Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Goals + Resolutions

I absolutely cannot believe it's already the end of 2014. We're only so many hours away from the start of a new year and that's always something that gets my planning mind running. Thinking of what I accomplished in 2014 and what I want to work toward in 2015.


The one goal I'd like to stem everything from is Spend Less, Use More.


I tried to come up with one word and it might be minimal.

I'm not sure how this will work other than I really need to tighten my proverbial money belt. I have a lot of stuff and can do with a lot less. I just need to keep repeating the question: Do I really need this?!

Last year I did a couple of spending freezes and I'm looking at doing that for the first few months so I can majorly pay down what's left of my credit card debt and what seem like the never ending school loans.

I thought I'd separate it into three categories with a few focuses under each one.

Personal Goals

Healthier Me in 2015
I want to try to find a healthier lifestyle that works for me. Instead of putting a number of pounds to lose or strict diet to follow, I want to focus on that lifestyle change they always talk about in place of diets and fads.
Some of the ways I'm going to do that are committing to 2x a week walking/jogging or doing a workout DVD, no eating carbs after 2:00 pm and I loved the idea of cutting out ONE thing each month. I'm not sure what I'll be cutting out for ALL the months, but January will be sweets. This will also be one of my 30 Before Thirty goals of no sweets for 30 days!

Read 125 Books
After way outdoing my goal for 2014 I thought I should amp it up and actually have a pretty hefty goal.

Try a New Thing Each Month
Whether it's a place, event, challenge or food I love the idea of trying new things as I get older. While I could be more stuck in my ways, I think branching out and actually getting outside my comfort zone better me in many ways. My friend S did this challenge this year and she nailed it!!

Live by myself.
This is HUGE for me. This is the year I've been looking forward to since I started this blog because I will finally feel like I'm in an emotional and financial place to move out on my own. I'm trying not to rush it, but I also feel like not rushing it has put me in a holding pattern and making it easier to not do. If that makes sense.

Blog Goals

I'd like to:
Post one DIY or recipe each month.
I'll probably try to alternate, but I'm sure you guys get tired of reading all about me and might want to learn a thing or two.

Post one video (makeup, haul, books, any ideas, etc.) a month.
This will take quite a bit of effort, but the more I watch youtube videos, random most of the time the more I'd like to put myself out there and challenge myself to do this. Why am I so crazy?

Sponsor one blog a month.
I kind of tried that this year but had a few months where I backed off of blogging and also backed off sponsoring. I'd love to branch out and find new blogs to sponsor, so if you have suggestions hit me up! Along this line I'd like to do some ad swapping so if you want to swap buttons just shoot me an email hello@mylittlehea.com.

Business Goals

Bring on at least one new client.
Considering the fact that I wasn't planning on starting a business in 2014 I think this is a good goal for me.
I love not being overbooked, so I don't want to go crazy with new clients but I feel like I should be looking at a little bit of growth in the next year.

Finish my business site.
It's live, but it's not where I want it to be for this one new client I'm trying to bring on, lol.

What are some of your resolutions or goals this year?

I don't even know what I'm doing tonight for New Year's Eve, but I'm having people over for brunch New Year's Day so there's that. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve? Maybe I can just come hang out with you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Resolutions - How I Did

Remember this post I shared with all of my goals for the year? Well Let's see just how far I've gotten and what I need to do in the next month (or less).

1. No spending money on others. Other than Christmas and a few things from London because hello, London! I did pretty good with this challenge. I'm sure I'll carry it through to 2015 since I'll be tightening my budget like major.

2. Lose 52 pounds. Bwahahaa! Excuse me while I laugh in the face of this resolution. I know I'm not the only person that added this to their list but OMG where do I even start with something like this!? I did lose about 5-10 pounds a couple of times this year and promptly put them back on. *rolls eyes* I know this will be part of my 2015 resolutions because it's just not healthy or making me happy to be overweight.

3. Say yes to fun. I know I did some things I didn't want to do just because I hate backing out once I make a commitment.

4. Travel. I did Europe and I also did some traveling in Florida! Jacksonville was AWESOME and I'm very disappointed in the talent for next year so I didn't buy tickets. I did not take advantage of my extra day off every other weekend for road trips so boo. I had a lot going on around home though, so I didn't ever feel bored.

