Fall Bucket List: 23 Fun Things to Do in Autumn

Autumn is coming! After such a hot San Diego summer, Ashley (my fabulous roommate) and I are so ready for fall. What better way to get into the spirit than to compile a list of fun things to do in the fall?! I made it generic so anyone, anywhere could enjoy this list.

 

Fall Bucket List

Download as a PDF: Fall Bucket List

Pumpkin spice all the things!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

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San Diego Dozen: Space Shuttle Endeavor

Today is my 31st birthday, and also the deadline for my San Diego Dozen to-do list. I fell short of completing all the items, but hope to complete a couple more in the coming weeks/months.

About a month ago I went to karaoke at Tremont Bar & Grill in Oceanside. I had fun with my friends, but will spare you evidence of this task. It was truly painful when I took to the mic.

Last week my new roommate Ashley and I went up to LA so that I could see the space shuttle Endeavor. We made a whole little list of things to do while we were up there and had a great time.

I didn’t know a lot about the Endeavor, but I had seen it on the news when they brought it to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. I thought it was amazing that they could load a space shuttle on top of an airplane and fly it across the country.

In the exhibit, I stood slack-jawed as I watched footage of Endeavor’s first journey into space in 1987. I don’t recall a time when I’d ever viewed a launch, despite the frequent activity of Endeavor and other space shuttles throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Do they just not show it on the news anymore? It is so incredible to know that humans have dreamed of going beyond our atmosphere to discover what else the universe holds, and then designed and created the vehicles to get us there. Simply amazing.

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The Space Shuttle Endeavor

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One of the engines, with Ashley for scale.

It only costs $2 to see the shuttle, so if you have a chance, check it out! The rest of the Science Center is completely free, and there are several cool exhibits.

I hope to go to the bicycle races next week and do an escape room experience in the coming months.

Til next time!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

San Diego Dozen

  1. Take swing dancing lessons
  2. Go to Vegas
  3. Bike Point Loma
  4. Walk a 5k for a cause
  5. Escape Room
  6. Fun run 5k
  7. Watch the bike races at the Velodrome in Balboa Park
  8. Karaoke
  9. See the Space Shuttle Endeavor in LA
  10. Try African dancing
  11. LIPS drag club
  12. Hike Cuyamaca

 

 

Set Sail, San Diego!

Back in June, my aunts Mari and Kathi came to town to visit Grandpa. As an early Father’s Day celebration, they treated us to a brunch cruise through Hornblower San Diego. The company was very accommodating with Grandpa in a wheelchair, and the staff were all very sweet and welcoming.

As soon as we boarded, they handed us champagne (or sparkling cider, if you prefer). We settled at our table, but couldn’t resist the tables overflowing with food! There were plenty of scrumptious selections to choose from. As you can expect, I ate too much. I think it’s safe to say we all did. The food was really quite delicious. One of my favorites was a French toast bake that had chocolate and berries!

It was a lovely day to cruise around San Diego Bay. The yacht sailed out to the Coronado Bridge and back.

We even saw an insane $150m yacht! It had a helicopter on the back!!!

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Tickets start at $64.95 pp for the brunch but it would be worth looking into Goldstar or Groupon for a deal. While I highly recommend the brunch, they also have dinner cruises as well as Happy Hour cocktail cruises. A great way to celebrate something special!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

Brave the Night: The Neon Run

Dozen

Saturday night my friend Danielle and I headed south to Qualcomm Stadium to participate in a fun 5k. Decked out in tutus that I made (super easy and fun!), we adorned ourselves in glow-stick bracelets and necklaces.  

They had a DJ and emcee to get the crowd pumped. Then we warmed up with some girls from Zumba Fitness. It was a pretty clever and fun way to warm up, since it was more like dancing. Unfortunately, it was still light out, so it was another hour until we ran (we ended up in the 3rd/final wave). Our muscles were cold again when we started running.

