Most of us make them, hellbent on making the new year mean a new you. Resolution are a tradition of second chances and fresh starts. This year I know I will be making my fair share of them. I want to take advantage of the new year’s opportunities and make 2017 the year that 2016 should have been.
Firstly, my biggest resolution is to continue on my weight loss journey. I plan on stepping it up by making small changes to my lifestyle. I resolve to workout at least once a day and go on a walk as well. I also resolve to stick to my eating plan, the 21 Day Fix. The 21 Day Fix teaches you about portion control and making healthy choices for 21 days at a time to create new habits. I find that this plan really works. Learn more about it here.
I also want to focus on my relationships more. I want to become a better listener and make myself more available to the people I love. I rely so heavily on them, I want to make sure that they can do the same with me.
Lastly, I am making some resolutions about my blog as well! I am going to be posting more frequently and become more organized with my blogging. Hopefully these changes will lead to positive results! Let me know what you want me to blog about in the comments.
You can read about how to keep and achieve your own resolutions this New Year, here.
Today we celebrate and ring in the New Year. Today is also a time of reflect on the year that has passed and what it has brought us. The ups and the downs, the good and the bad. My 2016 was filled with both. I laughed a lot and cried a lot. I tried new things and had new experiences. Today, I want to share some highlights from my year.
This year I got to spend a large amount of time with family. I am so grateful for that. I got the opportunity to travel to visit my “sister-in-law” in Massachusetts and my aunt in New Hampshire. Along with many other fun visits with other members of my family, I’m so grateful for all the time this year I got to spend bonding with the people that mean so much to me.
This year, in March,Geoffrey had the final surgery on his left ankle, trying to fix complications from previous surgeries due to the original diagnosis of Osteochondritis dissecans. After a long overnight stay in the hospital, post op, we returned home where he needed constant care, requiring me to stay with him for eight weeks through his recovery.
Also, this year, Geoffrey’s family adopted a new dog named Beau! I went with them to pick him up and he was mats and dirt, but we could already tell that he was a sweetheart. On the long ride home from the pick up spot, he nuzzled both Geoffrey and I and actually crawled up into Geoffrey’s lap! We got him home and immediately brushed him to get out as many knots as we could and the amount of hair that came off could have made a whole other dog. After that he was ready to come inside and was instantly at home. We are so happy to welcome this big furry ball of love into the family and so happy that Mr. and Mrs.L have finally found the dog for them!
We added another member to the family this year. My Aunt Pam and Uncle Dan welcomed baby Tobias Connor Goodenough on September 5th at 10:54pm, at 6.77lb, 49cm. He is a beautiful baby boy and is getting so big so fast! I’m so excited to have baby cousins in the family and to get to be a big cousin. I so grateful to have Toby and his sisters in my life.
As I mentioned before, this year I got the amazing opportunity to do some traveling! I wrote about it previously here and here. It was a wonderful trip and the first time I’ve gotton to travel with my boyfriend, Geoffrey. We had so much fun!
This year also held a lot of personal opportunities for me. In September, I started this blog to chronicle my weight loss and the ups and downs of that and my battle with mental health. I also became vegan this year around August. In late November, I became a Beachbody Coach. Beachbody has helped me lose 30 plus pounds and becoming a coach grants me the opportunity to help others achieve their own health goals and dreams. I am so excited to get out there and help others!
I also started a new hobby this year. Hiking the Pennypack Trail! I love being outside and getting some alone time to think on the trails. I get to take beautiful pictures and see amazing things all while getting in some great exercise!
2016 wasn’t all wonderful, however. This year we lost a dear family friend, Sharon Lyew. This February, she succumbed to complications of diabetes and heart disease. Sharon was someone who was always a part of my life. She taught me to love crafting at a young age when she would come over and teach me how to make jewelry and other things. She babysat me when I was a baby and we have so many funny stories to tell of her. We think of her often and hold her close in our hearts.
So much has come together to make up 2016. So much joy, sadness and triumph. 2016 was a jam packed year. I worked hard, accomplished much, and grew as a person. I hope 2017 holds just as much opportunity for growth and change as 2016, just as much joy, and if it brings sadness, that I may learn from it.
