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Happy New Year! What I’m Looking Forward to in 2021

What are you looking forward to this year?

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Aside from wanting to participate in the usual social aspects of life, dining out as a big group, not having to wear a mask, shopping in public spaces with a coffee in hand and sipping at my leisure, I have been lamenting over creative activities that I’ve been missing out on for the past year. Whether as a contributor or consumer.

Without as much indulgence and excitement of creative expression as in previous years, I feel like there has been a big sense of void. Much like the fog in these photos I took last year, swallowing up every happy thing around it.

Happiness is to come though. And these crazy times aren’t going to last forever.

I guess I’m sort of one of those people that has to have some sort of creative outlet. It balances out stress. Otherwise I feel like my world is falling apart.

This year as really put a damper on a lot of my creativity for several reasons. My hope is that the creative desire and productivity really comes to life this year.

I don’t typically set New Year resolutions or goal dates to accomplishing anything. I prefer to pick up and go as I please. Time pressure demotivates me. The less pressure I put on myself, the better. The way I go about goal-setting is to jot some thoughts down and go from there.

Here are some specific things I am looking forward to, mostly of the creative realm, in hopes that life will begin to return back to normal soon in the most positive way.

Watch a Movie at the Theater

Oh it’s so sad to see companies go! I read an article listing 30 companies that went under last year with AMC predicted to run out of cash, needing $750 million to keep afloat. I haven’t heard so much about Harkins and how they’re doing.

Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but I have some gift cards and I’m ready to spend them! I could go for a rerun of a classic. The Matrix or John Wick.

Get Dolled Up and Go Out

Such a small thing, but I really want to get dressed up, put on some lipstick, and go out to dinner and a movie.

I must say wearing masks all day hasn’t completely stopped me from wearing lipstick. Lipstick is one of those secret treasures that brightens your face and makes you feel instantly better about yourself.

But I miss that mainstay part of my get-ready routine so I’m really looking forward to wearing my entire range of lovely shades on a more regular basis once all this mask-wearing madness is over.

I’ve been on a makeup-no-buy since 2017, that said, however, I really want to get a set of Lisa Eldridge’s stunning reds to wear.

How gorgeous is this Velvet Ribbon red shade?

Creative expression. That’s what I want more of in 2021.

Piercings

On that same note, I’ve been wanting to get all kinds of piercings for quite some time now. Almost 2 decades actually. This will be the year. I’m looking at getting some similar cartilage piercings like SunBeamsJess. Rooke, helix, tragus. I want to get just a few more. Dainty and cute, yet elegant.

Piercing update at: 13:29.

Improve My Cursive Penmanship

Both as graceful technique and how to write much neater with some fancy calligraphy pens using various whimsical styles.

My day-to-day, casual penmanship is a mess, but when it comes to special notes, the nicer side of my handwriting comes out.

Sketch Book
Calligraphy Practice | Erica Robbin
Calligraphy Alphabet Letters | Erica Robbin

Is cursive becoming a lost art?

I read an article a while back about cursive not being an essential part of primary school curriculum anymore. It was a reality check at the post office recently when I mailed a letter and the girl at the checkout told me she didn’t know how to read cursive.

My heart actually sank a little bit!

I truly hope it comes back. Cursive is so beautiful. I remember in my first 1st grade classroom, there was a poster of the alphabet stretching across the width of the room near the ceiling. All in cursive. Each letter looked so ornate. I wanted my writing to look like so.

I’m going to work on developing a more mature writing style this year.

I’m still not sure how I want to consistently write out my capital G, L, Q, S, and lowercase v. A couple choices.

How do you write out your cursive letters?

Writing Expression

Writing exercises are what I’m going to focus on.

Maybe it’s age and I’m forgetting, maybe it’s something I have to come to accept as I learn additional languages, maybe it’s a COVID-19 phenomenon, but I’ve been really struggling to find my words.

When I can’t think of what I want to say in English right off the cuff, I always revert back to Spanish, asking myself ¿Cómo se dice? How do you say?

Over the past 3 years I’ve learned French, Chichewa, and Tumbuka. Since then, my words have started to run together, getting mixed up.

Even though Romance languages often have the same root words, I have to pause and think about what I’m going to say, a lot.

I’m realizing that there are unique expressions in certain languages that really get the heart of certain sayings that I find myself getting stuck on.

So one goal is to learn how to be more concise and descriptive at the same time. Articulate my thoughts better. In the correct language.

Arriving to my house in mid-January is a book I ordered, How To Write It: Work With Words by Anthony Anaxagorou.

I think it will be a great asset to my writing skills.

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I also want to participate in some writing prompts.

