Happy New Year – and some 2015 Goals!

2015

Happy New Year friends – welcome to 2015! I took a few last days off from the blog to hit restart. This year was an interesting one for C&C, to say the least. I revived the blog earlier in the year because I realized that I was missing that ‘creative spark’ that I so desperately needed in my life, the 9-5 just wasn’t cutting it anymore. But then life got busy and messy and somehow other things continued to wiggle their way in to distract me from regularly posting, and then it seems I just sort of gave up…again. “No one’s reading anyway” I told myself as a way feel less guilty about the situation. But as the weeks and months continued, people began coming out of the woodwork asking when the blog would be back. People from all different parts of my life; girls, guys, young and old, they were missing my blog! Who woulda thought?! Not me, obviously. That was my wakeup call.

The holidays began to creep up and I knew that if I was going to make a comeback, the gift giving season was the time to do it. I think I may have been right. Regardless of the fact that I wasn’t posting gifts specifically for compensation from brands or that I wasn’t using affiliate links to make money off of anything people decided to buy, I still absolutely loved creating them for all of you. I had so many people let me know that they either gave or received gifts that they’d seen on the gift guides. That really made my heart happy! So basically what I’m trying to say is that while traffic and daily page views are all good and well, at the end of the day I’m just trying to please the people that do visit C&C on a regular basis, and it seems I’m doing that!

That being said, I’ve come up with some goals for the blog, as well as for myself in general. I’m hoping that a lot of these goals are able to provide me with some quality blog content too! Also, I’m not normally one for mantra’s or anything like that, but I thought maybe I’d try it out this year. Each month I’m going to choose a new line of inspiration to make sure I’m staying on track and staying positive. I’ll create a phone background and a computer background so that I’m continually seeing it and living it. I’ve heard about people who change their passwords to things like “go2thegym!” or “stop5moking” so that every time they type it, it’s a reminder. I think this will sort of work like that? We’ll see. I’ll be sharing the backgrounds on the blog in case maybe you feel like this is an absolutely brilliant idea, you do right? Keep an eye out for January’s soon! In the meantime, here’s a look at my goals for 2015. Don’t get all judgey on me for sharing, I know most people probably don’t care about reading about other people’s resolutions, but it keeps me honest by actually writing them down. They’re like, real now!

BLOG/BUSINESS GOALS

develop new branding for the blog
I’ve been thinking about this undertaking for awhile, and after a lotttttt of thinking about it, have come to the conclusion that it needs to happen, so keep an eye out for big changes this year.

learn to code
This is something that I know is almost becoming a necessity in my line of work. being able to design is great, but if you’re able to design AND code, watch out, double threat!

develop a workflow that actually works
Right now, the way that I work on things for the blog (and life) is a little hairy. Or a bit hairy. I need to develop a system that really lends itself to saving time and organization. It’ll happen, I have no doubt, it’s just a matter of dedicating the time to figure out WHAT that right way of doing things is.

collaborate with bloggers
this one’s as easy as it sounds. only, for some reason I’m hesitant to reach out. I need to grow a pair and start joining regular link ups and things like that. maybe even attend a blog conference this year. I just need to get into the mix, I know know know that it will help grow the blog, so I’d just be stupid not to.

take on more freelance clients
a dream of mine has always been to be my own boss. so if I can position myself to be in a position in which that’s actually a reality, let’s go! I need to start building up my portfolio outside of the office in order to take on more clients, so this will be an ongoing process this year, hopefully setting myself up for a 2016 goal to be: go freelance full time.

 

PERSONAL GOALS

get into a morning routine
I’ve always been a morning person, it’s just a matter of actually getting out of the bed that has to happen first. I really want to start making better use of my time, and that means waking up earlier to get to the gym so that I have time to work or relax when I get home in the evenings. I think it might take a bit of time (and maybe some warmer weather, this 0 degrees this morning didn’t bode well for day 1) but it’ll happen, at least it better!

read at least 20 books
you may have seen this goal when I posted about 15 books I plan on reading in 2015, but pretty clear cut, read 20 books girlfriend, find the time, make the time, whatever…just do it.

save $10k
I wouldn’t say that I’m a spender, but I also wouldn’t say I’m a saver. I think I land right in the middle on this one, but that’s all about to change! Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say ALL, but you catch my drift. I really want to keep a close eye on finances and start working within a budget and by the end of the year, have 10k in my savings account. Think it’s doable? We’ll see. I wonder what would happen if I just saved all the money I’d normally spend on Chipotle in a year and see what happened…

try new things
This is my catchall category. There are so many new things that I want and need to try but haven’t. Top of the list? Yoga. And new cocktails. And more restaurants. And the list goes on. Maybe 2015 will be the year I finally try a Dorito! Ha, good joke, that will never happen. But for reals, I really want to put myself out there and try things that normally I’d be too nervous or scared or lame to try.

