20 for 2020

Here’s my goal list for 2020. I started with about 30 goals and narrowed it down to 20.

Some of these I’m hoping to knock off right off the bat, so I put them at the top. Most of the 30 I took off were going to be expensive and since I’m trying to save and not spend, I didn’t want to pressure myself into doing them. If I have the money, great, but otherwise, this year I’m going to hunker down and play catch up for retirement.

  1. Get passport renewed.
  2. Join WW.
  3. Get TV hooked up with cable.
  4. Take a photography class.
  5. Use up vitamins and find a better solution.
  6. Increase flexibility (be able to touch my hands flat on the floor and work on splits).
  7. Enter cake show.
  8. Get clothes tailored and shoes resoled.
  9. Set up projector.
  10. Find stylish, comfortable shoes.
  11. Brush, floss, swish (all three—already brush this much) three times a day.
  12. Volunteer with SXSW.
  13. Take care of nails weekly.
  14. Clean out/organize my big closet.
  15. Contribute max to Roth IRA.
  16. Read 12 nonfiction books.
  17. Get new glasses.
  18. Find a new revenue source.
  19. Read all books I currently own/have.
  20. Make a T-shirt quilt.

19 for 2019

In 2019, I attempted to reach 19 goals, creating more success than I did in my previous 18 for 2018. Here’s the list, along with how I did.

  1. Pay off car. Well, I wrecked my car, so technically it got paid off, but now I have a new car payment, so not really sure how to judge this one. Sometimes things just work out a bit differently than planned.
  2. Visit Hawaii. Done! I went on a vacation with a friend to celebrate my 40th birthday and her upcoming 50th birthday. I also swam with manta rays and took a helicopter ride for the first time!
  3. Meet up with friends for coffee, lunch dates (weekly or at least 52). I surpassed this in November, so I stopped keeping track. I didn’t feel that it brought me any closer to friends and I spent a lot on lunches eating out more, so will probably not do this one again. I probably should have made a rule that they couldn’t be repeated, but then I’d need 52 people to meet with, which seems like a lot. 
  4. No brand new clothes. This was one of my favorites. I still bought a few used things on Poshmark and I decided to allow myself to buy clothes on vacation as a souvenir, but ultimately, I only bought one brand new thing and that was because I bought my boyfriend something from TJ Maxx and had to return it, so I had a gift card that needed to be used and I ended up buying pajamas with that money. Technically, I haven’t worn them, so I may post them on Poshmark.
  5. Earn an extra $100 a month. This one was easier than I thought it would be, since I get paid to take photos at the farmers market and can decide how often I do it, so I just made sure to pick up at least 4 shifts to cover the $100. Many months, I signed up for 5 and sold things on Poshmark, so I ended making slightly more. I also picked up a few cupcake and cookie orders. I’m hoping to increase this goal in the next year.
  6. Read 44 books. OK. I’m just going to have to finally admit to myself that I’m just not in a place anymore where I can just hunker down and read, read, read, ignoring everything else in my life. I like to keep my condo cleaner these days and I spend a lot of time at my boyfriend’s place and, yes, I often choose Netflix over reading, so while I still read more than the average bear, 44 is just too high right now. I’ve read 31 so far and just don’t think I’m likely to finish 13 in the next two weeks.
  7. Take a self-improvement class. I didn’t define this very well, so I’m going to count the empanada class I took a few weeks ago, because, while it may not help my career or anything lofty, it definitely adds to my baking skills, which I use a lot for mental health. Whatever. I’m counting it.
  8. Volunteer at least once per month or 12 total. I didn’t change this up as much as I had envisioned. I had thought I might try a variety of volunteer activities, but I mostly did the same ones I typically do. A friend and I bake cookies once per month and her husband drops them off at The Christie Center. I did help my boyfriend and his company with a few of their volunteer activities as well as took part in some at my own job, so that was a fun change of pace, but I still want to find my volunteer “thing.”
  9. Start a cooking club. Absolutely did not do this. I even thought I might do a last minute cookie exchange, but time is running out!
  10. Take 20 hikes. Also, did not do. I did a few for sure between Hawaii and meeting up with friends, but I think I still did fewer than usual. I definitely overestimated my desire to hike and needed to do more planning if this were something I really wanted to do. I can see this being better at communing with friends than lunch/coffee dates if I were to plan it, though.
  11. Switch from a particular bank. I still have an account at this particular bank, but the majority of my checking and savings are held elsewhere now. Once I am sure I’ve moved everything over, I’ll close the account, but it takes a while to slog through all the payments to ensure you’re not dropping the ball on any bills.
  12. Become a Poshmark suggested user. Totally crushed this early in the year. You can check out my closet at https://poshmark.com/closet/tyoungsteratx.
  13. Enter Queen of Hearts cake in a cake show. Won third place in beginners at the Austin show. Definitely need to keep practicing and learning!
  14. Electronic door lock. This was done mostly thanks to my boyfriend, who helped pick it out and install it. He also recently installed a Nest thermostat, so I really cannot thank him enough for all the help he’s been in getting these weird things done at my condo that makes it that much nicer.
  15. Clean out car. I had done this before I got a new car, but much easier to keep clean in the Prius since it’s four doors.
  16. Watch Game of Thrones. Ha … well, that was pretty much how we spent February and May, but totally watched all of Game of Thrones this year (had never seen any of it before). I like to watch everything back-to-back, so this was definitely the way to go for me.
  17. Use pasta maker. So much easier than I expected and a delicious way to spend an evening.
  18. Use ice cream maker. Made this into a date night, where we made strawberry ice cream. So yummy and creamy.
  19. Learn a song on the ukulele. I’ve been working on Jingle Bells and think I should be able to cross this off by January.

