Goal Check In: January 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Goal Check In: January 2018

Wow I can't believe that January is over. In the blink of an eye the month disappeared. It has been a busy and productive month thankfully! In an effort to remain accountable here is my goal check in for the month:

  • Drink eight glasses of water a day 
    • There were three days that I didn't hit my goal. It's easy for me to get to five glasses of water but after that I have to remind myself to drink more. I find that the days I work out I have no problem drinking eight glasses of water. It's my rest days that require me to put in some more effort. 
  • Journal everyday
    • Honestly, I am excited to review my journal at the end of the year. It has been fun writing about my day. When I first set out to do this I thought I would be handwriting into one of my countless pretty journals, but I knew that I would not really keep up with journaling every day if that was the case. Instead I started using the Day One App on my iPhone. The App is perfect for jotting down my thoughts as I have them. I also like that I can attach pictures to my journal entries.

  • Workout four days a week
    • I've been really good with this one! I started the year with a ski trip  then started using the Sweat App by Kayla Itsines and 10k training. 
  • Cook a new meal once a week
  • Work from a coffee shop one day a week
    • Totally didn't do this at all. 
  • No TV or Social Media one day a week
    • Steven and I put away our phones for one day, but we did watch TV. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be to completely disconnect. 

  • Read two books a month
    • I started reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow at the beginning of the month and I am only half way done with it. To be fair it is 731 pages long and not an easy read. It has been great so far and while I considered spending a full day or two just reading to get it done this month I don't have that kind of time to dedicate to it so I will finish it next month. I did take a break from Alexander Hamilton to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I read it in a day! I'll have a book review for both books soon. 
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Plan a girls night
    • Not exactly just a girls night since the guys were around too, but I made a trip out to San Antonio to celebrate two of my friends birthdays. We got to catch up and spend time with each other which we always love doing. 
  • Send birthday cards
    • At the beginning of the month I designed and got custom birthday cards printed for the January babies! 

  • Run a 10k
    • I started training! I am less than a month away from running in my first 10k race. 
  • Run a half marathon
    • Obviously I am not at the point where I can run a half marathon yet but training for a 10k is progress towards this goal. I haven't signed up for a half marathon yet but I did sign up for a full marathon next January. 
  • Complete a Whole30
    • I bought the books, started cooking a couple of recipes, and started planning. I have a couple more weeks to finish preparing before Steven and I start our Whole30 in March. 
  • Plan our 30th birthday party
    • I have ideas but no set plans just yet. Thankfully Steven and I don't turn 30 until December. 

Favorite Recipes: January 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I started off the year with a goal to cook a new meal once a week and I am proud to say that I did that and more! I used to be a little scared of the kitchen, but now I just search Google or Youtube for help if there is something I don't know how to do... like how to make ghee. 

Steven and I have resolved to complete a Whole 30 in March so a couple (not all) of the recipes we are trying are Whole30 compliant. We figure the better prepared we are, the more likely we will be to successfully complete a Whole30, but more on that later. 

Favorite Recipes: January 2018 

Butternut Squash Noodles with Goat Cheese and Sage

Oh my goodness, this recipe is so delicious! I follow Merritt of The Style Scribe on Instagram and I'd seen her making this recipe. She raved about it so much that I decided to try it and I am so glad I did.  I already love spiralized zucchini so I was willing to try spiralized butternut squash. You guys, spiralized butternut squash is amazing! If you haven't tried it, do yourself a favor and get yourself some ASAP! I take a whole butternut squash and make my own noodles using this spiralizer, but you may also be able to find packaged pre-cut butternut noodles at your grocery store.

Restaurant Style Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30)

Indian food is something I crave constantly and this recipe did not disappoint! I love spicy food so I ended up adding some Chili Powder and Cayenne Pepper to add a little more spice. I served it with cauliflower rice and it was delicious!

Paleo Carnitas with Pork Loin - Crockpot (Whole30) 

So easy and so good! I added extra jalapeño peppers, because incase you haven't noticed I like my food spicy, and it was just perfect. We ended up eating the carnitas in tacos (tortillas are not Whole30 compliant at all) but I can see eating this with some cauliflower rice and salsa and being content when we do properly do a Whole30.

Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken  

Super simple and super delicious! This chicken recipe is definitely being added to our dinner rotation.  I served the chicken with cauliflower rice, but next time I will add a side asparagus or broccoli to make it a more satisfying full meal.