let go of the past
a lot of life changes took place for me last year, whether it was to me personally, or to family or friends that then affected me. But regardless of what happened last year, I need to start realizing that every day is a new day, and you can’t dwell on things that happened to you. You just have to accept and move forward. And that’s my plan; fresh slates, real fresh slates.

take care of myself
This is my Achilles heel people. Every year I start off so good about eating healthy and going to the gym regularly, last year I lost almost 20 pounds by April. But then I get bored. Or lazy. Or something. And everything just kind of dies. And by December I’m all like, give me the cooooookies! This year, I’m not going to let that happen, I’m going to continue getting in exercise for the whole of the year, not just at the start. Thankfully the gym at Soho House is perfect and on my way to and from the office, so that should really help my situation. I’m going to make it a priority to only let healthy food into the apartment (Sorry Max, time to lock up the ice cream!). I’m going to get a reasonable amount of sleep most nights and I’m going to make sure I’m keeping myself accountable. I’ve got a lot of weddings this year I need to look good for! And you know, for myself too 🙂

 

What kind of goals or resolutions are you making for the new year? Share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear what other people are focusing on in 2015. 

L

Weekend Links 12.19.14

Weekend Links 12/19/14

Happy Friday everyone! Hope everyone has an exciting weekend planned, as this is last one before Chrismtas, which means party overload I’m sure. I’ve got our work holiday party at The Berghoff tonight (can’t wait for some of their rootbeer!) and then we’re heading up north for a birthday party.

We’d planned on having a holiday potluck tomorrow night at our place, but a couple people couldn’t make it and there was some unavoidable winter sickness and we just thought it better to postpone. So now we’ve got a post holiday holiday party to look forward to! Sometimes those are even better because the holiday stress is past us.

Anyway, let’s get to it, your weekend links are here. Spoiler alert: There’s nothing on here about Serial because I haven’t listened to the entire finale yet. I’ve still got about 25 minutes to go and I’m having to avoid social media to dodge any information. But I’ve got some other good stuff for ya, promise! Have a great weekend everyone, don’t drink too much eggnog!

This recipe for Oreo treats, they’re like rice crispy treats only with Oreos. Max and I made a few batches last night to take in for office holiday parties, I even made a version with birthday cake Oreos. Yeah.

Speaking of sweets, take a look at this mouth-watering round up of cinnamon rolls 10 ways over on Design Crush. I die for cinnamon rolls people, especially on a Saturday morning in December. And while we were at Target buying oreos, the cinnamon rolls were 3 for $5 sooooo…you know what’s happening tomorrow morning at our place.

An interesting article about why creative people flourish in clutter. As long as I’m technically flourishing, I’m cool with not having to clean my room.

This is a suuuuper important one – the list for 2015 Chicago Restaurant Week is out and you can start booking, so jump on it quick before all the good tables get taken!

Kiiiiind of want to try this free 30 day trial of SaltedTV, online cooking classes taught by acclaimed master chefs from across the country. They range from the very basics (like knife skills)  to the very complex (like how to break down a goat), and cover every subject under the sun. Plus it’s only $10/mo. Gilt also has an offer right now. Food Network, time to step your game up.

Bored at work? Not as bored at these guys over at Squarespace were. (Mail….kimp?)

Stumbled upon (can you stumble on the internet?) this adorable little letterpress shop called 1canoe2. I’m a sucker for some pretty hand lettering, so I’m basically in love.

I bet you could still order this necklace for me for Christmas if you really wanted to. I really want you to.

This is a beautiful collection of gorgeous photos taken by drone photographers from all over the world. Our planet is pretty awesome.

Huge news! Instagram announced the release of five new filters this week. First time they’ve given us new picture changing magic in about two years, so this is exciting stuff for instafreaks like myself.

Welcome to my new favorite single, Wasted Love by Matt McAndrew (and Adam Levine I guess?). Is anyone else still raging about The Voice finale? It was a sham I tell ya, a sham! Regardless of the outcome, I still love this song. And Matt. And Adam.

L

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Under $25

Uhhhh, can you guys believe Christmas is actually one week from today? That can’t be right, it was like, JUST Thanksgiving last weekend. I’m serious, I don’t even remember what happened between me sitting at the table eating the damn near perfect brussel sprouts I cooked and me waking up this morning.

