I think we can all agree, it's time to say goodbye to 2016. The year began with so much promise, but in the last few months, it has crashed and burned. I am ready to ring in the new year and start with a clean slate.
Before the ball drops at midnight on the 31st, I wanted to share one final update on my 2016 resolutions. In case you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here: January 2016, April 2016, September 2016.
I made ten resolutions this year. How many did I cross off the list? Keep reading for the final tally.
1. Spend at least one weeknight at home every week
Status: Complete. In January, when I first started to put this resolution into action, I found it very difficult. I typically like to fill my calendar, giving myself something to look forward to every night after work.
However, once I put this new routine into practice, I began to treasure those quiet nights at home. I would use that new found free time to run errands, take long walks with Scout, catch up on DVR and write blog posts (at 7pm instead of 10pm). Here is a photo I snapped earlier this month when Scout and I were watching "The Crown."
I've found that by reserving one night just for me, I sleep better, I am more relaxed and I have much more patience at work. Once I started to get into this habit, there were even a few weeks were I spent two or three nights in a row at home. I was surprised by how much I loved it.
In the end, I was able to keep this resolution for 35 of the 52 weeks of the year. I am planning to continue this commitment to myself in 2017.
2. See a financial planner
Status: Failure. One of my clients at work is a financial education company, so I talk about the importance of seeing a financial planner and creating a realistic spending plan each and every day. While I adore the Certified Financial Planners that work at that company, I felt a bit awkward making an appointment with one of them, as we work together on a daily basis. Though I received two referrals from friends for planners they really like, I never made an appointment.
I am curious, do any of you meet with a financial planner? Do you have someone in the Boston area you like? If you do, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Use my gift cards
Status: Half way through the stack! When I made this resolution, I saw it in tandem with #2 (see a financial planner). I had all these gift cards in my purse and I just wasn't using them. That's free money!
Since the last update in September, I have used four more cards.
Visa - I can't even remember how I ended up with this Visa gift card, but I decided to use it at the grocery store. Why on earth had I never thought of that before?
iTunes - I combined two iTunes gift cards to purchase season one of "Quantico." I wound up addicted to the show and raced through the first season. If you are looking for a new show to stream, you can read my review here.
HomeGoods - My grandmother gave me a HomeGoods gift card for my birthday this year. On an October trip to the Assembly Row location I picked up Halloween decorations, a new pair of rain boots and some beautiful wedding cards I found in their stationary section.
Over the course of the whole year, I used 14 of my 28 cards (50 percent). Though I didn't swipe all the cards, I still consider this resolution a success.
4. Visit Chicago
Status: Complete. At the start of the year I resolved to make my first-ever trip to Chicago, IL. One of my best friends moved there a few years ago and I really wanted to see her new home. Plus, I had been told by many family members and friends that Chicago is a great city.
On a sunny weekend in June I landed in the Windy City and proceeded to have a spectacular three days exploring and eating my face off. Here we are at the Bean in Millennium Park.
I documented each and every place we went to, so if you are planning a trip to Chicago, definitely check out my travel diary.
I had such an incredible time that I am itching to return in 2017.
5. Charter a boat
Status: Shipwrecked. There is no way around it, I completely failed at this resolution. After attending a blogger event aboard the Full Moon (run by Karma Crew Yacht Charters) I was determined to round up my friends and book a private cruise.
Summer was so busy and I dropped the ball. Come September I messaged one of my closest friends, whose birthday is the day after mine, to ask if she wanted to set sail some weekend in September or early October. We'd use the occasion as a joint birthday celebration. We reached out to the Karma Crew team and it turns out, renting your own boat is expense! Like, really expensive.
We did the math a few different ways and in the end, it just felt like too much money to spend on a few hours.
Though I didn't get to cruise around Boston Harbor as I intended, I was able to enjoy a boat ride around Key Biscayne in Miami, FL over Thanksgiving. You can read all about that here.
6. Dine at the Giulia Pasta Table
Status: Complete (and one for the record books!). If you have been following these new year's resolution updates since the beginning of the year, you know how much I have been looking forward to experiencing the private pasta table at Giulia in Cambridge. I made a reservation in July (they only allow reservations to be made 60 days in advance) and come September, our special evening had arrived!
We decided to use this meal as my birthday celebration and my parents and sister flew up from Miami, FL for the festivities.
We were joined by seven of my closest friends for what would turn out to be my favorite meal of 2016 (and not just because I got to wear a crown).
Here are just a few of the food snaps from the multi-course meal.
I wrote an entire blog post about the experience, including photos of each dish during our feast. You can drool over that here.
Just a few days after Thanksgiving Eater.com announced that Giulia would be opening a second restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Rialto in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. I squealed with delight and immediately sent the article to my family. A few days later Zagat published "5 Things to Eat at Benedetto in Cambridge" which I also sent to them, urging them to come back to Boston so we could try it together.
Last week an envelope arrived to my house with Bendetto listed as the return address. I was quite confused. I carefully opened it and discovered it was a gift card from my sister and brother-in-law for Hanukkah. They knew how excited I was to try it after our amazing experience at Giulia. I was blown away by their thoughtfulness and generosity. Look forward to my review of Bendetto in 2017!
