Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Goals - How'd we do?

So I went back to the archives and pulled up my goals for 2013 from January.

Looks like I was feeling REALLY ambitious. I don't think we accomplished even half of them. Let's take a look at where we ended up after this year:

1. Eat out fewer than 20% of our meals. This is an effort to save some cash along with eating a little bit better. We came up with 220 meals, this counts lunches purchased and happy hours that turn to dinners. Since we plan to take a couple vacations, that will be 25-30 meals off the list right away. I didn't track out meals eating in vs eating out, but I bet we did fairly well with this one. We ate out usually just once or twice a week. I will try to keep better track of this one coming up, but I'm pretty happy with how much we stay in these days.
2. Lose a combined 80 lbs. This makes it a team effort and will keep us accountable to each other. This one is a big NOPE. I lost 25lbs, but not sure how Hubs is doing. We certainly did not make the 80lb mark.

3. Complete one house project each month. We have a couple of closets to redo, a few rooms to paint, and window treatments for several rooms to pick out and hang. Ummmmmm NOPE. We did update our pantry, paint the bedroom, hang curtains in the bedroom and basement, bought some furniture for the back patio, painted the basement bathroom, and painted my chevron closet. Didn't quite make a project per month though.

4. No credit card debt. We finished this year at zero dollar balances, which I was astounded by after all the home shopping we did. The goal this year is to maintain living within our means and keep those balances at $0.00. NOPE. And after reading last year we started at $0, I'm even more depressed how far in the hole we are right now. Working on it though.....

5. Go to London. Hubs has never been to Europe and why not start where we know the language? Flights aren't too obscene that there happens to be an event occurring in September that hubs would like to catch at Wembley Stadium. WOOHOO! Got one done. London was FABULOUS and I owe you a blog post about it.

6. Buy Penn State Season tickets. We've started the ball rolling for season tickets, now to save the cash and get them in my hot little hands! We may not be able to make it to all the games, but tickets are easy enough to sell to fellow alumni in the area. Another one done! We made it up to State College for 6 games and had a blast. Can't wait to renew our tickets for next season.

7. Golf. I would like to take lessons and learn a thing or two about swinging a club this spring. It'd be fun to be able to make a passable attempt at golf and maybe go out a couple times this summer or on vacation. I didn't take lessons so I won't cross it off, but I did go golfing for the first time ever last fall. I had a blast even though I was AWFUL and totally want to pursue lessons when I find a chance.

8. Get professional pictures taken. Once we've lost the lbs and are svelte, might as well get dressed up and get some good pictures. I absolutely adore our engagement and wedding pictures. I'd like some more recent ones of us to replace the older ones. Another big NOPE. Still on my list though....

9. Volunteer. We both would love to volunteer for an animal shelter or rescue groups. I'm really looking forward to finding an opportunity to help out some needy pups. I hate that I didn't do this one. It's on my 30 while 30 list as well, so I better get cracking to find some opportunities.

10. And finally, it'd be nice to get rid of one monthly bill, so we're going to try and pay off one of the cars this year. We still have 2 years left on the first loan, so an early payoff would save a lot in interest. This would also allow us to parlay that extra cash into paying off the other car and then rebuilding our emergency fund. And another one that we didn't get done but made it onto the 30 while 30 list. I'm pretty sure this will get done sooner than later.

Some of my personal goals this year are:

1. booze free for January and February. Last year I went booze free for January and felt great the entire month. I'll stretch it to two months this year to reap even more benefits!!! I made it about 5 weeks this year. I really enjoy this each year I try it. I may not declare a whole month booze free this year, but may just pick one or two events each month to drink at an go booze free the remainder of the time.

2. Run 500 miles. I'd like to complete a couple 10 Mile races this year along with a half marathon maybe? Training for these should knock out the miles with no problems. I did not track this one at all, but I would say I didn't come close. Since I do mostly classes now and not out running on my own, I don't log very many actual running miles anymore.

3. Track my food for 200 days with Lose It. When I track my food, I lose weight. Easy peasy. 200 days will ensure I don't wander off track for weeks/months at a time. I'm one day in so far. 199 to go. Too bad I didn't specify "Track breakfast and lunch for 300 days", because I probably would have done that no problem. I always forgot about tracking by the time I got home and dinner/drinks/dessert didn't make it into the log. I started using My Fitness Pal recently and plan to use that more again this year. Last night I was thinking about this one again and I will be aiming for 250-300 tracked days this coming year.... Again, if I track, I lose weight. So here's to more tracking!!!!!

4. At least 100 blog posts. Along with the tracking, 100 posts gets me posting about twice a week. Not overly ambitions, but much better than my past history. UM NOPE. I think this is #30 for this year. But still better than my 2012 total and I've really ramped things up in the past couple of months, so hope 2014 will be even more active on this little blog o' mine.

5. Organize all of my magazine tear sheets and try at least one new recipe a month. Another NOPE. But I did get a ton of recipes pinned yesterday and cleaned out a whole mess in my cabinets by getting those online. (sorry if you follow me on Pinterest and you've been completely inundated with my recent recipe pins)

So that's where I'm ending 2013. 2/15 crossed off. YIKES. But lots of progress on many of them. 

