Category: Goals & Planning

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List

I write similar posts every year, where I share the items on my summertime bucket list and the summery or beach-setting books I hope to read. While my reading has been shit, I usually can count on my nice porch to bring my reading mojo back. I’m finding that working from home, for some reason, makes me read LESS and not more. I hope the warm weather continuing will help me get into reading. Bucket List & To-Do’s Take a couple of local nice-weather day trips We’re blessed to live about an hour away from Mystic, one of my favorite places in Connecticut. Our state overall has been doing much better than many others from a Covid transmission perspective, so things have been reopening. I’m still not ready for indoor dining personally and have yet to eat outside on a patio (even though that’s been open for multiple weeks already), but I feel ready for that part somewhat soon. Anyways, I hope to take a day trip or two in Connecticut on a nice weekend day (and/or during our Fourth of July week of vacation!) to Mystic and probably Niantic or a similar coastal town.  Enjoy friends’ backyards and pools We’re still social distancing to a pretty decent extent, but we’ve been able to see friends from a distance by setting up chairs in backyards and hanging out that way. One of our friends has a nice swimming pool so we’re hoping to spend time over there and grill out […]

Planner Streamlining

Planner Streamlining

I talk a lot about my planners and how I use each of them for various things, but it’s always a work in progress for me. I buy something with the best intentions and end up forgetting it, using it for something completely different, or half-ass the whole thing. I recently streamlined how I use my planners during this quarantine period because yes, there ARE still things to do. There are definitely less events out of the house, but I still need to plan (now more than ever!) meals, groceries, house chores, work, and reading. Here’s how I’m doing it all now. Artful Agenda: Blog/Books, Calendar-Based, On-the-Go Lists My online planner is the best place for me to include anything that I’d want to reference while on my computer or phone (on the go). I traditionally use it for easily adding appointments (like when I’m leaving my hair appointment and schedule my next while I’m there) or events when I’m with friends (determining our next holiday party or something). While this will be true again someday, right now it’s mostly helping me from a blogging perspective. If I have a few posts I want to plan out and complete, I’ll include them in the to-do sections. I’m able to leave this tab open on my computer and reference it whenever. The second thing this planner is currently helping with during quarantine is planning out my grocery shopping and lists whenever necessary. Obviously I’m shopping less often than the million times […]

Quarantine Goals and Habits

I shared on Twitter the other day that I downloaded an app (Habitica – feel free to check it out but that’s not what this is about, nor is it my favorite thing. It works though.) to track some of the daily habits I really want to accomplish. Habits, goals, and little to-do lists all rolled into one. Everyone is approaching this weird time in our lives in a different way. Chris works in manufacturing and, as of right now, is still considered essential. I am thinking there will be some time off in his future (fingers crossed), but right now I’m alone in quarantine, working from home each day. He doesn’t get to join in in the craziness of actually being home 24/7, which sucks for both of us frankly, but there are still some quarantine-ish things he has to deal with anyways. Daily Habits I thought I would break my goals down into some categories, expand on them to include broader “during quarantine overall” kinds of things beyond the daily habits I want to keep. But, the main things I plan to do EVERY day are: Get outside If it’s nice out, this means spending some genuine quality time on the porch, going for a walk, or on the front step. Even if it’s horrible, rainy, and cold out, I need a minute or so of outdoor time still. That could be greeting Chris on the front porch under the awning or walking to get the mail. Be […]

