How to: Set New Year's Goals

The start of a brand new year is always so exciting to me! It's the opportunity to set new goals, come up with plans to try new things, and start afresh! There's often lots of talk about creating resolutions, unfortunately, most of those tend to fail after a few weeks. Instead of making resolutions, I like to set some goals that will help me to stay on track as I work toward accomplishing new things in life! Here's a few tips that have helped me on the path to success, and I know will be of benefit to you in your goal setting process.

1. Set short-range goals in addition to long-term goals. (Think in terms of day, week, month, and six-months. You'll need these in addition to a year long or even 5 year goal. Be specific!)
2. Set goals for a variety of levels. (Some should be easy to accomplish, while others may require more effort, time, and team members.)
3. Set incremental goals. (Little by little gets you to the big picture. Set benchmarks for progress assessment and accomplishment along the way!)
4. Get group reinforcement (Regular encouragement, accountability, and wisdom from mentors and those who are on the same journey with you can be of great benefit to accomplishment.)
5. Celebrate the achievement! (It's time to celebrate when you achieve your goal! Give yourself a reward, go out to a nice dinner, take a trip, get a new's ok to celebrate your success! You did it!!!)

Here's to a fabulous, successful, and fun 2016 ahead! 
Happy New Year!

P.S. Have a minute? Here's three extra tips for making this year your best one yet!


Merriest of Wishes

Hooray! It's one of the merriest weeks of the year! Wishing you and yours the most wonderful, fun, and joy-filled Christmas celebration! Among the presents, hot chocolate, twinkling lights, and parties with family and friends, may we never forget the reason we're celebrating this beautiful time of the year.

"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them."
Luke 2:8-20

Wishing you the merriest Christmas, and best wishes for a fabulous new year ahead!

5 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining

This time of the year often provides many opportunities to host family and friends for the holidays, and it can be overwhelming if you're not prepared. When it comes to entertaining, here's my five tried and true tips that will help you prepare for and actually enjoy the season's many celebrations. 

1. Create a gift closet/stash. 
You never know when you're going to need that last minute gift for an unexpected guest, late invitation, or surprise event. I like to keep a couple of things on hand like a set of nice notecards, candles, and even a few Starbucks gift cards. No matter what pops up on your calendar or who arrives at your family gathering (Oh hi, Aunt Martha...nice to see you again!), you'll be prepared with gift in hand! 

2. Pick up fresh flowers for the home.
Never underestimate the power of a vase of fresh blooms to spruce up your home! Even if it's a last minute get-together, keeping some flowers on your table is a great way to brighten up the room and provides an 'I was expecting you' kind of vibe for your guests! There's no need to heavily invest into a super expensive arrangement every week. Instead, swing by your local grocery store or even Trader Joe's to pick up a beautiful bunch at a great price. 

3. Light a candle. 
I love candles. There's something so cozy about a big three-wick candle flickering and creating a delightful and festive scent to the home. Guests on the way? I usually will light them about 15-20 min ahead of time to allow the smell to fill the house without being too strong. 

4. Know when to make and when to buy. 
This is a busy time for all of us, and sometimes there's just not enough time to invest an entire day in the kitchen preparing food. One of my go-to's is a gourmet market in town that makes some of the best soups, quiches, and treats. If I'm pressed for time, I'll swing by to pick up a side dish or two, throw together a big toss salad with seasonal fruits and veggies, and pick up a few desserts that can be served in addition to whatever gelato flavors are in the freezer. If you have a favorite recipe that you can whip together in record time, do that and pick up the rest. As long as it's served beautifully, no one will know the difference. It will be our little secret ;) 

5. Enjoy the moment. 
Amidst the hustle and bustle, the hunt for the perfect gifts for family and friends, and the many parties that this season brings, don't forget to enjoy the celebration! One of my favorite things to do around this time of year is to take a moment and reflect on the reason we celebrate this season, and many things I'm grateful for. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind or even the stress of the season, but when you're with friends and family, be present. Don't worry if the food is perfect or if so-and-so loves your gift, just enjoy the laughter, listen to the stories, and experience the beauty and joy that comes from being together. 


Rustic Holiday: Lydia Magazine Winter Issue

I recently styled a Rustic-inspired Christmas party for Lydia Magazine's Winter issue! Obviously not everything can make it into the glossy pages, so here's a few of my favorites from the cutting room floor and a little behind the scenes video! From a hot chocolate bar to blissful appetizer bites, and sips of french sparkling raspberry punch, we toasted to friendship, fun, and holiday cheer! Be sure to pick up a copy of the newest issue to see the full feature and to find all my tips and tricks for hosting a fabulous, fun, and festive holiday soiree! Cheers!

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