Looking Back

Round up and Resolutions Just in Time for the Wood Horse

I absolutely loved reading other people’s 2013 round ups and 2014 resolutions in the early weeks of January. In true Brittany-fashion though, I have completely over-thought my own and procrastinated in writing a post. I’ve kept the list short to really focus my energy on accomplishing all of them. I’ve also chosen very simple, easily done tasks, that will make a huge impact in the long-term. Just small tweaks to things I’m already doing to bring them to the next level.

I didn’t want too much time to go by before setting my intentions out into the world, because if I keep them to myself I’m the only one to hold myself accountable. Luckily I get a second chance to do that with the Lunar New Year!

2013 Round Up

In my attempts to aggressively pay down my debt and pare down my belongings, 2013 was a hallmark year for me. Here are some things I am proud to say I accomplished last year:

1. Paid off four old credit cards in full!

These were old store cards (such a bad idea!) and ones I opened to pay for specific things. I have just 3 more remaining, ones with slightly higher balances once used to pay tuition, move my plentiful belongings cross-country, and buy computers. I’m trying to choose between different ways to pay them down. I read this short post about the Snowball vs. Avalanche debt reduction strategies. FYI: I used the snowball strategy for those first few credit cards.

credit cards

How have you paid down your debt? What were your plans after you accomplished it?

2. I attended 4 weddings… in 5 weeks.

A small part of why I moved back to Cape Cod in 2012 was because I knew at least 2 of these weddings were coming up and I just could not miss them. By chance I was invited to 2 other weddings which would also be in the fall of 2013, but amazingly all on different weekends! The weddings were held first in Malden, MA, with a quick 3 day trip to a conference in New Brunswick, NJ then in Portland, ME, followed by Salem, MA, then rounded out the 5 weeks in Yarmouth, MA.

It was whirlwind and well worth it! I planned it out so I didn’t have to use any vacation days. Those are being saved up for future plans! Do I hear more wedding bells!?


Some highlights of the four weddings I attended in the fall.

How many weddings have you been to in one year or one month!?

3. I landed a meaningful and challenging job that I sought after for  m  o  n  t  h  s.

Shortly after moving back to the Cape I reached out to the local AmeriCorps group to make connections with similarly minded alumni living nearby. After attending a volunteer event for Earth Day, I applied for a staff position and remained in contact with the people I met at the event. I was finally hired in July and have guided members through their year of service ever since.

Left: AmeriCorps members after Saturday service which they helped spruce up a Wellfleet Cemetary. Right: Members finishing up a a day of quahog broadcasting.

Left: AmeriCorps members after Saturday service which they helped spruce up a Wellfleet cemetary. Right: Members finishing up a day of quahog broadcasting.

Have you had a really difficult job that you absolutely loved?

4. Moved to the Outer Cape. Something I’ve always wanted to do.

One requirement of this new job that I love so much is that I live in the program provided residence with the members. It’s a big, historic house in the Cape Cod National Seashore in Wellfleet, way up on the Truro town line. The house, named LeHac, is on a bunch of land, has an old barn turned into a tool shed, a greenhouse and garden, a chicken coop (sans chickens for now), and a hammock. It’s about 2 miles from Wellfleet center where the short but quaint Main Street is and the charming town library and picturesque harbor are a short walk away.

I love small town living! About 51 miles from the Sagamore Bridge in Bourne, Wellfleet is home to only 3,500 year-round residents. This is the tiniest town I have lived in yet. At least for 9 months out of the year. Come Memorial Day, this place will be busting at the seams when the rest of the roughly 14,000 part-time residents return to their summer retreat, and countless number of tourists stop by.

The summer, specifically the influx of people, is what I’ve loved about Cape Cod since I was just a pint-sized Brittany. For the longest time, by which I mean until I was about 10 or 11 years old and had to spend a 4th of July at my grandparent’s house, I thought that everyone in the world came here to lay on our beaches, grill their burgers, and watch our fireworks shows.

