Looking Back & Looking Ahead


With Christmas over, 2016 seems done and dusted now.  It’s time to reminisce on the past year and/or look forward to the new one.  I personally find taking stock of the past year a bit of a hassle, but I’m certain that it’s the best way to start looking forward, as neglecting to look back often results in the same mistakes and the same oversights.

So here we go…

2016 GOALS

I’ve already run into a problem with this one, and can’t remember what I even wanted to accomplish!  I’m sure I came up with something, and probably wrote it down somewhere, but since my bullet journal wasn’t begun until February, I’m not sure where this life list would have been written… 

Obviously, a goal for the new year would be to make a list that I will look at after January…  See, looking back is already paying off!

Reading more (like 12 books in the year) is always on my list.  This year went fairly well, with a few months making up for book-less months, so I’m going to say that I’m happy with my 2016 reading schedule.  I found some authors I really loved (Liane Moriarty!!!), and even enjoyed a few audio books.  So happy with it that I won’t be changing it this year.

Blogging more was also most likely on the list, and I definitely failed.  Obviously.  New goal: blog posts at least 3 times a month!  It’s bewildering to me how easy it is to neglect a hobby that you actually enjoy…

I also vaguely remember wanting to try out a new business venture in 2016, and I did that, so good for me!  I failed at it, but all in all, it came at the right time and ended at the right time and I don’t regret it.  No new goal here however.

And that’s all I can think of when it comes to looking back on 2016 goals, so on to 2017!

2017 GOALS

As I mentioned above:

  1. Remember my goals
  2. Read 12 books
  3. Write 36 blog posts



  1. Create a home out of our new house
  2. Have a baby and keep it healthy!
  3. Fill an art journal

Six is probably a weird number for a goal list, but I’m leaving it there.  2017 is shaping up to be a intense year honestly…  We will be moving in March, our new baby (our first) is scheduled to appear at the end of May, and Mr. Brown is preparing for a deployment at the beginning of summer.  I have a hunch that these events will change many of my priorities and desires.  Maybe I’ll re-evaluate my goals this summer, but until then, let this be a list I can find all year! 


little Christmas Pleasures


I’ve faced Christmastime with a blend of excitement and dread for most of my adult life.  On one hand there’s so much to look forward to, on the other hand, there’s just so much to do!  I don’t want to sound too much like a Scrooge (a little Scrooge is festive after all), but just making lists of gift ideas gets me a little stressed…or maybe it’s my lack of ideas?

Anyway, there are so many great ideas out there for creating a “stress-free Christmas,” like limiting the gifts we buy, saying no to the majority of our Christmas invitations, or starting our Christmas preparations in June. 

Most of these options sound a tad dour to me honestly, but I definitely get their practical sense.  When things get tough, it’s time to take a step back?  However, when I think of the Christmas pleasures I enjoy the most, I find that my excitement and dread seem to be completely intermingled.  In fact, those frenzied nights when I picked up last minute gifts on Christmas Eve, the years when I went a little nuts with just who got on my gift list, or the Decembers when I found myself at a Christmas celebration every weekend are my favorite memories.

Therefore this is not a blog post about solutions for the chaos, but a list of what I personally find awesome about the Christmas season:

  1. Christmas Decorations

While hauling out the box of Christmas decor from the attic isn’t fun at all (ask Mr. Brown), the final effect of glittering lights, red poinsettias (fake for this kitty-loving household), and green wreaths and garlands is so worth the hassle!  And I don’t even have kids yet!  The plethora of Christmasy decorations warms my heart, which actually fools the rest of my body into thinking that our drafty old house is actually cozy.  Awesome.


  1. Cozy Indoor Activities

When the weather is nice, indoor activities such as reading, knitting, and watching Netflix with a cup of creamy hot chocolate equals couch potato status.  But stick those activities in December, and you have hours of comfy recreation guilt-free.  I love hanging out indoors, and the Christmas season puts a “savoring the moment” spin on practically everything I enjoy spending time doing this time of year.  Awesome.

  1. Christmas Crafts

As I mentioned, ’tis the season to get stuck in with some Christmas crafts.  There is so much inspiration this time of year!  Would you like your home to look like an Anthropologie store this Christmas?  Well, there’s a YouTube video/blog post/Facebook link for that!  Sure, you may only get to enjoy your creations for a few days once they’re complete, but it’s the process people, the process!  Awesome.


***check out livelaughrowe.com for an easy DIY to make these wine cork trees!

  1. Holiday Entertainment

In the age of Netflix and Hulu, I find myself barely ever re-watching my favorite movies these days.  Although for most of my life, I had no problem watching good movies over and over again, the past couple of years have found me preferring to watch “so-so” movies I’ve never seen to rewatching just about anything.  However, Christmas movies (or any movies with a Christmas scene somewhere before the credits) are still sacred, and I always watch the same few every year.  A Christmas Story anyone?  Awesome.

Maybe the secret of enjoying the Christmas season is simply our state of mind?  When you find yourself frantically wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, scouring the stores/internet for just the right gift, or adding the Christmas Eve candlelight service to your long list of places to be, remember that these are what make this time of the year so special.  Also, try to stay out of debt…that’s probably good advice as well.