Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, December 27, 2012

#2013Countdown: What were your lowest points this year? Why?

This prompt is a doosie. I find myself retracting from it because sharing my low points becomes instantly and intimately personal. But, in the vein of developing this blog and my writing, I'm going to participate.

Easily, the lowest point of 2012 for me was being laid off from my job. I had been with the company over seven years, and I had been in my current position for just over two years. I adored the 'family' I had built there, and I had become so comfortable. I had also worked my way up and built something of my dream working scenario: I had a great, trust relationship with my boss; I was working on projects that excited me and used my skills; I had total flexibility in my schedule and working location (I worked from my couch most days); and I had great benefits, including a whopping seven weeks of vacation time.

I can't say the news was a shock, but it was surprising nonetheless. I thought maybe my position was valuable enough to save me, but no one was safe. That said, the shock of the whole situation was how I handled it. I have never been the most positive person, and I never handled change well AT ALL. Yet, I rolled with this, and, c'mon, this is a huge life change. I accepted it, however. I never placed blame, if anything, I was grateful. It didn't take a lot of effort on my part to see the positive and commit to moving on and growing.

BUT... That's not to say it was easy. Almost three months went by before I started really struggling with negative feelings. I still didn't blame myself or my employer for my situation. I wasn't angry or bitter. I still knew that this would ultimately be a good thing, but I found myself having a hard time seeing the forest while mired in the trees. I did get depressed. Once the weather turned, and I could no longer easily run outside or head to the beach, I withdrew. I stopped seeing a lot of my friends -- I was afraid of spending money on going out. I lost all structure in my days; I stayed up late and night and slept in far later than I had in years. I blankly stared at daytime television. Sure, I was still looking for jobs everyday and sending out resumes, but several rejections had me questioning if I was really cut out for what I was doing. I questioned my professional value. I considered giving up. I became stressed to an unhealthy level about money and my future, and this impacted my relationships. It was definitely a deep low.

At the same time, I was having an increasingly hard time in my romantic relationship, and nothing I did seemed to help. This only contributed to my stress and questioning of worth. I admit I lost sight of who I was at the lowest of the low.

It was hard to 'keep the faith' as they say, and I considered giving up. I saw myself going back to a retail job and living a miserable, lonely existence. (Yes, I have an over-active imagination, for better or for worse.) Thankfully, none of this happened, and things turned around at the perfect time.

Those four months of unemployment were the best and worst time of my 2012. It was never an even keel, and it was definitely a growing experience. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

It's hard to talk about the low times; no one likes to hear about the sadness and the pain. Let's talk about it though: What were your lowest points of 2012 and why? I'll even add my own question: How did you overcome? What did you learn?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#2013Countdown: What are 12 things you love about year 2012?

I am a bit off-track with my #2013Countdown posts, but I do hope to catch up over the next week to squeeze them all in by the new year.

Again, I'm going to stick with bullets to make this easy and concise. I have to admit I am intimidated about trying to come up with 12 things I loved about this year.

Here goes nothing; 12 things I love(d) about 2012:

  1. Devoting my summer to running. The heat never bothered me; I loved getting out there and pushing myself.
  2. Skiing a New England high eight days last winter, despite the fact that snowfall was so low and conditions were far less than ideal. I braved the ice and spotty coverage, and I think I became a better skier for it.
  3. Putting insecurities aside and hitting the club in Boston. These nights are some of my fondest memories. I especially loved getting dressed up and rocking high heels and short skirts.
  4. Reconnecting with my favorite cover band. They have become some of my closest friends, and I love going to shows and hanging out. I reconnected with the dancer and live music lover in me.
  5. Providence Restaurant Week. I attended both sessions this year and discovered some delightful new restaurants.
  6. Finishing my first half marathon with a very respectable time. 
  7. Beach and boat days. We had such a hot summer, and I took advantage spending as much time in the summer sun as I could. 
  8. Following on #7, the best tan I've probably ever had. Between running, boating, spending afternoons at the beach, laying on the beach after losing my job and cruising the Caribbean, I owned a glowing tan.
  9. Celebrating my birthday my way. It was a great week. Yes, a full week.
  10. Eastern/Southern Caribbean cruise. Any year I cruise, this is one of my favorite things about the year. I love being on the ocean and in warm, tropical places. I needed and loved this trip.
  11. Running the annual sales meeting at my former company. The prep, the challenges, the planning, the relationships developed, the execution... I lived for every moment and loved it.
  12. Disney World with my mom. It was so hot and so exhausting, but we had a great time, and I loved having dedicated mother-daughter time away from home. 
What did you love about your 2012?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#2013Countdown: How has 2012 been?

