Reading Challenge 2014

Books 2014

I feel like a broken record, but can someone please tell me how it’s September 24th? How is that possible? Does time move at warp speed as soon as you’re finished university? Don’t tell me the answer to that, I actually don’t want to know. Somehow it’s been more than 9 months since I set my goals + feelings for the year, including my reading goal for 2014. It doesn’t seem possible how quickly this year has gone by, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either.

I’m happy to report that I’ve stuck to my reading challenge as much as was humanly possible for me this year. Having a full time job for the majority of the year put a tiny cramp in my reading style, though I do still read quite a bit. In 2013 I read 75 books, but I was travelling or working a not very demanding job for most of the year so I knew that 2014 would pose some more challenges to my reading life. But I was hopeful I could overcome them! (Sadly yes, I am that serious about my reading. You have to be if you love to read as much as I do, and if you want to read an absurd number of books every year!)

On my last post about reading, a friend left a comment asking when I read. The answer is: when I’m eating, when I have nothing to do at work, when I have a break, when I need to commute somewhere, before bed, while stretching, while brushing my teeth, and if it’s a really good book…. then when I’d normally be surfing the internet or writing. I don’t watch much TV – maybe about 3 hours per week – and messing around on the computer and reading are my two favourite pastimes so I spend a lot of time doing one of the two.

I stay accountable to my goals by religiously logging my books on Goodreads, putting books on hold through OverDrive so I always have a new exciting book to read, and of course sharing my favourites here every few months on the blog.

So where do I stand?

Books 2014 2

I’ve got 27 books to go before January 1, 2015. That number seems a tad high, especially since according to GoodReads I’m 6 books behind schedule to complete this goal. But the good news is, the challenge has already been a success for me! It always is, no matter what the outcome. I discovered some authors I love (Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Elin Hilderbrand) and read some really wonderful books. I’ll read at least 50 books this year, which feels like a major accomplishment my first year as a full time employee. It proves that I can do it, despite what all the naysayers always say (abundance 4ever!). I’m not giving up on the goal of 75, but everything from here on out feels like icing on the cake. Wish me luck!

You can read about how I read so many books for free here, and see my favourite book recommendations of 2014 so far here. You can also add me on GoodReads here, I love to see what other people are reading!

24 Before 24: Get a Tarot Reading

I’m doing 24 fun new things before I turn 24. You can see the rest of the list here

DSC_2221Getting a tarot card reading has always seemed so fun and exciting to me. Like most people, I am equal parts skeptical and giddy when it comes to mysterious things like having my fortune told or getting my palm read. I always think it sounds a little bogus, but not enough to discount it entirely – there’s always still a part of me that wants to believe in the magic of it.

This was one of the things on my first list that I never got around to, so I was excited to get the chance to have this experience while I was in Seoul! It was kind of fun, but kind of strange, too. It made me feel a little weird afterwards, but it was overall a pretty cool experience.

DSC_2222In downtown Seoul we walked past a whole line-up of tents offering fortune-telling services – apparently they are quite common in Korea. I got excited, then remembered that I didn’t speak Korean. But my friend offered to translate for me, and before I knew it we’d ducked into one of the tents! It was very kind of her to offer, and it ended up being a fun thing for us to do together.

Initially I’d thought to just get the tarot card reading, but after learning it only applies to the next 3 months of your life, I thought I’d go for something potentially more interesting: a reading of my birth chart! I gave the sweet woman who ran the tent (dressed totally normally by the way, and no crystal ball in sight!) my birth date and time, and she typed it all into her computer to find my chart.

DSC_2223The results weren’t overly surprising. According to my birth chart: I can be stubborn, I always have an opinion and I like to get my way. I’m a great teacher, I like learning, and I’m good with languages. I should get married later in life, after age 30. It will be important to me that both me and my partner are passionate and work hard at our respective careers – she went so far as to suggest the possibility of being a “weekend couple”! I should work to build a specialized, professional career (whatever that means).

And that was it, really! Nothing overly dramatic or revealing. The whole time I was in the tent though, I had this sense of forboding, like she was going to say something I really didn’t want to hear. For a while afterwards, I felt a little uneasy and couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. So while I wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of doing a tarot reading again in the future, or even looking deeper into my birth chart, for now I’m happy to have done it and am closing the book on this one.

The 24 List

24 Photo

Two years ago, I wrote a list of 22 things I wanted to do before I turned 22. I loved the idea and the project, and some of my favourite memories of that year were sparked by the 22 before 22 list: creating a book club, making a podcast, sewing a dress, running a race. I didn’t make a list last year, mostly because the year was a bit strange for me between travelling for 3 months in Europe, living at home deciding my next steps, and ultimately moving to Korea. Since I didn’t know what the year would look like in terms of my routine or physical environment, I didn’t feel inspired to set goals. This year, I feel more settled and I have a pretty good vision of what 23 will look like, which means I’m feeling excited to start a new project.

