Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012: My Goals

First of all, Happy New Years Eve! I hope everyone has an absolute blast tonight and remember to be safe! I hope 2012 is a great year filled with happy, healthy and fun memories for everyone.

Now on to my goals of the new year...

I'm definitely one of those people that loves making new goals and resolutions. Unfortunately, I am also one of those people that has a hard time keeping them. Looking back on my blog, I ran across some of my old goals. Here's a list I made in 2009 and I did accomplish some of them (I crossed out the things I've done in the past two years):

My Goals started in 2009:
1. Do not go on the Internet for one week. (These Internet goals are kind of impossible now due to the work I do...)
2. Use the Internet only an hour a day for one month. 
3. Graduate and receive my Bachelor's Degree from OU.
4. Write and publish a novel.
5. Collect 100 DVDs. (I now own 77, including TV series on DVD)
6. Get a famous writer or someone from a writing job to read/like my blog.
7. Get an apartment with Krissy.
8. Have 5 people recommend me a book and read them, no matter what they are. (Don't really remember if I have done this...)
9. Go on a weekend camping/hiking trip.
10. Go to Disney Land in Florida. (Will do in March!)
11. Visit Europe. (Spain, England, and France are my top places I want to go to.)
12. Do not buy anything for myself for one month besides needs (Try longer afterwards?).
13. Learn to tune a guitar.
14. Learn to play at least 3 songs on guitar.
15. Take a yoga class for at least a month.
16. Give up sweets for one month.
17. Really organize my clothes and sell the ones I rarely wear or don't need. (Could do this again though...)
18. Run in a marathon. 
19. Participate in a walk, bike ride, or run towards a cause. (Possibly diabetes).
20. Write a song and have someone write music for it.
21. Climb a rock wall. 
22. Donate and plant a tree somewhere.
23. Sew a blanket for someone.
24. Visit Chicago and New York City.
25. See one of my favorite comedians live.
26. Mail a secret to PostSecret.
27. Put together and publish a book of 100 blogs I've written.
28. Swim with dolphins. 
29. Meet Will Ferrell. 
30. Work on the "Life List" of goals with Kevin... some are included in this list.
31. Identify 100 things that make me happy and post them where I will see them frequently.
32. Take a photography class.
33. Throw a summer BBQ party.
34. Have my palm read.

Since then I've added some newer goals. For 2012 here are some additional things I'd like to do...

1. I'd really love to have a really healthy diet and get my parents on board with it too. Having so many sweets around my house is way too tempting sometimes.
2. I am taking a cake decorating class in January and that is something I've always wanted to do!
3. Take a Zumba class.
4. Regularly exercise: keep doing yoga at least once a week and work out at home (my parents have a treadmill, elliptical, and recumbent bike and some other work out gear which makes it very convenient!).
5. Save and earn enough money in 2012 to move into an apartment and be more independent.

Please tell me: what are your goals or resolutions for 2012?
Also, what would you like to see from my blog in 2012?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What did you Give or Receive This Holiday?

In the spirit of giving and receiving, I will share a few things that I gave and received this holiday season!


1. A gift card for use at a casino nearby for my parents. They used it before Christmas for a little getaway!

2. A new yoga mat and metallic nail polish for one of my best friends.

3. An iPod Touch for my boy!

4. Boots for my cousins.


1. A new blender! I can finally make smoothies!

2. Social Network on DVD and a season of Glee.

3. Gift cards - Target, Starbucks, Victoria Secret, Barnes & Noble, etc. Yay for shopping!

4. A beautiful personalized snow globe from my boy!

Definitely a blessed Christmas! Tell me what you gave or received for the holidays!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Surefire Ways To Be An Amazing Friend

First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful, wonderful holiday! I'd love to hear all about it. Tweet me at @lrstewar!

Friendships are so important. I don't know about you, but they bring so much happiness, laughter, fulfillment, hope and so much more into my life. So of course, maintaining your friendships is crucial. If you treat your friends like crap, you won't have any. Here are some friendship rules I try to live by. I'm by no means perfect and friends come and go... but these tips are always good to keep in mind.

1. Put your friends before yourself sometimes. There will definitely be times when a friend will invite you somewhere and you don't want to go. They will ask you a favor that you don't want to do. Or maybe they just need a friend to listen and you're "too busy". Now, don't let anyone walk all over you or take advantage and sometimes you'll need to say "no", but keep in mind a friendship has two sides. You can't expect your friend to do nice things for you if you don't do it for them!

