Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tips to a Successful 2016!

It's almost that time! We are ready to be refreshed, to start with a clean slate.  2016 is going to be the best year yet! That is what we're all thinking right? It's what we all think every December is it not? So why do we often fail to succeed? More often than not, it is because we are not approaching our goals in the right way.  Today I am sharing 5 tips to creating your perfect New Year's Resolutions.

1.) Be realistic
This year I'm going to eat healthy every single day, I am giving up ice-cream and cookies forever. Yeah.  You spit lies.  One of the biggest reasons that New Year's Resolutions fail is because they are not realistic.  The minute you eat an oreo you have broken your resolution, feel like a failure, and give up.  Try to be realistic, it is incredibly important.

2.) Be Specific
This is especially important when it comes to holding yourself accountable.  I am going to be happy. ...okay? This is too vague. Be more specific. But Abbi! That's what I want! To be happy! If that is as specific as you can get, then you need to specify the steps you will take to achieve this.  For example, I am going to be happy by finding the best in every situation, and taking more time for myself when I need it. If you are too vague it is very easy to say well I was happy on Wednesday right? That counts right? WRONG! Be specific with your goals!

3.) Understand Goals vs. Bucketlist
Often times people find themselves failing because they are putting "Bucketlist items" on their list of resolutions.  Skydiving is not a New Years Resolution.  If you find yourself coming up with things like this, consider making two lists.  One for goals (the object of a person's ambition; directed towards bettering yourself) and a separate Bucketlist (experiences you want to achieve).

4.) Be Concise 
My list usually has a hundred things on it.  A long list breaks rule number one because it simply is not realistic.  If there are more than 10 things you want to achieve this year, try and fit them into categories.  This is not the only time you can set goals this year.  Try to find 3 or 4 very important ones, and then you can set new goals as the year goes on.  Think short but powerful.

5.) Write them Down
This is crucial if you're like me! I have a tendency to say one thing in my head, and then manipulate it to fit certain situations.  If I say I'm giving up chocolate, then I eat m&m's, I tell myself it's okay, because I'm only giving up chocolate bars.  That's logical right? No.  Write them down, that way they cannot be manipulated!

So these are my tips for keeping your goals! Just remember, if its something you really want, you do have the power to achieve it.  Keep your chin up, eyes on the prize.  And if you mess up? Congrats, you're human! Just start back up the next day! We all have the power to be the people we dream about being! The only way to get there is to start!

What are your New Year's Resolutions? How do you stay on top of them?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

Watch out! I'm ready for ya.

With Christmas behind us and the final days of this year quickly approaching, it can be assumed that everyone is getting very hyped up about all the wonderful things that will be accomplished in the new one.  Year after year, I tend to find myself a very motivated girl at the end of December.  We always say "This will be my best year yet!" And why shouldn't it be?! The best is always yet to come! Do you have your resolutions yet? I often have a hundred million things that I wish to accomplish. I can usually stick to about one of them (through January), and by December... what was it I said I was going to do this year? I was just thinking about it a few days ago, many of my first readers remember an earlier post, 19 for Nineteen, where I shared 19 goals that I wanted to achieve in my 19th year! Here we are, over a month later, and I haven't looked at that list once since that week.  Shame on me. I have been learning a lot about myself recently, however, and I am pretty convinced that I will finally succeed this time.  I am taking a new approach in setting my goals for 2016, and I will share these tips with you soon!!

For today's post, I have decided to reflect on this past year, because boy has it been eventful.

January: I entered into my final semester of high school. Arkansas was nothing but a tiny thought in the back of my head.  The way, way back of my head.

February: Went to my last Sweetheart dance with my current BFF.  I also competed with my dance team for the very last time. I spent that evening bawling my eyes out.

March: My first month ever without dance.  Spent so much time with amazing friends.  Found myself lingering after school every single day, making lots of QuikTrip runs and playing on random playgrounds.

April: Trampoline cuddle parties became very popular around this time.  I have some crazy cool (and weird) friends.

