Friends, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I first started the Short & Sweet blog and doing my monthly challenges! It has been such a fun year trying out so many different hobbies and activities. It has truly enriched my life and has reminded me how fulfilling it is to have something to look forward to during the week outside of work and running errands.
This last year, I tried new activities and I revisited old hobbies. While some were more fun than others, I honestly enjoyed trying them all! To recap my year, I wanted to review which activities were my favorite and also what I learned from doing new challenges every month.
I admit, August probably wasn’t the best month to start doing fitness. But I’m really glad I did this for a month because it showed me that I really needed to get in shape and start working out more, even though I really hate doing it. I think I struggled with this challenge because I had way too high expectations for myself – going from a coach potato to working out twice a day almost every day was unrealistic. Although this was the hardest challenge for me, I think this is the one I’m most proud of. I had to adjust my goals, but once I did I met them all. At times I didn’t believe in myself, but thanks to my husband I was able to get through it!
Favorite post: Cue “Chariots of Fire”
Don’t get me wrong – I love to knit! And it was the perfect project to work on during the many long road trips I took during that month. Knitting is a good project for me because I can knit and watch Netflix at the same time. But it did get a little repetitive, and my limited knowledge of knitting made it hard to make anything very impressive. I think I’ll return to this hobby when I’m a little older and I can’t go out as much :).
Favorite post: Ribbed Mug Cozy
Doing yoga was a good alternative to the crazy fitness schedule I tried before. The thing I loved about it was that I can do it in my own home and in my own time. It was really nice to get up in the morning and spend 30 minutes stretching and preparing for the day. It’s definitely something I want to continue! But I want to try some different tutorials for it. I liked Adrienne’s 30 days of yoga, but sometimes her commentary interrupted the peacefulness I wanted. For that reason I like yoga studio a little better.
Favorite post: Strength Conditioning
This was a hobby I picked back up from when I was in junior high and high school, and I really missed it! It was great that I still had some muscle memory and could play a lot of songs with the simple chords I remembered. The hard thing about doing guitar is that it takes a lot of time to develop the strength and muscle memory you need to do well, and I didn’t have that kind of time in just one month!
Favorite post: It Was All Yellow
This month was fun for me since I was still setting up our apartment and could use my crafty skills to make some home improvements! Unfortunately my drawer organizers are no longer standing, since the cardboard was too flimsy to hold all the utensils we toss in there. But my nightstands are still doing great! It was so fun to create some furniture that we really needed for our apartment
Favorite post: Crate Nightstands
I really loved doing adventure for a month because I love any excuse to get out of the house and try new things! And I really liked that I got to do it with my husband, coworker, and friends. I will always be an adventurer at heart and am always looking for new things to do!
Favorite post: Food, Fiction, and Flowers
6. Love Languages
Practicing love languages was a good challenge for me. It reminded me to take time to learn how those around me feel loved so that I can be a better wife, coworker, friend, and family member. It’s so special to have the opportunity to show someone in a unique way that you love them, even if it’s a complete stranger. I want to always be on the lookout for ways to speak these five love languages.
Favorite post: Quality Time
Even though baking wasn’t really a new hobby (since I make cookies and sweets all the time), it was really fun to think outside the box for this one and make something other than desserts. I still can’t believe I spent 3 hours making those garlic knots, but I was really proud with the way they turned out. My month of baking was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to getting better at it!
Favorite post: Do You Smell What I Smell?
My cooking challenge holds a special place in my heart because it was my first challenge ever. When I first got married, I REALLY did not enjoy cooking. It takes so much time and I felt very sub-par in comparison to the amazing cook I have for a mom. However once I made those first few meals, I gained a lot of confidence in my cooking abilities. Now I have a list of 20 tried and true recipes on my refrigerator that I know without a doubt I can cook decently well. It’s been fun to see my repertoire of recipes grow and to finally have some go-to recipes.
