Monthly Goal Tracking (Personal + Professional)

In December, I got extremely lucky and found the perfect planner at Target.


After using it for a bit, I honestly think it’s the best planner I’ve owned. I (thankfully!) bought it on the spot, but since then I have not been able to find it online anywhere. Not on Target’s website, not on Amazon, and not in Google searches. This one is very similar but still not an exact match.

Since I work from home, I don’t have days filled with meetings or a tight schedule to follow, but having a dedicated place to write down all of my odds and ends helps to keep me on track. I use it for things like work due dates, freelance pieces I have coming up, as well as any kinds of appointments or social plans.

I also discovered that the last page of each month is a blank page for notes, which immediately made me think of how useful it would be to do an end of month review. It’s a solid place to measure goals and accomplishments, as well as anything I’d like to focus on or accomplish the following month. I’ve been writing down smaller milestones as I go (like 7 days of yoga in a row!), and I’m also doing a general overview on the 30th/31st.

I’ve been struggling to have a tangible way to track my career progress, so I think this will be the ticket. Not only is this a great way to keep track of the bigger picture, but it also helps to record all of the smaller goals that might have been forgotten when thinking about the entire month. I’ve always been a list-taker/organizer, so having a set system for progress tracking is right up my alley.

Does anyone have any experience with tracking monthly goals? What helps you stay on track and feel motivated?

What I’m Loving | 01/28/2017

Despite our lease not being up until May we’re already starting our house hunt, and boy is it stressful!


Since Harley still commutes into the city, we’ve been scoping out different neighborhoods along train lines throughout the East Bay area. We love living in Oakland, but we’re both over the apartment complex life and there aren’t many rental homes near the train stations. Though my heart would love the city, the type of apartment we’d want in San Francisco is so far out of our tax bracket that it’s not even in range.

Our hope is to find something in Berkeley, but even outside of San Francisco proper, finding a rental property is a vicious process. I’m trying to stay hopeful and not get discouraged before our process even starts!

I said all of that to say: we’ve been exploring the surrounding areas a lot more, which is so enjoyable! There are many smaller towns around here that have their own sense of character and personality, which is something you’d never know if you stayed isolated in the city. It’s neat to see the individual quirkiness of the different towns and it’s fun to imagine ourselves living in each setting!

Aside from that, here’s what else I’m loving lately:

Books :: Disclaimer: do not read Lily and the Octopus if you don’t want to relive the feelings of loving and subsequently losing a dog. That said, if you’re looking for a book that perfectly encapsulates the feelings that come along with loving and subsequently losing a dog, I cannot recommend it enough. The emotions were raw and real and true to the experience, and the author did a fantastic job. Now I’m on to Beloved which is intriguing. Even more so due to the fact that I bought a used copy that was clearly read for a literature class, so the margin notes are extremely insightful!

Listening :: The Tender playlist has been great for work, and I’m loving the new Borns album, too!

Spare Time :: I’ve had the hardest time unwinding in the evenings this week and I’m not sure why. Again lots of cooking and reading, but I’ve also been challenging Harley to Scrabble because I don’t want to sit still. I get frustrated with that too — I clearly play the better words, but he knows how to game the system. Regardless, it’s a fun way to engage your brain!

Style :: I’ve been looking at how to make my own bubble bath, and while it’s simpler than you’d think, I’ve still been dreaming about the bright and fizzy bath bombs on the market. The pretty gift boxes and colorful displays get me every time!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Mindful Fitness Goals

If you had told me a year ago that I would be enjoying a workout routine, I would have laughed.


Surprisingly, I’ve been so motivated to take care of myself that I actually want to be active, which is a first for me. While I have no desire to be a triathlete — or even a uni-athlete — I’ve been consistently doing yoga since November and I’m amazed at how much it has made a difference (I use Yoga With Adriene!).

I don’t want to re-hash every fitness study ever done, but I will say that this has brought so many positive changes, the least of which are physical. I’m getting more sleep, have reduced anxiety, and while I won’t be mistaken for a CrossFit instructor anytime soon, I have noticed more muscle development and feeling healthier overall. For someone who’s spent her life avoiding anything that resembles cardio, this is a pretty big deal.

What’s made this different is that I started this journey thinking about not how I wanted to look, but how I wanted to feel. I kept my goals simple but set them with mindfulness, and I do think that’s been the key to my success. Setting goals is a personal process, but I wanted to share what’s been working for me.

Find What Feels Good // This is directly from my yoga videos, and it’s been my main mantra on this journey. Instead of trying to force myself to do things I don’t enjoy, like running or lifting weights, I’ve focused on doing activities I truly want to do. I do yoga on weekdays, I go for an afternoon walk, and I’ve been hiking on the weekends — all of which bring me joy. Following this strategy has been much more effective for me because I actually want to do these things, instead of convincing myself I have to. Which brings me to my next goal…

Respect Your Own Wishes // I can’t tell you how many internal arguments I’ve had over something I didn’t want to do — then one day, I decided to quit fighting and listen to what my body had to say. Even with workouts I enjoy, some days I am NOT feeling it. So if I don’t want to do a full workout, I just stretch for a few minutes and call it a day. If I don’t want to go for a walk, I don’t. At first, this was scary; I worried I’d quit working out altogether. However, having this self-respect has actually helped me tackle the next day with far more energy and enthusiasm — as opposed to furthering the “I don’t wanna” cycle.

