Browse Category: Goals

My 2018 Reading List

Alfons Morales

One of the blogging goals I’ve set for 2018 is to publish a book review every month. That means I need to write a book review every month which means I need to read a book every month. (Yep, I learned about backwards planning from TFA.)

Here’s a tentative list of books I want to read in 2018. I’m prioritizing reading fiction by women of color. If there’s any other books that are wonderful and amazing that I should add to my list, leave your recommendations in the comments.

  1. Little Fires Everywhere – I’ve already started this.
  2. The Hate U Give – I started this one months ago and put it aside, will pick back up.
  3. NW: A Novel – This has literally been on my Kindle since 2013 and I just haven’t read it yet, how embarrassing.
  4. Turtles All the Way Down – Yes, I realize this is by a white guy.
  5. Harmless Like You
  6. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
  7. Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke that Changed My Life
  8. No One is Coming to Save Us
  9. A Good Country
  10. The Tower of the Antilles

My plan is to add books to this list as the year goes on and add links to the book reviews that I write when I’m done.

2017 >>>> 2018

Jungwoo Hong
For me, 2017 featured a lot of growth and a lot of learning.

I know this is a surprise to zero percent of the people who know me in real life, but I am a little bit Type A and a little bit goal oriented and I love setting New Years Resolutions. I love how they have this promise that we’re all going to make vast improvements, fix all our flaws, change our lives. If there’s one part of the year when I want everyone to believe that it’s possible for people to make a change, it’s the grey chill of January.

In the spirit of New Years, I’m going to share my health and blogging goals for 2018.

  1. Maintain my current level of fitness and make progress throughout 2018.
    I made a lot of progress on fitness in 2017, and I want to keep that momentum going in 2018. I will be running the Mississippi River Half Marathon in February. I plan on running a 5K at some point in the spring (perhaps in April) and I plan on running another half marathon in the fall. I’m not sure exactly which races those are going to be – I’m looking at some smaller local races for the 5k, and I’m considering doing the Detroit half marathon in October, but there’s also the Yazoo Delta half marathon in November that might be more doable.
  2. By the end of 2018, I will drink 68 oz. of water daily.
    I’m going to track this using the WaterMinder app (because I love seeing the water level get higher throughout the day.) I say that I’m going to do this by the end of 2018 because I know it’s going to take some getting used to – my goal for Q1 is just to track water intake every day, Q2 is to reach 40% of the goal every day, Q3 is 70%, and Q4 is reaching 64 oz. every day.
  3. I will floss every day in 2018.
    It’s a small thing, but flossing more often was a major improvement I made in 2017 – my dentist definitely noticed! As I’m getting older, it’s become more of a priority that I care for my teeth, and I plan to maintain and improve upon current levels of flossing in 2018. If you’re someone who wants to start flossing more often, the biggest recommendation I can make is getting those little plastic flossers and keeping them in a visible place in your bathroom.
  1. Write two blog posts every month.
    Remember in college, when I would write a blog post every week (or more often than that, even?) That was a great time. Anyway, I realized that I only published 16 posts this year (I guess this is number 17) and I feel like I can do a lot better next year. I plan to blog about teaching, books, faith and personal finance.
  2. Write one book review every month for the blog.
    I haven’t read as many grown-up books this year as I would have liked. I read Mosquitoland, Dispatches from Pluto, Buffering, Hunger, Pushout, and most recently, Sing, Unburied, Sing. In the semi-embarrassing self-helpy category, I read Food Freedom Forever and Codependent No More. I’ve also read some excellent picture books, including numerous Pete the Cat books, Pout-Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark, and Milk Goes to School.
    I like reading, and I like writing about books, and I know that writing book reviews will push me to read more books.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

I don’t have a food processor. I don’t have a blender. This recipe involves the use of both devices, and instead, I chopped the ingredients up pretty small and just mashed them while they were cooking. I get the idea that this soup was intended to be far creamier than it was when I made it. Still, I liked the combination of sweet in the apples and salty in the bacon, and the butternut squash serves as a creamy mediator between the two. However, the soup as a whole felt a little heavy – perhaps this would have been different if I had blended it, or used more squash.

