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A Look Back: 2017 Travels with Starbucks

I've spent the last few days thinking about my resolutions for next year. I'm a sucker for resolutions and make them every year the same way that I always get excited in the fall for back to school and for the first sign of changing seasons. I guess I just like new beginnings and the chance for a fresh start. But before I start to sound pious, I hate Monday mornings - every single week.

Part of my process is to review the resolutions I made last year and think about what went well and why and what didn't go well. If I want to make some of the same resolutions, I want to have better results this year after all.

One of my resolutions last year was to travel more. I wanted to stop thinking about going places and actually go. Little did I know how well I was going to achieve this goal. Oh, the irony.
For some background, it's not as though I didn't do any traveling in 2016. We actually took an extended family vacation in France. The joy of that trip led me to wish to continue traveling through 2017. And I did. Just not the way I expected.

I decided to document my travels using Starbucks You Are Here mugs at the beginning of the year. Coffee is a constant in my life, and I thought this would be a fun way to look back after the year was over. Little did I know I would end up with 19 mugs.

Some of them seemed apparent. We still have family in California, we even had our Disneyland passes, so of course, we would end up in with California mugs as we made several trips back throughout the year. That takes care of 7 out of 19, and I only had to go to California once on business - even better. 

#8 is a bit of a cheat. We live in Las Vegas, so that's not really traveling now, is it? Well, when you look at 9 - 19, I felt like my time in Vegas was a vacation at times.

I traveled a lot on business this year, at least for me, often multiple cities per trip and often trips back to back with only two or three days in between. And I saw some crazy weather along the way as well. I was in Texas most often (I think 8 times total) and when in Houston found out how terrifying waiting for tornados can be. Tornado weather is just plain scary, and I don't know if I would ever get used to it. I also experienced flooding in Houston but wasn't there for the worst of it. It's a beautiful city, and I would love to have a chance to go back and explore as a tourist soon.

I also really enjoyed my time in Atlanta and Charlotte. I think. That trip was very rushed and multi-city. I guess I need to go back to figure out which restaurants were where.

I wasn't in Chicago very long, and I didn't really enjoy my time there. If you have any recommendations to convince me to give it another chance, I'm open.

Colorado was very cold but very brown when I was there with no snow yet. Luckily, I've been there before in the winter and know how beautiful the mountains are. I need to go back now in the summer.

And that's it for 2017. No foreign travel but enough domestic to keep me really busy and to have a very full mug cabinet. Where did your travels take you this year?

My 2018 Planning/Goal-Setting Set Up

Over the last few weeks, I've been experimenting with some big changes in how I'm planning and how I want to plan in 2018. This year I moved into separate planners, like this MAMBI Happy Planner with Gold Expander Rings, focused on individual projects or areas of my life. I love this from the perspective of keeping my supporting documents, goal setting, milestones and plans together in one place, but this does cause confusion and potential for forgetting things if I don't check every planner on a daily basis. To prevent that from happening, I started using a bullet journal  like this one 

to transfer my tasks into one spot to stay on top of them, but I much prefer using my Day Designer  

to plan out my tasks for the day because I like to time-bound tasks, so at this point, I've basically eliminated the use of a bullet journal except for keeping my habit tracker.

This system has been working well, but I felt limited because I no longer had somewhere consolidated where I could look at all my weekly appointments and workload at a glance. This was really where I was struggling and some days just feeling complete overwhelm from overbooking myself or forgetting commitments.

I had purchased a Van Der Spek and hadn't yet used it, so I decided to pair it with weekly inserts from Printable Pineapple to consolidate my week, making sure I have a level workload. Then on a daily basis, I pull out my daily tasks, transfer them to my Day Designer and keep that with me as I work throughout the day.

Since I gave up on the bullet journal, I did feel the need to add one more item to my planning arsenal. I needed someplace to jot down tasks and thoughts as they pop into my head as well as the habit tracker.

 I ordered this simple graph notebook,  and I use it as a somewhat modified bullet journal almost in the reverse of my weekly/daily planning process. In the evening, I sit down and transfer notes and tasks into the appropriate project planners.

I'm still working out my system for advance or annual planning, so I'll share that as soon as I get it figured out. What are you planning on using next year?

Entertaining / Thanksgiving Tablescape

Last year’s Thanksgiving was the first holiday in our new home, but coming on the heels of an out-of-state move, a long vacation in France, and a few road trips back to Los Angeles, we decided to stay home just the three of us and have a simple and relaxing holiday. I admit I was pretty worn out. I had managed to decorate for Halloween as I showed here, but other than keeping some of my pumpkins out, I didn’t get very into Thanksgiving.

This year, even though we are staying home and having just the three of us again for Thanksgiving, I wanted to put a little more effort into it. I pulled out my pumpkins and scattered them around the house, put up a festive leaf garland on my balcony as well as a few pillows and plaques, but I really decided to put most of my effort into the tablescape. 

A is cooking her first Thanksgiving this year since this will be her last year living at home full time, and we thought this would be good practice for her when she’s doing the meal on her own in the future. There’s nothing like practicing when Mom is here to talk you through it. Since she’s doing all the work, I wanted to set a beautiful table as a backdrop for her efforts.

I went back and forth on getting flowers this year. I love an acorn and twig wreath that I bought at Hobby Lobby last year and was going to have that be the centerpiece with a large pillar candle in the center but really felt drawn to having some type of flowers this year instead. I used a large red vase and several bunches of flower stalks in autumnal colors that I arranged together and ended up putting the wreath in the nook next to my front door.

I decided not to use a tablecloth this year instead going for the rustic look of my tabletop, but I still used a mixture of my different china patterns as well as a small plate from an everyday set that has a harvest theme paired with my formal silver. I then used some antique glassware and a sprig of dried lavender across the top of each setting. 

I had no need for placecards this year since there will only be the three of use, but I did scatter some of my small seasonal candleholders on the table as well.

Overall, I think the look is simple, rustic yet classic. I’ve partnered with several other bloggers for the Tablescape Blog Tour. Please take the virtual tour by clicking the little blue frog below and see what everyone else has planned for the holiday tables this year. 

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