Overall, I think I did pretty well. I’d say I count this as 15 and a half complete. A lot of stuff on there I probably wouldn’t have done without my list and deadlines, so I’m definitely going to make a 2020 list. I’ve made a tentative one, but it has about 30 things on the list, so I need to whittle it down a bit before finalizing it.

If you’ve got any fun goals for the new year, let me know! I’d love to hear them.

Winter is Coming

Editor’s Note: Posting late again! This was meant to post Tuesday, Nov. 13.

It’s bitter cold here in Austin, Texas, which is highly unusual for November. It’s 35 degrees and cloudy outside, while we’re used to balmy days and nights much of the year.

I’ve finished reading “The Nest” and have begun making my way through “Every Breath” by Nicholas Sparks. I’m enjoying the novel’s jump between Africa and the East coast.

Yesterday, I had the day off because of Veteran’s day, but stayed at home except for one doctor’s visit because of the rainy, cold weather. Instead, I cooked one of my Blue Apron meals and watched the “Sex in the City” movie. I had never seen it and did not think it was all that great, but it was easy to watch while doing other things.



Planning an Island Getaway

Hawaii planning
Bobbie Jill & I planning our trip to Hawaii.

Editor’s note: This posted two days later than I had planned.

Surrounded by travel books, my friend Bobbie Jill and I spent yesterday pouring through books on Hawaii at Book People planning the perfect trip to Hawaii this summer. I bought one book on the Big Island, where we’ll see lava, a green beach, waterfalls and botanical gardens. Her book is on Oahu, where we plan to see Diamondhead and visit Pearl Harbor. Planning trips are so much fun, and, although we have a lot of tiny things to organize, I love the process of figuring out which day to do what.

IMG_4207.jpegTo prepare for our big day of planning, we visited Magnolia Café, to make sure we had the energy. We love their garden room on the right-hand side at the Lake Boulevard location. The delicious Magnolia omellette with black beans and a blueberry pancake was so much food, we skipped lunch. Bobbie had the lox and bagel.

I was so worn out by the end of the day, I crashed around 7 p.m. and slept through the night. Today I’ll take photos at the farmers market, which will be really cold, followed by laundry and posting on Poshmark.

Don’t forget today is Veteran’s Day!


Patriot Act, Magic Erasers, Kale and Hourglass

I’m on a comedy kick on Netflix right now. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is fairly timely, although it is pre-midterms (so three days ago!). Minhaj covers Amazon as a monopoly, your state legislators and more. I just got started but plan to continue watching.

Last night, I brought out the magic eraser, which doesn’t happen often—I was a late adopter and tend to forget how useful they are. But after attempting to clean my bathtub with a broom (I broke my broom, but it worked OK), I found this other article on new ways to use your magic erasers, which led me to walking around the house looking for things to use it on.

On Wednesday, I got the chance to take photos for Texas Farmers Market, which led to buying kale from a vendor that was delicious. The seller gave me the tip to sauté the kale in butter, which I wouldn’t have thought about. It tasted delicious with a little garlic salt sprinkled on top.

