We're exactly two weeks into the new year, and I'm excited to share my resolutions. Before I do, I wanted to say thank you. This will be the fifth year I am chronicling my progress towards my goals here on the blog, and when I first decided to do it, I wasn't quite sure how it would go over. Many people come here for the restaurant reviews, suggestions on where to travel, or fresh ideas on books to read and shows to binge. I wasn't sure if readers would be interested in posts that were significantly more personal. As it turns out, you were! Thank you for reading these resolution lists, cheering me on, and offering to join on adventures. Your energy and enthusiasm keeps me motivated.
Here's a trip down memory lane of all the resolutions past:
- 2015 New Year's Resolutions
- 2016 New Year's Resolutions
- 2017 New Year's Resolutions
- 2018 New Year's Resolutions
Over the years, I've discovered that sometimes I enjoy pursuing a resolution so much, that I decide to keep going. For the fourth year in a row, I am going to stick to my resolution to stay home one night per week during the work week. Since I started doing this, I feel more relaxed, I get more sleep, and I have noticeably more patience at the office. As you can see from the numbers below, with each passing year, I've strengthened my commitment to this goal.
- 2016: 35 out of 52 weeks
- 2017: 42 out of 52 weeks
- 2018: 50 out of 52 weeks
There are two resolutions from my 2018 list that I didn't get to complete, and I want to achieve this year: tour the Short Path Distillery in Everett, MA and travel to Charleston, SC. As I mentioned in my 2018 year-end report, my cousin and her family just moved from Florida to Charleston, so I will definitely be visiting them this year. I've been keeping a running list of things I want to see, do and of course, eat. If you have any recommendations, please leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com.
Three of my past resolution adventures are ones I hope to experience again this year. These aren't part of the formal tally, more of a nice to have if the calendar lines up: the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival, the Hull Harbor Illumination, and the Brimfield Antique Show.
Ok, now onto the 2019 list!
1. Send my grandmother one piece of snail mail every week
My grandmother, Grammy as we call her, has been hard of hearing most of my life. Though she wears hearing aids, it's very difficult for her to hear clearly over the phone. Since I live in Massachusetts, and she lives in Florida, you can imagine how that's a big challenge for us.
This idea came to me after one particularly odd phone call with her, where she was asking me questions and I answered differently than she had expected, and it was clear she had no idea what I just said. I started wondering, how many times have I told her something and she just didn't hear it? Now, you might be thinking, "Molly, why don't you just email her? Or text her?" Well dear reader, my grandmother does not have a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.
In addition to wanting to be sure she actually gets the messages, I'm also doing this because after nearly 30 years of living in Jupiter, FL, where she spent many blissful winters escaping the cold with my grandfather, my grandmother is moving to Miami, FL this week. She'll live wonderfully close to my parents, and my sister and brother-in-law, but she won't have the comfort of the friends she's been with in Jupiter for three decades. I hope these weekly letters bring a smile to her face during this transition period.
So far, I'm two for two. Here's the card I sent during week one:
I'm already noticing that I am searching for fun things to send her. On a recent business trip to Austin, TX I was scouring the postcard racks at the airport. I think this is going to be fun for both of us.
2. Get TSA pre-check
Every time I tell someone I have not registered for TSA pre-check, they are shocked. Their eyebrows raise and they shout, "But you travel so much!" Honestly, until I recently, I just felt like I had my airport routine down. I have all the mobile apps, I never check a bag, I enter into a zen-like state when I'm in the security line - I've just got it down.
Then something happened. I was traveling to Reno, NV with a colleague, and though I had booked both of our plane tickets, she was somehow able to add her TSA pre-check status for both of us when we checked in. Sheepishly, I followed her into the pre-check line and it was as if I heard angels singing. There were only three people in front of us, and they were also fellow business travelers. We didn't have to take our shoes off. We didn't have to take our laptops out of our bags. It was airport utopia.
My goal is to register in time to enjoy that heavenly experience again when I fly to San Francisco at the end of February.
3. Take a tropical vacation (year two!)
One of my 2018 resolutions was to take a tropical vacation. The Boston winter last year was brutally cold, and after what the news was calling the Bomb Cyclone, we bit the bullet and booked our tickets. We stayed at The Shore Club in Turks and Caicos and it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in real life.
We're only a few weeks into winter, but I'm already itching for a warm weather getaway. A friend and I have set our sights on a brand new resort in the Bahamas called Baha Mar.
We're targeting late March for the trip, and we both agree that once it's booked, even having that guaranteed beach time to look forward to will make the weeks between now and then less torturous.
4. Go back to Israel
Since graduating college, I have traveled to Israel every other year. My aunt, uncle and cousins have lived there my whole life and one of my best friends lives there with her husband and three kiddos. My last trip was in October 2017. I was able to spend time in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva.
This year, I hope to go in October again. Two years ago, I was only able to go for five days. This year, I'm aiming for closer to 10. It's such a long journey that anything less than a week is just brutal on your body, between the flights and the time difference.
Here are some of my favorite memories from past trips:
- Tel Aviv: the beach, brunch at Bucke and Meshek Barzilay, shakshuka at Streets Bazel, dining al fresco at Goocha and Suzana, all the salads at Old Man and the Sea
- Jerusalem: strolling through the gorgeous homes and gardens of Yemin Moshe, afternoon walks through Ein Kerem, dining among the flowers at Derech Hagefen, dunking pita at Ben Sira Hummus, twirling homemade pasta at Anna's Italian Cafe, decadent chocolate babka at Kadosh Bakery
- Beer Sheva: lunch at Chavat Vadhan (a bedouin tent), the halloumi burger at Lola, mushroom ravioli at Goomba, the funky atmosphere, perfectly blended limonana and giant sandwiches at Saba Jebetto
I have always wanted to do the graffiti Tour in Tel Aviv, and I'm also interested in seeing if I can do a winery tour. Israel's wineries are decently far from major cities, so this will require some planning. I'm also hoping to see my cousin's work on display at the Islamic Museum in Jerusalem. The exhibit opens in May, and I'm praying it's still up when I get there!