I am not a runner. I tried a few years ago to get in shape with the Couch-to-5K app, and the most I could run in the allotted 30 minutes was 2 miles. I would be sweating profusely at the end of the 30 minutes and didn’t lose any weight through the process. I decided then that running was not for me. I felt like I could walk faster. As a result, I haven’t run in at least 3 years. At all.

jogging

I signed up for The Neon Run with only two weeks to “train.” I didn’t bother. I wasn’t even doing my cardio workout in those two weeks. Instead, I’ve been doing some lower and upper body workouts that are kicking my butt! The lower body one is basically 20 minutes of squats with weights. The upper body one really has my arms sore, but my biceps are noticeably bigger – pretty sweet since I’ve only done the workout 4 times!

Danielle and I went into the 5k with every intention of alternating between jogging and walking. Surprisingly, we ran the whole way! Once I got to a certain point, I was willing to push myself to see if I could make it through. I didn’t want to give up. One of the other runners commented that it helps her to be running in a group because it’s more motivating. Peer pressure working for the good of all!  

After the run, the music and dancing continued into the night. It started to feel really young all of a sudden, with so many families there. We decided it was time to head out, around 9:30pm. We celebrated our achievement the California way – with cheeseburgers from In-N-Out! Yummmmm.

Several of the items on this list were designed to get me out of my comfort zone and to challenge me – I’m really proud that I stuck with this challenge and didn’t give up!  I’d definitely consider doing another fun 5K like this. Apparently, I missed a Donut 5K in Irvine the following day. Put that on the calendar for next year!

I’m halfway through the list! On to the next challenge!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

San Diego Dozen

  1. Take swing dancing lessons
  2. Go to Vegas
  3. Bike Point Loma
  4. Walk a 5k for a cause
  5. School of Hard Locks
  6. Fun run 5k
  7. Watch the bike races at the Velodrome in Balboa Park
  8. Karaoke
  9. See the Space Shuttle Endeavor in LA
  10. Try African dancing
  11. LIPS drag club
  12. Hike Cuyamaca

 

30 Days of Calm, Part 2

How is it already May?! I finished my 30 Days of Calm challenge and overall I feel more relaxed and prone to smiling. 🙂

4/16 Using three blank pieces of paper, write about whatever comes to mind. Today I got emotional when listening to a rendition of Nowhere Man by the Beatles. “He’s a real Nowhere Man, sitting in his Nowhere Land/ Making all his nowhere plans for nobody/Doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he’s going to/Isn’t he a bit like you and me?” Suddenly I felt, “Isn’t he a bit like me?” I felt like Nowhere Girl. I’m not ready to discuss the further details of why I was feeling this way, but it was good to get it down on paper. Well, actually, I typed it.

4/17 Take a nature break. Today I headed to a very nearby hike – the volcano! Yes, there’s a volcano, or at least what remains of one, only 5 minutes from my house. Isn’t that cool?! It last erupted about 15-20 million years ago! The Calavera Preserve is a vast area with tons of trails, making it a great place to hike and explore. The view at the top can’t be beat – you get to look out at the ocean, from Oceanside to Carlsbad.  

4/18 Ground yourself. This one’s aim is to focus on movement: feeling your muscles as you move, connecting with the ground. I thought I’d feel every muscle today as I woke up early to do a new lower body workout. I definitely felt my body during the workout. Surprisingly, I was not in pain the rest of the day!

4/19 Be thankful. Well the pain I thought I’d experience yesterday, I felt today! I woke up sore and decided to do some yoga to stretch out and alleviate my aching muscles. Still I am grateful for the ache. It means I am getting stronger. I’m proud of myself for getting up early to exercise. I’m grateful I have the day off, so I can take my time in the morning to read, and then do yoga. And it’s Tuesday! I’m grateful that tonight I get to hang out with cool girls and enjoy Taco Tuesday. I’m grateful I live in a beautiful place that understands the importance of tacos and celebrates them weekly. 😉 I’m grateful that I end my Tuesday evenings with my intermediate Lindy Hop dance class, enjoying the company of others, learning new skills, and being active.

