A 101 update…

It’s been a while since I updated by 101 list and I’ve crossed a few things off recently.  Here’s where I am…

I have until May 30, 2013 to complete the following goals…

  • Send someone flowers for no reasonCompleted 1/11/12…sent flowers to my cousin Marybeth just because she’s awesome.
  • Pay for a strangers meal at a drive-throughCompleted 9/3/10…read about it here.
  • Give a microloan through kiva.orgCompleted 9/3/10 and it’s been fully repaid! I think I am on my third round of loans now. 
  • Find out my blood type and donate bloodCompleted 1/11/12…I’m anemic so I wasn’t able to donate…but I donated some cash instead and I will try again.
  • Travel to 5 places I’ve never beenSavannah, GA…Edmonton, AB, Canada…Lexington KY…Macon, GA…Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Take a road trip alone
  • Take a walking tour of NYC
  • Visit the Statue of LibertyDone during the Shana/Ally NYC extravaganza.
  • Spend a weekend in Atlantic City
  • Go on vacation with my sister-in-law
  • Travel somewhere by train
  • Go to Disney World
  • Write a novel
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo
  • Participate in NaBloPoMoDone!  Finished on 11/30/11
  • Redesign my blogThe new design went live on 11/6/11!
  • Comment on every blog post I read for one weekCompleted on 3/27/11
  • Crochet an afghan using the yarn I’ve had in the closet for a year – In progress…I was about halfway done, but I hated it, so I took it all out and started over.
  • Refinish a piece of furniture – In progress…working on re-doing my kitchen set…pictures to follow.
  • Use my sewing machine…finally
  • Take a photography classCompleted…I finished the class on December 21st and I can’t wait to sign up for the next one.
  • Take 48 pictures in 1 day and create a photo book of a day in my life
  • Do a 365 day photo project – I started this on April 1st.  It’s been more work than I thought it would be, but I have some really great shots.
  • Create a monthly scrapbook every month for 1 year – I’ve started this also.  I’ve been using the pictures from the photo project and it’s coming out great.
  • Make a calendar to give as a Christmas gift – This was a goal for this Christmas…but it was an epic fail.  Next year for sure.
  • Buy a Flip camera and make 1 home movie per week for 1 year – Well…I got the camera for Christmas last year…now I just need to start using it.
  • Create a journal of clippings, photos, quotes and other things I love – I bought a SmashBook and I started this project…so far I love it.
  • Create an emergency kit for both houses
  • Drink 64 ounces of water every day for 64 days straight
  • Complete the Couch to 5K program
  • Reach my goal weight and stay there – In progress…joined Jenny Craig in Feb 2011 and after a brief hiatus, I’m back on the program.
  • Take the dogs on a walk for at least 30 minutes every day for 1 month
  • Take a yoga class
  • Save $10,000 – I’m making great progress on this.  I managed to put a huge chunk of my bonus into savings.  I have a way to go, but I’m getting there.
  • Pay off all my credit cards in full each month for 1 year – I’ve managed to keep all my balances at zero since January!
  • Go 1 month without making a non-essential purchase March was my month and it was pretty successful.
  • Sell 5 things on Ebay
  • Sell something I make on Etsy
  • Study something entirely new
  • Conquer a fear
  • Go to 5 different museumsDone!…The Ellis Island Museum, The Discovery Times Square Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Sex and The American Museum of Natural History.
  • Create a house cleaning schedule and stick to it
  • Go to bed at 9PM every night for 1 week
  • Wake up at 5AM every morning for 1 week
  • Keep my inbox empty for 1 monthI started this back in April and it’s lasted much longer than a month.
  • Write a will and advanced medical directive
  • Write “in case of death” letters
  • Pick a day to perform random acts of kindness
