Summer Wish List

With summer officially here, it’s been hot and glorious! Days spent swimming, adventuring, and recovering from a hectic year are well deserved for everyone who’s just finishing school this week!

While I finished with my academic year back in April (one of the perks of university) it’s only now begun to feel like summer, so I’ve finally been restocking my seasonal wardrobe with awesome new stuff. Here is my wish list for the season, including pieces from Zara (my new obsession), Soludos, Urban Outfitters, and cult classic, Forever21!

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Cutout Midi – Urban Outfitters

As soon as I saw this dress I fell in love! White is my favourite colour for summer sundresses, and the cute little cutouts this number sports are perfect for adventuring and picnics! Add lace up leather sandals, a straw boater, your fave carry-all tote, and you’re ready for some summer adventuring! Bonus: It’s currently on sale!!

Palm Print Midi – Urban Outfitters

This midi dress is honestly too cute! I’ve been eyeing it for actual months and now that it’s on sale, I may just have to swoop in and grab it! I love the palm print and can see it paired with flat, or wedge sandals and simple gold jewelry, the perfect day to night sundress!

Ruffle Sleeve Mini – Forever21

Forever 21, our trusty first stop for the season’s trends, did everything right with this dress! From the perfect colour (#whitedressteam) to the ruffled sleeves, I can find nothing wrong! It’s the perfect blank canvas to unleash your personality on, and could be styled in so many ways it’s startling!

Embroidered Floral Dress – Forever21

This cute little dress is giving me serious beach vibes! Everyone needs an easy, breezy sundress that’ll carry you from the beach to the farmers market (or from one lecture to the next tbh) and I’d have to say this would be it! The subtle floral embroidery is oh so pretty, and the vibrant red is honestly perfect!

Halter Maxi – Forever21

Maxi dresses are a summer staple, and I love the easy shape and open back of this one! Perfect for throwing over a bathing suit after a day of swimming or dressing up with wedges and big earrings for dinner! Also, loving the stripes!

Denim Jumpsuit – Zara

I’ve recently been very into rompers and pant suits, and when I saw this Zara number I got so excited! Ruffles, denim and cutouts all in one spunky little outfit! Honestly, this romper looks super comfy and is the type of wardrobe staple everyone needs for those days when putting together an outfit is harder than it should be! Add sandals and simple jewelry for a daytime outfit, or wedges and brighter statement accessories for a night out!

Peplum Top – Zara

I actually bought this top the other day and I love it! The blue and white stripes are so fresh and clean (my favourite things for summer) and it’s light weight and flowy! I love peplums because they’re basically flattering for everyone, and you can style them in hundreds of ways! I’ve worn this beauty over white shorts with a boater hat and sandals, over a vintage denim skirt with sneakers and with jeans and wedges for dinner! Very versatile, very simple, and so perfect for summer!

Mini Cross Body – Zara

I absolutely adore the colour of this bag! Yellow is such a great colour pop, especially in a summer wardrobe of mainly blue and white (yes that’s me). The shape of this bag is also pretty retro and I can always get behind a good vintage inspired look!

Leather Cross Body – Zara

This white beauty would be such a cute addition to any wardrobe! The colour and shape provide the perfect mix of pizzazz and functionality! This would be the perfect bag to add a bit of personality to a jeans and t-shirt look and while the clean white is extra summery, you can no doubt rock this bag in any season!

Flamingo Print Espadrilles – Soludos

After discovering this brand about a year ago, Soludos has become my go-to place for summer shoe inspiration! They have pretty much every style of sandal you could want, and their embroidered slip-on espadrilles are so adorable! I especially love the colours of this flamingo and palm tree pair!

There we go, my condensed summer wish list (because let’s be honest my real list is wayyyy longer)!

Hope you’re all enjoying a relaxing and lovely day!

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Me Time Ideas

Hey y’all! As I’ve said in earlier posts, in the midst of hectic lifestyles, we often forget how important it is to fit in “me time”. It’s something we all know the importance of but often manage to forget.

Taking some time to yourself helps not only recuperate and relax, but it give your mind a bit of down time so that you can head back to work ready to go! While it’s always difficult to fit some of this time in to our busy days, here are some easy things you can do for yourself when you need a break!

