Category Archives: I Love A Challenge

2012 New Year’s Intentions

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t feeling the New Year’s resolutions this year. This is almost blasphemy for a goal-maker such as myself, but all in all, I’m happy with where I stood on January 1, 2012. I am relatively healthy. My monthly budget is workable. No regrets. No big goals unachieved (except for the elusive 5k run.)

Instead of resolutions, I’m giving this year purpose. Seven purposes, actually.

In yoga, a good teacher begins class by giving you a moment to come up with an intention for that practice. For me it is sometimes physical (stretch the hips!), but for the most part, it is a sentiment that can come off the mat. Given the nature of yoga, I think the latter is the point. So I have come up with seven intentions to focus on in yoga and in real life. Seven is a magic number because I could do one per day of the week, but I’m going to let this play out and see what works best. My morning run may be “test”, while forcing myself to stop checking email at 9pm may be “balance”.

Maggie’s 2012 Intentions

  • Balance
  • Test
  • Communicate
  • Clean
  • Celebrate
  • Environment
  • Support

I am very excited about this new version of resolutions. Stay tuned throughout the year to see how this plays out. I have a feeling that taking the specific pressure of “run a 5k in under 30 minutes” off of the list might give me permission to actually meet that challenge. Let’s see!

What are your goals for 2012?

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2011 Year in Review Goal 3: Grow.

My achievements under this goal are the ones I’m most proud of, but if you would like to see what else I did this year, check out posts about goals one and two.

Goal 3: Grow.

  • Work for myself and/or out of my home by the end of the year.
  • Create a business plan and official documentation of a venture.
  • Attend six networking events.
  • Make time to read for fun.
  • Try something new once a month.

Well, obviously and ad nauseam, you know that I succeeded in sub-point one. I’m a month into it and just starting to find a rhythm AND the fear that I should have had on day one. What if this doesn’t work? Am I pricing things right? How do I get folks to believe in me if I’m working from home? Why won’t anyone return my emails!?! Ack. Lots of worries, but also lots of excitement. This is still the third best decision I’ve ever made. (1. Going to South Carolina for college. 2. Marrying Randy.) What you may not know is that I do have a business plan and all the appropriate tax paperwork completed. I now have a mileage book in my car and a percentage of my house designated as office. If you have any interest in reviewing the business plan, I’d love for you to review and give me your thoughts.

I did attend my prerequisite number of networking sessions in 2011 and should probably up the number in 2012. I ended up making some great friends (and thusly business connections) through the #MKEfoodies tweet-ups and enjoyed AMA-Milwaukee Chapter luncheons. I didn’t get that much out of other activities, but I always learned something.

With school behind me, I rediscovered my love for the library where I come home with no less than eight books to read in a three-week time frame. Like everyone else in the world, I read the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games series, but after picking up an interesting read on the Medici family in Florence, I’ve been on a European royalty/history kick. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Reading is my version of meditation. I love that time for myself.

Now the exciting part – what new things did I try in 2011:

  1. Entered a food challenge.
  2. Tried sweet potato soup. (Concept sounds awful…soup itself was quite tasty.)
  3. Get married! (And share finances for the first time in my adult life. This was a personal challenge. Randy is better with money than I am, but..but… it’s my money.)
  4. Run 20 minutes straight.
  5. Take the bus to work.
  6. Go to Europe and all  the new experiences that entailed.
  7. Do a 10k.
  8. List a company as a LLC.
  9. Tried Mediterranean food. (Loved it. New favorite lunch spot!)
  10. Teach in a bathing suit.
  11. Quit a job without a sure thing lined up.

As you can see, I need to do one more new thing in 2011. With only 10 days left, what do you think I should do???

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2011 Year in Review Goal 2: Be Happy

As we finish 2011, I could not possibly be happier! I married the man of my dreams. I’ve got my health. I live in a beautiful home. I can wear pajamas to work and my “co-worker” Noah just sleeps most of the day. Life is good! But how did I do on the sub-categories??

Goal: Be happy.

  • Take more pictures
  • Share pictures and stories via blogs.
  • Make a homemade dinner at least four times per week.
  • Pay it forward at least once a month.

I did a slightly better job taking pictures this year, but I sure got a lot of help from friends, family, and wicked good photographers for the big stuff. As for sharing them, well…you better be my friend on Facebook or in real life. I plan on adding more pictures  to blog posts in 2012.

I’m proud of the documentation of our honeymoon. Hopefully y’all were able to play along from home pretty well. I didn’t do the best sharing the rest of the year, but I’m sure we can all agree I over share and you feel like you know plenty about my 2011.

A homemade dinner four times a week may not seem like that big a stretch for some of you, but with all of our extracurriculars and our how much we like to go out to eat, Randy and I weren’t eating a non-cold-sandwich meal at home very often. I can’t tell you specifics, but we did get better in 2011! Many thanks to our CSA, Springdale Farms, for providing us with abundant produce, the #mkefoodies group for inspiring me to freeze a lot of things in the summer, and my favorite food blog loves  for providing me with inspiration. I found a really cool calendar for 2012 to help me plan out fresh, healthy meals. Check it out here.

