Radiating Sunshine: December 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

16 Goals for 2016

2016 is going to be a big year, I can feel it! For starters, I turn 23 on the 23rd of March meaning my golden year will be here. I think I am more excited for this birthday than any of my other birthdays. I hope to make my golden year full of memorable moments and joy. Today, I'm sharing my 16 Goals for 2016! 

goal one... smile more! Smiling brightness everyone's day. So, my goal for 2016 is to smile more and frown less!

goal two... find a hobby! I love this blog of mine, but I'm looking to start a new hobby! Not entire sure what it will be, but, I'm really looking forward to it! If you have ideas, comment below. 

goal three... inspire someone! I work with students all day, every day and I really want to inspire them to know they can accomplish anything. 

goal four... try something new! Whether that is parting my hair differently or watching a new tv show. I really want to try something new and not be afraid to do things a little differently. 

goal five... blog more! I really want to take this blog of mine to the next level and maybe start doing recipe posts. My goal is to post at least three times a week!

goal six... make a new friend! I'm really hoping that I can meet someone new in 2016 and hopefully start a lasting friendship. Friendship is key to happiness and I definitely want to continue nourishing my current friendships. 

goal seven... get more sleep! Over my vacation I have rested fully! I have slept in, taken naps, gone to bed early. I hope I can keep this pattern up when work begins on Monday. 

goal eight... de-clutter my life! Out with the old and out with the unused... but, not in with the new! My goal is to de-clutter and to start living with less. They often say less is more. 

goal nine... drink more water! water is beyond healthy and Josh just bought me the cutest tumbler for Christmas so my goal is to drink more water. 

goal ten... travel! My goal for 2016 is to travel to one new place. It can be anywhere, but hopefully I'll be able to see and learn a lot while I am there. 

goal eleven... make a home! I move to my new apartment in May 2016 and I have a lot of high hopes for my new two bedroom, two bathroom, and laundry room! I can't wait to move and make it my own. I also hope to entertain guests and relatives. 

goal twelve... fitness! I love seeing all of my friends participate in the 21 Day Fix and make fitness their priority. It is down right inspirational and I hope I can do the same thing!

goal thirteen... make time for family! My goal is to call a loved one in my family once a week. In November I tested it out every day and it made me feel so happy and connected. 

goal fourteen... be happy where I am. My goal is to live for this moment and not so much for what's my next step. I have two and a half more years left of graduate school and I hope I can enjoy them to the fullest. 

goal fifteen... save money. My goal is to actually put money into savings. I have been working for about a half a year, so I know what my bills look like and when I have to pay them. Hopefully, I'll be able to put away a good sum of money and start saving to save!

goal sixteen... Live faithfully. My last goal for 2016, which I think is the most important is to live faithfully. I can do anything through God and I hope to embody that this year. Having faith in Him will help me get through anything!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Year in Review

I can't believe another year has come and gone. This has definitely been the year of the most change. For starters I graduated from college! I loved my past four years at Mount St. Mary's in May 2015! I made some of the greatest friends that I could have ever asked for. I got a job and moved to Pennsylvania.
I loved my first summer on the job! I learned so much about what it takes to be a Residence Director and I really had an appreciation for all of my past Area Directors. I helped plan RA Training and made goals for this upcoming Fall. I took my first grad class, Intro to Helping Services and got an A! In July 2015 Josh and I attended numerous family reunions and found ourselves on an Ocean City Beach weekend! We loved our summer together and are really looking forward to next summer, where hopefully I'll get some time off and we can hit up our passports for a fun trip abroad. 
I moved to a temp apartment while mine was getting new air conditioning in May. I loved my time in my temporary home, but nothing felt better than moving to my apartment. After a few weeks of unpacking, I officially was move in to my new apartment in August 2015. I'll only be here until this coming May 2016, but I'm definitely enjoying the coziness of this wonderful place.
In August 2015, I also met my first RA Staff! They are wonderful people and I have really enjoyed working with all of them. My first semester as an RD/supervisor went well. After having a semester under my belt, I feel a lot more comfortable where I am at and what I am learning.
My parents got a new dog, named Evie! She is the cutest pup and I really got to bond with her one weekend in September. She loves to kiss me and invade my personal space... but, I really don't mind!
2015 was a great year! I have learned what it takes to live on my own and how to shop for groceries for one. I have been able to keep in touch with all of my college friends. One of us has gotten married, so we gladly welcomed Liz to our crew. We have all managed to stay within the 3 hour driving radius and will be ringing in the New Year together. 
Life has been pretty great! I'm really looking forward to this upcoming year. 2016 is my golden year since I'll be turning 23 on March 23rd. So, I'm really looking forward to what this magical year holds.   I have just started learning the art of photo shop so, in January Radiating Sunshine will be receiving a face life. Life will continue to move quickly and I hope you join me on my journey. Also, Radiating Sunshine will be celebrating her 4th year of blog history!

