Books that are shaping my year

I believe books can serve many purposes in a person's life. They can show us new things. They can entertain us. They can transform us. And my personal favorite, they can help us through rough times. On Wednesday I talked a little about my plans for 2016 and how I am going to work on personal growth within my self and appreciating the little things. Finding gratitude. I am doing this by trying new things, falling in love with old passions, and reading lots of books.

Some of the books I have added to my reading shelf this year have a lot to do with finding happiness and appreciating things around me. I was never big into self help books, but I am on my second book this year and I am enjoying learning new ways to explore my own feelings and needs.

self help

Here is just a taste of some of the books I am planning to explore this year:

  • The Happy Stepmother: Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family by Rachelle Katz 
  • The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year of Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform your Life by Janice Kaplan
  •  The Wishing Year: An Experiment in Desire by Noelle Oxenhandler
  • Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin
  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and be Your Own Person by Shonda Rimes
  • Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin by Norah Vincent
  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
  • The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna

What are some of the books you are planning to read this year? Have you read any of these? Any suggestions?

I hope you all have a nice and relaxing weekend!

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Gratitude and Grace

It's Wednesday, my nose is stuffy and I'm currently typing this on my phone from my bed with my fluff ball Grace laying on my chest. This is the sick life. I feel very grateful for this moment. There us so much peace and quiet in this moment. I feel at ease and for once that everything will be okay.

That thought reminds me that I haven't set myself any goals for the year yet. Something I was taking the month if January to figure out. As I lay here in peace it makes me want to learn how to be grateful again, even when I've had a bad day.

I've added a slew of books to my reading list this year, in hope to retrain my thoughts to stop focusing only on the negatives.  I've already checked out 5 books from the library to help get me started. I'm planning to read them in between all of my fun reads for the year.

These books put my goals into place for me. I'm going to intertwine all my monthly goals with personal growth and gratitude. On Friday I want to share the books I'm planning to read and how they are shaping out my year.

It's time to take back the positive and make it the best year yet. How are you shaping your year?

Now I'm going back to snuggling with Grace.

Happy Wednesday :)

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I fell in love..

Did you ever have such a strong connection to something, you knew you had to have it? No matter what you did you couldn't get that thing off your mind? That's how I felt last week at work.

Back in November I started a new job at my local SPCA. I am surrounded by cute and cuddly kitties and dogs all day, every day. When I took the job I got asked a lot how I was going to manage not adopting every animal that came through the door. That was a simple response; "I can't have pets at my apartment so there's no issue there." Or so I thought.

On January 8th this really cute kitten came in. She was a stray and pretty malnourished. She was pretty tiny for her estimated age and she was really really shy. I walked past her cage that day and fell in love instantly. She hadn't been named yet and was being taken out of her cage for an exam and some vaccinations. I went into the next room and could hear her little screams as she got poked and prodded. My heart ached.

I walked past her cage everyday as she went through the process of getting closer to being on the adoption floor. I stopped and talked to her any chance I got and she slowly came around to feeling at ease with me. She had even gone as far as putting her little paw outside of her cage to bat at me. I was hooked.

On Wednesday of this past week I went to talk to her and she was gone. I went into a slight panic. Where could she of gone? I didn't see her on the floor. Had something went wrong? I got scared and ran to the computer to see where she was. Instant relief. I had forgotten it was Wednesday. She was in surgery for her spay. Whew. I felt better. That also made me worry. She was getting closer to being ready for adoption.

Thursday morning I came into work and there she was. She was on the adoption floor. I nearly cried. I had such a connection to this kitty. I knew I couldn't have her, but I just couldn't accept that. I spoke to R. I was going to ask the apartment complex if they would make an exception. He said it was okay, but not to get my hopes up. I put my kitty on hold so no one else could take her home in the process.

Any interested adopter can place a 48 hour hold on an animal if they have to think about it or get further clearance to get a pet with us. This was a god send for me, but also made me nervous. I could still end up not taking this pretty girl home with me. I heard nothing on Thursday. Nothing at all.

