New Year, Less Pressure

I’m sure that you have scanned over countless blogs or websites featuring “New Year’s” posts that include the typical recap of the writer’s past year and a slew of predictable resolutions for 2016. Am I right? Well, I can happily say that while yes, this post will be about moving into a new year of my life, it will have a slightly different outlook on the typical resolution thing that everyone loves to talk/blog about.

I’ve come to realize that making concrete and/or time-sensitive resolutions has become a motivating but eventually disappointing ritual in many people’s lives. Even though it is meant to give a new hope to those of us who have struggled with various issues in the past, I think that these over-the-top resolutions also bring about feelings of failure, especially concerning weight loss and health. Now if you’re someone who has experienced success from previous New Year’s resolutions, don’t think I’m looking down on your achievements. I am simply saying that it isn’t for me, and I’d instead like to focus on more realistic goals and reflecting on ones that I’d been previously working on. This makes it so that I can work on things that I need to on my own time – no pressure!

Now that I’ve filled you in on my feelings about New Year’s resolutions, here are my reflections on 2015 and a few things that I hope to see happen in my future (not just in 2016).

  • In 2015, I went through a lot of changes. I moved to a different city, left a job, found excitement in a new career path, left friends and then made new friends, got a dog, and on and on and on. In 2016, I want to feel comfortable and settled…for now. I want to be able to relax and focus on enjoying where I am, being young, and having everything that I’m lucky enough to have.
  • In terms of my new career path, I hope to hear some great news soon concerning a big step in this new direction.
  • I also think that some of 2015 was tough on my relationships. Romantic, peer, or familial, every type of relationship is equally important, and I definitely experienced some major ups and downs within each category. For example, I made the decision to leave a place where I had finally become comfortable in a new group of friends and work relationships to come to a new city where I once again had to build brand new relationships. Luckily, I was able to do so fairly quickly, but I will always see room for improvement in all types of my relationships. I would love to become more open and learn how to let my guard down a little more around people in my life. This improvement alone will make a huge difference!
  • One of the biggest areas of improvement that people seek in the coming of a new year is health. More specifically, weight loss. I completely understand the reasoning behind so many people’s weight-oriented resolutions. I‘m a woman, in my 20s, and living in a world that defines people like myself too commonly on weight and appearance alone. However, while we are such a critical society in terms of defining beauty, I DO think that we’ve grown to be more encouraging about overall health and having a positive body image. I am happily confident that I’m in a healthy state, and even though there will always be things that I want to improve on, I at least know that they are things that I don’t need to put a deadline on. Unless you are someone who is in dire need of a health overhaul, then I don’t believe in putting the enormous pressure of a concrete resolution or unrealistic goal on your shoulders. Let it happen organically and results will last.
  • Finally, when thinking of my non-resolution resolutions, I realized that I really wanted to have fun and stop stressing SO MUCH over everything. I want to go snowboarding and hiking, travel to a new place, and see some really awesome concerts. These are just some things I look forward to doing in the future and I know that these things will only improve my life, nothing less!

I hope that all of you have thought about the year ahead and the ways that you can improve your quality of life…without the comparisons to Brad Pitt or Tay Swift. Think about the good things in your life and ways to make them even better. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Also, there is nothing negative about planning for some fun times in your life, right?

Happy 2016 everyone. CHEERS

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The Dangers of Xylitol

Hi everyone!

I’m aware that I haven’t been writing recently, but I have been very busy with my new puppy and taking on a new path toward a career in dental hygiene. For the past year, dental hygiene has been a serious consideration of mine and I’m finally happy to say that I am fully committed to applying to dental hygiene school at the same place where my parents received their dental educations years (and years) ago! Quite the life change, right? Right now, I am busy taking a few classes at the local university, painting commissioned art pieces, taking care of Fitz, and preparing my application for hygiene school, but I just had to get back into writing my blog. I figured that my first post back from my break needed to be about something important, and as a dog owner and prospective dental hygiene student, the dangers of xylitol is something that hits me close to home.

As the use of the sweetener and sugar-substitute, xylitol, has grown in the food industry, so has the risk of poisoning for our beloved pets. Not many people are aware of the deathly effects that xylitol has on their cats and dogs when they’re purchasing a pack of presumably healthy sugar-free gum, but that doesn’t mean they should remain ignorant about the ingredient. I feel as if it is very important to educate the public about the choices we are making and the effects they may have on the health of our best friends.

This subject unfortunately hadn’t really caught my attention until my own personal experience with the toxicity of xylitol. A few months ago, my miniature schnauzer puppy ended up at the emergency vet with no indication of what was making him so sick. After a near-death experience, weeklong stay in the hospital, and countless test results with no explanations, the doctors decided that Fitz must have gotten into some kind of toxin, such as xylitol. They explained to me that the number of emergency cases from xylitol poisoning in dogs is overwhelming and upsetting. Not only is it a common issue, but they also are often lethal.

Even though I don’t have gum or candy in my apartment, which are two of the main xylitol culprits, the doctors said that even a piece of chewed gum on the sidewalk could be detrimental. This news was very upsetting and I have since made sure to clear EVERYTHING in my home that contained any fraction of the toxin. I luckily had nothing to throw away, but the research I did about the sweetener drove me mad. I discovered that there are so many commonly bought products that are made with xylitol and most of them were things I never would’ve guessed to contain it.