So head with your friend to her doctor's appointment if she's nervous, go cheer your friend on at his basketball game, tag along when a friend wants you to run errands with them, etc. Doing something with or for a friend is sometimes the right thing to do. When faced with an invite that I don't want to do, I'll ask myself... would it mean a lot to this person if I did this? Would I just be sitting around otherwise? If yes, just do it. I bet you won't even mind running around helping a friend run errands because it will make them happy and you'll both share a laugh or two.

2. Be kind and send reminders that you cherish the friendship. There are so many ways to tell someone you care! Send a card 'just because', treat your friend to lunch, attend an event that is important to them (sports, dance recital, whatever...), send a quick Facebook message or text to say hi and the list goes on.

3. I've found that sometimes people just don't make plans. I'll get annoyed that I always seem to be the one to keep in touch with a friend or make plans or say hello, but some people just don't. I try not to put any meaning behind it and just be proud of the fact that I am a planner and put effort into my friendships. If you're a planner too, cherish it about yourself and keep planning! If you notice maybe you're a procrastinator or forget to keep in touch, work on it and let your friends know you haven't forgotten about them. The best day is today!

4. Lastly, read more. I found this great list of the top friendship qualities. I totally agree with all of them! They are just good qualities to have to be an amazing friend.

Tell me, in what ways are you a good friend? Or describe an amazing friend you have!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Here's my last post for a while so I can fully enjoy the holiday season...

I hope you all have a lovely holiday season and are able to spend your time with loved ones and simply relax!

Also, a very happy anniversary to my amazing boyfriend...tomorrow it has been 3 1/2 years since we first began dating. So cheers to lots of love this Christmas!

In the meantime, here are some of my articles about happiness to put you in a celebratory and happy mood for the holidays:

Tips for a Stress Free Holiday

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Come On, Get Happy

Happiness = The Little Things

And don't forget to enter the giveaway! It ends soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thirty One Gifts Goodies

Recently, I hosted a Thirty One Gifts party. I've you've never heard of Thirty One Gifts, it is a catalog company that sells purses, totes, bags, stationary, etc. Very cute stuff! I've only gone to a few other parties, but I saw how much you can get for free and half off when you host a party so I decided to throw one. Here are the cute goodies I got!

Which ones do you like? Would you ever host a catalog party like this?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest Post: Best Holiday Nail Polish Colors

First of all, don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a great book! What a fun holiday gift for someone (or yourself!) :)

The invitations are lined up, the perfect dress picked and your hair is finally cooperating.  But don’t forget about your 20 closest friends: your fingers and your toes. Whether you go to a nail salon to have them pampered or if you are a ‘do it yourselfer’, these colors are sure to turn heads this holiday season.

1.     Icicle by China Glaze
This is your New Year’s Eve color. Think a Lady Gaga inspired silver foil, definitely a new twist on holiday tinsel. 

2.     Wrapped in Rubies by Essie
Just like its name, this color wraps you in a luscious deep burgundy color with gold undertones. A more mature choice for the perfectly manicured hand.

3.     Cocktail Bling by Essie
The color resembles the winter sky before the first fall of snow and the light shade of gray goes perfect with your winter wardrobe. How can something so neutral stop traffic?

4.     Holiday Glitter Trio by Butter
This special delight comes with three holiday colors: Chancer, West End Wonderland & Rosie Lee. Chancer is your deep, sexy red that will catch a jealous ex’s eye. Your West End Wonderland is a festive gold glitter and Rosie Lee softens the group with a light sparkle purple.

5.     Carry On by Essie
A more modern look with this flat deep plum/burgundy hue. Compliments any skin tone and you can share this one with all the ladies in your family.

6.     Bobbing for Baubles by Essie
Blue is not your traditional holiday color but don’t be fooled by this holiday outcast. Muted sapphire is perfect for fun, cold weather dates like ice skating and sledding or holding a cup of hot chocolate.

7.     Holly-Day by China Glaze
Move over Christmas tree green, there is a new color in town. A must have for your next gift exchange party. The emerald green has a slight creamy undertone to it that even grandmother would approve of.

8.     Only Gold For Me by Sephora
Chunks of gold, just what a girl wants! This flashy but classy polish screams party. Quick tips, you will need several coats for this one or for instant glam, add it as a single top coat to a dark color.

