New Year’s Resolutions in Reverse: A Good-bye to 2013

 

The first few days of the New Year are upon us.

This can only mean one thing:

New. Year. Obligatory. Post.

Just in case the other 97627346 bloggers, hard-hitting CNN journalists (seriously – CNN – sometimes I think you’re punking me with your absurd headlines), and, as I found out today… , USA.GOV New Year’s Resolution website (what???) didn’t offer the right amount of predictable inspiration, I’m offering my two cents here.

Truthfully, I am a fan of this topic and New Year’s in general.

The ending of a year and the starting of a brand spanking new blank slate is pretty exciting.  It’s like the first day of school (brand new notebooks!!).

However, I don’t believe you can start a new chapter/list/notebook before you’ve properly closed off the previous one.

Last night, during a dinner party, one of the seven guests suggested we go around the table and have everyone say their “Best and Worst of 2013.”

The answers were real.  Some were funny.  All prompted reflection.  The worst: losing a job, learning of a family member’s illness, losing a pet; The best: passing an important exam, meeting newly special people, finding a new job.

In similar fashion, for today’s post, I’ve decided to recycle a popular idea I used a few months ago called The Reverse Bucket List and write a reverse New Year’s resolution list for 2013.

The following is a list of some self-improvements, goals, and personal attainments of 2013 (and, when appropriate, illustrative photos):

1)      Put effort into becoming closer with family members; find time to get to know extended family

cousins

Meeting second cousins for brunch

2)      Separate emotionally from surrounding drama

3)      Get back out on that ice and start figure skating/training/coaching again

ice skating figure skating

Back on the ice – starting a session

4)      Furnish/decorate an apartment from scratch

The completed "living room" in my first personal apartment

The completed “living room” in my first personal apartment

5)      Travel abroad for an “extended” vacation; leave worries/computers/cell phones behind

greece

Taking it easy in Naxos, Greece

6)      Pick up a new fitness hobby

flywheel spin cycle

Attending Flywheel classes with friends

7)      Cook for myself more – learn to make new healthy staples

Yummy salad with homemade dressing

Yummy salad with homemade dressing

8)      Take advantage of new city

Hanging off the ledge at Sears Tower

Hanging off the ledge at Sears Tower

9)      Take advantage of new found proximity to family (with move to Chicago) and spend more time with little sister

roller coaster

Roller-coastering with lil sis

10)      Take steps to show some semblance of putting yourself first

11)      Learn to say no

12)      Bring down the mile-high fence/barricade/guard and give trust and a new relationship a chance

Ice skating at the zoo.  It snowed.  It was perfect.

Ice skating at the zoo in Chicago. It snowed. A friend snapped this when we weren’t looking.

Decidedly, 2013 was pretty good to me.

A great portion of the positive in 2013 stemmed from this blog.  Writing these posts, however inconsequential they may seem, has come to be a huge part of my life.  I love connecting with readers from my  backyard as well as all over the world.  I love reading what others are generating.  I love finding commonalities.

So thank you, friends, for making 2013 Awesome.

I think I’m ready for 2014.

Cheers!

Flat Washers, Allen Wrenches and Head Bolts

coffee table

On Day 3 of Chicago Awesome I put my manual labor-assembly-tool box skills to work.

Today I knew a large box awaited me upon my arrival home with my new coffee table (my first piece of furniture).

What I didn’t know was that I had to assemble it (what?!!).

First things first.  I had to get the box into my apartment.

After maneuvering all 72 pounds of said “table” to the 23rd floor on cart, I set out piecing this thing together.

Ok this is false.

I set out opening the box (probably the toughest portion of this exercise).  This thing was sealed and ready for mountain lion attacks.  I was like a mad woman on Christmas morning.  Industrial kitchen scissors in hand, I ripped, tore, removed, punched, whined and sliced that giant box into shreds until I could finally remove the pieces of said “table.”

After carefully removing the (heavy) pieces and placing them on all available empty floor space, I surveyed the catastrophic mess and contemplated my options: 1) summon all males in the Chicago area that I know 2) pay people on my floor 3) call the company and yell with no hope of result.

Upon careful reflection I recalled that my mother was always handy with tools.  I remember her always taking pride in being able to hammer and screwdriver with the best of them… I actually remember my grandpa teaching me how to use the hammer at a very young age.

I decided to take a stab at it.

Plus, I’m too impatient.  I wanted my coffee table.  Right.  Now.

Taking out the instructions (written in Chinese) and figuring out what all the weird parts were called, I began to construct these heavy pieces together.  I screwed in legs, added the bottom shelf, and tightened the screws.

The last screw took me about an hour to maneuver (so THAT’s why they said not to tighten anything…) and I ended up taking legs off and putting them back on but 3 hours later I had a coffee table.  An enormous coffee table.

Now I just need that couch to arrive and to pick out 7 more pieces of furniture and I’ll be good to go (oy).

Assembling first piece of furniture for new apartment?

Awesome.

Sofa Shopping: A Life Changing Endeavor


west elm
wine

On Day 2 of Chicago Awesome, after 1 too many days in an empty apartment (with a bed), I decided it was that time.

A friend and I took the subway somewhere north (friend got us there, I thought about fabric swatches) where we discovered the mecca of furniture stores (or rather Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and West Elm….)

It’ll do.

The arrival to this fabulous part of town meant I could start my mission: to find a fabulous sleeper couch with just the right shade of “white” to make my sofa dreams come true.

Turns out buying a sofa is not a color-by-number type of process.  There were questions I hadn’t thought of, hidden fees that hadn’t occurred (delivery isn’t free?) and the absurdly high sales tax to think about (should’ve checked this before moving…).  More importantly, a slew of questions and options were thrown at me that left me puzzled for a good 3 hours (sorry friend!).

Finally, after becoming best buds with the sales associate (Hi Dylan!), taking a good 30-minute turn on the sofa of my choice and then comparing it to every sofa in the neighboring store……. I picked one. With the custom fabric of my choice and forked over my life savings (turns out a nice couch is akin to a Ford Focus).

To celebrate this great stride in building a new home in new city, friend and I crossed the street to a suspiciously Awesome store that advertised the sale of wine AND furniture (what a combination).

This wonderful mix of random furniture, home goods and alcohol was just the right touch of hilarity and entertainment that we needed….

The wine tasting going on at that moment in the center of the store put the cherry on top of an exhausting and forward moving day.

Awesome.