Last month, our Life’s Library package contained a little booklet perk which will be a great source of inspiration for me.

Life's Library Prompt Book | Erica Robbin

32 writing prompts in total.

Life's Library Where are you right now_ _ Erica Robbin

Books

I read so many amazing books in 2020!

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge Banner | Erica Robbin

Here is a snapshot of what I read on Goodreads.

81 in total, which is just above the Goodreads user average of 61 that was pledged, with over 5 million readers participating.

I’m excited that I had the opportunity to read quite a variety of genres and subject matter in 2021. From Butchering Chickens to Harry Potter, which was the longest standing one on my shelf. Half read for over 20 years at that.

Butchering Chickens: A Guide to Humane, Small-Scale Processing by Adam Danforth | Erica Robbin
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling | Erica Robbin

I always set my yearly reading goal to 24 books. 2 books a month feels achievable and allows me to reserve wiggle room for tomes. Plus I’d rather take satisfaction in hitting the challenge earlier than later.

I find that I don’t much care for pressure reading throughout the year probably because I’m a mood reader. I read whenever and whatever I feel like at the moment. I prefer to submerge myself into the experience of reading over the end point of a numerical equation.

What are your current reading goals? Numerically, perhaps content, or genre?

My Shelves

There are so many books I’m looking forward to this year.

For my TBR, I’m going to focus a lot on backlisted books, choosing from both my physical and digital shelves.

The Progress of Love by Alice Munrow | Erica Robbin

I’ll be starting this year with the pick from SunBeamsJess June 2019 Bookclub.

The Progress of Love by Alice Munro.

I’m super behind on the book club. But that’s ok. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to reading since last year and I just started it.

Here are my book notes so far:

I love the writing in this one. It just flows, hitting the highlights of human emotion.

Straightaway, so immersive, whether happenstance or bigger life preponderances.

It takes a unifying theme into different directions, different perspectives, making for lovely short stories of sorted relationships.

Hits the ground running and maintains sustenance with every sentence and paragraph. Nothing is without place and purpose.

It carries on with strong direction, not needing any explanations or reckoning but the stories exist on their own, without moral judgement leaves reader to make their own conclusion about what constitutes the progress of love.

Book Clubs

I’m also looking forward to this year’s book club picks. I belong to several. Here is a list, if you’re interested in joining us, I invite you and hope you enjoy reading along together!

Life’s Library Book Club 

SunBeamsJess Book Club

Peter Likes Books 

BookswithEmilyFox

Literally Dead Book Club

The Poisoned Pen SciFi & Fantasy Book-of-the-Month Club

Earth by David Brin | Erica Robbin

What year would be complete without having this one on my shelf?: Earth by David Brin.

As for audiobooks, I’m working my way through M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series and I want to listen to Piranesi by Susanna Clarke next.

ARCs I’m reading at the moment.

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Getting a Little More Crafty

I really enjoy making these adorable cards.

From purse/handbags to adorable dress shapes, teapots and coffee cups, and regular open at the fold-type cards, they’re really fun to make!

This year I want to draw printable PNG templates and vector images for Cricut so they will be available for download. I have to learn how to create vectors, which is another project on its own that I’m looking forward to trying out.

If you enjoy paper crafts or just want to give a simple-to-make, yet fancy card to a special someone, you will have such a fun time making these cute cards. All you need is paper, glue, and scissors, any type of decorative strands of beads, ribbon, or twice, then grab some wine, snacks, a little music, it’s a paper party!

Drape the handle around a bottle of wine for an adorable touch to your gift.

Animal Print Purse Card | Erica Robbin
Animal Print Card Inside | Erica Robbin

Write a simple message inside or score four corners to hold a gift card.

Cards and Purses | Erica Robbin

Baking Inspiration

Here’s a sneak peak of a recipe I’ve been working on.

Dark Chocolate Pudding Oreo Cookies | Erica Robbin

More to come from my kitchen!

Bug Series

Oh Mama | Erica Robbin

I was living in Malawi, Africa over the past year. I hope to post some topic-based posts related to my service endeavors.

I haven’t quite decided how I’ll go about it posting the content, but I’m thinking of starting with a series about some rather interesting bugs I encountered.

It’s only one small aspect of a larger part of my life there, but we’ll see where it takes us.

I can’t believe the size of this bug. A ginormous moth, nesting her future on my bicycle tire. Bigger than my thumb, all head with gigantic whale eyes.

Nesting the Future on My Tire| Erica Robbin
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What are you looking forward to this year?

Do you have any thoughts, dreams, challenges, personal goals, resolutions, planned activities, or opportunities you just can’t wait to get started on or go back to? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about them!

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