Hello. Goodbye. | Glance Back. Reach Forward.

I don't know about you, but I couldn't be more excited for a new year, a clean slate, some new goals and new adventures. 

In all honesty, 2016 was pretty good to me.  I started a new job, met some great people, gained a new level of appreciation for who I am, attended some kick ass concerts (Justin Beiber, Beyonce & ADELE!!), went to Vegas, joined a dinner club, shared SO many amazing meals and laughs with friends, drank a lot of coffee, cried over the election, cried over family moving away, danced the night away more than once, went kayaking, lost 20 pounds, laughed a million laughs with my man....looking back it was beautiful and full and I am so thankful for this life I get to live. 

I didn't set any specific goals for 2016 because I wanted to see what would happen organically - and I am not at all dissatisfied with how it shook out. That said - I am excited to set a few goals this year and set some intentions for 2017. 

Here is what I am thinking: 

1. Take better care of myself.  This includes eating better, being more active, taking time to rest, etc. 

2. Work Hard. I am going to continue to develop my marketing, creative skills and create great content. 

3. Love Deeper. I want to invest more time in those I love this year. Dig deeper, love harder, share my heart more. 

4. Be a better Human. Inspired by our First Lady, Michelle Obama, "we they go low, we go high", I want to daily find ways to give more love and kindness to the world.

5. Embrace Fearlessness. This might be the most difficult for me as I consider myself to be a relatively fearful person as it relates to being very aware of my mortality. But, I want to choose to be fearless, to embrace risk, to embrace fun and push past some of the fear I have held so close. 

What excites me most about these goals is that they are all so close to my heart and it doesn't feel like "work" to set intentions in these areas. 

What about you?  What are you hoping for in 2017? What do you want to create? 

Be Kind

This has been a tough week in America.  Lots of people lost their precious lives due to senseless violence and fear. My heart has been broken and I have been trying to decide how I can be part of the solution.  The word that is on my heart is kindness. 

Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. synonyms:kindliness, kindheartedness, warmheartedness, affectionwarmth, gentleness, concern, care

A couple years ago, that word really started to impact me and it has became the main word I have chosen to adopt as a core value.  

In times like these, I wonder how an act of simple (or profound) kindness could have changed things.  How a moment of concern, care, listening could make a big impact. 

This week has challenged me to up my game.  To choose kindness when I don't feel like it.  When I am frustrated because my order is taking forever at a restaurant or because someone cut me off in traffic - To take a moment to compliment someone rather than just think it and keep walking. It has challenged me to look for the good in each person and to actually take the time to notice. I want to be known for assuming the best and treating each person with care. 

Life is hard and sometimes injust. But in my heart, I believe that kindness can change the world. We have a choice in each moment how we respond.  We are all human. We are all different - yet the same. We are all imperfect and precious. We all need compassion. We all need love and a kind word.  We all need an ally.

This week, let's love a little harder, go out of our way to show kindness to every one along our path and find ways to create a better world, for all of us.  

 

SOMETIMES THE PATH IS WINDING

If you know me, you know the last couple years, I have tried a lot of different things both online and off.  It's been a bit of a winding path. AND it has been full of valuable lessons, beautiful memories and a better understanding of who I am, what I want and the things I want to invest in. 

That said, blogging is something I really love and it took trying some other things and taking a break for me to really figure that out. So I am back. I'm really excited about it.  

For now, I am committing to post only when I have something I want to say, or something I love that I want to share.  I'll be honest, I don't have time to post a bunch of fluff and you probably don't have the time to read it anyway. As a whole, our culture is way too busy and there is content everywhere  - I don't want to add to the noise or create more "to do" for myself. 

I do want to share my path with you - share some adventures, some beautiful things, lessons I am learning, share about my beautiful, lively city.  So that's what you will find here.

I hope you will share with me too.  Life is best when shared, right? 

ALSO, would you do me a HUGE favor and give me a follow on my new Instagram account? It would make my day! 

Peaches and Cream (No sugar, No fuss)

So, for the last couple months, to curb our nighttime sweet tooth, my husband has been making this very healthy snack that is just 3 ingredients, super easy + very yummy! 

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You need: 

Make sure you refrigerate the coconut cream overnight. Then you put the coconut cream in the mixer (We use our trusty ole Kitchenaid "Eleanor") for about 3 minutes on medium speed.  Then add your sweetener (skip the sugar for an extra healthy treat) and continue on medium speed for one additional minute. It turns into a pseudo whipped cream which is delicious served over some sliced fruit.  So good!

This is a "dessert" I wouldn't have ever thought of, but really enjoy.  That said, Michael and I had gone to breakfast one Saturday morning and much to my excitement they served some grapes (and cream) with my pancakes.  I sat there eating my grapes and whipped cream and when I had just two grapes left, my sweet husband said, "Are you dipping those grapes in your butter?" My eyes grew very large and I said...."I'm pretty sure this is whipped cream". He sticks his finger in the remnants left in the bowl and tastes it..."Vicky, that is butter...you just dipped your grapes in butter."  So yeah, I definitely ate a bowl of butter! But i really thought it was whipped cream.  Oops!

I can't wait for my first bowl of peaches and cream this summer! 

Stuck? Follow your passions.

This winter we had a pretty big ice storm here in TN.  If you are from around here you know that when ice happens in TN, things get a little crazy.  Well, in the middle of said ice storm, I needed to get to work so I decided to brave the ice and find a way out of our driveway.  

After spending an hour trying to melt the ice off "Scooter" (my car) because it was too thick to scrape, I finally made enough progress to back out of my spot. I backed up and immediately started sliding around. I only had about 10 inches on both sides between my car and the large truck and SUV on either side.  I then tried to pull forward and back up again only to start spinning with no traction and only movement closer to the cars beside me.  I started to panic. I tried for a good 7 minutes and then remembered that 4 wheel drive is quite amazing for navigating icy streets. I was able to throw it into 4 wheel drive and then safely get out of the drive and not hit anything. 

The point of telling you all that, is this: 

We all get stuck.  Sometimes we literally get stuck in the ice or we find ourselves in a place in life that seems like it will never end, get better or be what you really want. 

In those times, it is easy to get discouraged and worried about how to get out of the rut you have found yourself in.  We panic, freak out, pout, cry or scream because we just don't know what to do. 

I have found three ways to get "unstuck" or at least find some movement in the right direction.

1. Be Grateful.

Take a moment to recount what got you where you are.  Write down some lessons you learned along the way.  Find at least 3 things to be grateful for in your journey here.

2. Look Back

Next, reflect on the things you have enjoyed in the past.  What activities make you happy? What brings you immense joy? Is there some idea you have for your life that you can't seem to shake? When you were younger what were some of your dreams? Write those down. 

3. Act on your passions. 

Take a look at that list you made.  Over the next 30 days, make time to pursue at least one of those things that you are passionate about.  Love to paint? Dig out those supplies and get to it. Are you a singer? Grab a hairbrush and sing your heart out! So many times our passions lead to what is next and help us to navigate the road ahead.  

What are you waiting for?