What are your favorite memories from 2016? What are your hopes for 2017?
The year is coming to a close. Amidst the holiday celebrations, gift giving and cheer, we begin to think about what we want from the new year. The new year is a new beginning, an opportunity for change. 45% of American make New Years Resolutions, however only 8% achieve their goals (1). We start the year off with so much gusto but we don’t follow through. Let’s make this year different! With these simple steps you can rock 2017.
What do you want most out of life. Do you want to lose weight? Get control of your finances? Revamp the house? Consider what you could improve on. Take some time, sit down and think about what you would like most out of the new year. Pick one main resolution and you can pick one or two smaller resolutions.
Instead of setting big lofty goals, start small. If you want to lose weight, start by promising to stop drinking soda for a month and go from there. Start taking walks at night. These goals are more attainable. By implementing small changes slowly, we are more likely to achieve the goals we set then if we try and make a big change over night.
Literally, post it! You can write your resolution on a post it and keep it somewhere visible like your mirror so you can see it everyday or go for gold and post your goal on a social media site so everyone knows what your doing. This will keep you accountable.
Put some time aside everyday to work on your new goal. If you want to lose weight, put time aside everyday to workout or meal plan. If you want to work on your finances set time aside to work on your books. even if you have to give up watching your favorite show to give yourself that extra hour, it’s worth it, make the time!
Focus on the small achievements you are making while working on your goal. Every small step adds up to one big accomplishment. Remind yourself of these little achievements during times of doubt to get you through it.
Lastly, Don’t Give Up!
Everyone slips up, if you are trying to shed a few pounds and you find yourself enjoy one to many cookies, don’t beat yourself up and call it quits all together. Recognize that everyone has weak moments and refocus. The worst thing you can do is stop working towards your goal all together. Don’t let a slip up derail you.
I hope your holidays season and New Year is everything you hoped and dreamed of! What will you be resolving to change this year? What do you want out of 2017?
The holidays are a difficult time if your trying to stay healthy. With all the temptations of holiday treats and dense meals, it can be hard to stay on track. I have a few tips that can make the holidays a little less overwhelming.
Make a routine and stick to it.
A routine is the key to success when it comes to health goals. I personally live and die by a scheduled routine. Take some time to write yourself a daily routine to better schedule your time. This will help you stick to healthy habits. If you schedule in time in your routine everyday for a workout you’re more likely to do it.
This time of year is filled with cookies, hot cocoa, and chocolate. Instead of over indulging in all of these treats, replace them! Instead of putting out a tray of cookies this year at your holiday party, put out a tray of veggies.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Staying hydrated is so important, especially when your taking in salty or sugary foods. Water helps flush all that out of your system. Instead of eggnog, cocoa or soda, grab a glass of H2O. Make sure you are getting at least eight 8 oz glasses a day!
If you know you are going to be at a party or event filled with treats galore, eat something healthy before you leave or pack something healthy to bring with you. You are less likely to go overboard at your event if you are prepared.
This time of year is about celebrating with the ones we love. it’s okay to enjoy a treat or two without feeling guilty if you are keeping up with healthy habits. Having a Christmas cookie can prevent a binge later on. Health is all about moderation.
But most of all, enjoy the holidays with your loved ones!
It is officially December which means it is time to start trimming our trees and spreading holiday cheer all around our homes.Whether you decorate before the Thanksgiving bird has even been served or later in December, I have a few ideas of how you can spice up your decorating this year!
1. Fill a vase with ornaments.
This idea is simple but makes a big impact. Pick your favorite vase and just fill it with beautiful ornaments to display in your home! Most of us have more ornaments than we have room for on the tree. This is a perfect way to display those ornaments you really love but can’t fit on the tree this year!
2. Trim the tree with bold ribbon.
This might seem obvious, but instead of using the traditional garland like you do every year, head over to your local Micheals. They often have ribbon on sale. Grab yourself a few spools of big, bold ribbon that matches the theme you are going for with your tree this year. I chose a gold color since that is the general look we were giving the tree. The great thing about using ribbon is you can reuse it year after year. Pick a brown burlap type of ribbon for a great rustic look, or a glittery ribbon for more of a glam feel!