How has your year been?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Darling

Merry Christmas blog land! It's officially Christmas Eve and I have a plan to get the most out of Christmas Day. It goes like this... go to sleep really early Christmas Eve Eve... like 8PM early! Wake up at 6:30AM naturally on Christmas Eve, by the rain tapping your windows (White Christmas are so over rated, right?). Work like a little Christmas elf on Christmas Eve. Attend holiday parties in the evening and deny coffee politely when it is offered. Exhaust yourself by 9PM, thus forcing yourself to fall asleep by 10PM at the latest. Then, get as much sleep as possible so you can wake up as early as possible and help with the Christmas festivities and give your presents. 

Now, I realize in probably five years I'll re-read this advice when I have children and I'll laugh because all I would have to do is add one child to this plan and boom I'll be ready for bed at 9PM every night... but, for now I'll savor the moments when I plan to fall asleep early! 

Anyways, I am enjoying this holiday season. I have been home for a little over a week now and have enjoyed my time off. I've been sleeping in, knitting squares (literally... because I can't knit), watching movies, reading books, baking, snuggling with my puppies, and have been getting in to this Christmas spirit. 
Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year! Partly because I have two weeks off, but also because of all of the traditions. I'm really looking forward to the next 48 hours spent with all of my family members, as many sugar cookies as my eyes can see, and time spent learning how to cook a Christmas year with my mom.

As I write this post from the comfort of my parents' sofa I just saw the funniest little Today Show advice on how to have a "Hassle Free Holiday." They featured different topics for example, teaching children to give thanks, dealing with a mean relative, and appreciating your significant other. My dad and I really chuckled at the signifiant other advice on ways to not let your significant other get lost in the holiday happenings.
It got me thinking... that really the holidays should be stress free! I mean sure there are meals to prepare, relatives to catch up with, and presents to purchase and wrap. But, the true meaning of Christmas is joy! So, that is what I'm going to bring to this Christmas' celebrating... tons of JOY! So, I hope you all have a joyous holiday and bring holiday joy to others as well.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Happier You

Hello blog friends! I've been eluding to this little happy project of mine for quite some time, but I'm excited to announce that for my golden year I will begin blogging about how to be a happier you. I'm not exactly sure what will come from this blog campaign. But, starting in mid-January I will be launching Happier You, which will feature 12 different ways to live a happier life. Today, I'm going to share with you all the 12 areas of my life that my project will cover. I still have a lot of happiness research to sift through and understand, so I encourage you all to follow my journey. 

january... health and wellness
february... love
march... work as flow
april... family
may... transitions
june... enjoy the sunshine
july... friendship
august... finding purpose
september... faith
october... hobbies
november... thankful heart
december... selfless acts

I don't know how this project will pan out. But, I'm excited to learn more about myself and ways I can become happier and thus encourage others to also become happier. Life is too short to not enjoy everything that life has to offer. So, happy Thursday friends! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy Holidays

This is my first holiday season away from a Catholic school... Since Kindergarten I have always attended Catholic school. I remember making advent wreaths, singing Christmas carols, and Santa even visiting school. When I got hired to work at public university, I didn't think much about how working at a public institution would impact my faith. I remember acknowledging that there weren't any crucifixes already hanging in my apartment when I moved in, but I just hung my cross and went on my way. As this holiday season started to approach and my desires to Christma-fy everything in my life grew stronger, I started to evaluate how saying "Merry Christmas" played a role in my life. 

