5 things I’d like to do this year

I feel like I have a million ideas running through my head at any given minute of the day, so I have started to write them down in my journal.  Getting ideas on paper quiets my mind (for the moment at least), and gets me motivated toward acting on them.

Here are 5 things that I want to do this year…

1. Continue to improve my food photography.

Food photography of cookies and carrots

Left: the first food photo of 2011 // Right: the last food photo of 2011

As I look back over my older recipes, I know that my photography has improved considerably.  This year, I plan to get even more serious about it by setting up a photography station in my home with reflecting boards, tripod, the works.  I also want to continue working on food styling which is a challenge for me, and continue to collect props like the blue box above, a thrift store find.

2. Be pain-free

This might sound odd because I don’t mention it on the blog very often.  Over the past five months, I have been working through the worst chronic pain I have ever had.  It started with an injury at the gym, but I think that it actually began long before that workout, and probably even years and years ago.  I have been seeing a chiropractor, nurse practitioner and massage therapist 2-3 times a week to try to get this under control.  We have been working on fixing my postural imbalances (forward head and rounded shoulders), and digging through some really stubborn scar tissue.  During this time, I haven’t been able to work out except for some limited rehab exercises.  My goal of running an adventure race last fall had to be put on hold.  My mood has definitely been affected off and on throughout the course of this injury.  I am ready to be pain-free!

My plan is to continue my rehab exercises, and when I get the all-clear to workout, to add in more core and strength-training exercises as well as yoga once a week and rock climbing once or twice a week.

By the end of the year, I want to have completed a 5k, and if I’m healthy enough, start training for the January Rock-n-Roll 1/2 marathon.  If I’m healthy enough, quickly enough, I hope to complete a mud run in the spring.

3. Donate my hair

I have been growing my hair out since the fall of 2010 for two reasons.  One, I wanted to have long hair for a while.  And two, I wanted to donate it once I was ready to chop it off.  It’s getting close to the point of being annoyingly long, so this spring I will donate 8 inches of my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  I have done this once before, and it’s a great way to help women who are battling cancer.  One of the requirements is that your hair is no more than 5% gray, so this might be the last time I get to donate!

4. Read my favorite blogs

Today's LettersThis might sound silly, but over the past year I let myself get too busy to read my very favorite blogs.  I look at food and crafting blogs all the time through links on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but I haven’t taken the time to read the blogs that make me laugh out loud, connect me to old friends, or challenge me towards a deeper faith.  I miss them!

Here are a few on my must-read list:
Big Mama
A Holy Experience
Today’s Letters
Bring the Rain
Living with Moxie
A Pile of Cake Still Tastes Good
The Cinnamon Bears
Spilled Milk
The Anti-Jared

5. Show you more of myself

I’m not sure if you know this about me or not, but I am a bit of an introvert.  There is a lot going on in this head of mine, but I keep most of it to myself.  Blogging has been somewhat of a challenge for me as I choose what to keep private and what to share.  I am determined this year to let you get to know more of the real me.

The other thing that holds me back is that I tend to be a people-pleaser.  I could act all cool and pretend like I don’t care whether you like me or not, but I do care.  I am thankful to my pal Tony for reminding me that “If you are not an honest blogger, you are not a blogger. You are a people pleaser. ”  He posted that on his Facebook page back in November, and I have been thinking about it ever since.

So what does that mean?  As I continue to share healthy recipes and other things that I hope will inspire you, I will be sharing some of the everyday things that are going on in my life.  Joys, struggles, things that make me laugh, faith, family…you’re going to get it all.

And if you don’t like it?  I’m going to learn to be ok with that (maybe).



Here’s to a great year.



What is on your to-do list for 2012?



  • Catherine Denton January 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I love your five things. I connected to your struggle of showing yourself and I’ve had those same feelings of wanting to be a more honest blogger this year. I hope your pain ends soon and that you’ll be able to accomplish all you wish in 2012!

  • Alexis January 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Hang out with you more!!!! 🙂

  • Corinne January 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Alysa!!! I LOVE this post!!! Kudos to you! I’m working on your last point as well!!! And I hope you get better soon! Sounds like it’s been quite rough. Here’s to looking ahead and an awesome 2012!:)

  • Regan @ The Professional Palate January 3, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Loved reading all of this and knowing even more about you… wishing you all the best for 2012!

  • Kat January 3, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Great post – it is refreshing to see someone talking about a to-do list for the year; more actionable than resolutions.

    Best of luck with recovering from the injury & managing pain. I’m confident this will be a year of healing for you.

  • EA- The Spicy RD January 3, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Lovely post Alysa! I’m really sorry to hear about your chronic pain issues. I battled with this with several years ago, so I know it’s not fun, BUT I am pretty much pain free now, and with your positive attitude, I’ve no doubt you will be as well :-). Your photographs are looking great too-love the veggie shot! Wishing you all the best in 2012, and i look forward to learning more about you!

  • janetha January 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

    These are awesome things! I hope you get to be pain-free, too. Looking forward to reading your blog this year!

  • Stephanie January 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

    love this Alysa! good for you! i think your goals are all inspirational and attainable. thank you for sharing!

  • teri @ managed macros January 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    What an insightful post with such meaningful goals. I look forward to seeing more of you too! I will have to check out your recommended posts, thanks for sharing a piece of you!

  • Emily January 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Good goals! Good luck! Hope you get to feeling better.

  • Selene@ABCsofMealtime January 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Happy New Year! These are great goals. Mine including exercising three times a week (I had to be specific), taking better care of myself, blogging more frequently, and learning how to sew. 🙂

  • lorrie January 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    love the photos thanks for sharing them with us. i hope you get over your pain and have an awesome year. I’m looking to improve my spiritual and romantic lives as well as reconnect with friends.

  • Katie January 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I can totally relate with being an introverted people-pleaser. I have always been a little scared to post my true thoughts, but this year my goal is to move past that and really find connection with others who may be having the same struggles I am having.

    Can’t wait to read more!

  • Adrienne January 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I just found your blog via Big Mama. Are you in Arizona? I ask because your running goals sounded awfully familiar! I did the rugged warrior mud run here in November (it’s a fun one!) and was training for the P.F. Changs in January until I was injured (we’re going for the Surf City in CA instead). What a small world!

  • Stephanie January 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Beautifully expressed.

    I’m so glad you share your heart and your head w/ us here at Inspired RD. I wish you much success in 2012 – beyond your wildest imagination.

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  • Becca - Our Crazy Boys January 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I love this post. And your blog.

    I think we should talk soon, too. It seems like we are going through some similar things recently :-/

    • inspiredrd January 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Let’s chat soon!!

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