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Goals for the new year 2019 edition

photo courtesy of “Her Creative Studio” via Style Collective /

This past year has really flown by! One of the new things I did in 2018, was to set goals for myself instead of making new years resolutions I had trouble keeping. When I make goals, I work hard to towards them, if I don’t achieve them, at least I have made progress and can continue working towards them. I don’t feel like I failed, which can result in me stopping my progress because I feel like the year is over and the resolution wasn’t met. With goals, I can adjust them, and continue to work towards them. Love that!

So, for the new year, I have created a few new goals for myself in addition to continuing the ones from 2018 I want to improve on, or continue working towards.

I love having my goals out here on the Internet, I feel like I am more accountable for them because everyone can see them! If they were written in my planner, for my eyes only, they would be easier to weasel out of. With them on the Internet, I am forced to stick to them because you can see them and hold me accountable! Haha. What are some of your tricks for sticking to your goals?

Without further ado, here are my new goals for 2019!

Get my fitness on track: OK, so this is a recurring goal of mine. I had quite a few setbacks in 2018, so my fitness routine fell waaaaaay off track. In 2019, I don’t have any excuses. I will get five workouts in each week if it kills me! Ha! Goodbye extra pounds, it wasn’t nice knowing ya.

Try one new recipe every week: So I tend to gravitate towards cooking recipes I already know. Once in a while, I try something new; but those meals are far and few between. My kids are getting older and more adventurous in their food choices. It is time to start trying new recipes and adding new meals to my cooking routine. I do have some motivation, my middle child wants to be a chef when she grows up, so she sets the bar high and tries cooking new recipes all the time! I need to keep up with her! Haha, Wish me luck!

Vary my blog content more: OK, so I have been already working on this in the past year, but I feel like my content could still be more diverse. Sometimes I fall into a safe rut where I forget to work hard to find more lifestyle content to share with you. In 2019, I want to try and include 2-4 lifestyle posts per month on the blog to keep things interesting for both myself and you! If you want to see more of anything, let me know!

Expand my business goals beyond the blog: In 2018, I worked really hard to diversify my blog income and not depend solely on banner ads and affiliate income. I pitched brands, and really created relationships with companies I love, and hope you love too. This was a great way to diversify my income and bring you interesting content. In 2019, I want to do more, and I have something fun in the works-but it is top secret. If I write it down here, this blog will have to self-destruct in three. . .two. . .OK, so none of that! Just know, something fun is coming 2019. Yippee!

Spruce up my house: When we bought our home over ten years ago, my son was only five months old. We moved all our furniture and decor from our old house, into our new one. The wall décor didn’t really fit, nor did all the furniture. Our family room looks disjointed, but we left it that way because we were so busy with the baby, and two other small children under the age of five, that we didn’t give our home décor a second thought. Now that our youngest is ten, it is time to think about home décor; especially since he is old enough to not destroy something new! Haha This year I want to redecorate my family room and furnish it with furniture that fits in it correctly! This goal requires some buy-in from my husband, so wish me luck! Haha

Well, that’s it! My goals in 2019 don’t seem as heavy as they did in 2018; I’m thinking that’s a good thing! What are your goals in the new year?

Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous new year!

XOXO

Cathy


2018 goal results

photo courtesy of “Her Creative Studio” via Style Collective

Can you believe 2018 is almost over? I’m looking at the calendar in disbelief! It still fells like it should be early fall; despite the wintery weather we have been enjoying!

At the beginning of the year, I shared with you my goals for 2018. Instead of making traditional resolutions, I set personal and professional goals for myself. I worked hard at these goals; but alas, there were some goals which were not achieved. Three cheers for the goals I did achieve! Hip-hip-hooray!

So, I thought I would share with you what worked, and what didn’t, in my list of 2018 goals.

2018 goals and results

Get outside more: I was really good at this until the fall 2018 semester hit. With my unexpected surgery over Labor Day weekend, I got way off track. My activity was restricted, and I stopped scheduling outdoor activities. For 2019, I need to ensure I don’t get off track, and continue to get outside more!

Give my husband more attention: I am sad to say, I may have failed at this one. We scheduled a date night in January, and then only had two more during the course of the year. In 2019, I need to really step up to the plate, and schedule a date night; one night every month!

Make more educational family time: We tried to tie education into our vacations, and our family outings. We took a hike in the Marin Headlands where we taught our kids about our local military history. We also took our kids on a hike in Saratoga where they learned about our local historical quarry. Our vacations included historical attractions too! This has been quite enjoyable for both us, and our children. I definitely want to continue this goal in 2019!

Get my fitness on track: What is with me getting sick and getting off track? It happened in 2017, and again in 2018. For 2019, I need to stay healthy and not let occasional bumps get in my way.

Diversify my blog income: This has been incredible! In the past, I have relied on brands coming to me for sponsored content and collaborations. I have also relied on passive income from affiliate links and Google ads. In 2018, I actively pitched brands I already shop at, and work well with my blog. This worked like a charm, and I was able to partner with brands such as adidas, Chico’s, SOMA, and more! All of which I was already a customer, and felt like they enhanced my blog. I hope to continue pitching and working with brands I love, and hope you love, again in 2019!

Stay away from “fast fashion:” So, I think I did well with this! I stopped shopping from brands which appeared to be fast fashion and focused on affordable brands with more ethical manufacturing standards. If I failed, please let me know! I worked hard on this one, and hope to continue it for life.

That’s it! These are the goals I worked hard at in 2018, and some worked, while others need more work. Stay tuned for my 2019 goals in early January!