5. Try 12 new places to eat around town. Can we just say Europe?! I tried sooo many new places over there but I'll also list the places I went in the US.
1. Mel's Hot Dogs 1/9/2014
2. Byblos Pitas 2/4/2014
3. LeeRoy Selmon's 2/1/14
4. Three Birds Tavern 4/19/2014
5. The Swamp 5/17/2014
6. 101 Downtown 5/18/2014
7. PDQ No dates, but I only went there twice and was not impressed.
8. Wing House 8/5/2014
9. Oxford Exchange 9/22/14
10. Blue Sake 11/30/14
11. Margaritaville 12/27/14
12. Leaky Cauldron 12/27/14

6. Grow THIS blog. I wanted to do at least 10 posts a month and most months I was able to surpass that. By participating in way too many giveaways and breaking out of my "norm" I was able to grow my numbers substantially and I've seen different readers comment too so yay!

7. Make six (6) DIY projects Ummm, The one I had planned on doing at the beginning of 2014 may be finished by Christmasis still not even really startes. I really need my dad to help since he has an idea to build the wood backing instead of buying something cheap. The other things...I need to be more specific for 2015!

8. Read and Rate 52 books in 2014.
Ummm I might have surpassed this number by like 250%. That always confuses me but I read 126/52. That's a lot better than my 70 from 2013.

This is how I left it last year and I will say it's been a fantastic year! > > > I have absolutely no idea what 2014 has in store for me but I pray that God continues to bless me, my friends and my family.

I'm looking forward to my 2015 resolutions and can't wait to share those with you!

How did you do this year with your resolutions? Are you making any for the new year?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Freakin' Weekend Christmas + Mini Harry Potter World Recap

That was like the longest weekend ever, but it was oh so fabulous! My parents dropped my sister off at the airport this morning, even with some of the crazy sick things that happened she had a great time and we're always so glad to have her visit.

Thank you so much for the cares and concerns for the sickies. We woke up Christmas morning to My sister having an allergic reaction to her antibiotic but luckily we're kind of pros at that so after medicating herself with Benadryl, (you've seen that scene in Hitch right?) she was good to go for our Orlando adventure the next day.

Christmas Eve / Christmas

Mom and I were the only ones to brave the crazy rain for Christmas eve service and if we didn't both have obligations I don't think we would have even tried. I had to sing and she was in charge of all the goodies, but I'm glad we went. We got to see the gorgeous tree lit up at night and a cute little manger scene drama.



Christmas morning was sleeping in, which should have been pure bliss except like I said earlier I woke up to my sister's face swelling so I tended to her and helped her find the Benadryl. She's much better now and off work until New Year's Eve so she'll get a couple days to rest when she's back home.


My brother was released early from work and brought us all home Starbucks drinks, so that was a nice way to perk up in the middle of the day.

I received the ONE thing I wanted, one thing I absolutely needed (I tossed my old robe this morning) and one thing that came in super handy at Universal this weekend.


My sister gave me a lot of stuff to get my bar area started, and we picked up several liquor things we needed so she could share some recipes with me.


I absolutely love putting the gifts together for everybody, and apparently Boomer wants to help open gifts. Here are a few shots of family members with gifts and he's in almost all of them.




Shopping!!!

We make a plan to shop the day after Christmas, every year. Usually it's for the Christmas stuff that is on sale like my pink tree I shared on Wednesday but now it's just a day of shopping for the girls. Last year we went to the Orlando International Premium Outlets at the end of International drive because those are our favorite. I mean they have a HUGE Victoria's Secret outlet that has a little bit of everything! So last year we left before the sun was up and got there just as they were opening. Premium parking, not very crowded until we left a few hours later and it was a great experience.

This year because we were spending the night in Orlando we decided to head over there about noon and hit up Lazy Moon over by UCF before we started our shopping. Wrong. Lazy moon likes to give the college kids off the day after Christmas. Last year we made the mistake of not calling ahead of time and driving all the way over there to find out they were closed. With the day after Christmas being a Friday I thought they might open, but when no one answered our calls we weren't going to chance it. We couldn't find anything on their Facebook or web page to tell us they were open or closed so my sister still hasn't tried their awesome pizza!