May: Attended my final high-school dance with a wonderful date and my very best friends.  Helped put together Mr. SPX (a high school "pageant" that the senior boys put on every year)  Took my last final exams.  Graduated high school 6th in my class.  Enjoyed some Royals games and an All Time Low Concert.  Began my job nannying for the summer.

June: Spent LOTS of time with my friends, enjoying our last summer of normal.  Spent lots of time with my little monkeys, going to the pool, and eating lots of ice cream. Attended orientation at the UofA, followed by a relaxing weekend at the lake with my Arkansas pals.

July: Last month living at home! Went to the zoo.  Began thinking about packing my life away. I was also  honored to co-choreograph a routine for dance team tryouts, and finally be apart of the process. I went to Warped Tour for the first time, that was a blast! I stayed up all night on a trampoline when I was dog-sitting with a friend, we ended up laying through over an hour of pouring rain (but it was by far one of my favorite nights).


August: Shared my last night with my high school family (my forever friends), packed up my room, and moved my little butt down to a town I now call home. A very emotional month.  I have never been good with goodbyes.  I never will be.  On the bright side, this is the month I started my new journey, and met one of my very best friends :)

September: Classes had begun and were starting to progress.  I had mastered navigating the once terrifying campus, and began to find myself very comfortable.  I attended my first college football game, first college party, and bonded with some awesome people.

October: Got to spend a few days back in Kansas City for fall break and enjoyed some time catching up with old friends.  Those friends then payed us a visit in Fayetteville! I dressed as Meredith Grey for Halloween, and I am still secretly obsessed with her.

November: I celebrated my 19th, and best birthday yet!  I got to spend some time back home with family for Thanksgiving.  I survived my first ever design-school meltdown, which was shortly followed by the survival of my first final review.

December: Took my final exams and found myself a little sad to pack up and head home for a month.  A full semester already under my belt.  Where did all the time go?!

Wow! A LOT more has happened this year than I thought! I was still in high school at the beginning of it.  Now look at me, about to enter my second semester of college! This week I challenge you to reflect on 2015.  I bet you've done a lot more than you think.  Start thinking of goals for 2016, and keep watch for Tips on Successful New Year's Resolutions! Have a great week!

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I hope all is well and everyone is enjoying their holiday! I just wanted to check in and share a little gratitude today.  I am back in Fayetteville for a few days celebrating Christmas at my dad's house. It has been very different than I remember from past years, but in a good way.  We spent yesterday baking and watching Christmas movies, leaving a plate for Santa of course.  And I woke up this morning full of joy.  My sister sleeps in my room when we're the only kids here, so it was nice to wake up so close to her.  We hung out in bed for a bit, unlike our childhood we were in no hurry to jump out of bed.  And I am perfectly okay with that! It was good to wake up slowly, enjoying the peaceful morning.  When we finally decided to get up, we moved into the living room and were greeted with full stockings and an amazing smell coming from the kitchen.  It may be sunny and over 60 degrees, but I still feel Christmas.  We spent the morning exchanging gifts and enjoying each others company.  Just four of us this year, and that is all I need. It has been a very lazy day, which is exactly what I have been needing!

I know Christmas can be stressful at times.  We dread having to socialize with Great Aunt Sharon who will ask way too many questions that we don't know the answers to.  Or having to sacrifice our bedroom for grandma and grandpa for the weekend.  It's just a lot of work isn't it? But it doesn't have to be.  Christmas only comes once a year.  Only once.  So try your best to make the most of it.  It is all in your head.  Whenever those dreadful thoughts sit in, or you catch yourself counting down the hours until you can once again be alone, think about how grateful you are to have these people in your life.  Sure, they can be bossy, and loud, and obnoxious, but they love you.  Remember that. Find some things today that you are very grateful for.  Yes, you are thankful for that shiny new ipad under the tree, but think deeper.  Personally, I am thankful that I got to spend Christmas with my sister this year.  I am at peace knowing that my mother is at home with her parents and that I will be reunited with her soon.  I am blessed with a loving family, a warm home, and a wonderful meal.

The little things can really make a day brighter, you just have to find them.
Merry Christmas :)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

The thought of you still brings me joy.

