Oh, hi March.

I know February is a short month, but OOF.


  • Start brainstorming my trip to Europe – Nope. But I did start today!
  • Actually develop a writing schedule and stick with it – OOF. Also nope. My theory midterm and GA conference took over, and my thesis got put on the back burner.
  • Two 5-mile rides per week – Nope. I started well, then felt sick, then midterms happened…
  • Weekly blog posts – And another nope. I had two posts last month.
  • Clean the fish tank – *facepalm* My poor fish. I did order a small tank with a lid so I could house him while I deep clean his big tank.
  • 28-Day Challenge: Continue the 20/20 on my precis – Yes, but only because I still owe 2. Meet my morning Noom goals – NOPE. I’m kind of not liking the Noom program. Check in on my Q1 Holiday Council goals – Also nope; time slipped by.

Ouch. Just typing it all out… just.. ouch. I did at least finish my midterm, survive my GA department’s conference, and did well for a class presentation. So, not a fail. Just priorities shifted fast.


  • Complete 75% of my thesis. This is a MASSIVE task, but one that has to be done.
  • Finalize my CV and apply to 3 jobs. I’ve found one that I’m so excited for, and will continue to look for more over spring break.
  • Outline my Europe trip. I have an idea of how the trip is going to go, but need to work out the details with my folks.
  • Weekly blog post and twice weekly bike rides. Going to pick this back up and hope I can stick with it.
  • Not miss any assignments for my classes. Since I’ll be doubling down on my thesis, this is going to mean long days of academics. Last thing I need is to slip on precis or assigned readings.
  • Not rush my upcoming new side project. I’ve got a little project I’m going to work on, but it’s definitely a SIDE project. I mostly just want it to pay for itself and be a little creative outlet. (Jewelry was fun, and I’ll likely continue with that later on, but as part of a smaller shop I’m looking at opening next year.)

Frankly, because my thesis is going to take most of my energy and focus — and is such a large task to complete — I don’t plan on overloading myself with other goals. Mostly I want to make it through this month on good footing for finishing my last semester.

How are your goals going? Keeping up? Overwhelmed?

Two weeks with Noom, the “millennial” diet.

I’ll be the first to admit, I really dislike Noom’s advertising as the “millennial” diet. The only reason they’re doing this is because they’re attempting to set themselves apart from programs like Weight Watchers.

Anyway. Chances are, you may have seen advertisements for the new diet program, Noom. They had popped up constantly on Pinterest for me. My weight loss had been kind of stagnate for a while, and wanted to try something else to kind of shake things up and see if it would make a difference.

Noom is an app-based program — everything is done through your phone and there really is no web access other than when you first sign up. Honestly, being app-based is the only thing that makes this remotely “millennial.” Though I haven’t been on Weight Watchers since Oprah bought into it, Noom is apparently pretty similar but with online groups rather than in-person meetings.

Noom offers a 2-week free trial, and during that time you’ve got a Goal Coach who is supposed to help you stay on track for your big goals as well as focus on weekly goals. Honestly? I didn’t really talk to my Goal Coach much.

The app is easy to use, and they definitely highlight how it really only takes a commitment of 10 minutes a day to get through their program. While that’s true for their content, it will take more than just 10 minutes if you actually want to lose weight. So what do those 10 minutes of content consist of? Mostly quizzes and their “psychology” tricks and tips. Noom definitely focuses on examining how you think about food and dieting. A lot of this was just stuff I already knew, and sometimes the tone of their writing seemed… They over use “nerd” for loving facts or anything remotely relating to science. For the most part, I really just skim through these sections.

The real core to Noom is the food tracking, just like any other diet plan. According to Noom, no food is off limits. However, they do code food into Green, Yellow, and Red categories. Everything is focused on caloric density. At this point, this is the main factor in my decision to stay with this plan past my 2-week trial. (That and an 80% off discount I received for my four month plan.)

I’ll admit I kind of hated this tracking for the first four days or so. Especially because so much of what I eat ended up in the red. Tracking every. single. thing. also sometimes feels more like punishment than working towards a healthier me… But I stuck it out and honestly it’s not that bad right now. And honestly, I give myself more grace than the app assumes. If I go over? I’m ok. I don’t think I’ve ruined my progress or anything. Eating under 1200 calories each day doesn’t really seem like a great long-term plan anyway. (Despite the app thinking I’m fragile and will distress over any indulgent foods.)

