365 photo project recap

One of my 2011 resolutions, the 365 photo project is over, and was also much, much more of a challenge than I anticipated. Can I admit that I’m so glad it’s over? A photo-a-day seems so easy, right? But it was harder that I thought to have a camera on-hand to capture the moments, and always remember to do so. (I can’t have it at work so it must stay in my car if I remember to put it there each day). And some nights I was struggling to find something interesting to capture before bedtime because I realized I hadn’t taken my photo yet.

I took a LOT of bad food photos, but I really am glad I captured my first year experimenting with vegetarian and vegan cooking nonetheless. Food photography is HARD. You cannot fake it with a point-and-shoot and some Photoshopping skills. Slightly off coloring, a shadow here, etc, can take something that’s real-life pretty and make it look completely unappetizing.

But, I managed to capture 343 days of 2011. Here are a few random faves!:

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2011 & resolution recap!

I can’t believe 2011 is nearly over! I can’t believe we are over Halloween let alone Christmas! What the hell is going on!? Anyhoodle. 2011 is apparently winding down. Last year I started a new tradition to recap the year.

So, here’s my 2011:

went to Hawaii//bought new house//got a new niece//got a new sister-in-law////sold old house by owner //three camping trips//hosted and attended girls nights//hosted a vegetarian-themed cooking club and attended many others//started yoga again//went vegetarian//started belly dancing//signed up for marathons and 10Ks for the new year//took a few more classes//hosted a post-wedding bash for my bro//painted every room in the house//put in a yard including grass, sprinklers, and 12 trees//2 shows {Rockstar UpRoar Fest and Bright Eyes {really? only 2?}…//plugged away at my 30 before 30 list//took a picture {nearly} every day and posted here.

Before I post my 2012 resolutions, here’s how I fared in 2011 {2011 resolutions post here}.

Resolution #1: Save Money.

Kinda win? Definitely have less money than we started the year with, but that’s because we put a very large chunk of our savings down on our new house, which wasn’t in the plans last January! However, putting down our savings plus the equity from our old house put us in a nicer, newer, double-the-size house for the same loan amount. I call that win. We are in the savings recouping stages and 2012 is going to be the year of super frugality!

Resolution #2: Pay off $1,200 of my student loans.

Win! I’ve actually paid off $2,729.12. 🙂 My goal to pay them off before I turn 30 may actually be a possibility! Oh yeah, and hubby paid off his this year, in full!! Woop!

Resolution # 3: Lose 10lbs.

Win! By the skin of my teeth; I’ve lost 11.

Resolution #4. Take 5 classes toward my MBA.

Fail! I only took 3. Oopsie. I believe I have 6 classes left to take before I finish my MBA.

Resolution #5: Try 12 new things.

Win! Just off the top of my head, here are 12 things I did for the first time in 2011 {I’m sure there were more – this was an easy one}:

  1. Snorkeling//swimming in the ocean
  2. Went {committed} vegetarian
  3. Belly dancing {only 4 classes so far but I love it! This was on my 30 before 30 list!}
  4. Running//training for a marathon
  5. Copper pipe soldering
  6. Attended yoga & chakra workshops & have become a committed yogi again!
  7. Got a massage {this was also on my 30 before 30 list. Ah-mazing.}
  8. Swapped weird mail with {equally weird} friends and strangers {eh, more on that later}
  9. Revamped stuff with fabric dye {rugs, scarves, hoodies, jeans… all got new life with some RIT this year. Love!}
  10. Made my own dishwasher soap {it’s inspired me to DIY all KINDS of other things in the near future. More to come!}
  11. Shot a gun {and hit some cans – who knew I’d be good at it? haha}
  12. Hosted a girls night {craftiness and peach bellinis. This was on my 30 before 30 list}

Resolution # 6: The 365 Photo Challenge.

Win? I definitely saw this through til the end, but I missed several days over the course of the year, and I’m not especially happy with most of my photos! It was still really fun though! Here they all are!

2011, you were one of the best years ever!! But as always, I can’t wait for the next one! How’d everyone else do with their resolutions in 2011?

{First image via Pinterest}.

a minor complaint, some housekeeping, and some house progress.

Hi. Blogging is a lot of work, and I no longer have a nice cozy (familiar) place to do it in my new house so I’m always finding myself avoiding it. It’s true. Blog, you have become a chore to me. I don’t want to feel like that, but I do. However, I’ve been busy prettifying my world and want to talk about it. I’m a fair-weather blogger. That’s true, too.

Some updates, first, on house in general:

  • We had our first overnight guest in the new place, in the form of my vagabond friend literally passing through town and needing a place to crash.  I hadn’t seen her in 13 years but it wasn’t even awkward! In fact, it was awesome. We were in the middle of painting a bathroom we’ve already since redone because I picked a totally wacktastic green paint the first go-round (oopsie), so she stayed in our guest room and used a bathroom that didn’t have a mirror. Or light.  Ha. Hospitality, what? Snapped a shot of the horrid green for posterity- that’s my O-M-Green face.

  • I am becoming a totally amazing vegetarian chef. I want to blog about it desperately but I can’t take pictures of food no matter how beautifully I can arrange it on a plate. But I try.

  • I am still doing the photo-a-day challenge, it’s been 6 months, and I’ve missed one day. And that was like a week ago. And I was devastated for a few minutes. You can see them here. I’m a slacker about updating Flickr (shock!), but I eventually get around to it. I’m not a good photog. (sad face)
  • We have grass, kinda. It’s growing. There are a lot of weeds mostly. GREEN weeds.
  • I am a maniac with a few packets of fabric dye and some paint lately. You’ll see. …

I’m pretty pleased with the house progress! Of course painting the place was a HUGE improvement, but I love how it’s the little things that really tie something together and make it your own. For example, I was struggling with the open layout a bit, because I didn’t want to buy new furniture to fit the space (which is entirely different than the layout and style of our last home).The space was just feeling a little blah.