It's that time of year again! The trees are up, fireplaces are lit, stockings are hung, and so on. There is just something about Christmas that gives me warm and fuzzy feelings (despite the awful temperatures outside). As I have grown, the meaning of Christmas has transformed immensely for me. As a child, no different than any other little one, I just could not WAIT to wake up Christmas morning and see that magical Barbie house that was taller than me standing in our living room topped with a bright blue bow.  Knowing that the plate once full of cookies would be left with a few crumbs, and a tall empty glass right beside it.  It brought me joy. Those were the days.

And now? Although not in the same ways, Christmas brings me more joy than ever. I did go through a phase, as I'm sure many people my age do, where Christmas lost its spark. And I'm here to tell you, it hasn't lost its spark, you just have to find it. It may not come as easy as it once did, but it is still there. I was lucky enough to be home to help put up and decorate our Christmas tree. As I sat on the living room floor with my mom, delicately unwrapping each ornament and hanging it in the perfect place, I couldn't help but smile. It brings back so many childhood memories, and it makes me happy to always have those in my heart, and to one day share those with my own children. It also makes me happy that we are continuing to make good memories.

I have also found a spark in giving. As a child, I didn't quite understand. I wanted to take and take and take. Christmas without presents? I don't think so! Now, however, I struggle to form a Christmas list. I would so much rather give. If I'm going to spend my own money, nothing makes me happier than seeing smiles on the faces of my loved ones as they open the most perfect gift!  I have found great joy in giving, and I think I will continue to do so.  It is my new "spark."

Maybe Christmas doesn't bring the same magic that it brought me as a child, but it still brings magic. So my letter to Santa this year is simple. It is not full of 'wants' or material items. It is not about the size of the beautifully wrapped packages under the tree.  All I ask for is a safe and merry holiday season; a time to relax, and enjoy good company. And I wish the same for all of you!

This week I challenge everyone to put some change in a little red bucket. You know, the ones outside the grocery stores? Where they ring the bells? I don't care if it's a dime or a twenty dollar bill. Put something in that bucket, because I promise that someone needs it this Christmas a little more than you do.

Have a wonderful week, and Merry Christmas :)

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dear First Semester

Dear First Semester,

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I have spent the past week writing and re-writing this Sunday's letter as "Dear Finals Week," but I was getting NOWHERE.  So last night at about 11:56 it hit me.  The reason I can't find the words to write is because this is not what I am supposed to be writing. I have already spent an entire semester here - how insane is that? I'm pretty sure I just got here.  So as my first semester wraps up, I have decided to reflect on the past 18 weeks.  In such a short amount of time SO much has happened; new friendships have formed, old ones have been strengthened, lessons have been learned, adventures have been taken, memories have been made.  And even through all the stress and the ups and downs, I have loved every second of it.

The difficulty of the adjustment that is made when one moves to college varies from person to person, but the feeling cannot be explained until you experience it first hand.  Luckily I think that I transitioned pretty well.  I really enjoy the freedom (and even the responsibilities) that comes with living on your own.  That in itself is such a huge growing experience.  I have learned how to take care of myself.  For the most part ;) Shortly after moving in, my roommate and I mustered up the confidence to invite some girls from our floor to watch the Bachelor In Paradise with us.  Let me tell you, best decision of my life! Sometimes 5 seconds of insane courage is all it takes, because we met such an incredible person that we now spend all our time with, and I thank God for her everyday. There are some other really sweet girls that live on our floor as well.  And in studio, I have bonded with a pretty great group of people. People who inspire me everyday, keep me motivated, and bring me smiles when all I want to do is cry.  College is full of so many people from so many different backgrounds, especially for me coming from such a small high school. I can honestly say that even in a matter of months, I have made some life-long friends.  New friendships have formed.

One of the hardest parts about the transition, though, was everything I had to leave behind.  So many amazing people I would no longer be privileged to see everyday. The thought of this terrified me.  I have heard so many horror stories of people going off to college and forgetting about everyone they went to high school with.  I am lucky to say, however, that I still talk to most of my friends on a very regular basis, some every single day.  We have visited each other, and spent time together over breaks, and every time we're together it's like we haven't missed a beat.  With all the social media today, it is not hard to keep in touch with those who matter.  All it takes is a desire to do so, and a tiny bit of effort.  "True friendship is when two people can walk in different directions, but still remain side by side." This cannot be more true.  It is good to be able to get away, because we all have to grow and find ourselves as individuals, but we are confident that those friends who have always been around, will always be there.  Old friendships have been strengthened.