  1. Wake up early and make a healthy breakfast
  2. Work out (interval training workouts often last only a half hour)
  3. Paint your nails
  4. Read a couple chapters of the book you’re reading
  5. Do fifteen minutes of yoga and stretching
  6. Take fifteen minutes to journal about your day before bed
  7. Go for a walk
  8. Take a shower or bubble bath
  9. Bake something yummy
  10. Watch an episode or two of your favourite show
  11. Work on a long term project (i.e. scrapbook or a knitting project)
  12. Take a twenty minute power nap
  13. Meditate
  14. Play your favourite game (sims is always a win for me)
  15. Give yourself a face mask
  16. Listen to your favourite songs
  17. Read a magazine

Those are just some quick little suggestions, but hopefully it gets you thinking about all the ways you can squeeze a little more me time in to a busy students life!

Hope you’re all enjoying the amazing weather! It’s so beautiful out!
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15 Ways To Improve Your Mood

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Sometimes life gets tough! Things don’t go our way, we trip or fall down and can’t seem to get back up on our own. While you always need some dark in order to appreciate the bright, when things keep rolling down hill it can be very difficult to stay positive and appreciative. We’ve all been there at one point or another, but there’s no need to let yourself fall in to a slump! There are always little ways you can pick yourself back up when you notice that familiar blue cloud passing by.

While ultimately I (highly) recommend speaking to a psychologist or physician about recurring low moods (for real treatment), here are 15 little tricks you can also keep in your back pocket for when life gets rocky!

Go For A Run

While any form of exercise (even a relaxed walk) should do the trick here, I always feel like a good quick sprint is just what I need. Not only will your exercise produce endorphins, burn some calories and give you an excuse to get a donut (guilt free) later, but there’s no better feeling than pushing yourself and literally running your worries in to the ground. While it’s always hard to get started, you will never regret a run when you’re done.

Talk To A Friend

Our friends are our friends for a reason. Calling up your BFF to chat can be a perfect way to shake off a bad day. While you can tell them what’s been bothering you and work through it together, the best thing about our friends, is that you don’t always need to tell them what’s going on, often they can sense it. A conversation featuring a funny story from last night’s shenanigans, some plan making, and general chatting will often help brighten your mood, and remind you that you aren’t alone.

Listen To Your Favourite Song

Music is an incredible power. It can comfort us, empower us and move us to tears all in three or four minutes. Whenever I’m feeling down, I whip out my ukulele (because let’s face it, everything sounds happy on those guys), or blast my favourite feel good tunes! A good solo dance party (hair brush mic included), never fails to pump you up and distract you from feeling low.

Put On Something Nice

While this might sound silly, dressing up has always been one of my favourite tactics to avoid feeling upset. If you’re wearing something you feel powerful and cute in, it will translate into your mood and attitude, which can really help combat negative feelings. Not only do you get an excuse to bust out that new dress or blouse, but when you feel fierce and confident, those around you will notice too!

Watch Funny Videos On YouTube

This one is a quick fix. I’m partial to baby and baby animal videos (cuteness overload) but whatever you find funny will work just as well. Get yourself laughing for a few minutes and you’ll go back to your day feeling rejuvenated!

Cross Something Off Your To-Do List

In many cases, negative emotions are brought on by stress and anxiety, especially during the school year! If you’re like me and live to make to-do lists, crossing things off can really help your mood! The act of writing a to-do list is helpful in itself, as it breaks everything we have to do into smaller chunks. As soon as you start crossing things off (even if they’re the smallest ones on there) it will boost your confidence and get you in the mood to tackle the bigger tasks with gusto!

Paint Your Nails

This is another quick fix, but it always works really well for me! While not everyone admits it, painting your nails is an activity that requires a lot of attention, and that’s exactly the kind of thing you want to do when feeling down! While you’re drawn in to making smooth strokes and not smudging the polish, your brain gets some much needed down time to process and relax, and you get a fancy new set of nails to show off.

