Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Eff Yeah 2013

In keeping with tradition, I am sitting down on December 31 to look back on 2013. (Take a look back at 2011 and 2012 if you wish) For a few months now I have been thinking I cannot wait for 2013 to be over. Lots of hard things have happened in the last few months and I have just been dying for a breath of fresh air. Here's to hoping 2014 has exactly that and much more in store! That said, there was a lot of awesome that took place in 2013 and one of my goals was to keep track of things all year long (thus making this list much easier to write!), so here it is, straight from my iPhone notes to you lovely people.

Eff Yeah 2013 

  • Housewarming Party
  • Successful no unnecessary spending month (ALL the dollars saved!!) 
  • Joined a (short-lived) book club
  • Passed my Praxis 3 pedagogy tests to obtain my five year Minnesota teaching license


  • Successful no alcohol month (many dollars saved!!)
  • Winter trip to Ilse's cabin in Nisswa, Minnesota
  • Minnesota Restaurant Week 
  • Indeed Brewery tour


  • Summit Brewery tour on St. Patrick's Day morning
  • MALLasana - giant yoga class in the rotunda at the Mall of America with Maria
  • Weekend in Sheboygan with Joe and Michael for March Madness


  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in Denver 
  • Long weekend in Denver with Aunt Susie
  • Organized a 20 person summer kickball team at Lake Nokomis
  • Accepted to and attended first ever Cities 97 Singles Mixer with Jess
  • Got my financial life in order, acted like an adult and met with a financial planner
  • Surly Brewing tour with Mom and Dad
  • Twin Cities Ultimate Frisbee spring league with Ilse


  • Needtobreathe in concert at the Orpheum Theater
  • Sara Bareilles in concert at Cedar Cultural Center
  • Run or Dye 5K with Liz and Joe
  • Bought a new bike!! Hello Twin Cities bike trails :) 
  • Learned to operate a grill without blowing anything/anyone up
  • Kenny Chesney and Eric Church in concert at Miller Park with Joe, Megan and Katie


  • Started grad school for a Masters in Education at Hamline University 
  • Grand Ole Day with the family 
  • Danny's high school graduation and open house
  • Music in Mears Park on Thursday nights
  • Minneapolis movies in the park


  • Impromptu Fourth of July trip to Las Vegas
  • John Mayer in concert (for the first time in years) with Katie and Evan at Summerfest
  • Week with the family at Madden's in Brainerd, Minnesota 
  • Rented a pontoon and spent the day on Gull Lake for Michael's 21st birthday
  • Worked the Basilica Block Party beer tent with Mom and met Oake and Keri
  • Matt Nathanson at Basilica Block Party with Mom
  • River Falls Days with Tim, Jamie and Andrew
  • Brett Young in concert in Santa Monica with Kelsi, Sam and Aaron
  • Birthday party with friends and a princess castle in our backyard
  • Second birthday party with California friends
  • Two week road trip with Kelsi along West Coast - California, Oregon and Washington
  • THREE new baseball stadiums visited - Los Angeles Angels, Oakland As, San Francisco Giants
  • Drove through the Redwood Forest
  • Hiked the Columbia River Gorge
  • Dinner in the Space Needle with Papa and Paula

  • Baseball road trip with Joe to Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago White Sox
  • Successful no coffee month (many more dollars saved!!)
  • PLC Workshop with three coworkers in Lincolnshire, Illinois


  • Year five of teaching!!! 
  • Worked as a SIOP instructional coach and PLC leader at school 
  • Celebrated Jenny and Justin's wedding
  • Organized the first school "night out" of the year at a Twins game
  • Overnight with all students and staff at Camp Courage to kick off the school year
  • North Shore weekend with the family
  • Purple Ride Twin Cities to raise money for pancreatic cancer research


  • Celebrated Tim and Jamie's wedding
  • Halloween weekend in Madison with all three brothers
  • Started Soup Club at school


  • Two back-to-back nights of Matt Nathanson concerts with Nicole and Mom
  • Thanksgiving weekend with all the brothers in town
  • Meals on Wheels with Mom and Joe
  • John Mayer in concert at Target Center
  • Katie and Evan come to visit for the weekend 


  • Bachelorette party with coworkers
  • Holidazzle parade with the family
  • Visited Allison and Jesse in Duluth with Bridget
  • Skiing with all three brothers at Welch Village
  • Christmas with both extended families
  • Libby comes to visit for the weekend 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Take Time

When I think of him I will remember the way he talked passionately about politics. The way he hated the idea of girls who only wore yoga pants to Target. The way he embraced learning Spanish and salsa dancing. I will remember how fondly he spoke of his students and the way he paid attention to even the smallest details about them. I will remember that he was always graciously accepting of help and the kind of man who everyone wants to be friends with. I will remember that he could never say thank you enough times when I would plan out a trip or something for us to do in Cali.