We head straight to the outlets to eat lunch and get there just before one o'clock and it's a mad house at the main entrance so I go around all of the traffic to the side we usually like to park on and can normally find a parking spot. Well, fast forward 45 minutes later and we still haven't found a parking spot. We even tried to do valet but they weren't letting anybody do valet it was insanity. They really need a parking garage at this outlet mall because people park EVERYWHERE. I should have taken pictures. Half way up on curbs with their back end sticking out, making a two lane parking row only a one way. Just not my kind of place when it's that bad. We will never again try to go in the middle of the day during Holiday season.

We headed a few miles away to Mall at Millennia where we found a parking spot in the first 5 minutes, so that felt like we were on the right track. I'll share all of my buys in a post next week, because I have way too many for this post!!

We had dinner at Carrabba's before heading to the hotel for the night. After mom and I had gotten in our PJs my sister realized she forgot to buy any jean capris for the next day so we headed back out and decided to try to hit up the outlets again. Well, it still looked like a mad house but we were able to find parking (it's about 8:30 pm now) and we shopped for a good two hours with an ice cream stop at the food court in between.

Harry Potter World Adventure

Saturday we got up nice and early so we could get into Harry Potter world quickly. We tried out valet parking for the first time so we didn't have to walk from the parking lot into the park and that was super awesome! I'll share more about that in my Universal tips post I'm working on. We went straight to Universal Studios Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts roller coaster because I heard the wait times just get worse the longer you wait. As it was when we got in line at 8:30 we still had 1:30 - 2 hour wait time. It was worth it to say we tried it but I'm a one ride kind of girl so that was it for me.




I did try the butterbeer, but it was too sweet I couldn't finish it. Seeing all of the cool things from the movies (we watched right before we went) was very cool. They did a great job making it very authentic to the books/movies.




About half way through the day I was wishing we had brought a back pack to carry around all of our stuff. I figured we would just purchase one in the gift shop, but the ones I liked were all between $40 and $60, OMG. I wasn't spending that much on a backpack. Then we happened upon one of the many stores in Universal and I found Sons of Anarchy stuff!!!


While they had a Property of Jax shirt I liked, I wasn't sold on it and much like a Team Edward shirt would never wear it. I was sold on the cheaper backpack that I will use for my other obsession things like book buttons so I snatched that up along with some magnets. Other than those things, I bought some post cards from The Owl Post in Hogsmeade and tried some Dark Chocolate Peppermint frogs. I almost bought a Gryffindor night shirt because I love me a night shirt but I decided I didn't really need it.


We ended up staying for the Universal version of Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, which is one of the things I really wanted to do and I have some great tips coming for that as well, but here are a few of my favorite shots and a super cute one that's very me from Seuss Landing!!



How did you spend your weekend this Holiday?

I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year!! I'm off to hang out with a good friend that's in from out of town this evening, just as soon as I get my corn dip made and some design work done!

I think this is one of the longest posts I've ever written for this blog and congrats if you made it all the way through!!


Linking up for weekending with B Loved Boston and Champagne and Suburbs.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

#tbtHolidayEdition Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas Friends!!

What a wonderful day to wake up to when you celebrate Christmas. Even with the changing traditions, and this being our first year we aren't opening gifts first thing we've managed to keep other traditions alive.

My sister is visiting us all the way from Nebraska, and she's had a tough go of it. Asthma attack, ear infection, fever and an allergic reaction aren't keeping her down. She's always been the troublesome one in our family, but I couldn't imagine a life without her. If you're the praying kind, not only is my sister under the weather but my dad was diagnosed with Pneumonia in one of his lungs yesterday so is on some serious medications. They're both troopers though and we're continuing as normal with extra rest.


She's a character, doesn't care what anybody thinks of her and never really has. While her friends are all going out on vacation she prefers to do the bare minimum and doesn't see the point in dressing up for anything. She is one of the most laid back individuals I've ever known and she helps keep the peace when we're all gathered together for times like this.

