New Year’s Resolutions Check In

I have, once again, fallen behind in my blogging schedule here. Of course, I had no set schedule and I had no idea that I would fall behind – in theory – but I am behind where (in my mind) I wanted to be. So I’m going to do the best that I can to make up for that this week (which will be easy), but to also stick with it more regularly as I continue on throughout this year.

So, today is a new year’s resolution check in. This is something that should have been posted last week (all of the posts that are going to come up this week should have been posted last week, but at least I’m getting them out there).

If you recall, I had three new year’s resolutions that I made at the beginning of the year. And, so far, I’ve kept all of them (so yay for that!). Unfortunately, the secondary things that I hoped to come from these resolutions haven’t necessarily started yet. But the habits are there. And, now I can start to work on the secondary things I was hoping to come.

  1. Read 52 books this year. I am on track (maybe a little bit behind) in this goal. Early next week, I will review my January books (because I haven’t gotten to it yet). I just started what is supposed to be a middle grade book, but feels a lot more YA than middle grade. But, on track – maybe a little behind. I’m on my 6th book for the year and read 4 complete books (and started my 5th) before January was over.
    Secondarily, I had hoped that this would push me to start writing a novel. This hasn’t happened yet, but I am beginning to work on incorporating more creative writing into my daily schedule.
  2. Do yoga every day. I am happy to say that this has been very successful. Since the end of January and Yoga Revolution (which you can expect a review on later this week), I have been a little more lax and done a little less some days – only doing 10 minutes for a couple of days. But I have done yoga every single day. As I embark on a new month here, I am trying to figure out if I think that PiYo (a BeachBody program) counts as yoga or if I want to add that in as part of a workout program and still do a 5-10 minute yoga program in either the morning or evening.
    Secondarily, I would hope that this would lead to healthier eating habits and weight loss. That hasn’t happened yet, but I think that it is quickly coming.
  3. 52 week contact challenge. This has been a success so far. I have – every week – sent a card to someone. And I am happy with how it is going so far. I was successful this far into it last time. And it is already starting to feel a little bit hard (for lack of a better word). So, I’m hoping that I will be able to continue working on this well.
    Secondarily, I wanted to begin creating my own cards. I haven’t done this yet, but I have wanted and I am excited and hoping to start doing it soon.

So, my three resolutions have been successful. I am on track with them and hopefully will continue to do well with them. And I am excited to continue working on these – and begin working on my secondary goals that go along with them.

The other part of my resolution was my focus word. And my focus word was simplify.

I don’t feel as if I’m doing as well with this. Some of the things that I wanted to make happen with this have been hard and I’m struggling with it. The point of this word was to simplify my life – and hopefully get rid of some anxiety that I’ve been feeling. And while this hasn’t been super successful, I am going to work harder (which seems counterintuitive and incorrect…so maybe continue working towards) this goal. And, hopefully, by the end of the year, I will have a simpler and more fulfilling version of my life.

How are your resolutions going? Are you glad you’ve made the resolutions that you did? Do you need to revisit any of them? Are you glad you didn’t make certain resolutions (like me and blogging regularly)?

This Is My Birthday Wish

Today is my birthday (It’s not a ploy for extra birthday wishes as I’m not even sure I want to celebrate this birthday).

Today, I turn 30.

On the one hand, I am well aware that 30 is just a number and that it holds no real significance for anything other than to count the time that has passed since I have been here on this Earth. And I even realize that it’s really not even that long an amount of time (despite what some would believe – what I believed not so long ago).

On the other hand, it’s 30. Thirty. 3-0. That’s big. It’s a big number. It’s a number that I can’t quite believe. A number that I definitely don’t feel. A number that just kind of snuck up on me.

Because, you see, I’m not where I thought I would be at 30. 30 used to seem (for lack of a better word) so old. Like I should have accomplished so much more by now.

I thought that by the time I was 30, I would have an established career, be married, and possibly have a kid. Stereotypical, I know. But it’s what I thought would have happened.

And that’s very much NOT what has happened.

Instead, I am about to be a substitute teacher. Again.

I am single. And my one relationship that I’ve had could barely be called a success (which I’m beginning to realize more and more now).

