2018 New Year’s Resolutions Guide

2018 is officially here, and many of us (most of us) are more than happy to bid farewell to the chaotic, controversial roller coaster that was 2017. The idea of a fresh start and 12 brand-spankin’-new months filled with possibility and adventure is just too irresistible.

As we kick off January, it’s inevitable that we also start to rack up our annual list of resolutions. Last year’s Ledger list included a whopping 40 resolutions including: Instagram your life (check), adopt a pet (check), build a vinyl collection (check) and go gluten-free (not quite yet, but still working on it).

This year, our list is all about making the most of the amazing city we live in—exploring it, thriving in it, supporting its artisans and businesses. As we usher in a new year, here are the foods, festivals, family outings, and other feel-good things on our to-do list.


GET DOWN WITH THE DOG. 2018 is the year of the Earth Dog in Chinese astrology. What does that mean? KarmaWeather.com sums it up this way: “Many voices around the world rise to highlight the importance of the universal values of dialogue and solidarity... Selfishness, greed and ignorance being a major source of inequalities on Earth, only a social and cultural impulse, at the individual and collective level, can give a new hope to the millions of people in the world who are still suffering from neglect, indifference and the rejection from their community.” Brace yourself and be bold. Download an iPhone app like DailyHoroscope to track personal projections.


TREAT YOURSELF TO SOME TLC. 30 years ago, writer and feminist Audre Lorde wrote, “Caring for myself is not an act of self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” The more stressful life gets, the more it becomes essential to tend to your body and spirit. Whether your budget allows for morning meditations, monthly manicures, or something more indulgent, make the time. For under $30, you can soak your troubles away at one of the amazing local Korean spas like Olympic, Natura, or Wi. Or stay in and browse sites like Well+Good and the Chalkboard for easy at-home ways to rest and rejuvenate.


EMBRACE THE ARTS. From free Shakespeare courtesy of the neighborhood merrymakers at Independent Shakespeare Company, to indie film festivals, an endless array of affordable arts is one of the best things about living in this part of the city. On January 25th, the Los Feliz 3 Theater hosts the 2018 LA Dance Film Festival. $20 gets you access to a showcase of short films plus a filmmaker panel.


EAT, DRINK, AND DO GOOD. On March 1st, Planned Parenthood celebrates their annual Food Farefeaturing top chefs and local gourmands serving up all the goodies you can eat. A tradition since 1979, it’s the oldest culinary event in LA with over 100 eateries taking part. While food is clearly a big draw, the real reason people flock is to support Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, which provides everything from birth control and STD treatment to cancer screenings. Travel to Barker Hangar in Santa Monica to join in the fun—it’s worth the trip.


CELEBRATE FAILURE. For those who enjoyed 2017’s Instagramable Museum of Ice Cream, there’s a quirky new traveler in town, this one celebrating the sweet smell of…failure. Through February 4th, head downtown to the Arts District and visit the Museum of Failure, which Timeout describes as a “hall of fame for bad ideas.” Get a firsthand peek at some of the world’s worst inventions, most terrible technology, and more than 100 truly disastrous ideas including frozen beef lasagna by Colgate and Coca-Cola’s infamous Blak.


SKIP THE SUGAR. Full disclosure: This was on our resolutions list from last year. But every time we cruise by McConnell’s, the tub of Salted Caramel Chip beckons. According to Healthline.com, sugar is more addictive than heroin and a whopping 70% of Americans are consuming toxic levels. If you need more motivation, participate in an online sugar-free challenge like the one at PinchofYum.com, and say ‘so long’ to sugar.


WRITE YOUR STORY. Writing Workshops Los Angeles offers classes, taught by local pros, in everything from Young Adult (YA) lit to memoirs. The small, hands-on workshops typically take place in the homes of the instructors from Los Feliz to Echo Park and points in between. “Classes are small and always fun, and there are refreshments (wine, sparkling water, coffee), and sometimes even gourmet cheeses and tasty snacks, to keep us going.” A new set of offerings launches in February so check the website for details.