Last week my friends and community in Colombia lost an amazing man named David. He is loved and missed by us all. His passing shocked me. Stunned me. All I could do was call Kelsi and just sit on the phone with her for a few minutes.  The news led to an outpouring of emails and messages between friends and former students. All searching for answers that aren't there. How do you explain to teenagers that a man they love and respect as their teacher is no longer here? Remind them he loved being their teacher, that he always spoke fondly of them, and that he was remarkably proud of them. And to admit the painfully obvious that this is hard, I can't explain it and I can't be there to tell them it's going to be okay. It's not okay and I am still processing that.

I came home from work on the day I found out about David to find my roommates AKA friends of 20 years both home. Both waiting to give me a hug. Both without anything special to say other than "I am here". That night I met one of my closest friends, who happened to be in town for a wedding, for a late night drink. We talked about David, life and the reminder to be grateful. To take time for each other. To take time for joy. To take time to notice things. To take time to just be.

This weekend we celebrated to aforementioned wedding. Friends came into town. We celebrated together. We danced together. We laughed together. We just enjoyed each other and the feeling that you can always come home again...and no matter how much changes in life, we will always be here for each other. And I guess that's the take away. It has to be. That when nothing seems to make sense and there is no reason for what happened...that someone, if you're very lucky - lots of someones, will be there to sit with you. Wherever he is right now, I hope David knows how much we loved him and how much he taught us. And wherever you're at right now, with friends, with life, with relationships, with yourself - there is never a bad time to remind people how real your love for them is. Tell them today.

Monday, September 2, 2013

"We'll fade out to whispers, it's the last days of summer in [Minnesota]"

Tomorrow is September 3, 2013.

My fifth "first day of school" as a teacher.

A day of first impressions. A day of greeting new students. A day of helping my international students feel welcome to St. Paul, to Minnesota, and to the United States of America. A day for introductions. A day for reuniting with old faces. A day for "How was your summer?".

My summer was fan-freaking-tastic, thankyouverymuch. I live my life from summer to summer, and this one felt like the very epitome of my personal motto - work hard, play hard. I spent the 2012 - 2013 school year in a new job at a new school that I loved, but which challenged me to teach three new classes to an incredibly diverse population of students with varying levels of English competency. To say I worked hard for ten months seems like a bit of an understatement.

This summer I needed to decompress from that. To remember why working hard all year long is worth it. To remember why it's okay that I take work home five nights a week and every weekend. Of course, the gratification for this comes all school year long when I build relationships with students and guide them in learning. However, I would be lying if I said I didn't need more than that. I need summer. 

Anything can happen in the summer, anything can be. It is a time for frolicking in parks. For swimming in the land of 10,000 lakes. For a new bike and bike rides. For a new passion for running, specifically at twilight. For last minute trips to Las Vegas because you can and you want to and you are surrounded by people who understand your exact brand of wanderlust. For iced chai lattes and getting lost in books like "Gone Girl", "The Happiness Project" and "That Used To Be Us". For a kickball team of 20 amazing people willing to take a chance on a team where they only knew one person, at first. For two week road trips with your best friend to remind you that traveling isn't just something you do from time to time, but a part of your soul. For celebrating your birthday (twice), in two different states. For learning - through reading, through new friends, through making time for input, through educational conferences and starting grad school. For outdoor music at Summerfest and Basilica Block Party. For outdoor movies in the parks throughout Minneapolis. For spending an afternoon on a pontoon boat celebrating your brother's 21st birthday. For yoga in the park. For a birth month that included seeing (almost!) all of your favorite people on the planet. For seeing six new baseball stadiums on your quest to all 30. For dreaming and wishing and hoping. For real talk and real conversations about what the hell you actually want out of life.

