Think Positive Monday: Make Commitments, Not Resolutions

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

Happy New Year! I too am suffering from holiday break hangover this morning. It was a festive, indulgent, and relaxing holiday vacation. Now, we are refreshed and looking at the blank slate that is the New Year with optimism and high hopes. 

Yes, New Years, the time of resolutions. We all make them, even if we don’t broadcast them out over social media or to our friends and family, I can’t help but believe we all make small decisions to improve ourselves and our lives.

Many sound the same: live a healthier lifestyle, save money, lose weight, sleep more, quit smoking, drink less. 

I personally have vowed to follow two resolutions:

1. Save More Money

2. Relax More (a hard endeavour for an overly anxious woman like myself)

But the problem with resolutions? By March most of them have gone out the window. We are overly optimistic these first few weeks, thinking we hold the ability to turn our lives around. Then our busy schedules, stress, and old habits start to come back.

Fact: We always have the ability to turn out lives around.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are all overly vague. They are broad, general, ideas. So, you say want to live a healthier lifestyle…have you selected your meal plan or your weekly gym routine? How will you hold yourself accountable?

Yes, I’m determined to save more money, but without a working budget, a list of things we are going to cut from said budget, and a way to keep myself on track, that determination is nothing more than an optimistic thought. I say I want to relax, but if I don’t have a plan for the entire year of how to stress less I will never make any changes.

This may sound obvious, but if it is so obvious, why do so many people fail on their New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s all about the commitment. The act of following through, which takes an action plan and dose of daily intention. 

I vow to not just make resolutions but to make commitments. In order to save money we are in the process of dropping our cable subscription and finding ways to cut back on our grocery budget. In order to relax more I’m going to commit to practicing meditation and yoga,  go to bed earlier, and teach my mind to learn that it’s okay to let things be. 

What commitments do you plan to make for the new year and what is your plan for following through on them?

 

 

2014 A Year in Review

Another year come and gone. I feel it’s important to reflect back on what the past year has given us, before we start anticipating what we may receive in the new year. I had fun looking back at 2014 via my blog.

 I wanted to thank each and every one of my readers. You don’t know how much I appreciate your comments, thoughts, and support. Thank you for following along on this adventure with me!

2014 was busy. Sometimes it felt like we were never home. We took multiple weekends away to Philly, DC, Annapolis. And a few more trips to Avalon, Scranton, Gettysburg, the Finger Lakes, and a big trip to Jamaica. I celebrated the shower, bachelorette party, and beautiful wedding of my best friend. 

I watched less movies but read 29 books. I tried countless new recipes and finally mastered my half broken oven and didn’t burn every cookie I baked. We powered through another school year for Ryan and I grew to appreciate my job more. We experienced disappointment and loss and debated what our future would hold. Ryan accepted a new job for after graduation. 

We made family time (both our little family and our extended family) a priority. We learned to love with bigger hearts through our mistakes. And through it all, we kept our hearts full of hope. Although this year did not hold any huge milestones, I feel the little ones, the ones full of simple moments of joy and hope, are the paving stones to our future. 

So here’s a look back at our 2014:

January

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In January we celebrated a simple New Years Eve where I decided to make my word of the year be “Respect”. I vowed to value my personal choices and opinions and to schedule me time throughout the year. 

While we were surviving one of the snowiest and coldest winters in PA record, I learned that I really need to Stop Apologizing so much and was also very brave and did my very first vlog

February

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In February we survived more snow and cold and battled some cabin fever. I survived by doing lots of baking and cooking and reflecting on everything love related. (In honor of Valentine’s Day). I shared some love lessons I’ve learned since becoming a newlywed as well as what my favorite romance movies have taught me about love. One of my most favorite posts share “Why We Work” as a couple.

I also reflected a little bit on the weirdness of blogging

March

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In March I attacked my closet and addiction to clothes and did a massive clean out. We celebrated with friends for St. Patrick’s day and I longed for warmer months.

The celebration continued as I wished Ryan a Happy Birthday in this letter (my most read post of all time) and followed that celebration with me turning 31. Ryan and I had a getaway in Annapolis, MD and I shared 31 things I’ve learned in 31 years

April 

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My mom underwent some surgery and it pushed me to take some pressure off of myself when it came to this blog. And I haven’t look back since. I discovered where my inspiration comes from and decided to only post when I felt like it, not 4-5 days a week like I used to.

