2017 Goals: 6-Month Update

We’re halfway through the year, and I don’t even know what to say. Is this what being old feels like? Feeling continuously shocked by how quickly the year is going?

For 2017, I decided that I was going to take my goals a little more seriously. To keep myself more accountable of these goals I set for myself, I decided to do check-in periods every quarter where I would review my progress with my goals for the year. I knew that when I set these goals, I wanted to take them seriously, so writing these posts are helpful because I am reminded of what I want to achieve this year. You can read my 3-month update on my 2017 goals.

Personal Goals:

1| Read 8-10 books throughout 2017

I’m up to seven books this year and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve been focusing on this goal for 2017. In my 3-month update, I said I was thinking about hitting this goal by summer, which is today, so I don’t think that is going to happen.

2| Plan 2-3 trips for 2017

So far, we went to Boston. Instead of focusing only on “big” travel plans, I want this to be more about traveling and experiencing new places I’ve never been before even if they’re weekend trips. I’m also considering a trip to visit my friend in San Francisco this winter. I’ll be sure to keep you guys up-to-date on my travel plans!

3| Achieve my career goals for 2017

I can officially cross this one off my list because I have been working so hard for the last six months at work to achieve all my goals for the year and I’m happy to say this is one I don’t have to keep stressing about for the second half of the year. Now it’s time to focus on my other goals.

4| Focus on my vision board

I said in my 3-month update that I want to write a series of posts on how to make a vision board, what I’ve learned from using this method to achieve my goals, etc. If you’re interested in seeing a post on this, leave a comment below! I am planning this for my July/August content calendar but it went on hold for spring because a lot of my time and energy was focused on work.

Blogging Goals:

1| Focus on my blog direction

This can officially be crossed off my list because after six months of content being put out, I feel that my blog direction and theme has truly changed for the better. I feel better writing the content I’ve been putting on the blog since I decided to write more about self care, lifestyle, minimalism and overall wellness and living a life of bliss.

2| Increase blog social media engagement by 20 percent

Although I can say that my engagement has definitely increased a ton of Twitter and Instagram, I can’t say the same for Facebook. But it’s all a work in progress, right?

3| Take more risks

Well, I took one amazing risk thanks to my lovely friend Erin! We did a collab on a monthly challenge where we gave challenges to help you relax and refresh your mind for February. The challenges focused on mental clarity and self-care, which are two topics I’m passionate about. I’m hoping to collab with bloggers more throughout the year and take more blogging risks overall. Stay tuned to read more on this!

Financial Goals:

1| Put an extra $8-10,000 into savings

I’m still on track to achieve this goal a several months earlier than anticipated, which makes me incredibly happy. I know saving in your 20s is so important, and it’s something I want to keep focusing on for the remainder of 2017. If you want to read posts on how I save money, let me know in the comments!

2| Track my spending regularly

It’s a lot of work to continuously update your spendings. I’m not someone who wants to track everything I spend because I realize it causes more stress than happiness. I’m more than comfortable with what I’m spending and saving since I don’t spend much to begin with. You feel? I’m realizing this isn’t the “goal” I originally set out to do in 2017, so I’m updating it to reflect my lifestyle. Instead, I want to make sure I’m spending the majority of my money on necessities: food, bills; and a small portion of my money each month is spending money for a pedicure, haircut or treating myself to happy hour.

Health Goals:

1| Increase my weekly running distance

I’ve realized this is something we’re still not focusing on because we have been focusing more of our workouts to high intensity interval training where we will run hard for one minute and then walk for two minutes. We repeat this cycle 8-10 times before finishing off with a cool down of walking for 15 minutes and stretching. Once we get more into running for distance, I’ll be sure to update you on this goal.

2| Don’t focus on numbers

I truly stopped caring about numbers I have found that it has done wonders for my self-esteem and happiness altogether. I said it once, and I’ll say it again: NUMBERS. DO. NOT. MATTER. Once you stop focusing on the numbers and more on how you feel, you will see a huge difference in how you feel about working out and your body image altogether.

3| Focus on workouts I enjoy

I’e been loving my Tuesday and Thursday workouts, which have been a combination of different abdominal, leg and arm strength-training exercises that I do in sets of 2 or 3. It usually takes about 45 minutes of working out and I’ll finish with stretching for 15 minutes. It’s wonderful to spend time working out when you love the workouts you’re doing.

How have you been doing on your goals for 2017? Check your list you made a few months ago and start working on how you can work on them for the next few months! Make sure to leave a comment below saying what goals you have been working on/already have achieved this year!

