Author Archive

03 Jan 2009 January Mini-Goals
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Here is my January project list. I will cross items out as I complete them. I also need to crack open my YCDI book and come up with some realistic badge assignments for each month so I don’t fall behind or overload myself. I’m vowing that this year, “life” will not get in my way in terms of the things I want to learn and do for ME. Today I am tackling two organization items at the same time: removing my old stuff from my parents’  house AND listening to The NOW Habit on my mp3 player at the same time. I should also be able to get in a workout, go grocery shopping for healthy foods, and knock out a baseline budget today. Wish me luck!

  • Garden: Tear out the dead plants from my garden and cut down the invasive “dwarf” banana tree. Direct sow some cold weather veggie seeds and start some spring seedlings indoors.
  • Exercise/Nutrition: Complete all of my planned workouts and follow my meal plan. Swap out one meat-based protein portion per day with a vegetarian, egg, or seafood option.
  • Craft: Make my items for the Discworld Swap at Craftster–I’ll probably crochet some Discworld characters and sew some kind of bag…not sure what else. Make a “Spockboy” Sackboy doll for my co-worker.
  • Writing: Write five blog posts a week. Post at least four times a week at the two fitness forums where I am an administrator or moderator.
  • Money: Create a new budget for 2009 using the free PearBudget spreadsheet. Update W-4 withholding for me and my husband after plugging in our numbers in the IRS withholding calculator. File our taxes!
  • Organization: Cut down on extraneous online community involvement until I have a better grip on my real life work, hobby, education, and social commitments. Clear out and donate/toss my old stuff from my parents’ house. Listen to and apply the principles in the NOW Habit audiobook on how to beat procrastination. 🙂
01 Jan 2009 New Year, New-ish Badges
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Happy New Year!

(Blows off the cobwebs on the blog)

Wow…Looks like a full year has gone by and nary a post to be seen! It’s time to make a real go of this and earn some solid badges for myself this year.

Here are my initial picks:

  1. Cooking/Nutrition: Get back to clean eating (it’s been an uncharacteristically sloppy holiday season for me food-wise) and TRY to go mostly vegetarian
  2. Fitness: Complete two full months of Val Waters’s free Action Hero workouts (bonus action babe workout, too) without skipping any unless sick or injured, then follow up with the full New Rules of Lifting for Women program
  3. Knitting: Learn how to knit from the Stitch and Bitch book & make a knitted Sackboy doll to go with my crocheted and sewn ones
  4. Money: Complete Baby Step 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover plan by paying off my second mortgage
  5. Sewing: Do two back to back 6-month Wardrobe Refashion pledges and only sew my own clothing from fabric in my stash or clothes already in my closet
  6. Budgeting/Travel: Save up for a European cruise (second honeymoon since DH and I were frugal with our first one in 2007) in the fall
  7. Gardening: Get my veggie garden in order and make a month to month plan to keep it that way
  8. Painting: Complete all of the painting exercises in my watercolor pet painting book & learn how to use Corel Painter
  9. Singing: Take one month of voice lessons (I love karaoke, but have never been in a choir or taken real lessons.)
  10. Yoga: Make flexibility training a regular part of my routine instead of an occasional chore.
  11. Writing: Complete all of the exercises in just ONE of my many writing books
  12. Make My Own Badge: Any of the following – Get off my butt and just study for my personal training certification, work all the way through one PHP/MySQL programming book, or learn how to use my new video editing software by going through all of the included tutorials

For January in particular I want to:

  •  Garden: Tear out the dead plants from my garden and cut down the invasive “dwarf” banana tree. Plant some cold weather veggie seeds. 
  • Exercise/Nutrition: Complete all of my planned workouts and follow my meal plan. Swap out one meat-based protein portion per day with a vegetarian, egg, or seafood option. 
  • Craft: Make my items for the Discworld Swap at Craftster–I’ll probably crochet some Discworld characters and sew some kind of bag…not sure what else. Make a “Spockboy” Sackboy doll for my co-worker. 
  • Writing: Write five blog posts a week. Post at least four times a week at the two fitness forums where I am an administrator or moderator. Post three times a week at my other community sites. 
  • Money: Create a new budget for 2009 using the free PearBudget spreadsheet. Update W-4 withholding for me and my husband after plugging in our numbers in the IRS withholding calculator. File our taxes!

I think the key to achieving these things is to flat out set a date for them instead of stopping at the list making stage. I have to schedule things right into my calendar for them to actually seem like tasks instead of goals. Goals are nice, but they will never be anything but words on paper unless I break them down into doable tasks.

11 Feb 2008 Personal Style/Sewing Badge Report
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I am still working on my Personal Style/Sewing badge this month, and now I have the exact project I would like to complete in order to earn it.