And of course, we can't talk about college without school! College is just a little different than high school.  Or a lot different.  Nobody tells you that you have to be up, no one tells you that you have to be in class, you are not babied, or reminded of assignments, or told what to do.  The only person accountable for your education is you, and you can do with it what you wish.  My first lesson learned? Just because I could be awake at 6 and get to school every single morning by 7:30 in high school, does not mean that the trend with continue into college.  If you are not a morning person, do NOT take an 8 a.m.  Unless it is the only time offered, don't do it.  It will do you more harm than good. And for those who can spring out of bed and happily go to class at that ungodly hour, you are blessed.  Kudos to you.  I also can say I have learned a lot in my design classes.  I entered this program completely clueless as to what I would be doing.  I can still honestly say that I have no clue what I'm doing! But I'm working on it :) I have definitely come a LONG way since the first drawing I produced, each project has gotten progressively better.  Hopefully the trend continues! I could add so many more, but I think I'll save that for another post.  Long story short, lessons have been learned.

So many new adventures! My first college football game, first college party, 1 a.m. trips to Whataburger, hammocking in the cold, discovering new places, you name it.  I learned to enjoy watching football in high school, but nothing compares to the atmosphere that floods the entire town on game day.  I absolutely love our school spirit, and I am so excited for Saturday's to roll around so I can cheer on my hogs! Parties are fun too.  I couldn't do it everyday, but I do enjoy being social every once in awhile.  I have met some cool people, and I really enjoy dancing.  And another great thing about college? When you get hungry in the late hours of the night, no one is stopping you from satisfying this.  And I love it.  I have also spent several nights just wandering around campus, setting up a hammock, and enjoying good company. Sometimes that's all you need.  So yes, adventures have been taken, and here's to many more.

Maybe it has only been a matter of months, but SO much has happened.  The past few weeks have been so crazy for me, I have almost forgotten all the incredible things that I have been blessed with this semester.  And if you think that it has gone by fast, it is not slowing down.  Enjoy every second of it, because one day it will be nothing but a memory.  So hooray for a successful first semester! Memories have been made :)

This week I challenge everyone to take some time to reflect.  Whether its on the past year, or the past month.  It is hard for us to see the changes as we live day by day, but look back at everything that has gone on, and appreciate how blessed you are for the life you are living.  

Only 4 more days until I head home for Christmas break, and the feeling is bittersweet.  I have had an incredible start to my new journey, and I cannot wait to return in the spring to find out what's in store for me next! Thanks for everything Fayetteville.  See ya next year :)

Yours Truly, 
Pantless Sunday's  


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Dear Sweet Sixteen

Dear Sweet Sixteen,

You are something special!

In honor of my beautiful sister turning 16 in a mere 5 days, I have decided to dedicate this Sunday's letter to a walk down memory lane.  From age 15 to 16 is quite a big jump.  16 brings so many things: driver's license, a car, curfew, freedom, and much more.  To some people, it may not be a big deal, but to me it was.  I remember my sweet 16 clearly. Here's a nice little throwback to that very day. How embarrassing.

It was nothing big, no huge party, just a small celebration with my two (at the time) best friends.  It was a Friday, how perfect right? I went to school like normal (except I wore the sash pictured above), then right after my mom came and got me and we headed to the DMV where I passed my test with an 89% and was officially a licensed driver! Woo hoo! That was seriously such an exciting moment. When we got home, she opened the garage and there it was.  A 2000 Nissan Maxima.  My very own car :) I was not expecting it at all! I had accepted the fact that I was not getting a car for my birthday, so what a surprise that was. I remember I had a zebra print steering wheel cover, and beads around my mirror.  A typical teenage girl's car.  I named him Paul, and we had some great times.  That night I went to Olive Garden with my friends, and we drove around all night, just because we could.

