Though it feels like I just shared my yearend recap of my 2016 New Year's resolutions, we are already 11 days into 2017!
Before I dive into this year's list, I want to say thank you. Thank you to each person who has followed along with these annual lists and updates, made excellent suggestions for how or where to achieve these goals and offered to come with me as I check items off the list. Your support and encouragement means the world to me. Publishing these resolutions for the last few years has not only kept me accountable and on track, but with your involvement, it makes it fun!
As I was thinking about my resolutions for 2017, I realized there were a few from the 2016 list that I want to carry over into this year. That includes:
- Spend at least one weeknight at home every week - Of all the things I accomplished in 2016, this one has had the biggest impact. I've realized that I have more energy, more patience and I am more relaxed if I block off at least one weeknight to myself.
- Use my gift cards - I am still going to actively try to spend these in an effort to save money.
- Attend the Revere Sand Sculpting Festival - I had so much fun at this over the summer. I am definitely planning to go again this year!
Ok! Now, without further ado, my New Year's resolutions for 2017.
1. Read a Queen Elizabeth II biography
After watching Netflix's "The Crown" I have become completely obsessed with Queen Elizabeth. I find her life story so fascinating and I need to know more.
So, I am on the hunt for a great biography to read to learn more about her. I did some initial searching on Goodreads and here are my current front runners:
- Elizabeth - Written by Sarah Bradford, this one has the highest rating on Goodreads.
- Queen Elizabeth II: Portraits by Cecil Beaton - This is a collection of photographs, but very highly rated.
- Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch - This biography by Sally Bedell Smith is a New York Times bestseller.
- Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen - This book is written by the same author as "Becoming Queen Victoria," which leads me to believe this author is a Royals expert!
- Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains - HA! Just kidding. I won't be reading this one, but the title cracked me up.
If you have read any of these, please let me know!
2. See a movie in the theater once a month
Over the past few weeks I have been seeing movies every weekend in an attempt to see all the nominated films before the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Seeing so many films in the theater reminded me how much I love going to the movies. There is something really exciting about being one of the first people to enjoy a new story and of course, to see it on the big screen. The smell of buttered popcorn doesn't hurt either!
Now, I know myself, and once the weather becomes warmer, I won't want to be stuck inside. So during the summer months, I will plan to see movies at outdoor venues like Friday Flicks on the Esplanade or at the Lawn on D.
3. Up my breakfast game
I keep a running list of restaurants I want to try in the Notes app of my iPhone. Over the past few months, that list seems to include more and more breakfast and brunch spots. This year I want to try at least six new breakfast places. Some of the ones already on my list:
- Linda's Donuts - This place is literally at the top of my street (the corner of Hillside Road and Belmont Street) and in the four and a half years I have lived here, I have never been. All the locals swear by it. 2017 is the year I am going!
- Praline - This tiny French cafe is also just a few blocks for me. I pass it going to and from work every day, but I never seem to have the time to pop in. I have seen countless photos on Instagram of their crepes.
- Whole Heart Provisions - This vegetarian restaurant is owned by the same people who run Roxy's Grilled Cheese, so you know it has to be good. Their Sunday brunch menu looks amazing.
- Kirkland Tap & Trotter - This Tony Maws restaurant (the same chef / owner as Craigie on Main) is just outside Harvard Square on Kirkland Street. Every weekend I tell myself I am going to go there for brunch and I never do. They even started offering valet parking!
- Koko Bakery - I discovered this place through a sponsored Facebook ad. I haven't been yet, but their pastries look exceptional. Like their Facebook page for mouth-watering photos.
In addition to visiting places that are new to me, I also want to make time to return to some of my existing favorite breakfast places like Bagelsaurus in Porter Square and The Breakfast Club in Allston.
If you want to join me any weekend morning for a breakfast adventure, just let me know!
4. Spend an afternoon at Eataly Boston
In August 2011 I went to Eataly in Madison Square Park in New York. One of my best friends from college took me and was a superb tour guide. We walked through each and every section, including the roof top beer garden.
That was also the first time I had ever had cacio e pepe, which is now one of my favorite pasta dishes.
Over Thanksgiving, Eataly opened right here in Boston! I haven't had a chance to visit yet (I was stuck at work on the media preview day), but when I do, I plan to reserve an entire afternoon for exploring (and eating my face off). I promise to share any extra special discoveries. I'll also taste test all the gelato flavors and report back on the best choices.
5. Explore the Boston Public Market
The Boston Public Market opened in July 2015. I was invited to the media preview day, but unfortunately I had work obligations and wasn't able to join. Despite missing the opening celebration, I subscribe to the market's email newsletter and each month I am completely blown away by the array of vendors, special events and classes.
I am ashamed to admit that I have never visited. I think about it all the time, but Haymarket is not on my natural path to or from anywhere, so when I go, I feel like I have to plan it.
I definitely want to go on a day when I have unlimited time to walk around, take photos, sample treats and of course, meet and talk to the vendors. If anyone wants to be my Boston Public Market buddy, just raise a hand!