I decided to participate in a little end-of-the-year reflection journaling exercise in the hopes of revitalizing this space -- which I'm undecided about what I want to do with.

For now, I'll just jump right into it. How was my 2012? Well, the first and most powerful word that comes to mind to describe my year: growth. This has been a year of growing and discovery for me. I've been thrown in the deep end more times than I can count, and I've been forced to sink or swim. Thankfully, I seem to be pretty good at swimming in water over my head -- to continue the analogy.

I don't want to dig too deep or make this post too long, so let's just bullet some highlights, shall we?

  • I skied on my first black diamond trails at the beginning of this year, conquering my fear and just going for it. It was exhilarating! 
  • I launched my first solo marketing campaigns at work, and they went well. I loved being able to flex my creative muscles a little bit.
  • Also at work, I planned my first customer event and managed our annual sales conference (with help from some gracious colleagues, of course). It was super stressful but super fun and rewarding. I went to Disney World! :)
  • I reignited some lost friendships that have proven invaluable to me this year. They have loved me, supported me, reminded me of how passionate I am, taught me and lifted me up. I'm forever grateful.
  • I was laid off. This was probably the biggest growth experience of the year for me. I had to rebuild my identity, figuring out who I am without my job. I had to create my own structure and keep myself positive. I had to figure out how I was going to survive (physically and emotionally), and I had to plot out my next steps in my career. It wasn't easy, but it was a priceless experience, and I totally view it in a positive light. I learned so much.
  • I re-evaluated all of my relationships. Losing yourself in unemployment will do this. I learned who my real friends are. I learned who is an uplifting presence in my life and who brings me down. This is so important to do often.
  • I ran my first half marathon! Ok, this is a contender for the biggest growth experience of the year. Keeping the positive spin, I was laid off the second week of my training plan, which gave me ample time to devote to training for this beast (and it was a beast). Running kept me sane when I wasn't working full-time. This was easily one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I can't wait to do it again!
  • I fell in love with myself. Yes, that sounds weird. Sure, it may seem narcissistic. Listen: it is crucial to your happiness. I learned this the hard way. The really hard way. The long, time-consuming (wasting), hard way. I happen to think I'm pretty swell. I know, trust, believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be at this precise moment in time. I have a pretty firm grasp on who I am, and I know what I need to do. I am proud of that. So, yes, in re-evaluating my relationships, I learned that the most important one is with myself. Call me selfish, I do not care.
  • I got my heart broken. I'm not going to go into details as to how, who or what. That's not important to you. What's important is this is an opportunity to grow. Remember that.
  • I started a new job! After four months of being unemployed, I am back in the workforce, and I couldn't be happier. Being thrust into a new professional setting always encourages growth, and I can't wait to see what this new opportunity brings. I am truly excited, and I think I am going to love what I do now.
Ok, that's it for me. Now it's your turn: How was your 2012? What did you learn this year?

Monday, September 24, 2012

10 questions

I saw this on Lisa's Yarns, and I thought I should post something, and this seemed liked fun. I always love reading these, so enjoy!

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
If they are quality products, you bet I do!

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Inconsiderate people

Do you chew your pens and pencils?
Ew, no. Never.

Do you believe in ghosts?
The jury is out on that one.

What was your first concert?
The KISS 108 concert... that is a local Top 40 radio station that does a "festival" type concert at the beginning of every summer.

Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
I don't think so... 

Do you crave sweet or salty food?
Both, at different times.

How late is "sleeping in" to you?
11am or noon... That is really late. I hate doing that. It means a rough, late night happened.

What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then 
tried and liked? 
Raw oysters. OMG, I love those things, but trying them was intimidating for sure!

DJ or band at a wedding?
Band all the way. I know too many wedding musicians to vote for a DJ.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review of Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen

I know it has been a while since I have written a post, and it sucks that my first one back is a product review, but I am so truly excited about this product that I want to share it with you.

