(Re)Invigorate

The last Weekend Coffee Share of the year! I have to say, I’m surprised I kept up this blog the whole year. If anything, this blog has helped me process through a lot of difficult moments. In addition to Weekend Coffee Share, I participate in the Photographing Public Art Challenge, the Lens-Artists Photography Challenge, and the monthly #whatsonyourbookshelf. I created a new series on my blog such as “Eat Around the World” where I explore and play with different food themes — I always wanted to incorporate more food posts on my blog. Once in a while, I like to play armchair sociologist where I write about being Asian-American and share some of my observations. I even created a separate blog called “Lana at the Library” where we document Lana’s library haul.

Continue reading (Re)Invigorate

Weekend Coffee Share: January Overview

Wow, what a week and I am wiped out! Most people would wind down on Friday afternoons at work, they’re physically out of the office at 5:30 PM but their head has been out of the office since 11 AM. For me, my work load was ramping up yesterday afternoon. I had to put together a last-minute volunteer recruiting effort for a drive-up COVID vaccine clinic for the following morning. I don’t understand how this fell on my lap so suddenly if this drive-up COVID vaccine clinic project has been days in the making.

I was so busy this week that I had no time to even click on a social media app. I thought to myself, that is no good. Sure social media scrolling can be a productivity sucker if you spend hours on end scrolling wondering why your life is not like that influencer or looking at memes, but I felt this type of busy-ness went too far. My wind downs were usually right before bed where I would read a book for 21 minutes and fall asleep to only wake up a few hours later to change Lana’s diaper. I would sleep in and do the day all over again. I was lucky to squeeze in a few minutes of exercise each morning.

Anyways I want to do this coffee share to do an overview of my 21 in (20)21 list. Here’s how it’s going so far:

Self-Love

2. Start off my day reading the The Daily Stoic from January 1st to December 31st. 

Not too bad. I only missed a day so far.

3. Do the #Read21in21 where I read for 21 minutes per day. I still read to Lana each night — mostly juvenile chapter books, fairy tales, anthologies, and some picture books. In the beginning I did count my reading to Lana as part of my 21 minutes per day, but now all 21 minutes of reading for me. Reading to Lana is extra. So far I finished two books for myself and five books for Lana. Currently I am reading three books for myself and three books for Lana.

Home

5. Work on Lana’s room which means cleaning up the office/storage room. Work in progress

6. Move the shoe rack from the entry way in the coat closet. This is done! The entry way looks great!

8 Get a credenza for the living room. Work in progress.

Finance

13. Create monthly meal plans. I did this all of January. I can’t wait to share some of my favorite meals.

14. Make our own baby food. In progress. I am currently researching what kind of baby food make. I am pretty excited!

Health

15. Improve my posture muscles at barre. In progress.

16. Get the COVID-19 vaccine. In progress. One dose down, another one coming this Thursday.

Creativity/Other activities

18. Create an artistic display of our postcards. In progress.

20. Organize my apps on my phone. In progress.

I do want to thank everyone from the previous week’s Coffee Share for all your support and kind words. After I told off my brother-in-law about his cigarette smell, he stopped smoking and the house does not smell like cigarettes anymore. I don’t have to open the window and make everyone freeze in the house or waste heat. I’ve never smoked, I always heard how hard it was to stop smoking so I am sure it was a tough thing for him to sacrifice. I would not be surprised if some days he harbors a grudge against me. Anyways, I feel he has demonstrated he can turn around…but he has not tried looking for work so I don’t think quitting smoking is enough for my husband to let him stay.

A year in review: 20 for (20)20

I was reviewing my 20 for (20)20 to see how many goals I completed for the year. I am sure I did not meet most of these goals. So let’s review:

(1) Visit 20 different museums, landmarks, or national parks. 

The majority of these places were from our Europe trip earlier this year. Let’s count, shall we?

Milan: Monza racetrack, Sforzesco Castle (2)

Paris: I’ve been to Paris back in 2005. For new landmarks on my second visit, I’ve been to: Tuileries Garden, Sacre Couer, Pantheon, Les Invalides, François-Mitterrand Library (5).

Angers: Chateau d’Angers, Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d’Angers (2)

Les Mans: Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1)

Saumur: Chateau de Saumur (1)

Munich: Marientplatz, Nymphenburg Palace, New Town Hall, Olympia Park, BMW Museum (5)

Rome: This is our second trip to Rome. New places: St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Temple of Vesta and Sybil (4)

It looks like I went to twenty landmarks during this trip alone. I guess this goal has been accomplished.

(2) Try 20 new restaurants. 

Most of these restaurants I did not dine in. A lot of them were takeout delivery through Postmates or through community donations to the hospital. The restaurants in asterisks indicate donated meals.

  1. Phillipe’s the Original
  2. La Bamba
  3. Millet Crepe
  4. Gus’ BBQ
  5. Villagio Deli
  6. Victory Caffe
  7. HomeState*
  8. The Original Coley’s Jamaican
  9. Fresh Grill Mediterranean
  10. Donatsu
  11. Azul Tequila
  12. Sweet Veggie*
  13. El Criollo Cuban Restaurant
  14. Mi Ranchito Veracruz
  15. Hecho en Mexico*
  16. Gilbert’s El Indio*
  17. Brothers Sandwich*
  18. La Monarca Bakery
  19. Sweet Greens
  20. Donut Friend

(3) Try 30 new recipes. I am sure I’ve exceeded this especially during December when I was experimenting with different cookie recipes.

(4) Do a 1-second video every day and stitch it into a short video. Nope I did not complete this one.

(5) Read and complete 20 different books. Nope did not complete. I only read and completed 12 books.