Now that I’m passed the 2-week trial, I’ve been placed in a group of other “Noomers” where we can post messages and encourage each other. We’ve got a Group Coach, too, but they’re really just a community manager. (At this point, none of the Noom coaches really have more than a few months training program it seems.) My first concern with getting into a group was that if this really is a “millennial” diet, I was going to be surrounded by young twenty somethings whom I really had nothing in common with. The members of my group, however, are across the spectrum of women (so far I haven’t seen anyone identify as male or NB in our group). I don’t know if I’ll really connect with any of these women, and I don’t know how active I’ll be in this group. While I do want to lose weight, my goal is to be more active and to start having a life beyond my couch and desk.

The TL;DR?


  • The app is pretty easy to navigate. All of your daily tasks are right there on the home screen.
  • It syncs with whatever pedometer you use. It even will take my weight from my Fitbit app if I log it there first. No fitness band? It’ll use your phone as a pedometer.
  • For those who don’t care about step goals, like me, you can “do more” and log your daily exercise. (Which adds in more calories you can eat if you’d like.)
  • Helps you re-think how you’re eating (and also what and when). You can even set reminders for meal tracking if you’d like. As someone who could use more veggies in their diet and less carbs, this is actually helping.
  • Accountability — I’ve got it set up where if I don’t log my weight for 3 days in a row, it’ll send me a text to check in on me. When I get further into this program, I will probably turn this off.


  • The cost. The four month program is $240. And while they do offer discounts (and FYI — any of the Noom links you use on this post will give you 20% off), it’s not the cheapest for what it is.
  • Daily weigh-ins. They seem to think that the more you do it, the easier it’ll get… but for some people this can be a terrible experience, setting off their anxiety.
  • Personally, I don’t really find a benefit to any of the coaches. They’re young, not professionally trained (more than just a few months for a certificate), and there more to just check in rather than actually coach or help you with legitimate things. Definitely would not be an appropriate source for anyone with medical issues.
  • Meal tracking isn’t logged into one nice section. If I want to see what I ate the other day or how I did for a whole week, I have to look at each individual day.
  • That accountability feature? If I want to turn it off, I have to go alllllllllll the way back to the second or third day in my program to find the specific part that covers this. It’s not just in the settings.
  • Quizzes. There’s no real grade for this, and yes, they’re using this to reinforce their lessons. I just roll my eyes at a lot of them.
  • This might not bother others, but they really focus all of this as though you have zero nutritional knowledge. So sometimes the lessons and quizzes just kind of feel like a waste of time. However, I do feel like they will be useful for those who don’t have that knowledge.

If I didn’t have the 80% off, would I use Noom? Eehhh. Probably not. I can track my calories through free apps or even with my Fitbit. Am I seeing progress? Slowly. My in-take survey seemed to think I could reach my goal by May. We’ll see.

My bottom line — do I recommend it? If it’s something you think you’d use, and you can get your way to a discount… then sure. If food tracking with a group is your thing, Noom might be a good fit for you.

Rabbit Rabbit: February

One of the things I love about my new planner, as I mentioned previously, is that I have the opportunity to have monthly (and weekly!) goals. Since they are in my planner, I was a little worried that they’d be too academic focused (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I’ve been using my planner for a lot of life things — thanks stickers! — so the goals are starting to reflect that as well.


  • Finish my thesis outline – Yes! I call it my “road map,” because that’s really what it is for me. Each chapter has it’s own page for an outline, with a lot of notes on it. This way, when I’m focusing on just one chapter, I don’t need to think about anything else.
  • Draft One chapter of my thesis – Yes! My introduction has been drafted, I have good notes on it, and should actually be done fairly soon.
  • Update my CV – Nope. Every time I think about it, I don’t have the original InDesign file to edit. I need to move this to Dropbox so I don’t have to worry about that.
  • Go to 2 spin classes, and 2 yoga classes – Nope. The more I thought about it, the more I realized, I’m not at a point where I’m ready for this commitment. Instead, I invested that money elsewhere.
  • Weekly blog posts – Yep! In looking at my year at large, I wanted to focus on my platform. As much as I love Twitch, I’m going to continue my break from streaming for the time being to focus on grad school, and let my outlet be this blog.
  • 31-Day Challenge: Start my thesis – Yes. Develop good writing habits – Barely and mostly nope. Stay on top of my classes – Yes. Not spend as much! – Eek. Nope.