If you haven't already heard of Influenster, you are missing out. Go to their website and sign up immediately. As a member, you are eligible to receive complimentary VoxBoxes to test out products and review them, based on your profile and activity online. I was skeptical, but I figured it couldn't hurt to set up a profile, and I've already received two boxes! I've discovered some great products that I'll continue to use.

In my most recent box - the Summer Beauty VoxBox - I received a sample of 
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration™ Lotion Sunscreen in SPF 30 (it's also available in SPF 12 and 50). I was really excited to see a Hawaiian Tropic product in there - and one I had never heard of at that - because I am in love with their scent. 

This product truly delivered though, and it is absolutely both a lotion and a sunscreen. The product description is as follows: With its ultra-luxurious hydrating silk ribbons, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration™ lotion sunscreen nourishes and pampers skin while providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and 12-hour moisturization when out in the sun.

I'll take the lotion aspect first. I was skeptical that this would truly help my dry, itchy summer skin, but it does. My skin is soft and smooth and smells amazing. I especially love that the lotion is lightweight and absorbs quickly, so my skin doesn't feel sticky or sweaty in the heat.

As a sunscreen, this lotion does its job. I have not burned using this lotion, and it is water-resistant. I am really picky about sunscreen because I hate when it sits on my skin or feels sticky or heavy. I'm also not a huge fan of most sunscreen scents. However, with the Hawaiian Tropic signature scent and the lotion's lightweight formula, I am completely willing to use this at the beach, on the boat, on a run or daily to protect my skin.

Have you used this product? What do you think? If not, what's your favorite sunscreen and summer moisturizer? 

I received this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

British consistency vs. counting sheep

Image credit: Scientific American
I stumbled across a useful, interesting and amusing article the other day, and I wanted to share it with you. I want to preface this with letting you know that I work for a British company, and half of my coworkers are British. My ancestors were British, and I love tea, along with the pomp and circumstance that inspires many distinctly British traditions.

Therefore, I chuckled as I read this because it is so... British! At the same time, however, I wondered if this is truly the trick to getting a good night's sleep every night.

According to The Telegraph, getting a consistently good night's sleep is all about... Consistency.

The article references a study done by surveying several Brits on their nighttime routines, and there were several common variables among those who reported sleeping well on a consistent basis. Apparently, by adhering to the following steps nightly, one will sleep perfectly every night without fail.

1. Watch 1 hour and 46 minutes of television, preferably a soap opera or comedy quiz show
2. Spend 41 minutes talking to someone (partner, on the phone to mother, etc.)
3. Browse the Internet for 51 minutes
4. Have at least 2 hours and 7 minutes rest after cooking, washing up and doing the chores
5. Last food before bedtime --usually an evening meal -- should be eaten at 8:29 p.m.
6. Last drink before bedtime -- usually a cup of tea -- should be consumed at 9:10 p.m.
7. Go to bed at exactly 10 p.m.
8. Spend 20 minutes in bed reading
9. Finally fall asleep at 10:26 p.m.
10. Lie on the right side of the body
11. Sleep on the right side of the bed when facing the ceiling
12. Sleep with partner cuddled into back
13. Wake at 6:47 a.m. to the sound of the alarm clock

What do you think? Will it work? Will you try it? What is your nighttime routine, or do you not have one?

I have a nighttime routine, but the timing of it fluctuates. I usually spend my evenings cooking dinner, cleaning up, watching TV while enjoying a cup of herbal tea, then I try to read for a bit in bed before going to sleep. I do think consistency is important when it comes to sleep, and I am trying to get myself into a consistently timed routine to improve my sleep quality, productivity and energy level. I think the above is worth a try.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Frustration's a &*!@%

Photo credit: Personal Excellence
We all get frustrated from time to time, and it can eat away at you if you don't recognize it and take action to address it. Frustration and happiness? Mortal enemies.

Celes at Personal Excellence asks as part of her 21-Day Positivity Challenge: What is one thing that has been frustrating you lately? And how can you overcome it?

I often find myself feeling frustrated, but it takes me a while to realize that I'm frustrated, first of all, and then what exactly is frustrating me. It manifests itself in crankiness, impatience, unkind words and other nasty things that turn me into a person no one wants to be around -- including me.

So, I'll talk about what has been frustrating me lately, and I'm sure it is something you can all relate to: money.

I do all right financially. I have a decent salary. I have a 401(k). I even get a bonus every year. I try to be good about automatically saving a portion of each paycheck, but sometimes a spontaneous trip or shopping spree eat into that. Yet, I find myself frustrated that, at the end of the month, I always seem to come up just a little bit short.