Clean Your Room/Workspace

Cleaning is therapeutic. I’ve always thought this way, and probably always will. There is no better feeling than reorganizing your room or work space, throwing away old papers, vacuuming the floor and rearranging your pencils. If there’s one thing that will help you feel more relaxed and ready to take on the day, it’s this! Cleaning and reorganizing is also the perfect way to take your mind off things you can’t stop thinking about so your brain can have a nice little break.

Take A Shower

Wash your worries away with a nice hot shower. Wash your hair, use fancy soap, yummy smelling lotion, and generally care for yourself. Your body is so incredible, it’s your home, and when you take care of it, it will return the favour! The shower is also a perfect place to sing (great acoustics), cry, or think through problems so that you come out feeling refreshed and ready to go.

Make Yourself Something Healthy

On a similar wellness note, your body is your home, and when we aren’t feeling 100%, we tend toward eating fatty comfort foods. While “junk food” treats are important to staying sane, I 100% guarantee that you will feel better after cooking something fresh and healthy for yourself. Not only are you providing important nutrients for your body, but the act of preparing the meal will calm you down as well.

Call Your Mom

Your mom likely knows and loves you more than anyone else, and that is the exact reason you should call her when you’re feeling down. She can help you work through your problem, give you encouragement, and remind you of how loved and needed you are. Also, few things are better than a mom hug, so if you can, get a bunch of those too!

Write It Down

Journaling is a great thing to do when you’re upset. Paper is the perfect opinion-less listener, and you can delve as little or as deep in to your thoughts as you’d like. If you enjoy symbolism, try burning what you write (very satisfying), or just work things out on paper to get a better understanding of what you’re feeling. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to emotions, and if you can identify what’s bothering you, it’ll be that much easier to deal with.

Get Creative

Making something is always helpful for me. Whether you like painting, sewing or dancing, getting lost in the creative process works wonders for your mind and body. If it’s something you really enjoy, you will no doubt feel better after flexing your creative muscle. Not only will you give your brain a break, but you get something cool at the end of it!

Read A Childhood Favourite

Picking up the story book your parents always used to read you is another great way to calm down and feel better. They often bring back great memories and the warm fuzzy feelings we often associate with our childhoods. If anything, funny picture books are a great mindless thing to read to distract yourself!

Buy Fresh Flowers

There has to be some science to back this up somewhere, but fresh flowers are the ultimate pick me up. Whether they’re a gift from someone or just something you picked up at the market, it’s impossible to feel upset around brightly coloured blooms and gentle fragrances! Add a vase of peonies to your desk, some tulips to your bedside table, and revel in some of natures most beautiful handy work!

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While this post is full of little tricks you can use to get out of blue moods, sometimes our feelings goe deeper than a surface fix can reach. If this is the case, know that seeking professional help should never be embarrassing. You are not weak for admitting that you need a little extra help.

Mental illness is such a serious issue, and while I won’t be going in to it much in this post, it is so important that we address the stigma around it. So please, remember that your emotions are valid. The way you feel matters, and if you are struggling, there is no shame in asking for help, just strength.

Your mind is just as important as your body, treat it as you would a best friend.

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Music For Summer Days

Hey y’all!

If there’s something I love more than exploring Toronto in the summer with my friends, wearing shorts, sundresses, and eating tons of ice cream, it would be having good music to back it all up! Every year like clockwork, I subconsciously create a summer soundtrack. It happens almost by accident, but the songs I listen to on repeat over those glorious warm months are always the songs that remind me of my summer adventures in years to come, they never seem to loose the connection!

Today I thought I’d share with you, some of my favourite summery songs, perfect for BBQ background music, and late night dance party soundtracks alike!

