Take a peek into what’s been going on behind the scenes in my January 2020 Diary!
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January 2020 Diary
I thought it would be fun to start a new series, one where I can get a little more personal!
A lot of my early blog posts read more like journal entries. It’s so fun (for me at least!) to go back and read these posts, and to see what I was up to back in the day.
Over time, things got a little more focused and less personal around here. Most people don’t want to read my life story after all … they just want the recipe or the travel tips. And I totally get it!
Anyway, I decided to start a new monthly series, and I’m calling it a Diary. The whole point is to give you a peek behind the scenes. I’m planning to share things that don’t make it on the blog, and hopefully, we can get to know one another better in the process.
So without further ado, here’s my January 2020 Diary!
Goals for the Year
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? While I realize that January 1 is just another day that’s no different than December 31, I can’t help but love the possibilities that a new year brings. There’s just something about a fresh start!
I always make a few resolution / goals, and some years I do better than others at achieving them. This year, most of my resolutions revolve around getting organized.
Most likely, I’ll be moving in June. We’re not moving to another city or anything (thank God), just another apartment. So I want to get my closets under control and do a mega purge. I’m planning to embrace my inner minimalist (she’s in there somewhere) and be brutal.
I’m also trying to get into a better work routine. I work from home, and I have a really hard time focusing and being as productive as I’d like. I’m also a total night owl, and inspiration always seems to strike at midnight … which sadly doesn’t vibe with the fact that I want to get up at a semi-reasonable hour every day.
Are you self-employed or work from home? If so, send help! 🙂 I want to create a routine I can stick to this year … I have ideas I plan to try, but I’m definitely open to suggestions, too.
Working on My Cooking Skills
Another (more fun) goal is to learn some new cooking techniques this year! I signed up for an annual membership to Blueprint, which offers online classes for all sorts of creative outlets, like cooking, photography, art, knitting etc. I’ve taken Blueprint classes in the past, and I’ve always loved them.
With the membership, I can take unlimited classes, and my goal is to take one course a week. The classes are awesome! So far, I’ve done pretty well and have watched the following:
- King Arthur Flour’s Mastering the Art of Pizza – I’m trying to perfect my pizza dough recipe and was hoping to get some good tips … and I did!
- Perfect Pizza at Home – This class is actually FREE, so check it out for yourself! Again, working on that pizza dough.
- Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails – I need to restart this one, but it’s a great class if you’re trying to master your cocktail game.
- The Flavors of Morocco: Tagines, Couscous & More – I’m watching this one right now!
- Food Photography: From Plate to Pixel – I’m always trying to improve my food photography, and this class had lots of helpful tips from a well-known New York Times photographer.
Working on My Spanish
This March, I’ll be in Mexico City for 10 days … and totally on my own for at least half that time! I’ve wanted to take a solo trip for a while, and I seriously love CDMX, so I’m counting down the days.
While I studied Spanish in school, it’s one of those use it or lose it things, you know? When I’m practicing, I feel fairly confident (at least in the basics). But I get really nervous when I have to talk to people and end up sounding muy estúpida.
My goal is to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes using the Duolingo app every day. It’s free, so check it out if you’re trying to learn a language. There’s a Duolingo Podcast that’s really helpful for improving listening skills, too.
I also purchased a number of these Spanish Study Guides, so I can relearn some of the fundamentals … I can’t remember how to change verb tenses to save my soul!
Hopefully, by the time March rolls around, I’ll be able be able to carry on a (basic) conversation … cross your fingers for me!
Using My Blog to Tell the Weather
Something funny that I don’t think I ever mentioned before? I can use my website to tell the weather in New Orleans. Kind of …
I while back, I wrote a blog post about things to do in New Orleans on a rainy day. NOLA is surprisingly rainy, and this article ranks pretty high in Google search results.
So whenever I look at my blog stats and see that article trending, I say to my husband, “It must be raining in New Orleans!” It’s a very well worn joke by now .. ha ha!
Winter in Dallas
Believe it or not, we actually gets some pretty cold weather here in Dallas. And winter in Texas is dramatic. Earlier this month, it was 70 degrees one day, then snowing the next
I’ve gotten pretty wimpy about cold weather since moving to Texas … I mean, it was 100 degrees just a few months ago, and it never gets too cold (for long at least).