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset on the same dayI actually did this twice while I was in Mexico.
  • Watch the sunset and the sunrise without going to bed
  • Get a library card – Completed 1/11/12
  • Answer the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind” – Done…you can read the answers here.
  • Go to the zoo in the spring to see the baby animalsCompleted on 5/31/11 with a trip to The Bronx Zoo
  • Eat a meal alone in a restaurant
  • Go to the movies alone 10 times
  • Get a henna “tatoo” on my hands
  • Get properly measured and buy 3 really good bras once per year – I actually went twice this year.
  • Go to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Give everyone on my Christmas list a handmade giftCompleted on 12/25/11.  Everyone got at least one handmade item this year and it was a huge success.  I will be doing this in the future as much as possible.
  • Get a bikini wax
  • Purchase a 1 year subscription to the NY LotteryCompleted 11/22/10…I’ll let you know if I win!
  • Reach 500 blog postsToday’s post is actually #538!
  • Do three more blog giveaways1st (apron), 2nd (12 days of Christmas, which I’m counting as one) and 3rd (Kiva card).
  • Order room serviceDone…also while we were in Mexico. 
  • Write a love letterDone on 8/26/11…I gave it to J for his birthday.
  • Organize every room of my house – I’m almost there.  The kitchen, both bathrooms, our bedroom and the linen closet are done.  I just have the guest room and den…which, unfortunately, have the most junk.
  • Buy myself a diamond ring (like Oprah’s pinky ring)
  • Watch every movie currently on my Netflix queue – In progress…after a cleaning of my list and watching tons of movies I’ve gone from over 400 to just under 200!
  • Watch all the movies we own on DVD…even the stupid ones
  • Meet a blog friend in person Completed on 10/29/10 when I met the fabulous Ally.
  • Go snorkeling
  • Read 100 books – Almost finished…88 down.
  • Have a girls night once per month
  • Do a boudoir photo shootI did this in February…the results weren’t exactly what I’d hoped for, but it was still a great experience.
  • Visit a psychicDone…on October 18th.  I got some very specific predictions, but I haven’t seen any come true just yet.
  • Spend a day lying in a hammock reading and napping – It wasn’t a hammock…but it fulfilled the spirit of the item.
  • Take a walk in the rain
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Build a snowman
  • Color an entire coloring book – I got an awesome coloring book and a huge box of crayons and colored pencils for my birthday, so this will be finished soon.
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Go on a date with J once per month
  • See 3 Broadway showsI saw Elf on 12/4/10, The Motherfucker in the Hat on 5/31/11 and Wicked on 11/15/11
  • Go to 5 concerts – 2down…Jay-Z and Eminem on 9/14/10, Sarah McLachlan on 1/12/11, Aerosmith on 7/24/12…I’ve got tickets to see The Rolling Stones and Maroon 5 coming up!
  • Dress up for HalloweenCompleted 10/31/10
  • Buy a completely impractical dress just because I love it
  • Throw a party
  • Go out dancing
  • Watch season 1 of Mad Men, Glee and Arrested DevelopmentDone!  Finished Glee last week.  I’ve already discussed my love of Mad Men…and this week I’m going to tell you just why I love Glee so much.
  • Go to a midnight movie premiereCompleted 11/19/10 when I went to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Celebrate Champagne Friday every week for 1 month
  • Shoot a gun at a shooting range
  • Play hooky from work one day for no reasonDid this at the beginning of September…it was fabulous.
  • Attend a taping of a TV show
  • Take the pastry class at ICECompleted 10/8/10…which you can read about here or here or here
  • Cook my way through a cookbook
  • Create a signature cupcake
  • Put together a recipe book from all the random recipes in the kitchen
  • Give a copy of that recipe book to someone as a gift
  • Write a blog post about each item I complete on the list
  • Write a new 101 list