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake  

This cake was delicious! I loved every bite of it! It was just the right amount of sweet which is perfect since I made it for brunch and didn't want it to feel like an outright dessert. I made the cake the morning of brunch, but it can be made ahead of time which is a plus.

Sweet Potato Home Fries  

This is a perfect base for multiple meals. For breakfast, I ate the home fries with a fried egg and some bacon and for dinner I ate them with sausage and avocado. So good!

Now for the duds of this month...

Chilaquiles with Sweet Potatoes (Whole30) 

I had high hopes for this one but it ended up looking a lot better than it actually tasted. I used some leftover crockpot carnitas on it and fresh guac because I love both of those but some how mixed in with all the other ingredients this recipe just fell flat. Oh well, you win some you lose some.

Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

I don't think I've ever worked so long on a single recipe. I spent over two hours working on this soup!   It was delicious, rich, and filling but that much work for dinner makes it a once a winter recipe for me. Not something that will be on my monthly rotation.

Cheesy Tater Tot Breakfast Bake 

I made this for family brunch and while it tasted fine there was something off about it. In the comments section some people mentioned changing some of the proportions of the recipe and I think they may have a point. I would give this another try with a couple of changes but as is it wasn't my favorite.

The History of my Etsy Shop

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I remember first opening up my shop, Jessica Marie Design, like it was yesterday. I was working full time after college and as a creative outlet I decided to start selling my hand made game day dresses, appliqué shirts, and monogram necklaces.

It was August 2012 and I had four items listed in my shop and I was ready for sales to pour in! I even made a sale that very first day! Can you imagine my excitement? I just opened a shop and I already had my first customer! It was looking good! I ended up making seven sales that first month. To a new seller it was not a bad start! If anything those sales made me hopeful. Then came nothing... I made one sale in September and one in October and nothing the rest of the year.

My next sale came in March 2013. At that point I'd completely changed what I sold in my shop. I'd removed my original four listings and replaced them with digital downloads. I made that switch because the free digital downloads on my blog were getting lots of attention and I kept getting requests for more custom designs. I was selling tech wallpapers, digital scrapbook paper, and printable stationery. Thankfully the digital downloads were selling much better than my handmade items because I was about to be out of a job and the income was much needed. In May 2013 I moved to Houston with Steven. He'd finished his masters degree and had a job lined up. I on the other hand moved with out a job and was treating my shop as a full time business.

June and July were slow months for my shop. I was making a couple of sales here and there and taking on more custom work. It was a custom request for a printable planner that changed the course of what I offered in my shop. After I created the custom printable planner for my client I decided to offer printable planners in my shop.

Then came August 2013. Business was booming! It was the first time I saw the potential there was for turning my creative outlet into a full fledged business. That was a full year from when I'd first started my shop. Throughout that year there was lots of trial and error and lots of learning. If I hadn't been patient I definitely would have quit my shop back in 2013, and if I hadn't persisted through the failures I wouldn't have made it to 10,000+ sales today!

Each and every year since starting my shop has had it's own share of failures, growth, and learning. I've been striving to hit the 10,000 sales mark for a long time and now that I have it's exciting! What is most exciting is that my business is now in a transition phase. What once worked is not working as well so it is time to change it up. While I may not know exactly what I will be offering I know that if I've reached my goal once I can reach it again.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oh what a trip! This is my fifth year of skiing and attending The Musicfest at Steamboat. Every year I  look forward to spending time with friends, listening to Texas Country music, and hitting the slopes. 

Our trip started off with some grocery shopping and our annual dinner outing to Beau Jo's for some Colorado style pizza. Steven and I always opt for the Mountain Pie with pepperoni. I leave the crust for the very end and add some honey to it, delish! 

Can you see that first day of skiing excitement on our faces? While we made the most of it, it was probably the worst skiing we've experienced. It hadn't snowed recently so the runs were icy and had very low coverage. I ended up hitting a large patch of ice and falling, hard. My goggles scratched up my face and my helmet definitely saved me. I heard a loud crack where my helmet hit the ice. Can you imagine if I wasn't wearing a helmet? Yikes! 

You can really see the lack of snow fall in this photo. The trees are green! I have only ever seen them while they were covered in snow. 