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3 Reminders for Embracing Life’s Valleys

Life has peaks and valleys. There are times where we feel so high and on top of the world that we don’t ever want that feeling to stop, and there are times where life can have us feeling low and lost. There are many ways valleys can enter our lives that we have all experienced: rejection from a college, rejection from a promotion or job, or other unexpected changes that might interfere with previous plans (moving, changing jobs, beginning a relationship, etc.)

Some people see valleys as “bumps in the road” or a setback. While this is true, I think it negatively illustrates the value of valleys. I used to think a valley was the universe laughing at me struggling. Now, I view them more positively.

Yes, you may have gotten fired from your job; but you can use it as an opportunity to find a better job. Maybe one that pays more, or that offers more flexible hours, or where you can work from home. It’s still an opportunity.

You’ve plateaued after working hard for months on end to achieve your health and fitness goals. So what? Give yourself a week to relax and rest your body so it can work even harder. It’ll give you more motivation so you can get stronger. It’s an opportunity.

A few years ago, I experienced a “valley” when I applied to work at a local hospital. It was an opportunity I was excited about and had planned my entire summer around getting this job. Over a month past my “start date,” nothing progressed as far as paperwork or my medical clearance. Working at the hospital was my only plan for summer, and then I realized it wasn’t going to work out. I reached a valley I had no intention of being in.

Then I went through endless applications. I thought to myself, “I could go back to my old job.” But I didn’t enjoy my last job after four years. I decided to use this as a opportunity to find a job I loved. And I found it, and it paid far more than I intended. During the interview, they wanted to promote me to a higher paying position before I even began. It was a golden opportunity, and I said yes.

Fast forward a year later, and that same job lead me to my first, full-time marketing position that I’m currently working and loving today. I often think what would have happened if I ended up working at the hospital. Would I still be in a LDR with Josh? Would I have finished my Master’s? Who knows, but it’s incredible to think that begin rejected from something lead me to exactly where I needed to be. Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.

So how can YOU embrace your next valley?

1| Remember it’s temporary

If you’re going through a valley in your life, remember that your valley isn’t permanent. It won’t last forever. It’s a small stop along your journey, so treat it as such. Oftentimes, we get caught up with the negative moments in our lives that we don’t think about the positive things that could come from that experience.

2| There’s a bigger plan

You were rejected from your dream job that you’re more than qualified for. That’s horrible, and you’re probably feeling pretty sad about it, too. Take the time to go through the motions that come with rejection. But don’t let it keep you down. Remember that there’s a reason you weren’t hired for that job. You will be lead to the job you’re meant to work.

3| Opportunities are everywhere

Even in the midst of a valley and a negative situation, there is always room for opportunity.

But you have to remember to be open to the possibilities and the opportunities that could be presented to you in that season.

Think outside the box. Apply for something that is exciting and out of your comfort zone. You never know when an unexpected opportunity may present itself.

Even when we have reached a valley in life, it’s not necessarily negative. Sure, you might feel disappointed or confused on what your next step should be, but it’s easy to make a valley into a peak. All it takes is a little patience and time.

Have you experienced a “valley” in your life recently? How can you turn it into a peak? Make sure to share your stories and thoughts in the comments below!

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Monthly Favorites & Sharing Love

Wasn’t May 1st like…yesterday?

Is it just me, or is 2017 flying by for everyone else, too? Because I truly feel like this year has been flying by every single month and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Now we’re heading into the summer months, and I’m hoping to kick my blog work and goals into high gear for the second half of the year. What are your goals for June or for summer altogether? Make sure to share your goals in the comments below because #accountability. Am I right?! Also make sure to share what you’ve been loving this month whether they are beauty products, podcasts or anything in between!

May Favorites:

My favorites all weren’t necessarily beauty or fashion favorites, but they were favorites that I know we can all relate to if you love podcasts, blogging courses, and everything in between. Make sure to leave comment below telling me what you’ve been loving this month whether it’s food, fashion or tech-related!

1| The Lavendaire Lifestyle

I have been loving podcasts this month and I’m not too sure how I didn’t get into them months ago. I have been watching Aileen from Lavendaire on YouTube for awhile now, but I just recently began listening to her podcasts. Her podcasts alone have inspired me so much that I’ve been catching up on several episodes a day. (Not every day, but quite often!) I love how she is able to discuss different topics and reach her audience by sharing inspiration for living your best life. If you’re into podcasts like the Lively Show and Big Magic, you’ll love Lavendaire Lifestyle.