Some of these items may include:

  • sugar-free candies and mints
  • sugar-free gum
  • baked goods
  • jams/jellys
  • energy bars
  • toothpaste
  • vitamins

In addition, xylitol has been advertised as having benefits for gum and tooth health. Many dentists praise the ingredient for its ability to reduce the chance of developing cavities and gingivitis; however, they must also be sure to make its detrimental effects on pets very clear when doing so. I hope to spread the word about xylitol’s dangers to various dentists and grocery stores around the area in an effort to educate consumers who may have no knowledge about it.

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A picture I took of my little guy at the vet – quite the pitiful face

How-To: Home Decorating

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Here’s a little step–by-step guide I’ve created to help any of you whom are looking to redecorate or furnish a brand new home soon!

  1. Brainstorm your theme and gather ideas on Pinterest to help you visualize what you want before you start shopping.
  2. Calculate a ballpark budget so you don’t go overboard on purchases.
  3. Clean the entire space before bringing in any new furniture!
  4. Take measurements of windows and rooms before you purchase.
  5. Enlist in some helping hands for your move/decorating, especially if you’re bringing in furniture!
  6. When beginning the moving process, start by bringing in any rugs/carpets. Then you can fill in the rest, starting with the biggest furniture pieces.
  7. Add in finishing touches sooner rather than later.
  8. Get all of the hanging done before your help leaves- otherwise you won’t get it done!
  9. Clean and vacuum again once most of the moving and decorating is finished.
  10. Take pictures! It’ll most likely never look as clean and in order as it does now!

 

Tips:

  • If you have big windows, get new blinds made for each one- it’s worth the expense
  • Paint an accent wall if you need more color in your space
  • The more light fixtures, the better- ambiance is KEY
  • Use fake or real flowers/plants to add life to your space- I recommend getting fresh lavender from L’Occitane
  • If you want to save money but still want some sturdy and nice pieces of furniture/décor, shop at places like T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, and The World Market (where just about all of my things are from)
  • Another way to save some money is by looking in old storage units of family members- you’re likely to find some awesome vintage pieces like my beautiful antique dining table!
  • Buy some grown-up pictures/paintings and force yourself to get rid of your fun college décor (or at least confine it all to one small room)
  • Make an impact in a room by adding a really unique piece that you love!
  • Books, books, books: the more, the better!
  • Make sure you have enough storage and space-savers- that way your place won’t look too cluttered!

 

For some extra inspo, visit domainehome.com – my fav website for anything home related!

The Oscars 2015: Best Dressed!

This year’s Oscars show was entertaining per usual; however, aside from the moving musical performances, the most standout part of the show for me was definitely the fashion!  While watching arrivals on the red carpet, the overarching trends that I spotted on the stars included statement necklaces, embellishments, blue tuxes, and leg slits!  Overall, I was happy with the majority of the looks on the carpet and can’t wait to share the ones I loved with you!

The Ladies:

Jennifer Lopez in Elie Saab

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Rosamund Pike in Givenchy

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Jennifer Aniston in Versace

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Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford

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Jenna Dewan-Tatum in Zuhair Murad

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Jessica Chastain in Givenchy

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Anna Kendrick in Thakoon

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Naomi Watts in Armani Prive

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Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent

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The Gents:

Chris Evans in Gucci

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Chris Pine in Giorgio Armani

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Jared Leto

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David Oyelowo in Dolce & Gabanna

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Ansel Elgort in Prada

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Bradley Cooper in Ferragamo

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Prettiest Couple Award:

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* all photos from elle.com, eonline.com and people.com

NYFW: Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Now that fashion week is coming to a close in New York, the models can catch up on some beauty sleep, designers can celebrate, and editors can retire their sky-high heels for the more practical yet still trendy designer sneakers.  As reviews and photos are pouring in from all of the shows, I couldn’t help but dive into the collections myself!  Some things that really stood out to me were the beautiful color stories, the wearability of the designs, and the lovely use of texture from the designers.  I must say that I’m very impressed from what I’ve seen so far and can’t wait to share some of my favorite looks with you!  Check them out below and see if you agree!

Oscar De La Renta

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Jenny Packham

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Carolina Herrera

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Erin Fetherston

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Michael Kors

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J. Crew

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Dennis Basso

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Prabal Gurung

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BCBG Max Azria

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DVF

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Ralph Lauren

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Marc Jacobs

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*All photos from elle.com and style.com

New Beginnings

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Over the past month, I’ve made a few BIG changes. I decided to move my job, and therefore my life, which I wholeheartedly believe is for the better. With only one day off to make the transition from my old job position to the new one, I didn’t really get a chance to process all that’s involved in moving to a completely different city. Luckily, I have two amazing parents, who helped me secure and move into an awesome new space. Now that I finally have a semi-full apartment, which is beautiful by the way, I can get back into a normal routine, which I never thought I would miss. Stay tuned this week for a few new blog posts featuring my new apartment and an amazing family trip I took to the West before the big move!

Best Dressed: 2015 Golden Globes

From the meaningful tribute speeches and political nods to a surprising confession of love from Clooney himself, this year’s Golden Globe Awards seemed to be more impactful and emotional than ever before.  However, the more somber mood of the show wasn’t at all reflected in the fashion choices that the celebrities brought to the red carpet.  Bold colors, metallics, and skin-baring dresses seemed to be the biggest style themes of the night and I am so excited to show you my picks for best dressed!

Julianne Moore in Givenchy

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Allison Williams in Armani Prive

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Dakota Johnson in Chanel Couture

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Kate Hudson in Versace

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Diane Kruger in Emilia Wickstead

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Emma Stone in Lanvin

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Emily Blunt in Michael Kors

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Amy Adams in Versace

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Everyone have a good (rainy) Monday!!

photos via: E! Online and Refinery29