New Year Resolutions

2015 is just three days away! How crazy is that?!

I’m not usually one for making resolutions, as I feel like I never follow through. Anyone else have this problem? Maybe it’s the term “resolution” that’s getting me.

I do have some goals I’d like to achieve in 2015, as well as some tips for anyone who wants to make some resolutions along with me.

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My 2015 Goals
1. Get Healthy!: I still haven’t kicked my bad eating and exercise habits leftover from college. In 2015, I hope to take some steps toward being healthy including: regular workouts, less eating out and bringing my lunch from home more often! I have to find what works for me and stick with it.

2. Organize my life: This might sound like too general of a goal, but lately I’ve been feeling very scattered. I have no idea where my important papers are, forget when my various bills are due until a day or two before and my room looks like a tornado’s aftermath. Small steps like a filing cabinet, using a financial organizer (like Mint, as suggested by my boyfriend) and cleaning up regularly before things become a disaster zone will go a long way.

3. Donate at least 50 knitted items: A few months ago, I started making preemie sized items for Stitches from the Heart and I absolutely love it. It gives me the rewarding feeling of volunteering without the stress of a weekly commitment. I made 20 items this year, and that’s only about 3 months of knitting! 50 items is a doable goal that I hope to exceed in 2015.

4. Start saving for a down payment: How much I save will depend on what my raise is at the end of January but my boyfriend and I are committed to buying a condo in the next two years or so. Rent is just so crazy these days!

I have other things I hope to achieve as well throughout the year, but those are my four main things 🙂

Tips for your own goals
Make them actionable. What steps can you take toward achieving your goals? Don’t just come up with a broad hope that you don’t know how you can reach.

Be realistic. It’s good to have some long-term goals that you can’t achieve just yet. But don’t plan to save $40k if you only make $50k after taxes. Think about what you can reasonably do in a year. The big dream is a good thing but try breaking it down into smaller bites so it doesn’t seem so scary and impossible.

Write them down. So you can remember and check back to see whether you’re heading in the right direction.

What are your 2015 resolutions?

Links I Love

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
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I’m loving my family time but also my much needed “me time”! Here are some articles I’ve been enjoying reading lately…

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Everything Finance has some reasons to consider an online bank rather than the traditional branch-style. I haven’t made the full conversion, but I will say I do love my Ally savings account!

Time Magazine has a list of the 50 best places to visit. Time to plan your 2015 vacations!

Careerealism lists 5 signs it’s time for a new job. Something to think about in the new year…

Easy Dessert Recipes

The holiday season is a season of baking for me. I love trying out new recipes but I have a few simple go-to’s that are always a hit. If you’re scrambling to find a good cookie recipe, check out my favorites: /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/60f/60067433/files/2014/12/img_2759.jpg
Chocolate Chip Cookies – You can never go wrong with these. They’re a classic recipe that just about everyone loves.

Funfetti Cookies – A super simple recipe that makes about two dozen cookies. You can even see if they have the “holiday” cake mix!

Red Velvet Cookies (pictured above) – Festive, right? You can also change up the toppings to include your favorites!

If none of these tickle your fancy, check out this list from AllRecipes.com or these 5 ingredients or less recipes on Food.com. There are few on each that are on my to-try-soon list!

Happy baking and merry Christmas, friends!

Unique Wrapping Ideas

I don’t know about you, but wrapping is my least favorite part of gift giving. And of course, I always leave it until the very last minute. For example, I’ve yet to wrap any of my gifts for this year!

When I do get around to wrapping presents though, I like to make it extra special. Here are a few wrapping ideas I’ve got:

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No Nametag – I’m not sure if this is the definition of genius or laziness (or both?), but for as long as I can remember, my mom hasn’t put nametags on our presents. Instead she wraps each person’s presents in a particular wrapping paper and then wraps a candy bar in the same wrapping paper and puts it in the bottom of our stocking under all of our other stocking stuffers.

It’s a win-win for her. She doesn’t have to write out lots of nametags and we can’t peek at the presents since we don’t know which are ours!

Inception – A box inside a box inside a box inside a box. Frustrating for them but hilarious to watch!

The Big Box – One year my parents gave my brother an iPod and I came up with the (genius) idea of taping it to the bottom of a massive box filled with tissue paper. Another hilarious outcome!

“Takeout” Containers – this one might not be unique but I just love these containers. Michael’s and other craft stores have pretty take out boxes which you can decorate and fill with a present – candy, tickets, gift cards and more!

Fake Out – When we were younger, my brother hated getting clothes as presents. I mean, what boy wouldn’t? So one year, I got him a cool video game or something but I wrapped it in a leftover gift box from some clothing store. He was so disappointed when he peeled back the wrapping paper but so excited once he opened the box itself!

For other fun and crafty ideas, check out these links: Martha Stewart; Southern Living; Tips from Buzzfeed

Good luck with wrapping your presents, everyone! Hopefully the thought of how happy your recipients will be gets you through it – it works for me!