2018 Goals: How I did in January

january goals

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2018 kicked off with a bang, and January was an insanely busy month. I spent a lot of time working, not much time blogging (sorry), and even more time plotting! It took me a couple weeks to really set my intentions for the year, but I’m glad I took the time to really set things in place. I feel great about 2018, and January set the foundation.

Here’s how I did with each of my goals over the past month!

Overall Goal: Don’t Overthink It!

I did pretty good with this one! I said “yes” to more work opportunities, bought a diffuser I’ve been eyeing for months, and set up some big goals for February. Instead of talking myself out of things, I just went for it – and it felt great!

Read 50 books.

I got through 2 books in January (not counting the 2-3 cookbooks I read…maybe I should count those?). It’s not a lot, but given I started the month with the flu, and I worked a TON, I was happy with it. I ended January in the middle of reading 2 different books, so while I didn’t quite hit my monthly goal of a book each week, I’m well on my way.

Hike 100 miles.

I made it about 5 miles this month. It was cold and rained all month, but I got out when I could. As it gets warmer, the number will totally go up!

Clean up my beauty routine.

January was all about using what I already have to cut down on waste. I researched some clean products to replace my not-so-clean ones, and I’m looking forward to trying out more products from Maple Holistics!  I consider this one a “win” because I started the process by reducing the amount of waste I create in the process!

Create a wardrobe of high quality, sustainable clothing.

The past month was all about purging my wardrobe of items that don’t work for me anymore. I got rid of a lot of clothing that doesn’t serve a purpose for me anymore, doesn’t fit, and is just plain worn out. Some of the clothes went to ThredUP, some were donated, and a lot of them ended up in the trash/recycling. I plan to finish this process in February, and start to plot out and save for new pieces. Creating a better wardrobe starts with starting over, so this past month was great for that.

Travel solo more.

It’s still too damn cold for this, but I have been itching to rent a cabin for a weekend and just hole up with a good book and tons of snacks. We’ll see if I can make this happen!

Overall, I consider January a success! I set some goals, and got to work on them – there are 11 more months to keep working at it!

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NOTE: I’m going to be taking the rest of February off from the blog. I need the break to focus on my vegan challenge, working longer hours, and taking some time for myself. I’ll be back in March with an update on how the vegan plan went, and hopefully I’ll be back with way more inspiration for better content. Have a great February, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!

Going Vegan for February

going vegan

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In January, I decided one of my 2018 goals is to stop overthinking things. To honor that, I’m going vegan in the month of February!

Going vegan is something I’ve talked myself out of trying for years. I’m already a part-time vegetarian, vegan-before-6 kind of gal – so why not go whole hog and see what happens? Add in that I’m in a cooking rut, the winter months always make me feel like crap, and I could use a hormonal “reset,” and you have a recipe for change.

For now, I’m committing to going vegan for a full month to see how it goes. I spent January researching recipes, trying out adaptations to my favorite foods, and getting my pantry prepared. Oh, and I ate my last cheeseburger last weekend before I say goodbye for a while.

I’ll see where I am at the end of the month and assess things from there. Even if I go back to my occasional cheeseburger, I still plan to work more plant-based meals into my life.

My husband won’t be joining me on this one – at least not full time. He worked more vegetarian meals into his life, thanks to my gold-star cooking. I’ve also tried a few vegan recipes out on him already, and he seems to like them. At this point going vegan isn’t for him, and that’s fine. He’s supportive of my doing this for me, and leaving him to his own devices when he wants some meat or cheese. I’m sure he’ll end up eating a lot of what I cook anyway – he has a hard time saying no to falafel, black bean soup, and just about anything else I make!

I’m not sure how much I’ll post about this over the next month, but I’ll definitely let you know at the end of February how going vegan went! Until then, check out my Instagram, where I’ll be sharing all the delicious new food I’ll be trying out!

2018: Moving Forward

2018 moving forward

Moving forward into 2018, I struggled to decide what my overarching goals were going to be for the year. I moved between making traditional “resolutions,” a list of small goals, or choosing a mantra to set the tone for the year. Since I struggle with decision paralysis, I know that’s something I should probably work on this year. Figuring out what the hell I want to do in 2018 is just the beginning!

To make things more manageable for myself, I’m taking a two-pronged approach: choosing a mantra, and making a list of fun, easily-attainable goals that go along with it. My hope is that I can spend the year tackling the decision paralysis and constant feeling of disappointment. I also want to focus on filling my life with people, objects, and experiences that make me happy.