And, not only do I not have kids, I don’t think I’m ready for kids (or when I will be ready).

That’s not to say I’m a nobody with nothing to do and no dreams.

Quite the opposite.

I have friends that I know will always be there for me. They are wonderful people that have gotten to know me so well that they know when I need them to reach out and when I am needing more than I can ask for. I couldn’t ask for better friends than the ones I have been lucky enough to call mine.

I have a family that – ultimately, at the end of the day (at least I think most of the time) – loves me. They might show their love in ways that I don’t always understand. But they do love me.

I have dreams that are vast and various. The biggest problem is, maybe, that they are too vast and various. And I want to accomplish all of them. And I have dream ADD. I am working to fix this. Sort of.

And, because of that (and this struggle I’m having with this number), I propose a new passion project of mine.

A project to explore and glorify and beautify this number.


A number. An age. A new decade.

Please stay tuned for more on this passion project of mine.

And, to anyone else that might be having some trouble with the number that shows up as their age: Don’t worry. We’re all going to be fine. I really believe that.

To thirty. And a new year. And wonderful things.

As a friend told me, I think it’s going to be the best year. I have a feeling.

Life Update…Plus Some

I am really not doing great here with this blog. I want to make it something more – something better. I am happy to still post some things about my life and about what is going on and how I’m doing with it. BUT, I don’t have a focused message (story of my life) and I need to have one if I want this to be a successful blog.

I had hoped to write 3 posts this week. A post on one of my new year’s resolutions – the one that I am struggling with most at this point. A post about my weight loss journey. And a post about a general life update.

And, here I am, on Wednesday evening, feeling like I’ve fallen perpetually behind. Again.

I haven’t written a post. And I don’t want to spend the time right now to write the post that you deserve.

So, here’s a quick life update.

My life is being ruled by school. I had essays to grade (and spent the majority of my snow day grading what had been turned in – although there are 26 students that didn’t turn in the essay yet). And until I leave, I am going to be inundated with grading probably. I plan to give myself my own time, but I still have a lot that I need to get done and a lot of my time is going to be spent on school stuff.

After that, I will have infinitely more free time – to plan, to use, and to explore with. I need this time. But, for now, I will put in my time where I need to. At the job that I took on willingly and happily. At the job that I committed to and will see through.

Like spending my snow day grading essays.

We all do the best that we can. And I will focus on this blog and plan out blog posts once I am able to spend a little more time on it.

Thanks for sticking with me. I love that you are here with me. Still. After all this time.

Start The Journey

So, I posted about my three new year’s resolutions on my last post and I wanted to dive a little deeper into those – into why I chose them and why they’re important to me and the steps I’m taking to make sure that I am setting myself up for success with those options.

Read 52 books.
The reason that I want to read more books is that one of my ultimate dreams is to write a book – or books, if I’m being perfectly honest – of my own. I want to write a book that will inspire people and that will allow me to be the person that I want to be – writing and exploring the world and helping others learn about the world through my stories.

Ultimately, I feel as if reading more books will allow me to write better books. And, while I have so many dreams, I am going to work on some things that will hopefully make my writing a reality. And part of that is reading.

So far this year, I have already read 1 complete book and started my 2nd. My sister got me a Kindle for Christmas (which I wanted) as I am a member of NetGalley and can read those books on my Kindle and Kindle books are cheaper than hardcovers and/or paperbacks most of the time (just a truth here…and I need to not be spending $15-$20 per book that I read this year).

To hold myself accountable, each month I will post what books I have read. I have to read just over 4 books a month – so expect a post towards the end of each month or at the beginning of a month with my books in it.

If you want to follow more journey more closely (I really only update as I finish and start books, not general updates as I read), you can look me up on Goodreads.

Do yoga every day.
This resolution is really two-fold.

One, I enjoy doing yoga. It makes me feel better and it greatly helps to increase my flexibility. It is good for me mentally and it challenges me in the best ways. While I have not attended any public classes, I have – on occasion – done yoga with other people at home (or once, in a public space). I have found a wonderful teacher in Adriene Mischler and I have so enjoyed the videos that she has put out.

Two, I have a deep desire – and need – to get healthy. I am extremely overweight. And, when I am doing yoga, that tends to spill off into other areas of my life, which includes eating better and getting other exercise that is important to me.

So far this year, I have stayed true to this. I am completing Adriene’s Yoga Revolution and I will review it at the beginning of February. However, if you enjoy doing yoga in any way, I urge you to go and check this out – it’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m sure that when I finish this journey it will have changed me.

To hold myself accountable, I will post my plans or intentions at the beginning of each month and review them at the end of the month.

52 Week Contact Challenge.
I am going to do a post exclusively meant for this challenge. This is something that I attempted a few years ago – and I failed. Despite the support and the accolades I received from people regarding this challenge, I just didn’t stick to it. (My hopes for this challenge will be expanded on in the post meant just for it).

Basically, the premise here is that I love to get mail. Real mail that makes me smile. (Not junk mail or bills or magazines – some of these still might make me smile, but it’s not real). And I don’t think that people send enough real mail – myself included. Enter this challenge.

For the year, once a week, I will send a card/letter/package to someone. It will be a just because or a birthday or a thinking of you or anything like that. The point is, there doesn’t have to be a reason – you can send one just because you feel like or you want to put a smile on someone’s face.

While I did just send out my first card, this has gotten a bit of a rocky start. My original intention was to send a birthday card to one of my good friend’s daughter as she is celebrating her first birthday (today actually, so happy birthday to her!). Instead (and it’s because I wasn’t keeping things simple), I fell behind.

BUT, I sent out my first card this morning.

This challenge is also two-fold. I want to make this challenge happen – really make it happen and complete all 52 weeks. BUT, I also want to make this more creative on my end of things. I want to create cards (and I will, it just didn’t happen as I wanted to and I’m trying to figure out the best way to print the cards once I make them) to send to people.

So, overall, I’m doing well so far – of course, it’s still only the first week of the year. BUT, I did send my first card. I have done yoga every day (including today). And I’ve already finished one book (and seeing as 52 weeks = 1 book/week, I’m on track).

I’m struggling a little with the simplicity side of things – as you saw in my card redo, but I am doing okay. And I will continue to do well. Because I can. Because I will. Because it will be a journey.

Next week, expect an expanded entry on the 52 week contact challenge, on my weight loss journey (that has officially begun – and probably actually began back in December when I finally started to do yoga regularly again) and on life in general.

Have a great weekend, guys!

I know it’s a little early to be reviewing goals we’ve just made, but how are you doing on your new year’s resolutions? How are you doing in life? Please share!

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year when the new year is here and we begin to focus on new year’s resolutions.

As I previously stated, my new year’s resolutions last year did not go that well. They didn’t go well at all. In fact, they were mostly a disaster.

With that in mind, I created three new year’s resolutions for myself this year that will hopefully help me enhance my life in a less threatening way, while also improving myself (as that is always the goal, right?).

My new year’s resolutions are:

  1. Read 52 books this year.
  2. Do yoga every day.
  3. 52 week contact challenge (it’s back, guys!)

And, in thinking about this and my year last year, I also chose to figure out a single word to focus on for this year – and each of my new year’s resolutions will help me reach other goals I have as well.

So, what one word am I focusing on this year?


I have an extreme tendency to overthink everything. If you know me, you know this is true. And while I am not trying to demoralize anything or boil things down to not mattering, I believe that focusing on simplifying things will help me tremendously with both my mental and physical wellness.

Instead of belaboring over a decision, I will boil it down and make a choice. And I will simplify that choice as best I can.

Instead of giving myself tons of options of things to do, I will give myself fewer options – I will simplify it.

I will dive into each of these resolutions as I work on moving forward this year.

But: so far, so good.

(Yes, I realize it’s only the 4th day of the year).

Tell me. What are your resolutions? Do you have a single word that you are focusing on? What is your plan for the year?

Goodbye, 2016

2016 has not been a great year for me.

Looking back, I was as much as failure as the year was to me. And I guess that really says something about getting out what you put in.

This post has my resolutions for the year.

The list was as follows:

  1. Eat Clean 80% of the time
  2. Record all books read on Goodreads
  3. Monthly weekend jobs (writing, photography – shoot and edit, reading, hiking/biking)
  4. 365 Photo Challenge
  5. 52 week contact challenge
  6. Exercise at least 6 days a week
  7. Edit and self-publish NaNoWriMo 2015 novel
  8. Write, edit, and self-publish a new story (that I already have begun thinking about heavily)
  9. Start and keep new blog (Expertly Elise)
  10. Edit, finish, and complete 30 before 30 list

I originally got rid of 3 before January was even up. The 365 photo challenge, the 52 week contact challenge, and editing and self-publishing my 2015 NaNovel. So none of those were completed.

Of the rest, I did not successfully complete a single one.

And they were lofty goals, but they were goals that I should have been able to finish – goals that were achievable if I had just focused.

But, like I said, 2016 was a hard year for me. And while it might be (in these last couple of days) looking up a little bit, it’s not significant. It’s like I’m in a hole, but instead of staring down at the mess I’ve gotten myself into, I’ve finally started to lift my head up so I can see how far I need to go.

2016 is a year that I’m not sorry to say goodbye to. And I’m already starting to focus on things for 2017. I have my resolutions planned and will share them with you. And I hope that you will join me in sharing your resolutions (of course, if you’re on my email list, you’ve already seen them…but that’s okay).

And there is one last thing I’d like to say.

Thank you.

If you’re still reading this (this entry, this blog, my words): thank you. Putting my words out there is not something that is easy for me, but the more I do it, the more that I want to make sure I continue to do it. So I’m going to keep doing it.

And you reading them, even if you don’t comment, gives me hope that you will find some comfort in them.

So, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for supporting me. It means more than you could ever possibly know.

So, goodbye 2016. I’m not sorry to see you go and hopefully I have an easier time letting you go than other things I’ve tried letting go of.

That Time Someone Yelled Out Their Window At Me

I am no stranger to cruelty. As a teacher, I have experienced cruelty first hand from upset students and seen it second hand more times than I’d like to admit.

I understand that cruel people exist and I have heard the horror stories about people being unkind to strangers for no real reason. However, I have never experienced this myself.

Until this weekend.

This weekend, I decided to walk the 1.2 miles to meet my brother and sister-in-law at their hotel to meet my older brother for his birthday dinner.

While walking, someone rolled down their window and yelled out at me: You’re fat!

I am not writing this to elicit sympathy or for people to tell me that this isn’t true. I know I could stand to lose a few pounds. I am well over not only my ideal weight but also a healthy weight.

I write this because now I know how people feel. I know how it makes doubt creep in and makes you wonder if you are indeed “fat” and if you’ll be able to fix it – if fix is even the right word here. I know how it feels to question whether what you believe is true – be it the ability to walk safely around your home or how you feel about yourself.

I write this to beg you not to do this to anyone, ever. It is a disgusting display of cowardice (as one of my wonderful friends that I told this to said and helped me realize).

I write this for all of the girls (and boys) that are too scared to ask for support from friends when this happens to you. You are not alone. And, regardless of what size you are, you are worth far more than any stranger that would roll down their window and yell something like that at you.

I told exactly two people about this, via text message. And that’s it. Until now. When I put it out here for anyone to read.

These times are hard, guys. There are a lot of people that are fighting demons you will never know about (including the person that yelled at me).

So, I’m not writing this to persecute that person that yelled at me (or for anyone else to persecute that person).

I’m writing this to beg you all to choose kindness and chase joy. Especially during this season when doubts creep in and stick more quickly than other times.

Always choose kindness and chase joy.


Just a quickie

I wrote a post the other day. It was raw. It was real. It was very emotional.

But it is not the time to post it. That time will come and I will share that information. But, for now, it’s not the time.

For now, it’s time rest. To try to unwind and plan what is important and what comes next.

It’s time to focus on action and getting things done.

It’s time to become the person that I used to be merged with the person I am now. Because I can’t really go back to the person I used to be (and I don’t really think I’d want to be), but I don’t want to be the person I am now. And I think a merged version where I acknowledge who I used to be and who I actually am now will make me the strongest version of myself.