I hope this Christmas you're spending it with ones you love just as much as they love you. Celebrating those with you and remembering those that can't be this Christmas season. Remember, there's always a weird one in the family and if you don't know who that is, it's probably you!

Today we'll be receiving calls from Family across the US, prepping for Christmas dinner and razzing each other while we open gifts. We're also having a partial Harry Potter marathon in preparation for our Harry Potter World trip on Saturday. I haven't seen the movies since they came out years ago and I'd like to know what I'm looking at when we get there! Have you been to Harry Potter world? Did you read the books? I did not, I was only a movie girl and friends with major fans!

I always look forward to Christmas because I know I'll get to see my little sister and more of my brother.

What do you look forward to at Christmas time?

TBT Holiday Link Up





Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Ornament Exchange 2014

I absolutely love gift exchanges, and have been especially fond of them in the blog world because you have the opportunity to meet people you may not have AND give/get something at the same time. Win, win in my book!


When I stumbled upon Della's blog and saw she was doing an ornament exchange I knew that was the one I wanted to participate in this Holiday season. I've seriously been trying to limit myself to the swaps I do since you're not just purchasing the item, but providing shipping and nice wrapping, etc.

I've done multiple swaps and have been introduced to some fabulous ladies through the years, and this time was no different. I was paired up with Tif from Bright on a Budget and we got to know each other through my crazy but calculated series of questions.

She's an attorney, a mother to the cutest little guy and just graduated with her MBA, go Tif!! In case you didn't catch her blog name (hint hint), she's totally committed to never paying full price and will show you a thing or two about finding the best deals around. It's not all about the deals, she also shares DIY projects like this cute Christmas Card Holder and she's super fashionable so make sure you're following her on Instagram for budget friendly fashion ideas!!

Now let's talk about the awesome, most perfect ornament she sent to me!!

My favorite color is pink (duh) and if we had to pick two favorite colors it would be two varying shades of pink I'm sure. I also love bows, tutus, sparkles, etc. I'm just a very girly girl. Well, Tif totally got me and I don't think anybody could have picked out a more perfect ornament than a pink, sparkly bow with a dangling jewel!


I had to try it out on my mom's tree as soon as I got it so I could share it but then I got to thinking that it would make the PERFECT topper for my pink tree at work!


Thanks so much to Tif for getting me such a perfect ornament and Della for hosting the swap!!

What's a swap you've enjoyed? Any swap idea you've never seen that would really interest you?

I always think I've seen them all and then I find one that I just think is the best idea ever, hah!

I'll be back again tomorrow with one more #tbtHolidayEdition and it's featuring my seeester! She came in Monday night and it's been go-go-go since. I had my last work Christmas thing this week and got some great stuff from coworkers. I can't wait to share everything I've received and given because I think I give some pretty great gifts too.

Tonight I'll be singing Christmas songs with the band before we all go back to my parents house to open one gift on Christmas eve. I have a few things still to wrap...or maybe I'll just be lazy and leave them under the tree without pretty wrapping paper, lol!

What do you still have to do for the Holiday? What are some of your Christmas Eve traditions?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Artsy + Architectural Side of London and Ireland

I don't know about you, but it's about time for another #travelTuesday post around here and I have a few more up my sleeve from my Europe trip FOUR months ago. It's amazing how fast time really does just fly by.

One of my favorite things about London was getting the opportunity to take in both the art and architecture in a region with such history. There were some things that had reoccurring themes and I couldn't get enough of like lamp posts. I knew I would see them if I was in London because some of my favorite shots have them but I was so excited when I got to London and they were everywhere!!



Being a graphic designer or an art and design student really made things like advertisements stand out in a sea flooded with visual stimulation. This one was funny because it plays off the popular Fifty Shades. It was in one of their subway tunnels and that's one of the things that I don't get to experience very often.


In my Favorite things about London post I shared a different book bench, but these were one of the things on my must see list and we almost missed them but were able to see them on the very last stop before the airport.


I think this was the first piece of artwork I saw by the river when we got there. The bright colors, structuring, play on dimension and reality stood out.


This one was so cool too. Not many people were stopping to look at the art, as you can see how they're walking through but I thought it was so cool. I had no idea when I took the picture how you were supposed to interpret it, but if you read each color separately it actually makes a sentence or statement.