Unfortunately that means that this is the last of my gift guides for you this year. Well, maybe. I’m considering pulling together a procrastinator’s gift guide.  You know, some gifts that you can go pick up in an actual brick and mortar store, removing the ever dependable USPS (I’m rolling my eyes) from the equation. Has anyone else noticed a lot of your UPS or FedEx deliveries being sent to the local post office for the last leg of its journey? What’s up with that? Speaking of thatI’m thinking THAT sounds like a really great, regular feature on the blog. Thanks Keenan.

Ok but foreals, let’s get down to business because I know everyone’s got the finale of Serial to get to and we don’t wanna keep Koenig waiting. This last beauty that I’ve prepared for you is the Holiday Gift Guide for Under $25. These babies are perfect for your office secret santa, your girls’ gift exchange or a thoughtful stocking stuffer for mom or sis!
Holiday Gift Guide: Under $25

Written In The Stars Notebook $14 | Bobbi Brown Lip Stick $24 | Daily Dishonesty Book $11 | Cotton Cap $10 | Golden Wisteria Phone Case $25 | Wine Wipes $7 | Twist Scarf $20 | Dope Framed Art $25 | Sea Salt Candle $16Celebration Pencil Set $12

I know I sound like a broken record, but just in case you haven’t been keeping up, I’ve got a bunch more gift guides for you to take a look at it if you’re still riding the struggle bus coming up with gift ideas. And with only a week left, I hate to say it, but I’m probably your best bet at this point! Kidding. But am I? Ok, the here are the guides: The BFF | The Chef | The Techie | The Foodie | The Little Ones | The Coffee Addict | The Cocktail Lover | The Man | The Hostess | The Jetsetter

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Little Ones

I just wanna make the point that I don’t really believe in buying expensive baby clothes since they’re going to be out of it in a few months anyway.  But I feel like Christmas is a perfect time to break that rule, since there are just so many stinkin’ cute things to buy!

In this installment of gg’s, I bring you the Holiday Gift Guide for The Little Ones.  Whether it’s your own sweet babe, or your niece, nephew, godchild or just a baby that is so darn adorable it deserves a lil somethin, you’ll be sure to find something to get a giggle and a smile out of the trendy tot (or at least their mama!) with this gift guide.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Little OnesI Woke Up Like This Sweatshirt $79 | Orange Cable Weave Leggings $23Chilote Child $46Striped Hooded Bunting $42 | Baby Jumpsuit in a Jar $56Mixed Brown Leather Minis $95 | | Fleece Lined Sweatshirt $26 | Cloud Tights $13 |  Bird’s Family Tree Nursery Art $80

Friendly reminder if you haven’t been following along with all of my gift guides this year, don’t worry, you can still catch up! I’m sure you’re still looking for gifts for a few more friends, hopefully I can help you out! The Chef | The Hostess | The Techie | The Foodie | The Jetsetter | The BFF | The Coffee Addict | The Cocktail Lover | The Man

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Cocktail Lover

I’m back! Two posts in one day, I know, I’m as shocked as you. But as I’ve been overly-stressing, I want to give as much order time as possible, so here’s installment number two of this Sunday. I’ve been spending it finishing up the last of the gift guides and making a big batch of turkey chili in my CrockPot, I just had a bowl and it was friggin’ deeelicious. I’ll have to get a post up here with the recipe soon, I mean I am reigning champion of the Super Bowl Chili Cook Off at my office, so I don’t mess around.

Moving on to something that has nothing to do with chili – as much as I love my wine (which is a lot) and my craft beers (especially pumpkin brews), a well made cocktail is one of my favorite things. I’ve gathered up some gifts in my Holiday Gift Guide for the Cocktail Lover that I think anyone with a bar cart would appreciate. Or really anyone that likes a great drink. My favorites are those half-glass tumblers because who doesn’t love a little bit of wordplay!?

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for the Cocktail LoverLiquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail $22 | Stone Hexagonal Coasters $24| Carry On Cocktail Kit $24 | Swivel Liqueur Glasses $45 | Stainless Steel Cocktail Stirrer $4 | Owl’s Brew Tea Crafted for Cocktails Gift Set $25 | Optimist/Pessimist Glasses $25 | Moscow Mule Mug $20 | Bourbon Cocktail Cherries $16 | Guide to Cocktails Chalkboard Artboard $29

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the other gift guides that you may have missed last week, they’re kinda awesome –  The Chef | The Foodie | The Techie | The Hostess | The Coffee Addict | The BFF | The Jetsetter