February Grocery Challenge: Weeks 3-4 & Wrap-Up

February Grocery Challenge: Weeks 3-4 & Wrap-Up

You saw recently how I made a February Grocery Challenge to use food up that I had on hand and stick to a $20 per week (sometimes $25 if needed) grocery budget for the entire month of February. I shared my reasons for doing it, the rules I developed for the challenge, and tracked ALL of the things we ate and bought throughout February from a food perspective. The post got quite long as a result so I thought I would split my posts up a bit and share the overall results and lessons learned in a separate post. The Results Week Three (2/17 through 2/23) Monday EATS: As I mentioned in the last post a couple weeks ago, we had leftover meatloaf with green beans and mashed potatoes for lunch. I decided to actually do a planned Meatless Monday for dinner with some of the new groceries I bought. I found a recipe for an eggplant caprese (I didn’t grill the eggplant but I did use the grill pan on the stove instead, which was fine!) and made an Italian-style quinoa (including fire-roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes) to get some protein and more veggies on the side. SHOPPING: Okay SO I decided to go rogue and do my final two grocery shops for the month in one fell swoop. I wanted to keep close to the budget, get everything at once, and do Walmart pickup instead of going into a store and spending too much money. Their minimum for pickup is $30 so I […]

February Grocery Challenge: Rules & Weeks 1-2

February Grocery Challenge: Rules & Weeks 1-2

I spoke a while back about how randomly I got obsessed with Jordan Page’s videos. She’s a specialist in being frugal, budgeting, paying off debt, scheduling, productivity… all that good stuff. While I’ve heard some so-so things about her since (just google it), a lot of her videos and blog posts have inspired me in my house and life. The main ones here related to the #Shelftember and #Stocktober challenges. You limit grocery spending in September to $25/week and eat from your pantry, fridge, and freezer as much as you possibly can. In October, you stock back up on the essentials. I realized in January how I spend SO much money on groceries. I only grocery shop during my lunch break because I’m in a town with way more options (Trader Joe’s!) than the town I live in. I tend to buy smaller bits of groceries throughout the week but sometimes find myself going WAY over budget because of so many small trips to different stores. Can’t get Velveeta for the Superbowl at Trader Joe’s? Guess I’ll also stop at Stop & Shop and oh wait they have all these other things I may need sometime soonish! – me all the damn time. Believe me, it’s good for my computer-facing eyeballs to leave the office at lunch (and during the warm weather I love to just read a book outside!), but I don’t need to go to a STORE multiple times each week. Enough was enough – we have an expensive […]

2020 Planners, Spreadsheets, and Organization

2020 Planners, Spreadsheets, and Organization

Alright y’all – new year, new planners and spreadsheets! I’ve posted countless organization-related posts over the years that can be found in this category on my blog. I’m keeping some spreadsheets and planners the same as last year and bringing some new things to the table as well, so let’s get into it! Planners (Digital and Paper) Artful Agenda – Digital Life Planner I wrote a whooole post on this when I first got the Artful Agenda, so feel free to check that out for an overview. I use this to sync with my Google calendars (blog posts and personal) and can include other tasks, meals, and to-do lists/notes pages. Below are two screenshots. The first is part of the monthly view: And below includes the daily page layout, next to the calendar section. (For more pictures, definitely check out the post I linked above.) There are priority tasks, other tasks, meals, water intake, and an automated daily quote. The section at the bottom has a title you can edit, so I made mine into a place where I can track groceries and/or things I need to pick up that day. I also use the “other tasks” section for my internet and blog-based tasks; the “priority tasks” section is mostly for ~real-life~ tasks. Bullet Journal for Reading/Books I’m still doing a bullet journal this year for my 2020 reads! Again, I made a whole post about this with my pages before I filled anything in, so check out that post […]

2020 Reading Bullet Journal

2020 Reading Bullet Journal

I tried to share some bullet journal posts last year and got lazy for the final pages of the year. I think I was not giving myself enough ability to be creative with it and just lost steam. I ended up putting a lot of thought and effort into my layouts for this year, so I thought I would share my bullet journal setup for 2020! This includes all of the yearly pages (reading tracking overall, challenges, etc.) but not the monthly layouts. I kept some layouts the same, moved stuff around, and came up with brand new ideas for my new challenges. I also ended up using the same bullet journal from 2019 and just setting up a 2020 section because I barely made a dent in it last year haha. So, here we go! 2020 Divider Because I’m continuing in the same bullet journal from last year, I decided to make a 2020 divider page so I know where the new year starts. I’m keeping the little bookmark there as well. Year in reading and dates completed/read These pages are similar from last year’s setup as well. I made a large book where I color in one stripe/line across for every five books I finish. By the end of the year, the book should be full of stripes and colored in! The second page here features a year-long calendar. If I finish a book on a specific day, I circle that date in the calendar. If I finish […]