So, moving forward, my 2018 mantra is going to be:

Don’t overthink it!

I do this with EVERYTHING. If given the choice between something I really want, and something that’s just “okay,” I will almost always talk myself out of the thing I want. My closet is full of clothes I don’t wear or even like that much. I will spend days fiddling with my Amazon cart before I end up buying what I wanted in the beginning. Decision paralysis is a huge problem I want to fix in 2018, and it’s going to be a year-long process…I can just feel it.

I plan to start by spending January purging my home of things I don’t really love anymore. I’m looking forward to filling my life with better things, making new friends, and spending money on experiences over stuff. I also want to find the perfect pair of wide-legged jeans, so I can start my journey to dressing more like Chelsea Handler or Harling Ross. #fashiongoals

In addition to one major goal for 2018, I also have a few small things I want to accomplish in 2018. Some of them are goals I started on years ago and want to continue, and some are brand new!

Read 50 books.

I made this a goal last year and didn’t even come close. I think I stopped at like, 17 or something. However, it re-ignited my love of reading, so I’m trying again this year. So far I’ve read one: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit…highly recommended in this current climate!

Hike 100 miles.

I also aimed for this goal last year, but only set out to hike 50 miles (I made it about halfway). This year, I want to focus on finding new hiking trails and challenging myself more. Getting outside is good for me in many ways, and I need to keep it up – even on rainy days!

Clean up my beauty routine.

My skin was doing great in 2017, until I was forced to switch birth control pills thanks to some migraines and other issues. The cystic acne I suffered from pre-birth control is back with a vengeance, and nothing is helping. I’m hoping that cleaning up my beauty routine of nasty chemicals will help. I’ll probably write about it more soon, and let you know what’s working!

Create a wardrobe of high-quality, sustainable clothing.

In addition to getting rid of decision paralysis, I want to create a wardrobe I genuinely enjoy. My other goal is to be more mindful of where my clothing comes from. I’m guilty of owning a ton of “fast-fashion,” and want to focus on buying quality pieces from companies that use sustainable materials and practices. I want to spend January purging my closet of things I don’t really like or wear, and make a game plan to shop more mindfully in 2018.

Travel solo more!

I enjoy traveling, but I haven’t done a lot of solo traveling in my lifetime. This year, I want to go somewhere on my own – even if only somewhere nearby for a weekend. There are so many amazing places to visit around here, and I want to branch out on my own more. My husband isn’t the best traveler, so I’m sure he’ll be fine with staying home while I venture out a little. If you have any suggestions of places to chill in Washington, leave a message!

What goals are you aiming for in 2018? I’d love to hear what everyone else is up to this year!

Friday Favorites: Goodbye, 2017!

Friday favorites goodbye 2017

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Another year bites the dust!

2017 was such a dumpster fire of a year that I’m glad it’s over. It was one of those years you just had to bite down and get through, you know? 2018 is gearing up to be better, and I look forward to setting some goals and crushing them next year!

I’m not sure what that will mean for Afternoon Glow, though. Part of me wants to keep this train going, but part of me wants to take a break for a bit. It’s something I have to really think about over the next week or so. I’m pretty sure, as usual, I’m not alone in this. The new year often brings new goals and aspirations, which sometimes means letting go of old ones. I’ll let you know where I fall on this next week. For now, I have a pile of work to do and to figure out what I’m making for dinner (it’s beginning to look a lot like Five Guys burgers…haha).

Anyway, for the last time this year, here are my Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites

Alright, enough procrastinating! Off to tackle that pile of work, a pile of laundry, and maybe a nap because it’s so gloomy outside!

Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

happy holidays

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Happy Holidays!

I hope that, whether you’re celebrating a holiday today or not, you get to spend the day doing what you love with people you care about. Whether you plan to spend the day with family, friends, or on your own, I wish you a good day full of fun and relaxation – we could all use a little more of both lately!

I’m off to spend the day hiking, eating way too many cookies, and visiting family in the area. Tonight I’ll probably throw on some pajamas, curl up under a blanket with some hot cocoa, eat some more cookies, and watch one of my favorite holiday movies.

Tomorrow is “Thank You Note Day,” so make sure you have your notes, pens, and stamps ready to thank everyone for the lovely gifts and hosting they did this year! I know that’s what I’ll be doing while I recover from my holiday hangover!