  1. Hold Up – Beyonce
  2. Growing Up – Macklemore
  3. One Dance – Drake
  4. Child’s Play – Drake
  5. Too Good – Drake
  6. Ophelia – The Lumineers
  7. Where The Skies Are Blue – The Lumineers
  8. Never Be Like You – Flume
  9. Treat Me Like Fire – Lion Babe
  10. Body Gold – Oh Wonder (Louis The Child Remix)
  11. Sweet Pea – Amos Lee
  12. Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee
  13. Riptide – Vance Joy (FlicFlac Edit)
  14. Take Shelter – Years & Years
  15. This Is What You Came For – Calvin Harris
  16. Send My Love – Adele
  17. Wildfire – John Mayer
  18. Wherever I Go – OneRepublic
  19. Shivers – SG Lewis (Delusion Remix)

If you’re looking for some new albums to dig in to (and so many good ones have been coming out), here are some of my favourites recently:

Cleopatra – The Lumineers I love, love, love this new album! It is such a relaxing and lovely listen, and every single song is great! Perfect for road trips and early morning listening! Cleopatra, Angela, Ophelia and Patience are some of my favourite tracks.

VIEWS – Drake This long awaited album certainly impressed! If you haven’t yet had a listen to the 6 God’s newest album, think about doing so! There’s a really wide range of styles. Perfect for background music and dancing alike! Child’s Play, Too Good, Pop Style and Grammys, are some of my favourite tracks!

Lemonade – Beyonce I’m pretty sure everyone’s heard of Lemonade already, but if you still haven’t, go check it out, and make sure to watch the movie made to go with the album. Not only does Queen B explore such a wide range of styles in this album, but she touches on some really important issues and tells a beautiful story. The movie itself is moving, visually stunning, and incredibly emotional. Pray You Catch Me, Freedom, Forward and Hold Up, are my favourite tracks!

Chaos and the Calm – James Bay As soon as I discovered him two years ago, James has easily become one of my all time favourite artists. His live sets are electric and he sounds even better in person. Honestly, this album is amazing. Every song is different, and every song is amazing! I couldn’t even tell you what my favourite tracks are, because I love them all that much!

There you have it! A bit of music to get your summer festivities going!

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More Me Time

In between the crazy demands of school, family, friends and the gazillion other things we cram into our lives, it becomes really easy to forget about yourself. As a student, I’ve learnt not only that me time is precious and hard to come by, but that making room in your busy schedule to make it happen is so worth it.

It’s the same story for most: We have class, homework, assignments, tests and in-between the never ending work, still have to find time to eat, socialize and get enough sleep! I seems just about impossible when you first start getting in to the groove of the school year, so “me time” is something a lot of people overlook or forget about entirely.

But here’s the thing… you shouldn’t!

I know, I know, it’s so easy to start worrying about taking time away from the library (it’s definitely hard for me) but once you exercise your “me time” muscles, it really does help you out.

School is important and obviously staying on top of assignments and readings is why you’re here, but burning yourself out by not taking breaks or time to follow hobbies and relax is sooo counter-productive! Not only will you feel the stress building up on your shoulders, but almost every other area of your life will begin to feel the effects of overwork.

Our schedules are so hectic as students, they start early and end later than they should, and amidst it all, it’s hard to fit in all the things we need, to get done. Here are some simple ways to add “me time” back in to your schedule without putting school on the back burner!

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Set a Bed Time

This one seems a little odd but let me explain! I go to bed (or try to anyways) at 10:30 every night, and at 9:30, I stop any work I’m doing and do something I want to do. My evening me time usually consists of self-care type things and doing yoga. Setting this time standard is so helpful because it becomes really easy to build this hour in to your schedule (taking an hour to wind down before bed is also an amazing way to fall asleep faster if you have trouble with that).

Wake Up Earlier

If you’re more of an early bird, waking up an hour, or even half an hour early can work wonders. Starting the day quietly by taking care of yourself (maybe make a fancy breakfast or take a soak in the tub) will start your day off on a totally different foot. I’m determined to become a morning person this year and while I’m not fully there, I’ve definitely noticed a change in my mood and stress level if I start the day out by doing something I like (it’s also so much easier to wake up if you have something to look forward to!)

Extend Your Lunch

If you aren’t a night owl or an early bird, taking an extra long lunch might be just the right thing for you! Lunch is a lovely time of day to focus on doing something to destress and focus on yourself, I mean what’s better than reading a few chapters of your favourite book while eating?