My husband and I jokingly swore off traveling to cold places in winter after we visited Niagara Falls and Canada last year. A lot of my family lives in Wisconsin though, so I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to keep it up. But I will stick to Mexico in winter as much as possible, thank you very much.
Speaking of travel, I’ve taken a few fun trips this month!
My husband surprised me with an overnight stay in Texas Hill Country for New Year’s Eve. We spent NYE visiting a couple wineries, then rang in the new year at the cutest adobe ranch house he found on Airbnb. It was perfect!
The following weekend, we took a quick overnight trip to Portland, Oregon. That’s really too far for an overnight trip in my opinion, but it was for an event. I did get to visit a restaurant that’s been on my Portland bucket list (Pine State Biscuits), so that was a plus. My husband travels there for work a lot, so hopefully, I’ll get to spend more time there later this year.
Last week, my husband was working in Puerto Rico, so of course, I tagged along! I’ve been to PR a few times, so it was a fun combo of visiting old favorites (like Viejo San Juan), and new-to-me places, like Arecibo. We also ate some really delish food, including my fave, fried cheese with guava sauce (hoping to recreate that soon).
The only downside of this trip was that I got a lot (like dozens) of bug bites. It was pretty gross, and I had to wear pants on my last day in PR to cover them up. Hopefully, my legs recover in time for shorts season (which in Texas, could be next week).
What I’m Watching / Listening To
This past month or two, I’ve become obsessed with watching Kara and Nate on YouTube. I’m not even sure where I heard about this full-time traveling couple, but they just visited their 100th country. Love their videos!
I’ve also started watching Income School on YouTube. If you’re at all interested in blogging, they’re worth checking out. They vlog about starting profitable niche websites. I’ve actually been considering starting another blog (or three … someone please stop me! ha), so their content sucked me in pretty quickly.
I tend to binge watch TV shows at night, and I zipped through three really good ones this month: Becoming a God in Central Florida (Kirsten Dunst is amazing), Cheer (fascinating), and the second season of You (loved the creepy twist at the end).
As far as postcasts go, my queue is long and my listening time is short. I try to listen when I’m getting ready in the morning, traveling, or doing mindless work, like editing photos. In addition to my favorite podcasts (I need to update that list!), I’ve really enjoyed A Beautiful Mess, Andrea Savage: A Grown Up Woman, Dolly Parton’s America, Office Ladies, and The City lately.
My husband also got me hooked on playing some really silly, but very addictive online games, like Fluffy Cuddlies and my personal fave, Bubble Charms! I’m actually trying to break this habit, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day!
With the Oscars just around the corner, I’ve been trying to see as many of the nominated movies as possible. I’m doing really well this year! The only best-picture nominee I haven’t watched yet is 1917. I think my favorite movies are Marriage Story and Parasite. If you’re a movie-lover too, you can check out the nominees on my 2020 Oscar Ballot.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
This is kind of embarrassing, but I still haven’t taken down my Christmas tree! I usually leave it up for a week after New Year’s, but it’s getting kind of ridiculous at this point. Hopefully, it’s coming down tomorrow!
Christmas decorations were still up when I visited Puerto Rico last week, so that made me feel a little better!
I Survived Jury Duty
I got the dreaded jury duty summons a couple weeks ago, and I had to report this Wednesday.
I’ve actually been called for jury duty in almost every city I’ve lived in as an adult. Right after I moved away from Chicago, three times in San Francisco, and once in NYC … and I’ve never been assigned to a jury. I’ve always been dismissed, even before getting questioned.
So I thought … this is it, I’m going to be on a jury. I have lots of travel coming up and my sister is visiting next week, but neither excuse would have gotten me off of jury duty. Instead of postponing, I decided to play a little Russian Roulette and see what happened. And I was dismissed again!
I’d actually like to be on a jury someday, but maybe when I’m 75 and have a little more time on my hands. Have you ever been on a jury? My husband has served on two!
Okay, that ended up being longer than I thought it would be, but I think we’re all caught up! I hope you enjoyed reading along, and now it’s your turn … what have you been up to this month?