I might not have all the answers to those questions yet ever, but I do know this: We don't pause enough. My summer feels (and sounds) like a blur of activity...and it was, in some ways, but more than that it was a pause to realize how blissfully in love I am with my own life. The people in my life are loyal - to me, to each other, to the people they love. They cherish each other. They understand my sense of adventure, my need for community and the thrill I get from trying new things.  They are passionate examples of the life I want and the things I stand for. They encourage me to be Kristin, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. They love fiercely, with hearts open to possibilities. I am lucky, blessed and grateful - all at once.

As I contemplate the transition from summer to fall, my principal reminded us last week that each first day of school is a chance to create a legacy for students. Tomorrow is just day one in another school year where I will have the opportunity to influence the lives of young adults. To show them, as people have shown me, that they matter. Their thoughts, ideas, dreams, fears, feelings, loves, words, passions - they all matter.

Am I sad to say goodbye to such an incredible summer of memories? Of course. But fall means new adventures, new students and new beginnings. A breathe of fresh air after a summer of rejuvenation. Fall 2013, let's do this. (But first, pass the pumpkin spice latte)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

On Passion and Setting Your Life on Fire

Yesterday I returned from an incredibly inspiring three days at the Professional Learning Communities conference for educators. The final presentation I attended, after three days of discussion on collaboration and learning, ended with the presenter telling the audience, "There is no more essential work to be done in the United States right now than in reinvigorating K-12 education. I know this, because if there was, I would be doing that work." He spoke with a fervor and passion about his work as a middle school principal in such a way that left me thrilled for the possibilities brought forth by a new school year.

I live life from summer to summer. The summer I traveled to Spain. The summer my family camped in the Black Hills. The summer I turned 21. The summer I spent two weeks traveling the West Coast. The summer I traveled to Guatemala for the first time. The summer I became friends with Anna and Maria at church camp. The end of summer means a transition. A new beginning. A fresh start. Endless possibilities. Personally and professionally.

Driving home yesterday thoughts of passion and possibilities played in my head as I contemplated where I am at and where I am going. One month from now will be my 5th first day of school as a math teacher. I'm living with two of my very best friends in the world, but with a May 2014 end date in mind as one of them moves on to get married. I have spent the better part of the last year creating a life for myself here in the Twin Cities, rebuilding a support network of friends and family after three years away. I'm happy. There are quiet moments when I look around and cannot believe how incredibly blessed I am with this life. Then there are moments where I am restless. Where I want to know what the next big adventure is and when it starts. Moments where I want more passion, more love, more life....just MORE.

I want sunny skies with a chance of killer tornados, just to keep music (and life!) sounding good. I want to set my life on fire with a passion for living boldly. I am starting that work by getting real clear on what I value and surrounding myself with people who get me and get why these things are important. A work in progress, this list of values currently includes:

  • Learning
  • Passion
  • Reflection
  • Relationships 
  • Health
  • Growth
  • Input
While I focus my energy on getting my own values clear I look forward to conversations with others about what they value and why. The things we value, those things define us, they create our character. Often when asked what defines us we pick adjectives that sound good, things we would like to be, the best versions of ourselves. But these values I want to get clear on aren't what I think I should be or even what others think I should be...these things are the best way I have for describing what is important to me here and now. What are your core values? Let's get talking about it :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

That Little 19 Year Old Pop Star Doesn't Know Anything (Reflections on Sober February)

J Biebs has an entire autobiographical piece entitled "Never Say Never". I know because I once watched it in its entirety due to lack of other things to do on a three hour plane ride from Colombia to Miami.

After completing Goal #2 of my 2013 goals, "Sober February", I am going to be inclined to disagree with him. This will NEVER be a monthly goal again. But not just because IT'S REALLY FREAKING HARD (which it was).

When you're 25 years old and it's February in Minnesota do you know how many social activities there are that involve drinking? A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT OF THEM. In the past month I have said "no" to drinking:

  • Out to dinner with my parents 
  • Out to happy hour with coworkers
  • Out to happy hour with my parents
  • At brewery tours with my brother
  • At social events with friends
  • On Valentine's Day! (the horror)
  • At a beautiful winter cabin in northern Minnesota that literally begs you to drink a dark winter ale in it's presence
  • At more than one wine bar
  • On two different nights when friends were in town visiting me
  • Every single night that my roommates want to sit around, chat & drink red wine (so basically ALL THE NIGHTS)
...and probably a few other instances which I have most likely mentally blocked out. Basically, I said "no, thank you" a lot this month. And what did I do instead?