Measure Progress in a Healthy Way // I’m not a proponent of scales or weigh-ins, and I think there are far better and healthier ways to measure progress. While an effective measurement method is different for everyone, having my watch has been a game changer for me. It takes a while to see results from working out, so having daily goals to hit is a tangible way to see the progress I’m making towards my well-being — without obsessing over a scale.

Be Kind (To Yourself) // I’m finally to the point in life where I don’t constantly think about what I hate about myself/what I would change/what I could do better when I’m working out, and I think the other goals I’ve set have made that possible. Everyone handles objectives differently, but my tendency to get tunnel vision makes it hard to be kind to myself if I’m falling short. Hence, the goals that have nothing to do with numbers or to-do lists! I still have those self-deprecating thoughts sometimes, but I know that learning to be kind takes time and effort. Keeping this as a goal has been extremely helpful, and even the small amount of progress I’ve made has made a world of difference in my physical (and mental!) health.

Like I said, I do think that goal-setting is a personal process, but if you think you’d never enjoy working out, this might be a good place to start. Whether it’s yoga or daily walks or you actually are interested in being a triathlete, starting from a place of mindfulness and self-care can make a world of difference in whatever practice you choose to try.

This post may contain affiliate links.

What I’m Loving | 1/21/2018

Short weeks are the best weeks! Even though I didn’t totally take Monday off, I took it easy on myself…kind of like the work-from-home equivalent of a half day!


I’m still figuring out the work from home part of my life, and I still don’t have a consistent routine — but I’m happy, and I think that’s all that really matters. I have found that I’m generally the most productive from 9 – 11 and again from 2 – 6, so I’m been trying to orient my days around that. Everything else, such as my workout/getting ready/around the house schedule has still been varying quite a bit, but that’s okay.

It’s extremely unlike me to be so nonplussed by a lack of schedule. I’m not sure where this is coming from, but I like it, so I’m just letting things run their course! Here’s what I’m loving lately:

Books :: I wrapped up Atonement this past week. While it did get more interesting towards the end, it was still a bit laborious. Since I’ve been in a bit of a book rut, I decided to reward myself by going to my favorite used bookstore in Berekely and buying whatever caught my eye. I ended up with Lily and the Octopus because I’m an absolute sucker for the dog/human bond. It’s a bit whimsical with elements of surrealism, but it’s fun and entertaining which is exactly what I needed. I’m (tentatively) ready to declare my rut over…I think I just didn’t choose a good first book of 2018.

Listening :: I’ve been feeling folky, so I’ve been loving this Houndmouth album. They’ve been on my radar for a long time but I don’t think I’ve ever actually sat and listened to anything other than their hit, Sedona. I’m also loving the Spotify Productive Morning playlist for when I’m writing!

Spare Time :: Lots of cooking this week! My parents got us the gift of meat (in the form of an Omaha Steaks package), so it’s been really fun to experiment with new things. We never buy steak, so learning to cook tasty beef dishes has been so fun. Everything has been absolutely delicious (which is probably a testament to the meat quality as opposed to my skill) and we’re enjoying it quite a bit. I’m also trying to get over my fear of making bread, and have even flirted with the idea of making homemade crackers because Budget Bytes convinces me anything is possible…but no promises.

Style :: It’s no secret that when we moved here, we got a lot of Ikea’s cheapest products to furnish our home. While I’m definitely putting the cart before the horse, I’m already thinking about what I want to replace when we move. I have no idea why our $25 coffee table irks me so bad, but I’ve been daydreaming about the day when we can upgrade to a gorgeous one made of actual wood. With the expense of moving, I’m sure that day is further than I think…but a gal can dream!

This post has a few affiliate links in it. All that means is if you purchase anything from Amazon, I’ll get a small percentage. 🙂

Our Trip to Redwood Regional Park

One of the coolest things about living in Northern California is that any direction we drive in will take us to amazing nature spots.


Of course, there are the big parks like Yosemite and Redwood National, but there’s also smaller pockets of nature right in our (relative) backyard. One of my 2018 goals is to be more active, so I’ve been on the hunt for new outdoor spaces to check out — which is what brought us to Redwood Regional Park.

Literally only 30 minutes from our front door is the largest population of natural redwoods in California, and it is incredible. An ambling ~7-mile hike took us through only about half of the park, but on a grand tour of the various terrains. We went from humid ridges overlooking neighborhoods into foggy valleys of towering trees. (We also had to climb back out of said valley, where I was reminded that being more active is a very necessary goal).


