New Year’s Resolutions for Every Type of Person

Having trouble coming up with a New Year’s resolution? Look no further than this post because here are some potential resolution ideas to help you meet a 2016 goal!

For the Budgeting Bosses

  1. Start coupon clipping – Save money by browsing through sites like Coupons.com, Groupon and RetailMeNot.com. Many grocery stores have online coupons like Kroger, Target, Publix and Walmart. Sometimes going to brand websites can also result in coupon discoveries. In addition, don’t forget to regularly go through coupons in the mail. Keep your coupons organized digitally through apps like SnipSnap Coupon App and the various other coupon/discount apps. And if you’re into online shopping, definitely sign up for ebates.com where you can earn money back from your purchases through this site. Be sure to let them know I referred you here!
  2. Sell your old stuff – Take your old clothes to Plato’s Closet. Auction it off on eBay or Amazon. Give your friends a heads up on Facebook. Go to local stores that sell used goods like MovieStop or GameStop. Not everything you have can be sold, but if it’s in good condition, it’s definitely worth a shot!
  3. Try a money challenge – There are endless challenges to help you save money (52-week challenge, no spend challenge, 10% challenge). If following a plan isn’t for you, try creating your own plan where you put aside a set amount of money that is suitable for you.

For the Fitness Fiend

  1. Workout with a fitness app – Smartphones are a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to your health. Download apps like Couch to 5k or 7 Minute Workout to help you make some progress in your fitness.
  2. Enroll in a workout class – Sometimes having an instructor can push you even further in your workout, and sometimes working out with a group can make you enjoy it more. Don’t shy away from classes! Even if you’re a beginner, you can learn a lot from those who have been at it for a while.
  3. Try a different style of workout – Maybe you’ve been slacking on your workouts because it’s getting stale. Spice it up by trying different types of exercises like yoga, pilates, swimming, kick boxing, barre, cycling, etc.

For the DIY Diva

  1. Sell your crafts – If you’re really good at something, odds are that someone out there is willing to pay money for it. Create your own Etsy shop and give people the chance to see the amazing things you make. You can also think local and see if there are any upcoming events where you can be a vendor.
  2. Challenge yourself – So you’ve become an expert in crocheting? Try expanding your skill set to knitting and sewing. Or take a leap and try woodworking. Who knows – if you’re really good with your hands, who is to say you won’t succeed in other arenas of crafting?
  3. DIY to change the world – Lend a helping hand to those who need it by offering your products to those who need it. Try making quilts for wounded veterans by working with American Hero Quilts. Or knit hats for children in Russia. There are a ton of ways to put your hobbies to work!

For the Food Fanatic

  1. Do a tour of seven cities – Or three. Or twelve. The number is really up to you. But travel to different cities, small or big, and try some of the restaurants recommended by locals. You never know what delicious meals you might find!
  2. Start cooking with exotic foods – Be an adventurer and start exploring international grocery stores like H-Mart and Assi. You’ll find lots of unique foods that you can experiment with and use to add a little spice to your dishes.
  3. Create homemade recipes – It’s so easy to hit the stores and pick up chicken stock or a jar of pasta sauce. Start this year off with original, homemade recipes that can make you a legend in the kitchen. Plus, you’ll be able to control exactly what goes into your food, so you might find yourself with healthier options for lunch and dinner!

For the Wanderlust Wanderer

  1. Move somewhere where you have no connections – Be bold. Be brave. Moving somewhere where you have no connections is daunting, but it’s worth it if you want to truly understand what it means to be on your own.
  2. Organize a roadtrip – So you don’t want to make a permanent commitment to a new city? Well, plan a road trip and stop by all the cities you’ve ever wanted to visit. Maybe you’ll fall in love with a city.  And don’t forget to pick a few road trip buddies to tag along to make the long rides more entertaining.
  3. Travel more – Whether it’s to a different part of town, a city, state or country, just go. Traveling doesn’t mean that you need to pack your bags and buy a plane ticket. Any adventure is a good adventure, so pick a destination and go!
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A Real-Life Superwoman

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Happy holidays and happy birthday to the most badass woman I know. My grandmother will be turning 93 this month, and I figured there is no better time than now to celebrate her.

My favorite memories of her are from simpler days. I remember her giving me piggy back rides around the house and chasing my sister around the house when we were kids. I remember her waking me up for elementary school and knocking on the bathroom door every time I fell asleep while brushing my teeth. I remember her teaching me addition and subtraction by laying out chopsticks on the floor. She has been there for every single part of my life, and I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall for her life before me.

It’s hard to believe she had an entire life before coming to the United States. Even though I see her as my sweet grandmother, her stories of being a teenager in Vietnam are full of mischief and badassery.

When she was in high school, there was this guy that annoyed her to no end. One day during school, she spotted him outside hanging with his friends and decided it was time to teach him a lesson. There was a coconut tree right outside her school, so she and her friends went up to a higher level where they helped my grandmother lean out the window and pull a coconut from the tree. She chucked the coconut right at his head, and after that, he never bothered her again.