5. Secure a reservation at Pammy's
I had my first meal at Pammy's in Cambridge, MA in August 2017. They had recently opened and I couldn't wait to see what all the hype was about. A few months later, in February 2018, I visited again. The menu had changed, but each dish was still as thoughtful, delicious and perfectly plated as I had remembered.
Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for me, the restaurant has received some major accolades in the past year, making it nearly impossible to get a table. Last week, my cousins and I tried to get a table for a date three weeks from now and they said they were completely booked that entire night.
So, even if it takes me making a reservation two months in advance, I am getting back in there!
6. Order a Freak Frappe at Boston Burger Company
From the outside, Boston Burger Company may look like just another fast-casual burger joint. Don't be fooled by its modest exterior, inside the walls of this restaurant is a freak . . . a freak frappe, that is.
These monstrous, piled-high milkshakes rival the inventors of this phenomenon, Black Tap in New York City.
Each month, the restaurant debuts a new freak frappe, and each time I think they can't get wilder, they do.
There is a location about a 10-15 minute drive from me, but according to their website, they are opening soon in Kendall Square, which would be walking distance from my office. I am determined to tackle one of these!
Side note: Boston Burger Company's social media channels are run by Christina Orso, one of the best marketing and photography people in the game. She also runs the social media accounts for Area Four and Mortadella Head. She's super talented, support all her clients!
7. Frame and hang more artwork
When I moved into my condo back in 2012, I had the entire place set up, including art on the walls, in the first weekend. My parents went into total beast mode, and they refused to fly back to Florida until everything looked perfect. Since then, I've hardly added anything new to the walls, but that doesn't mean I didn't pick out more things!
Over the years, I've been collected things, saving things, receiving things as gifts, and I haven't framed them or given them a proper, permanent home. Below are a few examples.
My friend Liz, an art director, hand painted this when we were working on a client project highlighting each of the 50 states. When it was all over, she gave me the Massachusetts watercolor as a gift.
This next one is also a memento from a client project. I got to travel with illustrator Katie Rodgers on a press trip, and she created this stunning print as part of that collaboration. That was one of the best projects I've ever been a part of, and each time I look at this, it reminds me of that exciting time.
Through this blog, I had the pleasure of meeting Amy and Ron Schmidt, who run Loose Leashes. Their studio is up in Newburyport, MA. They generously gifted me this photograph, which I absolutely love.
While in San Francisco, CA, I visited 3 Fish Studio in Outer Sunset, run by Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin. You likely recognize their work (even if you don't realize it). They are the makers of the print where the bear is hugging the state of California. I purchased this piece in an online sale they were having.
I recently acquired this Michelle Obama piece, which celebrates her amazing call to action from the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
It will come as no surprise that I have a few Boston items. I picked out this 9000 Things Boston skyline piece a few years ago. You can find her work at 9000 Things at Bow Market in Somerville, MA, or at the Crompton Collective in Worcester, MA.
I bought these two photographs when a friend was having an online sale of her work back in 2013. I love the bright colors.
You will also not be surprised that my mother has given me several Miami or Florida-themed pieces, all part of her ongoing, subliminal campaign to get me to move there.
Lastly, I picked out this fabulous, giant shoe print at the Lincoln Road Antique Show in Miami, FL. Though it's not antique, it's chic.
I have zero plan of attack for how I am going to get all these things framed without spending a fortune, so if you have recommendations, please shout! And yes, I do know about Framebridge.
8. Read two books per month
If 2018 was the year I escaped the news with podcasts, I want 2019 to be the year I escape through books.
I read 17 books in 2018, and I found it to be helpful in so many ways. Of course, it provides a wonderful distraction from the terrible things happening in our country right now. I can drown out the negativity by traveling to Singapore with the Crazy Rich Asians, falling in love in The Wedding Date, or going behind-the-scenes of The Bachelor with Bachelor Nation. But I also find that reading makes me a better writer. I'm inspired by all sorts of things - complex characters, tenuous family relationships, super visual descriptions, painful and poignant honesty - it all helps me strive to improve my own work.
My goal is to read two books per month (24 total for the year), which will be seven more than I read last year. It's a tall order, but I'm excited about it.
I'm currently reading Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. After that, I'm moving onto Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. I just listened to a podcast interview with Tina Brown, which has me interested in The Vanity Fair Diaries.
What else should I add to my queue?
9. Share top 10 lists
On January 4, when I announced the 10 year anniversary of Pop.Bop.Shop., I asked readers to leave a comment with the one thing they'd like to see here on the blog in 2019. I got so many creative ideas, but there was one that kept re-emerging. Several readers requested a series of top 10 lists from the past 10 years. Some initial ideas from the comments section included: favorite posts of all time, best meals, guilty pleasure books, and best gifts received.
I absolutely love this idea. I am committing to publishing at least one top 10 list per month for all of 2019. Are there other categories you'd like to see? Please leave a comment below with additional requests - I'm all ears.
And there you have it! My nine resolutions for 2019. As I have in years past, I will share quarterly updates on my progress. If you have suggestions or would like to join me for any of these resolutions, leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I love hearing from you.
Tell me, have you set any resolutions for this year?