I don't think I spend a ton of money; I try to live within my means. But, as far as money buying happiness? It frustrates me that I'm at a point where it does... where it will.

If only I could get market value for my work (but really, what is that and who determines it?). If only I could win a small lottery. I'd be less frustrated and more secure. I wouldn't worry so much about buying a new car when mine finally dies or how I am going to be able to afford to go on vacation -- a noncompromisable (not a real word, but I'm going with it) when it comes to making myself happy.

I don't need a mansion. I don't need a Bentley. I don't need Fendi bags, Louboutin shoes and runway-worthy clothes. I don't even need to jet off to Fiji twice a year for a little R&R. I'd just like to be able to spend a week at the beach without worrying about how I'm going to pay off the credit card when I get back.

Not too much to ask, right?

Now, the tricky part, how can I overcome my frustration? It would be easy to throw this to forces outside my control, but that defeats the purpose of this exercise.

Overcoming this frustration is not going to be easy if I take ownership of it; it will require sacrifice. That said and accepted, here is my action plan:

  1. Pay off the credit card. It's not ridiculous, but I can't rest easy until that balance is zero.
  2. To make #1 easier, avoid putting whatever possible on the credit card. Use cash.
  3. Maintain savings from each paycheck, and leave it alone!
  4. Start putting a small amount away each month for a new car.
  5. Identify the next vacation, calculate the cost, start saving for it.
  6. Stick to the budget!
  7. Any raise/bonus this year should go towards savings. Live on what you currently earn.
I'm hoping the above will help me rid myself of financial frustration and sleep a little easier at night... to the sound of ocean waves outside my hotel window. :)

What is something that's frustrating you right now? What can you do about it? Even if it's just one tiny step.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A house becomes a home

Time for another Friday blanks post, courtesy of Lauren at the little things we do!
Image credit: Lauren
1. My favorite room in my home is my bedroom because it is ocean/beach themed, calm, quiet and comfortable.

2. My current decor style is traditional mostly, but I wish it were more rustic shabby chic with a hint of modern. I'd love a log cabin with the matching decor.

3. I wish I could redecorate the bathroom in my house to make it more modern and clean.

4. My dream house absolutely has to have a large, professional kitchen because I cook quite a bit, and I like to have good tools and great space.

5. One house item I am willing to splurge on is a quality mattress. Without a good night's sleep, I am useless.

6. A decor trend that I just don't "get" is none... or at least none that I can think of...

7. Warm colors is a little touch that makes my house feel like home.

Enjoy your weekend! Anyone have any big plans???

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How happy are you?

Photo credit: Personal Excellence
Have you thought about it? On a whole, big picture, how happy are you? Right now? Today? This week? This month? This year?

How happy do you want to be? Whoa, deep question, huh? It's a tough one to be honest about sometimes because it requires an untainted view of our thoughts and actions. It requires the truth.

And then the why? Why do you want to be happy (or unhappy as the case may be)? Why are your thoughts and actions making you happy? Why don't you act that way all the time so you'll always be happy?

Not that easy, is it?

Celes over at personalexcellence.co is currently running a 21-Day Positivity Challenge (21DPC). You may recall me participating in her challenges before, and I always learn something. I'm not officially participating in this one, but I hope to address some of the prompts here.

Plus, I'm currently enrolled in a strength and resilience stress management course through my health insurance provider, and it recommended working on my positivity. Join me, let's think about how we can be rays of sunshine instead of dark rain clouds.

Blah. LOL!

Here we go: on a scale of 1-10, how happy are you as a person? Not in time, but as a personality. And if you're not scoring yourself as a shiny, perfect 10, why not?

Oh and before we all go think/blog/journal/discuss that, let's also identify at least one positive thing about today.

Ready? Go!

I would rate myself as a 6. Although I always feel I'm a misstep away from a 1 because of my past with depression. This is one area of my life I have worked on for the last 5 years or so, and I've made some progress, but I'm still not a pro.

I have trouble with sliding scales like this, so I went with deducting a point for each thing I'm unhappy with in my life. Major areas here, not minute details -- I'd be a -50 if we were playing that game.