This month I did a lot of bridal shower planning for my best friend and spent time with family. But I did manage to write an article in Defense of English Majors like myself, interview Ryan, and share a blast from the past, talking about growing up in the 80’s and the 90’s

May

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In May I threw my best friends “Love Birds” themed bridal shower. One of my decorations was this Tissue Paper Garland that I shared a DIY video tutorial for. I also celebrated my Mom’s on Mother’s Day and shared some of the best advice she has ever given me. 

I discussed my Fear of the Unknown as Ryan wraps up his third year of Law School and we begin to think where we will be living next year. And along the same lines, I shared how I think Marriage is always Like a Seesaw. 

June

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This summer I took a big break from blogging to enjoy the season. After such a long winter I wanted to do nothing else but sit outside and read and bask in the sun. 

We celebrated our first wedding Anniversary in the Finger Lakes region of New York and I made this video highlighting our first year of love

Next I honored my Dad on Father’s Day and praised the merits of summer. before heading off to celebrate my besties bachelorette weekend!!!

July

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On July 5 I was was Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding! So much fun!

Then I finally got around to sharing our anniversary trip recap and photos and also got deeper with a talk about the role Social Media plays in our lives.

As I prepped to go on vacation to Jamaica I dived into some body issue talk

August

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JAMAICA BABY! It’s safe to say that this family vacation, recapped here and here, was the highlight of my 2014. We spent a week at a resort in the beginning of August. 

After returning to real life, I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary. The rest of the summer was filled with fun day trips and time with friends before Ryan headed off to his last first day of school

September

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September was good to us. Maggie turned 8 and I celebrated by sharing 5 ways she makes me a better person. We had a great weekend at my best friend’s lake house in Scranton. And then we then had a beautiful weekend at the Jersey Shore I love the beach in September, followed by a weekend in Annapolis and DC with my best friend from college.

I also discussed how being a newlywed isn’t always unicorns and roses. And, I made a point of celebrating the small things and trying to take life one day a a time. 

October

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October was a big month!

In October I was excited to start a new series: Recently Read and Think Positive Mondays.

We also celebrated Pop-Pop’s 89th Birthday as well as surprised Ryan’s mom for her birthday.  I discussed books a lot with another blast from the past  and talking about my love of real books over e-books (that’s backed by  science!)

I also took a girls’ trip to NYC for a weekend and to see Beautiful.

But most importantly we celebrated Ryan accepting a job offer in Wilmington after graduation! 

November 

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 November seemed like a slow month, as we crawled into the busyness of the holiday season. We threw Ryan’s parents a surprise Anniversary party. I talked about making time to do what you love every single day. For me it’s reading and finding quiet time. I questioned my identity in relation to my hometown and where I live. I wrote Ryan a Love Letter of Gratitude and also expressed gratitude on Thanksgiving

December

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This December was one of the fastest on record for me! We selected our Christmas tree, got it all decorated, and had it crash into our piano a few days later. Which made me write this post comparing Christmas Trees to Marriage. We saw Tedeschi Trucks Band in concert and did Karaoke and dancing in Philly for a good friend’s Birthday and I discussed more books

An increase of violence in our nation and in our small town had me reflecting on community, neighbors, and trust. 

We baked and decorated hundreds of cookies, sang our hearts out, and celebrated Christmas to the fullest. Family came in town for a week and we had a lovely family Christmas. 

Once again, thanks for being a good friend and following along! I hope you’ll join us for 2015!

Happy New Year!

I got to have a little RESPECT

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The first few days of 2014 have been full of celebrating with many toasts, kisses, inspiration, and laughter. A great deal of ideas and hopes and promises for the upcoming year were thrown around. And now, I’m back at work and 2014 has me feeling a bit overwhelmed. Looking at this year ahead is filling me with anxiety. What if I can’t hold on to my promises? What if my hopes are simply too big? How do I get started? I feel like there is too much other “stuff” in the way, blocking me from all that I want to accomplish in 2014. What if I fail?

As I mentioned earlier this week, I don’t really do New Years Resolutions. I’d much rather have hopes. The word “goals” scares me a bit as it makes me figuratively run straight to those hills called “procrastination”. All over blogland, bloggers are choosing a single word for 2014. Their “mantra” for the upcoming year. I’ve decided to follow in those footsteps and after much thought I’ve chosen the word RESPECT. (feel free to sing it out like Aretha Franklin, I did!)