Have a happy holidays, and I’ll be back on Wednesday to end the year in style!

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

Finding the right outfit for every holiday event can be exhausting. This year, I’m trying to take some of the pressure off myself and keeping things simple. Pinterest is always a great place to find inspiration, and I have a board just for holiday outfits! While I don’t have too many plans this year (at least not yet), if something comes up I’ll be prepared!

Here are a few “themes” I put together to get you through the holidays with staples you probably already have (plus a few goodies you can pick up for fun)!

The Office Party: Basic Black + Sparkle

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

The office holiday party can be tricky. What you wear depends on a lot of factors: where the event is, who’s going to be there, and whether you’ll have time to change beforehand. I’m a huge fan of wearing black work staples with a little extra holiday “kick.” Any of these outfits will look polished during the work day, then transition easily to a party in the office, drinks after work, or a formal corporate shindig. I usually aim for “festive professional” for holiday office parties, and all three  options fit the bill!

Brunch: Channel Emmanuelle Alt

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

I never understood “dressing up” for brunch with friends, so I suggest taking a cue from my casual, “I-don’t-give-a-fuck” Parisian muse, Emmanuelle Alt. Grab your favorite worn-in jeans, a neutral crewneck sweater, black ankle boots, and top it off with a classic peacoat or blazer. You’ll look chic AF while also giving off that “I didn’t try at all” vibe. If you really want to go a little “extra,” pile on the delicate gold jewelry or a rock brighter colored sweater…or both!

The Family Event: Fair Isle Sweater + Comfy Jeans

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

My family keeps things pretty casual for the holidays, and I also eat a TON during our Christmas get-togethers, so comfort is key. I never got into the whole “ugly sweater” craze because I’m from the Midwest where people still wear them un-ironically (and don’t want people to think I actually like wearing those tacky things). Instead, my idea holiday outfit is a fair isle sweater, comfy jeans (to accommodate for all the fudge I plan to eat), and some comfy shoes/boots. If your family get-togethers involve snowball fights with your sister’s crazy kids, a racist uncle or two, and lots of wine, this outfit will get you through.

New Year’s Eve: Add A Sequin Jacket

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

We almost never go out for New Year’s Eve, which is too bad because I have the perfect outfit that fits into almost any party scenario – take jeans and your favorite band tee, throw on a pair of colorful heels, then add a sequin jacket! It’s an unexpected, sparkly twist that requires almost no added effort. Sequin jackets look best with minimal makeup, slightly messy hair, and few accessories. Basically, you can just throw on the jacket and BOOM – instant rocker girl vibes!

If you want to see more outfit inspiration (or want to know more about each look), check out my “2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas” Pinterest board!

My Favorite Holiday Movies

Ah, holiday movies. Unlike Halloween movies, there aren’t many Christmas movies I actually enjoy. It’s not my favorite holiday to begin with, so that makes choosing even harder. Add to this one of my old favorites, The Ref, is now “off the list” thanks to the fact that it stars Kevin Spacey (#menruineverything). However, there are still a few that I don’t mind watching year after year. Here they are (and yes, this is pretty much all of them)!

My Favorite Holiday Movies

Love Actually (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

I could watch this movie just about any time of the year (and I do). It has so many amazing actors in it, and dammit if I don’t cry a little every time I watch it (damn you, Liam Neeson). It’s funny, a little sad, outrageous, endearing, sweet, and with just a hint of that good ol’ British self deprecation.

You also get to see a lot of people before they hit it big on television shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones (hint: he’s also in Netflix’s new show Godless), Mad Men, Westworld, and Sherlock. If this doesn’t get you in the holiday mood, I don’t know what will!

Bridget Jones’s Diary (Netflix)

Okay so this isn’t a “traditional” Christmas movie, but whatever – it mostly takes place around the holidays. In another great feat of British holiday humor, Bridget is a single, 32 year old woman trying to keep her shit together. Spoiler alert: she mostly doesn’t. My husband introduced me to this movie years ago, and we watch it pretty much every year.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

No, this one isn’t even close to a holiday film, but when you watch the first one, you might as well pop in the second, right? I usually have a large glass of wine while watching this one, and you should too!

Frosty the Snowman (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

I used to watch this every year on TV as a kid. I cried every damn time Frosty melted in the greenhouse. You know you did too. Watch it with some kids, and see if it still holds up all these years later (and try not to cry like a little baby).

