Money

Two Thousand Thirteen

It’s been a long while, and I have missed this. The last time I posted was the day before the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy hit so close to home, literally…and I was so emotionally distraught afterwards that I felt I had nothing relevant, important or worthy to write about… so I decided to take a little break from blogging. Then came the holidays, and we all know how crazy that time of the year is. So here we are, January 2nd, and in a new year. I don’t know about you, but it feels really good to me.

2012 was a learning year for this girl – personally and professionally. I did a lot of thinking, changing and growing, and I am really pleased with where I am in this very moment. I feel more driven, confident, and inspired than ever before, and plan to carry that positive energy with me through 2013.

One of my 2012 New Years Resolutions was to start this blog. I must say it was one of the only resolutions that I saw through, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. My little blog has become a very special part of my life and somewhat of a therapeutic outlet. Aside from the joy it’s brought to me, I love that it has brought joy to others. This hobby of mine has allowed me to meet some incredible people, and get to know others on a more personal level. Whether they are old acquaintances, or classmates, new readers, or fellow bloggers – this little webpage right here has helped me connect with them all, and I am so grateful for that!

I wanted to take some time to share a few of my 2013 Resolutions with you. Sharing my goals with others holds me accountable, and who knows, maybe some of you have similar resolutions this year. Here we go:

1) Cut out the negative. People are always saying to cut the negative out of your life, but not many actually do so. This is something that has become first priority for me in the past few months, and I already feel like a new person. I cannot stress how important it is. Do not give anyone or anything the ability to bring you down. Don’t waste your time worrying about what others are doing, or thinking, or saying. Don’t compare yourself to somebody else. Don’t tell yourself that you’re not good enough, or that you can’t do something. Cut out negative people, influences, and thoughts. Let go! Be positive. All of the time.

2) Save money. This is always a goal of mine, but this year I have some bigger financial commitments looming and I want to stay on track. I am grateful to have not a dollar of debt, but it’s not easy. I pay cash for everything, and there are weeks where my bank account sees single digits, but it is worth it in the end. I’ve lived on a budget before and plan to set up a new budget over the next couple of weeks. (I think that might be a good post) 🙂

3) Give more time. To my family, to my friends, to strangers, to anyone who needs it. I feel that I made a good effort over the last year to spend more time with my loved ones, but there is always room for improvement. My entire life I’ve done a lot of volunteer work, I’m still technically a Girl Scout and have volunteered through council as recent as last year, my  sorority in college was very involved on a local and national level, and  my current job allows me to be involved in a number of organizations, but I want to make an effort to give more. Especially in light of recent tragedies, natural disasters, etc – there has been a lot of loss. I have so much, and it’s only right to give to those who don’t.

4) Pursue my passions. I started taking classes in September for something that I am extremely passionate about. I don’t want to share it just yet, but it is something that I plan to learn inside and out, master, and incorporate into my future. I’ve been itching to post about it, but I think I’m going to hold off a little while longer! Stay tuned – I’m really proud of this one 🙂

I am looking forward to 2013, a fresh year makes for a fresh start. Overrated or not, I think that it’s important to make some resolutions for yourself. There’s no time like the present.

Balloons

Happy New Year everyone! XOXO

Orange Ya Glad You Bought That Dress?!

Okay, totally tacky post title, but you’ll see how it’s relevant 😉

I went to a wedding over the weekend, and had little time to put an outfit together. It was a day wedding, so I didn’t need to dress too formal. I was on a time crunch and a budget, see how it all came together below 🙂

Remember this Cynthia Rowley dress I had snagged at Marshalls a couple of months ago? It came in handy 🙂

I went shoe shopping for some fun new heels, but was completely out of luck! Nearly every store was stocked with wedges, or ginormous, chunky, color-blocked heels. Neither of which was the look I wanted to go with. I went back home and decided my leopard print heels would do just fine. (When I told my boyfriend I was just going to wear these shoes he said “Aren’t animal print shoes trashy?” HA! I told him no, a hint of animal print is completely in style, and he would be surprised by how well they’ll work with the outfit.) A told you so moment 😉

Side note- I tweeted a picture of these shoes a while ago and was asked where I got them, and I honestly don’t remember! They’re actually are over 6 years old- I wore them to my High School graduation ceremony! lol

The dress had a high neck, so I was debating whether or not I should wear a necklace. Ultimately, it seemed too plain so I opted to wear these chunky warm toned & gold beads which I’ve had for a while- I swear, it’s a magic necklace, it compliments so many different outfits, and worked perfectly with the orange dress!