Another time when she was in high school, she was hanging out with her friends in the courtyard when her teacher came up from behind and scared her. She thought she was being attacked, so she grabbed a broken branch off the ground and started beating him until he fell. When she realized it was her teacher, she didn’t apologize. She yelled at him instead for sneaking up behind her.

My favorite story was the time she almost got kidnapped in a taxi. She had gotten a taxi to go home, but the taxi driver tried to take her somewhere else. When she realized he was trying to kidnap her, she started screaming and attacking him from the back seat. Then she punched out his windows and escaped.

Those are only a few of the stories that she’s told me over the years. Her stories tell of a lifetime of always standing her ground, never backing down, and never apologizing for what is out of her control, but you would never be able to tell that by the way she takes care of the people she loves. She is everything I aspire to be. She is a real-life superwoman.

How Silver Linings Changed My Life

New Year’s Eve 2014 – I got cussed out by a homeless woman. We struck up a conversation, and in parting, I wished her a happy new year full of good luck and great people, which I think is a totally acceptable thing to say, right? Well then she told me to f*** off, so maybe she wasn’t a big fan of that. Even though I laugh about it now, it was the first of many unfortunate events in the former half of my year.

Over the span of five months, I had a few junior year meltdowns, blew a handful of interviews and lost out on two positions that I really wanted. By the end of May, I was at the point where I was either going to quit or find a way to get my life together.

So I thought about something that my friend from high school told me. During our senior year, she told me that she had always admired my ability to see the silver lining when things got bad. I realized that I had made it to the end of my junior year of college, and somewhere along the way, I had forgotten how to appreciate life. From that point on, I chose to love life even when times got tough.

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I implemented what I like to call my Silver Linings Method, where all you need are four simple words to completely change your perspective in not-so-desirable situations. When something goes wrong, all you have to say is “on the bright side…” and think of something positive to take away from the situation. It forces you to take a step back and see the bigger picture, which is something we can struggle with as college students juggling 12 things at once.

Last semester, I interviewed for three internships that I didn’t get, and it hit me pretty hard because up until then, I had gotten every internship that I interviewed for. On the bright side, losing those internships gave me the motivation to rework my interviewing strategy, and I actually got the next internship that I interviewed for.

Today, I am a completely different person. I walk more confidently, talk more honestly and most importantly, I think more positively. I know that no matter what comes my way, no matter what mistakes I make or opportunities pass me by, there will always be a silver lining.

The world works in mysterious ways, and even though we all have to deal with difficult things sometimes, it’s important to stay positive. There’s always something to learn, something to take away and something to appreciate.

So what was my silver lining to getting cussed out by a homeless woman? Well on the bright side, I learned I should probably listen to my friends when they tell me to stop talking to random homeless people.

Note: For anyone going through some tough times right now, please read this article. It will change your life the same way it changed mine.

Fun Times at Suwanee Fest

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Every fall the city of Suwanee, Georgia has Suwanee Fest, which is a huge community event at Town Center Park (a.k.a. the cutest park ever for families). Nearly a hundred exhibitors come to sell their products or services, and people from surrounding areas come to enjoy the good energy, delicious food and live music.

This year was my second time at Suwanee Fest, and even though I was only supposed to spend two hours there, I ended up staying five hours. It’s funny how these things happen, right?

Well I couldn’t leave until I made my first loop around, then I had to make multiple other trips to compare prices for similar knick-knacks. I ended up only buying edible things (surprise, surprise), but I wanted to buy everything.

I actually fell in love with a teacup made by A. HER Artistry. It was a wide-rimmed, white teacup with the word “peace” written across it, and if you haven’t heard about my love for plain, white dinnerware, you will eventually. This was the prettiest damn teacup I have ever seen, and I was thisss close to buying it until I was told they didn’t take card.

Note to all home business owners: buy a credit card reader for your iPhone/iPad/whatever NOW because people just don’t carry cash anymore. And just to make this easier for you, here is one from Apple that’s only $9.95.

To cope with not being able to buy that teacup, I stopped by the Serenity Gardens tent which was manned by Chef Sharon, who makes homemade jams, spreads, and sauces. I bought muscadine jelly for my roommate, who basically lives off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sweet Vidalia mustard for me because I love both onions and mustard, and red raspberry spread just for fun. I also made a stop at Maeday BBQ Sauces because I’ve been on the hunt for some good ass barbeque sauce, specifically a honey mustard BBQ sauce (which I used to make pulled pork last week, and it was the bomb).

And we couldn’t leave without showing some love to the Georgia SPCA. Shout out to them for letting me play with puppies and having cute mugs!

I’ll see you again next year Suwanee Fest!

Welcoming Fall at World Market

You guys, it rained for like seven days in Athens. SEVEN. At first it was nice to have a little drizzle, but by the fourth day, people were not having it at all. I wasn’t too fond of the crappy weather, BUT I managed to keep my spirits up with a little help from World Market.

