How to write New Year’s Resolutions and Stick To Them

12.28.2015

 

If you’re anything like me, you will start out with something strong but will lose motivation or just completely forget about what your intentions were. Adulting is stressful enough as it is, so adding things to your to-do list seems almost inconceivable.

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Like, why now? Does starting a new year and changing the year on the date change you suddenly? No. But in many ways it is seen as a new slate and fresh start.

I have vowed that 2016 will be MY year. I will get out of my comfort zone and reach new heights personally and professionally. I have decided on five resolutions I would like to work on throughout 2016. I will not share them here because I would like to keep them personal. To give you ideas your resolutions could range from being healthier, eating better, starting a new hobby, reconnect with old friends, spend less time on social media, save money, prioritize time, apply to college, get a certification, focus on family, learn how to cook, be more spiritual, etc. You don’t have to have five resolutions (I always prefer to bite more than I can chew) but I’ve broken down those five resolutions into even smaller steps so they are more attainable. If you have just one resolution, break that down into small steps also to be able to make progress.

In order to make these resolutions a success, I have come up with a list of ways to make them a priority year-round.

  1. Let close friends/family know your goals. It is okay to keep them private from Facebook and the general public, in fact, I strongly suggest you do that. But it is important to have some cheerleaders on your sidelines to keep you in-check.
  2. Create an inspiration board. Okay, so I’m strangely obsessed with inspo boards. I will make one for just about anything. I even make them for a big paper or project for school. I like to have a visual outline that reminds me and drives me for success. If working out is a resolution for you, making an inspo board with fit men/women will help keep you motivated. At one point in college, I even put pictures of Victoria’s Secret models in the kitchen pantry and refrigerator. Not weird.
  3. Be aware that these goals/resolutions will likely not happen overnight. Common sense will tell you that loosing 30 lbs will take time but don’t be discouraged if at three months time, you are only showing small progress. Progress is progress.
  4. Track your progress. Keep track of your progress by taking progress pics or keeping a journal.
  5. Have a calendar specifically for your resolutions. Go out to Target and purchase a cheap calendar to set goal dates and check-in times. This will help tremendously. You can’t expect to maintain a resolution by not checking in and setting goals for yourself.
  6. Use technology. No, I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a FitBit. Take advantage of free apps on your phone or online to track progress. If your goal is to lose weight, eat healthier, drink more water download FitStar Personal Trainer or Nike+ Traning Club to track fitness, MyFitnessPal to count calories, carbs and fat, PlantNanny or Waterlogged for water intake. You can also use a reminder app (one already downloaded to iPhones) to make check-in times and reminders to track progress.
  7. Check back in with initial goal. One of the best feelings is to look back at where you started. Like I said before, progress is progress, so even small amounts of improvement are better than where you were when you first started.
  8. List a positive outcome from the resolution. If you start feeling discouraged, try to think of something positive that has happened during your journey. You are trying to find a hobby for yourself and tried a painting class. You hated it but made a couple new friends in the process!

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I love to see other people succeed especially in a world where society is always about comparing each other and competing to be the best. Let’s make these New Year’s goals happen for ourselves once and for all! Best of luck to my readers on your journey in 2016 : )

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Holiday Party

12.23.2015

holiday party

 

I found this adorable cocktail dress and it just so happens to go perfectly with the Chloe + Isabel Monarch collection. The black, white and blue colors go perfectly together!

White House Black Market white jacket
whitehouseblackmarket.com

John Lewis black handbag
$53 – johnlewis.com

Chloe Isabel charm jewelry
chloeandisabel.com

Chloe Isabel charm jewelry
chloeandisabel.com

White home decor
kirklands.com

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DIY Pallet Wood Deck Cooler

12.16.2015

Happy birthday week to me!

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I’ve been using that excuse at work and at home for the past few days (my birthday was on Monday 12/14) and people are starting to get annoyed. Hmph. But in all fairness I was treated like complete royalty on my birthday! I celebrated from sunup to sundown.

Luke and my sweet pup sent me off to work with a cup-a-jo and lots of birthday kisses. I spent my hour and a half bus ride replying to happy birthday texts and calls and arrived to work to find homemade cupcakes and cards covering my desk! The girls at work treated me to an amazing carb-filled lunch at my favorite lunch spot in DC, Vapiano. (Try it out – freshly-made pasta onsite and everything is made to order!) I worked hard (or hardly worked) the rest of the afternoon and then was treated to a happy hour at the restaurant in our building. I hurried home to get to my birthday dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant with my mom, MawMaw and boyfriend. Little did I know, I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me – a DIY pallet board cooler my boyfriend made out of pallet boards and old hardware found around the farm! I was totally not expecting anything else because he had already bought me a gorgeous, baby blue, Kate Spade handbag and wallet set a couple weeks before. See pics of the cooler below!

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Pallet wood found on the farm.
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The bottle opener was the only add-on purchased for the project. I spy the other awesome bday gift from my boyfriend, the blue Kate Spade sitting back there 🙂
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Cleats from an old boat.

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Old hinges from a barn door.
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Old cooler he had laying around and my favorite beer – Angry Orchard and Sam Adams Cherry Wheat mixed together called an Angry Cherry – try it! 

Luke made this awesome DIY ice chest by following YouTube videos/tutorials. He said it took a total of about 10 hours and he spent $2 on the bottle opener! He would like to add legs with wheels and cut out a hole on the side to drain water.