What were some of your goals this past year, and how did you fare working towards them?

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your goals!

XOXO

Cathy


Thanksgiving meal hacks to save time

Thanksgiving meal hacks save time

pictured: OK, so this isn’t a Thanksgiving tablescape-you got me! Blogging hack-find an old photo on your phone and re-purpose it! This was taken a couple of summer’s a ago at a rewardStyle event in San Francisco.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite family holidays. I love waking up early, working out at the gym, and then helping my mom host Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, it was just my Mom and I. We never hosted Thanksgiving. We always went to my Grandmother’s house or my cousin’s house.

My family is big, so my Grandmother or my cousin had to do a LOT of work. They also had to do a ton of prep the day before in order to ensure Thanksgiving day went smoothly. My Grandmother cooked everything herself, but my cousin enjoyed a little help from her guests. We would all bring one dish to share, and to help ease her burden of hosting. She was very efficient, and had the best systems to make the day go smoothly. There were easily forty people at her house on Thanksgiving day, so I learned a few tips and tricks as a child at her house that I have brought into my adult life.

My great aunt hosted Christmas when I was a young adult, and she had a ton of tips and tricks I adopted as well. Now, as a married mother of three, I have taken my relatives tips and tricks, and incorporated them into my holiday hosting routine. I hope you like them, and I hope they help you too!

Thanksgiving Day meal hacks to save time

  • Host a potluck! Does your aunt make the best mashed potatoes ever? Does your sister-in-law make a killer green bean casserole? Ask them to bring their famous dishes to your house on Thanksgiving because you love love love them; and can’t imagine Thanksgiving without their delicious dish! They will be flattered, and you just saved yourself a ton of work. Pro Tip: If your relative or guest is a chef, cook, or works in some sort of food prep, don’t ask them to cook and bring food. Just ask them to bring their favorite wine, soda, or juice. I’m certain he or she would not want to feel obligated to cook on his/her day off from work.
  • Cheat on your dishes: Did you know that delicious green bean casserole other people always cook is actually made from green beans, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, and French’s crispy fried onions? Oh yeah, the recipe is on the French’s box and also on Campbell’s website. It is really easy to make, and it looks complicated. Same with stuffing. My great aunt once shared her super-secret stuffing recipe, guess what it was? Stove Top Chicken flavored stuffing in a box. It takes five minutes to make. You can add chopped apples, raisins, and/or mushrooms to make it beefier. Or, you can add anything you want to add to your stuffing! It tastes great baked inside the turkey, or served alone. Super easy right? No-one will know unless you forget to hide the box. Haha
  • Prep the house the night before: Set the table, and clean the kitchen the night before Thanksgiving. Be sure to pull out all your big serving platters and place them where you can easily reach them. Line the pan you plan to bake the turkey in with aluminum foil the night before, and empty the dish rack in order to ensure a spotless kitchen. This way, the only thing standing in your way of cooking your Thanksgiving meal will be your breakfast dishes. Those are easy to clean! -Unless you start frying things, then you’re on your own.
  • Prep the food the night before: It’s easy to do a little bit of food prep the night before Thanksgiving. You can chop vegetables and then store them in the refrigerator; you can also clean the turkey, place it in the pan, and store it in the refrigerator., You can even make casseroles the night before. I do not recommend making the mashed potatoes ahead of time-don’t even peel them early. Mashed potatoes need to be made fresh-sorry!
  • Create a buffet: It takes forever to plate everyone’s food. Use your kitchen counter or other similar space as a buffet and let everyone serve themselves. It’s easier than waiting for people to pass dishes on the table, and it is way faster than plating the food yourself. Plus, who doesn’t love a buffet? I do!
  • Clean as you go: Did everyone finish all the mashed potatoes? Quickly clean the serving dish it was in and place it in the drying rack. You can chat with your guests in the kitchen while cleaning it. Did you know it literally takes 30 seconds to wash one serving dish? If you let everything pile up during the day it could take 30 minutes to clean everything, but if you clean random pots and dishes throughout the day, your end-of-day clean-up will be minimal. If you are worried about disappearing in the kitchen to clean one dish, remember this; it takes more time to escape to the bathroom than it does to clean a dish. So don’t worry about it, no-one will even notice unless they are in the kitchen.
  • Use paper products: Are you hosting more than twelve people at your home on Thanksgiving? Since most table settings are twelve, chances are you won’t have enough dishes for everyone; or you may not want to supplement your dishes with fine china. The easiest Thanksgiving Day meal hack is to use paper plates and disposable silverware. You can place a one-time use recycling bin and one-time use compost bin in your kitchen where everyone can throw away their scrapes, plates, napkins, and plastic silverware. This will eliminate cleaning dishes after everyone leaves, and you can wrap the bins up, and put them out with the recycling and compost. You will also feel good knowing you are recycling and composting instead of filling up a landfill. Love!

Low calorie soda alternative: I always feel guilty giving children and non-drinkers sugar heavy sodas during the holidays. So, my favorite hack, to avoid giving my guests diabetes, is to make a soda at home which ends up being under 50 calories. It’s really easy to make! You use one tablespoon of your favorite Torani syrup and add sparkling mineral water to the rest of the glass. Pro tip: I like to add a spoonful of vanilla syrup to sweeten the drink if I am using a fruit flavored syrup, it makes it taste more like soda-with a fraction of the calories.

Shop my low-calorie soda alternative and food cheats

Thanksgiving is a casual, family holiday which may include close friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone is relaxed on Thanksgiving and ready to pitch in! Also, don’t forget the most important thing on Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you have, and have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy