A Year Ahead | 2016 Goals

I’m a firm believer of living in the moment and try very hard not to dwell on what could happen in the future (or what has already happened), but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a few New Year’s Resolutions for 2016. Last year, my main goal was to become for organized and I think I achieved that. I now use a daily planner that I keep in my purse and have a weekly whiteboard that hangs in the kitchen with the schedule on it. For 2016, I decided to have a few goals to reach for instead of just one big one.

Be more creative.
My main goal for 2016 is to be more creative. I’ve never been someone who is into photography or art – I simply do not think on a creative level. I much prefer tasks to be written down or in a schedule before I do them, rather than performing on the spot. How does one measure creativity though? Not too sure, but I’m going to figure it out. I’ve already invested in a nice camera (well nice for me) – a Canon PowerShot SX530 HS digital camera on Black Friday and I’ve playing around with taking photos of products for my blog and of everyday life. Please if you have any helpful tips with photography, leave them below! Currently, I’m trying to figure out how to add watermarks to my photos without having Photoshop, so we’ll see how that goes. For Christmas Jake got me a tripod so I’ll be able to easily take pictures for my blog and maybe take some short videos for Instagram! I also hope that a camera would be a great investment for traveling throughout the year. Finally, recommitting myself to blogging is another way for me to be more creative. It gets me thinking and brings me back to my love of writing!

I also wouldn’t mind taking on a few more projects around the house and giving DIYs a chance. There’s a lot of opportunities in our house for updating, even if it’s just painting or staining, and that’s something I know I’m fully capable of doing. It’s having the time and patience to get it done is where I need to focus in on. We’ve already made a DY headboard for our bed made from some wood, batting, and fabric, inspired by this post from Kindle Your Creativity I found on Pinterest. I’d also like to do some DIY crafts to add decorations around the house.

Keep traveling.
Over the past year I’ve started traveling and making lists of where I’d like to visit! In 2015 I visited Iceland, San Francisco, Duluth, and the North Shore in Minnesota – while Duluth and the North Shore are only short road trips I still consider them to be a traveling experience since neither are places are travel on a regular basis. Jake and I haven’t made any solid plans yet, but we are really hoping to continue traveling around every six months or so. I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep to that, given my new work schedule and Jake starting up school full time, but hopefully we’ll be able to fit in another international trip in 2016.

Some of my tops places I’d like to visit include Australia, New Zealand, Greece, and France. We may actually have a chance to visit Australia and New Zealand in the next two years because one of Jake’s friends is moving to Australia to go to medical school! I’m hoping we’ll be able to swing a visit when his friend is nearing the end of his education in Australia. I may be visiting a friend in Los Angeles during the spring that would include a trip to Disney Land! We had also hoped to visit Alaska over the summer, but those plans unfortunately fell through so we may looking into that ourselves. The other option for 2016 that will likely happen is visiting Mexico, Puerto Rico, or a country in Central America – probably someplace that is a little more touristy than we’re used to.

Get that tattoo.
I’ve been talking about getting a certain tattoo for over a year now and I just haven’t take the time to do it. Ironically, the tattoo has to do with living in the moment instead of looking the future. I need to take the time to find the font that I want this phrase tattooed in and bring it into an artist. Currently I have three tattoos, all of which are very simple or are words, so that tattoo I want isn’t that much different than those, but if that’s what I like then it make sense to do it! At some point I’d like to invest and get a larger, custom tattoo in memory of mom or on my shoulder/back area, but I have no idea where I want to start with that right now.

Continue to improve and grow.
I’ve changed and grown so much as a person since I graduated from high school and college, so much more than I ever thought I would. Just when I think I’m done growing and I’ve found who I am, I’m surprised at how I can continue to change. I’ve become very active and physically fit in the past three years, something that I would have never seen in myself as during high school or college. I’ve learned to cook meals and enjoy a wider variety of foods since the simple meals in the college years. Cooking is something I’ve grown to be very good at and love making our meals for the week.

I’m excited to continue on my fitness journey and hope to be in even better shape than I was last year. Some of my goals for my fitness journey in 2016 are to incorporate high interval training into my spring routine. I plan to purchase a jumping rope that I can use during kettle bell workouts in the backyard and also while doing squats and dead lifts at the gym. I’d also love to do 5K this year, hopefully with my dad, something I’ve never done before. During December, I hit a few personal records at the gym and I’m hoping to continue growing those numbers, especially on my chest press since that’s my weakest muscle group at the moment. I’ll go into specifics of my fitness goals in another post.