4/20 Eat mindfully. I’ve been completely obsessed with overnight oats lately. It’s such a quick and easy breakfast, packed with protein (Greek yogurt). For dinner tonight I made a steak stir-fry. Love the bright red of the bell peppers and the green of the sugar snap peas! Healthy and flavorful.   

 4/21 Today is for music. Working as a music teacher, every day is for music. But today especially so. After teaching at school, I taught three piano lessons. I made plans in the evening to go to a show in Normal Heights with my friends Vina and Ronald. They introduced me to one of their favorite bands, The Dustbowl Revival. They are a mix of bluegrass, blues, early jazz and gospel. That may sound weird, but it totally works. There’s nothing quite like live music to make your heart happy.

4/22 Be patient. As much as I wanted to go out swing dancing tonight, I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I was still tired from staying out at the show last night and I am waking up tomorrow morning bright and early to go to Disneyland! Sometimes it’s best to limit yourself so that you don’t overdo it. Glad I did, because I was already falling asleep by 9!

4/23 Abstain from social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or any other social app. Who needs to be online when you can be in the world, more specifically, in the Happiest Place on Earth?! Today I went to Disneyland with my friend Cristi and her husband Michael. We had so much fun taking awkward third-wheel photos. It was hysterical!

  What a perfect day to abstain from social media and just enjoy being with friends. I was extra-glad I wasn’t on my phone because it turned out that our trip to Disney caused some drama back in Oceanside. Initially, I had extended the invitation to two other friends (and their hubbies), but one couldn’t make it. Then the other friend started ruining meetups with her bad attitude, so I didn’t want to deal with that. I just made plans with Cristi. Well. We both received bitter, angry Facebook messages from our toxic friend. I understand that her feelings were hurt but to claim that she’s always been kind and supportive is far from the truth. Plus, she threw every insult she could into that email, so it doesn’t exactly suggest she’s a kind person. She unfriended me (before I even read the message since I wasn’t going to check it until the next day) and kicked me out of one of our meetup groups. I left the other group. Needless to say, I am not sorry to have her out of my life.

4/24 Today is about acceptance. It’s sad to accept that my first friend in Southern California is no longer a part of my life, but it really wasn’t a healthy relationship. I’ve since put together a group of girls I’ve met through those meetups we ran. Excited to be surrounding myself with nicer girls!

4/25 Pay attention to your thoughts. Today I had future job ideas on my mind. I would love to find something that aligns with my passions while earning me a decent income. My school job no longer satisfies, as I often feel unsupported by the administration and disrespected by teachers and students alike. My studio job is better, so I’m thinking about trying to build that into something full-time. I would also enjoy making things to sell online, but I’m not sure if it would be a viable/reliable source of income.

4/26 Be bored. Oy, today was a doozy. I had to spend my afternoon off down in San Diego at a training. My team of teachers have been asked forced by the principal to teach BizTown curriculum to fifth grade, instead of our respective subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Music, and Games). It was so boring watching this PowerPoint presentation on something I do not want to teach. I’m a music teacher, not an economics teacher! Plus, it’s a lot of work to prep (3) 1-hour lessons to be taught Wednesday mornings. Ugh. I spent the meeting trying to do the math and figure out how to structure it so that we cover all 12 lessons in the next 5 weeks. Good thing I spent the rest of the evening figuring it out, since no one else bothered to. Music teachers = problem solvers!

4/27 Breathe. I picked a bad day for this one. I’ve been doing aerobics in the morning and I’m now at the “high-intensity” level. It really gets my heart pumping and gets me breathing deep. I open up my French door to get some cool air in, and unfortunately, it let in the second-hand smoke of my disgusting housemate. So much for trying to be healthy!

4/28 Relish small pleasures. Today at work my Secret Pal surprised me with a fancy bottle of Virgil’s Root Beer. I had plans to watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with a friend this afternoon, so I picked up vanilla ice cream so we could enjoy root beer floats while laughing at the show. Something small but enjoyable to perk up a Thursday afternoon!

