Monthly Archives

December 2011

In Tips on
December 27, 2011

Be SMART – SMART Goals System Explained

Study smarter not harder - SMART goals system tips

This post has been updated: How to Keep Your Resolutions with SMART Goals + it even has a FREE printable!

Every year I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions and every year, until this past one, I had failed. I didn’t get it. I would always start so strong but then at the end of the year I’d realize I was not healthier, I was not exercising every day, and I was not suddenly a lot richer, or more fulfilled.

That all changed after I read the book Study Smarter, Not Harder by Kevin Paul. In this book, he described the SMART goals system and it without a doubt changed the way I thought about goals and New Year’s Resolutions.

The gist of what I learned was that I was not thinking about goals the right way.

They needed to be SMART…

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-based

Here is an example: Often I hear people say around this time of year “I want to exercise more.” Well, what is more? If you exercised twice last year and then exercised three times this year, you technically met your goal. But is that a success? Is that what you meant? I doubt it.

You should say: “I want to exercise at least three times a week by the end of the year. I’ll start out slow with once a week and then work up to three times a week.”

You have a specific increment that you are aiming for, you can measure your progress, three times a week isn’t too difficult if you build up to it, it isn’t too over the top, and you have a clear ending.

Now if you said “I want to exercise everyday,” sure that is specific and measurable… but not many people have time for that. It isn’t attainable or realistic.

I hope this could help you reach your goals for next year. I’ve already finished up writing my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 (I’ll share a few of them in January) and I’m happy to say I completed 7 of my 8 resolutions from last year!

A suggestion: I like to take things in steps. I make to-do lists for each day and bigger goals for each month. I kept my resolutions in mind by reading them every morning while I set my to-do list for the day and my goals for the month. Each monthly goal I would look at as a step to my bigger resolution. If you are constantly working towards that goal, motivating yourself by accomplishing these small steps, you are more likely to reach your resolutions!

Have you started your resolutions for next year?

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In My Journal on
December 23, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

 

This Sunday is Christmas! Spending time with my family is so important to me and nothing brings us together more then the holiday season. I also love walking around in PJs most of the weekend (with my new fuzzy socks and slippers my Mom gives me every year, love them!).

In case you missed it on my daily vlogging YouTube channel, here is our Christmas tree! It took us (me, Chris, and Lina) four hours to finish and I sped it up to under  five minutes!

Very blurry screen cap of cuteness!

What is your favorite part of the holidays? (Feel free to post even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.)

 

In My Journal on
December 20, 2011

Last Minute (Special) Gift Cards

A selection of gift cards in a store in New York on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. (© Richard B. Levine)

Well, Christmas is this Sunday. If you don’t have presents yet…. what are you doing?! If you don’t celebrate Christmas still read this post and save it for other gifting occasions! 

Here are some special/not so ordinary last minute gift cards that you can get for your friends or family last minute. Some of them are e-gifts while others you will have to receive in the mail. If they don’t get there by Christmas, just make a card or forward your order confirmation to show them you got it for them.

Fun and special gift cards….

For beauty-lovers

  1. Birchbox: Gift 3-12 months of deluxe beauty samples right at your door! My fiance bought me a year of Birchbox for Christmas so now I get to open up a small gift every month! Who doesn’t want presents every month?
  2. MyGlam: The idea is similar to Birchbox but instead of samples being based around a theme, you get a look in a makeup bag! Each month the bag and the look is different. This is a new service (just launched this month) but my first bag was very impressive.

For parents (I personally would love this but I bought it for my parents and Chris’ parents)

  1. Harry and David Fruit of the Month: I only found out about Harry and David a few months ago and fell in love with the idea. Every month you are sent high quality yummy fruits! What a fun idea! They have options for large and small homes.
  2. Restaurants: Get your parents out of the house! Some (not all) parents tend to give up on their social lives after having kids. Pick someplace expensive that they normally wouldn’t splurge on themselves. A lot of options are available on the perspective restaurants web sites but if not go straight to the restaurant to pick up a physical gift card. You still have time!

*Be careful when getting normal store gift cards for parents. I can’t trust my Mom with them! Instead of treating herself she buys presents for me…. It is the sweetest thing but she clearly didn’t get the point of my present!

Experience-seekers

  1. Groupon: The receiver can buy a vacation, cupcakes at a local bakery, yoga classes, etc! There is so much to choose from daily. You can choose the amount on the card.
  2. Restaurants: Rather then more expensive restaurants, pick some off the beaten path (like themed restaurants or based on foreign country tastes). Check places out on Yelp! If they are local you are going to have to go to their physical location to get a gift voucher.

Stressed friends, family, new parents, etc.:

  1. Massage Envy: A massage gift card is such a treat. If they have youngsters, offer to babysit while they spend their gift card! They also have monthly massage club memberships!

Can you tell I love subscription services?

Share your last minute gift subscriptions in the comments! 