If you or someone you know is interested in doing this project, leave a comment so I can be sure to get you more information on how to create one of your very own!

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Pantone Color of the Year 2016

12.9.2015

I learned all about the Pantone color of the year (which I remember so clearly was Radiant Orchid in 2014) in my Fashion Forecasting class while a Fashion Merchandising student at USC. Pantone picks a “Color of the Year” annually, which is usually sought out by fashion representatives from all over the world. A color is decided sometimes almost a year in advance. How is that possible, you ask? You start to notice certain colors being used more and more in the fashion industry. 2015’s color of the year was “Marsala” which is a wine red with strong brown undertones. Think about it, wine red has been seen heavily in fashion since fall 2013 collections.

Many of you may have already seen the 2016 Pantone color(s). For the very first time ever, Pantone has chosen two colors instead of just one. This year, they are Rose Quartz (a kind of mineral pink) and Serenity (light blue).

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The Pantone color of the year can dictate the colors for a lot of industries including: clothing, interior space, food, photos, event themes, etc. After seeing the 2016 Pantone colors I immediately thought of all the pastel pinks and blues I’ve seen in the last year and even thought of the faded or pale filters people use on Instagram photos.

Popular Instagram model, Aspyn Ovard, and many other Instagrammers usually have a theme. By theme, I mean their pictures have the same filter or lighting to create one harmonious look. Take a look at a screenshot of Aspyn Ovard’s Instagram below.

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Notice all of the pale pink and blue hues? This is a subtle but chic way of identifying a Pantone color of the year. Aspyn obviously wasn’t aware of the Pantone colors of the year several weeks ago but her themed Instagram account shows that these hues of pink and blue are super on-trend!

Designers and manufacturers are working quickly to be some of the first to have their products out in the Pantone colors of the year. See below a collage I made with several items ranging from clothing to cosmetics to accessories in the new Pantone colors.

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Other colors you can expect to see in the Spring 2016 collections include Peach Echo, Snorkel Blue, Buttercup, Limpet Shell, Lilac Gray, Fiesta, Iced Coffee, and Green Flash.

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Wow these colors are so tropical and fun! Makes me even more ready for warm weather and the beach! Sadly, we have about four months til warmer weather here in Maryland.

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Pizzelles: A Holiday Tradition

Hey y’all! I’m back and in full holiday spirit! I took a short hiatus from blogging right after classes ended to give myself a little break. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve made an appearance here with no fair warning and, well, I have no excuse. I finished up my first two graduate classes with stellar grades and to reward myself, I indulged. I’ve indulged in lots of yummy food, desserts, wine and vacation time within the past couple of weeks. But I’m back and ready to share some holiday cheer with you all!

To my surprise, I actually had several people ask me why I hadn’t been blogging. I really had no idea friends and family even paid attention to my blog as much as they do but it means a lot and proves to me that I should continue this little hobby of mine. So THANK YOU to everyone who supports me by reading and sharing my posts!


 

Without further ado, here’s how to make a delicious holiday treat, PIZZELLES!

Pizzelles are an Italian waffle cookie and have a been a favorite holiday tradition of mine for many years.

My mom and I attended a holiday cookie exchange this weekend (so fun!) and decided to make these special treats for everyone to enjoy.

We started bright and early on Saturday morning with coffee and Christmas music blaring in the background. We had so much fun making these treats together! 7 hours and over 250 cookies later we finally finished! We made the pizzelles in a variety of flavors; vanilla, chocolate, almond and lemon.

The ingredients are rather simple and the recipe does not take long to whip up. You do, however, have to use a Pizzelle press (sort of like a waffle iron, see below) to make them.

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This is the exact pizzelle maker that we used! $39.95

Classic Pizzelle

1-3/4     cups all-purpose flour

2             teaspoons baking powder

3             large eggs

¾            cup granulated sugar

½            cup unsalted butter, melted

1             tablespoon vanilla extract or extract of your choice

Preheat the Pizzelle Press while preparing the batter.

Place flour and baking powder in a small bowl and stir to combine; reserve.  Place eggs and sugar in a medium bowl.  Using a hand mixer, mix on medium speed for 1 minute, until thickened.  On low speed, add the melted butter and vanilla in a steady stream and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.  Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 10 to 15 seconds; do not over-mix.

 

Double Chocolate Pizzelle

Add the following ingredients to those in recipe shown above.  Sift with flour and add to egg mixture.

½ cup cocoa

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

The basic pizzelle recipe is flavored with vanilla.  However, you may change the flavor by using different extracts such as Anise, Almond or Lemon.

Makes 36 – 40 pizzelles

Follow Pizzelle Press instructions for timing. Finish by dusting a little powdered sugar on the cookies. Let the cookies sit out for a while to cool and harden into a waffle cookie.

Tip: You may also use a pizzelle roller while the pizzelle is still hot to form a cone. The cone can be filled with a chocolate or buttercream filling. Yum!

 

Below are pictures I took on Saturday in the kitchen AKA Pizzelle Factory.

 

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Me in my silky Christmas PJs whipping up the first batch of vanilla pizzelles! I was in charge of the pizzelle press and mom made up the batter.
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The first batch of vanilla complete!
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Mom making the batter
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Almost done! Chocolate, vanilla, almond and lemon!  (Even more not pictured!)

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Like I said, Pizzelle Factory.
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A basket of 20 different kinds of cookies I got to bring home from the cookie exchange! Yum!

Happy Holidays & happy baking, too!

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