I needed a bracelet, or cocktail ring, and chose this brownish/gold ring that my roommate bought me for Christmas. It was the perfect finishing touch.

Of course you need a smaller clutch or bag, so I opted to carry my DKNY leather bag which I ‘m still in love with. (I told you I’d get some good use out of it- no buyers remorse ;))

I wanted to do something different with my nails. As you know I picked up the rest of the Gelish Candyland Collection a couple of weeks ago, so thought it’d be the perfect time to try out ‘Don’t Be Such a Sourpuss’. At first I hated it, it looked too green, but in natural light it is a really pretty yellow. I’ve actually been getting a lot of compliments on it. Who would have thought? 🙂

I broke my thumb nails so I decided ditch the square shape and round everything off for a couple of weeks. I kind of like the round look 🙂 (sorry for the greasy nails; I had just applied some cuticle oil lol)

My toes I painted with the fabulous Sally Hansen Insta-Dri orange polish that Ashely sent to me in the secret blogger swap. I love it! I can’t wait to use it on my fingernails as well.

Sorry to those skeeved out by feet pictures! LOL

And here you have the final product!

Isn’t my boyfriend adorable? He was all excited about his look as well- he cleans up nice 😉
Another shot with Jackie (my boyfriends cousins girlfriend) 🙂
Ugh, don’t we all have a bad side? lol..but this was a good accessories pic.

I was very happy with how well everything came together (and the fact that I didn’t spend any money). It pays to buy a couple of extra dresses you love if you randomly find them on sale!

Have you attended any weddings lately? What did you wear?

Fruits & Veggies Made Easy

Just yesterday I embarked on a three 3 week effort to get in great shape before Memorial Day weekend. I’m trying to increase my physical activity, and get myself on a strict, fruits/veggies/protein only diet (bye bye carbs :(). One day down, and I’m feeling great!

I have no problem eating healthy, I just don’t like how it always seems to be so inconvenient to do so. Whenever I feel a healthy streak coming on, I get ambitious and buy a ton of fruits & veggies- but many times they end up going bad because I’m too lazy to cut them up or wash them when I’m in the mood to snack- and in turn I end up eating junk food #fail.

I recently discovered a way to avoid that problem, so I spent Sunday afternoon doing just so…

I picked up celery, carrots, watermelon, and grapes (not pictured) for the week…

I pre-washed, cut and bagged everything!

Red grapes
Celery
Carrot & celery snack bags
Oh my gosh, is it difficult to cut up a watermelon!
Watermelon snack bags
Look at that!

Now my fridge is stocked with fruits and veggies, ready at my fingertips. It makes healthy snacking at home much easier, and packing a healthy lunch simpler as well. I’m ultimately saving money since nothing goes to waste, I’m filling up on healthy foods, and not feeling as guilty about snacking since I’m avoiding more tempting, junk food options.

I wish I were this ambitious about healthy eating all of the time, but you never know- maybe it’ll become routine and stick. Here’s to hoping!

Happy snacking. 😉

Update on My New Years Resolutions! (2 Months Down)

Happy March everyone! Can you believe how quickly February flew by!?

Like I did at the beginning of last month, I’m going to go through my New Years Resolutions to see that I’m staying on track. 😉

Here we go!

1: Stop Cursing. Better, but overall… Fail.

2: Exercise regularly. Starting to slack, but still making the effort.

