The last two years have seemed like an absolute blur. So much has happened from Michael and I getting married to my 40th birthday. There have been some major milestones and a lot of things keeping us busy (9-5 jobs, house projects, freelance work, blogging). Honestly, New Year’s Eve came up so quickly this year I didn’t even think I would make resolutions for 2018, but then I found some inspiration in some of the lovely and thoughtful Christmas and 40th birthday gifts (my birthday is precariously close to Christmas) I received in 2017. Because of them, I came up with four goals that I think I can realistically tackle in 2018, so let’s get after it.
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1. Take Better Photos – Inspired by my Bohemian Camera Strap
The Gift: I absolutely love the camera strap that Michael got me for Christmas (pictured below). He really surprised me because I hadn’t said anything about wanting a new strap, but it was the perfect gift. It has a retro bohemian look that just reminds me of the 1960’s and it is extremely comfortable. It really made me think about the fact that I don’t use my camera nearly enough.
The Resolution: I have got to stop taking photos for this blog with my phone. So many times I am working on a home project and due to mess, laziness, or not knowing where I put my camera, I just default to taking shots with my phone. I have a DSLR and I know how to use it so there is absolutely no reason for me to be relying on camera phones for my shots. Now that we are also on Instagram, I hope to even get in the habit of uploading some DSLR shots to our Instagram feed. Phone photos can work in a pinch, but the majority of our shots from now on need to be from the DSLR.
I am in love with this camera strap. It’s so pretty and comfortable. You can find one for yourself here.
2. Get Enough Sleep – Inspired by my iHome Zenergy Sleep Machine
The Gift: There’s a common scene in many of the older (more violent) cartoons in which one character is hit over the head with a mallet causing them to instantly drift off to sleep. Well, I’ve found my mallet. My parents got me the iHome Zenergy Sleep Machine for my birthday and it has been an amazing tool in helping me to to conk out. It has various light and sound settings as well as aromatherapy in the form of an oil diffuser. It comes with lavender essential oil but you can also purchase other oils to use too. It also has a remote and three timer settings – 30, 60, and 90 minutes. I haven’t had a lot of experience with other sleep machines, but I can say for certain that I love this one.
The Resolution: I think most people struggle with getting enough sleep. I have found it particularly difficult because of my overactive A.D.D. brain. I also ran into another struggle when I started working as a teacher and had to get up at 4:30 to commute an hour to work. I am a natural night owl so it was difficult to get to sleep early enough to get a full night’s rest. In 2018, I am hoping that my new sleep machine will help me to get to bed at a more reasonable hour so that I can feel refreshed and ready to work the next day. So far it has been doing the trick which is really encouraging. I’m hoping I can make 2018 the year of not feeling exhausted at work (at least most days).
This machine seriously works and almost immediately knocks me out. Find one for yourself here.
3. Read More – Inspired by my Margaret Atwood Books
The Gifts: Once again, my husband hit it out of the park in gift giving by getting me a variety of interesting books. I received a couple Margaret Atwood books including Oryx and Crake and Alias Grace. He also got me Ready Player One. I started reading Oryx and Crake over my holiday break and couldn’t put it down. It was a dystopian look at where things could be headed with genetic engineering, and it’s dark but good. It’s the first in a series of three books so I actually ended up purchasing the next two books myself. I’m currently reading the third and will finish that before moving on to one of my other book gifts.
The Resolution: I love reading, but struggle to find the time. Also, I sometimes will put a book down for too long and then it becomes difficult to remember enough of what happened to get back into the narrative. Because of this, I am going to challenge myself to read at least one chapter a day no matter what. I’m keeping a stack of books near my bed so I can read before I turn in for the night. It’s a reasonably simple and attainable goal even though it might be more of a challenge to stop reading, put the book down, and go to sleep once I get into the story (see resolution #2).
Oryx and Crake is the first in the Maddaddam trilogy of books. Find a copy here.
4. Cook Healthier Food – Inspired by my Instant Pot
The Gift: I was so shocked to receive an Instant Pot from my parents for Christmas. I had heard about this kitchen wonder but didn’t realize all that it could do, from pressure cooking to steaming to rice to even making cheesecakes and yogurt! In fact, it does so much that it’s a bit intimidating at first. I have been watching some Youtube videos to help me figure it out. Once people get comfortable with using the Instant Pot, it makes cooking go so much faster. It’s basically like putting a slow cooker on fast forward. The healthy and fresh food options will be endless with this lovely little machine.
The Resolution: We have a pretty busy schedule and too many days we end up grabbing a frozen pizza for dinner because it’s fast and easy. I’m hoping that the Instant Pot will allow us to make fresher, healthier food with the same ease and amount of time we would spend on the pizza. We love Indian food and I’ve been researching some delicious Indian recipes that I can’t wait to try. If I can get a handful of go-to recipes, we can keep those ingredients on hand to make a fast and healthy dinner.
I’m still quite a newbie at cooking with the Instant Pot, but I hope to get better. Find one for yourself here.