amanda k brown

Archive for the ‘101 in 1001’ Category

 The last thirty days, I made a commitment to myself to significantly reduce my caffeine intake. This was a goal on my list of 101 things in 1001 days. I added this goal knowing that caffeine was affecting my body in negative ways.

I was having major and frequent migraines that would last a full day, or even several days. I didn’t realize what was causing the headaches at first–I thought it might be my eyesight, or the long hours in front of the computer screen and reading, or not enough sleep. Before and during college I would drink cups of coffee, tea, and soda, and fall asleep  seemingly without any disruption. And even until a month ago, I didn’t drink caffeine heavily–typically only one or two cups a day, so the thought that it might be a dietary problem didn’t even occur to me. But after tracking my diet and habits in relation to my health, I realized it truly was a caffeine problem.

The migraines were completely debilitating. [Anyone who thinks they’ve had a migraine, hasn’t. You know when you’ve had a migraine.] What I didn’t realize, was that my body ached from what I was consuming. Now, I have some joint issues–have since high school–but my muscles, my breathing, and my heart were being significantly impacted by the caffeine intake. This is not to say I didn’t expect some effects, since caffeine is a stimulant. I just didn’t realize how much it had been affecting my system until I cut it out.  My body certainly felt the effects of withdrawal.

With all of this in mind, I spent the last two months reducing my caffeine intake, and the last thirty days not drinking regular coffee, caffeinated sodas, or tea. I allowed myself decaf coffee about three times and mate once, which many argue technically isn’t completely caffeine free, but the caffeine is negligible and I didn’t notice any physical effects.

Overall, it was probably one of the most life changing goals I’ve accomplished. I’m less anxious, more even keeled. I feel healthier and more controlled–I don’t wonder whether I’m going to have a good weekend. I’ll probably continue drinking decaf coffee, because I like the taste of coffee and because coffee has antioxidants and nutrients that have health benefits, but keep the caffeine out. I’ll be glad to add tea back in, I’ve missed that more than anything, and it also has various health benefits. I don’t think I’ll add much of the soda back in that I cut out. I don’t miss it, and don’t crave it. If it’s served to me I’ll drink it, but likely won’t seek it out.  Honestly, a lot of popular caffeinated beverages have sugar, syrups, or extra calories that are also unhealthy. So cutting out, or at least limiting, these types of beverages probably has hidden benefits as well.

This is such an exciting change, I’d recommend anyone who has health issues, even seemingly minor aches and pains, cut out caffeine for a while to help determine whether that might be a contributing factor. But do your research, and make sure you “step down” from your dietary habits. Don’t cut yourself off “cold turkey”, since that can be difficult on your body.


A lot of updates have been in the works! I’ve had a packed few months, but it’s been amazing.


March Recap:

Two weeks were dedicated to staff interviews, which went well. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet new potential members of our team.

A trip to Texas made March even more eventful! Michael and I enjoyed a week in Austin, visiting friends and family. The time and energy they spent with us can’t truly be repaid, but we loved every minute and are looking forward to another trip there at some point in the near future.

March helped me cross off a few items on the 101 in 1001 list too:

9. Buy a car

35. Attend at least two professional conferences [1/5]

39. Networking.. [not complete, but improving!]

55. Attend a tweetup

84. Watch a sunset


April Recap:

In April I attended a friend’s party, chock-full of board games, good food, and great company. Some of the other guests I knew, others I didn’t. It was a perfect mix to get to know new people! This helped with goal 79. Play 100 Board Games!!

The rest of April was  split between Staff Orientation, planning for staff training and fighting with my dryer. Gearing up for summer is always busy, but we have an awesome team at work right now, so it felt easier this year than it has been in the past!

The end of the month brought concerts, finishing another 2 books on my reading list, and the 101st day of the 1001 journey. I’m relatively pleased with the progress, but disappointed that some items like, blogging and trying new recipes, have fallen by the wayside.


May Recap:

Finals and graduation, an anniversary party, and one birthday party. All of this made for a fun May! Two trips out of state–one to Illinois, one to Tennessee. Lots of time with friends and family. It was nice to see everyone, but I admit I’m looking forward to a slower week or two after a long month.

Work picked up this month as well. Clients started their arrival patterns, and training sessions put pressure on time. I think everyone, hopefully including me, handled it well though. Priorities rose to the top, everything else was taken care of in proper time. I love the busy season–there’s always something to be done. It’s tiring, but I like the full, productive feeling at the end of the day!

By the end of May, more 101 in 1001 items got crossed off the list!

-Books read has jumped to 8

BofA savings moved to ING

-Watched a sunrise!

-Specified budget on

-And with the first of June I made my last student loan payment!!!


I need to refocus which items I might be able to tackle in June and July, but so far so good! I hope to get back on track with the ongoing goals, like blogging, to stay active and keep my list up to date 🙂

The Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend I…

  • Made tamales
  • Rode in the car. A lot.
  • Celebrated a birthday!
  • Watched the Super Bowl (Congrats Packers!! Lame ads. Entertainment fail.)
  • Made a pizza (yum)

It was certainly busy–but a lot of fun!

