Tag: booksbooksandmorebooks

Looking Back at 2021: I’m a bookworm. Now to plan for 2022 and beyond

While looking ahead to a ‘blank slate’ of 2022, I realized that I should also reflect on 2021 and the ups, down, hills, valleys, and everything in between. The post will probably seem a little bit ‘rambling’—but that is due to just writing what I’m thinking and not really organizing my thoughts beforehand.

We were still in the grip of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic during 2021. While there have been several vaccines approved (the Pfizer one received full approval from the FDA and CDC towards the end of the year), there is unfortunately still a good portion of the population that is refusing to get vaccinated.

Come early March, we will be entering year three of the pandemic—hopefully we’ll be seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ by summer????

I’ve still been isolating at home (only leaving the house maybe a couple of times a week—one to get the paper on the weekends, then an occasional walk either at Boomer Lake with my camera or through the neighborhood with Chaos) for the most part this past year. Like everyone else, I would like for things to return to a ‘new normal’—but I also understand that it will take awhile for the ‘new normal’ to emerge and everyone to get on the same page.

I’m not planning on doing any type of travel this year (thanks omicron variant and anti-vaxxers), but hopefully maybe able to do a small trip sometime between 2023 and 2024.

Since the number of cases is still skyrocketing due to the omicron variant—I plan of trying to get my booster shot sometime within the next two weeks.

The only huge crisis we had this past year was with Rolex—when we took her to get an allergy shot, she developed the rare side effect of hemolytic anemia. So, the past few months have been a roller coaster as we try to help her overcome the anemia. So, far she’s had two blood transfusions and is on numerous medications—we’ll hopefully see if she can be weaned off of two of them entirely next month (I’m assuming one of the meds will be lowered again this month).

Chaos doesn’t care of strangers (which is both good and bad), so when I do have to take him into the vet—he has to be given meds to mellow him out. I’m hoping to possibly start taking him for longer walks (to where we might encounter other people) this coming spring.

In terms of my career—I think I’ve figured it ‘out’ (at least a little). I’m going to go in the direction of remote/contract/online science/medical communications/education with the end goal of creating my own freelance business (melding copywriting [medical/science communication/education, health/wellness, and personal/professional development] with blogging [hobbies, travels, and personal/professional development]). Therefore, the blog/website will be getting update throughout the year as I work my way in that direction.

I managed to land a ‘volunteer’ medical content writing position with a company in Canada during the summer—so I’m getting my ‘feet’ wet in the regards of summarizing scientific papers and other topics for the general public. In addition, I put in my application for a couple of freelance writing position and then a medical writers position—didn’t get any of them, but I was proud of the fact I went ahead and applied for each of them, being a total ‘newbie’ in the online medical writing world.

I’ve joined another accountability group—which is good, but since I’ve really ‘narrowed’ down what I want to do (remote/online writing and/or data analysis), I’m having problems finding the job postings. I’ll be working on those assignments, and giving updates throughout the next few months (which will include ‘linking the blog/website’ to my LinkedIn account).

Those were some of the highlights for the year, so how did 2021 go in general?

In terms of steps—I had a rough goal of at least 1,825,000 steps (breaking down to basically 5,000 steps per day). I managed to get 1,979,594 steps for the year, with the following monthly breakdown:

January:          159,685

February:        146,418

March:             197,430

April:              187,411

May:               187,855

June:               149,009

July:                140,686

August:           154,591

September:      157,114

October:          160,753

November:      168,476

December:       170,166

The months with the lowest number of steps happened to be during the summer, when it was a little too warm (or humid or both) to be outside walking either on my own or with my dog.

While I’d set the goal of completing nine workout programs throughout 2021—I managed to complete three, and then spent the rest of the year concentrating on more ‘intentional movements’ than fitness programs.

I also had set the goal of reading a minimum of 80 books (30 non-fiction and 50 fiction), and the actual total number of books that I read last year was a minimum of 127 books (12 non-fiction and at least 105 fiction). These included new and rereads (all of which were within the fiction category).