Take Breaks

During study sessions, make sure to take breaks. They don’t have to be long (fifteen minutes usually does the trick) but make sure you take them regularly (say every two hours). Not only will this break free up your mind, you can take some time to stretch or grab a snack, and  you’ll feel so much more motivated and ready to sit down and work again!

Schedule It In

Sometimes, there’s nothing else we can do and our time seems to escape us. If you live because of your planner/daily schedule, physically pencil in some me time. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, all you need is twenty minutes to decompress and focus on yourself! Writing this time into your daily schedule makes it easier to work your day and responsibilities around it so that you can make everything work (it’s also another reason to spend a good half hour organizing and list making – a favourite pastime of mine).

Join A Club

Joining a club for something your passionate about and interested in is the perfect way to put some me time in to your schedule. It might not be your typical “alone time” but with mandatory events and meetings, this time to get away from the stress of school work is built in! Clubs also provide the perfect setting to make friends and build a support group from people with similar interests and values!

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Life can get pretty hectic and if you don’t take the time you need to rest and recoup, you can hardly expect to reach your potential! Hopefully this post has given you a few tips for adding “me time” back in to your crazy schedules!

What’s your favourite way to spend free time?

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Dress Up Your Desktop

Hello!

As school became more intense and hellish over the year, I started compiling motivational quotes. I wrote them in my agenda, the corners of lecture notes and on post-it’s stuck all around my dorm room. Cheesy I know, but on rough days when it seemed you could barely make it to the bathroom alive, a few sentences of encouragement were just the thing to give you an extra push.

I’ve especially taken a liking to motivational laptop wallpapers, because opening up my computer to a quote or message that makes me feel strong is awesome and gets me more in the mood to conquer whatever work I have to get done! I’ve searched high and low for some good ones, but ended up making my own with sayings I find especially encouraging, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you to help you stay motivated when life gets intense!

BE KIND TO YOURSELF-2
This quote is especially important to me, and is something I tell myself a lot. When life gets busy we tend to beat ourselves up when things don’t go well (or who we planned anyhow), but, everyone should remember to be kind to themselves (that whole your body is a temple philosophy) because you have you for life, and you’re pretty amazing.

 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF
A similar phrase with a more flowery background (because who doesn’t want to smile when they see pretty pink flowers?)
be your own hero
The most sustainable source of happiness, is yourself! If you can find your own peace and joy, you are indestructible!

There you go! Hopefully using these will brighten your laptops/desktops a little and remind you to give yourself grace (in the words of Justin Bieber).

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2016 // Get It Girl

2016 has become (to my surprise) a year of action. The “Get it Girl” year I’ve been pining for. The last few months of 2015 were incredibly trying for me and as New Years came and went, I decided I was sick of feeling powerless in the face of my life, like I didn’t have any sort of control over what was happening. The exact opposite is true of course, my life is in my hands, and the moment I realized that, everything changed.

I’ve made some lofty goals for myself, and while it isn’t impossible to implement them all, New Years resolutions have never been my forte. In an attempt to make sure I stick to all this good stuff, I decided to share them with you good people of the internet, not only to hold myself accountable, but to hopefully inspire one or two of you to stop saying “tomorrow” and finally do the things you’ve always wanted to (Nike was right guys, Just Do It).

One of my favourite Instagramers Karla Reed (a fabulous/hilarious/goals worthy mom and blogger) inspired me to follow in her tradition of picking a word/quality to focus on in the new year, and through some weird coincidence, we picked the same one: JOY. After a difficult 2015 full of changes and some not so great stuff, focusing on joy and cultivating self-love seemed like the perfect plan of action. When I say I want to focus on joy, I mean looking at the little things, the blue sky or chirping birds; finding and enjoying the beauty already in my life, more than I have been.

I’m excited to see what happens when I start appreciating these little joys more regularly and I’m excited to see who I’ll leave 2016 as. I’ve written a bit of an essay here (#sorrynotsorry) so bare with me here!

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Journal More

I recently started journaling because I’ve heard so much about it’s therapeutic effects, I figured if it helped me get things out on paper (something I often find difficult to do) it would be worth while. Journals aren’t judgmental, they aren’t going to yell at you for bad ideas, or bitchy thoughts. What they will do, is egg you on and never get tired of listening to your problems. You can go on and on about so-and-so and what’s-her-face without the thing batting an eyelid; essentially, it’s a cheap therapist.