Now, it's no secret on this blog of mine... but, I love Christmas. I love baking cookies, listening to the music, and finding that perfect gift for someone. I love sending Christmas letters with kind notes in them. I love meeting up with friends and being reunited with family members. I love reading my Advent devotional with my boyfriend and talking about how Jesus plays a role in our lives. I love ripping off the links on my Christmas chain and counting down the days until Jesus is born! And I used to love saying "Merry Christmas" to every single person I came upon. But, as I learn more about myself and this big world with a ton of different people in it... I have felt the profound call to wish people "Happy Holidays." I still profoundly love Christmas and will continue to relish in the holiday that promotes love, family, and giving. But, I think I can truly promote this giving holiday by meeting everyone where they are at. 
I snagged this from Facebook and really liked it!
So, I wish you a Happy Holiday. I wish that you are filled with the joy that the holiday season can bring. Whether you celebrate Christmas with a Christian mindset, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, St. Lucia Day, Bodhi Day, Sol Invictus, Yalda, Yule, Pancha Ganapati, Chalica, Soyal... etc! So, for the remainder of this holiday season I am going to read and learn about a different "holiday" every day. My goal is to learn more about other faiths, traditions, and practices. I also hope to continue to learn how to be more inclusive of everyone who I come across. The true meaning of Christmas to me is spreading love and joy to every single person I meet. So Happy Holidays, friends!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Weekend Recap 12/7/15

Happy Monday friends! And Happy Last-Work-Week-Until-The-Holidays! I've been loving life over here in PA and this Christmas/Advent season has been beyond lovely and full of so many amazing blessings. This weekend was truly full of holiday spirit and I cannot wait until I get home and can see my family and friends!

On Friday, I took a couple of RAs caroling at the local nursing home. We were hoping to recruit some students, but no one showed up! So, we took what could have been a bad event and turned it into quite the performance. Also, on a side note I would love you all to try to sing Frosty the Snowman completely... turns out there is a whole section that I completely forgot!
When we got back I enjoyed celebrating my awesome DAs for DA Appreciation Day! We had a huge party and it was really nice thanking them for all of their handwork and dedication. Immediately following that I went to the RA Holiday Social! We built human snowmen, had mini snow-ball fights, cookies and hot chocolate, and enjoyed a few hours of quality bonding. I seriously appreciate these RAs of mine and I am so blessed for a great staff to start off building my supervisory style.
On Saturday, Josh came up and brought up this adorable and totally vintage manger scene for my Christmas tree. Josh and I love the holidays and every tradition that comes with it. This manger scene reminds me of my mom's! I can't wait to go home and see everyone. I'm definitely missing Christmas in MD, but Christmas in PA has turned out to be quite wonderful.
After the manger was set up and Josh and I cleaned my apartment, we were officially ready to host this year's Christmas Party with all of our friends from college. I had twelve of the greatest friends come up and we hit it off. We made mozzarella cappers bites, buffalo chicken dip, holiday guacamole, and pretzels with queso. I love hosting, but I sure don't like the mess that comes with it. Especially when you don't have a dishwasher... but, now is not the time for complaining. I am just so grateful that I got to see all of my wonderful friends and made new memories. I really miss this group of peeps and I'm looking forward to New Years Eve and seeing them all again.

On Sunday morning, I woke up and we made a huge breakfast spread. I now have a ton of pancakes, which I'll probably incorporate into a program this week for my students and Finals Week. After everyone left, St. Nicholas stopped by my apartment and left me the cutest little ornament in my shoes... see what I'm saying, Josh remembers every Christmas tradition in the book.
I'm really looking forward to this upcoming week and enjoying time with my co-workers before I head home for a wonderful holiday with my family. I hope your week is enjoyable and I'll check back in with you all soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Balancing the Holidays

Happy December Everyone! I can't believe the holidays are fast approaching... and with that comes my desire to PLAN EVERYTHING. I have about two weeks until I get two and a half weeks off work and I am so PUMPED. However, although I love the holidays today I'm going to talk about something that can put a little joyous strain on the holiday season.
As you all have probably assumed the holidays are probably my favorite time of year. I love spending so much time with the people that I love and catching up with people who I don't see nearly enough. I am also a hard core traditionalist. I love our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party at my Aunt Paula's and I love our gag gift exchange at my Grandma's! It's no secret in my family that I hold the holiday season with high expectations and want to keep to our traditions at all costs. However, what happens when you have someone in your life who you want to share those traditions with?