4/29 Watch the snow fall. Well, we don’t get snow in San Diego. We don’t even get much rain. But it sprinkled a little bit on my way home from swing dancing this week. Not enough to wash my filthy car; just enough to make it dirtier. But I like to think of how the rain cleanses the earth for a fresh start in the morning. Can’t believe May is just around the corner!

4/30 Turn off all screens for the day. Ok, I cheated first thing in the morning by checking my phone, then doing my aerobics DVD on the laptop. But really my goal was to enjoy a Saturday without spending excessive time on my phone, checking Facebook or playing games. I was super productive! I cleaned my room, went grocery shopping, made two kinds of salsa to take to a beach bonfire, gave myself a pedicure, read my book, prepped materials for school. Everything else on my to-do list required a computer. So I took a nap! Haha. I think this would be a really great challenge for people who are prone to Netflix binges on the weekend. Personally, I don’t have this problem because I don’t have a TV or Internet in my room! I got 99 problems, but disconnecting from technology ain’t one!

 

I hope you’re inspired to try a few of these ideas to bring some calm into your life. Most of them come down to making authentic connections with the people around you, finding time for the things you enjoy, and reflecting.

Stay Calm and Be Kind to Yourself!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

30 Days of Calm, Part 1

April is here! This year has flown by so fast. I have 7 more weeks of work, then my schedule lightens up significantly. I can’t wait! 🙂

I have felt so stressed out as of late. I have a lot going on at work, I picked up a second job teaching private lessons at a local music studio, and I am working hard on my coursework to clear my teaching credential. I got my big project done over spring break, so that I could come home to San Diego and have more time for relaxing and taking part in all the fun activities there are down here!

While home, I made a stop at the Elk Grove Vitamin Shoppe. They have the best prices on essential oils, so I love to get a few when I’m there. I just made a sugar scrub that has orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. They call the scent combination “Cheer Up, Buttercup!” It’s a lovely, citrus-y way to greet the day. They gave me a magazine called Good Health Lifestyles and I’ve been inspired by one of the articles.

It’s called “Cultivate Your Calm: 30 Days of Mindfulness.” I’ve been making an effort to choose one of the ideas each day to create more peace in my life. Here’s how the first week went!

4/1 Appreciate a pet. Spring break included family time with my parents, sister, and extended family, but let’s face it – I went home for the dog. If you have a beloved Fido, think about how much you enjoy seeing him, spending time with him. Now imagine having to live 450 miles away from your dog, and only seeing him a few times a year. Now you know my pain! Over the week, I took so many pictures, Pippen would see me hold up my phone and would immediately stop being cute or turn away. The dog does not appreciate my paparazzi skills! I delighted in taking him for walks, along with his cousin dog Bentley. I even found Pippen to be completely adorable at 5:30am when I took him downstairs for breakfast and he was prancing all over the family room. How I wish I had video of that! That little dog has no idea how happy he makes me.


4/2 When you interact with others today, let go of how they may affect you. On this day, I really just tried to leave the past in the past and start with a clean slate in how I interacted with people.

4/3 Do something new. Sunday = board games! I tried some new games today with friends. I enjoyed Paperback, Burgle Bros., and Havoc & Hijinks.

4/4 Find out the exact moment of sunset in your area. I could see the sky changing through the French doors, and walked outside to watch as the sun sank down behind the trees.


4/5 Make something. I made a lot! Love my Tuesdays off! It is so nice to have the time to make a nice lunch to enjoy. I made these delicious spring rolls. So easy.


Ingredients:


 Slice up the veggies into thin strips, chop up the kale and cilantro. Boil the rice noodles. Then you wet the rice paper in a pan of water (I used a large pie pan), place on a cutting board, top with your veggies and roll it like a burrito! So simple, but just the right meal for the spring and summer, when you want something cool and crisp. I made a peanut sauce too with this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I also made a cute sheet music banner to put up for Open House and school. I am completely in love with it. Thanks to my friend Emma, who gave me the old music! 

