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Phew! The site’s been down for a few days and is now thankfully working again (hopefully for good, but we’ll see!). If you’ve been trying to access the site over the weekend through today, I’m so sorry that you got an error message… the host I’m on got attacked and had to spend a lot of emergency hours trying to get a bunch of sites (not just mine) working again. So let’s get on with a new post, shall we?

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It’s that time of year again. Buh-bye, worn out and tired old year. Hello, crisp and shiny new year. And it’s the time for some to reflect and make plans for what we hope to accomplish in the coming 365 days (or rather, 366, since 2016 is a leap year). I often waffle* between the two opposing thoughts that it’s both nice to have the opportunity that everyone seems to grant us to reflect and start anew, while simultaneously believing I’m totally cliché for thinking that January 1st has any bearing on what I’m supposed to do with an entire twelve months. Regardless, I put an effort into this whole thought process last year, which actually turned up results, so I suppose it couldn’t hurt to spell it all out once again and see what happens, right? Let’s do it!

Pause, Indulge, Savor

In 2015, I wanted to figure out a way to better way to keep work and home life separate. I’ve mentioned before that I think “balance” is a losing battle in the same way any perfection goal is, but making a conscious effort to divide my time better is a good place to start. Last year, I did manage to do a better job of knowing when to put the computer away and get more home-related goals completed, started apologizing less for taking time away, and it led to less clutter and some pretty great projects getting crossed off the list. This year, however, I want to make a thoughtful effort to just allowing myself to relax and enjoy the moments when I take a break. For example: I leave far too many candles unlit. I didn’t take a single bath all of last year (calm down, I still showered). And it’s that kind of quiet time I could really stand to do more of this year.

candles - treat yo self

This year’s goal will be to just savor moments of relaxation more and actually indulge in the house like it should be. I guess you could say that this goes in so many different directions, there are a lot of mini goals involved, such as cooking at home more. I replaced all of my old dishes and silverware for their grown-up counterparts within the last two years, and I was correct in thinking that it would make me want to cook at home. Now that the kitchen walls are also done, the desire is now turned up to 7 (I know the joke is “turned up to 11“, but let’s be real: I’m never going to want to cook that much!). I’ve been working on it slowly so that I don’t go back to my old takeout crutch, and I have a number of project ideas this year to share that will be less renovation and more post-renovation fun.

Stay Active

I got active in 2015, mainly to get out of the house (working from home is great, but you have to make more of an effort to move around). It took some experimenting to find what really kept me coming back. During the summer months, I routinely hiked up Stone Mountain (my asthma made that a lot of fun), and I’d like to get better at it this year, possibly run up partway on my weekly hikes.

stay active

I also joined a weekly running group (which okay, is also a social drinking club) and met a number of great new people, which is still paying off since it makes me more aware of other running groups doing 5ks and other activities throughout the week (I just found a mud run group last week, and you already know how much I enjoy those). I also re-joined my softball team and found that the social aspect was essential, since it makes me feel more accountable. For 2016, I would just like to add to that and join a second softball team later in the week. Oh yeah, and buy new cleats — during our season championship double-header (which we WON!!!), I was missing half a shoe for a game and a half.

Home Projects

Ah, the main event: house projects!

Living room built-ins

The living room has come a long way, but I’ve always wanted to add built-ins to the wall between the living and dining rooms. I sold off my living room bookcase last year in preparation, and unfortunately didn’t think through where I’d put all of my books once they had no home to belong to!

via Shine Your Light

Master bath

The master bath needs. to. happen. this year. The guest bathroom works just fine, but it will be nice to finally get this thing working again. There were some issues with the floor tile install (more on that soon), but hopefully I can get it resolved and pick back up on this project.

master bath floor tile

Master closet

The master closet was one of the first projects I took on with the house. So, naturally, it’s the first to fall apart. And once a closet starts to fall apart, there’s a snowball effect for all of the clothes that were supposed to have a designated place to be put away but don’t. I guess I can blame my beginner’s ignorance at buying a closet system on clearance, and I have let this go on for far too long. The drawers are falling apart, but the main issue has more to do with not better planning the space for my needs. Now that I know what I need to store and how much (save for the efforts I’ve been making to donate a lot of clothes in prep for this closet makeover), I’ve been coming up with plans (see lots more ideas on my closet Pinterest board).

master closet design
via Sawdust Girl

Window casing

The living room windows are getting new molding, leaving just the upstairs rooms who need to be finished off. I bought a contractor’s pack’s worth of casing to get it all done in one project, so more on that soon!

window casing

Guest bedroom

The guest bedroom has been the poor, neglected room for the majority of the time I’ve spent in this house. I have a need to add a few things to the house that I really have no other space for, so the guest bedroom will be a catchall room. I first need to get rid of a few items that I no longer need/use, and then the organization can start!