And finally, I got a sample from Sephora called Hourglass vanish seamless finish foundation stick. I tried each of the colors, none of which was a great match for my skin and I felt like it was way too much coverage for me. If you’re looking for something thick, it does blend in fairly well, but I like to see my skin through my products, because I love my skin, even though there can be some redness around my nose and on my cheeks. It wasn’t for me, but I know some people really like a full coverage and it actually looked quite nice in photos (see the photo from a wedding in my last post).

Election Day

Today is the last day to vote in Texas for the mid-term elections, so make sure your voice is heard. For Election Day, you’ll have to vote at a specific polling location, so make sure you know where to go before you go: https://www.votetexas.gov/voting/where.html. There may be long lines, but our rights are worth it!

IMG_2183Enough about that—I’ll assume you got the message! Right now, I’m reading The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, an interesting read about some brothers and sisters who are supposed to get a small nest egg from their father in mid-life. But as the date approaches and most of the money has to be used to bail one of the siblings out of a self-induced crisis that could take down the family name, the siblings realize they may have taken that money too far for granted, Will they be able to get the money back or will they have to tell those they love the money mistakes they’ve made relying on future money as a savior? We’ll see! I’m only about halfway through, but so far so good.

And this past weekend, I took photos, as I often do, at the Texas Farmers Market in Mueller. It was a beautiful weekend and I enjoyed seeing everyone’s goods and taking photos for them. Be sure to follow their Instagram at texasfarmersmarket and mine at tyoungster. I bought some goat cheese, which I used as a ricotta replacement in lasagna. It turned out beautifully! I had enough leftover to freeze.

November Thoughts

Yesterday I went to a former co-worker’s wedding. The day was beautiful and simple and reminded me to enjoy the present. It was so nice to see a couple overjoyed to be bringing their families together.

This month, I hope to remain thankful for all the love and friends and family I have in my life right now.

This starts with being thankful for the right to vote. Don’t forget to cast your ballot in Texas Nov. 6.

Additionally, I’m taking photos this morning at the farmers market. I’m thankful for having clean, healthy, organic food to nourish my body.

I’m taking this week to eat all the food in my refrigerator and pantry—not only to save some money on groceries—but also to allow me to get rid of some of the foods that have been there a bit too long and to clean out some unhealthy foods that I no longer need. This will allow me to clear they way for fall foods and to start over.

I’m also watching Gilmore Girls again on Netflix, which I tend to think about during fall and Christmas, because they have such great seasonal episodes.

Some things I hope to do this week:

  • Repaint my nails and toes
  • Finish reading The Nest
  • Recycle hangers at the dry cleaner
  • Post some more clothes to sell on Poshmark

rich's wedding

My ever evolving style 

I can remember telling my parents my favorite color was black at the dinner table around middle school. I remember nervous glances between my parents. Obviously I was a devil worshipper or into the drugs. Except I wasn’t. I just didn’t want to have the typical answer: pink. 

Fast forward many, many years and I’ve painted an entire wall of my condo pink. I’m not sure if my all-things-girly comes from feeling like I missed out on prime ‘girly’ days or not. I definitely had my share of Barbies, but I also thought feminism equaled denying beauty and avoiding, well, pink. Thanks to many women these days, most notably Zooey Deschanel (for me), women and, hopefully young girls, know that they don’t have to be pigeonholed into liking or not liking something in order to demand equality. For far too long, society has said that manly hobbies are more worthwhile than feminine ones and that’s a belief that needs to stop. 

As you can see in my pictures, I now embrace my feminine side, but also try not to hide my masculine tendencies. I know I can have a pink and blue wall in my home (and do).

Here are the things I’m loving right this minute.

This recipe box from Paper Source

This cat ring from Catbird.

This paint color is prom pink from Valspar.

And this new shirt from J.Crew I bought at the resale shop Style Encore in Austin.

Work in progress

As you can see, I am making some big changes to my site (and life). I’d like to say I know when this will be done, but a blog, much like real life, is a continuing project that evolves over time.

From now on, this will be less of a portfolio page and more about, well, whatever floats my boat. I hope you’ll stick around and see the progress.

Happy 2015!

A Review: The 8 Pillars of Motivation

Because I can’t seem to stop volunteering for things, I recently heard about a cool project, wherein people would read 12 business books per year and write reviews about them. Some people were chosen to be a part of a group that got the books for free and met periodically to talk about those books. I was not in that group—However, I was chosen as a small group of reviewers who get their reviews published on the Actionable Books website. I figured getting published was still pretty good, especially since I planned on reading the books anyway, so here is my first installment published on Actionable Books. You can read more about the Actionable Book summaries here.