And I’m not entirely sure what that means for me. But it’s going to be a journey worth joining me on, I promise. So don’t lose faith on me yet. I’m still here. I’m just figuring it out – like everyone else.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Introducing: The Inn Crowd

It’s late and I should be sleeping right now. But things have been hard and I have not blogged as much as I would like and I want to share a few really fun things that are happening right now.

First of all, it’s November! (November 4th, actually, by the time you read this)

And with November comes National Novel Writing Month. I have participated in this for many years now. So far, no novel has come that I have felt worthy enough of publishing, but I am excited about the prospect of the novel I am working on this November.

It is called: The Inn Crowd.

It’s about a girl named Charlotte who inherits an inn from her maternal grandmother.  Did I mention that Charlotte was adopted? And she never met this grandmother? Nor does she have any knowledge of her mother. At all.

I think that it’s going to be a really fun story and I’m really excited about it. It’s definitely going to be a messy first draft and I’m hoping that my story will come through as I didn’t have time to plan like I wanted to.

BUT, despite everything that I have going on, I am making time to write. And I only got about 900 words on my first day, but I am officially ahead (by a little bit) and I am excited about this story.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, let me know! I’d love to hear from you or be writing buddies with you.


A few other things.

My long term substitute assignment is rolling along. This week, particularly, I am struggling because I haven’t been getting enough sleep and have not felt motivated to do anything. Plus, I’ve wanted to write. So, it’s going. But that’s all it is. And I’ve made my peace with that. I will do the best I can and nothing more can be expected of me.

I’ve been rewatching Gilmore Girls (and one of my rewards for staying on track and reaching my word count goals is to watch the new episodes). I’m on season 6 and I have always considered myself fully on Team Logan as far as Rory’s boyfriends go. BUT, I just watched the episode where Jess came back and I may be wavering. We’ll see what happens from here.

I am starting to do yoga again. I have missed it. And doing it the other day just reminded me why I do it. Yoga centers me. And it makes me want to be a better person in the rest of my life. To focus on what makes me feel good and to chase those things and just let the other things roll off, as necessary. I will continue to do yoga and hopefully start a regular practice again in preparation for whatever Adriene has in store for January.

I am contemplating a new/updated 30 before 30 list. Things that I need/want to get done in December and January (when I maybe have a little more time). I love the idea of a 30 before 30, but I can’t make it happen if I don’t make the list and start checking things off.

I am practicing gratitude this month especially. Every day (except, apparently I didn’t do it on Tuesday, November 1), I am posting on Twitter what I’m grateful for. My newsletter this month is going to be all about gratitude. And I created a gratitude journal sheet to jot down what I’m grateful for each day.

Okay, I need to get some sleep. Because in my reality, right now it’s Thursday night at 10:51 PM and I want to wake up and do some yoga before leaving for work at 6:30 AM tomorrow morning. I haven’t gotten any sleep this week anyways, it’ll be fine…right?

Tell me, wonderful people, what is going on with you?

Uh-oh! It’s November already!

It’s November.

That means that there are 2 months left in 2016. Which is crazy. For so many reasons.

This year was not the year that I had hoped it would be. But I am determined to make the most of these last two months.

And November will just be busier than usual as I tackle several projects and attempt to begin staving off holiday stress before it begins.

In November, I will

  • Continue to get at least 10,000 steps daily. This amount may hover much closer to 10,000 as I try to incorporate more yoga into my daily life.
  • Write a novel – you can expect an update on this later this week, since I need to begin writing today!
  • I will begin practicing yoga again. This is something that I want to make more of a priority in my life.
  • I will practice gratitude – more on this later as well. And, despite the cliche, I am excited to bring this practice back into my life.
  • I will continue to survive school. And, at this point, surviving is the best I can hope for as I continue along this journey.

2 months. I probably won’t meet any of my resolutions for the year – although I’ll look at these in December. I won’t have completed hardly any of my 30 before 30 list (although maybe I’ll make a new one to make happen in December/January).

But only 2 months left. And then, we can start anew again. Of course, any day is a good day to start anew if necessary. And I will do the best that I can to start each day new so that I am capable of finding joy in all parts of life.

Because that’s what life is all about.