Friday morning came and I knew if I didn't get some kind of response I would have to give her up. Everyone immediately asked if I had heard anything. Nope. I looked at my e-mail at 9am and there it was. A response. My heart started to pound. I got nervous again. Here goes nothing..

Hi Trish,
One cat would be fine..  

That's all I could see. She was mine. I was going to take her home today! Friday my life got a little happier. I brought home a 6 month old buff colored kitten with white patches on her chest and feet. She is very small for her age, but she is doing great. She has fit in perfectly and is already ruling our home. She love both R and I equally and doesn't like to take her eyes off of either of us. She bounces back and forth to both of us

Meet Grace.

kittens, rescue, shelter

Life is good today. How was your weekend?

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Sunday Snaps- Snowed In

Soooo who's snowed in today? I have to admit if I was going to be snowed in, Sunday would be the day I would pick for this to happen. We actually missed the storm up here in central NY. Who would of thunk it? I moved further north and somehow keep missing all of these fun storms. For those of you who are in the middle of all of this, I wish you all safety and warmth. Stay indoors and snuggle up with your family.

It's been awhile since I've done a Sunday Snaps. I unintentionally took off a lot of time from blogging over the last 2-3 months. I didn't put my all into it and guess what? I feel better mentally and actually miss my blog.

Not much came out of the last 2 weeks blog wise. Another Blog Staycation happened and that always makes me happy. This time around was slow moving on my end due to a lot of personal stuff that came on. I sat down and wrote a lot about what I want to post here. I have been reading a lot. This has really helped me clear my head and that makes me feel better.

On Thursday I went to another adult coloring club night at Barnes and Nobles. I really enjoy that my local store is offering this. I am not sure if it's something happening all over or just here, but check it out on your local page to see. I think it is fun to hang out with a bunch of people, coloring and discussing colored pencils, pens, and markers.

Friday I got some fabulous news, which I am planning to talk about tomorrow. I don't want to give it away yet, so please come back tomorrow to see my news. I will say it has warmed my heart and offered me lots of love this weekend.

Today I am pretending I am snowed in. Most of the east coast is, so why not join them? I am hanging out on my couch writing, planning, and nursing the beginning of a cold. Perfect day for hot tea, books, and naps.

Looking ahead this week I have a few fun posts planned. I hope you all have a great rest of your weekend and stay warm!

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Monday Blues

I came into this room completely unprepared. I have nothing planned and I'm feeling a little under the weather. Could it have anything to do with the snow that fell last night? Probably. Nothing frustrates me more in the morning than seeing fresh snow that I may have to shovel and/or clean off my car.

Anyone else feel like this?

So today is going to be one of those typical Mondays, and I am going to leave you with that.

I have you all have a wonderful week! See you back here on Wednesday.

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How to: Make a donation

You may see hundreds of solicitations a year from local and national charities and non-profits. Maybe you are someone who donates regularly, or maybe you are interested but have no idea how to go about making a donation.

I have been working for a non-profit organization for just over 2 months now and it has really opened my eyes to how time consuming processing donations can be. Non-profits depend on these donations to keep their organizations alive and running and the donors depend on getting that tax receipt for the end of the year.

Because most of these organizations are living on the bare minimums they most likely only have one or two people processing these gifts. This can take a lot of time, especially at the end of the year when everyone is trying to get in last minute donations. 

Here are a few tips to make this process run a bit smoother for both the donor and the processing officer so you get your tax receipt that much quicker.

Use the donation card: If you receive a card in the mail, please use it. Sending just a check in an envelope with limited information can be very difficult, especially if you have never donated before. We strive to get all of your information correct in our systems to make sure you are properly thanked and receive your tax receipt promptly.

Handwriting: We understand that everyone does not have perfect handwriting, however if we can not read what it is you have written to us, we could make a mistake. This is especially true if you would like us to send a card in honor of someone. If we cannot read the name it may be impossible to do that.

Details: If this donation is for something specific or you would like us to send a notification to someone on your behalf, please provide the proper information. This includes: full name and address. We do appreciate everything you do, and can understand you may be in a hurry when sending out your donation, but the process goes much quicker and more accurate if all the information is there when we receive your donation.