2014 is my year to respect my hopes and inspirations.

I tend to get lazy. I easily fall back on old habits. Or worse, I find myself putting others wants and needs before my own, letting my dreams settle like ignored dust bunnies under my desk. Today I chose to respect my hopes enough to put them first.

I vow to respect myself enough to know that I deserve all of my individual hopes and dreams. That I am good enough to obtain them and live them out.

I want to build confidence in myself, my work, and my, dare I say it, goal completion. I want to challenge myself in 2014 and give myself enough respect to know that I am stronger than I think.

Respect for my mind:

I hope to challenge my writing and this little blog and take it to new places.

I hope to get back to reading more often and a larger variety of literature.

I hope to take on new opportunities and to say “yes” more often.

Respect for my body: I hope to respect that my body and all of its flaw.I hope to stop being ashamed of those flaws.  I hope to take better care of it and give it love.

Body, it’s time for you and me to be friends. We have many years ahead together, and we can do so much.

Respect for my soul – I hope to nourish myself more. Leave more time for “me” as well as for the little family that is Ryan and I.

I hope to have more patience with myself and with Ryan.

I hope to be less afraid. To not back away from goals that seem too big or too long to obtain. Even things that seem so obtainable like saving more and spending less.

I hope to stop comparing myself and my life to others.

I hope to remember that I deserve to have my own hopes – and that they are okay even if they are different from others.

I hope to embrace my individuality.

I want to push open every window in my home and let in all the possibilities. Yes, some days it may rain. Some days it may be so cold that I just want to curl up in bed and forget everything else. But avoidance as not taken me where I want to be in life. I will get back up and attack the fears. I will leave the windows open. I will listen to and respect my hopes.I will respect my choices and go after my dreams.

I want to soak up so much of my life that its beauty radiates from me. I want to be full of beauty.

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

Close Your Eyes

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Take a moment and try something with me. And I promise, only a moment, this excercise should take you all of 1 minute.

Take a big breath, exhale, and close your eyes. Now, picture your future. Remember only take  a minute or less. What do you see? What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

December flew by in a whirlwind of pine and peppermint scented flashes. It was one of my best Christmas seasons to date and I tried to lick up and savor every little moment. In fact, this whole year has been pretty spectacular.  On Friday, I posted about my top 5 memories. Yet, I’m finding myself in an all to familiar state of mind on this second to last day of 2013.

Where have I been and where am I going?

This week between Christmas and New Years provides amble time for reflection. Honestly, I’ve been pretty down these past few days. Call me out for being a baby, but I’m so sad December is over. You see, all of the anticipation, joy, and love that surrounds Christmas fills me with hope. Hope that the future is bright. Hope in the power of love. Even when I would be feeling knocked down at work, or when I would feel the stress of bills and money being tight, the thought of going home to my tree or looking forward to a family tradition or gathering would get me through the day.

I wallowed a bit more than I’d like to admit this weekend. With the magic of December fading away, I felt like we were getting stuck back in the daily grind. Ryan going back to his night-time law school classes (1.5 more years sounds both short and long), saving money, and getting through the stressful days. But like most good wallowing it allowed me to reflect and look ahead to the New Year.

Ah yes, that time when we all make grand New Years Resolutions. Well, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They are empty promises. I think going to the gym on January 2 and then going again on February 2 will prove my point.

Instead, I like to keep things simple.  And by simple, I mean breaking down your life into what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. Why not choose happy?

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The question, “What are your plans for the future?” has the tendency to make my heart rate go up and my palms sweat. We are trained to look at our life in 5 year increments. Our future looks like a tall ladder with rungs marked with stages like “Graduate”, “Find your perfect career” “Get married” “Buy a house” “Kids” “Retire”. Really, none of us has a clue. You can’t plan out this life.

What you can do is have hopes. I choose to hold on to my hopes as I navigate through this messy life. My hopes are what make me happy, what get me through the day.

This is what I seen when I close my eyes and think of the future:

Ryan, myself, a dog, and an undisclosed amount of children (sometimes it’s 2 sometimes it’s 3) lying in a big bed with the fluffiest white pillows and softest white sheets you’ve ever seen. My vision is in black and white and we are surrounded by photos of family and dear friends.

That’s it.

Everything that is important to me is in and surrounding that bed. Plain and Simple.