Scrooged (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

Okay, so I’ll admit this isn’t really one of my favorite holiday movies. However, it’s my husband’s all-time favorite holiday movie EVER. If you like your Christmas movies a little on the dark side, definitely check this one out. It’s got Bill Murray, ghosts, a familiar story, and a bitch with a toaster. What’s not to love?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Amazon, $9.98/blu-ray)

I must have had a bit of a dark streak myself growing up because this has to be one of my favorite holiday stories of all time. The grinch was my jam back in the day! Of course, the message is about how the holiday spirit lives in all of us, even those of us with the coldest, blackest of hearts.

It’s also a nice message about how “stuff” isn’t what the holiday is all about – a lesson I think more people need to hear nowadays. It warms my cold, dead heart and reminds me what the holidays are really about – dogs with antlers tied to their heads because that shit is ADORABLE!

Well, I’m off to throw in one of these and eat my weight in fudge! What are your favorite holiday movies? Do you go super traditional, or do you watch Die Hard? 😉

Friday Favorites

Time Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers

Welcome to another Friday Favorites!

I spent this week reflecting on how far we’ve already come as a country, thanks to Time Magazine honoring the men and women who have spoken out about sexual harassment and abuse. It’s been a long year of protesting, sharing, healing, and hard conversations. I’m glad that we’re ending the year in the middle of progress. We still have a long way to go before women can feel safe and respected in the world, but we’re slowly chipping away at it.

This has also been a week of making wish lists and locally-sourced gift guides here at Afternoon Glow! I am excited to share my favorite things with you and hopefully treat myself to a few of them soon!

Anyways, here are a few more of my Friday favorites from the past week:

  • Well+Good has announced the top 18 fitness and wellness trends for 2018, and I can definitely get behind a few already: cozy activewear, nut milk yogurt (finally!), and women’s coworking clubs!
  • I love burning candles at home, but never really thought much about what was in them until recently. The Chalkboard Mag came up with 11 natural, non-toxic candles that will make great gifts this holiday season – or you can scoop up a few for your home too!
  • I’m already planning and plotting my holiday baking, and this post from Camille Styles has 27 cookie recipes that look yummy and pretty easy to make! I can’t wait to try out a few!
  • As much as I’d love to try some Moon Juice’s Moon Dusts in my morning coffee, I can’t justify paying $40 for a jar. Thankfully, Hello Glow has their own recipe for a Brain Dust that you can easily add to tea, coffee, or smoothies – and it won’t break the bank! I can’t wait to hit up my local health food store to stock up on the ingredients!
  • My canvas duffel bag fell apart this summer, and I’ve been looking for a replacement ever since. I recently discovered Lemur Bags, a company that makes beautiful canvas bags and totes. They donate 15% of their profits to conservation efforts specific to lemurs. I’m seriously considering grabbing this pineapple-print duffel bag!

 

Well, I’m off to a lunch date with the husband! I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday with more great posts!

My #ShopLocal Gift Guide!

#shoplocal gift guide

In addition to shopping online for gifts, now is the best time to #shoplocal! You can find unique gifts for everyone while supporting great local businesses in your area.

The Seattle area has so many amazing local businesses, it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few. Whether you’re shopping for friends and family here, or looking to ship gifts across the country, there are so many great things out there! Here are some things I’m looking at this year to send out to loved ones (or get for myself)!

My #ShopLocal Gift Guide: Seattle

Boehm’s Candies

The Seattle area is home to several local chocolatiers, but this one is my favorite. For one thing, it’s about a 5-minute drive from my home in Issaquah! They have amazing holiday chocolates (including solid dark chocolate Santas), licorice, and even dog treats!

Jungmaven

I found out about Jungmaven through IndieGetUp, a site dedicated to helping you find local shops in your area. They make hemp and cotton clothing, bedding, and other fun accessories. I’m seriously digging the Sherpa Crewneck Sweatshirt – it looks so lived-in and comfy!

Stumptown Coffee

Okay, so technically this company started out in Portland, Oregon, but it’s still a local favorite of coffee shops around the Seattle area. Their Hairbender blend is one of my favorites, and it pairs well with just about anything I put in it! Their packaging is also gorgeous, which makes for a great gift during the holidays!

Big Dipper Wax Works

Based in Seattle, this candle company is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I’ve burned through a few of their Meditation candles this past year, and I can’t wait to stock up on more! They make great stocking stuffers or gifts for the office!

