Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Already?! 2013 Year in Review

Where in the heck did 2013 go? It seems like just yesterday it was January 1, 2013 and I was making out my resolutions for the year. I can still remember how excited I was about writing lenses for Squidoo and was planning my trip to New York City to see the ball drop in Times Square (obviously, that didn't happen). 2013 was a decent year. There were both highs and lows. I got to go to Red Rocks for the first time to see one of my favorite bands The Avett Brothers along with Old Crow Medicine Show and I got to see Wilco, Richard Thompson, My Morning Jacket and Bob Dylan in Peoria, IL. I also lost a lot of weight in 2013. Business-wise, I officially filed paperwork to form a LLC. 2013 wasn't all fun and games. In June, Squidoo locked all 250 of my lenses which took my income from $1500 a month down to $100 a month. In September, my dad had another cancer scare and needed more surgery but he's fine now. At the beginning of November, my dog was put down because she could barely walk and couldn't hold her bladder. I still miss her tremendously and tear up whenever I think about her. {R.I.P. Jesse} I was able to complete a few resolutions this year but completely struck out on most. Here were my 2013 resolutions:

Goal #1: Publish 500 Squidoo Lenses – Rank 250 Lenses in Top 10 for Their Main Keyword. - Fail
Squidoo decided to lock all my lenses. I moved them to a new website that I started but they aren't doing so well. I'm barely making $100/month and they definitely are not ranking in the top 10 for their keywords. I only have around 250 articles posted on my website.
Goal #2: Save $500 in an emergency account - Draw
I saved up around $5,000 in a savings account but then my parents wanted to borrow $3,000 for new hardwood floors. I used another $1,000 to buy new clothes as my old clothes didn't fit anymore (see below). Another $500 went towards bills and now I'm down to $500. So, yes, I have $500 saved but I'm more than likely going to need the money in February for the vacation which I'll talk about below (I know, not smart to drain your bank account to go on vacation).

Goal #3: Get under 200 pounds - Success
I currently weigh 195 pounds

Goal #4: Read 12 books - Fail
 I've read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Scarlett Letter and most of Don Quixote (300 pages left out of 900). I didn't come close to reading 12 books.

Goal #5: Ride my bike 10 miles - Fail
 I was so close with this one. I mapped out my route, got my bike ready, made a lunch and decided to check trail conditions one last time before I left and found that the trail was closed for construction for two months. Trip cancelled. Ugh!

Goal #6: Pay off 1 student loan - Fail
I paid my student loans on time every month for the past 8 months but I'm broke right now and going on vacation in February (I know, not smart). I am going to file for deferment to delay my payments for a year. Hopefully, my business will be profitable enough by then that I can make extra payments.

Goal #7: Learn to play 5 songs on guitar - Fail
I started practicing every day but the guitar doesn't stay in tune and my fingers can't get the strings to go down far enough. I think the guitar needs to be set up by a professional but I can't afford it right now.

Goal #8: Learn to make Crème Brulee - Success
I made Crème Brulee a lot this year. It's pretty easy to make. Egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, half and half and heavy whipping cream. Mix the ingredients, strain and pour into custard dishes sitting in a pan of water. Bake and let cool in the water. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, boil sugar and water until the sugar starts to melt and quickly pour it over the creme. It will instantly harden into the perfect sugar crust. Yummy!

Goal #9: Get health insurance - Success
I was able to qualify for Medical Assistance through the Minnesota state health exchange called MNSure. I love Obamacare/Affordable Care Act! The last time I applied for MA, they wanted me to send in a ton of paperwork with proof showing that I'm self-employed. It was a big headache and I ended up not bothering. This time, I just filled out a form and I was approved. My coverage starts today!

Goal #10: Go to New York City for my 30th birthday - Fail
I couldn't afford to go and I'm glad I didn't. It is frickin' cold outside so I don't want to travel anywhere unless it's to someplace warm. I especially don't feel like going to New York City and being tortured by horrible singers (Miley Cyrus, Mackelmore, Lady Gaga, etc). Instead, I've decided to go on a cruise to celebrate my 30th birthday. We (my parents and I) booked a cruise out of Miami to the Bahamas at the end of February. We are also going to the Daytona 500 so that will be fun. My first Sprint Cup race. The only other NASCAR race I've been to was a NASCAR East/West Series race at Iowa City back in 2009. Kyle Busch won and I got to see him do his bow for the fans. It was pretty cool even though I'm not a big fan of his. Even though I failed on this resolution, I actually succeeded because I'm doing something even better instead.

I'll be posting my 2014 resolutions soon.