Month In Review: January 2018

The first month of 2018 has come and gone, and it was definitely an eventful month.


  • I was awarded Google Developer Challenge Scholarship from Google and Udacity to work on the Frontend Development Track.
    • Started learning JavaScript for the first time.
  • Finished #100DaysOfCodeChallenge Round 1 – and blogged about it!  I’m making steady headway into R2.
  • Attended CocoaPods NYC Coding Meetup every Saturday morning, which, if you know anything about me, is a huge accomplishment because I am not a morning person- especially on the weekends!
  • I began teaching myself Python again, which surprisingly, I enjoy a lot more than I did when I tried half a year ago; what a difference half a year and a 100 day coding challenge makes 😉
    • I’d been avoiding it like the plague since July-ish, when I tried for the first time, and just couldn’t grasp any of the concepts and got too frustrated with the lack of direction and accessible resources.  Now, I know where to look for things and how to ask for resources from the Internet, so it’s going a lot smoother than before.


  • I started the #100DaysOfSaving challenge in the end of December, and have been keeping daily logs of how much I spend every day. This system isn’t too obtrusive, so it’s been easier for me to keep up.
    • If you’re interested in the color-coding system, I have the Github Repo available at
    • My goal is to have  50 “Blue Days” (No Spend Days) out of the 100.
My #100DaysOfSaving Challenge Tracker; Blue = No Spend Days
  • I opened a Roth IRA account and dumped in the max contribution amount for 2017 (you have until April to make contributions for 2017).
    • I’ll be contributing to this mostly until I max it out for 2018, and then move back to contributing to my independent investment portfolio. Might as well take advantage of tax-sheltered earnings!
  • My roommate got a new job, so moved out at the end of the month.  This threw a huge wrench into my 2018 savings goal (which, according to most people, was a ridiculous attempt anyways).
    • I’ve decided that for now, I’m going to remain in this apartment without a roommate, and see how my finances are affected.  I can always get a new roommate, but it’s rather difficult to kick one out 😉


My Weekly Bullet Journal spread for Fitness Tracking
  • I #100DaysOfHealth Challenge, and began to consistently workout/go to the gym at least 2 times a week.  Right now, I’m averaging 2-3 times a week, which is a marked difference from big-fat-0 average.
  • I did Pilates for the first time last week, and holy crap that hurt so bad good????
  • I completed a 30 Day Darebee Abs Challenge. Don’t have a 6 pack, but I do see a tiny sliver of 2-pack starting…?? Just kidding. No, it’s not. But I can always dream 😛
  • I also completed a 30 Day Crunches Challenge, which began at 20 (and my god my neck was in so much pain for a week or 2….) and ended at 150.
    • What a difference a few weeks doing crunches makes!! No more neck pain either! Just the burning in my upper-abs!
  • I’ve been looking for ways to eat better for cheap and easily. I’m rather fond of the “microwave-steamed veggies for everything!” technique…

  • I am still on Chemo for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, but since my last appointment in beginning of December, my rheumatologist adjusted my appointment to once every 2 months instead of monthly, which is a good sign.
    • He told me that he doesn’t expect me to be coming off the meds any time in the next half year, but that I’m making very good progress.
    • I still have hair 😛
    • I still take pain killers daily, but since the summer, it’s gone down from 4 pills to 1. One of these days, I’d like to stop destroying my stomach and not have to take one at all.