 I also have been obsessed with these watercolor papers from Julie Comstock. You can find them at Joanns, perhaps Michaels and Hobby Lobby (I haven’t looked). There are words and pictures that are in a resist so that the paint goes around them. Just learn some simple watercolor techniques and you can make some really cool art!  4/6 Today, as you work, take a moment to think not about the task, but about those who will benefit from your task, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. This first week back after Spring Break has actually been really good. I’ve got a new batch of students, and I’m trying to be happier and more playful in class. I’m trying to be sensitive to their needs over my goals. I know we need to cover the rules since it’s day 1 for them, but I get them singing and moving first to bring some smiles and draw their focus. Hope this holds out!

4/7 Take a mindful coffee break. Mine was a hot chocolate break, at school. I keep a few packets of Swiss Miss in my room for rainy days. 🙂

4/8 Forgive. So there was a guy I went on a few dates with, but I haven’t heard from him in about 2 weeks. He’s a great swing dancer, and twice we had gone dancing together. Friday night I went swing dancing as I usually do. And there he was. To be honest, I was losing interest in him anyway, so I didn’t really feel hurt that I hadn’t heard from him. I danced with a bunch of guys, then walked over and asked him to dance. I pretended like we were just friends, and so did he. Oh well. Moving on.

4/9 For two minutes today, take a serenity break. I’ll do you one better, I took a 5-minute break! I can’t say enough great things about the Calm app. It guides you through 2, 5, 10 minute meditations. I absolutely love it. Sometimes I’ve used it to help me get to sleep.

4/10 Go to the water. The ocean has a calming effect for most people. I took full advantage of living on the California coast and walked along the Carlsbad beaches with my friend David. At the turn-around point, we paused to admire the beauty of the shoreline and watch the waves.  4/11 When you drive today, notice your reactions to other cars traveling with you. This morning I was running a wee bit late, but not quite enough to be in full-on panic mode. Plus, I’ve been more relaxed about my teaching lately, so I didn’t feel super pressured to get there quickly. Either I got lucky, or my calm demeanor conversed with the universe, and I got to school in 15 minutes. It was so easy. Other mornings I’m running late, panicking, and there are accidents and jams along my route. Then after school I went to the library and got annoyed with the people clogging up the parking lot. But on my drive home after teaching my saxophone student, I wasn’t concerned with rushing home and the commute was easy. At 5:45pm. Quite the blessing.

4/12 Insert pauses into your day. I was so productive on my day off. I did laundry, bought groceries, prepped food for the week, made these amazing Rice Krispie treats with browned butter and cinnamon, and went to dance class! Between tasks, I was sure to pause and relax a moment.

4/13 Listen with attention. I made an extra effort to listen to my students during the day, my coworkers in the afternoon, and my baking friends in the evening. Good listening skills are lacking in today’s world, but so important to making people feel valued.

4/14 Grab some colored pencils and color. I LOVE my adult coloring books. I haven’t touched them in a while because once I start I have trouble stopping. But I really needed the color therapy today so out they came. Love it!

4/15 Practice silence. I love music. I have it on all the time. And then I make music all day at work! Strangely, when I came home today I didn’t turn the stereo on. I decided to embrace the silence. Sitting in my chair, with the French door open, I could hear the leaves rustling in the breeze, and the traffic of the 78 in the distance. Luckily, the trees were louder than the traffic!

Part 2 of this list coming soon!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

LIPS San Diego: The Ultimate in Drag Dining

Valentine’s Weekend, I found myself checking another item off this year’s list, The San Diego Dozen. A Meetup group of girls, new friends and old, were headed to LIPS, San Diego’s drag queen dinner theater. I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

 

The neighborhood is sketch, naturally. The inside of the club is crowded and lavishly decorated, in true, over-the-top, drag fashion. We made our way to the bar, where I enjoyed a mango slushie (non-alcoholic) in a souvenir cup. We made our way to the table and chatted while the drag queens took food orders and we waited for the show to begin. We waited a while. They sat us around 9pm, and the show started a little after 10pm. I don’t know what goes through most people’s heads while surrounded by drag queens, but most of our conversation revolved around trying to “figure out” the queens. How do they have hips? How do they have a waist? Leave it to the ladies to be wondering how it is that males are flaunting more flattering figures than us!