These goals are all things I think will make my life richer, happier, and more fun. They’re meant to inspire me to have more adventures and experience more joy. They’re not meant to make me feel stressed out trying to check them all off. On the 22 list, I only completed 12 of my goals, and while I (of course) hope to cross more off this list, I’m approaching it with a very fun and relaxed attitude. So here we go, 23! Let’s see how many of these I can do before I turn 24.

  1. Get a tarot reading 
  2. Learn to surf Go surfing 
  3. Try acro yoga 
  4. Get into lotus pose safely and comfortably
  5. Run a half marathon Run a 10K race 
  6. Shoot & develop a disposable camera
  7. Learn 4 new hairstyles
  8. Get a manicure 
  9. Make 24 new recipes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
  10. See the sunrise from a beach 
  11. Have a picnic somewhere stunning 
  12. Write another (e)book
  13. Sell something I make 
  14. Order room service
  15. Make a photobook for my trip to Europe
  16. Spruce up my websites 
  17. Go camping 
  18. Go trampolining 
  19. Write articles for 7 websites (1, 2, 3, 4)
  20. Create a photography portfolio 
  21. Be able to do a free-standing handstand 
  22. Donate to charity once a month 
  23. Make business cards
  24. Write 12 love letters by hand (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-9, 10, 11)

2012 goal progress.

Don’t ask me why I feel compelled to do a round-up of my 2012 goals in mid-May. It’s not quite halfway through the year, nor is this a quarterly report, I just feel like it’s the right time for me to assess my progress and get motivated for the next half-ish of the year. Ready? Okay!

In general, I have been so happy about these goals. I love that they’re tangible, I love that they’re check-off-able, and I love that they give me a bit of a direction in how I live my life. They help me focus on what I think is important, and that winds up shaping my everyday life in positive ways. That being said, I’ve made a lot of progress on some of my goals, and next to no progress on others. I’ve already scrapped one, and another is starting to seem like it doesn’t jibe with who I am or what I want anymore – funny how quickly things can change, right!? Anyhow, let’s go into a bit more detail.


  • Read 75 books this year/ I’ve read 14 so far
  • Take 5 trips/ I haven’t taken a single trip, unless you count going home for reading break and my birthday. I’ll hopefully be taking a couple in the summer, but 5 seems a little far off at the moment.
  • Bake & decorate 5 cakes [12]/ I’m hoping to make a few more – not quite so elaborate as the first two! Maybe something light and fun for summer birthdays.
  • Bake 4 “breads” from scratch [12]/ I have my eyes on PW’s X Bread, for one.


  • Write 100 blog posts (2 a week!)/ I’m currently at 54 posts, counting this one, which means I am well on-track for this goal! And it’s probably my favourite goal of all of them.
  • NaNoWriMo 2012/ Luckily, don’t have to worry about this one until November. But I am still totally motivated to write my 2nd novel!
  • Submit writing to 3 different newspapers or magazines/ This I have made no headway on. In fact, in all the hullabaloo of the past few months I completely forgot I’d even made this a goal. I’ll be getting on it ASAP!
  • Project 365 (see the photos on Flickr)/ I love this goal and I’ve been dutifully doing it every day. Haven’t missed a photo yet, knock on wood!
  • Complete 10 DIY projects (check them out here)/ I’m at 7/10 (haven’t posted the latest on the blog yet) and I hope to end up doing more than 10. This is my other favourite 2012 goal, it has been so much fun.
  • Write an ebook/ Nope. But I’ve started working on a cookbook, and I have thoughts milling about in my brain, so we’ll see if this will happen!


  • Take a photo of everything I eat / This was a nice thought, but it’s just not going to happen! I was in a very different headspace at the beginning of this year, and I no longer feel the need to obsess over food, count calories, or strictly monitor anything. I feel a lot more balanced, which is why I have no qualms about striking this goal from the list.
  • Lose 20 pounds/ I have similar feelings about this goal – I have not weighed myself since January (I don’t have a scale), and even though I lost probably about 10 pounds that month on the slow-carb diet, I no longer care. Yes, I’m still working at getting healthier, but no, I don’t really care about the weight itself. So this one too is getting struck from the list!
  • Be able to run 10K/ This goal, on the other hand, is still a happy and positive one for me. It’s a great milestone to aim for, and I have been slowly improving my running ability and distance over the last couple months. My last run, I ended up going 4.68km at a nice easy gait, and enjoyed it. Meaning I’m almost halfway there! Yay. 

Overall, mixed results. Some of my goals have gotten more attention than others (blogging, DIY), but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that it’s been wintery and more conducive to indoor pursuits. Hopefully more trips, running, and reading can take place this summer. I’m so excited for what’s to come.

Thanks for reading! How are your New Year’s Resolutions or 2012 goals going?