3. Make easy but bold art pieces.
I love this idea. All you need is shadow boxes, mini ornaments, scrapbook paper of your choice and cheap but beautiful decals from Darling Decal Co. You can grab shadow boxes for a great price again, at Micheals, and be sure to always use a coupon when you shop there. While you’re there grab yourself some miniature ornaments (you can also get these at Amazon) and some glittery scrapbook paper! Cut the scrapbook paper to size to fit into the back of your shadow boxes and just tape or glue it in place. Fill your shadow boxes with mini ornaments in the color of your choice. Lastly, add the beautiful decals from Darling Decal Co. Feel free to ask for the exact decals that I ordered. They are super easy to apply and totally affordable!
4. Use battery operated string lights to make a bold statement!
I love these battery operated string lights! I’m using them all over the house this year. A great way to use them is to take a pretty glass bowl, fill it with ornaments, pine cones, or whatever you want, and string the lights throughout to make the whole bowl shine!
5. Make faux gifts!
This is another super easy idea that makes a big impact. Save all those shipping boxes that you’ll be getting from Amazon or wherever you shop online during the holidays, and wrap them in pretty wrapping paper! Pile them up in a corner or use them to hide the less than perfect aspects of your home, like an old outlet cover or wires!
6. Wrap your artwork.
Have any photos or artwork hanging on your wall that isn’t quite in tune with the holiday spirit? An easy solution is to wrap them and make them look like gifts hanging on your walls! I used the artwork I made here. It was too autumnal and didn’t quite match the rest of my holiday decor, so I took some beautiful glittery wrapping paper that I got on sale at Target , and wrapped the canvases. Then I added the same gold ribbon I used on my tree to really tie it all together.
I hope you enjoyed my Holiday decor ideas, and use them in your home this year! What D.I.Y decor do you use in your home this time of year?
There is so much to do this time of year! So many traditions and experiences to be had. How do we make sure we get the most out of the season? Well, I came up with a fun bucket list of activities to ensure you get the most out of your holiday season, that’s how. Just download the free printable or save the image below on your phone and let the fun begin!
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! Since this Thankful Thursday falls on the holiday of celebrating what we’re thankful for I wanted to reflect on what I’m most thankful for, my family. From my parents, to my aunts and uncles to my cousins, I have been blessed to be surrounded by the best people.
I could go on and on about my parents, they go above and beyond for me. They allow me to do amazing things, like travel or start my own business. They have always backed me 100%. I haven’t been the easiest child to raise, but they never give up on me. They are always there for me to rely on and I know I can count on them. Not everyone is blessed with “good” parents, some people don’t have parents, so I am beyond thankful that I have them and that they are as amazing as they are. I know how lucky that makes me.
I also have a great extended family that I know I can rely on. I grew up with six cousins on my mom’s side of the family and now I have five on my dad’s (I grew up with two but my Uncle Dan and Aunt Pam recently added three children to the family! They are wonderful!). As an only child, having this many cousins and being as close with them as I am is so important to me. I cherish the bonds I have with them and think of them as the brothers and sisters I always wanted. The rest of my family is amazing as well, I have close aunts and uncles that have always reached out to me when they knew I needed the extra support. I feel very fortunate to be blessed with such a big, supportive, sometimes crazy, family.
I also am thankful for the people who aren’t in my life anymore, but was privileged enough to love, even if they were taken too soon. Having them forever would not be long enough. My grandmother was one of the most genuine, kind and thoughtful people I have ever met. She brought sunshine with her where ever she went. She was the kind of grandmother who collected cat comics for my cousin (who loves cats) in a photo album and once it was full would mail it to her. She often brought me small things that reminded her of me, newspaper clippings, an old magazine or photo, any art supplies she happened upon. But that’s not the only thing that made her a great grandmother, it was never about the things she gave us, it was that she was there. She never missed a recital, birthday, or game. I saw her at least once a week. Not just because she lived close but because she made the effort to be a part of our lives. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world that I had Mommom as my grandmother, and that I got to have her into my twenties. Another person I carry in my heart, who is not with us anymore, is my Uncle Pat. He was diagnosed with cancer when I was in middle school and fought it for years. He never let the battle get the best of him. When I was at my lowest he reached out to me and I will never forget that kindness. I often think of him when I’m feeling low and try and draw on his strength to help me pull through whatever I’m dealing with. He was so strong and brave and I strive to make him proud.
