19 for 2019

One of my favorite podcasts is called Happier, starring sisters Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. Fun fact: they are also from Kansas City and I went to the same school that they did! Not the same time but I still think it’s pretty cool…

One “happiness tip” they suggested both last year and this year was to create a list of things you want to do that year. Instead of choosing a few big resolutions, this list comprises of specific action items, which puts a lot less pressure on overhauling a part of your life. It’s called “19 for 2019,” which means you pick 19 things you want to do.

Rule #1: You don’t have to finish the list. Check off the easy things first to get the ball rolling but if something doesn’t happen, you’ve still accomplished so many other things.

Rule #2: Your list can change. Life changes and your list should change with it. For example: I wanted to take a trip out of the country last year but with both finances and figuring out kidney donation testing, it was no longer a priority.

Rule #3: Have fun with it! Put things on your list that you really want to do and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

One item on last year’s list was to ski 10+ times!

One item on last year’s list was to ski 10+ times!

So what’s On my list?

  1. Run the Chicago Marathon.

  2. Raise $2,000 for Chicago Marathon.

  3. 25 push ups on my toes.

  4. Paint my own needlepoint canvas. - halfway there on this one!

  5. Write at least 2x per month on my blog.

  6. Increase savings account to __.

  7. Go on 10 dates.

  8. Go to a concert.

  9. See a live musical, play or ballet.

  10. Write a fiction novel.

  11. At least one yoga/stretching session per week.

  12. Make $1,000+ with Beautycounter.

  13. Visit Sarah in Wisconsin.

  14. Visit Elizabeth in NYC.

  15. Visit Maddie in Santa Fe two times.

  16. Buy a new bra that I love.

  17. Go to a Bingo night with Lea. - scheduled!

  18. Happy hour or speakeasy with work friends.

  19. Go to a Chiefs game.

Another “18 for 2018” was to visit my friend Julie in Dallas!

Another “18 for 2018” was to visit my friend Julie in Dallas!

See? Some things are big and honestly might not happen and other things are small and easily accomplished. It’s helpful to put something you want to do on a list to create more of a commitment. My coworkers have been talking about doing a happy hour for well over a year and we never manage to schedule it. Now I have an extra incentive to take charge and make it happen!

The other pro of this list: it keeps you from forgetting the things you want to do. Seeing on my list that I want to visit three different people reminds me that I need to plan ahead and shouldn’t wait until the last minute or put it off saying I forgot and don’t have time anymore. It might not work out but I know this list will push me to at least try.

Finally, putting your goals in writing helps you commit to them more than if you just think about them. You can see them laid you in front of you and you could even print off the list, stick it on your fridge, and put a checkmark (or sticker) on it each time you finish a task.

If you were to make a 19 for 2019 list, what are a few things that you would include?

My Word Of The Year

I’m a little late on this post but better late than never, right?

That’s what I’m going with here and this year. I’ve found myself with so many dreams this year (and the past several years) but I always put them off, then I’m afraid it’s too late. But you know what? It’s never too late for your dreams, you might just have to get there in another way.

Which leads me to my word of 2019. The trend of choosing a word for the year has been going on for a while now and these past two years I’ve decided to join in. It can’t hurt, right? While some people choose more specific words, mine is easy to remember and very much worth execution.


My word of the year is “live,” as in live your life to fullest and truly experience what the world has to offer.


Why did I choose this word?

I have a tendency to let life pass me by. I don’t make plans because it’s just easier (and safer) to stay home. I don’t put myself out there and meet new people because I get anxiety about the unknown, about not being in control. I’m so much better than I used to be but it’s still there and I need to keep proving to myself time and time again that if I just give something new a try, it’s almost always worth my time and energy.

This year I want to truly live.

I want to embrace each day.

I want to meet new people.

I want to build on the relationships that I already have.

I want to go on adventures.

I want to pursue dreams and ideas that only live in my mind.

I want to create.

I want to love.

I want to make others feel loved.

I want to find joy in everything I can.


I will most defintiely have moments where I choose to hide out in fear because I can’t just change overnight. But that’s the point of having a word of the year: you keep in mind to push you out of your comfort zone. You do your best to allow it to influence your choices.

So this year, I am reminding myself time and time again to live.

Do you have a word of the year?

My Favorite Books of 2018

I have to be honest, I did not read a great deal of books that blew me away over this past year. It takes quite a lot for me to give a five star review, but nevertheless there are only three new books that I gave this rating to in 2018. I also re-read several favorite books so I had more 5-stars but I’m sure you’ve already heard of Harry Potter and Twilight…

While many of these books did not actually come out in 2018, they were new to me and I think worth reading. I have a good mix of genres included as well so hopefully you will all find something to add to your reading list! If you want to see what else I read, be sure to check out my Goodreads account.

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This book really gets into your soul and makes you feel like you are right there with Leni, seeing the beauty she sees but also feeling everything from hollowness to inexplicable need to the numbness that comes from denying what both our head and our heart say is right in an effort for survival. Survival of one's self and survival of love. 

I read this book so quickly because there was never a stopping point. I never found myself thinking, that's enough for today. I had to know what happened and I didn't want to extricate myself from their world. I loved the stories that this book told, stories of people who lived so remotely most of us can't even comprehend it and stories of people who loved fiercely in many circumstances and types of relationships. 

The Great Alone isn't just about a family who moves to Alaska. The Great Alone is about learning who you truly are when pushed to the breaking point and pushed to make hard choices, day in and day out.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I absolutely loved this book. It was enchanting and the writing was beautiful. In the beginning, it was difficult to follow all of the different characters as their names were foreign to me, but once I got into the story I couldn't put the book down. All of the creatures were both frightening but fascinating and some eventually became endearing. Vasilisa was a wonderful main character - she was strong and did not fear what she had to do to help her family. She didn't care what people thought of her as long as she was doing what was right. I look forward to the rest of the trilogy!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I read Wonder this past spring because the 6th graders that I was teaching were reading it in their language arts class and I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. I am SO glad that I did! This is not a book just for kids and young adults - I learned or reinforced so many life lessons from this book. I was inspired by Auggie as well as his friends and family and most definitely cried happy tears at the end.\


The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

I picked chose The Tattooist of Auschwitz because it has been a popular book this year and because a coworker of mine said it was amazing. She has great taste in books so, despite knowing it would have many disturbing and sad moments from being a Holocaust story, I decided it was probably worth my time and I was not disappointed. It did not take long to read and I appreciated every moment of hearing this man's story and experience during WWII. The author did a wonderful job of capturing his range of emotions as well as his desire and reluctance to do what he had to do to survive.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I am actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I saw that the movie had come out and I love reading books before seeing the movie so I thought I’d give it a shot. The story really pulled me in and I couldn’t put the book down - I had to know how it ended! I loved the inclusion of 80’s trivia in the future and the world within the OASIS was interesting. I also appreciated the underlying commentary on the pro’s and con’s of being absorbed in technology vs living in the “real world” with other people.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

I only read a few personal development books this year, however, the Happiness Advantage was by far my favorite. I liked the overall message portrayed by the book and I have a lot of great takeaways and actionable items from my time reading it. I never agree 100% with everything in a personal development style book, but I always learn something beneficial to apply to my life.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I read Dumplin’ because when I saw the movie on Netflix I decided to read the book first. I have to say, the book is far better than the movie! Sure, it was a cute movie, but the book dove far more into each character and the complexities behind their choices. There was also a lot of plot cut out to make the movie work, so I highly recommend picikng up the book if you enjoyed the movie.

Also, I highly recommend Goodreads! Below is my year in review:

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