In preparation for the fall season, I gave my retail therapy a fall theme. The Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea was the best way to greet the day in the mornings. If you’re not into the pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, I would high suggest this tea because a) it tastes like fall (pumpkin and cinnamon) and b) it’s so light yet filling at the same time.

Making a cup of the pumpkin spice chai tea is also a sure way to make your kitchen smell delicious, but if you want a little something extra, you should try World Market’s Madagascar Vanilla candle. I’m usually deterred from vanilla scented candles because they smell so artificial, but this one was so homey and light, and I couldn’t resist.

During my trip, I also bought Dolcetto Cookies which were a nice treat at the end of the day.

Obviously it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, and these little things have definitely kept me sane during these nine days without sunshine. The weather is clearing up though, so I am super excited to be able to go outside and enjoy the fall weather.

Let’s De-stress!

Three weeks into school and three weeks into the most stressful semester of my college career thus far. I knew I was in for quite the ride when I enrolled in a 15-hour semester, took on a 20-hour work week, and signed up to be the historian for PRSSA, co-logistics coordinator for the PRSSA 2015 National Conference and PR coordinator for Counterpoint Dance Company. The funny thing is that I wasn’t even forced to do any of this. I just wanted to!

A year ago I would have been so burnt out on all of this, but I have never felt better about everything that I am involved in. I wake up around 7 a.m. and usually call it a day around 7:30 p.m. On my longer days, I’m not done until 10 p.m., but it never really feels that late until I walk outside and don’t see sunlight. With the hours that are left in the day, I usually cook, eat or do homework.

Unfortunately being in class/work/meetings for the majority of the day means that I don’t have much time to decompress, and I’m just starting to realize the consequences of being “on” all the time. I have trouble focusing on one thing at a time, and anything that doesn’t get written down in my agenda doesn’t get done. I feel myself becoming more disorganized and frantic, which is super unlike me.

In order to combat the effects of my busy and sometimes exhausting schedule, I’ve been slowly implementing some ways to de-stress throughout the week. Here are my favorite ways to de-stress!

1. Work Out

Even if it’s for five or ten minutes, I make sure I squeeze in some time to box or do some crunches. Like Elle Woods said:

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”

2. Shop

For me, shopping is my favorite way to de-stress. Obviously this is the easiest way to create more stress for myself by depleting my bank account, but there’s just something that makes me so happy about having something brand new. Here’s my tip for this: only buy something that is less than $5 and on sale! Clearance is your best friend!

3. Paint Your Nails

I have a pretty extensive collection of nail polishes, and I’ve got a favorite color for every season. When I feel myself needing a little me time, I put down all my books, put on some music (currently listening to James Bay), and paint my nails. It makes me focus on one thing at a time, and it forces me to take a break from everything while the paint dries.

4. Get Some Fresh Air

Never underestimate the power of the outdoors. Now I am in no way an outdoorsy girl, and I will happily admit to that. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate it. Sometimes I just need to sit outside and just realize how beautiful the world is and how lucky I am to be a part of it. Nature, man.

5. Watch Dog Videos

I kid you not – I once spent an hour watching videos of dogs digging holes on YouTube. There’s really no explanation for this except that it’s nearly impossible to be stressed when you’re looking into those adorable puppy dog eyes.

6. Watch A Funny Show On Netflix

Laughter is the best medicine and a great cure for stress! So when I am in need of a good laugh, I go to Netflix and watch something guaranteed to make me smile. My current obsession is Saved by the Bell on Netflix because nothing is better than 90’s feel-good shows. And come on, who doesn’t love Zack Morris?

7. Spend Time With Friends

Although shopping is my favorite way to de-stress, this one is probably the most important way. The problem with being busy all the time is that you don’t spend enough time with your friends – you know, the people that you’ve laughed, cried, and probably took shots with? There is no substitute for a good friend. They know you probably more than you know yourself, and in times of stress, you need someone who will make you feel like yourself again. So always make time for them. Always.

Notebook Makeovers

It’s that time of the year again when the Wal-Mart shelves are stocked with school supplies, and everyone is trying to soak in the last bit of summer before school starts. School supply shopping is my favorite part of ringing in the new school year, but spending money is my least favorite part.

I’m a pretty cheap person when it comes to school supplies because I end up throwing all my notebooks away at the end of the year, so I usually buy the cheapest notebooks I can find and roll with them for the rest of the semester. With this being my senior year, I really want to allow my personality to be present with all that I have and all that I do, so I decided to give my notebooks some personality on a budget.

Check out my notebook makeovers below!

Materials:

  • Notebooks ($0.17 at Wal-Mart)
  • Washi Tape/Decorative Tape
  • Clear Tape
  • Cardstock or Decorative Papers

Instructions:

  1. Wrap the front cover of the notebook with cardstock or decorative paper
  2. Tape it to the back of the front cover
  3. Run the washi tape down the seam of the decorative paper (or don’t if you want a little pocket in front)