LeHac the morning after Winter Storm Hercules.

LeHac the morning after Winter Storm Hercules .

Wellfleet Harbor

Wellfleet Harbor on a sunny autumn day.

Have you gotten the opportunity to live somewhere you’ve always dreamed of? Did you love it?

5. Downsized my belongings and spending drastically.

Moving back across the country after becoming pretty much settled in my life in California was tough. I’m a collector, not a hoarder, but I had accumulated an impressive collection of things which I ended up just giving away a lot of it. So I set off to Massachusetts with considerably less belongings, and continued the purging process with all the stuff I put in storage before I moved the other direction. I obviously hadn’t needed it for five years, so I wouldn’t need it for the next five, right?

Now I try my hardest to only make quality purchases of items truly needed. I make investments now instead of going for the best deal despite a lack in quality. This lowers my monthly spending substantially. The bulk of my money can go towards paying bills, then insurance and food, and really only a small amount on all the rest.

How do you budget for what you want?

6. For six months I lived by myself for the first time ever.

Around this time last year I moved from my sister’s place in Marstons Mills, MA into a tiny house in West Yarmouth, MA. The house was also my place of work which at the time was helping to run a home daycare for kids between 2 and 3 years old. So although I lived there by myself, it was not entirely my space. It was a great situation for my bank account, though, as my commute was literally only 5 ft from my bedroom to the door where I greeted the little critters early in the morning.

The next time I live by myself, hopefully I won’t have to share the house with abundant Dr. Seuss books, knee-high furniture, and lots of tiny toys to step on. Cute munchkins will still be welcome, though!

Home Daycare

Different views of the house full of child-sized objects, and all the little cuties I used to work with!

Have you experienced “different” living conditions, such as living in a daycare? Tell me about it!

7. I’ve kept my 19-year-old car running strong!

I’ve only owned two cars in my life so far and the first one I purchased when I was 29 years old. Both cars have been eye sores for sure, but much-loved and appreciated.

My current car, sardonically named Beyoncé, is a 1995 Subaru Legacy wagon and, as of today, has 258,621 miles worth of traveling on it. I wish I could say I put all those miles on there, but I purchased it only about 12,000 miles ago. With a price tag of only $300, and the fortunate circumstance of having a Subaru mechanic sibling to do frequent, free oil changes, I couldn’t pass this gem of a car up.

I love my car, dents and all!

Beyoncé: brown skin with a booty! I love my car’s dents and missing hub caps!

The day Beyonce went over 250,000 miles!

The day Beyoncé went over 250,000 miles!

Do you have an old, beat-up car that you just adore?

The things I intend to do in 2014

The small stuff:

  • Drink more water!
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. And regularly use sunblock.
  • Get lunch at the market only twice a month, instead of once a week.

The big stuff:

  • No more purchasing books or DVDs. There are so many options for borrowing. There is a whole collection of books at the LeHac house; Cape Cod has a phenomenal library system; and I have a ton of bookworm and movie-buff friends who would let me borrow their books and movies (right guys?). There’s also Netflix – I still use my sister’s account, Amazon Prime – I have a half price membership ($40 a year), and the free version of Hulu.
  • I finally have health, dental, and eye care insurance. I’m going to take full advantage!
  • Set aside enough time, outside of my job, to publish at least one substantial post a month. I’d like to do much more, but I’m usually so distracted and exhausted that it is so difficult to focus and actually get clear thoughts written out.

Perhaps you’re still pondering your New Year Resolutions, too. What have you come up with? Share with me!


  • Reply
    February 8, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    I’m really inspired by your post! I’m also really proud of what you’ve done for yourself. I really need to write down some resolutions, and also not forget about accomplishments in my life. Also, the way you describe your current house sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Thanks, Megan! I have a long road ahead of me, but I am determined. Patting yourself on the back for your accomplishments is important to do. We get so wrapped up in completing goals or doing more-more-more all the time. It’s been great to stop and look back at what I actually did do in my life so far, not just the past year!

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