Thursday, January 2, 2014



2013 is long gone, and it's time to start thinking of ways to make this year better than the last. I don't know about you, but I started working on my new years resolutions about a month ago. Inspired by the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I think I've fine tuned what goals I want to accomplish this year, and what better way to hold myself accountable than to post about them.

But before I do, here are some photos from a walk my mom and I went on yesterday with her dog, George. I've been in Las Vegas for the holidays, and the weather couldn't be more beautiful! A great way to start 2014!

Overall, my goals for 2014 range greatly. I have some specifically related to work, and others geared toward my health and happiness:


My largest goal that I've been working on the most over the past year and a half is getting out of debt. I've paid off over $6800 in consumer debt since October '12, and will be paying off my last outstanding credit card balance this month. Thanks to Dave Ramsey, his Total Money Makeover book, and his Financial Peace University classes, I have a plan, a budget, and a mission to live debt-free, build wealth and give. I would never have been on this track otherwise.

I still have roughly $7600 left in student loan debt (lesson learned is don't go back to school without a financial plan), but I hope to be done with it by the end of the year. It's going to take a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but it'll be worth it!


My second goal is to get my etsy shop off the ground. I recently attended a holiday craft fair, where I sold my hand-made earrings. I had attended this fair for two years prior, and had gained a lot of momentum through my coworkers and friends. With each passing year, I gained more confidence, experience, and exposure, and this last holiday season, I had quadrupled my sales from 2011, when I first exhibited.

The most inspiring part of selling my earrings is seeing the joy they bring to friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers! I much prefer the face-to-face interaction of craft shows. Not sure if it's because I have a background in customer service, but I love getting the instant feedback of my work, and seeing how happy people are when they are wearing them days or even years later.

I want to continue this growth, so I've decided to take my shop to a whole other level. This year, my goal is to get to a point where all of my materials are either hand-made from other artisans, or recycled materials. I love finding 'previously-loved' jewelry from second-hand stores. There's always a story behind each piece, and I really enjoy reviving them!

I'm hoping that by the end of the year, my earrings will have been featured on at least one blog. I've got a lot of work to do, but I couldn't be more excited to get going!


My third goal is to get my blog off the ground. I really enjoy the process of blogging, and there are so many amazing and inspiring blogs and bloggers out there that have set the stage for newbies like myself.

In order to promote creativity and increase traffic, I'll be striving to add a new post at least once a week, which is significantly more than I had been doing before.


I love reading, but I don't always make the time for it. With work, social outings with my friends, exercising, making jewelry, etc, it's hard to feel motivated to sit down and be 'unproductive' with a book. But it's time to start making time for it. So I've given myself the task of reading one book each month this year. My reading list is still in the works, but I'll publish a follow-up post with the names and authors, once I make my final decisions.


There's nothing like the holidays to make you feel like you're a complete failure at taking care of yourself. Parties and dinners and drinks and desserts sure make picking out clothes to wear a real chore, especially when nothing you own fits anymore. A new year means a new opportunity for self-reflection and personal care. There's a reason why the gym gets more crowded in January, right?

But instead of laboriously forcing myself to the gym each morning, I've decided to start with a goal that's a little easier to achieve, especially in the frigid month of January. I will be eating more greens. Whether in the forms of salad, grilled veggies, stir fries, or fresh-pressed juices, by incorporating greens into my diet, I'll be allowing my body to heal from the inside out.


Looking back on 2013, I realized that I hadn't taken very many photos. Every now and then I'd get in a mood and go crazy and blast my Instagram feed with an onslaught of images, but I'd like to be more consistent and selective with what I share. In order to enforce this new goal, I'll be uploading one (or more) image to Instagram every day. There's always something interesting to photograph, right? ;)


I have a bad habit of forgetting to wear lipstick. I'm more of a chapstick kind of girl, but lipstick does do wonders, and it's time to incorporate the simple, yet effective, beauty product into my everyday life. My current favorite color is Flower Fusion™Hyacinth from Origins, but I'd love to hear what some of your favorites are!


I've been yearning to take a Photoshop or Illustrator class. Definitely a business class. Maybe attend a workshop or brush up on my drawing skills. Learn calligraphy or something that I never thought possible. The blogosphere has provided me with overwhelming amounts of inspiration, and I'm more ready than ever to channel that energy into something productive. I just wanna learn! If you have any tips or tricks or sites you'd recommend, please let me know!


I'm a pleaser, so it's hard for me to say no to things that I don't necessarily feel right about. But saying no is a freeing action. By allowing ourselves to say the word 'no', it provides us the space to ask what we really want. What is our gut saying? What is our heart saying? 'No' can many times lead to a later 'yes'.


This goal may sound a bit hokey, but it's something that I've been neglecting for a while. When I say "Spend time with God", I simply mean to slow down and experience the present moment. Be still, and let the waters calm. Designate time to pray, to meditate, to ask Him for help. I notice that I'm calmer, more stable, more balanced, more at peace, when I incorporate 'spending time with God' into my every-day life. Everything else seems to fall into place. 

I feel that this goal is a good one to end on. A constant reminder that we have a larger purpose, and that God always has a plan. Trusting that everything happens for a reason. It is still our right as humans to make our own choices, but God will always be there to lead the way. 

That concludes my Resolutions post. Thanks so much for reading!

May your 2014 be filled with happiness and joy!

Best wishes,

Photos Copyright ® 2014 - Samantha Samuels