All in all I'm calling it a WILDLY successful year. I'm super proud of what I've done this year, see my last 5 on Friday post with my EFF YEAH list from last year. I'm planning on finishing off 2013 by PRing my 5k. It's really going to set the stage for a spectacular 2014. I can't wait to see what is in store for me.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Five on Friday

This week I'm going to share my top Five "EFF YEAH" list from 2013. Nicole over at A Life Less Bullshit posted last week her 4-Step Life Purge in preparation for the new year and goal setting. In thinking about 2013, these are some highlights from the year that I can look back a remember that 2013 was a pretty awesome year.

1. I PRed my 10 Miler. I trained for this race for 12 weeks and hit almost every single workout on my plan. On race day I just trusted my training and charged right through the race. I stuck to my intervals and hit my goal of beating my time from the Broad Street run in 2012. I can't wait to do another 10 Mile race this spring and get yet another PR.

2. I finished my first triathlon. I didn't train nearly enough for this race, I had no idea what I was getting into. I can't wait to tackle this again next year and blow my time out of the water. I will be able to train smarter and be more prepared for race day. I will probably try to schedule a couple triathlons this fall and once I get a couple more sprint tris under my belt I might think about longer distances... Yup, I'm totally hooked.

3. I lost 25 pounds!!!! I lost several pounds in January, but then promptly gained them all back. In March I was UP 3 from January 1st and that's when I really buckled down and found enough classes to fill my schedule and get me even more active. The past couple of months I started tracking my food again and kept up with my gym schedule and hit the 25lb milestone. The past couple of years have been frustrating since I felt like I was constantly dieting, but not making any progress. It feels so good to finally feel like I have some control over the situation and have a good road map to keep up the momentum.

4. I'm totally addicted to the gym. Class instructors and the front desk folks know me by name. It really is such a great little family. I never thought I'd be that girl that grabs a spot up front in class and stays after class to chat with the other regulars. The gym is no longer a chore, but a highlight of my day. The strongest testament to this is the fact that I wake up at 4:45 on Fridays to make it to spin class before work. 

5. Hubs and I traveled across the pond for an NFL game at Wembley and some British shenanigans. Maybe one of these days I'll blog about it. It was Hubs' first time in Europe and we had an absolute blast. He's got the travel bug now and can't wait to plan other trips to new countries.

What are some of your "EFF YEAH" moments from the past year? 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Early Christmas Dinner with the In Laws and a Christmas PSA

Both of our families live within 10 minutes of our house, so the first couple of years we tried to make it work seeing everyone on holidays. We quickly got burnt out of the rushing around and realized it made Thanksgiving and Christmas more stressful than fun. We decided to do Thanksgiving each year with Hubs' parents and Christmas with my family. Since we don't see his parents on Christmas day anymore, the past few years I've started hosting them at our house a few days before Christmas.

Friday was our Christmas dinner with them and I planned on going all out for the dinner. I created a spreadsheet of the recipes I was planning on making and a timeline to make sure everything came out at the same time. I included the ingredients for each dish and was able to note by color what was already purchased and what was on the final shopping trip. I planned which dishes to prep the dishes in and which to serve in. The only two dishes not included in the spreadsheet were the two desserts I made that morning.

I couldn't sleep Thursday night, worried I was forgetting something, so I made a list of everything that had to get done on Friday.

My day started with a 5:30 spin class to get my head right. Then it was off to the grocery store where the shelves weren't yet fully stocked and I had to get a manager to help me track down items I suspected were in the back.

Once home I started knocking off items on the list (yes, I included Shower, just to have an easy one to cross off before things got too stressful). I chose the desserts to make by browsing my recent Pins from my Dessert Board. I knocked those out real quick before I had to start prepping dinner.

The roast was fairly quick to get started and pop in the oven. I cut the cauliflower and grated cheese while on a conference call for work (shhhhhhhh) and the rest was fairly simple that I wouldn't have to really get going until 5:30ish. That's when things started to happen. The roast comes out of the oven and sides start going in. The frozen rolls I had taken out to rise never did, but hubs had stopped by the store to pick up some cresent rolls just in case this happened. The cauliflower was kind of runny, so it stayed in the oven for about 15 minutes longer than directed, but turned out amazing in the end.

Everything was on the table right at 6:30 and I could sit down to relax and enjoy the food and company for the rest of the night. 

The recipes I used were:
Giada's Stracotto Pot Roast (This was AMAZING and is probably my new favorite roast recipe. The mushroom sauce you blend with the cooking juices is to die for.)
Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potatoes (SO SO GOOD. More like a dessert with the brown sugar and pecans)
Bobby Flay's Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin (YUMMY. But recipe calls for WAY too much cream, I used half the recommended amount and as noted above, still had to bake 15 mins extra for it to thicken up, I would use even less next time.)
My own mac & cheese concoction: Stouffer's Mac & Cheese, smash about a 1/2 sleeve of Ritz to crumbs and add, throw in a generous handful of cheddar cheese, and some milk if it's looking too thick from the Ritz and extra cheese.
Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
Southern Living Apple Bread Pudding (Served with Ice Cream instead of the Apple Brandy Creme Anglaise)
And finally, Skinny Taste Cranberry Bliss Bars 

Whew! What a whirlwind day of baking and cooking, but man it was good. 

Next up is Christmas Day cooking!!!!

And for your PSA: GET YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS DAY DONE NOW. Last year we both had to work on Christmas Eve and didn't get to hit the grocery store until after 6. We went to FIVE stores, all closed at 6 on Christmas Eve. There was ONE store open in our area until 8 and it was jam packed because everyone else was closed early.