Favorite post: One Pot Chili
Fun fact you may not know about me: I went to an art school for about three years when I was in junior high. I also did art in high school, but when I got to college I was too busy focusing on social activities to create much art. Watercolor reminded me that I love being creative and playing with colors, textures, and shapes. It was definitely a challenge for me because it was hard to control, but I was happy with the pieces I produced! I loved painting the succulents and am seriously considering doing a watercolor succulent garden – it would be even easier to maintain than the real thing!
Favorite post: (Water)color Me An Artist!
Ah, dancing. One of my absolute favorite hobbies. I’ve been involved in dance most of my life, and didn’t realize how much I missed it until I picked it up again this last month. Dancing is just about the only form of exercise I enjoy (hello, Zumba!) and I realized that I really want to get involved in it again. I most definitely will continue line dancing with my friends and hopefully I’ll be able to take some sort of dance class in the next year or so! Although it wears me out a little faster than it used to, it brings me so much joy to just dance.
Favorite post: My Final Dance, But I’m Not Sorry
Out of all the challenges I did this year, I have to say my favorite was lettering. I’ve written my whole life and have a countless number of journals I’ve collected. But nothing compares to seeing a name or a favorite quote in that beautiful scripted handwriting. Lettering and calligraphy has been quite the trend lately, so I was so excited to finally get on board with the rest of the instagrammers and etsy-shoppers and finally be able to do my own lettering. While I haven’t been able to do it much since my challenge month, you can bet that I will be working on creating those pretty letters and flourishes this next year!
Favorite post: Mixing It Up!
What I learned
- Trying new things is so great! It pushes you out of your comfort zone and opens you up to other worlds. You may not love everything you try, but it’s no fun to always be doing the same things.
- Spending time on hobbies is healthy not lazy. It helps you be creative, relax, and get re-energized instead of just lounging around.
- It’s good to have activities you can do with or without friends. You may have days where all your friends are busy and you have a free day, which is a perfect time to work on a new hobby. Or you could have a friend that loves doing what you do, and it could be a great bonding time!
- No matter how old you are, you can always learn new things.
You might be asking, “What’s next for the Short & Sweet blog?” Let me tell you! My Friday Favorite monthly reviews will continue, and I’m open to anything you want me to talk about in them! I’m excited to develop my Frugal Foodie Friends segment with Esther and keep sharing the best places to eat in LA and OC. As for the rest of the blog, I’m going to choose a few hobbies to pursue and to get really good at! I’ve gone wide, but now I’m going deep and honing in! I will always be on the lookout for new challenges and adventures, and I’ll be doing more personal posts from time to time. In the next few months, I’ll be restructuring the blog as I determine what I want to focus on next. But I’ll still be doing my monthly Friday Favorites and Frugal Foodie Friends, so make sure you’re subscribed to keep getting those updates!
For those of who who have been there since the beginning, thanks for doing this journey with me! Whether you participated in my challenges or not, thank you for your support week after week. While the purpose of my blog is not to get lots of readers, it has been a joy to see it grow and to have all sorts of people around the work reading my updates! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my challenges. Be sure to stay tuned as I make some updates to the blog!
8 thoughts on “Year of Challenges Recap”
Really enjoyed “Short and Sweet”. Fun challenges and you did a great job!!
Thanks Grandma! Glad you enjoyed my year of challenges 😉
LOL Loved it. I am going to challenge myself to do something new every month and we will see how that turns out. Thanks …
It’s been a really fun year for me and I hope you enjoy it too! Let me know if you end up blogging about it!
Thanks. I am going to try to adopt this one challenge a month idea. Very motivating.
I really love what you said about spending time on hobbies being healthy, not lazy! I totally agree! It gives your mind a break and lets you focus on just one thing which seems to be harder and harder to do these days!
It was definitely a mind shift for me because I’m so often focused on being productive! But you’re right it’s good to focus on one thing at a time instead of having a bunch of distractions!
I agree! I am trying to work on focusing less on checking things off my to do list/accomplishing tasks, and more on doing things I enjoy.