Conflict. Now, I don't use the C-word lightly. I know a lot of you may fear that word. But, its apart of our lives and let's face it, it's apart of the holiday season as well. Conflict arises when someone burns the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes (Sorry, Mom I still haven't let that go) or when someone gives you a surprising gift and you have nothing ready in return. Conflict can arise when you're out shopping for that perfect sweater and they are completely out of your size. Conflict can come when you don't cut out enough wrapping paper. But, regardless of whether you're mad at your wrapping abilities or at a relative who continuously asks you what you are doing with your life... it's important for us all to embrace the holiday conflicts. However, :"one does not simply" embrace the holiday conflict. So, it's important to have a game plan on how you'll handle them when they do pop up. 

A common holiday conflict is learning how to balance the holidays with your special someone. After all, out of all of the fish in the sea you have chosen that person to spend your time with. How do you choose who's family to visit, at what time to visit them, and for how long you will stay? How do you manage every family's traditions without hurting anyone's feelings and still being together in the process? I got lucky in choosing a person who shares my love for the holidays and traditions! But, that definitely creates problems when we both want to be in two places at once. For example, I really want to experience Christmas Eve mass with him and his family and at the same time I so desperately want him to open a gag gift with my family. You see the predicament?

3 Tips to Having a Stress Free Holiday Season with 
Your Significant Other & Family

one... plan ahead! Sit down with your significant other two months before the holidays begin. Sitting down early can help you plan in the least unbiased way as possible. Discuss all of the different options and split every event as evenly as possible.

two... go with the flow! Sometimes you can't always be together and that's okay. Sometimes the holiday conversation goes down a dangerous path to "the future" so make sure you're aware of what you are saying and reflect on how what you say can impact others.

three... pack your beauty essentials! I can't tell you how many times this has saved me! I'm a huge napper in the car, but nothing ruins your hair like a static-y pillow. Always carry a few extra bobby pins and some gel. It will help you in the long run when you are driving to two or three different Christmas dinners!

This year, we have both decided to spend the holidays apart, which without a doubt is not my favorite solution. But, it was important for us to recognize how important these traditions are for us and to recognize that one day we will have our own. So, for now we have to do what is best for our families, which is the true meaning of Christmas. It's important to remember that everyone wants to see everyone during the holidays and balancing that is probably the trickiest, but also the best thing you can do!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cheers to Not Gaining Weight

I recently read an article that people usually gain weight during the Fall/Winter seasons because of the lack of Vitamin D. Well, that's not happening to me! I've been in Graduate School & living on a college campus and lets just say keeping slim is not the easiest thing to do. All of my friends on Facebook have been on this "beach body" craze. Because of this craze they have inspired me to continue getting in shape and taking care of my body. So, now I am a B12 vitamin taker and regular gym goer and I haven't felt better! The more time I spend taking care of myself, the better me I can be for my students. 

My goal is to lose weight naturally. Now, I'm not really focusing on losing weight... I'm more focused on defining my muscles. But, sometimes it's easier to focus on tangible numbers. However, I'm working on getting toned without any processed drinks and or sponsors. So many of my friends participate in these programs and although they have been seeing incredible results... I just don't have the time or the money to commit to activities/groups like that. 

Obviously, I suck at mirror selfies!
I respect all of my friends who participate in those groups and I hope they keep posting their results because it vicariously motivates me... So you can call me old fashioned, but I'm going to try to get lean by watching what I eat, monitoring my calories, and staying committed to cardio. I'm determined not to gain any weight this holiday season and so far I have survived Thanksgiving. However, Christmas will definitely hit me hard so I am not naive enough to think this won't be an uphill battle (hopefully, I can run up this hill)! I'll keep you posted as I find a healthier me and continue to work on improving myself and my mile time. 

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