Credit card information: If you decide to send us a credit card to use, please make sure you give us all of the information. We need the full card number as well as the expiration date. It is clearly marked on the donation card what is required. Going back to the handwriting category, this would be another area to make sure you are writing clearly. 

Patience: We love each and every donor who donates to our organization, and we understand you may get concerned that you have not received notification from us right away.  We ask that you have confidence and patience in us, as we are trying to weed through and decipher numerous donations on a daily basis. We strive to get your acknowledgement out promptly, but there will be times where it  may take a few extra days.

I think I have covered the basics here. A few steps to make your donating experience a pleasant experience. The more information you can provide the better. We are happy to go out and look for this information for you, but this will push back the time it takes us to get your tax receipt out to you.

I hope this was helpful to anyone out there who makes donations, or someone who is debating making a donation.

Let me know if you have any further tips in the comments!

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What would you do with $1.3 Billion dollars?

With all of the hype over the record breaking Powerball jackpot it makes me stop and think as to what I would do with all of that money if I were to win it. I have seen oodles and oodles of Facebook posts asking people what their top 5 buys would be if they were to wake up $1.3 billion dollars richer on Thursday morning.

I saw everything from paying off debt, to buying a house, to buying cars, college funds, and luxurious trips. The options would be endless. You would have to remember there would be taxes involved as well, but even after taxes you would still have a wonderful windfall.

I sat and thought about this all day on Sunday. What would I want? What decision would ever be considered the right choice?

Is there really a right answer here? Probably not. I do know for my own purpose, I would still want to do what I could to preserve the money and make smart choices. I put budgeting into my goals for 2016, and adding another $1.3 billion dollars wouldn't change that decision.

If I absolutely HAD to pick 5 items to spend my money on I would most likely go with things that corresponded with my life currently:

1. Pay off my student loans (It's the last of my debt!).

2. Fund my wedding as I am getting married in September. Nothing big or flashy but it would be nice to throw a nice party without the debt that comes with it.

3. Build my first home. Me and my hubby to be have some pretty unique ideas for a home we want one day. We are not looking for a large home but the ideas we have will make the house very efficient but very costly to build. It will pay off in the long run though.

4. Make sure my parents are taken care of. They have done so much for me over the years and have been a great support system when I needed them. Making sure they can retire comfortably would be important to me.

5. Donate to a few of my favorite charities. I always feel like if I am in a place to help someone else out then I will. Working in a non-profit myself I see the real struggles and understand that the donations really do make a difference.

So there you have it My top 5 things I would put spend my winnings on if I won the Powerball. I completely missed the cut off to buy on Saturday I was not in that pot. Maybe it was a sign?

What would be your top 5?

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New year, new blogging to-do list..

Each year I am sure we all make all kinds of goals and resolutions for ourselves. Am I right? If you are a blogger that adds another whole set of pending to-do lists that we may or may not have left in the previous year. You need to come to a point where you can set aside some time to get things done. Enter the Blog Staycation. If you are not familiar with this, it is a 4 day span where you tackle some of your blogging to-do list with a little help from your friends. We hope you can join us:


Thursday, January 14th through Sunday, January 17th

This is the 4th Staycation since August of 2014 when it was founded by myself, Jen from Jenerally Informed and Julie from Girl on the Move.

You can also read about some of our past staycations here, here, and here if you are looking for a more in depth picture of what the staycation is all about.

Important info you need to know!

As always we will be sending out daily emails with the days events, along with updates and any announcements. We will also be hosting fun Twitter parties and Facebook chats. 
So on to the important details:

Who can join? Anyone who wants to connect and grow their blogs! There is no requirement!

How can I join? You can sign up and will be included in all emails moving forward! Make sure you also join our Facebook group! So many fabulous people there with so much information and inspiration!