Work & The Hustle

  • I’ve started to look into what side hustles I can do now, and what I can work up to.  Especially with my roommate moving out, some months might be a little tighter than I would like, and in general, I should have some income source that I can rely on for paying for the wifi bill or the electricity bill.
    • I want to work up to being able to do paid work in the house (ie: WordPress Designing, G Suite Administration, Writing), but for now, I’ve identified a few things I can start doing now for some extra cash.
  • I started Dog Walking/Sitting at Rover, and got my first client! He is adorable, and has 2 meow-siblings. I get paid, I get my puppy time in, and I get my walking in (which, according to my fitbit, puts me in “fat burning” heart rate level, which is double thumbs up for me).
    • Do you want to become a dog sitter or dog walker too? You can sign up here.
    • I get paid $15~20 for half hour walks for these (but you should set your rate to be competitive with your area; I live in NYC, so fees can be a little higher and still get clients).
  • I’ve acquired a few families who are willing to have me as an on-call Babysitter.  I interviewed with them, and they will hit me up if a need comes up, for $15~17/hr.
    • They were disappointed that I was not available for them full-time/long-term/consistently, so I’m glad to find that I can still earn a decent amount of cash working as a babysitter or nanny if such a need arises, when I have a lot of free time.
  • Getting clients in these “soft skills” was kind of an exercise for myself to confirm that I still am able to be resourceful about finding emergency cash if I needed to, whether it be because I am out of work for some reason, or need some extra cash for some purchase or a trip.
  • Another cash source is Tutoring.  I haven’t pulled this card out yet, but this is by far the most lucrative.
    • I used to make $1000/mo tutoring, when I was tutoring 3 nights a week, back when I was making a little over 60% of my current salary (but I also worked a 9-5 instead of 8-5).
    • However, this is a little more commitment-heavy than the other 2, so I haven’t looked into it yet (as parents generally want consistent tutoring for their kids).


Officially a Contributor at The Mighty!
  • An article was published at The Mighty (you can read the original HERE).
    • Submitting and being accepted to The Mighty or related publication was something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, so I’m glad that I got to start out 2018 with an acceptance and publication.
  • An article was published at the Asian Women for Health Blog (you can read the original HERE).
  • I want to continue pitching and writing this year, because writing has been such an important part of my life.  It’s been difficult to pick it back up after my brain injury, because I am slightly aphasic now, which makes writing and language more difficult for me.  I can no longer compose prose like I used to, which is both upsetting and frustrating.
  • But with the idea that more practice = progress, I’ve been reading a lot, picked this blog back up, and in general looking for ways to improve my writing.


  • Watched: Black Mirror Season 4, Owari no Seraph Seasons 1 + 2 (am I the only person who thinks this is just Shingeki no Kyojin in Japan?)
  • Read: 12 books
  • Bought $$$ worth of furniture from IKEA, which my boyfriend built for me over a weekend, so now I have an actual dresser for the first time (in the almost 3 years I’ve been living in this apartment), and a standing desk to work on.
    • I also bought a shelf unit so I can start cleaning up my living room and make more space.
    • Having a standing desk makes working from home so much easier, because now I can raise or lower the desk every few hours so I don’t get as much back pain, and I’ve finally been able to move my workstation from the dining room in the living room.
    • And wow! A dresser! I feel so adult, having an actual dresser… And my room is suddenly so much less cluttered. My clothes in boxes were such an eyesore!
    • Also, it made me realize just how much underwear I have… Good Jesus. Why is it so hard to throw away underwear and socks?

In Recap…

A lot of things happened at work, and a lot of things happened in my personal life.

All in all, January was a very eventful month, and I’m hoping it’ll chill out for the rest of the year, but at the same time, kind of excited to see where I will be in 11 months.

How has your January been? Did it set a good tone for 2018?

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer. Author "AWS for Non-Engineers" (Manning Publications). Technical Instructor "Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers" (LinkedIn Learning).

10 thoughts on “Month In Review: January 2018”

  1. Overall it seems like things are going pretty well! Yay! Your desk sounds cool! I always see those kind advertised! Do you notice a difference? And yay dresser! I have one, but mine is falling apart. Really gotta get a new one…someday.

    Keep being awesome!