6. Attend the Hull Harbor Illumination
My dad grew up in Hull, MA, the seaside town best known for Paragon Park (now just the Paragon carousel) and Nantasket Beach. I spent so much of my childhood swimming and building drip castles on that beach. If you follow me on Instagram, you know Scout and I were there many weekends this past summer.
Each year the Hull Lifesaving Museum puts on an evening event called the Hull Harbor Illumination. I have only ever seen photos of it, but this year I want a front row seat.
This year's event will take place on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Mark your calendars!
7. Take more New England road trips
One of the best things about living in Boston is being just a short drive away from some of New England's most beautiful towns and beaches. This year, I want to take better advantage of all our gorgeous region has to offer and take at least three road trips.
On my short list are:
- Portsmouth, NH - I have been several times, but didn't get a chance to go at all last year. I really miss the brunch at Street and the adorable shops in the town center.
- Newport, RI - I went to Newport for the first time in 10 years this past summer as part of a bachelorette party. We had drinks and appetizers at the Castle Hill Inn, but I want to go back there and spend more time. We also took a sunset cruise which had spectacular views (and a pretty handsome deck hand).
- Hadley, MA - In February 2016 I spent a full day exploring Western Mass. thanks to the generosity of the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council. My two favorite places we went to that day were both in the town of Hadley - Esselon Cafe and Maple Valley Ice Cream Company. My cousin is a freshman at UMass Amherst, so I want to plan a weekend to visit him and go back to these two gems!
- Mystic, CT - I had two friends get married in Mystic, CT last year and I think I wound up going five times in total for various wedding-related events. I really fell in love with the town. It's such an easy drive from Boston and you can't beat the water views. I also discovered a new wine bar called M Bar, which was phenomenal.
My parents also want to plan a family trip to Camden, ME this summer. I have never been, so I am excited about that too.
8. See the Backstreet Boys concert in Las Vegas
In September 2016 the Backstreet Boys announced a residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. I immediately reached out to one of my best friends, who shared my teenage obsession with them. Within a few days we were looking at ticket costs, researching flights and comparing hotels.
Of all of my resolutions, this is the only one already in progress. Our flights and hotel are booked and our tickets are purchased!
I can't wait to update you on what it's like to attend their Las Vegas show!
9. Make my house smarter
I have lived in my current place for four and a half years. It was move-in ready and all I did was give each room a new coat of paint. In the last few months I have been thinking about some small changes to make the house . . . smarter.
The first thing I'd like to do this year is install a Nest Learning Thermostat. Do you have one? Nest is designed to automatically adapt to your personal schedule and the change in seasons. The goal is to keep your house warm when you need it to be, and not to waste money when you don't. National Grid even offers a $100 dollar rebate if you install one!
I also want to upgrade to a smart TV so I can watch TV, Netflix and Amazon on my television screen. Right now I watch Netflix and Amazon on my laptop, which is fine, but I'd love to see it on a larger screen. I know, First World problems.
10. Organize my hostess / party supplies
If you are a regular reader of Pop.Bop.Shop., you know I love to entertain. Since moving into this house four years ago, I have amassed quite the collection of holiday and party decor. To be completely honest, it has taken over 50% of the cabinets and closets in my house. So, this year I am resolving to get organized. I have already started a Pinterest board with some ideas. If you have a system that works well for you in your kitchen or closets, please share!
My hope is to find a way to organize things by occasion, but in bins or baskets where I can still see what I have.
You may remember in 2015 I resolved to organize all my jewelry and that project was a huge success. I am hoping for the same here!
11. Create a "Treats of Boston" holiday gift guide
One of my 2016 resolutions was to put my readers' brilliant ideas into action. I was able to create 23 posts inspired by reader ideas, but one of the suggestions I loved the most didn't come to fruition - to share a holiday gift guide packed with Boston treats that can be shipped across the country.
Though I didn't get my act together in time for holiday season last year, I promise you it's coming! I've already begun my research and was thrilled to discover both Mike's Pastry and Cardullo's in Harvard Square will ship.
If you once lived in Boston and are now residing somewhere else, what Beantown delicacies do you miss the most? Leave a note in the comments below!
12. Send a Scout holiday card
My final resolution for 2017 is to send a Scout holiday card this December. When I adopted him in June 2015 I didn't even think to send a holiday card with his photo that year. In fact, it was friends asking me, "Are you sending a Scout card?" that even got me thinking about it.
At a Hanukkah party I threw this year, one of my friends snapped this shot of Scout. It's so good that I may just have to use it!
I'm excited to spread Hanukkah light and holiday cheer with a photo of my pooch!
And there you have it. My 12 resolutions for 2017 - a perfect dozen!
As I have done in previous years, I will share quarterly updates on my progress. If you'd like to join me for any of these adventures, please reach out. I love hearing from you.
Did you make any resolutions this year? How's it going so far?