I have already done a preliminary closet purge, but I will do another this week. In the meanwhile, I have entered the Pattern Review 2008 Wardrobe contest (Feb. 1 – April 30, 2008) which requires each contestant to sew a coordinating wardrobe of 10 pieces, including:

  • 1 accessory
  • 1 jacket OR dress
  • 4 tops
  • 4 bottoms

I am doing 11 pieces because I want to make a jacket AND a dress as well as the other compulsory items. I am also limiting myself to the raw materials I already have on hand: fabrics, notions, patterns, old t-shirts and other clothes that would otherwise be donated or tossed. I plan to spend $0 additional dollars on this project.

I dug through my fabric and pattern stash on Saturday to see if I could come up with enough somewhat coordinating colors to make 10 pieces, and discovered that there was enough black, white, and plum/burgundy between my three fabric sources (unsewn, new fabric stash, box of unflattering guy-cut t-shirts from 5k races and college, and tired clothes from my closet) to build myself a pretty cute, matching wardrobe.

Here is the storyboard I made for the project (Click for full-size view):

2008 Plum Crazy Wardrobe Plan

Progress:

  • Storyboard: completed
  • Items Cut: 3/11 (S7013, NL6160, and NL 6375)
  • Items Sewn: 0/11

And as for other sewing projects, I will be finishing 3 dresses this week, including the aborted Badgley Mischka white fishtail gown, a Butterick party dress suitable for one of the many wedding receptions I will be attending this year, and a fun, quirky sundress made from remnants and a Threadless t-shirt called “Happy Harvest.”

I’m back in the groove of sewing, so my only obstacles will be time and the “helpful” antics of my two unpaid assistants.

Slinky and Neville help out

03 Jan 2008 January Badge-o-Rama Plans
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I’m starting on three badges this month, though all of them will extend beyond 31 days. I figured that I should start up the extended duration badges now to make sure I had plenty of time to complete them before December 31.  🙂

1) Breaking Bad Habits (Failure to be Punctual)

Duration: 12 months (one habit per month to kick or to develop)

Current Status:
– # of Days Without Running Late = 1/31
– Still running behind due to food prep time in the mornings and late wake ups.

To Do:
– Set up my meals in Tupperware tonight before going to bed, boil up a big batch of eggs for breakfasts, and be in bed by 11 pm with a snoozer of a book tonight in order to improve my chances of being on time for everything tomorrow.
– Measure out and pack more oatmeal and raisin packets
– Establish 6:00 AM wakeup and have workouts completed by 8:00 AM daily.

2) Personal Style/Sewing

Duration: 3 months

Current Status:
– Finally finished red and black knit Issey Miyake dress (V2556)
– 1 project cut out, 3 projects started but not complete

To Do:
– Need to make a list of the events I am likely to attend and the things I do in everyday life to determine what wardrobe deficiencies I have
– Draw up with a wardrobe plan with notes, fabric swatches, and pattern sketches
– Cull the ill-fitting, unflattering, outmoded, and generally horrifying pieces from my closet and decide if I will donate, trade, or refashion them
– Sew the first two items on my list: a refashioned A-line knit skirt made from a “Chinese Peaches” Threadless t-shirt and a cute sun dress made from another Threadless tee (”Happy Harvest“), some brown paisley fabric, and a bit of orange broadcloth

3) Fitness

Duration: 12 weeks (Turbulence Training challenge) + 4 weeks (Swim lessons)

Current Status:
– Just doing a food and exercise maintenance/ramp up week this week before starting TT 12-week contest on Monday, January 7.

To Do:
– I skimmed through the requirements for each of the badges I have picked out from the You Can Do It book last night and have decided to modify the Fitness requirements a bit since I am already doing everything required to earn the badge according to the book. I am changing MY fitness badge requirements to the following:

(1) Complete a 12-Week TT Transformation contest entry with photos, workout logs, and stats posted at the TTmembers.com site.
(2) Take swim lessons from my husband, Mr. Former Swim Team Captain and Swim Coach, 3 times per week for the entire month of July

– Take measurements and photos on Sunday for the TT contest
– Clean out and repack gym bag
– Review workout schedule and exercises

02 Jan 2008 Intro and Pledge
 |  Category: Introductions, Pledges  | Leave a Comment

Tigerlily

Howdy! I am Maggie, a 32-year-old (soon to be 33) video game developer living in the Orlando, FL area with my husband and two striped boy cats. My hobbies include singing (karaoke!), fitness, cooking, apparel and costume sewing, blogging, web programming and design, reading, learning new skills, personal finance, and drawing. I have a lot of interests, but I’ve noticed over the last few years of Being a Responsible Grown Up that I rarely take the time to engage in any of my hobbies anymore. If I do find some spare time to start some projects, a lot of them never get finished because I don’t have a plan or reason to complete them.

That’s why I am participating in Project Wonder Woman this year.

My superheroine nickname will be Tigerlily, based on a character from David Mack’s excellent Kabuki comic book series. Tigerlily is a secret government operative trained in martial arts/sword whose cover identity is that of a comic book artist. I like that she can kick ass AND draw.