A splash of color never hurt anyone, so dive in toes first and your holiday look will be complete. You can find most of these colors online or at your local nail salon or drugstore.
Post written by: Mary Edwards is one of the contributors and editors for best dating sites. She is passionate about thought leadership writing, regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting and online dating community. She can be reached at edwardsmary936 AT

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Princess and Her Garden Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

I got a chance to read and review (and give away!) a copy of A Princess and Her Garden by  Patricia R. Adson, PH.D. and Jennifer E. Van Homer, BS, MSC, CHIC. 

The book is a fable that shares a journey that can reflect the stage in anyone's life. Hint: this is a great gift for just about anyone!

The story focuses on a young girl searching for self-understanding and meaning in life. This beautifully told fable can reflect the stories of many women and men who feel lost in life because they've cared for everyone else and have forgotten about themselves.

Great bonus in the book: beautiful color illustrations and a guided journal where you can reflect on your own and create a very personal experience with the book.

To read more about the book or check out the inside, visit the website.

Today I have the chance to give away one copy of the book to a lucky reader! All you have to do is comment on this blog entry for a chance to win. Extra entries if you follow me and tweet about it on Twitter or Facebook

The winner has to be from USA or Canada only - sorry about that!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Finally Caved...

If you're into the blogging world, you've probably stumbled upon Pinterest at least once. It is an invite-only website and I was trying to resist another addicting website, but I finally caved.

So far I am loving looking at cute hairstyles, pretty posters with inspirational quotes, and the love between my favorite TV characters. 

Here's the link to my Boards on Pinterest! Share yours with me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Things I'm Lovin' Lately...

 Moody nails

 Baking and my first go with Fondant! I made little purses on top for a purse party I hosted.
 Starbucks Peppermint Mocha

 Christmas trees!

Weekends spent with wonderful friends! Especially for birthdays!

What are you lovin' lately? Please share!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest Post: Five Great Eco-Friendly Beauty Products

A wonderful and encouraging trend in our modern society is the "green" or ecological movement. So many people today are aware of, and concerned with, issues such as sustainability and recycling, and being good to the earth. This awareness can also extend to the beauty products we use, and here we'll list five of the very best choices:

First on the list is a very popular item in many cosmetic bags - Primer Potion by Urban Decay. Buy it because it works, and because it helps you look amazing; feel good about buying it because it's 100 percent cruelty-free and vegan!

Our next item comes from a company that has a well-established history of providing environmentally friendly products which are also perfectly gentle and provide excellent care for your skin. The Body Shop began in 1976 in the coastal town of Brighton, England, UK and very quickly became popular internationally due to their quality and ideals. Their line of facial care products that feature Tea Tree extract is especially popular among their fans. Try the Skin Clearing Facial Wash which reviewers rave about saying that it "tingles and refreshes, and does a great job of caring for oily skin without causing dryness".

Number three on the list is a line of beauty products available at Target by Sonia Kashuk who is a popular make-up artist and entrepreneur. One of the most frequently reviewed and highly rated items is her Lashify Mascara. A really fun/convenient special feature of this mascara is that is comes with a lash comb built into the handle, and of course we have to rave about the price - around $7 for a tube. Girls who love it rave that it creates length and volume, without being messy or clumpy, and it has incredible staying power while still washing off easily with soap and water. The fact that all of her products are safe for the environment and cruelty-free is simply icing on the cake!

Our fourth selection comes from another company with a great history of being dedicated to the environment long before it was a popular trend in the mainstream. Kiss My Face is proud of their motto "Passionately Natural - Incredibly Effective" and they provide a selection of products that demonstrate this. One of their most popular items is the Start Up Exfoliating Face Wash which features a delicate yet effective blend of certified organic herbs and essential oils that work to clean your face brilliantly, and the smell is amazing.

You can't be beautiful without a clean and healthy mouth, so, number five on our list is a toothpaste which works double-duty to keep your teeth, and the planet, happy! Once upon a time, Tom's of Maine was sort of a specialty store and you couldn't buy their products just anywhere. Thankfully, nowadays their popular offerings are easy to pick up in a great number of shops and mass retailers, and for reasonable prices. Again, eco-friendly and cruelty free are just two of the features of their products, and you really can't go wrong with anything from their line. One of their most popular toothpastes is the Whole Care with Cinnamon and Clove. Reviewers say "it's different from the traditional mint toothpaste, but in a good way! Very refreshing and leaves your mouth feeling clean and fresh".

We hope that these options give you inspiration (if you aren't already) to go out and try shopping with our planet in mind. You'll find that it's easier now than ever to select products which are effective and reasonably priced, as well. Good luck!

