January 2018 Review

The first month of 2018 is complete, and I thought I would look back on some of the accomplishments and things to be grateful for!

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Steps for Pet Health Challenge

I love using Walk for a Dog, an app that lets you log your walks to help animal charities. They had a special challenge in Dec-Jan, where you needed to complete 10 walks to qualify your favorite charity for a $1000 prize. Normally 10 walks would be super easy, but in the middle of winter it’s super cold and windy outside! But I made sure to watch the weather and take a walk on the tolerable days, and my dog Chester and I completed the challenge. πŸ™‚

When the challenge was done, WoofTrax reported that “In 60 days, challenge participantsΒ walked 176,000 times, totaling 1/4 million miles. That is equivalent to walking around the earth 10 times!” Wow! Next up is the Walk and Win Spring challenge.

Online Sales

My online store was booming in January! The Christmas rush is extended for me because of the upcoming Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day holidays, so I was spending a lot of time sewing. In total, I completed 52 orders this month, with about 15% of them having multiple items! I’m so grateful for the wonderful customers who support my small business. πŸ™‚

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Trying New Things

I want to get in the habit of trying new things in life. In January, I tried 2 new foods – almond milk and dried seaweed snacks (thumbs up on the milk, thumbs down on the seaweed). I purchased some stainless steel straws, which I’ll be using from now on to save waste. I also tried a local restaurant in my city for the first time.

Recycling

One of my Resolutions for 2018 is to get serious with recycling. I saved up all of the family’s recyclables in January, and made a trip to the drop-off center an the end of the month. We managed to fill up 3 totes with recyclables, and sent them off to a new life! I plan to do this for the rest of 2018 and beyond. πŸ™‚

 

Youtube

Youtubers got some big news in January: they’re upping the requirements to be a “real” youtuber to 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. If you’re not in the know, those are pretty harsh requirements for us little folks! But instead of letting it get me down, it’s lit a fire under my butt. πŸ˜‰ During January I got 5 videos done: Productivity, Sleep, Small Business, Youtube, and Self Esteem, which the the most content I’ve made in a single month so far!

I’m going to continue to build my channel and fill it with lots of uplifting videos. πŸ™‚

 

That’s my list for January. Hopefully February will be just as busy!

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Saving Straws with Steel!

I was introduced to the idea of straw alternatives by a great post over on Helen’s Journey, and I made a mental note to buy some soon. I thought I would have to get them online, but during a shopping trip at a local retail store, I stumbled across a pack of stainless steel straws in the kitchen section! I grabbed them with a little cheer…luckily no one else was in that aisle to hear me make a fool of myself, lol.

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This pack contained four straws; two straight and two bent, in different sizes. It also supplied a cleaning tool and four colorful silicone tips, to make the straws more comfortable to drink out of.

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I tried one at dinner, and it works great!

I’m going to use these at home, and I also plan to take one with me when I go to a restaurant. It will save a straw each time, and might even be a fun conversation starter. πŸ˜‰

If you’re interested in getting some of your own, there’s a nice set here on Amazon!

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Ocean Clean Up!

Plastics have revolutionized modern life, and helped us in uncountable ways. Unfortunately, they also cause a lot of damage in the world. One of the big problems caused by plastic is the pollution of our oceans. Millions of tons of plastic garbage is floating in the sea, causing a lot of damage to wildlife when they get tangled or try to eat it. This problem has existed for decades, but it’s been reaching critical levels lately.

Fortunately, there are good people working to end this problem!

Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke has announced a plan to fund a 600 ft (182 m) long yacht dedicated to ocean research and health. The REV (Research Expedition Vessel) will have a trash collection system able to collect 5 tons of garbage a day! It will also have sensors for collecting data, two aerial drones, and and underwater vehicle for exploration and research.

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The vessel will be managed by World Wildlife Foundation Norway, and will be staffed with dozens of scientists. It’s in the planning stages and should be ready to sail in 2020. I can’t wait to see this cool ship in action. πŸ™‚

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Another project dedicated to this problem is The Ocean Cleanup. Started in 2013 and headed by founder Boyan Slat, this organization has been testing methods of garbage collecting on the high seas. Thanks to investors who raised $21 million dollars, they plan to have a large-scale system in place sometime during 2018. They have the ambitious goal of clearing out half of the massive Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years, which is a HUGE undertaking but would kick butt if they could pull it off. πŸ™‚

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You can stay up-to-date on their progress here!

And for an example of clean up on a smaller, more personal scale, there’s the inspiring story of Pukka Travel’s coastal cleanup day. This 2017 expedition featured four boats carrying 50 volunteers around a section of Norwegian coast, where they collected trash from the beaches and coastline. After only 3 hours, they had rid the ocean of 1400 kg (~3000 lbs) of garbage!

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Check out some gorgeous photos of this expedition here. This is a really cool idea, and I would love to be part of something like this. πŸ™‚

The state of our precious oceans is worrying, but it’s so good to know that there are some people and organizations out there working on the problem. It seems that the solution will likely come from individuals instead of governments, so I hope that these efforts continue to grow. We CAN clean up our planet and make a difference!

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New Years Resolutions 2018!

2018 is here! 2017 was a year of big changes for me, and I plan to make 2018 a year of even bigger changes, growth, and improvement. I’ve given it some serious thought and come up with a few resolutions to follow in the upcoming year.

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Support local businesses

As an owner of a small business, I know how hard it is to compete with the Big Box companies, and how grateful I am for everyone who buys from my shop. Starting in 2018, I’m going to support local businesses in my area as much as I can.

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I think the easiest way to do this is food. Instead of eating at chain restaurants or fast food places, I’m going to eat at local restaurants whenever possible. I’ve already tried one new place, a small deli near my home, and the food was great! I’m also going to see if there are small art and/or office supply shops, instead of relying on Michaels and other chain stores. Another plan is to switch my medical subscription from my current chain store to a local pharmacy. (If you have any other suggestions that I haven’t thought of, please let me know!)

This will also be a cool way to explore the city I live in and get to know its unique people and places a bit more. πŸ™‚

Prioritize my YouTube channel

Up until now, my YouTube channel has been put on the back burner when I get busy with other things. The span of time between planning a video and actually creating it is too long, because I’ve let other responsibilities get in the way. That’s going to change!

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Starting now, making and posting videos will be a priority. I hope to grow my channel with lots of positive and helpful videos, and grow my subscriber base as well.

Make some real art

Going to art school and being a pro artist is one of my biggest “if I could do my life over” regrets. I love to draw and create, but so far it’s always just been for fun (like my Inktober doodles). 2018 will be the year that I get serious about art! I plan to make some kind of professional work, like making some prints, or maybe a painting or two.

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I’ve always been afraid to try to sell my work, because I fear rejection…but this time I’m going to put my big girl panties on and do it anyway. πŸ™‚

Recycling

I used to do a bit of recycling, but stopped a few years back when gas prices shot up (my city doesn’t pick up recycling; you have to drive it out to a recycle center). But now gas is reasonable and I’ve found a closer drop off center, so I’m going to get back into the groove of recycling!

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I’m going to start saving paper, plastic, metal cans, and glass for recycling. I’ve already set out a big plastic bin on my back porch for storing stuff until I get enough to make a trip.

It’s going to feel really good to do my part to keep our planet clean! πŸ™‚

 

So those are my resolutions for 2018. I’m going to make this a great year! How about you – what are your goals?

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Check out my Youtube channel for positive videos!

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