Outdoor projects

I did a number of outdoor improvements to the house in 2015, and now that the back yard is cleared of excess trees (save for one), I can finally start putting a plan into action for filling in the sink hole and expanding the patio. I can’t wait to have an outdoor space to enjoy grilling on and entertaining with friends! I have ideas for how to get it accomplished without a huge amount of digging or involvement with permits and such (something that you always want to be aware of when utilities might be involved), but I’m really excited. Even if it’s too tall an order for completing by the end of the year, I’m confident I’ll be much further along thanks to the encouragement that this past year’s improvements have given me.

raised garden beds

Blog goals

January also happens to be a great time to spruce up other things, which brings me to updates about the site…

Organization

After last year’s blog redesign, I’m improving certain parts of the site little by little. Things like speed, security, SEO, and ease of use to let you guys get to your favorite areas faster are all on the table. I’m also slowly but surely filling in the House Tour pages with more details, sources, updated pictures, etc.

For those of you that subscribe via email, I’ve also made the decision to finally switch off of Feedburner. It’s just one of those things that was sitting on the to-do list for a long time and needed to happen (Feedburner is outdated and is no longer supported, so if anything were to go wrong, it would force me to switch off of it anyway). I took as long as I did because I was afraid that it would go poorly, and I’m still working out some kinks (thank you to those who have emailed or messaged me and allowed me to troubleshoot!). It seems to have gone okay for the vast majority of subscribers, but if you’re getting more than one email per post, here’s the correct one.

Fun

Starting with December’s Santa duck, I’ve been having fun with decorating my logo for each holiday. It’s a nice creative break when I get stumped with other projects. But now I also feel like I’ve got to name the little dude. What do you think he should be called? Suggestions welcome!

UGLY DUCKLING HOUSE_christmas

Video

Growth goals are never a surprise for bloggers, but since I tend to overshare anyway, I have been pushing myself to get on board with video. It’s not super easy to do well while DIYing on my own (and means I have to put on makeup and wear something other than PJs), but I would very much like to add YouTube videos to some of my more complex tutorials and simply do some more fun Q&A sessions on Periscope as a new way to let you guys see what I’m working on (not to mention a few tips & tricks that are better demonstrated via video). I promise not to edit out the throwing of tools when I get frustrated.

That’s it! Or rather, that’s enough. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of other goals I haven’t thought of yet for the year, or perhaps just ones I forgot, but I’m hesitant to give myself too long of a list that would be doomed for overwhelming failure. What are your biggest goals for the new year? If you have any of the same goals, I’d love to hear about how you plan to get these done — maybe we can motivate each other!

*Mmmmm… waffles. Definitely need to make more of those this year.

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12 Comments

  1. Hey! Started following your blog a while ago and I love your raw humor and all the projects you share :)

    Just wanted to let you know that your little duck looks like a Bruno. Don’t ask me why, he just does!

    Happy 2016 :)

  2. Dear Sarah,

    I don’t comment much, but just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy you blog and look forward to every post that comes :) it’s been wonderful over the past couple of years, but this last one particularly, seeing you find a voice that you seem comfortable with. Thanks for the tips, tricks and laughs that you share here! Here’s to many more :)

    Best wishes for 2016,
    Sera

  3. Sounds like a good plan! All of it, that is. I am trying to cook more too (relatively) and found that after my NYE Weekend of binge watching Netflix (because holidays, and snowstorms), I found that after watching old seasons of Worst Cooks in America, I was already a rock-star compared to those people, and I picked up a few more tricks from a few of the shows. Who knows, it could help you feel inspired?

    I would name the wooden duck something ironically funny, like a regular, common name, Can we call him Hank? :)

    1. I was thinking of something boring too, like Earl. Earl the Duck. Ha! But Hank the Duck has a good ring to it too!

      1. I like both Earl and Hank, they are awesome choices! Before I read your comments the name “Douggie the Duck” popped to mind. I’ve done zero extended thinking on this, so feel free to disregard the suggestion.
        Love your blog!

  4. Woodstock! (Since Charlie is named Charlie and is brown ?)

    I don’t usually make new year ‘s goals, but I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut lately, so maybe I should…

  5. Dear Sarah,

    It was great to read about your 2016 resolutions. Many people say resolutions are just a waste of time and effort but I believe in them. And every time I read about someone else’s resolutions, I feel an urge to follow my own resolutions in a better way.

    Also, I loved the projects you plan to undertake this year. Would keep following you and hopefully implement some on my home.

    good look with video blogging. You would do great :)

  6. Great projects, can’t wait to hear updates on the built ins, the closet, and the master bath! I would name him Quackmire. I watch far too much Family Guy.