I am so thankful, today, and everyday, for my family.
Thanksgiving can be a hard time of the year if you’re Vegan. You often don’t have much control over what is put on the table in front of you, that is, if you spend the holiday at a family member’s house. It can be stressful not only for those that are vegan to try and find friendly options, but also on the host to provide them. To ease this stress, I’ve come up with three super simple vegan friendly side dishes to help you out this holiday season, all just four simple steps! If you’re looking to replace the staple of the holiday, the turkey, here is a great guide to help you find a vegan replacement!
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Everyone loves a potato dish on Thanksgiving! However, most of the time these dishes are loaded with butter and milk. Not vegan friendly at all! This recipe replaces the butter with vegan butter and the milk with your choice of milk replacement (I chose Almond milk).
6 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 Cup of Almond Milk
2 Tablespoons of Vegan Butter
1/2 teaspoon of Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for one hour.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool off enough to handle. When cool, cut in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon. They should be soft enough that the insides just come right out.
Add all other ingredients and begin to mash. I started with a hand masher and then used a hand mixer. I switched between the two repeatedly until I achieved the smooth texture I was looking for. You can add more milk to the potatoes if you want a smoother consistency. About 1/3 of a cup.
Pour finished mixture into dish and sprinkle the top with cinnamon if you wish. Serve and enjoy!
2. Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked macaroni might not be a classic staple of Thanksgiving but it is something I enjoy having on my Thanksgiving table. With this version you can enjoy your classic mac and cheese along with the rest of your family!
10 oz dried macaroni
1 Cup Golden Potatoes peeled and chopped
1/4 cup of Carrot peeled and chopped
1/3 cup of onion peeled and chopped
3/4 Cups of water from pot of boiling vegetables
1/4 Cup of Almond Milk
2 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of Garlic
1/4 teaspoon of Paprika
Cook macaroni until Al dente. Put aside.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Once you have a rolling boil, toss in your veggies and cook for 10 minutes.
After the ten minutes add the 3/4 a cup of water from the vegetables to your blender. Drain your vegetables and then add them to your blender. Add your remaining ingredients to your blender as well. Blend until smooth.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour your sauce over top of your noodles and stir until well combined. Coat the top in bread crumbs and bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
3. Classic Stuffing
Stuffing is a huge staple on turkey day. It is also my favorite dish. I look forward to stuffing every holiday as a part of our meal and I love having it as leftovers. So, of course, I had to make a vegan version of my favorite holiday dish!
1 loaf of wheat bread
2 Cups of Vegan Butter
3 Onions, Chopped
3 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
1 Quart of Vegan/Vegetarian Chicken Stock
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 Chicken flavored Vegan Bouillon Cube or seasoning packet
1 teaspoon of Paprika
1 teaspoon of Garlic
1 teaspoon of Sage
1 teaspoon of Thyme
Open up your bag or bags of wheat bread and allow the bread to become stale. This makes for better stuffing! You can also use more than one loaf of bread if you want to make more stuffing, it won’t effect the other ingredients.
Cut your bread into cubes and place in a baking dish or casserole dish. Set aside for later.
In a medium pot, heat your butter on medium heat. Add your onions and celery and cook for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes add your stock and all other ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Remove your mixture from the stove and gently pour it over your bread. Only add enough to make all the bread moist, not soggy. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
For me, there is no Halloween without pumpkins! One of the core traditions of Halloween is to put a Jack-o-Lantern on your front walkway. But one of the most frustrating aspects of making Jack-o-Lanterns is the mess we make and the tools we need to carve them. Below are a few ideas of how you can decorate your pumpkins this year the no-carve way. Get the kids involved to make it a family affair! Learn more about Fall crafting here.
