A weekend or two ago, I made the best Saturday morning plans I have ever had. Honestly, I was excited all week and I still can’t think of anything more fun: my dear friend Kyla from Freckled Nest Design came over and we dined on chocolate chip pancakes and mimosas while watercolour painting envelopes! It was just perfect with the sun streaming in, some daffodils to brighten the place up, and a major catch up session of girl talk. Actually, we talked a lot about family and entrepreneurship. Grownups, I guess.

I met Kyla through Amber at Girl with the Red Hair when I was hired in Winnipeg and realized I did not know a single person here other than my family. While Amber and Kyla had never been face-to-face, they had become friends in the blogging world and Kyla was so warm and gracious to offer to help show me around! We have bonded over our love of The Bachelor TV series, farmer’s market mornings, chocolate chip cookies and pancakes, holiday craft sale crawls, Kacey Musgraves’ songs, and too many other things I cannot think to name.

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I was inspired to do the envelope craft because I had stumbled upon Stephanie Fishwick’s blog post a few weeks before and pinned it immediately. It seemed simple enough for a painting-challenged person like me and affordable too! I picked up $3 watercolours from the dollar store, used a set of paintbrushes I stole from my mom who found them at a garage sale, and bought a pack of 50 envelopes from Staples for $10 that met Stephanie’s criteria of being 100% cotton. This was such a relaxing, easy thing to do and I managed to finish nine envelopes – back and front – that morning. I got a little more creative as the time wore on although I do humbly admit I copied some of Stephanie’s ideas.

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It turns out Kyla and I are trendsetters as I discovered yesterday on Instagram that April is National Letter Writing Month! Actually I am pretty certain this is an American holiday, but I think Canadians should be allowed to adopt holidays that are such good ideas. The best part is two companies called Egg Press and Hello!Lucky joined forces and kicked off a WRITE_ON campaign challenging people to write 30 letters in 30 days this month. Since we are only a day behind, I hope you will join me in tackling this written word challenge and share your experience on social media through #30in30. Thirty letters in thirty hand-painted watercolour envelopes is sure to warm the hearts of your friends and family.

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When was the last time you sent or received a letter?

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Happy New Year! I know it is April Fool’s Day, but I have decided to change it to New Year’s Day instead and launch my resolutions. I am three months late, but it is never too late to make some changes and do what you need to do to become your best self. I can’t ignore my past, but I feel like the start of 2014 has been a whirlwind rollercoaster ride I never wanted.  So let’s pop some bubbly and cheers to a fresh start (and to Lara Casey for inspiring me to do this in the first place)!

Part 5: Set Good Goals

Review

I followed Lara Casey’s advice to Review and after reading through my first four posts, I changed a few things. As I was writing these goalsetting posts I felt like I was all over the map, but reading them now there are consistent themes and hopes through out. While I needed to edit, I do think my resolutions are a clear reflection of everything I worked on in this series.

I deleted my Pinterest vision board.  It never came easy to me when I was making it and I realized I would never look back on it for motivation. Instead, I am using my Pinterest board full of quotes as I already glance at it for inspiration whenever I need it. I also changed my 2014 word to “Today” simply because “Day” never really sounded right, but it holds the same meaning. And as much as I love the song I chose, it also never sat well with me for this. Instead I am going with something a little more upbeat and fearless: Sara Bareille’s Brave.

Set GOOD GOALS

With all this in my mind, below are my goals for 2014. (Note that I have not included a career category as that is something I choose to keep private and I have already set those goals for the year with my manager at work). My wonderful friend Kyla gave me a tip that sometimes you have project goals and sometimes you have maintenance goals. I would refer to my radical goals as project goals and the ones below as maintenance. They are all small pieces that will add up to big change in my life.

Health

  1. At least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  2. Reach my happy, healthy target weight of xxx lbs.
  3. Starbucks will become a Friday (or extra special occasion) treat.

Home

  1. Every Tuesday clean and dust the apartment.
  2. Every Wednesday go through mail, papers, etc.
  3. Every Thursday pay bills and review budget.

Finance

  1. Pay off my VISA and then continue to pay off at the end of  every month.
  2. Save $xxxx into my Rainy Day fund.
  3. Reach YNAB’s Rule Four so I am living on last month’s income and not paycheque-to-paycheque.

Hobbies

  1. Try one new dinner recipe and one new dessert recipe each month.
  2. Craft one new DIY project each month.
  3. Blog post three times per week.
  4. Read two books each month – one for book club and one for me.

Relationships

  1. Connect with one BC friend and one MB friend each week.
  2. Send one letter, postcard, email, picture, or note to family or friends each week.
  3. Renew and strengthen my faith.

Part 6: Make it Happen

I am committed to reviewing my progress and updating you, my dear readers, on all of it every three months. So in the last week of June, September and December I will post a review of my dedication to these goals and along the way I will share the things I learn like fun DIY crafts, good books, or delicious recipes.

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How are your New Year’s resolutions going three months into 2014? If you don’t make resolutions are you currently having success with any goals you have set for yourself?

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St. Patrick’s Day has always been an extra special day in my family. My sister and I would get all dressed up in green wearing shamrock pins and necklaces and hair ties, eat pancakes for breakfast and bring homemade shamrock cookies to school. The day would always end with some kind of special family dinner and cake to celebrate. St. Patrick’s Day is important to us because we have our very own leprechaun – my mom(!) who moved to Canada for an adventure when she was just a few years younger than I am. I still have a large extended family in Dublin and I have visited twice – most recently two years ago when we spent three weeks strolling Temple Lane, eating fish and chips in Galway, walking carefully along the Cliffs of Moher, taking the Black Taxi Cab tour of Belfast, and always stopping at every single castle, tower, or church we encountered along the way!

I am so proud of my dual citizenship and I was surprised at how important it was for me to learn the history of Ireland while I was there. Ireland always feels like it has a little magic to it and I am glad that my heritage claims a small piece. So although I may be on my own for the holiday this year, I spent the weekend listening to The Corrs, baking shamrock cookies and preparing my green outfit! Tomorrow I’ll have a little (or a lot of) Bailey’s and some Irish Stew for dinner.

So please wear some green or expect a virtual blogging *pinch* from me! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Slàinte!

How are you celebrating today?

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The things I am learning in the last three weeks…

  • It is hard to be at your most vulnerable when you are not completely settled within your environment.
  • People will surprise you. They can be loving, thoughtful and kind in the times you need it most, but you have to be willing to show up and embrace it.
  • Maybe there is no place that can give you peace or strength, maybe you have to work for that.
  • When you make the big life decisions think them through and then let go, so when life calls them into question it will be easier to ignore the doubt.
  • Do not avoid the ones you love, “unconditional” means they are there to pick you up, dust you off, and give you a hug.
  • Eventually the happy and the humour will distract you if just for a little while.
  • Actively practice self-love.

This post was delayed for personal reasons, but it deserves to be shared. This is a Canadian blog after all! So without further ado, Friday Favourites – Olympic hockey tweets.