So, I'm deducting one pint for finances. Sure, money can't specifically buy happiness, but I've learned you do need to reach a happiness-enabling threshold where you're not stressing about how to pay your bills and afford to do the little things that make you happy like indulge in hobbies and go out with friends. I'm not there yet.

The second point is deducted for my professional life. Oh I have it pretty good right now, and I know it, but I'm still left wanting more. I want to flex my creative muscle more. I want less red tape. I want more flexibility and variety. I want to be more involved in my passions professionally. No job or career is ever perfect, I realize that, but I still see a lot of room for improvement with mine. Either that or I just need to truly figure out what I want to do with my life.

I'm deducting another point for my laziness. I've gotten much better at proactively seeking out what makes me happy, but I need more get-up-and-go. When I feel like writing, I need to stop watching TV and write. When I know a day trio on a lazy Saturday will make me happier, I need to stop stressing about laundry and hit the road. Those types of things.

The final point I'm deducting because I've gotten so bad at feelings. I used to be amazing about talking emotions and getting it out there, but I think part of my depression-fighting arsenal is holding more in, ironically. I gotta face this stuff and share it with people who love me. It may be tough at first, but ultimately it will make me feel much better.

And, lastly, one positive thing about my day today? Tonight is the March Yelp Elite event, and it involves martinis in Providence's historic Federal Hill! Right up my alley!

Go on, share at least one of your answers in the comments below! Let' s get happy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lazy Friday and some travel info

Ah, a Friday off from work. I always have such grand plans for my days off, but so far I have managed to get out of bed, make coffee, drink coffee, eat Pop-Tarts, watch recorded crime drama shows, write a few Yelp reviews, read a couple of blogs, and... yeah... house cleaning is definitely still on the list.

And I wrote a blog post! The second in two days; this girl is on a roll! Unbelievable.

Any big plans for the weekend before I delve into Lauren's lovely blanks? I have delightfully little planned -- just a dinner with friends tomorrow night to exchange belated Christmas presents and celebrate a birthday.

Image credit: the little things we do
1. My favorite place I've ever traveled to is a tie between San Diego, CA, and Bermuda, but I'm leaning towards Bermuda since it wins in the beach category.

2. Italy is somewhere I'd love to go someday.

3. I pass the time on a plane (or bus or car ride or train) by usually sleeping and listening to music since if I try to read or watch something, I usually feel motion sick.

4. My three must-haves when I travel are good luggage, good music, a good book.

5. My favorite travel companion is my boyfriend. We travel incredibly well together.

6. The craziest thing that ever happened to me while traveling is being taken on a completely roge jet skiing trip in Roatan, Honduras. Oh, or there was the time it snowed in Arizona and our tour bus at the Grand Canyon was struck by lightning. And people wonder why I don't want to go back...

7. The most exotic food I've ever tried while traveling is tartare and ceviche.

8. If I could live anywhere else, I'd live in San Diego. Warm and sunny all year, great city, by the ocean, casual scene, friendly people. I fell in love. I think I would miss New England though.

9. I have been to 11, plus Washington D.C. States in the U.S.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Keep your fingers crossed for a big running year!

Photo credit: Real Simple
I haven't talked about running in a while because I'm injured, and I haven't run in over two months. I believe an old injury to my left foot is coming back to haunt me, as I get some intense pain when I run now -- and the pain has extended into other activities such as Yoga and skiing. I have an appointment with a podiatric surgeon on Valentine's Day (romantic, I know), so I hope I will get some answers then. And that those answers don't involve surgery.

Obviously my training has been on hold, and I have been terrible about getting myself to the gym for non-impact activities to maintain my fitness. I miss running, and nothing else has motivated me in the same way. Regardless, I have made running plans for 2012 -- not going so far as to register for any races yet (I don't have that kind of money to just throw away should this be something serious) but mapping out the races I would like to run.

My BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) for this year is to run a half marathon. Run. Not walk. Not just finish. Run. Without stopping.

Due to this pesky injury, I have scheduled a backup half later in the year in case I can't start training in March.

Without further ado...

April: B.A.A. 5K
Image credit: B.A.A.
I just found about this new race medley from the Boston Athletic Association (the organization behind the Boston Marathon) yesterday, and I am extremely frustrated that medley registration closes January 31st (read: before my doctor appointment). I'm hoping there will still be space in the individual races for me to register for each one (and pay more, grrrrr).