While I hiked all the time in college, I’ve fallen out of practice and it’s been so long since I’ve gotten out to explore. It felt great to strap my boots on again and do some walking! We want to plan a trip to Yosemite as soon as we can, and I hope to hit up Big Sur at some point, too. It seems like there are so many parks and so little time, but thankfully with such forgiving weather, any season is hiking season here! I have a few more pictures I’ll be sharing on here and Instagram so be sure to keep an eye out.

If you have any favorite lesser-known California hikes, please send them my way!

What I’m Loving | 01/14/2017

Getting back into the swing of things after a vacation is always so hard. I think I’ve mentioned before that it’s rare for me to count down to the weekend, but this week I definitely was!


I’ve had a lot of writing assignments come through which has been such a blessing, but it’s also made for a busy week back. I’m thankful for the long weekend so I can relax and recharge for next week!

Here’s what I’m loving lately:

Books :: I’m further into Atonement, and while the overall story concept is good, I am having the hardest time getting into it. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just haven’t been compelled by it. I’m trying to tough it out though, and I only have about 25% of it left! I’m overall feeling like I’m in a book rut — aside from Rules of Civility I haven’t been thrilled about reading lately. If anyone has good recommendations, please send them m way!

Listening :: The Black Mirror: Hang the DJ Soundtrack is so good. That episode immediately became my favorite (both for the subject matter and The Smiths reference), and I recognized the Sigur Ròs song immediately when I watched it. It’s hard for me to listen to music with lyrics when I’m writing, so finding out that the 2 songs they wrote were part of a bigger compilation made my day!

Spare Time :: I’ve been practicing calligraphy any spare moment I can — it’s all I can think about! I’m still just doing faux calligraphy until I decide to invest in better equipment, but I’m having so much fun!

Style :: I have no idea why they’re so expensive, but these wool cat pods are adorable. I’m not sure if Bird would use one of these — she has a cubby on her catsle she rarely touches — but I think they’re the cutest things. I can just envision her cozied up in her little pod…but it would probably cut into our couch time anyway, which is our main source of bonding.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links — meaning if you buy books or a cat pod I receive a small percentage!

“To Do” in 2018

Turns out, having the flu over New Year’s does a lot to derail the beginning of your year. I’m so thankful for the blog because even though I’m still playing catch up from being sick and traveling, it forced me to sit down and think of my resolutions.


I shared my goals for 2018 a few weeks back, but I also wanted to make some granular resolutions for the year. Big goals happen in little steps, so I’m hoping to set myself up for success both in the day-to-day and the overarching passage of time.

Below are my 2018 resolutions — I would love to hear yours!

  • Drink (Even More) Water. I must admit that drinking water is something I’ve been historically consistent about; when I worked in an office I had so much downtime that I’d sip water from boredom. However, now that I work from home, it’s so easy for me to get focused on work and forget to refill! I found a nice log for the Apple Watch, so with that nudging me in the right direction hopefully I can get my consumption back on track.
  • Purchase with Intention. My parents always taught me that quality things are worth paying for…but sometimes, the budget literally doesn’t allow it. Now that I’m getting older and (hopefully) won’t have to rid myself of everything I own to move across the country again, I want to be sure my purchases lean towards the best long-term value as opposed to the lowest price. That’s not to say I won’t still be hunting for bargains — I just want to find actual bargains instead of things I’ll replace every 6 months.
  • Write More (For Fun). I struggled with defining this goal because I already write a ton for my job. Between client blogs and social media posts, every day involves some piece of content creation. However, pouring all of my resources into that means I don’t always make myself write for the love of it…meaning my blog and freelance portfolio tend to suffer. In the coming year, I want to write things that inspire me to keep writing, instead of checking off my to-do list and calling it a day.
  • Be More Active. As with most people, my activity levels have been on a steady decline since college. Now that I have my Apple Watch tracking my every move, I’m determined to not ignore my activity rings. I’m still getting my bearings in our area, but it’s my new mission to find more hiking spots and parks near us so we can get moving more often.
  • Advance my Career. Building up my career in content marketing has required a lot of work and sacrifice, but I finally feel that I’m on the right track. Writing all the time is my dream, and between the blog and doing freelance pieces, I’m excited to see how I can grow it in 2018.
  • Read Every Day. Even if it’s just a few pages, I want to make a point to read every day of the year. I read 32 books in 2017, but I didn’t get really into reading until the latter half. In 2018, I think I can do even better — making myself read a few pages every day should put me on track.
  • More Veggies. I used to have an entirely plant-based diet which made this so easy, but our super strict grocery budget means more meals like tacos and pasta. Even if execution of this just means more side salads, I want to ensure I keep getting those nutrients in my diet even though our shopping list has changed.
  • Calligraphy. I’ve always loved calligraphy and lettering, but I assumed that, like most artsy things, it required a lot of time/money to get involved with. I finally did some research and discovered that’s not the case AT ALL! Most articles recommend practicing with a regular ol’ pen until you get the hang of it, and apparently, it’s great for anxiety too! Photography and cooking will always remain my first loves, but it’s nice to have an “at-home” hobby that doesn’t involve flooding our kitchen with baked goods!