September-October Bookish Bullet Journal

September-October Bookish Bullet Journal

When I mentioned the idea of sharing layouts from my reading-related bullet journal on the blog, most of you seemed interested to read about it! I can’t justify making one post each month dedicated to the 3-4 bujo pages I make during that month, so I thought doing a little bullet journal update every two months would be fun instead! In these posts you will see all of the new pages I added during the past two months. September new releases and review copies: Big release month in September, apparently! I’m not super surprised now that I look at this. September TBR: LOL this is a sad wrap-up. I didn’t read a lot in September because it’s always super busy, between alllll the things in my life happening at once. Anniversary, birthday, football, etc… all the good things I love! I don’t read as much during the month and clearly the books I DID read weren’t on my original TBR. September reading tracker: It took me a super long time to read one of my books and others were pretty long as well. Usually I don’t take an entire week to read a book – especially a contemporary romance – but that happened a lot here. Fall bingo card: I didn’t get my shit together on fall bingo until after I did some September spreads when usually I’d prefer to have that at the front of the season. Oh well. This is fairly accurate but I believe I finished a few more off after […]

Fall Bucket List

Fall Bucket List

Usually I write some kind of fall-based post or bucket list in September, when my birthday and all the fun things start to hit, but I wasn’t in the mood to deal with anything until right now. It doesn’t help that my Summer Bucket List wasn’t really completed until the last day of September, when I ate my final lobster roll for the “season” and finished my post about it. In any case, I do have some fall goals I’d like to accomplish! Bookish (1) Read 5-7 spoopy/falltime books (by Lauren-standards). I’m not one for horror or anything overly creepy, but I DO enjoy a good thriller or paranormal story occasionally, especially during October. For fall in general, I love reading thicker books or deeper ones, like fantasy or retellings. I just know that October-November are all about non-contemporary romance reads for once in my life. I hope to read at least five but hopefully seven books that I would personally qualify as good seasonal reads! (At the time of posting this, I have already read or am currently reading a couple of these below!) (2) Finish the yearly challenges that I logically can I just posted my final push for challenges TBR/planning post the other day. If you read that, you can see that I’ll be almost completely done with my year-long challenge goals in November… if all goes according to plan! I do have the Monthly Motif Challenge that needs to be done in December, but the “last […]

Summer of Lobster Rolls (Bucket List & TBR Update)

Summer of Lobster Rolls (Bucket List & TBR Update)

While I created a whole bucket list and TBR for the summer, the goal I was most excited for was about FOOD. I made it a goal to eat 10 lobster rolls in the summer of 2019. I initially planned to literally just eat 10+ of them without caring where they came from, but I ended up with so many suggestions on where to go from people! Chris and I both love seafood and trying new places to eat, so I turned my general goal into an actual Lobster Roll Bucket List with 10+ different restaurants or seafood shacks to try this summer. I’ll go through the delicious list and photos, then recap on my TBR progress and how I did on the rest of my bucket list afterwards. 1. Jessica’s Garden We kicked off the list with Jessica’s Garden, a place I’ve been meaning to try since I saw it in a few articles in the past couple of years. It was an adorable place with ice cream, smoothies, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and lobster rolls (of course!). As you’ll see when we go through the list, I’m a bigger fan of cold lobster rolls (lobster salad with mayo) than hot with butter. 2. The Blue Oar There’s this gorgeous restaurant by a boat launch, right on the water of the Connecticut River, that we enjoyed early in the summer. I took some time off for Fourth of July because Chris gets that week off, and we made […]