2| Blogging Courses

Y’all, I’ve been all about the downloads, e-courses, webinars, and everything else you can imagine. Whether it’s about pitching to brands, to learning more about Instagram—blogging courses in general have been my jam this month. I wanted to take the month to really focus on learning. So I put away the books for a month, and focused on courses, classes and videos. Needless to say, I have some plans for the blog I hope to share with you soon. I recently reviewed my notes from Erica’s #BrandOut presentation, and I’ve been putting some of those tips into actions. What blogging courses, webinars, e-books, etc. have you been loving? Make sure to share your favorites!

3| Pedicures

And if we’re being honest, I’ve been loving manicures, too. I go through phases where I get my pedicures done religiously basically from May to September and then stop from October through April. Because why spend money when your feet won’t see the light of day for months on end? So, I have given permission to treat myself for a few months out of the year for a pedicure and color change for summer.

4| Pinterest Inspiration 

For awhile, I was lacking inspiration in all areas of my life, but especially with blogging and my journey toward living minimally. I felt lost and needed to kickstart my inspiration ASAP. Pinterest has been incredible for me this month because of the way I’ve been using it. I haven’t been aimlessly scrolling on my feed. Instead, I treat it like “studying.” Ask yourself, what is your goal? Are you trying to get some motivation for decluttering your closet? Are you looking for clogging resources? Social media is an amazing tool to help achieve your goals when you use the platform wisely.

5| Self-Tanning Products

Back in high school and early college, I would tan for two months out of the year. You know the awkward period from April through May where you can wear spring/summer clothes, but you look horrible because you’re still so pale? But I know how horrible tanning is for you, which is why I decided to take an alternative route for getting a healthy, glowing look. My favorite product has been The Banana Boat Self-Tanning Lotion. It’s only $7 at Target (yes, really!) and I love everything about it. You don’t need to apply much to see results, and it doesn’t leave that sticky feeling on your skin. TBH it will be my go-to product from now on.


Sharing Love: May 

1| “I was born to stand out” from Erica 

I was yelling, “YASSS, PREACH” during this post because Erica was dropping some major true bombs left and right. Needless to say, I was ALL about it. Especially when she discussed how giving yourself permission to live your best life, you’re giving others permission to live their best lives as well! All of her insights on this topic hit home for me, so if you’re looking for a pick-me-up post, I’d give this a read as soon as possible. P.S. Who else joined in for Brand Out because I LOVED it. Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments on her tips!

2| How to Find Community in the Blogging World from Summer

Summer is one of those bloggers I can always trust for some amazing blogging advice, and this post was no different. I loved reading more about what specific things you should look for when looking for a blogging community that’s right for you and your blog. She also talks about the importance of community in the blogging world, which is something I needed to be reminded of. What are some of your favorite blogging communities and groups that you’re part of through social media? I’d love to check them out!

3| Summer Reading List from Neely

Guys, I needed a little reading motivation this month. The last two months have been slow in terms of books that I’ve read, so I’m hoping to change that for June and July. Neely has amazing taste in books, although I might be biased because I think her and I have similar taste in genres of books, which is why I trust her reviews and opening of books. Her post gave me a ton of new titles to add to my list for summer. I’m hoping to knock out three books or more for summer, so I want to get to it.

4| How to Stay Motivated from Rachel

Sometimes, it can be difficult to always stay motivated and stay on top of every to-do list, task and list of goals you have set for yourself. I love how she talks about the importance of finding your high energy times throughout the day so you can focus on your most important to-do list items for productivity. Organization and scheduling your day is so important to getting things done and staying motivated! If you’re trying to work on these things, check out her post!

5| Finding Work-Life Balance in a 24/7 World from Kristen

We simply live in a world where we are expected to work all the time and that’s not healthy whatsoever. It’s so important that we take time to set work aside, destress, unwind and recharge for the next day, so we can have another productive day at work! When I fist started my full-time job, I was all about working extra hours, checking emails at any hour of the day, etc. Now, when 5 p.m. rolls around, emails stop and I give myself the rest of the evening to relax and take the time to work out, read, spend time with Josh, etc. How do you unwind after a long day?

What have you been loving this month? What are some posts you have read this month that you have loved from your blog or from other bloggers? Make sure to share the links in the comments below!