When is it? January 14th through January 17th! (That's a Thursday through Sunday)

What can I expect? Each Staycation we try to touch on new hot topics. We want to be able to educate and learn together. Whether we are featuring an expert speaker or giving away a useful prize, we are making sure you leave the staycation with something. We enjoy meeting all of you and giving you all the opportunity to network and connect.

We are always up for recommendations and requests for future content with the staycation. Please send me an e-mail if you have any questions or suggestions!

We hope to see you there! 

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Crushing goals one thought at a time

Is it just me or are there a $h!t ton of programs and groups out there this year to help you plan and reach your goals? Has it always been like this or is this the first year I have really paid attention to making myself some meaningful and useful goals? I wrote out a whole bunch of things I thought I wanted to label as goals for 2016, but decided to go back to the drawing board after diving into all these goal planning topics.

I don't want to set goals that are un-achievable, but I also don't want to sell myself short by placing goals in effect that have no real value to me. After going through and reading some of my favorite bloggers goals, I found it really fascinating how each person seemed to take a different approach to setting them. I wanted to give this goal thing another thought.

There are all sorts of tools out there to help you make a list. There are free worksheets, printables, as well as books and workbooks. You can read oodles and oodles of topics on just about every kind of goal out there. Personal, professional, blogging, relationship, financial, fitness, and the list goes on. If you want to achieve it, there is something out there for you.

I have printed out a bunch of different worksheets that ask more in depth questions about what it is I am looking to do in 2016. I have joined an Instagram reset challenge that encourages you to plan your goals around your current lifestyle. I joined a Facebook group dedicated specifically to goal crushing. I ordered a planner that will not only keep track on my daily activities, but also my goal progress.

All of these tools have made me realize if I want to set healthy, reasonable goals, I need to really think about what it is I wanted to achieve in not only the next year, but in the next 5 years. Then the next 10 years. Goals to help me grow as a person for my whole life, not just my year.

So instead of posting those old goals I came up with today, I am going to sit on this for a bit and see what where it takes me. I am going to fill in my worksheets, and read more exercises on these things. I can already start to feel the stress falling off my shoulders as I look forward to my year.

How about you? How do you set goals? Do you have a plan or do you just go with the flow? Lemme know! I need all the help I can get :)

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Monday on my mind

I know you all expected to read about goals today. The goals I am setting for 2016. I woke up this morning expecting to post them and something changed. I let my emotions drive. Something more important was on my mind.

A big part of my goals this year is to come back to being me. I am going to continue to remind myself that I am doing things like blogging for me.

My holiday week was pretty jarring. I faced a lot of hard realities. I am starting my first week of the new year with a heavy heart and frustrated.

I know there has to be some bad to see the good, but sometimes that is really hard.

I know you can all relate and can understand my frustration.

Hello first Monday of 2016..

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Hello 2016!

I gave up on new year resolutions a long time ago. I feel like they are meant to be broken, and if that's the case, why make one? In 2015 I decided to set goals and break each month into a different project. I feel like it worked out for me, more than I had anticipated.

I started 2015 with a word. I felt 2014 was a little crazy, so I picked the word Rejuvenate. I wanted to slow things down a bit. Come to peace with some things. Get some rest. I have to say, my year was the complete polar opposite of this.

I struggled. I stressed. I hurt. I cried. A lot.

Looking at it now, I think I did rejuvenate more than I had realized. The official definition of rejuvenate is: make (someone or something) look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively; restore to a condition characteristic of a younger landscape.

I was able to finally move past some harsh realities and I have made myself feel more lively. I am working on having fun again. I am learning to look at everything in a different angle. It's really hard but it does seem to help you think more positively. 

I have thought about my word for 2016 for awhile now. It is something I have fought with in my head but in the end it keeps coming back to me. It only makes more sense to me because I have this word tattooed on my body already. I had that done 10 years ago.. It's time I start remembering why it was put there. 

My 2016 word is Dream.  

I forgot what it feels like to have hopes and dreams. I have watched others in 2015 achieve some of their dreams, while I sat on the sidelines feeling sorry for myself. That will not happen again this year. It's a new year and I am a new age. Time to prove to myself that I can do it. 

Official yearly goals to come next week!

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