 
The show consisted of the various drag queen servers taking turns in elaborate outfits, lip-synching and dancing. It was pretty entertaining. In between acts, the emcee would have little jokey bits and activities for birthday celebrators, bachelorettes, and the like. My favorite parts were when the queens would harass the men in the audience. Let’s be honest – 90% of the men in attendance were either offensive or sleezy. So it was awesome to see them uncomfortable. That being said, I would not recommend going to LIPS if you are a man. The advice of the emcee: act gay. Then they won’t bother you. Ha!

 
Being a Saturday night, we each paid a $10 cover, and there was a (suggested?)$15 minimum food purchase. My friend Cristi and I planned to split two $15 dishes: the appetizer sampler and the dessert sampler. I had eaten dinner beforehand since the event was so late. By the time I intended to order the dessert sampler (which I was of course really looking forward to), it was too late and they were clearing the table and bringing the check! Since it was a Meetup, I felt responsible to pay the $25 I was expecting to pay (between the cover and food), even though I wasn’t billed for the food. Somehow we still ended up short on the check, which is irritating, and I was a little miffed that I paid $31.50 (including my drink with the rest), to sip on a slushie and watch drag queens lip-sync to pop music. And then I was the only one who pitched in for gas in our car. Oh well.

Overall, I would say that I don’t feel a need to go again. But if my friends from back home wanted to check it out, I’d go. It’d be funny to go on a night when they do their celebrity impressions. I feel like that’s a classic drag queen show.

 Another check on the list! Almost halfway!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

San Diego Dozen

  1. Take swing dancing lessons
  2. Go to Vegas
  3. Bike Point Loma
  4. Walk a 5k for a cause
  5. School of Hard Locks
  6. Fun run 5k
  7. Watch the bike races at the Velodrome in Balboa Park
  8. Karaoke
  9. See the Space Shuttle Endeavor in LA
  10. Try African dancing
  11. LIPS drag club
  12. Hike Cuyamaca

 

It Don’t Mean a Thing – If It Ain’t Got That Swing!

Dozen

This blog post is so long overdue!

Back in October and November, I decided to take beginning Lindy Hop dance lessons through 2toGroove. The classes were held on Tuesday nights at the Dance for 2 studio in Clairemont Mesa. There was a deal on for beginners – $69 for the 8 weeks, plus 3 free passes to the Friday night social dance (a $27 value total). So it came out to less than $6 a class, what a deal!

I don’t remember when I started swing dancing, but it was probably sometime in high school. I’ve been dancing basic East Coast swing for a long time, since I’m now 30! After years of going to Midtown Stomp in Sacramento, I could do the basic rock-step and a few different turns. Now that I’ve found a place to dance here, I decided to step it up and learn some new moves!

We began the 8-week course covering all the basics, but it was good to sharpen my technique and frame. By the last few weeks, I finally covered new ground – the swing out and adding style with swivels. I’m still a little rusty on my swing outs and trying to read the lead’s signals and know that he wants a swing out! I think with a bit more practice I’ll be ready for the intermediate class in March or April.

I had so much fun going to class each week, making new friends, and dancing the evening away! The teachers are really fantastic and I highly recommend them! Here is a not-so-great video of Lewis and me practicing our swing outs. I wanted to get a better video, showing all our moves, which is why I procrastinated so long on this post. But, alas, I never made another video. This will have to do!

Check it out here!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick

 

San Diego Dozen

  1. Take swing dancing lessons
  2. Go to Vegas
  3. Bike Point Loma
  4. Walk a 5k for a cause
  5. School of Hard Locks
  6. Fun run 5k
  7. Watch the bike races at the Velodrome in Balboa Park
  8. Karaoke
  9. See the Space Shuttle Endeavor in LA
  10. Try African dancing
  11. LIPS drag club
  12. Hike Cuyamaca

 

 

C’Mon Get Happy, Part 2

happiness2

In this post, I’ll give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how my Happiness Project went.