Drank so much bloody tea that my body doesn't know what to do with itself. And coffee. So. Much. Coffee. To the point of getting a caffeine headache (I have never been addicted to coffee up until this point in my life) on the weekend.  Turns out I have some sort of mental association with socializing with friends or family and holding a cup of something in my hand. Who knew, right?

I guess that is the point of the 2013 goals, really. Not to give something up for a month because it's going to change your whole life, but to try things on and see how they fit. Not drinking anything doesn't really fit in my lifestyle right now, which wasn't that surprising to learn, but I did learn some new things along the way...
  • I spend a lot of money out on drinks when I go out to eat. While I am pretty much done with the college scene of going out to bars for many drinks in a night, I rarely say no to a beer or glass of wine with dinner. Mostly this is fine, because I work hard for my money and I don't go out to eat that often. However, sometimes I could just save $5-10, stick with water and it would be just fine as well. 
  • The older I get the more drinking is becoming something we do while chatting and catching up with each other's lives as opposed to the point of an evening, like it was in college. I like this a lot and I love that I have great friends who want to get together over a glass of something delicious. The hardest part of Sober February was probably making the effort to still meet up with friends who were out at places where drinking would be an option.
  • Our social choices impact others - even though they don't have to. On at least three occasions during Sober February I was out at a restaurant with another person who opted not to drink. Whether these decisions were out of support for me, not wanting to be the only one to order something or some other reason, I am not exactly sure, but these situations happened and I thought it was interesting.
Overall I am going to call this month a great success since I completed it without cheating once!!! And really, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be, but just took a lot of self-discipline that I didn't really know I had. In all honesty, it's incredibly debatable as to if I would have succeeded without having a partner in crime in one of my roommates, Ilse. Without the moral support of someone also making the same decisions as me, I am not sure I would have made it. We barely made it through last Saturday night as it was and even that required making a 10 PM batch of cookie dough which we consumed half of without baking.  Moderation - who needs it?

Sober February was a fun experiment and perhaps No Beer Month or No Wine Month or No Drinking at Restaurants/Bars will be a 2014 goal, but I am not sure No Alcohol Month will ever make it back on the list.. With those thoughts in mind, the last school bell just rang, it's Friday afternoon and I have a very important roommate happy hour date to attend. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day

Towards the end of the school day on Thursday, February 14, another teacher passed by my classroom and commented "Valentine's Day is so hard for some people; there is a girl crying right now in the hallway."

"She needs to get over that."

Weird gut response from me, huh? I recognize that sympathy/empathy are not really my strong suit, so I immediately clarified my comment and said something to the effect of, if you want to have a lovely Valentine's day (or a lovely ANY day!), then you need to go out and make that happen yourself. Don't wait around for someone else to make it happen for you.

For several years now, Valentine's Day has been one of my favorite days to celebrate love, friendship, delicious treats and just an overall reason to wear a fabulous outfit. Even growing up I loved the idea of making yourself a fun, colorful box for all your elementary school classmates to place themed Valentine's and the obligatory candy hearts into. However, after all the fun associated with Valentine's Day as a kid there came a time when I needed to make a decision about what some people still deem a "ridiculous, made-up holiday".

See I was a sophomore in college and got it into my head that it made perfect sense for my boyfriend at the time to drive from his college to mine to celebrate Valentine's Day together. And I fully expected it to happen. The entire day I kept thinking he would show up. Spoiler alert: he didn't. And years later, with hindsight as my friend, my adult self recognizes that it was ridiculous I even expected him too. He never said he was going to and in fact probably had completely legit commitments/reasons why he couldn't. That night however, I remember feeling so let down...like all the sudden all the fun of that day didn't matter because I was disappointed.