I met the goal of at least fifty fiction books (actually doubled it), and almost met half the goal of non-fiction books (thirty).

The non-fiction books I read during 2021 included:

  1. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny
  2. Badass Habits: Cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero
  3. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
  4. The Joy of Missing Out: Live more by doing less by Tonya Dalton
  5. The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–A creative and practical guide by Margaret Lobensteine
  6. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
  7. Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed
  8. The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
  9. 25 Ways to work from Home by Jen Ruiz
  10. Write to Speak by Mike Acker
  11. I want to do all the things: finding balance as a polymath, multipotentialite, and renaissance soul by Arcadia Page
  12. The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own by Joshua Becker

In terms of fiction books read during 2021 (new and re-reads), I managed to read (a minimum) of 105 fiction books, and they included:

  • Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Burgoa
  • A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Call You Mine (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #22) by Marie Force
  • Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale
  • I re-read the first nine books in the Alders series by Avery Gale
  • The Shadowdance Club (7 book series) by Avery Gale
  • Masters of the PrairieWind Club (11 book series–as of Feb 2021) by Avery Gale
  • Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (The Billionaire’s Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott
  • Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) by Becca Van
  • Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van
  • Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van
  • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
  • Re-read the entire Fatal series (16 books) prior to State of Affairs coming out
  • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
  • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
  • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
  • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
  • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #32) by Becca Van
  • Royal Line (Tatter Royals #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
  • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
  • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  • A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd
  • Come Together (Butler VT #7) by Marie Force
  • Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • The Green Mountain Series (7 books) by Marie Force
  • First six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force
  • Vortex: A FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter
  • Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
  • Catnip and Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday
  • My Next Play (On My Own #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston
  • Yours to Keep (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Inked Kingdom by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Inked Devotion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Temptation after Dark (Gansett Island #23)
  • Finally You (Luna Harbor #1) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Enemy Heir (Tatter Royals #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
  • Mated in Darkness (Talon Pack #10) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43) by Cara Covington
  • My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • The Morgan Brothers (5 books) by Avery Gale
  • State of Grace (First Family #2) by Marie Force
  • Snow Dragon (Dragon Knights #16) by Bianca D’Arc
  • Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17) by Bianca D’Arc
  • Falling for Fallon (Masters of the Prairie Wind Club #12) by Avery Gale
  • Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper (Billionaires Obsessions #17) by J.S. Scott

I’m pretty sure that there are probably another 20-30 books that I re-read during the year, but didn’t keep track of–what can I say, I’m a book worm and I would rather spend my evenings reading than watching TV.

While I had decided on doing a ‘no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month’, the only month that I really succeed at it was January. I ‘slipped’ and spent more money throughout the year than I really should have. I’ve pledge to restart the challenge this year, and to do better than I did last year (not aiming for perfection—but aiming for progress).

While the goal for 2021 was to finish at least twenty e-courses, I managed to finish nine throughout the year. I’d found that if I managed to watch several in a month, I ‘took’ the next month (or two) ‘off’ (probably unintentionally—letting ‘Pam’ win an unspoken argument). The courses that I ‘watched’ and ‘completed’ included:

On Skillshare:

  1. Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content
  2. 3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog
  3. Finding your inner creative
  4. Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce
  5. Create a simple digital marketing plan
  6. Crappy Copy: 8 digital copywriting mistakes you should avoid

Two Cheeky Scientist Association Advance Programs:

  1. Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Intellectual Property Pack

Then on Udemy:

  1. Understanding and developing Emotional Intelliegence

The goal for 2022 will be to at least double (if not triple) the number of e-courses that I watch/finish.

One big accomplishment I that managed to get done during 2021 was the creation and updating of my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams. The first one that I did in February/March was an ‘assignment’ from a coach, when it became obvious (to her) that I was struggling with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.