My current working list of proposed badges is as follows:

  1. Breaking Bad Habits
  2. : This one will be a year-long undertaking. I want to get rid of 6 bad habits and develop 6 good ones by the end of 2008. I will tackle one item per month, starting with Punctuality (I am ALWAYS 30 minutes late to EVERYTHING!) in January.

  3. Organizing
  4. : There are so many things in my house that need organizing that this one should keep me quite busy for a full month.

  5. Healthcare
  6. : I’ve been meaning to choose a good primary care physician who can run the full battery of health tests on me and perform a full physical for a while now, but keep putting it off. It’s time to learn where I stand health-wise now that I don’t get regular check-ups from a military doctor.

  7. Fitness (Swimming and 12-Week Turbulence Training Challenge)
  8. : Yes, I know I already know how to exercise and stuff, but I will be rolling my 12-week Turbulence Training transformation challenge and my goal of improving my swimming skills through regular lessons into this one for 2008.

  9. Personal Style/Sewing
  10. : This one combines a skill I already possess but haven’t been applying very much (sewing) with an area in which I have been sadly lagging (personal style) since I started to work in the very casual dress code environment of video game development. I looked in my closet for clothes to take up to Philly for the eHarmony shoot December 16-17 and realized that I had almost nothing but jeans, funny t-shirts, and workout clothes in my wardrobe. It’s time to put my sewing machine to work and my stunted sense of style back into active duty.

  11. Budgeting
  12. : I already budget to some degree using Microsoft Money, but I’ll be tightening it up even more as Chris and I focus on completing a Total Money Makeover a la Dave Ramsey in 2008.

  13. Yoga
  14. : Yeah…you know how I always harp on being really unbendy and needing to do more yoga? Well, I still am unbendy and still need to commit to a regular flexibility program. I’m making this a badge-earning opportunity since I am horrible at integrating yoga into my fitness routine when there is no obvious reward or punishment involved.

  15. Car Care
  16. : I’ve always known in the back of my mind that familiarity with the basics of auto maintenance was important, but fear of grease and laziness have prevented me from actually learning much about the machine that carries me 30 miles each way from home to work and back each day.

  17. Gardening
  18. : 2007 was the year of the neglected yard and veggie patch. 2008 will be the year of flourishing flowers, stunning shrubbery, and eye-popping edibles! This activity will be ongoing.

  19. Decorating
  20. : Chris and I haven’t really gotten around to decorating our house since we moved in…two years ago. It’s probably time. I don’t think we are going anywhere for a while.

  21. Painting
  22. : I have kept my oil and acrylic painting supplies from my one college painting class around all these years for no reason. Ditto for the copy of Painter 8 software that I bought around the same time and never bothered to learn how to use. My bare walls need art. I will endeavor to create some for them.

  23. Draft a Business Plan
  24. : A gal can’t stay in video games forever. I am going to learn how to draft a business plan for future reference.

29 Dec 2007 Welcome to Project Wonder Woman!
 |  Category: Announcement, General  | Leave a Comment

Well, 2007 is winding down, and the start of the new year is almost upon us. It’s time to make those traditional resolutions that most of us will just toss to the curb by February 1.

Grown up responsibilities and that thing called Life will get in the way of our goals. We will declare that we have no time to take that cooking class, learn a new language, or start an exercise program. Resolutions will be written down, but without some concrete steps and direction to help us stick to them, nothing will change.

But what if we change the outcome of the annual resolution dissolution this year? What if we were to head into 2008 with some solid goals to reach and some actual plans and strategies to achieve them?

That is the goal of Project Wonder Woman, a collaborative, virtual troop of women who will all pledge to complete the requirements for one activity per month from Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas’s book, You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls.

The book consists of chapters covering sixty fun, enriching activities ranging from competing in a triathlon to learning how to sew. Each chapter includes an overview of the activity, an essay from a female expert/mentor, clearly-defined steps for earning the activity’s merit badge, and recommended reading and online resources. A virtual merit badge is earned for each completed activity. In order to qualify for the badge, each PWW member must document her progress with blog posts, photos, and/or video clips as she completes each requirement.

You Can Do It! will provide the framework for achieving our goals for 2008, but it will still take time, effort, and persistence on our end to earn all twelve of our life merit badges over the next twelve months. This is not a 12-week challenge but an ongoing project that can cover everything from life skills to physical challenges, financial mastery to artistic experimentation. Our rewards will vary depending on which activities we each choose to undertake, but I have no doubt that we will all emerge from the experience more skilled, talented, competent, confident, knowledgeable, and infinitely more kickass than we are today.

With each badge we earn, we are one step closer to becoming a Wonder Woman in truth.

Let’s do this!

To get started once you have been approved for an Author account, post an introduction and pledge message telling everyone:

1) A brief introduction/mini bio

2) Your superheroine nickname (and why you chose it)

3) Your 12 planned badges