Cabbage with Crisp Tofu and Peanut-Lime Dressing

I made this salad last weekend, and I really liked it. The tofu is good and crunchy, and the peanut-lime dressing is really good – I want to make it again and smother it all over noodles and vegetables. However, next time I make it, I’ll use less onion and be sure to cut it up smaller, as I found it slightly overwhelming. I think I want to use this tofu prep style on other kinds of salads, too. It would be great on a spinach salad with walnuts and blueberries and strawberries.
Also, I assumed that four servings of this salad meant four side-salad servings, but it’s more like four meal-salad servings, meaning that I had a ton of this salad, and it doesn’t keep very well, so I ended up throwing out a fair amount of it. Next time, I’ll make it for more people, or make a half recipe.

Stir-Fried Curried Chickpeas with Potatoes and Carrots

I’ve had fried chickpeas once before, and they were great. This recipe was a bit of an experiment for me, for a couple reasons – the spices, and the vegetables. The recipe called for curry powder and fresh ginger. I assumed that there was curry in my home, and while I was at the grocery store, I could not find fresh ginger. I threw some red pepper and salt in with the chickpeas, though. Instead of using potatoes and carrots, shredded, I used a sweet potato, chopped up. I think I should have used a larger pan, as well – the frying pan I used wasn’t big enough to stir the chickpeas very well, and I think they ended up slightly soggy as a result.
Overall, I think this plan of learning to cook is going well – I’ve been feeling more resourceful in terms of food, and I think I’ve been eating healthier. I’m hoping to get friends together for dinner at some point in the next month, but I’m not sure what I want to make. Breakfast for dinner, maybe?

Cooking: Spicy Black Bean Soup

Tonight, I made spicy black bean soup, from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Fast” and it was pretty good. I made a couple changes, of course – I didn’t include chipotle chilies, because I couldn’t find them at the grocery store. I put cilantro in the soup, because it seems ridiculous to have an ingredient that’s solely for garnish. A bell pepper that I found in my kitchen also ended up in the soup, because it was sort of going bad. I also used three cups of water when the recipe said to use four, because I like my soups pretty thick.
The recipe was pretty easy, and it made enough for me to have some tonight and pack up to take to school tomorrow, and I probably could have used a bit less water than I did.
On the menu later this week: fried, curried chickpeas!

New Year’s, New Goals

I love New Year’s. love the fresh start, I love setting goals, and I love this shared sense that we have about anything being possible this year. I am invigorated by a new year injecting a sense of possibility into the cold grey of January, and I’ve found a moment of communal reflection and goal-setting to be incredibly valuable.
At the beginning of 2014, I had just transferred to Western Michigan University, and I set goals of making friends, saving money, and getting in shape. Over the past year, I made many friends, reached a savings goal, and I am in better shape than I was a year ago.
In 2013, I set goals of getting an internship, and getting my nose pierced. That summer, I interned at Metropolis Magazine and got my nose pierced on my 20th birthday.
Because of this and previous successes, I’m a huge believer in goals, especially of the New Year’s resolution variety.
Sure, people fail on their New Year’s resolutions. However, without New Year’s, most of them would not have even tried to make a change.
New Year’s resolution failure can often be avoided by being mindful in setting achievable goals, making specific plans to achieve those goals, and celebrating milestones along the way.
This year, I’ve decided to learn to cook and write more. Right now, I’m capable of feeding myself competently, but not with imagination. I make pasta, I make chili and sandwiches, but I don’t branch out much. I want to learn how to cook a wider variety of foods. To do this, I got a cookbook and am trying to make things I’ve never cooked before.
In order to write more, I plan to set aside a few hours every Sunday to spend writing. I’ll work on personal stuff – writing for work doesn’t count. I’m not sure what I’ll be writing, but I think it’ll be a mix of creative nonfiction and fiction. I’ll share bits of what I’m working on here, and perhaps release some sort of zine at the end of the year.
I’ve also decided to spend the month of January without alcohol or caffeine. These aren’t permanent changes, just part of a temporary reset to see what my body feels like without those substances. I’ve been drinking caffeine semi-regularly since I was 16, and alcohol since I was 19, so I don’t exactly remember how I feel without them in my body.
We’re a week into the new year, and I’ve found going without caffeine to be pretty difficult. I can manage without coffee, but I find myself wanting tea or pop most days, in the afternoon. I’ve started drinking more herbal tea, but it’s not the same.
As for the blog, I suppose this is what people refer to as “pivoting.” I still love design, but it isn’t the main focus of my life right now. I’ll still write about design when something big happens, or when I find something that I get excited about, but I’m not tapped into a design community like I was in Grand Rapids.
Right now, I’m focused much more on writing, communications, small business, publishing, and on feminism.
Can all those things fit together into one blog?
I have no idea. Let’s find out.