7. Take a cooking class at Sofra
Status: Fail (for the second year in a row). In 2015 I resolved to take a cooking class at the BCAE and this year I resolved to take one at Sofra. I thought choosing a location less than a mile from my front door would guarantee success. Not so much.
While having dinner with my cousin earlier this month she said, "You know what, Mol. I think this just means that as much as you think you want to take a cooking class, you actually don't. And that's ok."
The reality of the situation is that the cooking classes at Sofra are amazing (I salivate just reading the descriptions) but they are super expensive ($85 - $135 per person).
They just published their 2017 class schedule and in addition to the high price tags, all of the classes take place on Monday nights, which directly conflicts with "The Bachelor."
8. Explore the Boston Public Library
Status: Complete. Like the true procrastinator that I am, I waited until the very last minute to tackle this resolution. I was lucky to have the week off of work between Christmas and New Year's, so on Wednesday afternoon I headed downtown to visit the library for the first time.
You may wondering, how is it possible that I have lived in Boston my entire life and never set foot in there? Well, I grew in Newton, MA and there was a small branch of the Newton library right in our neighborhood of Newtonville. I can remember the children's section so clearly and the smell of all the books.
When I was in elementary school, the Newton Free Library opened a completely renovated, spectacular building right across from City Hall. From that point on, we always went to that library. You would think we would take a school field trip to the Boston Public Library just for the history lesson, we but never did.
On this first visit I was so enamored that I came straight home and immediately wrote a post about it. You can read that here. My favorite room was Bates Hall, known for its signature green lamps. The ceiling in this room is vaulted and is 50 feet tall.
After walking around the entire room, I started to fantasize about falling in love while sharing a table with a stranger. #AllTheSingleLadies
I definitely want to go back in the summer to enjoy a meal in the outdoor courtyard. I definitely wasn't seeing it in its full glory, given that is was 28 degrees.
The Map Room would be the most fun for kids. They have all these adorable little nooks with games, puzzles and themed books.
The newly renovated side of the library felt way too modern to me, especially the Newsfeed Cafe, a hybrid coffee shop / film studio. It was an assault on all the senses.
That being said, they do sell some adorable Boston cards and postcards.
On this visit I wasn't able to take a guided tour, which was my original goal. They offer them at very strange, inconvenient times. I hope to go on the tour in 2017. If anyone would to join me, just let me know!
9. Attend the Revere Sand Sculpting Festival
Status: Complete (and making this an annual tradition!). I had been wanting to go to the Revere Sand Sculpting Festival for years. This year I was so committed that I even delayed my arrival to my family's annual Cape Cod vacation to ensure I could go.
The festival surpassed my expectations! The sculptures were really impressive and by going on Friday (instead of Saturday or Sunday) we got to watch the artists put the finishing touches on their works.
On the opposite side of the boardwalk there were rides and food trucks galore! We beelined it for the Frozen Hoagies truck. The cold ice cream sandwich was perfect on that super hot afternoon.
I loved the festival so much that I plan to make it an annual tradition. For more information on the Revere Sand Sculpting Festival, check out my full recap here.
10. Put my brilliant reader's ideas into action
Status: Complete. On January 4, 2016 Pop.Bop.Shop. celebrated its 7th anniversary. At the close of the post marking that milestone, I asked my readers (you!) what you would like to see on the site in the coming year. That post received so many amazing, fun, creative comments and I have spent this year trying to see / visit / eat through as many suggestions as possible.
In my original resolutions post in January I committed to writing at least five posts inspired by reader ideas. By my April resolutions update I had written three. By the September update, nine more (12 total). In the past three months, I have written 11 more posts, all generated by reader recommendations.
- I finally took my first ever trip to Portland, Maine (a lingering 2015 resolution) and most of the places we went were reader recommended! That includes the Chadwick Bed & Breakfast, Local 188, Standard Baking Co., Green Elephant, Outliers Eatery and Holy Donut
- Just a few weeks ago a reader took me to Volturno in Worcester, MA. I am still dreaming about that burrata pizza!
That brings the grand total for this year to 23 reader-inspired posts!
There are still some reader ideas in the works that I haven't been able to publish yet. Most of them are round ups. For example, I am still plugging away on definitive guides to the city's best hot chocolate, ramen and boozy milkshakes.
The other idea I was really hoping to do and didn't get a chance to was a gift guide to all the quintessential Boston items (mostly food) that can be shipped out of state. I hope to make that happen in 2017!
Now for the year-end, final tally!
7 resolutions complete
#1 Spend at least one weeknight at home every week
#3 Use my gift cards
#4 Visit Chicago
#6 Dine at the Giulia Pasta Table
#8 Explore the Boston Public Library
#9 Attend the Revere Sand Sculpting Festival
#10 Put my brilliant readers' ideas into action
3 resolutions left on the table
#2 See a financial planner
#5 Charter a boat
#7 Take a cooking class at Sofra
That's seven out of ten. Though I would have loved to cross off every single one, I am still proud of what I did accomplish this year.
Thank you to everyone who followed along, offered encouragement or came with me as I embarked on these new adventures.
If you are wondering if I will share a new list in 2017, I surely will. Keep an eye out for my 2017 resolutions in the first two weeks of January.
Happy New Year!