The medley begins with a 5K on April 15th, the day before the Boston Marathon. This will be a good gauge of where I am in terms of running early on in the year. But I'd love to run it in 32:00 or less.

May: Harpoon 5-Miler
This is my team for the Harpoon Brewery Annual 5-Miler last year. As you can tell from our beaming beer faces, we had a great time. This was my first race, and I don't think anything will compare to how I felt crossing that finish line, but I really hope I can run this race again on May 20th.

My goal for this race is to simply beat my time from last year, which was 53:26. Shouldn't be too difficult, right?

June: B.A.A. 10K
The second race of the B.A.A. medley, the 10K, falls on June 24th. I wanted to run this race last year, but I didn't feel ready to tackle a 10K yet. If this is the only race in the medley I can do, I'll be happy. I ran my first 10K back in October (when my foot really started bothering me), and while it was tough, I loved it. This might be my sweet spot distance.

Oh, my time for that painful 10K was a pitiful 1:14:38. Yeah, pitiful. Therefore, I'd love to kill the B.A.A. one within 1:05:00.

July: Harvard Pilgrim 10K
Photo credit: Harvard Pilgrim 10K
Another race I wanted to run last year but didn't feel ready for. I ran my town's 4th of July 4-miler instead, and it was brutal. Not too mention I wasn't really thrilled about the race in general. So, this year, I want to be like this guy and run through a giant, inflatable Patriots helmet in Gillette Stadium. What's more patriotic than running through a Patriot helmet? 'Nough said.

Goal: Beat B.A.A. time.

August: Providence Rock & Roll Half Marathon
After what I hope to be six full months of training, I will run my first half marathon in August, on the 19th. I was a spectator at this race last year, cheering on four of my friends in the pouring rain. I was dying to run, but I knew I was in no way prepped for 13 miles with an UPHILL TO THE FINISH. Yes, these race organizers are a bit cruel, but I want to run in my city regardless.

Goal? Well, we already established I am running the whole thing, but I didn't say I would be running fast. 2:20:00 would make me happy.

October: B.A.A. Half Marathon? Tufts 10K?
What happened to September? Well, I didn't race in September last year, and I don't have anything planned this year either. I just didn't find anything that interested me that much after a summer of racing.

October 7th is my second shot at the half distance with the B.A.A. Half Marathon. Goals will be the same as for Providence -- unless I run Providence, in which case I'd obviously want to run B.A.A. faster, even if it's only by seconds.

I am assuming the Tufts 10K for Women that I ran last year (see pitiful time above) will fall on Columbus Day again this year, which would be right after the half. Ugh. But I really liked this race last year, and I really want to do it again. October's a bit up in the air pending foot results and Providence.

December: Norfolk Annual 5K Jingle Bell Run
A lot of my running friends ran Jingle Bell or Santa races this past December, and I felt a little left out. So, this year, I want to run a very local Jingle Bell 5K in the town I cover as a freelancer for a regional newspaper. As my last race of the year, I just want to have fun and enjoy not running in crazy hot temperatures.

Well, there you have it. I've written it down. I've shared it. I'm committing. Well, assuming my foot cooperations...

By the way, I totally stole this post idea from Aron of runner's rambles. Thank you, Aron!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In 2012, I challenge myself to read.

See my shiny new 2012 Goodreads Reading Challenge widget over there to the right??? I know it doesn't look too different from the old 2011 one that was there yesterday, but I am still excited for the challenge.

Last year, I challenged myself to read 12 books -- one a month. I didn't do as well as I thought I would, but I did squeeze in 10, finishing that last one on Christmas eve. I think my problem was I was also challenging myself to cross off all 30 books on my '30 Books to Read Before I'm 30' list, many of which I wasn't particularly a fan of. Once my birthday passed, I decided I was going to focus on books that interested me and I would enjoy reading, and I started flying through pages.

Don't worry, those pesky 30 books are still on my list... and I'll get to them someday.

In 2012, I'm back to the goal of reading a book a month, if not more. I have almost 600 books on my Goodreads to-read list, and I'm anxious to start all of them -- though at at once; I'm not someone who can read multiple books at the same time. So I'm committed this year. If I hate a book, I will not force myself to finish it. It will go to the discard pile so I can start something fresh and hopefully lovelier.

I'll be back to record some of my other goals/challenges/resolutions/ambitions for 2012. In the meantime, what was your favorite book of 2011? Is it something I must have on my list?

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading!