July Wrap Up and August Goals

I love August. Both my sister’s birthdays are in August (they’re actually the same day 11 years apart. how cool is that?), and I know it sounds crazy, but I love the dog days of summer. I like the heat. Bring it on.

Here’s an update on my progress for my yearly goals:

  • Complete 12 random acts of kindness– Done! Obviously, I’ll keep doing these, but I’m so happy I was able to achieve this goal. Felt good doing it!
  • Pay off my car– Done!
  • Donate 24 hours of my time-6 hours in, 18 hours to go. I’ve been working more with my sorority, but it’s hard to gauge the time commitment. I’m going to say that I probably spent about 4 hours this month reading and responding to emails and planning our initial retreat. Said retreat is this month, so I expect even more hours in August.
  • Run 2 half marathons– Not yet. We’re still halfway there, and I know that I said we’d run the Jersey Shore Half, but there’s actually a change of plans. This summer has been jam packed with so many fun things, which is amazing, but it also means that we’ve been busy almost every single night and weekend. That’s not really conducive to a training plan. Chris and I gave it a shot and stuck with the plan for two weeks, but once we realized that we were just stressing ourselves out, we decided to change course. We’re still running, but we’re not on a training plan, and we’re hoping to find a half marathon in late November which should allow us to start training in September. Any ideas??
  • Learn 3 new skills– 0 this month for a total of 5. That doesn’t feel right, so I’m hoping I just forgot something, but if I can’t remember it, it probably wasn’t too important anyway.
  • Read 12 books– Done! This month I finished Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire (review coming soon!) for a total of 12 books for the year. I skipped a book club selection for the first time ever and felt like a total rebel, and I’m inclined to skip this month too because Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet seems wildly depressing, but it also looks interesting, so maybe I’ll give it a go. Chris just finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King and can’t stop raving about it, so that’s definitely on my “to-read” list as well.

Miles run- 55.3 for a total of 367.87 for the year. (plus 69 miles biked in July!)

Don’t think I forgot about my summer goals and bucket list either!

  • Get thee to yoga!- Totally gotten! I tried both rooftop yoga and outdoor yoga in Hoboken for a total of 4 hours yoga’d. That means I went once a week, every week this month. Go me! I can notice a difference too. Not only do I feel more flexible and stable on my runs, but I also feel more relaxed and grounded. I’m so glad that I went when I did because now I feel like I can really appreciate and enjoy the rest of summer.
  • Explore Jersey City

  • Take a hike- No hikes yet, but I did find this great resource for finding potential spots to hike around New York and New Jersey, so I’m more excited than ever to check it out.

  • Get to the beach!!- Done! A few weekends ago, Chris and I went to Long Branch, NJ. We ran along the boardwalk, got lunch and lounged on the beach. The traffic and parking situation were miserable, but it’s always worth it after that first moment when you sink your toes into the sand and just listen to the waves crashing all around you. I love the beach, and I love New Jersey.

Don’t think I forgot about my Summer Bucket List either!

  • Check out Groove on Grove

  • Visit the Central Park Zoo
  • Go to a Mets game
  • Run a small town 5k
  • Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Bike from WTC, back to NJ over the George Washington Bridge oh we definitely did this one!

  • Dust off my passport

  • Watch the sunset with that favorite boy of mine

Not bad at all, and we’ve still got a month of summer left! I don’t have any August specific goals (I think I’ve set quite enough already), so I think I’ll just keep ticking away at these. Any goal list that includes “go eat ice cream” is fine by me.

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Now tell me, how to you plan to make August awesome?

May Wrap Up and June Goals

Wow! Where did May go?? Seriously, that was just the quickest month of the year. I’m hiding in the shade like the ginger I am soaking up the sun in Miami, but don’t think I forgot about my goals.

Here’s an update on my progress for my yearly goals:

  • Complete 12 random acts of kindness– I did one randomly kind act in May, so I’m at 9 currently.
  • Pay off my car– Done!
  • Donate 24 hours of my time– None, but I finally get to share my new strategy for this below!
  • Run 2 half marathons– Just one so far, the Rutgers Half Marathon. Still working on deciding what our fall half should be. I’m still pulling for Bird in Hand, but it’s up to Chris.
  • Learn 3 new skills– I’m up to 2! Chris taught me to take the wheels off my bike (when we did the Bike New York Tour) which makes transporting it a lot easier, and makes me feel like a super pro!
  • Read 12 books– I only read one book in May bringing me to 8. I guess it was a really busy month because I had been averaging two, but I only finished The Help.  I’m still reading the Night Circus, and still totally torn on my feelings about it. I’m finally at the point where I really want to finish it to find out what happens, but it’s going to be a very difficult review to write.

Miles run for April were 61.2 (down from April’s 67) for a total of 272.2 run for the year. Training for and participating in the 42 mile Bike New York Tour took up a lot of time in May, but, honestly, we were both just looking for a little running detox before we start training again, and May did that for us.

My additional May goals were:

  • Learn how to tune up my bike- Sorta. I watched Chris do it and picked up on some things, but taking the tires off was really the only thing I learned to do on my own.
  • Cash in my Living Social Deal for a month of unlimited Yoga and hit up the yoga studio twice a week-Fail. Too much going on this month. Maybe June and July?
  • Incorporate strength training into at least 2 workouts a week-I was really diligent about this for the first two weeks, but I was just in too much pain, and I’m not talking soreness, I’m talking something is wrong pain. I’ve said before that I don’t think my form is good enough for me to be strength training on my own, so for now, I’m not going to do any more traditional lifting. I’m hoping to gain strength and flexibility through yoga, biking and more challenging runs. I’m saying good-bye to the weight room for now.
  • Make 3 friend dates– Done! I actually had 4!!
  • Find an upcoming 10k and train for speed– I’m having some trouble finding any 10ks in my area in the coming months, and I’m also more focused on base building than speed work right now.
  • Clean and really organize the house– Done! Closets are clean! Kitchen and bathroom are cleaner than they’ve ever been! Clutter is gone! Our apartment is my sanctuary these days.
  • Visit the farmer’s market– I checked out two farmer’s markets in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, I had gone grocery shopping right before each one, so I only bought cookies, but it was wonderful to be around all the produce I love so much.
  • Discover 1 new Jersey City neighborhood on foot-Fail. I still want to do this some time this summer for sure!
  • Take a hike! – No hikes on record yet, but we did walk nearly 6 miles around New York City on one May Saturday, and that was pretty awesome!
  • Help Chris ring in 27 feeling great!-Done! We had an all around awesome time celebrating the birthday boy this month!

I don’t really have any additional goals for June. Just some carry over from May. I’d still like to:

  • Get to yoga this month

  • Explore Jersey City

  • Take a hike

  • Get to the beach!!

Mostly I just want to relax and enjoy the summer time. Life is so much sweeter in the summer, and I really want to make the most of it.

As for that super secret plan I have to finally get my volunteer hours above, oh zero, well, I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seat practically dying to know what it is, right? No? Hmm. Oh well.

Just to refresh, I think volunteering is really important. Not only is it great for the organizations you chose to help, it makes you feel good. It makes you feel more connected to your city, your state, your country or the world (depending on your organization) and it helps you feel more centered. Seriously, I’m not just being a hippie here.

I’ve volunteered since high school. Honestly, it started as something I hoped would look good enough for me to get into college, but I was hooked. I was a volunteer tutor in high school. In college, I worked with a shelter that worked specifically with female victims of domestic violence and their children. After college (when I had a lot more time on my hands) I first volunteered with an amazing organization called Citizen Schools.

I’m thinking now, that I should really do a whole post on them because they are awesome, but if you’ve got a fair amount of free time, enjoy teaching and working with children, and need an awesome organization, definitely check them out. I also worked with the Girl Scouts and another women’s shelter here in Jersey City.

Unfortunately, once my job moved to the city, and my commute because longer, my hours didn’t allow me to continue to volunteer for those organizations, so I signed up to be a part of New York Cares.

They’re also a really well run organization. They have a great website and put on an awesome new volunteers organization. The only problem was, they have you sign up for volunteer commitments on an occasion by occasion basis, which is great for people who can only do one or two weekends a month, but not so great for people like me who forget to sign up until their whole month is booked up. Chris and I were always looking so last minute, that we could never find a project with two open spots and got pretty discouraged.

I was frustrated and wondering how I was going to fill the volunteer hole in my life when something wonderful practically fell in my lap. Life is funny that way.

About a month and a half ago, a representative from my sorority (I bet you didn’t know I was in a sorority; most people are surprised) reached out to the alumni from our chapter and said the collegiate women were struggling and needed a new volunteer adviser. The previous adviser had done a great job, but her tenure was up, and she couldn’t sign on to do it again. At first, I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. I had absolutely loved my sorority experience in college, but I had put in a good 3.5 years (including a year as president) and was feeling pretty spent after I graduated. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized I had to do it. I love my sorority, and I love volunteering my time. This is a good fit.

I didn’t want to share it here until I was more sure of what I’d be doing. Originally, I was hoping to take a more laid back role, but they really needed an adviser, so I’m stepping up to the plate. Starting this month (!!) I’ll be advising the Rutgers chapter of my sorority. I think it’s fine to share which sorority, but I’d rather let you guys guess to see if I’ve got any sisters out there. Let’s just say, soon I’ll be wearing my scarlet red and olive green a lot more. Oh and my lyre is coming back out of retirement too.

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What goals to you have to make this a jammin’ June?

Do you volunteer? What kinds of causes speak to your heart?