While it’s been difficult to get into a steady journaling habit (university, need I say more?), the time I have taken to write, has been good. It’s been emotional, fun, healing and it’s let me figure out some things that I would’ve needed longer to process on my own. I hope that throughout the year, I can get in to a groove (even if it’s only writing a couple times a week) at the very least I can actually use all the pretty notebooks I’ve hoarded throughout the years!

Be More Active

This is probably the world’s most popular New Years resolution, and while I’ve said this every year since middle school, for some reason in 2016 I’ve finally acted on it. Miraculously, I now workout six days a week school permitting (my parents are just as surprised as I am). I’ll do a more in depth post on this change in my life at a later date but let me just say this: boy was Nike right when they said “Just Do It”. Honestly people, pushing yourself to get up and move is one of the most rewarding and productive feelings and I can only hope to keep my motivation up throughout the year!

Take More Me Time

Throughout my first year of uni, I’ve learnt that me time = sacred time. In between readings, homework, assignments, tests and like, a billion other commitments, the only me time students seem to work in regularly is checking social media or going to bed (if they’re even that lucky). This year I’m making me time a priority, be it taking an extra half hour before bed to do yoga and read a book, or an entire day to relax and do the things I love to do (shopping, eating, crafting…the list goes on).

I know as a student things pile up and taking time away from studying seems scary and impossible, but when you take a moment to clear your head and relax, it’s amazing how much more productive and motivated you’ll be when you come back to your to-do list (again, an in depth post about this is also on the way).

Be More Creative

It’s become my opinion that stress (read: school) kills creativity. There doesn’t seem to be any time to craft, or read, or write anymore and that makes me sad! While this one kind of goes with my “me time” goal, I’m also trying to find smaller ways to be creative. Taking more pictures of the beautiful things I see everyday, finding things that inspire me in the ordinary and not holding my life to unattainable standards, but enjoying it for what it is.

Creativity is, I believe, something you make yourself with what you have, and while Pinterest, magazines and the internet in general are great for inspiration, it’s also really easy to get caught up in comparing your peaches to someone else’s kiwis. All this fancy wording to say, I want to focus on my own form of creativity, my uniquely “Lauren” ideas, without worrying what anyone else thinks of them. This is certainly going to be easier said than done, but we’ll see what happens.

Surround Myself With Beauty

This is a pretty simple goal really. I’m already surrounded by beautiful people and places, but this year, I want to expand this a bit more to the little things (like fresh flowers and scented candles) and to my general life. I like to call myself a positive person, but in the last couple of years my positivity hasn’t been around much. In 2016 my goal is to purge the negative vibes/people/habits/shoes/clothes etc. from my life. Anything that doesn’t support or make me feel strong, has to go.

I think as I’ve gotten older this has been an easier thing to do. During my first semester of university, I was really hit with how temporary some things and people are, whether you want them to be or not, and while it’s hard and sad at first, I’ve learned to accept that sometimes, even when it feels crappy, getting all that bad stuff out is better in the end.

Cherish The Little Things

This is exactly what you think it is, no hidden meaning here. My mom has always been a big believer in “Gratitude Journals” so as part of my journaling goal I’d like to start doing this (maybe I’ll make a series on the blog?).

Find New Hobbies & Explore Them

This definitely ties to my creativity goal, but throughout the year I’ve found a love for sewing and working out (among other things) and really want to explore these hobbies and work them in to my life in a more significant way.

Appreciate The Wonderful People In My Life More

This is also pretty straight forward, but the world is so busy that sometimes amidst it all, we forget to take a moment and thank the people who help keep our heads above the water. I am so blessed to be surrounded by amazing friends and family and I don’t tell them nearly enough how important they are to me. I definitely have to up my game here!

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So, those are my goals. I’m sorry this post was so wordy and essay like, but I really wanted to get in to (more for myself) the nitty gritty of this stuff, to explore it a little bit.

Do you have any goals for 2016? Let me know in the comments because I’d love to hear them!

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