I went to bed that night thinking about how I couldn't just sit around and wait for someone to make my day complete, but that I needed to do that for myself. Kind of the same reason why I don't believe in being someone's "better half" because I think a successful relationship involves two wholes, but that's another blog post. ;)

Since that year in college, my Valentine's Days have been about making my own fun.  This year that meant spending a cold day in January sprawled on my bedroom floor with construction paper, stickers, glitter, markers, ribbon and a best friend as we crafted Valentine's for our friends near and far. After mailing my Valentine's in time for a February 14 arrival to places like Brazil, Colombia, Wyoming, California, Indiana, Washington, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

On Thursday I dressed in purple pants and hot pink shirt to head off to school, where I received the most delightful Valentine from one of my students, brought in muffins for my co-workers to share, and handed out Valentine's to all my students that involved Hello Kitty temporary tattoos - because why not? From there, it was off an Inversions Workshop at Core Power Yoga where I played around in headstand and handstand with some of my favorite instructors. AND where all the students did cartwheels across the classroom, all in the name of fun.

Fifteen minutes later I arrived home to the sounds of Michael Jackson music blasting. I walked upstairs to both of my roommates cooking Valentine's dinner (Ilse for me and Liz for her boyfriend) and dancing to Michael Jackson on the Wii. I dropped my bags and joined in immediately - because why not? After the dancing ceased, Ilse and I enjoyed our pesto pasta, green smoothies and tea (since February is no alcohol month) before watching our Red Box pick of the night, Flight. Weird movie, by the way...

Another successful Valentine's Day completed, I headed to bed, reflecting on the idea that in today's world of DIY (thanks, Pinterest) we are so quick to try to build ourselves something pretty out of wine corks and chalkboard paint, yet we don't extend that "do it yourself" attitude to our lives and emotions. And in some ways that reliance on others is necessary, human and just are terrifyingly risky as going it alone, but at the end of the day, if you have already created a great DIY "you" then won't everyone else's contributions just add to make it that much better?

That's my plan.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Goals: Reflections on No Shopping January

{At the beginning of 2013 I made monthly goals for the year. Here are my thoughts on January's goal.}
Image credit here.
The Mall of America kind of kills me with its never-ending commercialism and the fact that you I can never just go there for one thing. I mean, yes it's a lovely place to take people who have never been to Minnesota and it is a convenient one-stop-shop when you need a lot of things... like a winter wardrobe upon returning from a warm weather country for the last three years.

However, in general, I do not need a lot of things, so not going to the Mall of America and shopping there during the month of January wasn't actually that hard. (Expect when Victoria's Secret would not cut it out with the Semi-Annual Sale emails, but I digress.) ANYWAY - so No Shopping January in relation to clothes and shopping at stores at malls, not really a problem.

Then there's Target. The magical land of some things you need and everything else never knew you needed in your life but now you 100% need it because it's cute/on sale/you know someone who has it/it's been a rough week so you owe it to yourself/insert your own justification here. I think Target's entire marketing scheme is built upon getting you in the door for things you actually need (electronics, groceries, home goods, etc.) and then taunting you with all the adorable things they have. And well done, Target, well done, because it's totally working. That and the dollar section. Don't even get me started on the dollar section.

Upon moving into my friend Liz's new house at the end of December we both promptly spent at least $200 on our first roommate Target run. $200! Each! In one day! And yes, now we have cute red canisters to store flour, sugar, etc. and an adorable wine rack and shelves for the bathroom and more than one box of 16 individual Chai Latte Keurig cups (what? they were on sale!) and all right, fine, I did buy 3 boxes of Triscuits in one trip, but I mean REALLY - $200? Our combined $400 of Target stuff didn't even fill up her car. I feel like $400 of stuff should fill your car - right?

After that gem of an experience I entered No Shopping January, wherein I spent $92.29 AKA less than $100 IN AN ENTIRE MONTH at Target. Not only that, I only went to Target TWICE, once for groceries, which is why I still spent money there even during No Shopping month and once for Valentine's supplies. Essential because Valentine's are pretty AND sending Valentine's to friends is another 2013 goal, so you know, I had to do it. Plus, all my Valentine's supplies were bought in, you guessed it, the dollar section.  In addition to this, I only spent $17 at Kohls, my other form of suburban shopping kyptonite, on a Pyrex baking dish that we legitimately did need in order to cook things.

After all those observations, here are my key takeaways from No Shopping January.

  1. I am not a "shopper" in general so when I do need something, I usually go to the place where I need it, get the thing and get it over with. This is good because it doesn't lead to lots of impulse Mall of America trips.
  2. I am so gullible into a "good deal" it's not even funny. Buy two 24-pack rolls of toilet paper and get a $5 Target gift card? Yes please. Buy three boxes of Triscuits for $7? OF COURSE.  Some of this is good, when it comes to buying things that I would purchase regardless of the deal or not, but as with all things - only in moderation.
  3. Sale? Did I hear you it's on sale? One of the hardest moments of No Shopping January was when my friend Ilse found a (cute, naturally) workout shirt on sale at Target in an equally adorable color that I also happened to love. She bought it. I wanted to run back and get one for myself. I didn't because of No Shopping January. I would like to say I didn't because I literally have a stack of workout shirts at home, but baby steps, baby steps.
  4. The ability to grocery shop at Target is DANGEROUS because once I have the essential food I came for, I am promptly browsing the dollar section for nothing I need in life.
  5. When you think longer about your purchases and where your money is going, you end up making more informed purchases for well-made products rather than last-minute purchases for so-so products. No brainer, right? Right.
Stay tuned for my thoughts on Sober February wherein I do not get to use the 10 wine glasses I bought in December because they were in the Target dollar section.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

At the End of the Day

Friendships are funny sometimes most times. We call each other on the phone. We text. We Facebook each other when things remind us of the other person. We get together. We make time for each other in our busy schedules. We talk about what's happening at work, at home, with our families, with our friends, in the latest television show... We talk about our dreams, our fears, our failures, and our successes. 

But we don't talk about it all.

In those quiet moments are all the things we don't say. The things we can't put words to because we haven't even truly admitted them to ourselves yet. The scary parts that we don't want to tell our loved ones because saying them aloud makes them real.

In the past few months I have had several grounding conversations with friends - either about my own life or theirs that have left me with the overwhelming reminder that we never truly know the innermost happenings of each other's lives unless we sit down and practice some radical honesty. All of these conversations have happened out of moments where we have slowed down enough to get beyond the chit-chat, beyond the surface conversations... to what is really happening. 

Why does it take us so long to get there? 

Why is it so hard to tell our self-proclaimed "best friends" the truth, even when it's ugly? 

There is a quote from Grey's Anatomy that says: "At the end of the day, there are some things you just can't help but talk about. Some things we just don't want to hear and some things we say because we can't be silent any longer. Some things are more than what you say. They're what you do. Some things you say because you have no other choice. Some things you keep to yourself. And not too often, but every now and then, some things simply speak for themselves."

There are a lot of things that I feel good at, but being a honest, loyal friend is something I pride myself on. In 2013 I want to be proud of the friendships I maintain because they are real, no BS, and full of rich conversations about even the messiest parts of life. Life is inevitably messy for all of us sometimes and if we cannot be truly honest with our closest friends about it, then where does that leave us?

I would say it leaves us feeling pretty damn lonely sometimes, and in the spirit of less fear and more love in 2013, I am aiming for real. I am aiming for honest. I am aiming for acceptance.

Open up to your friends. Be the type of friend your friends can open up to. At the end of the day, say the things you are scared of saying, because that moment when you push beyond the fear of what they will say is the exact moment you free yourself from the loneliness of not saying it at all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcoming 2013 with JOY!

"Less fear, more love."

My yoga teacher finished class last night with this simple sentence followed by the traditional "Namaste". I walked out of class repeating it to myself in my head thinking about all the crazy things we do out of fear - fear of the unknown, fear of judgment (even from ourselves), fear of failing, fear of disappointing people, fear of not being good enough... I also thought about all the things we do out of love and all the crazy, amazing, cool places love can lead us.

My word for 2013 is joy. I want a life filled with more laughter, more smiles, more kind hellos, more goose-bump-inducing moments of pure happiness - more joy. In 2012 my word was presence  and I focused on slowing down and enjoying moments as they happened. I still need to work on that to make it part of my daily life, but in addition to that, in 2013 I want to see all the beautiful joy in my daily life.

Just like my 2012 goals, I decided on eight themes and then created three goals within each theme.  I love goal setting because the idea of small goals along the way to my bigger life dreams is a great way to keep myself on track. And yes, I do have a Type A personality, thankyouverymuch.