George’s Sausage & Delicatessen

If you’re a good little Polish lady like me, Christmas means eating your weight in kielbasa. If you live in the Seattle area, head downtown to check out George’s for all the kielbasa and Polish goodies you can carry! It’s honestly the best kielbasa I’ve ever had, and I need to get back out there soon to stock up for the holiday season. They also have a ton of Polish candy, pickled everything, and wine…tons of wine!

If you’re looking for local shops in your area, check out IndieGetUp to see what your state has to offer!

The Afternoon Glow 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Every year, I try to put together a holiday wish list, and usually come up short. Not this year! I found plenty of fun things to get for your wellness-obsessed friends, woke witches, and hygge masters!

Enjoy the list, and come back on Wednesday when I share my favorite local gifts from the Pacific Northwest!

For the friend who is all about wellness…and coffee:

2017 holiday gift guide

Stonn Stainless Steel Electric Milk Frother ($6.95, Amazon)

To thicken up a bullet coffee, matcha tea, or a superfood latte, I highly recommend grabbing your coffee-obsessed friends a handheld frother. It’s small, easy to store, and does the job!

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder ($15.00, Amazon)

I’ve recently gotten into adding “extras” to my coffee, and collagen is a great place to start! It’s tasteless and mixes in well with whatever morning drink you prefer. I also find it thickens my almond milk lattes a little more! Give your friends the gift of amazing hair, skin, and nails along with their favorite coffee or tea!

4th & Heart Vanilla Bean Ghee ($10.94, Amazon)

Adding extra fat to coffee is a great way to add flavor and helps your body absorb caffeine more slowly throughout the day. Ghee is a healthy option, and this one contains a little vanilla to add some flavor and sweetness. Plus, the packaging is adorable and would look great in a gift basket!

Kate Spade Travel Mug ($18.00, Amazon)

You can’t have a beautifying drink in an ugly old mug! Grab your friend a pretty one like this floral Kate Spade travel version, and they can start the day on a pretty note!

For the feministas in your life:

2017 holiday gift guide

 

“Feminist Killjoy” Sweatshirt ($23.90, Etsy)

I really, really want this sweatshirt – and I want to buy it for all my fellow “feminist killjoys” out there! It will keep you cozy and warm while dismantling the patriarchy, or telling an ignorant relative or two where to stick their “not all men” argument during your next holiday get-together.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg Prayer Candle ($12.95, Etsy)

I think prayer candles are beautiful. They are even more beautiful when covered with beautiful images of our favorite feminist icons! This Etsy shop also has candles for my other two role models – Ilana and Abbi from Broad City! Get them all, and channel your inner feminist badass!

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan ($17.95, Amazon)

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, get one for yourself and all your bookish friends. It’s an important read if you want to better understand how society, higher education, and advertising have been oppressing women for…well…forever. Since this book is over 50 years old, keep in mind it does largely gloss over women of color and doesn’t address other sexualities – but it was the start of a conversation that later included those groups.

Tiny Smudge Kit ($5.95, Etsy)

I’m not a big spiritual person, but there’s nothing wrong with ridding the world of bad energy however we can, right? This is a great stocking-stuffer idea for your wellness-loving friends, and cheap enough you can grab one for yourself while you’re at it!

For that friend who could use a little hygge:

2017 holiday gift guide

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living ($10.69, Amazon)

The Danes are some of the happiest people in the world – and it’s no wonder! The concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) promotes comfort, staying in the present, and enjoying friendship. They also believe it’s okay to let go of perfectionism to indulge once in a while. This would be a great book for that friend who could use a little break during the stressful holiday season!

Pendleton Plaid 5th Avenue Throw Blanket ($159, Pendleton)

Comfort is a big part of hygge, and this cozy wool blanket would be perfect for curling up under with a good book! They come in so many patterns and colors, you could find one for everyone!

Lavender Scented Soy Wax Candle ($15, Etsy)

Candlelight is another great way to bring some coziness into your life, and this one smells calming and warm. Lavender is a great scent for relaxing after a long day, and staying in the present.

Cable Knit Knee-High, No-skid Socks ($10.90/pair, Amazon)

It’s almost impossible to get cozy vibes with cold feet! These socks are warm, fuzzy, and have anti-slip grip so you can wear them all over the house! I can’t wait to pick up a pair in every color!