My Goals for 2017: Check-In #11

Some people are motivated by rewards. Some people are motivated by fear. Others are internally motivated. Me? I’m motivated by public shame. I do not want to be embarrassed, and that’s what typically gives me the push I need complete things. (I’m what the author Gretchen Rubin would call “an obliger”, based on her personality framework.)

It helped keep me focused when I trained for two marathons in my younger years. I joined Team in Training, which, in exchange for participants raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, provides coaching, support, and organized, group training runs. Those group runs were critical for me – in particular the weekly “long runs.” Knowing that I would be running 16 miles with a group on Saturday, helped keep me motivated to train on my own throughout the week. I knew I’d never be the first, but I really did not want to be the last person to finish the long runs.

What does this have to do with my 2017 goals? I’m using this motivation to help keep me on track with my goals. I’m sharing monthly check-ins on my progress to keep me focused, and as a form of accountability.

2017 Goals Check-In #11

(You can read more detailed descriptions of each of my goals here.)

Okay, guys, what can I say? I started thinking about my goals for 2018, and pretty much stopped working on my goals for 2017. I’m not proud of it, but I clearly threw in the towel, mentally . (It also didn’t help that I developed a minor YouTube addiction over the past couple of months…)

I’m going to go through the motions here, but don’t expect much:

Goal #1: Read at least 24 books that I truly want to read.

I barely cracked a book in October November. The reading that I did do was all magazines and the Sunday New York Times – which take me a full week to get through, anyway. Technically, I’m still reading, What Happened, since it’s still sitting on my nightstand with a bookmark in it.  At this point, my plan is simply to finish that book, and call it a year. You can see all of my 2017 reads – current, past, and future, plus those that I couldn’t get through – here.

Goal #2: Try at least three new (to me) activities, preferably active ones.

I’m going to give myself credit for completing this one. Early in the year, I attempted snowshoeing for the first time. Over the summer, I rode a ski lift and drove a luge down (a portion of) Mont Tremblant. And this fall, I took on a second, temporary, part-time job, and worked a good bit more hours per week outside the home than I typically do.

Goal #3: Run at least three 5K races. Get 150 minutes of activity every week.

(I changed this goal a couple of months ago, and you can read my explanation for it here.)

Thanks to my FitBit, I’m able to track my minutes of daily activity and exercise. I did okay with this goal in October. My work days are difficult, since my job is 100% sedentary. (I sit in a chair and provide career counseling to students all day.) However, now that I’m trying to maintain my recent weight loss, I’m putting extra effort toward cramming more steps into every day. (You can read a recap of my Weight Watchers experience here.)

Despite the extra effort, I had a difficult time overcoming the combination of my sedentary job and overall lifestyle, and the cold, dark weather. My husband, who really wants to lose some weight in 2018, found a good deal on a treadmill on Black Friday, and it arrives next week. This should be a big help in reaching my activity goals.

Goal #4: Find a way to dread meal planning/cooking less.

I’ve fallen almost completely off the meal-planning wagon, and it shows in our dinners. As of today, I’m off from work until January 8. I want to finish 2017 strong with meal plans, and possibly even create a full meal plan for the entire month of January.

How are you doing with your 2017 goals or resolutions? Have you set your goals for 2018?

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Beekman 1802

Product Empties: November, 2017 Edition

I recently started watched a wide variety of videos on YouTube, and discovered the “product empties” genre. Are you familiar with these? Basically, people show empty containers of products they finished during the month, and most also give mini-reviews of them. A lot of the empties videos I’ve seen focus on makeup, and/or skincare, and/or household products, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these videos exist for other kinds of products, too.

The first couple of times I watched these videos, I found them kind of ridiculous. I mean, what’s the point of looking at the empty packages of products other people have used?? But I did appreciate the reviews of some products I was interested in, and eventually I started to wonder about the quantity of products I used up in given month. How many hand soaps? Cleaners? Lip balm? So… I decided to keep track of my own product empties from last month!

Here’s what I finished up:

Personal Care

That Bath & Body Works lotion smelled so good!!


  • Pack of Finish Powerball dishwasher tablets: These work well, so I stock up whenever they go on sale.
  • Bath & Body Works Caramel Pumpkin Swirl 3-wick candle: Read about my candle obsession here.
  • Bath & Body Works Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow 3-wick candle: I’m (obviously) a sucker for these sweet, candle scents.
That’s embarrassingly few cleaning products…

Skincare & Makeup

That liquid lipstick looked frightening on me!

Product Hit of the Month: Hands down, that wonderful Bath & Body Works Salted Caramel Apricot body cream!

Product Miss of the Month: Definitely the Stila lipstick. The product, itself, may be great, but that color was appalling on me!


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my Sample Sunday posts. I love sample sizes and trying new products of all kinds, but I’ve been hanging onto my stash for a while, rather then putting them to use. As a result, I’ve started pulling out a few each Sunday, to try out over the next week or so. Here are the samples I finished in November:

Do you use any of these products, too? Are you a big fan of samples, or do you stick with the tried-and-true?

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

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Monday Meal Plan #48

Happy Monday!! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Recap

It was a pretty productive weekend for us, especially my husband. He was on a cleaning and decluttering tear, in advance of our holiday party next weekend. In addition to reorganizing my messy pantry area – what can I say; I can’t resist stocking up when there’s a great deal! – he purchased and set up shoes racks that tripled the amount of shoe storage space in our mudroom, and mounted our new vacuum on the wall. (He’s an avid deal-hunter, and got an amazing  Black Friday deal on it at Target.)

So much more room for shoes and boots!!

My daughter and I braved the crowds on Saturday, and went to the mall and Target. She had a friend over yesterday afternoon, and after she left, it was time to get back into the Sunday night routine…


The Week Ahead

It’s going to be a semi-hectic week for me. Monday morning, I have a committee meeting at my daughter’s school, then I have my annual physical, followed by my annual visit to the gynecologist. (I don’t typically schedule both appointments on the same day, but scheduling with my doctors can be tricky, and it just worked out this way this year.) I’m working at Skidmore (my temporary job for this year) on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and on Friday I’ll be running errands and prepping for a holiday party we’re hosting Saturday night. The party prep will continue on Saturday, and on Sunday, we’ll probably be cleaning up and relaxing.

My daughter has a Brownies meeting until 5:00 Monday evening, gymnastics at 6:30 Wednesday night, and a friend’s birthday party on Sunday.

Weekly Meal Plan

Here’s what what’s on my dinner meal plan for this week:

  • Monday: Stuffed shells from the freezer w/ frozen veggies
  • Tuesday: Leftovers
  • Wednesday: Maryland crab cakes w/ green salad and couscous
  • Thursday: Pasta alio olio (recipe from Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking)
  • Friday: Pancakes and sausage – brinner!
  • Saturday: Par-tay!!
  • Sunday: Homemade macaroni and cheese (specific recipe TBD) w/ roasted veggies

What are you having for dinner this week??

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