December Goals and Highlights

Happy December everyone! It definitely doesn't seem like it's that time of year already- and that I'm in my final month of our first full year in North Carolina. One thing that doesn't get old- the weather! It's been so beautiful out lately, so I've been taking advantage by being outside and soaking up as much sun as possible. 

This was a really great month- I spent so much time with friends and went on my first camping trip since moving, as well as some Friendsgiving dinners! I also went to my first Hurricanes (hockey) game, and saw one of my favorite groups- Sons of Serendip- in a concert. The highlight, though, would have to be when my sister, nephew, and brother-in-law visited. They stayed with us a few days before Thanksgiving and we had a great time! I finally got to visit the Marbles Museum, and if you have kids you HAVE to visit. Incredible kids museum!

We're almost done with annual goals, which is hard to believe, but here is how they went in November-

Spend More Time Outside

  • 1000 Hours Outside - 943 hours so far. Only 57 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
    • November-  74 hours total, breaking down to 23 hours running/walking/hiking, 10 hours reading, 30 hours socializing/misc, and 11 hours biking/kayaking/SUPing
  • 2,022 Outdoor Miles - 1,639.61 total miles so far. I'm 382 miles away from my goal...whoops!
    • 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
    • November Running - 53.05 miles, Walking - 36.78 miles, Biking - 11.62 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 42 miles 
  • Visit all the gardens and free museums in the Triangle
    • I finished my goal this month by visiting the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) and the History Museum! I'll be doing a post with an overview of the gardens that I visited but this was such a fun goal to work on.

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.

November - Wildlife Conservation Society - saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Read all the Goodreads Best Books of 2021

This month-

I didn't technically read a winner from this year, but I read the first book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (which seems to win every year for Fantasy)

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.

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.

We're just going to skip over my November goals because I didn't really hit any of them (except for installing a new faucet in the kitchen, but Dan did it all on his own so I can't take credit for it.) Here are my goals for December instead!

Holiday Fun!

I had a great time checking off random fall activities a few months ago, so I wanted to do the same in December with the holidays in full swing. Here's what I'm going to focus on!

  • Ice Skating. It's been a few years since I've gone, but we just got a rink in a new shopping center nearby so I want to check it out!
  • Bake and decorate Christmas cookies. Cookies are just so much fun to make, and I love making Christmas ones to share with friends. I'm also hosting my first cookie decorating party so I'm really looking forward to that.
  • Make a gingerbread house. I actually bought two houses in anticipation of my nephew visiting, but we ended up being so busy that we never got around to making them! So- that'll be a goal for this month with Dan.
  • Watch a Christmas movie with a holiday cocktail. Probably with a cheeseboard or the cookies I'll be making....and will be virtually watching with my family again for the third year! Any recommendations for movies?
  • Advent calendars. I bought two from Aldi (the chocolate truffle and cheese), and we also made our own beer advent, so I'm excited to get to opening them!
  • Holiday paintings. Last year I made it a goal to paint something winter or festive every day in December and I'm doing it again this year. I'll be doing some cards and some bookmarks for friends.

Take 5 Live Classes

I've been really bad about taking classes on Peloton lately, so my goal is to take 5 live ones. It's time for the holiday workouts which are always my favorite, so I'm sure I'll take a lot of those! I'll also try to take a variety of types to remember all my favorite instructors.

Join a Pool

I officially signed up for my first triathlon for next year and hope to do a lot more, so I need to get back in the pool. I've only trained in my HOA's outdoor pool, so I have to find an indoor place to go over the winter. I have a place that's been recommended, so I just have to sign up and start going!


  1. I love how easy it is to have "fun goals" in December.

    I'm SO impressed with your 1000 hours outside. That seems absolutely insane to me. I walk the dog for probably an hour every day and, even if you add in the yardwork I do in warmer weather, I bet I'm not even halfway there. It's amazing to me that you do it!

    1. It definitely helps that I moved somewhere with amazing weather (except in maybe August when I had a really low month because it was so hot!). Got to take advantage of it!

  2. I, too, am impressed with the 1000 hours outside. Yes, climate helps, but in the winter in WI, I'm lucky to get 5 minutes, let alone anything longer than that. (Combination of air temps + danger of falling...which would be bad now that I have two bad arms...)

    1. Not having ice or slush is helping SO much. If we do get any kind of snow or ice it's always gone within 24 hours. It was funny when we got a week of "cold weather" and everyone was was never below 20 degrees meanwhile in PA where I'm from it was below 0! Feels great here to me!


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