September 1, 2015


Valentina Duracinsky September Goals
It's the first time since I was two or three that September hasn't meant Going back to school. June, July and August still have that bittersweet "this is good but it's not going to last" summer taste... but it's September and I'm confused because I feel like I should be somewhere (Smith College), reading about Freud or Piaget. The summer also usually meant going on vacation and doing nothing after a whole year of studying, but now it's just three months like any other. Take off for a week of travel here and there, but work constantly in between. 

I am excited about September. I feel good about this new month and there are many things I'd like to accomplish. First – and this is a silly me thing – it means I can get the monthly metro pass and take the metro as much and as often as I want. I didn't bother getting one in August because I was abroad for so much of it. Whenever I don't get it, I always feel like I shouldn't use too many metro tickets, and I end up not going out that much. So, heeeey, September! Let's go out all the time. I got up early this morning, made some coffee with my new-ish French-press, ate a Perle de Lait au citron (full fat. So good), and sat down with a blank piece of paper. Here are my goals... 



  • write every day. Even if I don't feel inspired, just sit down and write. 10 minutes or an hour, it doesn't matter. This writer's block has been going on for too long now. 
  • go to an open mic every week. It all depends on what nights I work, but I've asked for a couple days off for this reason exactly. The Highlander, I shall see you tomorrow! 
  • learn 2-3 covers every week. I used to learn so many covers. I didn't write back then. However, I feel like learning covers also helps my writing, so I shouldn't give up on it! I'm thinking St Vincent, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, Vampire Weekend, and maybe even throw in something completely unexpected (coming from me) like Taylor Swift haha. 
  • finish old songs. God, Billy II and Salamander have been in the works for ages now. I need to freakin' sit down and finish them so I can finally play them for people! 


  • sketch more often. Most of the time, I get really frustrated when I sit down to draw and things don't look as good as I want them to. When I took a drawing class at Amherst, we would do 1 minute sketches, 5 minute sketches, and then move up to 30 or 45 minutes per drawing. Some of my favorites are the 5 minute sketches! It's really helpful, and I want to get better. 
  • go to museums & galleries. It's been a while, so in September I'd like to go out a little more and check out some museums. Learn a little, get inspired. 
  • draw faces. I hate drawing faces... Bodies are pretty fun, but faces are the hardest for me! I usually draw bodies with no heads! So yes, this month, I don't care how bad the faces turn out, I am going to practice, practice, practice. 


  • no alcohol. When I got back from Ireland, I started a 'no alcohol for a month' challenge (it's not actually that hard). I shall do it for the month of September. This will also help with my next goal...
  • high-protein, low-carb diet. Yes. For the month of September, I am cutting out bread, pasta, rice, cereals, cookies, cakes, flour-based pastries completely, and eating less sugar, fruit, candy... I have the same menu plan every day. Start the morning with yogurt or scrambled eggs, and then one protein in a salad or with a side of veggies for lunch and dinner. Snack is plain yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder (I love this!) Dessert is either yogurt or a mini ice-cream bar. So far, allowing myself a sweet dessert is helping me stick to everything else! 
  • go to the gym. Now that I have my metro pass again, I can use it to go to the gym 3 to 5 times a week. I walk a lot at work, so I want to be careful not to overdo it with the cardio, and make sure I do plenty of weight-lifting too. 
  • 100 sit ups + 1 minute plank daily. This was a fun little resolution I had at the beginning of the year. It's just to remind me to do something physical every day. This is the minimum! But unfortunately I still tend to forget, so maybe I should use an alarm. 
  • read 2 books. For my mental health, I should spend less time on the computer, and more time reading books. I hope to finish two (even three) this month. 

Work and other

  • start working on freelance writing & translating. I speak three languages, and I enjoy writing. I've been thinking about writing more about travel, so I'm going to contact travel blogs and websites about this and see what comes of it. 
  • blog more. From April to July, I was blogging way less than usual and I promise that September will be different. I gave up, and now I am back at it. You can expect more consistent blogging, and much more writing than in the past few months. 
  • learn about SEO. As a blogger, I feel like I should know... more... about SEO. So yeah.
  • keep track of spending. In July and August, I kept pretty good record of how much I was spending every day. I would group the month's spending in two periods of 15 days, and honestly, I was a bit shocked at how quickly I was spending money. You forget you spent 2 euros here, 4 euros there, quick coffee, an innocent lunch, a trip to the grocery store, another trip to the grocery store... bam! you've spent a bazillion euros without even realizing! I mean, it's the first of the month, and with the metro pass (70 euros) and a trip to Decathlon for protein powders and bars (30 euros), I've spent a 100 euro already. 100 euros was supposed to be my weekly limit – I'll let you know how it goes... 
  • organize photo albums. Urgh, I don't want to do this, it's going to be so much work... but I have photos everywhere, and it would be nice if they were all nice and neat in photo albums so that I can actually go through and see them all. 
  • start a "library" with friends. I have a looot of books. Many people I know have moved to Paris with just a suitcase or two, and wisely didn't think to bring books with them. I want to pass on the ones I've read to friends, who can then pass them on to others. Thus getting rid of things, and also giving friends something nice to read! 

These are my goals for the month. I'm pretty certain I can manage, and I promise to write a post at the end of the month letting you know how everything went, the victories, goals achieved, and the struggles. If you have a list of your own, please do share! I love to hear people's goals.

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