(6) Take 750 classes Pure Barre classes. Stretch goal: Reach to 1000 classes. 

Reached 750 classes.

(7) Add a chalkboard to the pantry door. Done

(8) Create an artistic display of our postcards. Did not complete

(9) Get up to 6 months of living expenses in our emergency fund. Did not complete.

(10) To not buy any clothes and accessories for the year. Complete

(11) Complete a perfect push-up. I’ve done it and I thank my husband for helping me with my form.

(12) Plant a tree for the front yard. Did not complete.

(13) Clean and dress up the parking strip. I may not have dressed the parking strip, but we did upgrade our backyard.

(14) Plant three herbs for the entryway. Not done. Will move this for next year.

(15) Make a wreath for the front door. Not done :-(.

(16) Do a power hour once per week. Done. But during maternity leave, power hour was everyday. It is a habit I will keep, but once I return to work, a once per week power hour is more sustainable.

(17) Bite the bullet and buy a domain for my blog. This has not been done.

(18) Get a new FitBit. Done

(19) Host three get-togethers with friends. 

We hosted one in-person get-together with friends this year and that was our housewarming in January. On New Year’s Eve, we did a virtual get-together. I guess that makes it two get-togethers.

(20) Send postcards to friends when I travel. 

Done!

Ten out of 20 goal — not too bad. Some of the things I did not accomplish from last year moved over to my goals for this year. I placed a focus on decluttering our home. There are some goals I reframed. For example, instead of saying “read and completed 20 books” I changed it to “read 21 minutes a day.” If there is a book I don’t like, I won’t drag myself to finish it. I’ll just move on to the next book. We’ll see how many books I read and finish for this year.

Did you accomplish your goals in 2020?

21 in (20)21

I guess my word for 2021 is “Declutter.” I feel we are finally settled in our house after the remodel. We’ve accumulated stuff over the years from past apartments and they never quite found “homes” around the house.

At one point, one room was just storage and the other room was my office where I did school and creative projects. Now with my brother-in-law moved in, one room is now both the storage and the office space. And now with the baby, we need to make that storage room/office space into a bedroom. It’s not going to be immediate, but she will move in. I strongly don’t believe in buying a home with more rooms. As someone who has lived in a large home in the suburbs, it just means a larger vessel to store more random crap.

I think “Declutter” is an appropriate word to define my new year. A lot of my goals are oriented towards getting rid of stuff (i.e. physical stuff, time sucking hobbies, things dragging down my happiness) to make room for fewer, better things.

Anyways, here are my my 21 things for 2021.

Self-Love

1. Give myself a gift for Mother’s Day. I’ve worked many thankless jobs and I think motherhood is the most thankless at all. It’s also the job where I encounter the most people one upping each other making it even more thankless. It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting. On top of that, discussing baby rearing with other people has quickly become a dick measuring contest if you breastfeed vs. formula feed, how much stuff you buy for the baby, enrolling in courses, etc. I guess giving myself a gift is my way to telling myself that my parenting is more than enough. In terms of gifts, I’m pretty simple. Maybe a large package of spin classes will do.

2. Start off my day reading the The Daily Stoic from January 1st to December 31st. There were a few days where I read the The Daily Stoic in the final few weeks of pregnancy. I read each passage at the end of the day when I should really read it at the beginning of the day — maybe before work or during lunch time?

3. Do the #Read21in21 where I read for 21 minutes per day. I am not sure how to define this. I definitely do want to set sometime to read for myself everyday. I also want to read everyday for Lana. Do I read 21 minutes for myself and 21 minute for Lana? Then again, a lot of books for babies are picture books with very few words. It takes minutes to complete but I spend my time describing and going over the pictures with her even though she does not understand me yet.

Home

4. Plant three herbs in front of the house… I want to be intentional of which herbs to plant…namely herbs we use all the time.

5. Work on Lana’s room which means cleaning up the office/storage room. This is a large undertaking because we have a lot books and files. We need to be creative in moving stuff around or just getting rid of it.

6. Move the shoe rack from the entry way in the coat closet. We have a lot of shoes in the entryway and we do not wear all of them on a regular basis. I only wear two shoes daily (boots and sneakers). To avoid a trip hazard, it’s best to move the shoes we normally don’t wear in the coat closet.

7 Have a large indoor plant for the entry way. As you can see I want to clean up the entryway.

8 Get a credenza for the living room.

9. Plant a tree for the front yard.

10. Convert our little eight year old IKEA table into a kitchen island.

11. Reorganize the kitchen cabinets.

Finance

12. Save six months worth of living expenses

13. Create monthly meal plans. I think this would be a lot of fun to do. I’ve always been creative in making meals based on whatever is in my fridge. Because we have a baby, I feel we do need to meal plan throughout the week and make sure we have enough leftovers for lunch the following day. I intend to release my monthly meal plans at the beginning of each month on the blog.

14. Make our own baby food.

Health

15. Improve my posture muscles at barre. Mostly this is focusing on keeping my shoulders down.

16. Get the COVID-19 vaccine. One of the first things I’ll do when I return to work.

Career

17. Apply for the Management Fellow Program at work.

Creativity/Other activities

18. Create an artistic display of our postcards. This is from last year’s list. I do have something in mind. I thought I would have maternity leave to put something together but I got occupied in other things. My friends and I decided to organize a virtual craft day. This would be perfect for that project.

19. Finish a Duolingo course.

20. Organize my apps on my phone. I just install apps, but I should organize them into folders. When my husband tries to look for stuff on my phone, I get embarrassed because I know he has a hard time looking for anything.

21. Go on a major trip as a family. This is a reach assuming COVID dies down by then.

What are your goals for 2021? Share below!

“Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.”

Melody Beattie