I was excited to cross so many things off the list recently…but then I counted and I realized that I have so many more things to do and only 6 months in which to do them!  I’m a little concerned that I’m not going to finish…but I’m really going to try and I’m going to be really busy in the next few months.

I’ll keep you posted…

In the boudoir…

A few months ago, I wrote this.  I had just done a boudoir photo shoot and I was feeling awesome and sexy and beautiful.

Then I got the pictures back and they were…bad.  So bad that I didn’t even want to show them to anyone.  Ultimately, I showed them to J, who told me I looked great…becauase it’s his job to lie to me in these kinds of situations.  I also showed them to another friend who I knew would give me an honest opinion.  That opinion was that I appeared to be in some sort of pain…possibly of the gastrointestinal variety.

I don’t think the photographer had much experience with boudoir shoots and she didn’t know much more than I did about how I should pose or what would look good.  She was a portrait photographer and that came through in the photos.  Any shots where I wasn’t sitting on a stool and looking at her directly were awful.  They were badly lit and there were shadows and the angles were awful.  The poses were all wrong and the whole thing was just…bad.

Looking at the finished pictures, I felt very defeated.  I decided that I wasn’t sexy or beautiful and that I’d been fooling myself the day of the shoot.

I was ready to give up on the whole idea and I didn’t really ever think I’d get in front of a camera again…ever…even with my clothes on!

A few months later, I got a Groupon from a different photographer…this one specializing in this kind of photography.  I went to her website and checked out her portfolio…and it was awesome.  Really awesome.  And the deal was great so I decided to try again.  I couldn’t have felt worse about myself after the first shoot…so the worst outcome was that I’d waste $100 and a few hours of my time.

I met with the photographer for a consultation and I knew right away that this was going to be a totally different experience.  She showed me more examples of her work and I knew she’d do a great job.  She gave me some suggestions of what to wear and what to bring with me and we talked a bit about how I wanted the photos to look.

The day of the shoot arrived and I was nervous, but I knew I was in good hands.  Julia, the photographer, warned me that it wouldn’t be easy and I’d be really tired at the end…but it would be worth it.  Then she put on some music and showed me exactly how to pose and we went to work.

She was right…after two hours of posing, I was wiped out…and I was sore for three days after.  It turns out that posing and trying to be sexy is not something that feels natural…for me anyway.  At times, I felt like a contortionist.  But it was all worth it…because this time, the photos came out amazing.  When I look at them, I smile instead of cringing.  And when I showed them to J, for a minute he was totally speechless.

This time, it really was the best idea ever.

Here are a few of my favorites…

Photo credit: Juliati Photography


Photo Credit: Juliati Photography


And when I saw these wings, I just knew I had to bring out my inner supermodel…

Photo Credit: Juliati Photography

I really have to thank Julia at Juliati Photography.  She’s has amazing vision and she’s a genius with Photoshop!  She made this whole process easy and fun and she gave me gorgeous photos.

If you are thinking of doing a boudoir shoot of your own, I really think you should.  It was totally worth it.

An experiment in non-spending…

Well…I did it…I went an entire month without making a non-essential purchase.  It wasn’t easy…there were actually quite a few things that I wanted to buy.  But I stuck to my goal and I made it through the month.

I ended up spending more money than I thought I would.  At the beginning of the month, I’d kind of assumed I would only spend money on gas and groceries.  Anything else, I’d decided, was not essential.  Turns out I was wrong.

One of the things I’d originally decided was an absolute indulgence and was off-limits this month was taking a taxi from the train station to the office.  There was no reason that I couldn’t walk or take the subway.  That is…until I got sick and had to drag myself to work anyway.  On those days when I probably should have been in bed, I gave myself the present of a ride the 15 blocks to the office.  Totally worth it.

I also ended up driving to work a few times…twice because I had to go out after work and it didn’t make sense to go home first.  Another day I was just too sick to get onto the train.

There were also a few other things…like the crazy expensive fruit from the deli.  I don’t know what kind of voodoo magic they are working at the deli, but the fruit is super sweet and delicious and far superior to what I was getting at the grocery store.  So I spent the extra money on it.  Then there were the scones…the amazingly fresh and delicious scones from Alice’s Tea Cup that had been calling to me for weeks. I treated my coworkers to breakfast last Friday and those scones were possibly the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.  I bought a few books…but with two hours of commuting each day, books are a necessity.