I began driving all the time.  Any and every time we needed to go somewhere, I wanted to drive.  I loved running errands for my mom, I loved being able to shop on my own, I would even just drive around town going nowhere specific.  I loved being able to leave my house whenever.  It was just such a good feeling! I was also about halfway through high school at this time, and my baby mind could not think far enough into the future.  Every mistake was the end of the world, college was nothing but a dream, high school was as far as I could think.  Looking back, there are some things I wish I would have known, and so I will share these with you today:

  1. Enjoy your freedom - enjoy your new sense of freedom that you will gain.  Know that it's not going anywhere anytime soon, but it will not always feel the way it feels right now.
  2. Know that with this freedom, comes responsibility - do not take advantage of this freedom. You are still very young.  You may think you know everything and can do anything, but you cannot. Sorry to break it to you. Just be responsible.
  3. Honor your curfew - It sucks.  I hated having a curfew.  It wasn't until I moved away and didn't have one that I learned to appreciate it.  Mother's know best, I promise.  It will not last forever, so respect it while it does.  
  4. Do not text and drive! - This one is obvious.  Do not text, talk on the phone, snap-chat, twitter, anything.  The only thing that matters when you are behind the wheel is getting from point A to point B.  Everything else can wait.  
  5. Gas costs money - Do not waste it.  
  6. Don't stress the little things - This is the age when every little thing is a really big thing.  The boy will not matter in 10 years, neither will that C, or the girl that drives you nuts.  Try your best to let them go. 
  7. Remember the people that got you here - it is easy to get so lost in yourself and your life that you forget about those who have always been there, and who have helped you get to where you are.  
Sixteen is a brand new chapter in your life, but it sure is not the final one.  Enjoy it while it is here, but always remember that life goes on, and you have so much ahead of you.

This week I challenge everyone to  remember your younger years.  Try to live this week a little more freely than you normally would, and let go of the little things.

Have a wonderful week everyone, and Happy early Birthday to my baby sis :)

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's

Thursday, December 3, 2015

10 Songs to Boost Your Mood

Music is magical people.  I'm serious.  It never fails to change my mood.  The music I typically listen to everyday is not mainstream, but every once in a while I get into a mood where I just need some happy jams, and I switch it up for a day.  So let's not confuse this list as one of my favorite songs, they aren't necessarily my favorite, but they never fail to make me smile.  So whether you're having a solo dance party in an empty house, or cruising back roads with the windows down, sometimes you really just need to belt out lyrics like no other, and these are some of the songs I choose in those moments.

1. Cecilia and the Satellite - Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness
This is my favorite one at the moment.  I listen to it when I get ready in the mornings.  I'm really not sure why, but it always lightens my mood and makes me want to really live a little!

2. Marvin Gaye - Charlie Puth
This is just a great song to blast and sing your little heart out.  It just makes you feel good!

3. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16
You know, the John song

4. Shut Up and Dance - Walk the Moon
Funny story about this one; for the most part, this list will change within the next few months. My "happy songs" come in phases. (Don't worry I'll keep you guys updated ) This song came out towards the end of my senior year of high school and I instantly loved it.  It is one of the only songs that has stuck around for this long, and it still has yet to get old! One of my favorite dance songs!

5. Summer Girl - Leighton Meester
If you haven't heard this one girls, listen to it.  Now.  It is such a feel good song, it makes me feel very empowered.

6. Sweet Serendipity - Lee DeWyze
Another confidence booster.  This is one that definitely makes me feel like I can do absolutely anything.

7. Boomerang - The Summer Set
Check out this band, a lot of their songs are fun! This is just one of my favorites :)

8. Best Day of My Life - American Authors
Really no explanation needed, the title says it all.

9. Dancing Queen - Abba
I was a dancer for 15+ years.  This has always been such a fitting song for me, and come on, we're all dancing queens at heart aren't we?

10. Beautiful Day - Michael Buble
This was my alarm the entire summer before junior year, and nothing could've started the day on a better note.

So these are my ten go-to's at the moment!
What are some of your favorite "Happy Songs"?