Balcony Garden 2014

garden 2014
It seems I do this once a year, but skipped last year. I get to planning new things for my back deck. This year seems especially exciting after the awful winter we just had!
In keeping with my #96 in my #100in500 goals, I am going to get an electrician to come and light my outdoor world! At first I was thinking chandelier, but being how this is the windy city, perhaps something a little closer to home might work better. I can add as many twinkle lights as my heart desires though, right?
So here it is! The 2014 back deck plan with budget! The big bucks will go towards the cushions and pillows, but that’s where I think it should go! I want to spend as much cozy time in nice weather as possible this summer. I love that they all match, but are not totally matchy-matchy. It reminds me of a little “Mixing Patterns” post I did a while ago. Also going to try for a little privacy garden wall using the Ikea Socker. Not convinced this is the final solution, but interested to see.
I may keep my current run, but it could use a little refreshing, and this could be just the ticket.

100 things in 500 days (Due Monday, August 31, 2015)

I didn’t do everything I aspired to do 4 years ago before my big deadline – and now here it almost is! That went quick. That’s ok. I think that I gave it a sporting try. I feel fine about everything. Well, a little annoyed at myself for the lack of progress on the reading list – but life goes on. Even though it was kind of the point, that book list is probably a little out of my comfort zone anyway. I find myself running to Neil Gaiman before Phillip Roth. Nothing wrong with that, I say.

Last year, the always inspirational Amy Guth gave herself a life list of 1000 things to do. I love the idea! It’s not a ‘bucket list’, but just a list to keep oneself motivated to do more with their life. However, the number 1000 is mind boggling to me, as is 100 to tell you the truth. But, in order to push myself, but in a doable way, I am going with 100. Also, I am extending my deadline past a year and giving myself 500 days past my next birthday. PLUS, this is  going up a few months early and so I am giving myself some bonus days. It’s my game, my rules.

So here’s the list! Some of it inspired by Ms. Guth, some by others, some are just from my own head and tailored to me. I can’t wait to get started. I love #62 – which allows for some nice rewards to others for every item I don’t complete. Win-win.

100 in 500: THE LIST

  1. Renew my passport
  2. Travel internationally with my son
  3. Move career along upwardly
  4. Make a plan to invest more for retirement
  5. Edit all of my possessions (inspired by her) (Memorial Day 2014 MASSIVE clean out happened! Yard sale pending!)
  6. Create a book (cookbook, children’s book, photo book?) (Perhaps use this?)
  7. Live closer to my parents / find a way to encourage them to visit me more
  8. Invest in stock market (buy on the way down; sell on the way up!)
  9. Take a road trip on Route 66
  10. Own a car? (not sure if this is a thing I want really or if I am just loving Volvo station wagons right now)
  11. Make/do something for Care For Real (my local food pantry) with a team of friends & our kids
  12. Throw some pottery
  13. Stand in the Skydeck thing in the Willis (Sears) Tower
  14. Continue to work on growing my own herbs in the summer – USE THEM! (used my mint for this yummy mocktail) DONE!
  15. Take a photography class (this bootcamp class at the Chicago Photography Center?)
  16. Go to at least three great music shows (March 22: Civic Opera House – The Family Barber with the family; July 21: got to see my son’s favorite babysitter play violin with her band at the Pritzker!)
  17. Schedule regular date nights with my husband (book dates and childcare well in advance!)
  18. Volunteer my time at least 6 times (been cooking at the Ronald McDonald house. would love to keep it up!)
  19. Utilize my Divvy card
  20. Take a night swim in Lake Michigan
  21. Do yoga everyday for 30 days
  22. Invite dinner guests over once a month (It’s happening! Here’s March, April went undocumented – too busy making and eating 6 g-free pizza pies!, May we had friends over for Memorial day and made mocktails, ice-cream sandwiches, and this)
  23. Buy myself a good piece of jewelry
  24. Reach 500 twitter followers
  25. Read at least 10 of the 40 list. Edited 5.1.14: I am MUCH more interested in getting through at least 10 on my GoodReads list now.
  26. Go to a museum I’ve never visited before (Went to an event at the Chicago History Museum. That totally counts, right?)
  27. Drink 64 ounces of water every day for 30 days
  28. Make an Ethiopian meal including gluten-free injera
  29. Reupholster something
  30. Cook every recipe from one cookbook
  31. Make a perfect “Dark ‘n’ Stormy” cocktail Edited: made my own Ginger Beer – and made the perfect Moscow Mule instead!
  32. Turn a shoebox and a magnifying glass into a smart phone projector. (like this)
  33. Make my own vanilla extract (Made coffee liquor, and compound gin – instead!)
  34. Construct a French inspired coat hook for my hallway
  35. Sew a pair of felted mittens (for example)
  36. Change out all of my old (UGLY) outlet + covers (instructions)
  37. Make a magazine prism  (like this) (1.20.14 done! I knocked this out on my first day of this post. Easy, fun, and purty. I love magazines…)
  38. Teach son to tie his shoes (good idea My mom knocked this one out for me!
  39. Paint an abstract painting DONE!
  40. Make a ghost chair (cover existing chair like this?)
  41. Sew a mountain pillow (instructions here)
  42. Use nothing disposable or plastic for one week
  43. Take a trip to Port Aransas (my favorite Gulf of Mexico island from my youth) Love that little Island!!! It hasn’t changed. Hope it never does.
  44. Go deep-sea fishing with my dad and son Was deep sea, and we didn’t catch much, but it was awesome.
  45. Tube the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels, Texas
  46. Go to Schlitterbahn
  47. Stop drinking out of Styrofoam (working on it!)
  48. Create at least 30 blog posts talking about completing items on this list. #100in500 (at 3 and counting)
  49. Try 15 new restaurants or bars (TRIED + APPROVED: Sable, GiltChef’s Burger Bistro, Yum Cha, The Aviary – BEST fancy bar EVER, Richard’s Bar – BEST dive bar EVER)
  50. Post a great “before” and “after” photo of something I did to my house on my blog (does this count?)
  51. Attend my best friend’s baby shower DONE!
  52. Hold my best friend’s baby
  53. Dress nicely to work everyday (Fridays a little less so) (I’m trying! April)
  54. Start reading all my magazines digitally
  55. Get an iPad mini
  56. Go through a corn maze
  57. Schedule regular massages
  58. Create a great daily facial routine (time to look into a Clarisonic?)
  59. Donate to at least 3 Kickstarter campaigns that I truly believe in (Wild Apple Magazine) (Leslie Documentary)
  60. Donate a $100 to charity for every goal not completed by my list deadline (Monday, August 31, 2015)
  61. Start blogging regularly again
  62. Find a perfect runner for my hallway
  63. Find a perfect rug for the dining room
  64. Reboot my Living Room to include an office
  65. Go on a long hike in a beautiful place
  66. Get my record player up and running again (who knew a new Crosby needle would be so hard to perfect??) and increase record collection (Urban Outfitters have the needles. Wasted to much time and money on wrong fitting Amazon ones.)
  67. Play more board/card games with my husband (He loves them and I need to set aside more time to share in this love)
  68. Clean out my son’s ‘baby’ toys 😦
  69. Take a continuing education class focused on an aspect of my career (sales classes, I’m looking at you) DONE!
  70. Create a list of 20 business that I would love to start, narrow it down, and create at least one actual business plan. For fun!
  71. Send at least 20 homemade snail mail cards (2 and counting)
  72. Go to at least one fine-dining restaurant – order the tasting menu, with wine pairing
  73. Have a picnic on the beach with friends (May Kite Festival Picnic!)
  74. Learn how to play chess with my son (I’m doing it!)
  75. Start getting creative with bento box lunches for the boy (like these)
  76. Teach son how to ride a bike
  77. Listen to at least 3 brand new bands regularly (Spotify and my friends are helping with this! We keep adding to our shared “Mixed Tape”)
  78. Replace shower rod with a curved one
  79. Update shower curtain with something like this. (I got this? Not totally sold on it yet.)
  80. Last bathroom update: black toilet seat (just ’cause) (I did it! Love it for now.)
  81. Throw a modest but lovely holiday dinner party
  82. Go overboard on son’s birthday cake (try to top last years)
  83. Decide once and for all if it’s time to leave the iPhone behind and go the Android route. (I went iPhone… for now.)
  84. Continue to eat gluten-free
  85. Replace dining room chairs (current chairs are just not as cozy as they used to be)
  86. Take a summer Midwestern vacation (Went to Washington Island, Wisconsin. Just lovely.)
  87. Get together with my lady friends once a month (every other month is acceptable, but not preferable)
  88. Stay in touch with all friends from former lives
  89. Make three new friends
  90. Go to at least two after work career enhancing events
  91. Take over cooking responsibilities at least 2-3 times/week (husband has been monopolizing!)
  92. Wear a brand new (and crazy?) shade of lipstick
  93. Take a meditation class
  94. Take my son to a new neighborhood in Chicago that we have not yet explored together (China town?)
  95. Figure out how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home
  96. Light my back deck using an electrician and a great outdoor chandelier (Edited) wall lights
  97. Sit and be still more often
  98. Nap
  99. Breathe
  100. Laugh