Since that first one—I’ve modified it four times, adding in a ‘bounce zone’ between the comfort and the stretch zone, and have watched the comfort and stretch zones (along with the bounce zone) grow, and the risk zone shrink.

I also created a personal/professional board game as well to help me ‘figure’ things out—and I’ve discovered the ‘biggest’ drawback on the game is that everything is ‘open-ended’ (such as review immunology or review cell biology).

I managed to teach myself basic cross-stitching this past year, and even finished three abstract design pieces. I started to do a more ‘nature’ based piece, and will probably try to turn it ‘abstract’ as I didn’t like how the cacti were turning out. I managed to spend quite a bit of time over the year up at Boomer Lake with my camera (one thing I still need to do is curate and delete all the really dark and/or blurry pictures I’ve taken over the past few decades).

Overall, 2021 was an okay year—not great (I mean there is still the pandemic), but also not a totally horrible year either. I’ve made progress in terms of personal and professional development (while some may see the past two years as ‘unemployed’—I view them as investing in myself)—maybe not as much as I’d originally liked, but still managed to do quite a bit. I’ve decided the career direction I’d like to pursue (remote/contract/online science/medical communications/writing and possibly data analysis), with the long-term goal of creating my own freelance business.

Therefore, heading into 2022, I’ve decided that:

I’ll have an overall BINGO card for the year (similar to what I tried to do for 2021), in addition to having BINGO cards for non-fiction books, e-courses, and intentional movement.

If I read a non-fiction book or complete/watch an e-course that isn’t on either of the current BINGO cards—I’ll write them down to put on an additional BINGO card.

The goal is to have at least a single BINGO on each of the cards (Bonus to have a totally checked BINGO card), and to have at least one BINGO on the overall yearly BINGO card as well.

I will transition into a remote/contract/online science/medical communications position. To help achieve that goal—I’m aiming at writing and publishing at least six scientific blog posts/articles by the end of the year. Each will be a minimum of 1000 words and will probably cover different topics I find of interest (or sub-topics within a specific ‘niche’).

In addition, I’m planning on writing at least two small literature reviews (being somewhere between 1000 and 1500 words), on one or two science topics, in addition to the larger project I’ve had bouncing around in my head for the past year.

I will also finish updating/modifying the blog/website to showcase the addition of science/medical writing in addition to my pieces on personal/professional development, hobbies, and travels.

Overall, I plan on 2022 being the year of ‘change’ and ‘growth’—growing as a science communicator, changing/transitioning into a ‘new’ position, and also finding my online ‘tribe’.

How was your 2021, and what do you have planned for 2022?

No Comments Booksbullet journalcareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytravelUpdatesYear in Review

E-books and e-games are the splurges of the month

So it is that time again—for a check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

We’re now down to the last thirty days of 2021. I’m still working on hitting the stride that I did in January (which was the best month for the entire challenge so far this year).

My limited spending challenge is just that—I’m trying to limit my spending by dividing things into two groups (or categories): needed items and splurges.

So I did really well that first month, and then started slipping each month a little more. The ‘rebound’ I’d planned for the second half of the year, has been a so-so rebound. I’ve still splurged on things, and hopefully will be getting better at not ‘splurging’ as we head into 2022.

So how did November go in terms of the purchases/splurges?

In terms of physical items bought:

I only placed one ‘essential’ order towards the end of the month that included dog treats, face cleanser, body wash, and some other dog related items.

