Hello friends, and welcome to the first week of 2016!
Just a forewarning, this post is lengthy.
It’s hard for me to believe an entire year has passed since my 2015 Resolutions post. In certain ways this past year has seemed incredibly long and in others it seems like it flashed before my eyes. When I decided to write a post about my resolutions last year I had no idea the positive response it would receive. It remains the most viewed post of all time on my blog. I attribute the post’s success to the candid and open nature of the subject matter. It’s rare that I really share the details of my personal life via Pardon Muah, because it’s really more about the fashion & beauty, but I do think it’s important to share my day to day every once in a while. [Let me know if you’d like me to do this more often.] I want to give readers the ability to relate to me in more ways than just makeup and clothing. It’s easy to make life look perfect & sparkly through social media, when in reality everyone has stresses & struggles behind the scenes. My blog is only a small (but important) portion on my daily life. 
I thought we would start by revisiting my resolutions from last year to see how I did (not all were successes)
1. Read one book a month. #fail. #bigfail. I was really determined last January to make this resolution a reality, but it just didn’t happen. I think I need to accept the fact I won’t be reading on the daily, and really it’s just not my thing (I know my mother is cringing reading this). I look up a lot of information and read a lot of stories online – thanks to the new age of technology! I feel like reading should be something relaxing and not an assignment, which is what my resolution turned into. My mornings are always rushed, there is no time to read at work (or eat for that matter), and at the end of the day after I’ve gone to a barre class, eaten dinner, and blogged it’s already late and time for bed. For now, my goal is to read the books I already have, however long that will take. 
2. Make a realistic budget and stick to it. Oh money, where to begin. Right now this is the biggest stress in my life so it hurts me a little to even write about it. As for my resolution to save money I wouldn’t consider it a success, but I wouldn’t consider it a failure either. If you’ve read or choose to read last year’s post you’ll know this has been a very transitional year in my life. I failed to plan ahead for unforeseen “life events,” and in turn, faced a lot of expenses I did not anticipate. This has been a huge life lesson and the first time I’ve ever had some very scary “oh shit” moments where I wondered how I was going to afford all of the things adults have to pay for. I also hit a deer, had my car hit & run at work, had to buy all new tires (those suckers are expensive), got super sick and had to pay several healthcare bills, and I ended up paying rent like I live in a big, fancy city. I don’t say this so that anyone will feel bad for me, but those are things I never thought would happen and I should have been squirreling the money away just in case. But, you live and you learn and boy am I learning! 

3. Learn to be happy just being me. This has by far been my biggest success. Again, not an easy thing to accomplish for someone who is used to living for others and who always aims to please. In a way I was forced to be happy being alone, single, living in a city solo, but it was still a very conscious decision. It’s so much easier than you think to lean on and find comfort in others. I have made some mistakes along the way, but overall am really proud of myself for deciding to live for me. I rediscovered who I am and what I want out of life. I’ve found a new sense of self, determination and motivation. I truly believe you must love yourself in order to be the best you for anyone else. For me, I had stopped believing in my own abilities and found all of my self acceptance through the eyes of someone else. Undoing this was not so easy, but extremely liberating. I can now give all of myself in my relationship (yes I did find love!), because I feel that all of myself is happier, healthier and so much more confident. #selflove

2016 Resolutions 
Take The Risk
Alright, this is the biggie. For those of you who know me well, you would probably agree I’ve lived my life pretty safe. Finished school, went to college, got a graduate degree, started a corporate job, stayed away from drugs, bought a small furry dog, usually don’t stay out too late, drive a reasonable speed limit…you get the idea. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty tired of playing it safe. Now, I don’t mean I’m going to drive 100 mph and sky dive off a building naked, but I want to live life to the fullest. I want to embrace happiness and I want to go forward and conquer those big, beautiful dreams. 
I realized this year that you only live once. Once. And that one time I live my life I want it to be amazing and filled with sparkles and coffee and a lot of love. No, I’m not going to make any unrealistic, financially crippling decisions, but I want to take some chances. I know what I want and I’m going to go after it. Why sit around thinking about all of the things I could do to make myself happy when I can put in the work and make those things a reality? 
I already know this year is going to be filled with new adventures and I’ve already started down the path of all things happy. I’m ready to take the risk and I cannot wait to share everything with you as it happens. My close friends know some of the juicy details already, but the rest of you will have to wait just a little bit longer! I promise it’s good! 
Grow My Blog & Brand
I’m a very little fish in the blogging pond. But that’s okay! I’ve only been blogging for a year and a half and every day is a step in the right direction. My biggest personal goal for my blog (and social media accounts) has been to be consistent. I believe consistency is key. I definitely have days where I cannot think of one thing to write about, or I’m tired or I’d rather eat a snack hah! But I value my readers and if there is only one girl out there who looks forward to my posts every day, I don’t want to disappoint.

It can be really easy to start comparing myself to the bloggers who have thousands upon thousands of followers and subscribers and to feel like I’ll never reach those milestones. And I definitely have days where I doubt my ability to keep up the momentum, but then I remind myself that I’m running my own race. One of my favorite YouTubbers said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and that couldn’t be more true. All I can do is be the best blogger I can be and enjoy the ride! I can honestly say that I love blogging and I look forward to it each and every day. I feel like you know you’ve found your calling when you’re happy to put in the time, money and effort, while seeing no monetary gain.

Lately, I’ve been taking more steps to getting my blog and my brand out there. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I’ve been tweaking my blog page – the fonts, my photo, my signature line – in an effort to make it aesthetically pleasing to you and also to me. I’m extremely picky about almost all things, but particularly my blog. I want it to be inviting, light and clean. In 2016 one of my goals is to increase the quality of my photos. I have a big girl camera now (thank you dad) that I’m going to start using so the picture quality will be top notch!

Embrace Health & Wellness

Some of you may wonder why this is on my resolution list, because I’m so fitness oriented, but I have an embarrassing confession:

  I’ve worked out ONE time since Thanksgiving. 

I’m even a little ashamed to type that, but it’s true. Sometimes though, you have to give yourself a break. I’ve been preoccupied, I froze my barre membership for a month and I’ve been trying to invest more time in my blog. But, 2016 is a great time to start fresh and to create new goals. I don’t just want to work out consistently, but I also want to eat well. I’ve gotten into a horrible habit of eating Lean Cuisines every day at work and frozen vegetables for dinner. If my boyfriend is reading this I know he is shaking his head hah! It’s a running joke that I don’t eat consistently (lots of snacks) and my grocery cart usually looks like I have a five year old child (who doesn’t love lunchables?!). So I’m going to try and make an effort to pack fresh lunches more often.

For me, it all comes down to scheduling and planning. I’m a creature of habit, so once I’m in the habit I’m good to go. Once I get out of the habit, it’s very hard to get back to where I was. I love making lists and sometimes I even plan out my days by time so I make sure to accomplish the most I can (this includes working out). I don’t always follow it, but it’s a good way to put forth the effort. I’d love more than anything to get on a schedule where I can work out early in the morning before my full-time job, but the struggle of getting out of bed is real. I always have the best of intentions and set my alarm, but somehow I hit snooze a couple times too many. BUT, I’m going to try my best in the coming weeks and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Thank you so much for reading my 2016 Resolutions!

Here’s to a happier, healthier, adventuresome year! Thank you for following, reading and commenting throughout 2015. The support and the love means so much and is very appreciated.

XO Amanda