  • Start brainstorming my trip to Europe. My dad has received an amazing opportunity to do some contract work in England, and will be moving in March. I can’t say what he’ll be doing, but this is an exciting adventure for our family. My stepmom will be going with him, and after she finishes her schooling for the year, my youngest sister will move out there for the summer. There’s a lot of details we don’t know, but I’m hoping to be able to get out there and visit this summer after I graduate, and then spend some time traveling as well.
  • Actually develop a writing schedule and stick with it. For reals. I need to draft 2-3 more chapters this month. It seems like a lot, and that’s pretty much because it is a lot. I’ve let myself slack too much this last month, but I can’t afford to do that if I’m going to defend my thesis at the end of April.
  • Two 5-mile rides per week. Instead of the fitness classes, I invested that money into a new exercise bike! It folds up and is super quiet. I can do about 5 miles in 20 minutes keeping a pretty easy pace, so I’m hoping to be able to do this twice a week before I leave for campus.
  • Weekly blog posts. Yep, keeping this one until it kind of becomes routine. I think I also want to try to get better at including pictures. I always feel weird just snagging pictures from my instagram feed.
  • Clean the fish tank. Poor Siggy II really needs a deep clean of his tank. He doesn’t really seem bothered by it, but the little bugger makes a mess of his food. He wants to “hunt” the pebbles and worms, so he uses his fins to splash them about, then bits go uneaten and sink to the bottom. He’s cute, but kind of a brat. Just like the cats.
  • 28-Day Challenge: Continue the 20/20 on my precis. Meet my morning Noom goals. Check in on my Q1 Holiday Council goals.

How did you do on your goals last month? Anything exciting you are looking forward to in February?

*I don’t really know how the 31-day or 28-day challenges are different than my actual goals for the month, but it’s a thing my planner does, so I’m including them here as well.

Meet my planner! One month with the Ink & Volt planner, and my new infatuation with planner stickers

I’ve been a Pen + Paper planner person for a while. And as such, I’ve constantly been on a search for that one system that just works as close to perfectly for me as possible. (I feel like a lot of us are on this quest.)

During Holiday Council, a friend from my 20SB blogging days, Nicole, recommended the Ink + Volt planner. After giving it a good look through their website, I decided to go for it. I love my ban.do planners, but I needed something more to help keep me on track for my goals this year.

So far, the Ink + Volt planner has everything I need.

The beginning of the planner has space for my year’s theme and big goals. I also have space to write out the why’s of my big goals and theme. This is carried out for the monthly goals, as well. Creating an action plan to help you through the month. I’ll admit, I’m not the best at going back and looking at mine yet — but this is where the dual bookmarks help. Each week also has a place for specific goals, a place for reflection, as well as a weekly journal prompt.

At first I didn’t like the way the weeks were setup, but I’ve made it work for me. My “evening” space often turns into just a personal section — but given that most of my personal time is in the evenings anyway, it works. I’ve also been making use of my mildlighters (which I love so much more than highlighters) and, of course, my stickers!

I hate admitting it, but I’ve definitely spent more on stickers than I did on the planner itself. (And not pictured are the three booklets of stickers.)

Because of my pseudo perfectionist tendencies, and jealousy and comparative nature, bullet journaling — as much as I love it — just isn’t something I can do. Or, isn’t something I will stick with. I love look at all the gorgeous spreads on instagram and pinterest… but I know I will not take the time to create those myself.. so… stickers!

I tried to think of ones I would use the most: things for bills, certain chores/errands I’d like to track, meetings, birthdays… And it’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole once you get going on these! But between these and my mildlighters, I feel like they give my planner that bit of pop it would lack otherwise. I’ve also learned to forgo my beloved Pilot G-2 pens for mechanical pencils, because mistakes DO happen.

Overall, the system is working for me. I can think about the big picture, but really focus on and be active with my smaller weekly tasks in front of me. I think my only complaint is that I have too many stickers for the pocket in the back so it won’t close flat completely, and the fabric of the cover does pick up fuzzies, so I do have to lint roll my planner every so often.

How do you plan? What system have you found that works best for you? Are you a digital planner or pen + paper?
Also, for anyone who would like to know the shop names of any of the stickers I have, just leave a comment and I’ll send you the link!