I totally splurged in terms of the number of e-books bought during November:

  1. The Cowboy SEAL’s secret baby (The Cowboy SEALs #1) by Janalyn Knight
  2. Ignite by Melanie Harlow
  3. The Fine Print (Dreamland Billionaires #1) by Lauren Asher
  4. Elemental Energy: Crystal and Gemstone Rituals for a Beautiful Life by Kristin Petrovich
  5. Crystal Muse: Everyday Rituals to Tune in to the Real You by Heather Askinosie & Timmi Jandro
  6. Contacting Your Spiritual Guide by Sylvia Browne
  7. Oona Goodlight Magic & Murder Mysteries (books 1-5) by Alexes Razevich
  8. Books 1 & 2 of the Rachel Emery Series by Deanna Lynn Sletten
  9. Kit Davenport: The Complete Series by Tate James
  10. Shadow Guild: Wolf Queen (books 1-5) by Linsey Hall
  11. Hayden Family (books 1-4) by Jennifer Millikin
  12. The Viper: A Broken Ridge Novel by Amanda McKinney
  13. Books 4 & 5 of the Tangled Crown series by Ann Denton
  14. Demon Valley Pack (Pretty Little Monster #1) by Avery Stone
  15. Whiskey Moon by Winter Renshaw
  16. The Mountain Mastery series by Avery Gale
  17. The Wolf Pack by Avery Gale
  18. Books 2 & 3 of the Knights of the Boardroom by Avery Gale
  19. Forbidden Honor (Dragon Royals #1) by May Dawson

And I continued to splurge on the silly game: Farmville 2: Country Escape

I think that I was splurging on e-books knowing that we’re headed into winter, and that means more time spent indoors. While I have numerous things that can keep me busy (working on my cross-stitching, working through e-courses, or just reading any of the other books I’ve bought this year)—I splurged on the books, just to have the ‘safety net’ of ‘new books’ to choose from.

There are a few personal development books (as I’m still working on figuring out my own spirituality path), but most are just fun reads that sounded interesting.

Splurging on the game has been due to it being a ‘escapism’ measure. When I don’t want to deal with things—I play the game and lose track of time. So, there you have it—I’m still an impulsive book buyer, and I’m spending way too many coins on the silly game.

As we go into December, there will probably be two or three ‘essential’ orders from amazon (mainly Christmas presents), and me keeping an eye on the game spending. While I haven’t had the same stride since January—I will be continuing the challenge going into 2022 and beyond. Also, I’m going to ‘restart’ the spreadsheet tracking for spending as well going forward.

Curious to know: What are some of your favorite tracking methods for spending money?

No Comments financesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesReflections

Books, and more books, plus some e-courses: Update on the limited spending challenge

So it is that time again–for a check-in on my year long limited spending challenge.

In case you’re new to the blog, here is a brief recap–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and splurging), I would ‘limit’ the spending and items would fall into one of two categories: needed and splurges.

I did really well in January on the challenge, and then slowly started slipping since, and hopefully May will be the last ‘major’ sliding month for the year.

So yes–I splurged. On what? Well–mainly books, I think I mentioned it last year (or maybe in 2019) on a book review–I’m an impulsive book buyer. So the books I bought were:

2021: Webmaster Series by Dr. Andy Williams

A couple of books on SEO

Hope River series by Margaret McHeyzer

The Guardians series by Victoria Paige

25 ways to work from home by Jen Ruiz

Wildfire Hearts series by Savannah Kade

Bad Karma Special Ops series by Tracy Brody

Linear Tactical series by Janie Crouch

Authentic: How to be yourself and why it matters by Stephen Joseph

The Lt. Kate Gazarra series (books 1-3) by Blair Howard

Guardian Hostage Rescue Specialist series by Ellie Masters

So, I think that I have enough books to get me through the rest of the year, in addition to the books I splurged on last month, all the free ones I downloaded in March & December, plus the pre-orders I still have set throughout the year.

I also bought a couple more e-courses as well. While I stated at the beginning of the year that I was aiming at not purchasing any other e-courses, I did buy one or two earlier in the year (there is an copy writing course I’m going to be starting soon). Also once I created my ‘personal/professional development board game’, I decided that I wanted to get a couple of art history courses if possible (as it is a subject that I’ve always been fascinated with and any books I have on the various subjects are currently in a storage unit). In addition to those courses, I found several others that could be beneficial moving forward as well.