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In Beauty on
December 19, 2011

Easy Silver and Gold Holiday Nails

 

Nail polish used:
Base coat: Nutra Nail Mineral Nail Care
Gold color: Zoya Intimates Collection: Jules (Sample size from Birchbox)
Silver color: Kleancolor Nail Lacquer, Silver (drugstores)
Silver/Rainbow glitter: NYX Nail Polish, Saphire
Top coat: NYX Clear

Of course feel free to substitute any of the colors mentioned. I’d also like to note I got the two NYX nail polishes on Hautelook and there is coincidently another NYX sale today.

Tweet or Facebook me pictures of your holiday nails!

Happy holidays!

In Tips on
December 18, 2011

5 Blogging Lessons I’ve Had to Learn

5 Blogging Lessons I've Had to Learn

I’ve learned a heck of a lot since I started blogging five years ago. I’m counting on learning a lot more as this dream continues but in the mean time, here are 5 blogging lessons I’d like to pass on.

  1. Not everyone is going to like you or what you are doing. It’s pretty hard to let that go at first (especially when I got my first negative comment) but it gets easier with time.
  2. Trying to please the people that don’t like you will only lead to more unhappiness. If you change your direction and content to please others, rather than yourself, blogging/vlogging won’t be fun anymore and you may quit.
  3. You are going to lose some followers/subscriptions along the way until you find your ideal audience. People come and go for a lot of reasons. Often it is (in my opinion) because you hadn’t found your “voice” yet when they subscribed, so when your content changed they didn’t see what they liked anymore. Don’t stress about it! The right people will come along.
  4. Everyone grows at a different pace. Just because another blogger/vlogger started the same month as you but has double the subscribers that doesn’t mean she/he is better then you. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn (I’m still kind of struggling with it). It is really hard to stop comparing yourself to others. Just consider that even if they grew faster, that doesn’t mean you won’t catch up. Sometimes they happen to have a viral hit and other times it is because they are generally considered gorgeous. I’m sad to say it but sometimes looks is a factor. Also, you could not be marketing yourself as well as you could be. There is too much to consider so I try not to think about it that way.
  5. It isn’t about the numbers. The number of subscribers you have should not be your first thought. Rather, are you enjoying yourself? Are you proud of your content? If both are a yes, then you can think about your ratings. Professionally, numbers are important; however, your first concern should be the content. If not, what is the point?

What is your number one blogging tip?

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In Happiness on
December 14, 2011

The Gift

"The Gift" of time and what to do with it.
Imagine that there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.00. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day is eliminated from your account.

What would you do? Draw out and use every cent, of course.

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night, it writes off, as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day, it opens a new account for you. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. 

You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.


To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask the parents of a pre-mature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE DAY, ask a daily wage laborer with kids to feed.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask people in love who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask the person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLI-SECOND, ask an athlete who won a silver Olympic medal.

Treasure every moment you have! And treasure it even more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time.

And remember, time waits for no one.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.

That’s why it is called the present!

Do what is important to do today with those who are important to you. Don’t put it off because today will never be here again.

It seems so simple and so trite. However, it is also true. Do it now. Say “I love you” or “Thank you” or “You are important to me” or “You make a difference in my life”.

How will you use today’s “deposit”? It’s up to you.


I received the above typed out on a piece of paper (entitled “The Gift”) by one of my professors on the last day of the semester. The author is unknown. It’s now framed in my bedroom, a happy reminder to live life to the fullest.

How will you use today’s “deposit”?

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In My Journal on
December 13, 2011

Video Fundraiser: All Views Support I Am That Girl

 

Today, I have another special treat! Earlier I posted an interview with the executive director of I AM THAT GIRL (IATG) and now I have a video up showing you how you can support the cause. I know not everyone can donate so I made a video where every view goes towards charity (thanks to mylikes.com). All you have to do is watch the video and you are supporting the cause! Don’t forget to share it with your friends!

If you aren’t familiar with IATG, here is a quote from the website describing the cause: Being THAT GIRL is an identity, a responsibility and an opportunity for us to stand for something bigger than ourselves and remind girls everywhere that we’re on the same team.  Being THAT GIRL means that we recognize our worth, that we’re perfectly-flawed and sublimely beauty-full.  Every time we look in the mirror, we are reminded that we are the author of our own lives, confident in our own skin, believe in the power of our dreams, feel gorgeous inside and out and can reinvent ourselves into whomever we CHOOSE to be.  While we’re certainly out to change the world, we must first start with ourselves… so join our mission, rock this world, and be THAT GIRL!”

If you aren’t sure what to get your best friends for the holidays, you can get them these meaningful bracelets from JewelMint that support IATG ($1 from each bracelet supports the cause). The top two pictures are the new December bracelets (where the green stands for goodwill, grey for serenity, and purple for peace) or get the original November bracelets (where the gold stands for truthfulness, blue for thoughtfulness, and pink for kindness).

Learn more about I AM THAT GIRL and don’t forget to read the interview I posted earlier today with their executive director.

Have you made steps to empower yourself today?