And, of course, there were the lottery tickets.  It was a record-breaking jackpot…I couldn’t not take a shot.  I won $2…which is not the same as winning $640 million…but at least it wasn’t a total loss.

The thing is…there were a bunch of things I didn’t buy.  The dress I saw that was cute, but totally not practical.  The somewhat expensive desk I liked to replace the perfectly functional desk in my craft room.  The gorgeous Marc Jacobs bag that I spent a week staring at online.  I also didn’t set foot inside a Target, Michael’s or Christmas Tree Shop…my top three favorite places to buy all the things I never even knew I needed.  I swear…I walk into those places and it’s like the money just gets sucked right out of my wallet.

It was a really good lesson for me.  By forcing myself not to shop, I took a second look at the things I had around the house.  I got to cross a lot of things off my to-do list with all the extra time I had.  If I wanted to do a project, I used what I had on hand…which forced me to be more creative.  Making dinner was also interesting because instead of running out for fast food or takeout, I used what I had in the fridge…and I definitely threw out less spoiled food because of it.  And stopping to think before making a purchase made me realize that the dress was something I’d never wear and with a few slight modifications my desk will be perfect for what I need.

It also made me realize that not all purchases are bad and it’s ok to splurge on myself.  So I’m still contemplating that new bag.  I don’t really need a new bag…but it’s just so pretty.

This was a great experiment for me and I think it has really changed the way I look at spending money and buying new things.  I’m not sure I will go back to mindless spending.  I see a future filled with less impulse buys and less buyer’s remorse.

Another 101 update…

I haven’t been around much this week…because I’ve been super busy crossing things off my 101 list!  Here’s what I’ve done this week…

1) Send Flowers to Someone For No Reason…This was so much harder than I thought it would be.  I had a really hard time with the “for no reason” part of this.  There is always a reason…someone is having a bad day, it’s a holiday, it’s a birthday, someone did something nice for me…something.  I finally ended up sending flowers to my cousin Marybeth.  Technically, she had just gotten a new job, but that’s not why I sent the flowers.  Marybeth is just a really wonderful person and she’s always doing nice things for everyone…and if anyone deserves to get flowers for no reason, it’s her.  After a few snafus with FTD, her flowers were delivered yesterday and she was so happy. 

4) Donate Blood…I hate needles and this is one of the items on my list that I was dreading.  But I made an appointment for Tuesday and I kept it…even though I did briefly consider cancelling.  As it turns out…I’m anemic so I wasn’t able to make a donation after all.  It was disappointing, but it turns out that later the same day my doctor put me on a new vitamin, which should take care of the anemia and I will probably be able to donate in the future.  However, for now, I made a financial donation instead since that was all I could do.

51) Get a Library Card…I have been meaning to do this for years and I finally did it.  I got my card on Tuesday afternoon and I have already reserved a few books.  Now that I’ve got the card I don’t know why I waited so long!

I’ve also made progress on a few more items…

48) Perform Several Random Acts of Kindness…I started planning this day out and I made a list of what I want to do that day.  I also selected the day in February that I plan to do them.

52) Answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind…I’ve been working on these for a while and I’m making progress.  I’m about 3/4 of the way through the list.  I think I’m going to finish them this week and post my answers next week.

68) Watch Every Movie in My Netflix Queue…There were quite a lot of movies on this list when I started…over 400.  Now there are under 200.  This week I went through the list and I did a major cleaning.  I realized that we spend way too much time watching crappy movies.  So I went through and deleted everything with less than three stars.  I added several new movies and I watched the top 5 off the list.  I also got three new ones in the mail last night…so by the end of the week, I will have crossed 8 off the list.  I’m getting there!

72) Read 100 Books…I finished two more and just started a 3rd!  I’m up to 58 finished now.

74) Do a Boudoir Photo Shoot…This was supposed to happen in December, but work got in the way.  I rescheduled it for mid-February and I can’t wait.

I’m so happy to be making such great progress.  I have big plans to cross a few more off the list by the end of the month.

Do you have a list?  How many have you crossed off?