Be happy.
My ultimate goal in life is to be happy. As long as I’m doing what makes me happy, no matter what anyone else thinks, that’s what matters. This blog is one of those things I’m happy to being doing and spending time on. Going to the gym and being active makes me happy, so I work hard at the lifestyle. Be happy.

Whatever your goals are for 2016, I hope that you can achieve them all! A new year is a great time to make changes or setting new goals! However, don’t feel like that you can’t make changes or update your goals throughout the year. Do what makes you happy and works the best for you. Happy New Year! Ready for new adventures!

New Camera | Beginner Advice Please!

Over Black Friday I purchase a new camera! Not only did I want to purchase a camera for better photos on my blog, but I also wanted one to bring on my future travels and use for my New Years Resolution (stay tuned)! I used a camera in college while taking some of my visual communications classes, but I never took a full-on photo class so my skills with a camera are definitively not the best.

I purchased a Canon PowerShot SX530 HS digital camera on BestBuy.com for under $200 the morning of Thanksgiving because I couldn’t wait until Black Friday. It has a large display screen and 50 times HD optical zoom lens. Plus, my purchase came with a free case and an 8 GB SD card! I originally wanted to get a DSLR but it’s undeniably a huge investment and I just wasn’t ready to spend that much money. I did however want to get a higher quality camera than a basic point-and-shoot that I’ve had in the past. All in all, I’m so happy with my purchase and I love playing around with taking pictures of my makeup products and random things around my house. I’m waiting for a good snow to happen so I can take photos and play around with white balance.

I’m also getting my hands into editing the photos which is a whole new world. I don’t have the best setup for taking photos in my room so a lot of my editing has been brightening/dulling the light and working with the shadows. I’m not an expert by any means in editing, but that will come with time. Currently I’m playing around with taking pictures against my vanity desk background, which is brown, and the white background of a poster board. Personally, I think the brown background has more character and looks more unique, but since daylight is currently minimal in Minnesota I’m usually forced to use the poster board for my backgrounds.

If you have any suggestions for photography beginners, leave them in the comments. I’m hoping to get a tripod in the next few weeks and may also look into the light box if I’m still unhappy with the lighting in my photos.

Thanks for reading!

And We’re Off!

Jake and I are finally off for our Iceland trip next week.  We booked our trip back in March, nine months ago, so it’s mind blowing that it’s finally here.  I’ve been thinking about it non-stop for the past month, talking about it for weeks, and now it’s here.  This me and Jake’s first big trip together aside from a few roads trips and a weekend at the cabin. Go big or go home!  I started packing far before I should I have, but that’s how I work.  I purchased some coloring and activity books for the plane and layovers and I have all the apps for traveling and money conversion downloaded on my phone.

We purchased our trip through Groupon, which is the second time we’ve used Groupon for a trip or excursion. The first trip was for an overnight dinner and train ride, but I’m interested to see how it plays out on an international trip.  Our trip came with the flights, a hotel stay, and one tour guided trip for the Northern Lights.  We land early in the morning and  then we have the whole day to our selves before our Northern Lights tour.  The next day we have a Blue Lagoon trip planned right in the middle of winter, though I’m not really bikini ready in January.  The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that was created by volcano eruptions and the water in the pool is around 100 degrees year round.  The spa offers tours of the location, has a full service restaurant and beverages, massages, and a shop to purchase skin care items.  I’m planning on getting a face mask while I’m there and probably a bottle of it for a souvenir.

Jake is interested in visiting Reykjavik’s parliament and capital house as he’s really into politics and government.  I’d like to do that on the day we arrive after checking into the hotel to prevent getting jet lag after a six hour time change.  I’m hoping to go to a nice dinner during our vacation and visit a club or music venue for a night out.  A few months ago I picked up a cute little Reykjavik travel guide that I book marked with restaurants and clubs that looked interesting.  Food is looking to be what we will spend the most money on, however it looks like you get a good bang for your buck (so to speak) with a nice dinner; around $20-$25 US dollars (ISK2,500 – ISK3,000).  There is also the option to book a glacier or geyser tour where we can see whales and other sea life along the coast.  The weather is looking to be pretty mild, by our standards.  It’s going to be below zero here in Minnesota next week and Reykjavik is going to be in the mid to upper 30s with rain and snow.  Practically summer.

This is the first trip of 2015 and Jake is hoping to make two other domestic trips for the year.  Jake has done an extensive amount of traveling already so I have a lot of ground to make up before I catch up to him.  I’m planning on taking a ton of pictures of the landscape and nature and hopefully a lot of pictures of the two of us for memories sake.