November Goals and Highlights

October was such a fun month! The weather was perfect, and it was great to have a house where we could actually celebrate Halloween. This was my first time decorating my own place for a holiday, and I loved it! We had so many trick or treaters and went to a neighbor's house to pass out candy- it's everything I always wanted in a neighborhood. 

For my highlight of the month, it was definitely going to Europe. Dan and I spent a little over a week in Belgium and Luxembourg, with some quick stops in Netherlands, Germany, and France. I'm working on posts of everything we saw and did, but it was SUCH a fun trip and made me realize how much I missed traveling internationally. 

Let's talk goals now- it's crazy to think there are only 2 more months left of the year! Here's how my annual goals are going-

Spend More Time Outside

  • 1000 Hours Outside - 869 hours so far. Only 131 more to go!
    • January - 54 total hours
    • February - 52 total hours
    • March - 97 total hours
    • April - 103 total hours
    • May - 94 hours total
    • June - 103 hours total
    • July  - 80 hours total
    • August - 85 hours total
    • September- 78 hours total
    • October-  123 hours total, breaking down to 64 hours running/walking/hiking, 14 hours reading, 37 hours socializing/misc, and 8 hours biking/kayaking/SUPing
  • 2,022 Outdoor Miles - 1,496.16 total miles so far. I still have 525 miles to do...which probably will not happen but that's ok!
    • January Running - 106 miles, Walking - 25.97 miles, Biking - 0 miles
    • February Running - 101 miles, Walking - 22.4 miles, Biking - 10.7 miles
    • March Running - 106 miles, Walking - 37.82 miles, Biking - 10 miles
    • April Running - 65.15 miles, Walking - 41.43 miles, Biking - 32 miles
    • May Running - 64.62 miles, Walking - 40.72 miles, Biking - 52.9 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 10 miles. 
    • June Running - 45.82 miles, Walking- 28.22 miles, Biking- 72.44 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 19 miles. 
    • July Running - 25.91 miles, Walking - 27.09 miles, Biking - 62.83 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 15 miles, Swimming - 6.2 miles 
    • August Running - 24.5 miles, Walking - 37.4 miles, Biking - 73.2 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 9 miles, Swimming - 8 miles
    • September Running - 23.34 miles, Walking - 30.7 miles, Biking - 58.93 miles, Kayak / Paddling - 16 miles, Swimming - 6 miles
    • October Running - 25.41 miles, Walking - 69 miles, Biking - 51.75 miles, Kayak / Paddling - 20 miles
  • Visit all the gardens and free museums in the Triangle
    • JC Raulston Arboretum. Really loved this park and it's pretty close to me so I know that I'll be back again.

Donate to a Different Charity Every Month

January - Autism Center of North Carolina - improves the lives of individuals with autism, supports their families, and educates communities. 

February - Black Girls CODE - builds pathways for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators by introducing them to skills in computer programming and technology.

March - GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund - supports humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled.

April - Amputee Blade Runners - I heard about Jacky Hunt-Broersma's attempt to break a world record by running 102 marathons in 102 days in order to raise money for other amputees. Her story is so inspiring and it's been a lot of fun following along with her journey (which included the Boston Marathon!)  

May - Everytown for Gun Safety - the largest gun violence prevention organization in America. 

June - Carolina Abortion Fund - operates a confidential, toll free helpline that provides financial, practical, and emotional support to callers in North and South Carolina trying to access abortion care.

July - Make a Wish Wheels for Wishes - operates car donation programs that benefit a variety of important causes including children’s charities and hospitals, and veterans programs. (This is where we donated our car once we decided to not keep it. The process was so easy so I would highly recommend if you need to get rid of one as well).

August - SPCA of Wake County - is an animal welfare agency headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Donations keep families together, make frontline rescue work possible, and save pets and people in crisis across NC.  

September - Habitat for Humanity - brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

October - Pip's Rescue -  creating a better world for at-risk dogs, with a focus on those with special needs, by building a community of like-minded people through advocacy, education, fostering and adoption.

Read all the Goodreads Best Books of 2021

This month-

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley - Best Young Adult Fiction - 5/5. Follows a biracial and unenrolled tribal member as she helps put back the pieces of her life and community after witnessing a horrible murder.

Previous months-

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Best Historical Fiction - 5/5. Fun story told in flashbacks and culminating in a disastrous star-studded party in a Malibu beach house.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir - Best Science Fiction - 4/5. Good starter sci-fi book for people who want to get in the genre! Gets a little tedious in the middle but fascinating book about a scientist who tries to save the earth from extinction.