Who knows when that image will become my reality. This year?  The next? Five years from now? Nevertheless, that is my hope for the future, that is what makes me happy. That image will replace my beloved Christmas tree, music, traditions. I choose to carry the joy and hope that Christmas brings with me through the year. What I see when I close my eyes will be my beacon – my north star guiding me to stay on track to my future. Why put off happiness?

Because, it’s time to face the music. Today IS yesterday’s future and I’m ready to choose happy, no matter what.

xoxo katie

 

 

 

Favorite Moments of 2013

Christmas is over.

I’m back at work, sitting at my desk trying not to cry that there is no more Christmas music, movies, or people being extra nice. The Christmas hangover seems four times worse this year.

Know why? Because it’s been a pretty damn great year over here. As I grow older, I feel like I’m always saying something similar to, “This was the best year yet!!!”. But truly, this year was full of so much love and growth. Each year is a blessing and I feel like I become more and more aware of that as I accumulate more years under my belt – which in turn makes my days so much fuller.

And it’s not just the big blessings, like vacations, our wedding, and success at school and work. The smaller everyday moments, when added all together, turn our life into the beautiful masterpiece we will look fondly back on when we are in our 80’s talking about the good old days. I’m talking about the good morning kisses, the sing a longs in the kitchen, the chats with parents, the meals with Pop-Pop, the walks around our neighborhood. That is life. That is what we will remember.

Who knows what 2014 holds for us. We have some hopes but fate is always full of surprises. But I never give up on our hopes, they are what define us as a person and couple. We look forward to the adventure.

As we prepare to say goodbye to another year, I wanted to share five of my favorite BIG moments of 2013.

1. New Years 2013 in Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques Puerto RicoDecember 31, 2012 it was a blustery and cold day as Ryan and I boarded a flight headed to a very small island off of Puerto Rico. Veiques is a gorgeous island with some of the most pristine and tourist free beaches in the world. There is only one hotel on the island. All other accommodations are inns and rentals. We had quite an adventure staying in a waterfront apartment, exploring the island on a jeep and checking out the local cafes. Other highlights included the Bioluminescent Bay kayak tour, wild horses, and getting lost in the jungle.

New Years eve was spent dancing in the street to a Puerto Rican band with about 100 other revelers, sipping drinks out of paper cups, and dipping our feet in the ocean. You cannot beat that for New Years!!

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2. My 30th Birthday/Bachelorette combo Party

On March 26 I turned 30 and was excited about it! Most people are hesitate about saying goodbye to their youth. Not me, I’m celebrating getting older – it’s a gift some people are never able to receive…not to mention my 20’s were a MESS! I loved my casual joint 30th Birthday/Bachelorette party at a cabin in the mountains. It was a small group of just my bridesmaids. We had so much fun just being silly together, shopping, eating, drinking, making YOLO t-shirts, hot tubbing it, and singing karaoke. It’s rare for all of us to be together – so it was really special to me.

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3. Our Wedding

I think this is pretty self-explanatory – but yes I loved every minute of our wedding and most of every minute of our wedding planning. I loved sharing our vows to each other in front of all our family and friends. I loved having an excuse to get all of our family and friends together for a big party. I loved all the preparations and how it was a reason for my Mom and I to bond for 6 months. And yes, I loved my dress. It was a simple yet elegant Sunday and we were very lucky.

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4. My Mom’s Surprise 60th Birthday Party!

On July 9 my mom and best friend turned 60! After all that she did for me for my wedding I wanted to give her a big celebration. Together, Ryan, my dad, and I planned a SURPRISE birthday party at Ryan and I’s house. My mom loves all things beach and ocean related so the theme was easy. I had a blast planning and preparing all ocean themed decorations and food. About thirty guests attended and we managed to keep the surprise under wraps. The night was so much fun!

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5. Taylor Swift Concert with Kay Marie 

 Also in July, my bff and I went to go see Taylor Swift in concert for our second time together. I have no shame in expressing my complete love for Tay Tay. People can knock her relationships and music as much as they want, I will never waver. Girl is talented, driven, positive, and a great role model. We had so much fun rocking out with all the teens and moms at the sold out stadium. We even had fun waiting for 1.5 hours in between sets until a terrible thunder storms passed through. I’m so happy by bestie shares my love of Taylor!

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 2014, I’m ready! Come and get me!!

xoxo katie