You can use faux pumpkins for these ideas or real pumpkins, I used faux only because I got a great deal on them at Target!
Pro Tip- If you are using faux pumpkins, a great way to make them look more real is to cover them in a coat of brown paint and simply wipe off the excess with a paper towel. The paint will stick in all the pumpkins crevices and make it look much more realistic!
Chalkboard Paint Pumpkin
This one is super easy!
What You’ll Need:
A Chalk Pen or pens
Paint your pumpkin with chalkboard paint! I prefer black paint because it sticks to the spooky theme but you can choose any color you want.
When your pumpkin is dry, pick a word or design and write it in chalk pen on your pumpkin.
Glitter Pumpkin(Slightly Messy)
What You’ll Need
An Acrylic Paint Color of your choice
Glitter of your choice
Glue bottle with a narrow nozzle
Paint your pumpkin with your chosen color, you may need to do a few coats to get the coverage you’re looking for.
Once your pumpkin is completely dry use your glue to draw a pattern of your choosing, such as a cobweb or a spooky face. I suggest putting down some cardboard or old newspapers on a surface you can work on. Take your pumpkin to your work space, we will be using glitter so expect a little mess to be made. Lightly pour your glitter over the glue. Don’t worry about getting glitter on areas without glue, it will come right off! When you have completely covered your glue with glitter, shake off the excess and you are done!
What You’ll Need:
A Black Paint Pen
3 different kinds of ribbon of your choosing
A Hot Glue Gun
Print out the letters below for your stencil. You can use any other words/phrases that you’d like, but I recommend the one below for this tutorial.
Once you’ve printed out the letters for your pumpkin, cut them out and tape them to the front of your pumpkin. Trace around the edges of the stencils with a pencil.
After removing the stencil use a black paint pen and go over your tracings. Allow time to dry. Use Mod Podge to glue your rhinestones to the outlines of the letters to give them definition. You can use bigger rhinestones than I did. Using tweezers to apply them really helps speed up the process. Coat the whole decal in a layer of Mod Podge when your done to really seal it in.
Using your hot glue gun, take three different kinds of ribbon, overlap them, and glue together. Now glue your ribbon strand to the side of your pumpkin for a classy look. You can add a bow to the top for a finishing touch.
We all love this spooky time of year, especially kids. What better way to celebrate than with a good craft. Crafting is an important part of childhood. According to this article by PBS.org, crafting with kids grows their fine motor skills, provides opportunities for language development, strengthens problem solving, and develops visual learning. So, take advantage of this and try out some of the crafts below with your little one this Halloween.
Popsicle Stick Witch Hat
What You’ll Need:
Paper of your choice
Ribbon and Button to decorate (Optional)
Glue the popsicle sticks in the shape of a witch hat, as pictured below. Allow to dry.
Once dry, paint the popsicle sticks black. Allow to dry
Pick paper that you would like to be the back of your witch hat. Trace the inside of the popsicle stick triangle with pencil on the paper and cut about an inch away from the pencil lines. Erase the lines and glue the triangle on the back of your with hat.
Decorate! You can use ribbon, buttons, feathers, rhinestones or whatever you have!
Pine Cone Bat
What You’ll Need:
Black Acrylic Paint
Twine or Ribbon
First you must paint your pine cones! Wrap the tops or stems of the pine cones in wire and create what looks like a ornament hook. Water down a cup of black acrylic paint. Be sure to use a cup your okay with throwing away. Find a place you can make a bit of a mess and easily clean it up. I put down some cardboard on my back patio and hung a tension rod between two saw horses to hang my pine cones on so they could drip dry. Dip the pine cones in the paint, let as much excess paint as you can drip off into the cup then hand your pine cones up to drip dry. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours or overnight, until the paint has completely dried to the pine cones.
Once your pine cones are completely dry lay them down on construction paper and trace some bat wings for your new bats!