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman - Best Poetry - 5/5. The inauguration poem for President Biden. Beautiful words but even better to watch Amanda perform! Makes me want to get more into poetry.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry - Best Romance - 5/5. Lovely, sweet book to satisfy your wanderlust and just enough cheese for any rom-com lover out there.

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson - Best Humor - 3/5. Some parts were laugh out loud funny and it was an engrossing (and sad at times) story- I just didn't enjoy the stream-of-conscious writing style or the disjointed chapters.

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas  - Best Debut Novel - 4.5/5. This book seems to be very hit or miss (according to Goodreads) but I really enjoyed it!  A little slow and repetitive at the beginning, but once it got going I absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave  - Best Mystery and Thriller - 2.5/5. Great, twisty start that had a disappointing and weird ending.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix - Best Horror - 3/5. Slasher-style horror book that felt like a fast paced movie. A little too much going on and too many characters for me to keep up with.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney - Best Fiction - 1/5. Not a fan of the writing style and was not an interesting story line for me.

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe - Best History or Biography - 3/5. Very in-depth book detailing the history of OxyContin and the family who started the opioid crisis.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner - Best Memoir or Autobiography - 5/5. Such a beautiful story talking through grief of losing a parent and the memories that food can give us.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe  - Best Graphic Novel - 3/5. Beautiful graphic novel chronicling the forbidden relationship between Hades and Persephone and featuring many Greek Gods gone wild.

Now let's get to monthly goals!

Fun Fall Activities

I made a list of things I wanted to do and achieved most of them-
  • Leaf peeping hike - Yes! I did a few hikes specifically to see leaves and did some with friends as well. My favorite was Raven Rock!
  • Visit a pumpkin patch - We went to Phillips Farm for their Fall Festival (which was amazing and fun even for adults). We actually didn't end up getting a pumpkin, but I'm still counting it.

  • Make a fall-themed dinner - I hosted book club and did a Halloween-themed (inspired by Pinterest) snack board. It turned out so cute!
  • Read fall books - Lots of spooky books (you can see what I thought of them in this post)
  • Bake something fall related (pie, pumpkin bread, etc) - I actually ended up making a ton of pumpkin stuff one week- a pumpkin loaf, pumpkin chocolate chunk cookies, and overnight oats. All from one can of pumpkin! 
  • Try out a festive cocktail - For Halloween, I made an apple cider mule that was delicious. Equal parts apple cider and whipped cream vodka, top with ginger beer. We also got skull shaped ice cubes which was a fun addition.
  • Watch a movie outside under a blanket - I didn't watch a movie, but I did a ton of reading and also watched TV shows outside.
  • Pumpkin beer taste test - I didn't necessarily do a taste test, but had lots of pumpkin beers. With my run club friends, we had a fall beer exchange so I got to try all of those. I also just got a gift from a friend of a beer flight board, so I can't wait to make my own flights sometime soon.

Deep Clean

I didn't really deep clean my entire house, but I did a lot of cleaning because we hosted a lot of fun events this month. Definitely need to clean some baseboards and walls my outdoor furniture that took a beating in the summer.

Plan a Garden

Didn't have time for this with our vacation, but I have narrowed down what I want and now we just need to buy the materials and build. Hopefully coming soon!

Here are my goals for November-

Finish Up Downstairs Projects

We have a few things to do in our downstairs, including hanging pictures in our dining room, ordering a bar cart, installing a new faucet, and installing our new carper runners on the stairs. I want to film an "after" of the work we did this year so this has to get done!

Make an Advent Calendar

I love getting advent calendars and was looking at a beer one that a local bottle shop was doing, but it was so expensive! So, Dan and I decided to DIY one and each pick out 12 beers each. I thought it would be a fun way to try some interesting stuff. Maybe we'll try a few others as well! Chocolate, candy....options are endless.

Strength train 2x /week

I have been really bad about strength lately, but I'm signing up for a half marathon early in 2023 so I need to get strong! My goal will be to do two classes a week, as well as keep up  one yoga a week as well.

Work on Scrapbooks

I used to make a scrapbook for every international trip that I went on. Over the years I would take a while to do them and eventually just not get to it, so I want to work on this right away while the trip is still fresh in my mind. I got some cool tickets and other souvenirs that would look cool in a scrapbook, so I just need to order some photo prints and get to crafting.


  1. I'm so impressed by how much time you spend outside. I track how far I walk the dog every day, but I should be keeping track of how much time I spend outside. I think I spend a lot of time outside, but I don't think I have anything on you! It's something I might think about tracking next year!

    1. I definitely spend way more time outside now that I'm tracking it! You should definitely try tracking it next year.

  2. Oh, wow - can't wait to hear more about the trip and what you did, whenever you are ready to share. You did an amazing job with your goals, considering you were out of town and also super-busy with the Fall things!


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