This post is by Stephani Rockwell, who is a freelance writer and content contributor for her site about dining tables.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We Are Young!

Once again, this post is inspired by Glee. Last night was Sectionals and the other main story was focusing on doing the right thing and enjoying being young. I've been thinking about that lately: how much I enjoy being young. When I was younger, all I could think of was getting to the next grade, graduating, then getting a job. Now, I still don't have all the answers, but I am on my way. But at times, I focus too much on work or just sitting at home than having fun but I've been trying to go out and hang with friends more this year.

I think we all try to grow up too fast. We want to graduate high school so quickly and then college and then be on our own and we realize we missed out on some of the fun parts of just being a kid. So now's your chance. It doesn't matter how old you are, you're still young. You're healthy, you're fun and you have the chance to enjoy your life. Start today!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest Post: What I Learned From My Dog

You can learn immensely by merely observing your dog’s general disposition. There are a lot of things about these wonderful creatures that inspire you. Some of them are cited below.
1.Touch is important
Touch is important for any relationship to blossom. Hugs and cuddles are a great way to feel warmth, love, care and security in a relationship. This universal fact is applicable with pets as well. Dogs give us unconditional love. Dogs do know that a simple touch can do wonders and make one feel emotionally stable. In lonely times, an assertive and sincere warm touch from a loved one can certainly uplift your mood.
2. Always seize the opportunity to nap
Another thing that you definitely can learn from dogs by observing their behavior is the importance of sleep. We all have become slaves of our respective work and live a hectic life. There is little time left to relax because we do not seize every opportunity that comes our way. Dogs know how to relax better. They find a cozy place and comfortably roll on their backs every now and then to take a breather. Human beings must also keep sleep and relaxing high on priority so that they can work more efficiently without feeling fatigued or bogged down.
3. Be more accepting and don’t feel jealous
Sibling rivalry is a commonplace phenomenon all over the world. Older child often feels jealous and intimidated by newly born baby in the house because of loss of attention. However this is not the case with dogs. Even though you get to spare far less time for your pet when the newly born arrives, your dog does not feel jealous at all and is rather protective of the little one. He becomes the best attendant in the world and is always alert about any signs of restlessness in the baby. He also keeps an eye on all the guests approaching the little one.
4. Invent your own toys
Dogs and kids can be truly inspiring when it comes to ideas of having fun. It is not necessary that you have all the expensive gadgets and fancy toys in order to have fun. With little imagination, you can device interesting and more productive time-pass methods.
5. Don’t let your old age stop you from having fun
With age, your fitness level and physical strength may diminish but that should not stop you from joining in the fun. Old age brings with it a number of ailments like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, muscular and joint pains, etc. but that should not limit your ability to play. As a matter of fact, it becomes more important to have fun so as to cope up with these conditions more effectively. You should limit strenuous exercises and opt for choices that suit you better. An aged and ailing dog’s behavior in this regard can be truly inspiring. Dogs, unmindful of physical constraints, always do find time and ways to play around a little.
Thus, having a pet is a great learning experience. If you have an open mind, interaction with your pet on a daily basis can surely make you much more evolved as a human being.
About the author: Bethany is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. These days she is busy in writing articles on two varied topics like Noritz Tankless Water Heater and patio umbrellas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ditch Your Phone and Live in the Moment

Recently, I went to a concert (City and Colour...they are amazing!) and I was amazed by how obsessed everyone is with their phones.

It was really cool though, just as I was pondering how many people had their phones out during the main band at the concert, the lead singer asks everyone to please put their phones away for just one song. He said that we get so concerned with documenting the memory, with videotaping or taking photos of the concert, that we don't even enjoy it. He expressed just the thought I was thinking and I thought it was really cool of him.

How often do we do this now? We don't enjoy experiences in life because we are so obsessed with documenting it, or texting someone else, or waiting for emails and Facebook notifications. I was amazed how many people were actually sitting there texting, ignoring the friends they came with and even the show they paid money to see!

So this is a reminder to myself and to everyone... be mindful with technology. Remember to share your experiences with real people and enjoy life. It is easy to get sucked into all the different technologies now and to think that is all there is to life. Next time you're out with a friend, put your phone on silent while you eat together. At a concert, take a few photos or videos, but make sure you spend most of the time just be in the moment and enjoy the concert.

What will you do to live in the moment and cherish your relationships and take a break from your cell phone and other technologies?