As I sit down to write this post in the final week of June 2021, I can hardly believe we're half way through the year. I think we can all agree 2020 was the strangest year of our lives, and 2021 sort of feels like a hangover, doesn't it?
When I made my resolutions list back in January, everything was still so uncertain. I was several months away from being eligible for the vaccine in Massachusetts and I had no way of knowing what would be possible as the year went on. Would I travel again? Would I feel safe to take off my mask indoors? Would I start commuting and going into the office again?
Given all the uncertainty, I created two categories of resolutions: one bucket for pandemic times and one if things started to open up.
Ready to hear how it's been going? Let's do it.
1. Commit to a meditation practice
Status: Calmer than ever. In May 2020, at the suggestion of my cousin's wife (who is a yoga teacher), I downloaded the app Insight Timer and started meditating. I was doing small sessions at first - just two or three minutes - and eventually, I got up to doing as much as 35-45 minutes at a time.
I resolved to continue this practice in 2021 with more consistency. I found that when I mediated each morning, particularly during the work week, I started the day feeling calmer and more open to whatever might happen.
In January, I shared with you that I had gotten up to 173 days of meditating for a total of 1,100 minutes. Since then, I'm up to 290 days and 2,000 minutes.
My goal was to do five sessions per week and I've been consistently hitting that.
2. Decorate the Hull house
Status: Nearly done! Back in January, I had been a homeowner in Hull for just three months. I had refinished the floors, painted the upstairs and collected a few pieces of furniture - two beds, two dressers and a TV stand - but that was it.
For the first six months of this year, getting the Hull house ready for summer was my number one project. My bedroom came together the fastest and is one of my favorite rooms in the house. This paint color is Benjamin Moore Nile Blue and I adore it.
In March, my dining room table arrived (just two days before my parents landed in Boston to see the house for the first time).
In May, I got more dressers and nightstands, assembled three bed frames, had new mattresses delivered and picked out a TV for the living room. That same month, two of my besties also came for a slumber party, during which they expertly retitled the sun porch, which now looks like a million bucks.
Memorial Day weekend, my couch was supposed to be delivered. I ordered it from West Elm back on December 6, 2020 and when the truck pulled up on May 28, 2021, as the crew started to unbox it, it turned out they had made one side of the L-shaped sectional in the wrong color.
After waiting six months, I was left with half of a couch while they placed a new order for the other side. When do they predict it will be ready? Sometime between September 6 - 20, 2021. Can you sense my rage?
Here is the side of the couch I do have.
Couch disappointment aside, my dad has visited three times now and has been such a huge help every time. Assembling furniture, hanging shelves (in three rooms!), mounting blinds, perfectly placing artwork, planting windows boxes and tomato plants and so much more.
It's thanks to his eagle eye that we got a free gas grill from the neighbors across the street, who had just upgraded to a nicer one for themselves. My dad cleaned the grill grate and voila! We're ready for summer BBQs.
He also put together this brand new table for the back deck.
If you like before and after content, I've been sharing updates on my Instagram account, @mollygaller, and I'll continue to do so.
3. Reserve a private movie screen
Status: Bust! There's a movie theater a two-minute drive from my house in Watertown and when I originally shared my resolutions list in January, they were offering private bookings for their movie screens. You could have as many as 20 friends for $200 dollars.
My hope was to reserve a screen for Galentine's Day and do a fun outing with all my single friends. About two weeks before our intended date, the theater shut down (temporarily) due to a rise in COVID cases.
By the time they re-opened, the weather was starting to get nicer and sitting inside, in AC, for two hours was less appealing.
If a fun movie comes out, I think I could get excited about this again. Or maybe later in the year when it's cold again?
For now, this resolution is on the back burner.
4. Spotlight small businesses every month
Status: The best of intentions. On January 4, 2021, I celebrated 12 years of Pop.Bop.Shop. In that anniversary blog post, I mentioned that one of my primary focuses this year is going to be showing extra love to small businesses. I set a goal of sharing a list each month with ideas for independently-owned shops, restaurants, booksellers, etc. who you could support instead of Amazon.
I was able to keep to that goal for January, February, March and May, but fell short in April.
Here are the lists so far:
- 5 Boston Area Businesses to Support in January
- 3 Independent Bookstores to Support in February
- 5 Local Spots to Score Passover & Easter Treats
- 7 Local Businesses to Support on Nantasket Beach
If you have ideas or themes you'd like to see for this small business spotlights, please let me know. I always love to hear your ideas!
Now we've come to the portion of the list that can only exist as the world begins to open up more. When I set these goals in January, I had no idea if any of them would be possible. Let's chat about it.
5. Enjoy more moments of self-care
Status: Still on hold. Though I do lots of small things to care for myself on a daily and weekly basis, I have been craving the luxurious feeling of things like pedicures and hot stone massages. Back in January, I mentioned how much I'd like to go back to Essential Therapies in Bolton, MA, a place that has always been a sanctuary.
It's not that I can't do these things now. I certainly feel safer being fully vaccinated (thank you, Pfizer!), but things like reuniting with family and friends and spending time enjoying the Hull house and the beach have felt more important so far this year.
I am about to be on a five-week sabbatical from work (an incredible HR perk for tenured employees) so maybe I will find a way to at least get a pedicure this summer!
6. Return to indoor dining
Status: Slowly re-entering. At the start of this year I was fantasizing about all the places I wanted to return to for indoor dining. In fact, I shared with you a list, by city, of the places I couldn't wait to get back to. Here's a quick reminder:
Brighton Bodega makes many incredible things, but the reason I keep going back is the Korean fried cauliflower buns with kimchi and Gochujang mayo. Ask anyone who has tasted these - they're addicting!
I went to Il Casale with my parents during their most recent visit and had a gnocchi topped with the most fresh, herbaceous sauce. I couldn't stop saying, "Oh my god."
Since outdoor patio season is back in full swing, it feels pretty unlikely I'll be eating inside too often for the next few months. Come the fall, I look forward to sitting inside at as many of these gems as I can get to!
7. Vacation in Palm Springs
Status: Planning for 2022. When I thought about where I'd most like to travel to when the world opens back up (besides to Miami, FL to see my immediate family) the first place I wanted to revisit was Palm Springs, CA. I went with four friends in June 2018 and it was just the best trip - amazing rental house, private pool, epic restaurant meals, a luxurious evening at The Parker Hotel and so much more.
Let's take a quick trip down memory lane . . .
I will be traveling with that same group of girls this year, but our first stop won't be Palm Springs. One of my besties is planning a surprise Caribbean getaway for us. We've seen photos of the resort, but she's keeping the rest of the details a secret.
We all miss Palm Springs and want to go there together again, but now we're eyeing 2022.
There you have it! My progress report, six months in. Let's see the current tally:
4 resolutions in progress
#1 Commit to a meditation practice
#2 Decorate the Hull house
#4 Spotlight small businesses every month
#6 Return to indoor dining
3 resolutions yet to be tackled
#3 Reserve a private movie screen
#5 Enjoy more self-care
#7 Vacation in Palm Springs
I am looking forward to sharing more updates as the year rolls on. Everything still feels pretty unpredictable, which is an even mix of fun and nerve wracking.
*Insight Timer image courtesy of @insighttimer on Twitter, Majestic 7 image courtesy of Arsenal Yards, Books Are Magic image by Peter Knox, Essential Therapies image courtesy of Essential Therapies on Facebook. All other photography by Molly Galler.