3: Eat healthier. This has definitely been my best resolution! Complete success!

(Although I did put quite a dent in a box of Valentines Day chocolates …)

4: Stop spending so much money and start saving more. Done, and done. My only credit card was completely paid off, and I’ve been able to save quiet a bit of money this month.

5: Make an effort to spend more time with friends: A little tricky this month with my out of town friends, being in the Bahamas threw me off a bit, but plans are in the works for the near future 🙂

6: Spend more time reading. Being on vacation was the perfect kick in the butt! I finished The Hunger Games, and The Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me. When I got home, I couldn’t wait to start Catching Fire!

7: No more soda.  Although I had some moments of weakness, and would have given my left leg for a diet coke, I am still 100% clean 😉

8: Eat out less and cook more. Yes, and yes!

Overall, I’ve been pretty successful with my resolutions, and it’s amazing. I feel so productive with my time, much healthier with food choices, and far smarter with my money. I’m really proud of myself and have started to indulge here and there, taking stabs at my growing want list, and planning some vacations 🙂

How are your resolutions coming along?

Update on my New Years Resolutions (1 month down)

Happy February everyone! I apologize for not blogging all week, I’ve been super busy, and a little under the weather- but I’m back 🙂

I decided that at the beginning of each month, I would go through my New Years Resolutions and note how well, or how poorly I’ve been maintaining them. I think it’s a good way to keep myself in check when it comes to sticking to my goals. So here we go:

1: Stop Cursing. Unfortunately, this one has been really difficult for me. I have been making the effort, but sometimes it just slips. However, each time I slip I do catch myself and note how horribly I am at sticking to this resolution. LOL…  It’s a work in progress.

2: Exercise regularly. This has been pretty good! I’ve definitely been making a conscious effort to get some sort of physical activity into each day. Some days are better than others, and yes I have skipped a few here and there, but overall I’m proud of myself for the increased physical activity.

Snapshot while exercising at home- love my little 3lb weights! LOL
Went ice skating with all of my cousins- here'e a shot of my sister and I. What a great lower body workout!

3: Eat healthier. This may be my best resolution! I’ve been eating super healthy M-F. I’ve been allowing myself to cheat on the weekends,  but as the weekends go by I find that I am not as eager to eat junk because I really have noticed a difference in the way my body feels.

I've been making much healthier lunches and eating SO much fruit! Yumm 🙂

4: Stop spending so much money and start saving more. I definitely have! I try not to spend any money during the week on “things” (random trips to CVS, Marshalls, Target, etc.) I do allow myself to spend if going out for an occasion or on groceries. I keep adding to my want list  and chip away at it on the weekends or wait until I absolutely need something. I’ve also made the effort to force myself to put money aside from each paycheck-I started looking at it as another bill.

5: Make an effort to spend more time with friends: So far so good! This month, I met my best girls from home for dinner, as well as my Kappas- (the class I was initiated with in my sorority). We’re all so busy and live across the state, but by planning ahead, we’ve all been able to follow through with plans. 🙂

Erin, Kelly & I
My Kappas <3 Brie, Kristen, and Steph 🙂

6: Spend more time reading. I wish I could say I was doing this! Honestly, I don’t think I picked up a book for more than an hour this month. I’ve read a ton of magazines….but I don’t really think those count. This month I’ll need to work on upping my literature.

7: No more soda. Hell, my name is Amanda and I am soda-free. Not a sip. 🙂

Water-all day everyday 🙂

8: Eat out less and cook more. Done and done! I pack a healthy lunch for work everyday, and try to cook dinner M-F. It helps me to save money during the week and eat healthier- so by doing this I am contributing to two of my other resolutions as well!

And of course, one of my resolutions was to start and maintain a blog. I think I’ve been doing a decent job. I’ve tried to make an effort to post every night, but some days are just far too busy. I think this will be by 26th or 27th post? So that’s not too bad out of 31 days!

How are you guys doing with your New Years Resolutions? Have you been sticking to them?

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