Background: In January of 2015, I was still very much depressed and heartbroken after being dumped 2 months before by my boyfriend of 3 years, who I had sacrificed everything for – moving 450 miles from home, taking a part-time job (that keeps me living below poverty level), giving up the chance for my dream job back home – all because I believed he was the one and I wanted to give our relationship the chance it deserved. Well, needless to say, he did not feel the same way. He was wishy-washy before the move, and I turned a blind eye because I was so desperate to move someplace new and start my life. Anyways…. Fast-forward to January: depressed, lonely, devastated, hopeless. What had become of the vivacious, independent, brave young woman I had become before meeting Sean? She was lost, and broken. I wanted that adventurous girl back, desperately. I decided it was time to get my life on track and move forward!

January: Mindfulness

Success! I did a 30-day “cleanse” of Sean – no contact, got the last of my stuff from his apartment, returned my key. Decided we would NOT be friends after all. Any time negative thoughts surfaced, I used the Calm app to meditate for 5 minutes, which really helped clear my mind. I kept my schedule super busy, made new friends, and caught up on movies through the library.

February: Relationships

Mildly successful. Took the concept of “Treat Yo’ Self” (from the TV show Parks and Rec) to heart and got myself some new clothes and kitchen utensils (I’m a dork, I know). I sent postcards to friends with super cheesy jokes on them.

March: Attitude

To have concrete evidence of “find the positive,” I kept a list of 1 positive each day of March. Some highlights: Girls Night, board games, hiking, being with my Grandpa on his birthday, chocolate-mint fudge, 1st place at Trivia, successful teaching days.

April: Fun

Kept myself busy with trivia, book clubs, board games and crafts. Thank you, Meetup.com!

May: Friends

I had already made so many new friends since January!

June: Diet, Exercise, and Health

Nothing reinvigorates the spirit like bringing something new into the mix. Got myself a couple of new yoga DVDs that are totally awesome. I also started walking weekly with a meetup group.

July: Find more joy in life

July was packed with joy. I started it off with the Education Through Music (ETM) Family Arts Camp, where I got to work with kids, doing art and making beautiful music. Then in mid-July, I was off to the Canadian Rockies on another great Backroads Singles+Solos trip. I also started going swing dancing in San Diego, which I’ve kept up since!

August: Clutter/Possessions

I donated a big bag of clothes, and de-cluttered or organized other areas of my room and environments, such as table tops, my “pantry,” refrigerator, purse, car, Tupperware. It takes a lot of maintenance, but I truly believe that a cluttered room = a cluttered mind. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, get cleaning!

September: Time

I originally planned on volunteering with the Girl Scouts at school, but instead joined the Social Committee and work as an editor for Paw Prints, our school newspaper. It is so fun to be working with a quirky group of 5th graders on the paper.

October: Money

Apparently I stopped journaling after September. Whoops. Well, October was not that lucrative, since I didn’t bother advertising private piano lessons at all. I’ve been too busy with work and clearing my credential through boring classes and mountains of busywork.

November: Work

I’ve really been trying to have more fun in the classroom. Some days I’ll have a loosely structured class where the kids are free to be more creative and come up with their own lyrics, movements, etc. in small groups. It’s been a real hoot to hear what they come up with!

December: Energy

It’s really hard to be energetic as a teacher in December, which is exactly why I planned it this way. It was especially hard as I was sick for most of the month. But especially that last week before Winter Break, I tried to plan fun activities and just have a ball. My most energetic time was a “Frosty Freeze Dance” with my kindergarten kiddos, to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman,” as performed by swingin’ sixties girl group The Ronettes. They loved it!

 

Well, that’s a wrap! Hope this look at my Happiness Project inspires you to try your own!

Katie, the NoCo List Chick