PERSONALIZE YOUR PAD. We were as excited as anyone when the mammoth Ikea opened its doors in Burbank last year, but it’s time to move beyond the Vangsta dining table and Vintergata lamp. The antidote to prefab, build-your-own furnishings? La Commune General in Atwater Village. The charming, colorful collection of vintage home goods, expertly curated by Carri Dillon, has become a favorite with top LA designers from Emily Henderson to Courtney and Bob Novogratz. Pay a visit and discover why.


GET INTO HEAVY METAL. Ever wanted to grab a 6000-degree flame torch and go to town? Us too. Which is why a beginner’s welding class at Molten Metal Works in Glendale is on our list. Start with their 3-hour Welder Tasting Class.


MUNCH ON MIGAS. Ah, HomeState. We love everything about it except the loooooonng lines almost every morning. Everything on the menu is worth sampling—from Frito Pie to brisket—but the Migas is especially addictive. The Tex-Mex egg special is, as Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) puts it, “a delightfully flavorful scrambled egg dish made fabulous with the addition of bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, cheese, and—the best part—fried, chopped corn tortillas.” For days when you can’t get to HomeState, try making Migas at home. Check out Drummond’s site for the recipe.


GET INK’D. The Natural History Museum’s Tattoo exhibit is spectacular, and around until April 15th. An exhibition “5,000 years in the making,” it looks at the fascinating art form and explores “the history, technique, motivation, and sheer artistic genius that are connected to one another by ink.”


TENNIS, ANYONE? Last year, we resolved to take full advantage of Griffith Park’s numerous hiking trails. This year, we’ll do it again and take up tennis as well! In our own backyard, we can hit the courts at Riverside Park or off Vermont, so grab a partner and summon your inner Serena. If hiking is more your bag, check out our own Mike Pallotta’s terrific series “Day Trekking” for ideas.


BEAT BULLYING. Please, no more victims. No more youth suicides due to bullying that could and should have been stopped. Read the heartbreaking Los Angeles Times story about Inland Empire teen Rosalie Avila, and vow to help stop bullying.


SHOP LOCAL. Stroll down Vermont or Hillhurst avenues and imagine what it would be like to not be able to browse for books at Skylight, find the perfect gift at Sumi’s, or treat your toddler to a new toy from the Reckless Unicorn. Skip Amazon and support local makers and shop owners. They deserve it and we reap the benefits.


GO BIG. We’re not always fans of big stadium concerts, but with some amazing performers coming to Staples Center this year, we’re saving up our dollars to join in the spectacle. Take your pick: Lorde on March 14th, Pink on May 31st, or Sam Smith on August 28th. Or all three. Because sometimes, you’ve got to go big or go home.


DITCH YOUR DRIVE. Give the car a rest and use an alternate (fuel-free) set of wheels for a week. Biking offers a workout and lowers stress levels. For $1 an hour, you can even rent a dockless bike in Griffith Park now, thanks to bike rental app “ofo.” Download the app, find a nearby bike, scan the barcode, and go!


LAUGH ‘TIL YOU CRY. Los Angeles is home to an ever-growing pool of talented, comedians—and if we’re being honest, there’s always something to laugh about in this town. @OverheardLA we’re looking at you! Check out some of the best and brightest at local venues like Upright Citizens Brigade and the iO Theater. We recently had a chance to see the enormously talented Tig Notaro, who did a sold-out fundraiser at Micheltorena Elementary. She’s living proof: Laughter truly is the best medicine, so make it part of your regular routine in 2018.


LEND A HAND. As busy as we all are, volunteering can sometimes feel like one more thing to squeeze in, but the community-building, life-affirming perks are so worth it. Local nonprofits like 826LA are working to bring creative opportunities to kids, while shelters like Sante d’Or are saving abandoned or abused animals. So squeeze a few hours a month into your packed calendar and be part of the good.


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