Year in Review

Dear Readers:

We’ve made it! It’s the end of 2018. Was it all you had hoped it would be?

I first became serious about this blogging thing at the beginning of this year, so its fitting now, in the last post of 2018, that I look back and reflect on some of my successes and failures. And what better way to do that than to pull out the New Year’s Resolutions I made last year and see how I measured up.

My New Year’s Resolutions were:

  1. To keep a book list
  2. To exercise at least 30 minutes per day on days when the temperature exceeded 55degrees
  3. To wash dishes frequently enough so that I never ran out of spoons
  4. To blog 2x a month (oops)

Book List

When I was a kid, you never saw me without a book. I could be exaggerating, but I could swear I remember reading 100-200 books per school year as an adolescent. In fact, I was required to keep a book list, so if I really wanted to test the accuracy of that memory, I could whip out my yearly portfolios to check. Now, granted, you can’t compare Atlas Shrugged or The Poisonwood Bible with Meet Molly or The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island. But you cannot deny the accomplishment of having enjoyed that many books in a calendar year. It seemed like maybe there was something to keeping a written record. I remember being so proud each time I finished a book and adding it to the list. So this year, I decided to keep a book list.

What’s interesting is that I didn’t make the ambivalent resolution to ‘read more.’ What is more? I hadn’t kept track of my reading habits in 2017, so how would I know if I had achieved my goal? The only way to really assess my reading health was to keep track of what I read, how long it took me, what I enjoyed, etc.

I was discussing my resolution with my little brother and he suggested I make an account on Goodreads to track my reading. And that’s exactly what I did! You can check out my Goodreads profile here to see what I read, what I liked, what I recommend, etc.!

I started off the year really well, reading almost six books in January. I flagged after I while when I started Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. But, I finally finished it this past week! My advice if you’re stuck in a challenging book and you’re not sure you want to finish it is to set it down and move on. You’ll know when the time is right to go back to it, but don’t let one challenge or one ‘failure’ keep you from reading the other books you know you will love.

TL,DR; check out Barbara Kingsolver! I’ve read three books by her this year and have two on my to-read list as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Exercise

So, I didn’t really do all that well with my actual resolution. Oops. But, this year was most certainly an active year for me.

In January I joined Planet Fitness. For $10.00 a month, you can’t beat the value they provide. I went faithfully several times a week from January through April.

Then as the weather got nicer, I spent a lot of time walking and hiking.

When it got hot in July, I started swimming. A shoulder injury cut short my pool time this season, but I’ve spent more hours on the trail than I ever have before.

I have recorded 227 miles of hiking this year using the AllTrails app.

My average step count to date for the year is about 4800, but it was over 10,000 for the month of November.

So, I may not have stuck to my exact goal, but I think that’s because my goal was a little too specific. When I was working full time during the summer, I didn’t always have the time (or the constitution!) to take a 30 minute walk… but now that I’ve had quite a bit of time off, I have thoroughly enjoyed my cold days bundled up in the woods, enjoying a new trail.

Not sponsored, but if you want to resolve to be more active in 2019, download the AllTrails app. You won’t regret it. AllTrails helps you explore your neighborhood for walking trails, helps you plan your next outdoor adventure, keeps you on trail in poorly marked parks, and tracks your trail history, calorie burns, elevation changes, distance, pace, and so much more. They even have a LifeLine feature for emergency situations.

Dishes

Okay, I know this is a weird resolution: to always wash the dishes before I run out of spoons—what?? The truth of the matter is, this resolution was more about seeing a task through from start to finish. We all love making a mess in the kitchen; cleaning it up is another matter.

I am blessed with a boyfriend who loves to cook. And most of the time, I am very happy to stay out of his way and enjoy the work of his hands. But I wanted to reward his act of service to me by making sure he always had what he needed to do his magic with food. And that meant that I needed to step up my dish game.

The funny thing was, as I spent more time in the kitchen, I also got inspired to cook more meals myself. Just like my resolution to keep a book list helped me to read more, washing the dishes enabled me to dirty them more often, experiment more, bake more, cook more, etc.

So I thought I’d share two really great cold weather recipes with you, my readers. The first is Vegan Shepherd’s Pie from The Minimalist Baker. Holy tofu, this one is great! I love the flavor, the texture, the warmth, and the ease of this meal. If you’re going to a family Christmas dinner this year, I highly recommend making this for your side dish to pass!

There’s nothing I love more than a good bowl of soup in the winter time. Looking for a quick dinner? Try this recipe for Vegetable Soup with Orzo from Bowl Me Over. My boyfriend and I have been trying to cut down on our fat intake, and this recipe has an oily, fatty feel without being high in fat. It also has a surprisingly deep flavor without having a lot of herbs in it. I love that it doesn’t require anything exotic I don’t normally keep on hand. (You can substitute any pasta for the orzo if that’s not one of your pantry staples. Also, as a note/disclaimer on the recipe, I believe the writer intended to write 8 oz. spinach, not cups!)

If you’re feeling really adventurous and industrious, you can make your own stock for the soup (recipe from Oh My Veggies is here!). I will warn you: the to-die-for factor increases by at least 300% if you use homemade stock.

Blogging

And this blog, my final resolution. I must confess that I wasn’t as faithful to it as I should have been. Part of that was a failure to plan on my part. That won’t happen in 2019. I already have planned out topics for nine posts for next year! To give you a sneak peek, a few of them are…

  • Breast Cancer
  • Minimalism: A Winter Wardrobe
  • Zero Waste Celebrations
  • More Meatless Recipes
  • Spring Cleaning: Non-toxic Edition

But, in closing, I also want to know what you’d like to read about on this blog. What would you like me to write about? Drop me a line in the comment section to let me know what your favorite post was of 2018 and your topic suggestions for 2019!

Best,

Camille

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