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Why You Should Say Yes & Take Risks

Let me first say that I’m all about saying no when it makes sense to say no. For example, I will always say no to anything I know I truly can’t commit my time to in order to get that project or task done. I think it’s important to know when you should say no because it helps you understand what your limits are.

Recently, I have noticed a trend in my life where I kept saying no so much that life wasn’t enjoyable. I let fear dictate every decision even if it was to meet a friend for happy hour after work. Living with anxiety isn’t easy, and it’s something that was truly affecting my ability to say yes. Instead, I kept saying no.

I become so comfortable with saying no, that I stopped saying yes to opportunities. I stopped taking risks even if they were GOOD risks!

No bueno. Am I right?

I became comfortable with saying no because I didn’t want to take risks. I was afraid to take risks. I had already taken some risks, so I convinced myself that I no longer needed to say yes and take risks in life. My life felt stagnant because that’s what saying no and NOT taking risks does: It leaves you in a space when you’re not gaining or losing anything. You’re at a standstill. And that’s boring, and it’s not what I wanted my life to look like anymore.

There are so many things I said no to even things I wanted to say yes to. But the uncertainty of failing and fear consumed my mind and heart so much that I kept saying no. I continued to sit at a stagnant point in my life and truly not succeed.

If you’re questioning if you should take a risk whether it’s for a career move, beginning your business, writing a book, a relationship, moving across the country—do it. Don’t sit back and wait. There might not be time later in life. You’re always going to have fears regarding the risk you want to take, or saying yes to an opportunity. And that’s okay!

It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t say no ONLY because you’re afraid. 

If we were to only wait to do things when we felt “ready,” we wouldn’t accomplish anything. REAL TALK: You’re never truly going to feel “ready” to ask for that promotion, move to a different country, start your business that you’ve always dreamed of, but allowing fear to determine your future isn’t the answer.

So, I’m making a change.

Today, I will stop living in fear of all the things that could go wrong, and focus on all the things that could go right. Live is too short to say no to opportunities that will help you grow and get you to where you want to be in life. I let fear control me and my decisions for too long, and now—it’s time to say yes and it’s time to take a risk.

There are a lot of risks I’m hoping to take this year. And I hope you feel confident and comfortable to take that risk you’ve been wanting to take, too. I hope you feel confident and comfortable to say yes to that new opportunity you’ve been thinking about. Because if it’s still in your mind, it’s worth taking the risk.

What risks do you want to take this year? What is an opportunity you want to say yes to, but haven’t yet because you were afraid? Make sure to share your experiences in the comments below!

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How To Save An Extra $400 This Month

Yes, you heard that right. You can save extra money whether you want to believe it or not.

But it’s going to take a little bit of sacrifice and a little extra work at home! But it IS possible and it is definitely worth it, especially if you’re looking to save up for a trip, new home, etc.

When I moved to Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to be conscious with my money. Now that I was working my first real job, and paying real bills—keeping my spending habits on track was important for me. So you’re interested in saving an extra $400 a month? Keep on reading to give your wallet and savings account a little extra bliss.

1| Skip Starbucks (or that morning bagel):

Ah-ha. So, you thought I was only going to call out the coffee drinkers of the world? Well, think again. Because whether you’re having a $4 coffee or a bagel with cream cheese, you’re still spending around $100 a month or more. Make coffee at home (because you have a Keurig so you may as well use it) and budget a little extra time to have breakfast at home.

2| Pack your Lunch:

“But I only buy lunch three times a week.” Even if you’re spending a bare minimum of $10 on lunch three times a week, that’s still $120 a month. Meal prep on Sunday, and you will thank yourself later. You’re also going to save yourself a lot of extra calories by making your own food. So, if you’re looking to save money, time and calories—you’ll hit all three goals by packing your lunch.

3| Stick to the list:

How many times have you been to Target or the grocery store with a list of 10 things, yet by the end of it you have 30 or more items not on the list? When you make a list, make it a priority to stick to the list. Spend extra time making sure you’re only buying what you need. You could save around $100 or more every month by only buying what you need at the store.

4| Chill out at Happy Hour:

THE HORRER…but not really. Listen, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to happy hour ever again. Instead, take a month off from the extra drinks. You know you have a bottle of wine at home, so why not drink it? Say you only have 7 drinks a week at an average cost of $5. After tip, that’s $150. Cut back on your alcohol consumption if you’re looking to save money for a few months.

Ready to save some money? Start with the four tips above, and you’ll work your way to an extra $400 by the end of the month. Do you have any extra tips on saving money? What are you saving for (trips, new home, or wedding)? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

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