Having been Super Bowl weekend, I should make some cliché parallel between the football game and goal setting and how far I’ve come just in the first month of 2011. I’m going to skip that and let you pretend I did. Instead I’ll just jump right in…

It seems that I can cross a few more things off the 101 in 1001 list–particularly #91 ! I found out today that my little sister has started her very own list 🙂 It looks like there may be a few others joining us as well. I look forward to reading everyone’s ideas!

For my goal updates: I’m on book 4 for the year, which is a good pace, since I’m starting to slow down a little as work picks up. Posting here has been pretty consistent, and I’ve averaged a little more than a post per week. Pacing new recipes might be a little tricky. I cook now and again, but not always something new. I’ve identified resources for almost all of my goals, but a few are still outstanding, so I can’t cross off goal #7 just yet.

I need to take more pictures, or 5 of my goals will be difficult to accomplish! I’m debating whether I should pay for another year of Flickr pro, or just use the basic account. I’d have to make it worth the money.

Financial updates: With tax season here, it’ll be a good time (and motivation) to get my files in order in the next couple of months. is helping me watch my budget–not very well, yet, but after a couple of months I think it’ll be “smarter”. I’ve made more payments against my student loans, too, and I’m well on my way to meeting my June deadline! This is probably the goal I’m most excited about at the moment, since it will impact almost everything else–budget, credit score, potential future loan and insurance rates. You know how it goes.

I did write a hand written letter last month, which felt awesome. I love getting mail, so I love thinking someone else might have a better day when I send mail. I would love to find myself in the habit of sending snail mail. This goal should help develop that habit! If you leave me a comment or message through my blog, I’ll mail you a hand written letter too–even if I don’t know you. Why not? Don’t believe me…try me!

That’s all for now folks–until next time, keep on keepin on!

“This activity forced me to focus and be honestly introspective.”

How I did it: I considered where I’d be in 1001 days (just three months shy of three years). I told myself this was a goal I wanted to complete, and now that I’ve done it I’m glad that I did.I had to be honest with myself, and consider where I would be at that time. What new goals I might want to be reaching for. I aimed to make the letter current now, but also relevant for the time I’d be opening the letter to reread it.I wanted this letter to act as a reminder of where I am now, so when I get to the end of this 1001 days I can take a look at my progress, and see what I’ve learned, but also assess what I have yet to learn or accomplish.

Lessons & tips: I wish I’d had pointers to set my mind at ease when I did this exercise. Hopefully this will help someone else:

  • Relax: It may feel awkward at first, like you’re forcing yourself into forward thinking that you’re not prepared for. Shake that feeling, and imagine you’re writing to a friend you don’t know very well yet.
  • Determine your purpose: Consider what kind of letter you want this to be. Do you want to remind yourself of who you were? Is there somewhere you want to be in three years, that you want to make sure you keep in mind?
  • Just Write: Once you get started, the rest won’t be as hard as you might think. Let your mind wander in a stream of consciousness, like a conversation. It’ll turn out alright. Remember, unless you give it to someone else, you’re the only person reading this anyway! It’s not as though you’re going to embarrass yourself in public by doing this activity.


  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Envelope
  • Location for finished letter

Find a place for your letter, where you won’t forget it. If you’re tracking your progress in a journal or blog, or on 43Things, you might want to make a note of where stashed your letter. Three years is a long time to remember where you put something!

It took me 1 day.

It made me Thoughtful

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


I’m completely hooked on the characters, the story, the “future world” Collins builds. Every bit of it. This was an absolute page turner. One minute our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is safe at home, providing for her mother and younger sister. The next minute her world is turned upside down as she finds herself being tossed into an arena, fighting against 23 other teenage ‘tributes’ for survival. Collins creates a beautiful scenario where you’re not sure who you want to root for, and you’re not even sure you want to pick just one. But you know who you DON’T want to see rise in the end.

This book has interlaced themes ranging from ethics and humanism, to a brush with sociopolitical philosophy. I can’t wait to read the next book of the series to [hopefully] delve deeper into the politics of Panem, and learn more about of our favorite citizens in District 12 like Gale, Katniss, and Peeta.

View all my reviews

I finished His Majesty’s Dragon this week. It was a great story, not an amazing novel, but certainly enjoyable. One book down, 49 more to go!

For book 2, I’m taking on Hunger Games. The first 50 pages have been great so far—I’m looking forward to reading this unique novel. Even this early in the story, I’m loving the characters!

I’m always looking for reading material—so what are you reading?

When I say I want to meet someone through social media or blogging, I actually mean “meet”. As in, in person.

I know this is old school, but I’ve always thought it would be amazing to get to learn about someone through their online presence, then actually get to meet them face to face. I’d be happy with a discussion over coffee, or starting a book club. This may go hand in hand with attempts to grow and network in general! I’m really excited about this goal, and look forward to getting to know someone new!

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2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Amanda has read 1 books toward her goal of 20 books.
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