This year's themes are:
  • Personal
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Finances
  • Professional
  • Travel
  • Health
  • Community
Some of my favorite mini-goals within these themes are:
  • Planning & hosting a "Friendsgiving" party in Minnesota next Thanksgiving
  • Attend a math conference - NCTM (in Denver!) in April here I come!
  • Master handstand to chaturanga in yoga without feeling like I am crashing back down to earth at rapid fire speed
  • Go one month without coffee & one month without alcohol (obviously not the same month because HELLO - the goal of goals is to make them challenging yet attainable)
As I started to finish my goals, I realized there was more I wanted to do and more I could do to put myself on track for more joy and less fear, so I decided on having monthly goals as well. These are things I have long wanted to do/try but haven't made into goals due to the fear (told you, it's always there) of not being able to do them for an entire year. So in 2013 - I am starting with just 30 days. Or 28 days days as is the case with February, and you bet I thought about that when I picked it to be no alcohol month.  My months will look like this:
  • January – No new clothes/shoes/accesories 
  • February – No alcohol
  • March – Vegetarian 
  • April – No restaurant food 
  • May – Farmers market 1x/week
  • June – walk/run 2x/week 
  • July – Volunteer 1x/week
  • August – No coffee
  • September – Yoga everyday
  • October – Read everyday
  • November – No bar food
  • December - Random Acts of Kindness
I also have a complete list of my 2013 goals to hang in places like my bedroom, closet door, etc. However, in the recent weeks this discussion of goal-setting has sparked long, intense, crazy-soul-fulfilling conversations with friends and I don't think I will have any problems with accountability this year! In fact, several friends share some of my same goals and/or have goals of their own that I will be checking in with as well. I love it when like-minded people get together and kick things into action.

So with that, here's to making 2013 a year of JOY-filled moments.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Eff Yeah 2012

2012 ended up being a year of massive changes in my life and when I sat down to reflect upon it, I realized I couldn't be happier with how it all turned out. Before looking ahead to some 2013 goal planning, I copied what I did last year, and wrote down all the awesome stuff that happened this year. Without further introduction, here is a list of some of my favorite 2012 memories/accomplishments... 

2012 Eff Yeah List
  • Traveled to Argentina 
  • Finally got my "Imagine" tattoo
  • Surprised my friend Kelsi on her 30th birthday in San Diego
  • Spent one last weekend in Bogota with my closest Colombia friends before leaving
  • Bogota Beer Company brewery tour
  • Valentine's Day dinner at Platillos Voladores with Kelsi
  • Blogged for Proexport Colombia
  • Moved home to the United States in five suitcases 
  • Moved in with my two best childhood friends
  • Bought my first car - 2012 Honda Civic
  •  Applied & networked like crazy to land a teaching job in St. Paul, Minnesota working with international students
  • Owned my food choices (AKA stopped caring if other people think its weird to pack your lunches, make overnight oats, and put spinach in smoothies)
  • Attended the first ever concert at Target Field
  • Organized & rocked a Pedal Pub for my 25th birthday
  • Was a bridesmaid in Anna & Andy's wedding
  • Attended & made it to the end of the going away party in Colombia
  • Teacher of the Year at 8th Grade graduation at my previous school
  • Attended Carnaval de Barranquilla
  • Visited friends Alex & Lindsey in Laguna Beach
  • Surprised my friend Liz with the return of our mutual friend Ilse from the Peace Corps in Uganda
  • Mastered the solo date
  • Skied at Lutsen for the first time in years
  • Mountain biked in Colorado
  • Water skied in northern Minnesota for the first time in years
  • Bought a Canon Rebel to start getting serious with photography
  • Attended yoga classes 3-4 times per week back in Minnesota
  • Joined a book club

New Year, New Blog

Welcome to Outside the Lines!

For those of you coming over from my previous blog, Coffee, Calculations and Colombia, thanks for continuing to read along! When I started blogging in April 2009, I was a college senior at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse about to embark on a journey of living and teaching abroad in Cali, Colombia for three years. That experience led to many adventures, great friends, incredible travel experiences and invaluable life lessons - all of which you can read about over at that blog.

However, upon returning home to Minnesota in June 2012, I needed to find a new home for my writing. After a semester of re-adjusting to life back in the United States, it's time I finally created that new online space. Friends and readers alike have been asking me about the future of my blog/writing over the last few months, so after several conversations, here is Outside the Lines.

The nature of this blog - what I will write about, how often I will write, etc. are still kind of up in the air. However, I don't want to get caught in the trap of "I don't have anything to say" and/or the (very real) feeling that the longer I put something off, the harder it is to begin again. So without knowing all the answers up front, I am just going to start.

Thanks for joining me :)