So the e-courses I recently purchased included (and they’re all from Udemy):

How to Awaken & Connect to Your Spiritual Higher Self

Learn Bioinformatics from Scratch (Theory & Practical)

How to become a freelance editor

Kick start a freelance editor & proofreader career on upwork

Art history: prehistory to the renaissance

From Caves to Cities: Prehistoric art history

Gods & Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia

Ancient Art of South Arabia: The Himyarite Kingdom

Olmec Art

Islamic Architecture

Computer Vision Masterclass

Luckily I purchased all these courses during various ‘sale’ periods (so they were only $9.99-11.99 a courses in stead of $99+). The goal is to now try to bounce between some ‘professional development’ courses and some ‘personal development’ courses throughout the summer.

I realized that I spent way more money that I meant to during May, and therefore am aiming at a totally limited spending month (only pre-orders and my automatically monthly order from Amazon). I’ve figured if I make use of the time management app Self Control, I can stay off Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon during the day, and that is usually when I ‘splurge’–mindless scrolling though social media.

This is the ‘experiment’ for June anyway–stay off social media for majority of the day, and then have a ‘plan’ in place for teh rest of the time and start reading the books I’ve bought and working through the e-courses I’ve bought.

I realized when I started this challenge, I wasn’t going to be perfect, and I have ‘slid’ a lot in terms of book buying–but recognizing the signs is the first step, activating the self control app is the second step, and then the third step is going to be ‘creating’ check-sheets for being on Facebook (responding to comments, commenting on posts, posting in certain groups), to help limit the ‘social media’ time that way.

Here is to June being a much better (and money controlled) month in terms of the limited spending challenge.

If you’re an impulsive book buyer–who are a few of your favorite authors? If you buy e-courses, what sites do you use for continous learning?

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflectionsUpdates

Check-in on the 100+ goal challenge. 300 Days in, progress is slow but steady

So, it is time for my 3rd check-in on my latest attempt on my take of the 101 goals challenge. If you haven’t heard of this challenge, it goes something like this–you make a list of 101 things that you would like to get accomplished in 1001-days. You then should periodically check-in with your list to see how you’re doing with the various goals on the list. I’ve tried to do the 101 goals in 1001-days several times, but usually ended up quitting after a few months (mainly due to forgetting to check-in with my list on a fairly consistent basis).

I decided to modify the challenge to where I have a longer list of things I’d like to get accomplished, and I basically doubled the time frame (so instead of 1001-days or 2.7 years, I’m trying 2002-days or roughly 5.5 years). I decided to double the time frame mainly because of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic is still going on, and therefore quite a few of my goals are actually on ‘hold’ until I feel like it is safe to travel again.

While I got my vaccine in early April (the Johnson’s & Johnson’s 1 & done shot), I decided that I’m still going to shelter in place through the summer and into the fall–I’m curious to see what type of ‘spikes’ the US will be seeing this summer/fall due to summer vacation and travel starting to pick up again. In addition I’m still working on figuring out what my ‘new’ normal is going to be looking like.

So, now it is time to look at the goals and see how I’m progressing in the different areas.

Professional development and career:  On-going

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)—going to go with python to begin with.

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Clinical Research Coalition—only have a little over one module left for this program (I think it’s like 13 videos and two tests).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization—need to finish the writing/editing assignments

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. Intellectual Property Pack

                        10. Regulatory Affairs Council

                        11. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

                                    Decided that to make things a little easier—I will have a list of courses that I would like to finish in 2021, and if I manage to finish all of those, then I will go back to the major lists in the journal.

            12. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #13; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

                        13. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                                    Managing to do this at least two to five days a week.

                        14. Commenting on posts

                                    Trying to get better at this.

                        15. Giving/Asking for recommendations—need to start doing

                        16. Start writing my own posts

                                    I’m slowly dipping my toe into the world of LinkedIn publishing, but usually by posting a picture or a motivational quote to begin will. My two best posts have been the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts. The first one had 1,934 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments over a two month period, while the second post has had 7,602 views, 46 reactions, and 27 comments over the past 4 days. I will be posting the updated comfort diagram possibly tomorrow here on the blog as well.