  2. Hi Hiro! That’s a lot of things you did on your January!

    Btw— it caught my attention about Rheumatoid Arthritis. Last december I was bedridden with all my body specially the joints on my hands and legs are in awful pain. When i had my check-up, the doctor said I had arthritis 🙁 until now it’s painful so when I cannot tolerate anymore I seek to painkillers. I was asked for diet for my uric acid and will comeback for another checkup by the end of the month. I hope this doesn’t gets any serious~ i feel sad i’m starting to have a hard time doing the things i usually do because of the pain 🙁

    1. Oh no 🙁 What kind of arthritis is it? Osteo? I’ve been on chemo since August, and it’s really helped a lot for me. But doctors’ appointments are so expensive, and exhausting. And of course arthritis and chemo themselves are exhausting on their own. Hope you find relief soon!

  3. Congrats on doing so much in January! I can’t believe how many challenges you’re taking on, that’s incredible.

    Glad to hear you’ve been doing well with coding. I keep setting myself goals to learn, but I never actually do it. I think the 100 day challenge is a great way to get motivated, so I might have to give it a go!

    I’ve been trying to save more this year, but it’s so difficult. As soon as I’m on a roll with it, something comes up, or I’ll end up buying something just because. It’d be great to be more consistent with it! It looks like it’s going really well for you anyway and I really hope your roommate moving out doesn’t make it too difficult. Good luck!

    Congrats on getting your article published. That’s great news!

  4. Congrats on the Google Developer Challenge Scholarship! I’m also amazed at the number of challenges you take on. Nice job on finishing round 1 of the 100 days of code and for going in for another. You’ve made a lot of progress!

    Man, that sucks about your roommate moving out. I can imagine that really messes things up since your living expenses suddenly go up. I hope you work something out!

    In terms of eating better for cheap and easy, I’ve been doing a lot of stir fry veggies. Probably my favorite way to prepare veggies! I make a bunch with some meat each weekend, so that I have it for lunch the rest of the week. That’s also great news that you don’t have to see your rheumatologist as often and that you’re making good progress so far!

    That’d be cool if you could do some freelancing at home. It seems like it’d be a lot more flexible in terms of schedule. I’m glad that you are able to do some dog walking/sitting and babysitting though!

    Ah, I saw on your social media that your entries were published a couple times! That’s amazing! I gotta say, you really kept yourself productive and busy in January. Go you on all the progress you’ve made!

  5. Overall seems like you are doing alright. I have to admit I’ve never tried pilates, but keep getting told I need to try the 30 minute piyo crap. Apparently it’s very good for those with back, neck, and nerve problems because it’s low impact but very effective. I keep toying with trying a trail on it.

    I love your furniture! Right now I have zero furniture in my bedroom because we just moved and bleh, I NEED to buy stuff, just haven’t had the time, funds, or opportunity. Sometimes “adulting” is bs lol

    All joking aside I’m REALLY happy for you with all your accomplishments since we last spoke!

  6. I’m so proud reading through this! You totally got this girl, I’ve been super inspired by your other blog posts about Finances and have tried to track my finances better myself. I’ve had a few “Non-Spend” days but it has been increasingly difficult with time – because of interviews I’ve had and travelling up and down the country but I’m proud that I’ve had a few non-spend days!

    I LOVE just having steamed veggies, it used to be my go to in the summer (I cook something else in the winter – I need hot soup!!) along with chicken. It’s cheap and fast and is seeping with nutrients like you said!!

    Keep going girl! You got this!

  7. Wow, it really seems like you have done a lot! I feel a little ashamed how little my past few months have been on the productive side. orz lol
    That is good that your second time to do python was a better experience. It is kind of funny how that works.
    It’s great that your doctor is lowering time amount of times you have to do chemo ♥ Yay for keeping hair! xD
    Hope feb is going well for you ♥

  8. Awesome recap! Congrats on the scholarship and I’m loving the healthy lifestyle I’m slowly improving as well.

  9. Hiro! You’re always such an inspiration – you set all these goals and follow through! I love that you started to be a dog walker – lol meow sibling is a cute term, I’ll have to steal it!

    A year ago I got myself an IKEA dresser – before that, I hadn’t used or even own a dresser in like 10 years!!!!! Totally changed my folding system. I love it! I love IKEA in general.

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