Thankfully we got some snow fall the next day and the skiing conditions improved greatly. We had a couple of friends who were new to skiing and we enjoyed showing them our tips and tricks. It was especially good practice for Steven since he wants to become a ski instructor when we retire. 

I love stopping to take in the scenery. Seeing the world from a mountain truly serves as a reminder of how beautiful life is.

While we usually take a break and have lunch in our condo (perks of a ski in ski out resort), we make it a point to get lunch out on the mountain at least once. We love skiing out to the Rendezvous food court and devouring a basket of chicken strips with french fries and onion rings. 

We got to see some great shows this year! I especially loved Cody Johnson's set in the big tent! We also got to see Stoney Larue and Wade Bowen for the Stargazers series at Thunderhead. Wade Bowen holds a special place in my heart since his song "Who I Am" was our first dance song at our wedding.

Can't wait to go back next year! 

2018 Goals

Monday, January 1, 2018

I love new beginnings, especially significant ones like a new year! 2017 was an incredible year and I am looking to make 2018 even better. Now I don't think I can top getting married and buying our first home, but I do think there is lots of room for growth and lots to achieve in the new year! 

MY 2018 GOALS 


  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day 
    • I am pretty sure I am always dehydrated. I've already been to the emergency clinic once for dehydration and that is something I never want to repeat again. So from now on I am making a conscience effort to drink 8 glassed of water a day.
  • Journal everyday 
    • This is something I have tried doing before and have never kept it up. This year I am trying a new approach. In the past I had a hard time writing about my day, especially if it was a boring one. This time, I am counting listing out what I did that day as a journal entry. So if I have lots to write about then great! And if it was a boring day spent in front of my computer working then I will just list out what I accomplished. 


  • Workout 4 days a week 
    • This goal is on my list every year. I tend to start off strong and lose my focus during summer and the holiday season. I really hope to push through and check this off my list every single week! 
  • Cook a new meal once a week
    • I am such a foodie, but I don't really cook much. So this year I am collecting recipes and trying them all! 
  • Work from a coffee shop 1 day a week 
    • I work from home 90% of the time. The other 10% is spent working a couple of mornings a week with all the lovely people at Kate Spade! I love getting dressed up and out of the house when I work at Kate, but most of my time is spent at home and working from home can get very lonely. Since my graphic design business is all online I am making it a goal to work from a coffee shop at least one day a week. Hopefully getting out of the house and out of my PJs will help bring new ideas and inspiration into my work.
  • No TV or Social Media 1 day a week 
    • Disconnecting from my phone and computer is a priority in the new year. I want to spend more time face to face with my friends and family instead of aimlessly scrolling or watching TV. 


  • Read 2 books a month 
    • I have always loved to read! I even got in trouble as a kid for staying up way past my bed time reading Harry Potter! I haven't been the best at reading books the last couple of years. Sure I read a ton of articles online but none are anywhere as fulfilling as finishing a good book. So this year I've add a ton of books to my Amazon cart and am going to read more. 
  • Try a new restaurant 
    • Once I've tried a restaurant I like, I get comfortable and go back to it over and over again. While there is nothing wrong with that, I want to explore all the wonderful food options available here in Houston so I am making a list and checking off at least one new to me restaurant off of it every month. 
  • Plan a girls night 
    • At every girls night we talk about how we should do it more often and then we don't. So I am taking the lead and planing a girls night every month. Some quality girl time is always fun! 
  • Send birthday cards 
    • This one is because I love my friends and family and sending them a card is the least I can do to remind them that they are special and loved. 


  • Run a 10k 
    • In 2017 I developed a consistent running habit. This year I want to become a better runner. I've signed up to run the Rodeo Run 10k on February 24! This will be my first timed run since college! 
  • Run a half marathon 
    • My long runs in the past have topped off at 8 miles. This year I want to train for longer distances and want to run a half marathon. I've downloaded a training program and hope to check this off my list! 
  • Complete a Whole 30 
    • Steven and I both want to develop healthier food habits, so we decided to do a whole 30 in March. We know it will be difficult, but we are willing to give it our best shot. We've got our Whole 30 books and are going to start planning for it now. We hope to complete a Whole 30 in March. 
  • Plan our 30th birthday party 
    • Steven and I are both celebrating the big 3-0 in December and we want to make it a birthday to remember. 

There you have it, my goals for 2018! Cheers to the new year! 

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