Archive for January, 2012

Erin Condren Life Planner

For Christmas I bought myself a present.  Some would say this gift is not only entirely impractical in this day and age, but frankly a waste of paper among much more finely tuned online resources.  Bah humbug!  I love me a good planner.  And this one is laminated and has my name on it – enough said.

I found this designer online, though now I can’t remember exactly what led me there.  It must have been fate.  If you are like me and have very little willpower when it comes to office supply stores, cute new Post-It products and you bought that 20+ pack of multi-colored Sharpies, be careful on this website.  And don’t, by any means, watch the video here.  You will be sucked in.

Multi-colored amazing font goodness!

Look – now I have a purpose for all of my multi-colored pens!

Don't forget to call Michelle on her birthday!

Actually, my sister Michelle, whose birthday is featured in the photo above, could probably use a planner like this since she has hard time remembering birthdays in our family (no joke, my dad called this past Saturday to reminder her to call our mom on her birthday).

Excuse me – I think I need to Post-It something!



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My Goal Setting Process

The New Year is officially four days underway.  I wonder how many people have already made and broken their resolutions…

As a self-proclaimed goal freak, I love this time of year when I get to build my goal-tracking spreadsheets, Google “cool goals” online to see if anything sparks my fancy, and think ahead about how I’m going to make the coming year the best year ever.  I’ve followed the same process to make and track goals for about five years.  I certainly don’t have all the answers where this is concerned (for that I just turn here, where I was originally inspired) and I admit my methods change slightly from year to year.  But here are the basics if you’d like to try it yourself!

  1. It’s always helpful to have some reflection on the past year before you begin.  This can take many forms – I like to think about it while walking my dog.  And, to be honest, it’s not usually difficult for me to summarize what went well and didn’t go so well in a given year.
  2. Divide your life into meaningful categories.  I like to have categories around Health, Fun, Career, Finances and Travel.  When I was in grad school I also had one for school.  Again, these change and should mean something to you!
  3. Within each category, brainstorm what you’d like in your life in that particular area.  For example, last year in my Health category, I wanted to be more knowledgeable and discerning when it came to food.
  4. Once you have an overarching idea or theme, think about what specifically would help you get there in your life.  For my food goal, we joined a CSA, and I mostly bought meat and dairy products that came from reputable local farmers.  I also started frequenting the farmers’ market, which I love.   My actual written-down goals were:
    1. Join a CSA
    2. Only buy happy meat
    3. Go to farmers’ market each weekend from June – October
  5. I pick goals that are measurable whenever possible.  Read 52 books, do something fun with friends once per week, go to one new state, etc.  After picking goals, I put them somewhere where I will access frequently (on my desktop), and I create various forms to help me track my progress.  If I want to work out 4 times per week, I make little checkmarks on all the days I do – and then I average it out at the end of the month.  I also only pick goals I actually want to achieve.  This sounds weird, but I find it very easy to pick goals that I think I should have but I really dread (like reading The Economist…boring).

This year, I have about 30 goals.  They range widely from some hard core savings goals, to visiting my sister in San Francisco, from taking Basil on a walk every day to reading 75 books, which will definitely be a challenge.   My spreadsheets are all ready to go and I finished my first book!

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Two Months Late – My Birthday

I finally (finally!) took these photos off of the camera…two months late.  But, my birthday is definitely worth a quick post, even if all you get from it is a great hotel review.  So, last year was my 30th, which was celebrated in a hazy mess of tequila and sprained ankles.  This year, in order to stay far, FAR away from that disaster, Drew and I took off for a quick weekend trip to Boston.

It is great living so close to Boston – an hour and a half in the car, and you’re in a huge city that is walkable, has fantastic restaurants and good friends.  During business school days, when I was commuting down once or twice a week, going to Boston for fun just wasn’t an option – I was going too much not-for-fun.  Enough time has now passed where having actual fun in Boston is back on the agenda.

For this trip, we scored an amazing deal on Priceline at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge.  We have heard a lot about this hotel from a friend who goes to Boston regularly to wear the crazy bathrobes the Marlowe provide guests – leopard and cheetah print.  We almost booked a room directly with the hotel, but took a chance at the last minute with the name-your-own-price feature on Priceline and ended up there anyway!  Thank you hotel gods.

Hotel Marlowe - Cambridge, MA

Our short time in town was spent mostly wandering around Cambridge.  Boston is a walkable city, but I haven’t spent much time across the river.  We went into some buildings at MIT, had a beer at a Harvard Square bar, looked in a few bookstores and goofed around.  We had big plans to go to dinner in the South End at Toro, a well-known and extremely busy tapas restaurant that doesn’t take reservations.  We figured we’d just get there at 5:30, have an early meal, and crash at the hotel in the fun bathrobes.

Wandering around Boston



After all that walking in the chilly fall air, we came back to the hotel for a quick one hour break.  And because it was my birthday and that means I get to do whatever I want for a day, that short break turned into one long 18 hour break. Drew ran down to a local wine store to score some wine, we ordered room service, and I sat in that crazy bathrobe for six hours.  We watched two terrible made-for-TV movies and one nature show about some guy who walked through the Amazon.

My post from the bed. Wine? Check. Movie? Check.

Nope, still haven't moved...

And it was awesome.

Follow that up with brunch at Craigie on Main with good friends?  That is a birthday I’d be willing to repeat every year!

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