I became absolutely obsessed with all of the colorful flower boxes they saw there. I can't wait to hopefully find a place with the potential for window boxes in the states! Also, all of the town houses and some were painted multiple colors in a row.




I think I'll do a complete post on our Guinness tour, but this was one of the artwork pieces inside that was pretty cool. It's a giant pint glass with the foam at the top all glowing.


One of the things I think of when I talk about the artsy side is music and OMG these guys were absolutely amazing! We hear them a couple of times in the same area down by all of the pubs where UCF and Penn State fans were hanging out. I was glad we did because I was able to pick up a cd from them. Check out Mutefish and see if you would have liked them too.


When we were being super touristy I saw this map and thought it kind of looked artsy. Maybe even like an abstract person. *shrug* So this is my art that's not necessarily art piece.


We were walking through the shops and walked by this incredible display of old sewing machines. It was a super trendy expensive clothing store, not a sewing store but this was my favorite part. I had to take a picture of a Pfaff because my mother still has hers that she got while we lived in Europe.


One of the most creative outside store decorations we saw and it totally made me think of Alice in Wonderland.


This is kind of architecture'y right? Their train had these circle sections that rotated as the train turned the tight corners in their busy streets. I think this was in Ireland, because the subway in London was more reminiscent of NYC subway and I didn't see anything like this.


I have at least two more posts to finish up this trip, so I hope you'll stick around for 2015!! don't forget I have a poll up trying to get some feedback for My Little HEA and I would love to hear from you!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Last Freakin' Weekend Before Christmas 2014

I hope you have all of your shopping done because the malls were absolutely crazy this weekend and are sure to get even worse as Christmas day approaches!! Luckily for me I only had a couple of super quick stops that I needed to make and with my strategic planning I didn't stress out too much. I've had most of my Christmas shopping done since November with only a few stragglers that needed to be finished up this week.

I do have shopping plans for tomorrow when my sister is here!! So good thoughts, prayers and vibes would be appreciated while we're braving the crowds.

You know when you make an agreement with a friend not to get each other anything and then they get you something?! Yeah, last minute shopping for you!

One of the funny things that happened this weekend I shared on Instagram and my Youtube channel. I don't post much to Youtube, but that's in the works for 2015!! Here's a little trick my dad decided to play on Boomer. Poor guy!


Other than that I found out a friend of mine is MOVING to Arkansas. Only 4 hours from where I used to live but soooo far from Florida. So I spent much time with friends and managed to squeeze in a first date and finished several books. Successful weekend in my books.


1. I saw an idea on pinterest to twist your hair and then dry each section separately and putting it in the velcro rollers. This was my attempt and I don't think it did anything different for my hair.
2. This was my brunch date outfit. It wasn't really cold enough in Florida for a scarf and a jacket but no tights was a bonus! I was thankful I had both of these because I ended up with plans after and didn't have time to run home to get cold weather essentials. The nights here can get pretty chilly for Floridians.
3. They recently opened up a 4 Rivers in Tampa which serves smoked meats but they also have amazing sweet treats in their sweet shop. I had to try both of the Christmas treats and the cupcake won hands down.
4. I had to show off this shirt I did for Christina Lauren and my colorful Disney scarf.
5. I participated in an Ornament Exchange and this was the PERFECT ornament I received from my partner. More to come on that Wednesday!!
6. This was from the smokehouse place I mentioned above 4 Rivers, and then we were off to a brewery (Cigar City) where they thankfully had cider so I could have one drink, lol.

I have a poll up trying to get some feedback for My Little HEA and I would love to hear from you!!

How was your weekend?! Do you have all of your shopping done?


Linking up for weekending with B Loved Boston and Champagne and Suburbs.

Sadly this will be my last weekend linkup with Leann and Kimberlee for Monday Morning Gossip but it was a great run thanks to these ladies!! I recently found out some bloggers don't like weekend posts and I had no idea!! When I do something fun or have time I love sharing mine. It's cool to also see what others did for their weekends, especially when they live in a different area than Sunny, no snow Florida. So, do you like weekend posts?! I must know!