            17. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            18. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            19. Become fluent in Spanish—Started to use the app Mondly for refreshing my Spanish, though I haven’t been that active with the app for the past month or so. Need to try to spend at least 30-45 minutes 5 days a week on this.

            20. Become fluent in German

            21. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

22. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

This is actually going to be reformatted and the number slightly lowered. I’ve decided to go with say reading ~30-40 non-fiction books a year. With counting previous years in to the running total I’ve read: 2018-2020 (73, though I considered 12 of them to be “reference” on a topic). I’ve also finished 7 books so far in 2021).

This means that to reach the 300 total I need to read another 220 books over 1702 days.

While I decided to try to not add any new books to the list–I probably have added in another five to ten books over the past two months or so.

            23. Finish the books on scientific writing

            24. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            25. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            26. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            27. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            28. More photographyWith the weather warming up, I’m hoping to do at least a weekly walk up at Boomer Lake (weather permitting); and updating/adding pages

                        29. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)—have started this challenge again, though it isn’t going at a consecutive 365 days.

                        30. Update photography pages on blog

                                    I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab on the website, and have been aiming to add at least one new species page a week (with pictures). The other pages added would be information on the bird order and bird family (with pictures as well).

            31. Make my own jewelry

            32. Learn to cross-stitch—Started doing this the other day. I’ve realized it will take practice and time to be able to do this decently, but it is something new to concentrate on

            33. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        34. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        35. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            36. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans. I’m slowly patching the other two afghans that Chaos chewed holes in. One is basically patched (though I need to sew the patch on a little better), and then I need to knit the patches for the second one.

            37. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            38. Start writing a book

            39. Learn Photoshop

            40. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought); this has been an on and off endeavor. There are some days/weeks I’m good at writing daily, and then I may go a week or longer without writing in it.

            41. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            42. Learn basic sign language

            43. Start a virtual book club

Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            44. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            45. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.

            46. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            47. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

            48. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            49. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            50. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health—On going

            51. Get into the best shape of my life

            52. Multivitamin and supplements daily; I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often.

            53. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    54. Morning Meltdown 100)—Finished my 1st round 9/15/2020

                                    55. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt ~3/4 of program completed by 11/14/2020

                                    56. 10 Rounds—1st round finished on 12/26/2020

                                    57. Barre Blend—Starting on 2/8/2021; only managed to do half the program before moving on to another one mainly due to the lunges and just not really feeling the program. Hoping to fit the last four weeks in this year between other programs.

                                    58. Insanity Max 30

                                    59. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round finished 11/14/2020

                                    60. 22-Minute Hard Corps

                                    61. T20

                                    62. Insanity

                                    63. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    64. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    65. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    66. 6 weeks of the work

                                    67. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    68. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    69. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)—Started to do the ‘LIVE’ version, though may go ahead and start the third round of LIIFT4 next week instead of finishing this program.

                                    70. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    71. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    72. CIZE—Did this program during March and finished it the first week of April. Enjoyed it even if I have two left feet and couldn’t keep up with the cast

                                    73. Muscle Burns Fat—First round finished 1/17/2021

                                    74. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced—First round done on 2/7/2021

                                    75. Let’s Get Up! —Shawn T’s new one; hopefully out fall 2021

                                    76. 9 week control freak off the wall (technically with just dumbbells)

                                    77. Shawn Week

                                    78. 80-Day Obsession

                                    79. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    80. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    81. P90

                                    82. Core de Force

            83. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (practicing and managing 5-8 on my knees)

            84. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            85.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            86.  Hold a 90 second plank

            87.  Meditate nightly—though sometimes it is only for a minute or two. Trying to increase the timing.

            88.  60-80 oz of water a day; this has been more likely 40-60 oz of water daily and sometimes up to 80 oz

            89.  Stretch daily; I do try to stretch nightly, and in the mornings before getting out of bed.

            90. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            91.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            92.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            93.  Finish blog to biz course

            94.  Launch a YouTube channel

            95. Launch an online course

            96. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            97. Rebrand myself (?)

            98. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            99. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            100. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            101. Publish at least two blog series

            102.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        103. Blog

                        104. Instagram

                        105. Facebook pages

                        106. Twitter

                        107. Pintrest

            108. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            109. Various top 10 author lists

            110. Various top 10 book series lists

            111. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            112. Full/New Moon Goals

            113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)—This has been accomplished somewhat, as the current altar is on a bookshelf, so it looks fairly crowded.

            114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings—Have been managing to do this (more or less), though I haven’t shared any of the readings on social media yet.

            115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).

Others–ongoing

            116. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            117. Design a science based board game

            118. Create and update digital vision board

            119. Reorganize my storage unit

            120. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            122. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            123. Develop at least 30 different 30-day challenges. I’ve lowered the number of days for this challenge, but some of the challenges will include:

                        One challenge will be 30 days of iPhone Photography.

            124. Start downsizing rest of my things./ as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) wherever I move for the next job.

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            125. Re-pierce my ears

126. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        127. Present at a scientific conference

            128. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            129. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

            130. Visit at least 3 new countries

            131. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            132. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            133. Visit at least one new zoo

            134. Visit at least one new aquarium

            135. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            136. Visit at least one new city

            137. Visit at least one new state

            138. See the northern lights

            139. Attend at least one blogging conference

            140. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            141. Swim with whale sharks

            142. Parasailing

Once I move:

            143. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            144. New couch & chair for living room

            145. New dresser for bedroom

            146. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            147. New TV & stand

            148. New desk/craft workstation

So I added in another couple of advanced Cheeky courses under the professional development area (and that isn’t even all the advanced Cheeky courses–I have another nine on my list in my notebook), not to mention all the other professional development courses that I’ve bought over the past few years.

Currently my main goals for professional development is to create (or at least start planning) a career that allows for me to make use of my strengths, is potentially remote/online/freelancing, but also would allow me to work ‘in-house’ as well from time to time. I also realize that I haven’t been making as much progress with the various courses (both personal and professional) that I would like, an dwill be working on ways to correct this issue moving forward.

As I write this post, I realize that I really do need to start developing some type of calendar for posts, as I’ve stated that I’m going to write posts (views on different job paths and book reviews), but that is as far as I’ve gotten with certain items–so yet again, problem acknowledged and will be working on correcting this issue as well moving forward.

At the beginning of the year I set up a bingo card of different workout programs that I would like to complete over the next two years, and had set a goal of trying to complete nine of them this year (2021). I’ve realized that I may or may not reach that particular goal–reason, I would rather repeat programs that I enjoyed doing instead of trying to force my way through other programs. I will probably give each program a week or so of time, but if I haven’t gotten into by then I’ll move on to another one. Programs that will probably be repeated: LIIFT4, Morning Meltdown 100, 10 Rounds, and possibly Let’s Get Up (haven’t done this one yet, but like the trainer). Programs that may not be totally completed: Insanity, Insanity Asylum 1 & 2, and possibly Insanity: Max 30; the reason is that these are mainly cardio and at times I get bored with a cardio only (or cardio-heavy) program.

In terms of the direction for my career transition, I’m still leaning in the direction of freelance/remote/online work, with the possibility of some onsite positions as well. Trying to do both (working for myself and a company) would allow me to have interactions with others on a somewhat consistent basis, but also allow me to have a steady second stream of income as well (just in case another pesky pandemic comes along and shuts things down again). I’m also leaning to the more multi-directional approach (such as writing, data analysis, project and/or product management just to name a few ideas), as it appeals to both my mixed-styled multipontialite personality, and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, and ideation).