I made a very conscious effort to “pay it forward” in 2011. The whole point of this exercise is to be a humble person helping out their fellow man, so I won’t give you specifics. I’ll just say I did it. Happily. Hopefully this exercise becomes habit and I’ll continue this practice for all years to come.

In 2012, I hope to dedicate more time and communication to specific charities. I think I have found my home in a couple of local nonprofits. I look forward to getting more involved in the new year. If anything, I think I might over share vs. not tell y’all enough, so the blogging might stay the same or happen a little less. I’m also hoping 2012 is a little less eventful than 2011. This was a crazy year!

Do you volunteer? Do you prefer one-time opportunities or a year-long commitment?

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2011 Year in Review Goal 1: Be Healthy

I am a dork and do my New Year’s resolutions like strategic plans – goals, objectives, etc. There were three parts to 2011’s plan. This post focuses on part 1. Stay tuned for more.

Goal: Be Healthy.

  • Finish a 5k in under 30 minutes (running the whole way.)
  • Enter 4 athletic events.
  • Stick with Weight Watchers until I’m comfortably back to my 2004 weight.

Dude…I did NOT meet this goal.

I did complete four events this year. Here they are with times:

  • Cupcake Run 5k in May (34:50) – I did not run the whole distance, so I sacrificed my cupcake. Instead stopped at Starbucks on the way home for a chocolate smoothie. Healthy calories?
  • Rock N’ Sole 10k in July (1:14:02) – My goal was to finish in under 1:15, so I at least met that, but I think I only ran about a half. It was hot, there wasn’t water, blah, blah… there were plenty of excuses, but I just simply wasn’t ready for this distance.
  • Sausage Race 5k in July (35:05) – This one was miserably hot, my nerves got the best of me, and my wheels flew off almost instantly. Also sacrificed my sausage and beer, but given that it was 10am, I probably would have done that anyway.
  • Warrior Dash 5k with obstacles (41:50) – I held Randy back and he ran with me on this one. I went into it knowing I probably wouldn’t run the whole distance and to just have fun. I did! Swimming through mud was a blast. Do I need to do it again? Eh.

You can see I didn’t make my 30 minute mark, nor my run-the-whole-distance goal (though I did run 3.1 miles in practice a bunch!), so that is moving to 2012. I’m also upping my second challenge and planning on doing one special athletic event each month a la Miss Meghan A.  These events won’t all be running-based. Throwing in some yoga or pilates challenges sound great, too! That said, my first event is going to be the Sampson Stomp 5k on January 15. Anyone want to join me?

As for the weight, well, I’ve been hovering around the same number for 18 months now. 2012 may include some baby-housing, so I’m going to try to stop focusing on this number. Instead, I’ll focus on how clothes fit, how well I’m sticking to an exercise regimen, and trying to master my chocolate intake.

What are your health goals for 2012?

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Walking Along the Lonely Street of Dreams

“I don’t know where I’m goin’
but I sure know where I’ve been
hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday.
An’ I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time
but here I go again, here I go again.”

-Proverb by Whitesnake

Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about my decision to go to University of South Carolina. I never understood why people couldn’t grasp the concept of going away to school. Heck, why weren’t they doing it themselves?! My parents told me they were proud of me. My friends were happy for me. My boyfriend used it as an excuse to break up with me. But no one really got my decision. Even my guidance counselor suggested I just attend MATC to save money and the fear of the unknown. (Ah, my first disheartening coworker…) Of course I was scared and cried 450 of the 900 miles down to Columbia, but I never wavered. I knew college in SC was what I was meant to do. Little did I know that would turn into one of the best decisions I ever made. I learned SO much. I made such great friends. I grew up. I had experiences. I got wise.

It’s time to make a wild choice again.

As of Monday, November 28, Mark the Occasion Designs is going to be my only job. With the unbelievable support of my wonderful husband and a mom and friends who have told me they believe in me, I am going to give entrepreneurship a full-time whirl. I have a plan, but that didn’t keep me from waking up at 3 am last night to debate the risks. A good night’s sleep may be a thing of the past, but I cannot tell you how excited I am! As we have discussed ad nauseum, my first show is this weekend. It will be a learning experience (as everything technically can be!), but it will also be the event to fund this venture. I’m not taking out any loans…I’m only giving myself this profit to work from. I’m sure my first $100,000 won’t be far behind. That happens in the first month, right? (Kidding!)

This time around I’m getting a lot less blank stares. “Courage” is being thrown around as much as “congratulations.” I hope I have your support, too, but if I don’t, perhaps this blog can now be a place to teach you to have your own courage. Do something because you want to, not because you should. If you have your mind set on something and know you can make it work, you can!

We have lots of time for me to sell you wedding flowers and for you to give me advice, but for now let’s give thanks to those that believe in us. You can’t ask for a better gift. And reader, I believe in you!

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