher. I used to do both when I was in high school, but never transferred my teaching awards to Alberta or kept up with my lifeguarding, which I really regret as it's something that would have come in handy when I was laid off.

    I don't plan to quit my job and start teaching as soon as I'm re-certified, but it is nice to have the option, especially for when I start having kids. Plus, is it ever a bad thing to know how to save someone's life? Probably not.

    Stop drinking: Now before anyone (especially my mom) freaks out and thinks I'm a closet alcoholic - I'm not. I probably averaged two drinks a week.  I just don't like the kind of person I can become when I drink. I get sleepy, which makes me grumpy, which makes me argumentative, which makes me depressed. Sometimes that doesn't happen, but most of the time it does. It's not stopping me from going out and having fun, plus I can always ensure that I'm the DD for friends. It will also save money in the long run. 

    My last drink (that I recall - it's the last one that shows up on my bank statement anyway) was a celebratory gin and tonic after the City and Memory heritage symposium this fall. Like I said, I didn't drink a lot so I haven't noticed a big difference, but I certainly do miss having a gin and tonic after work to unwind, or a Caesar with friends (luckily I've found the perfect way of asking for a virgin Caesar: with a shot of water to thin it out) but I hope that will fade in time. Instead I have a nice tea, or a pop or some sparkling juice. 
    I'm still on the fence about whether or not I will have champagne at the wedding, at least for toasts. Part of me is like "It's your wedding, live a little!" but the other part a) doesn't want to fall off the wagon and b) knows my tolerance will be so low at that point that I'll just fall over. 

    Save wisely, spend wisely

    Money has become quite the theme on this blog, so I have a number of goals under this one.

    Frugality : Being a vintage girl I am proud to say that the majority of my clothes are second hand. If I do buy new clothing, it's rarely full price (the last thing I remember paying full price for is my wedding shoes in August in Vegas) - it would either be on sale and something I've wanted for a while or as compensation for blogging.
    Now I want to expand that mindset to other things. Want a new food processor, or $200 winter boots or a vacation? We need to put that money away AHEAD of time instead of paying it (and interest!) off after. I've learned that the hard way (and my debt isn't that bad compared to some people's) and I'm not interested in continuing on that road.

    Less Waste: I want Ian and I to reduce our waste drastically in 2014. We already recycle heavily (he is a B.C. boy after all) and use reusable containers, so my goal is geared towards food waste. Primarily I want us to stop buying food that we don't eat (or make sure we eat all our food) and stop throwing out food scraps, and instead compost (we have a big compost bin in the backyard that we don't even use). I'm unsure about how the compost one will go, since we'd need another bin (we have so many bins in our kitchen) and I think it will attract our garbage loving cats and dog. Any suggestions?

    Start saving for a downpayment: As I mentioned previously I am well on my way to having my portion of the wedding saved up for, but instead of stoping my savings plan, I'm going to continue to save for our downpayment on top of my TFSA.
    I've created a payment plan so I would be credit card debt free by next December, but I'm already four months ahead of that plan, which means I can save even more money! Ideally Ian and I would like to have $25K for a downpayment and we already have $10K, so it would take me 37 months ($7,500 / $200 a month) to save up my half. BUT that $200 is based on still having credit card debt to pay off; once it's done I can split my monthly payment between the downpayment and my student loan or car loan.

    Give What I Can

    Money: I've always budgeted in my Mint for charitable contributions, but I've rarely actually doled that cash out unless I'm explicitly asked by someone on behalf of a charity. No more! I created a spreadsheet of 12 charities that are close to my heart and attached a month to them so on each first of the month I can just go into the spreadsheet and go donate (like a bill, but with tax deductible warm fuzzies after)

    Time: I also want to start giving my time, especially when I can incorporate my skills, like knitting or teaching others to knit, writing, photography, etc. The possibilities are endless! If anyone reading this works for a non-profit and thinks they can use my skills, please get in touch!

    Blood: I am a big believer in donating blood. Not only do I know a few people who have had blood transfusions, I am also a rare blood type - O+ (for those who don't know, that means I can only receive O+ or O- blood, but anyone who is Rh+  can receive my blood).
    This has nothing to do with blood, but it's just so damn weird that I had to share.
    Giving blood is relatively quick and painless if you are a healthy donor, and can be done every 56 days, meaning you can give 6 times a year! There are also very, very few health risks for donors - I happen to get a little woozy when I donate, but I think it's the fact that I get so nervous (I'm not particularly fond of needles) that I am going to faint that I almost faint. Winner, right here.

    SO there is my long-winded photo-less first post of 2014. Have you made resolutions?

  2. 3 comments:

    1. Great post! I like how you divided up your goals. We have some similar goals for 2014. I hope 2014 is good to you

    2. Unknown said...

      Amazing post, dear!
      These resolutions are spot on! I believe that the most important part of following our resolutions is the part where we realize WHY we are doing it.
      I'll share with you one wisdom that I heard long time ago "Ask - and you will be given". And the darn thing actually works. :D

      My resolutions?
      I posted them on my blog:
      (feel free to take a look)

      Many hugs and HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear!

    3. Seconded through and through! Though there were elements that stood out in a positive light (chief amongst which was our trip to Calgary), 2013 was a year that couldn't wrap up quickly enough in my books either. I have a good feeling in my heart about 2014 and like to believe that it will smoke the last year out of the water for both of us, dear gal.

      Tons of hugs & the absolute happiest of New Year wishes!
      ♥ Jessica

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