This means at some point this year (probably closer to fall/winter), I will be changing the name of the blog/site to encompass both aspects of life (personal hobbies and development and the professional development and services offered). I have a couple of ideas bouncing around for a new name and I may post a poll on either Facebook or LinkedIn (or possibly both) to gauge others opinions on the new names.

I’m slowly developing a hybrid editorial/to-be accomplished calendar/list, but still am swinging between being overly ambitious in what I would like to get accomplished for the month, and then falling into analysis/paralysis and not getting anything accomplished for a week or so.

I started using the time management app Self Control to limit the amount of time that I’m spending on social media and other pages, and it has helped (when I remember to turn the app on). As I look ahead to trying to balance various aspects of things I will possibly try to organize my ‘professional/work’ hours to where I’m doing research on topics say Monday & Tuesday, writing the rough drafts and finding images on Wednesday, editing on Thursday, and then publishing on Fridays. This will possibly be the type of schedule I take once I’m really trying to showcase various professional services (such as writing, data analysis or project management projects). I will still be publishing more frequently on the personal/professional development aspects and hobbies (photography, book reviews, course reviews, goals and so forth).

I can say that I am making forward progress, no matter how slow it looks. I’ve found that slow (and the sometimes back-and-forth bounce from comfortable to slightly uncomfortable) is the best, as it usually allows me to notice when my inner critic/imposter syndrome tries to derail me from reaching various goals.

Over the next 100 days, I plan on focusing more on various personal/professional development courses, writing book reviews, course reviews, reading, crafting, and continuing on my health and fitness journey.

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Still impulsively buying books–April ‘limited-spending’ challenge check-in

So it’s time for the fourth check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

A brief recap: I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and splurging throughout teh month), I would instead ‘limit’ the spending. This would be by dividing things into either the ‘needed’ or ‘splurge’ categories–allowing me to acknowledge that I may have forgotten to buy something and allowing me to buy it (say dog treats, personal hygiene items and so forth).

So how did I do in April? Well, I splurged on books again towards the end of the month. I think that part of the splurging was due to seeing that I wasn’t going to have any ‘new’ books download until basically mid-month. So instead of choosing from the hundreds of unread books on my kindle–I bought more.

Splurging on books has always been a problem for me–I like to read, and a book (or series) sounds interesting, I wither will purchase just the first book (and go back and buy the rest later), or go ahead and purchase the entire series. Then the books will sit within my digital to-be-read pile until I get around to reading them.

So what books did I end up buying at the end of the month? They included:

The Hellfire series by Elle James

The Triple Canopy Series by Riley Edwards

Percolate: Let Your Best Self Filter Through by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

How to be Your Own Genie by Radleigh Valentine

Adventures of the Soul by James Van Praagh

The Magic of Unicorns by Diana Cooper

Quiet Influence by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

Creativity Rules by Tina Seelig

Morality Bites series by Ramy Vane

I also bought the rest of the following two series (I had the first two or three books of each): The O’Neils and Hidden Cove Firefighters by Kathryn Shay.

So in addition to all the free e-books (purchased in March and back in December), plus other e-books I’ve splurged on I think that I have enough e-books to get through that I shouldn’t be purchasing any that haven’t already been pre-ordered.

I’ve also realized that by hitting on the various ads for different series on Facebook, I’m allowing my inner critic/imposter syndrome to derail me from the tasks that I had set for the day. Scrolling through social media, amazon, and various other sites while it can be beneficial every so often has actually become detrimental to my ability to stay focused on the tasks at hand (such as research, writing rough drafts, editing, and so forth)–to where I’m actually going to start using various ‘time management’ apps, that will hopefully help me with both time and money management.

While the overall goal for May is to limit the spending–I’m going to say that I’m aiming for only two spend days–the one splurge day I already had, and then the one large amazon order that I’m going to be placing either today or tomorrow.

What are some apps that you use to help with both time and money management?

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