Luckily for me, working with what I have isn’t a bummer, it’s a challenge that I love to take on. I’ve been pinning and jotting ideas and moving things around, I took note of things I really liked, things that were feasible in my space, like a piece of accent furniture in a funky color or global prints, gallery walls and boho touches.

After painting our bedroom a bold teal, I was inspired to give the rest of the house at least some small doses of bold color. I found this gorgeous interior inspiration on Young House Love – that orange I love, and a very similar open living room/kitchen configuration. LOVE THIS!

That teal couch is to die for and probably out of reach for little ol’ me, but I was inspired by this palette because it incorporates teal and I’ve been wanting to paint something orange for fun! Paint, fabric dye, and a few new accessories did the trick to make the place a little more homey.

Here’s how the place is shaping up now:

Despite his reluctance, I convinced JB to paint our exterior doors black, and we LOVE how it looks, from inside and out. It just pops! And better balances the dark cabinets and counters on the other side as well. I painted our (formerly white) kitchen table grey.

I used a small piece of decorator fabric and some curtain clips to make a super simple (and cheap) valance on the kitchen window. I dyed my (formerly tan) rugs teal (along with the scarf that’s functioning as a table cloth on the kitchen table). I mixed one packet of blue iDye brand fabric dye and one half packet of green to create a teal hue, and followed the instructions for dying in a top-loading washing machine. Success! Happy dance! Woop woop! New shiz, for like 2 bucks.

And my favorite switch-up on the cheap is our lil’ TV stand upgrade (you can see the before up top…)

I really love how it turned out! The color is Tibetan Orange from Behr. I used a dark brown color mixed with Bahr Faux Glaze over the paint to give it a worn look. Here’s a close up:

Ahhhhh-yeah!… super cheap upgrade on an otherwise throwaway piece of furniture, but warning on painting fake wood – it takes forever. I sanded, primed once, painted three coats of paint, sanding between coats, and then glazed. It was a process. But I love how it turned out. I love re-vamping what I’ve already got. I always feel so clever. And new hardware really makes it snazzy.

I did pick up a few new things to tie it all together, like the large rug in front of the kitchen sink, blue IKAT pillows (outdoor pillows on clearance- shhh), little IKAT tray on the coffee table, terracotta-colored pot, etc, using birthday giftcards! So other than the paint and fabric dye, this was free (to me)!

By the way, the entryway looks super swanky with the black front door, too:

There are still lots of yet-to-dos. Like build a mantle above that fireplace, and fill in some blank wall spaces (above the fireplace, on the right-hand wall in the entryway, and above the stairway, but I have big plans for those…. All in good time.

That’s what I’ve been up to! Thanks for taking my little tour! Anyone else making any cheap but statement-making changes to their abodes? Did that veggie burger pic make you hungry, too?

my year in blogging // 2011 plans

Just the day after I decided to give my blog a little makeover for the new year, I received an email from WordPress with my 2010 blog stats. It says:

In 2010, you wrote 142 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 182 posts.

Your busiest day of the year was July 2nd with 470 views. The most popular post that day was 2010 ultimate wardrobe challenge.

I find it hard to believe any of my posts received 470 views, but I guess that much like me, most blog readers are mainly lurkers, who are not much for commenting. A look at my site stats was shocking, too:

I’d never paid attention to this function of WordPress {even though I do love to crunch numbers}. It’s pretty crazy my humble little blog gets almost 1,000 hits a month on average. Wow!

Anyway, enough bragging about how I am apparently famous among dozens of Internet surfers. I wanted to give a quick rundown on the blog changes for the new year!

  • First, a new header. Hooray! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I really like it – what do you all think?
  • Second, I started the 365 photo project on January 1, in which I will be taking a photo every day for a year, and posting in a Flickr set. I linked to the 365 set in my sidebar →. Simply click the photo to take you to the set. I hope you refer back often, and add me on Flickr if you have your own account. I’m not a photographer, and I don’t have a fancy camera, but I do love to document and snap things that are interesting to me.
  • Third, you can subscribe to this blog via email, also in the sidebar →. You will get an email each time I post something!
  • Fourth, I set up a tab at the top of the page to my list of 30 things I’m going to do before I turn 30. I needed this in a convenient format for me to refer to and update keep up the momentum to complete my list! I hope if nothing else it inspires you to list the things you really want to do and actually make them happen!

This blog is nothing special – there are millions of them out there that are better. But for me, this is such a fun hobby, and I’m rather surprised by it’s impact on my life. It’s given me accountability to finish with things I say I want to do and keeps me making progress on things to finish strong and share along the way. It also helps me finish a project so I can post about it, rather than give up or be content with 90% completion! I absolutely need and love that. Finally, looking back over the year was pretty crazy – I used this blog to remind me what I’d accomplished {project-wise} and when you document your life {and of course I only document a small part of it}, it really adds up!

← I’m awesome on the Internet.

Back in May I blogged about blogging; how I write a blog that I don’t advertise in any way. I rarely tell anyone about it, and many of you replied you are the same way. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur for my little piece of internet real estate, but I just think it’s interesting how much effort I put into something I never tell people about. And I guess that’s because I just do this for myself, because I like to say things and cheer myself on and collect things that interest me and share parts of my life, but I only want to share with people who want to listen. And I guess I have more listeners than I thought.

Bloggers, do you promote your blog, or do you keep it to family and friends only? Readers of this blog, what is about it that brings you back?