Range Chicago
(Photo courtesy of Gold Coast Girl)

Fair warning: This is LONG. ;)

Last weekend, I attended a blogger brunch–put together by my friends Tomissa and Maya–at Range, an adorable restaurant in Lincoln Park. Of course, a big part of why the event was organized was simply to get everyone together after the holiday break. (So fun!) But it also served a larger purpose: to get us thinking about our goals for 2015, and spark discussion about how we’ve found success in the past.

The event came at the perfect time for me, as I’ve clearly been putting off coming up with resolutions. (If you haven’t already noticed, haha. Yikes. Fifteen days late!) At first, I blamed my exhaustion from the holidays. Then I started saying that I didn’t “believe” in resolutions. (What?! Resolutions definitely exist. Hehe… I’m hilarious.) And then I tried telling myself that the ship had sailed, and that I’d completely missed my opportunity to make some for 2015.

Hah! Oh, Kelly.

Sure, making New Year’s resolutions is kind of a cliché. The act can lose its meaning easily, as we sometimes make these little promises to ourselves, knowing full well that we’re not going to uphold them. But resolutions can’t hurt, either. Even if they’re late. Right?

If anything, January 1st–or January 15th, for me (sheesh)–encourages us to take a step back and evaluate how everything’s going. Are you happy? Could you be happier? What can you do to lead that happier life?

And here’s the thing: I am happy. I’m really happy, actually! I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been, and I’m ridiculously grateful for the life I’m leading. At the same time, though, there are undoubtedly some things I should–and want to–work on.

So thank you, Tomissa and Maya (and all the ladies who were in attendance!), for getting me off my butt. Thanks for inspiring and motivating me to actually put some time aside this week and think about the big picture. You guys rock.

So let’s get down to it! We’re lookin’ at two categories, here: Personal and Work. Personal’s a bit long, though, so we’ll save “Work” for tomorrow. :) Sound good? Here we go!




1. Write for an hour per day, and start reading again. Before I started blogging, I did quite a bit of creative writing and a lot of reading. Now, though, all of that has been put on the back burner. Every time I think to put pen to paper or pick up that novel I’ve been dying to read for the past six months, I think about all the work I could get done with that time. How many emails I could respond to, how many posts I could write, or how many tasks I could check off the to-do list.

Blogging is one of the best parts of my life, and I started Kelly in the City because I was looking for a creative outlet. But it doesn’t have to be my only creative outlet. While I love writing for my blog, I also miss writing stories. So I’m going to pick that back up. And I miss reading before bed… and being transported into someone else’s world for an hour or two every day. So I’m going to start doing that again!

2. Put time aside for “us.” Goodness. How does the calendar fill up so quickly?! While we’re still spending time with friends and family, we’re also making a concerted effort this year to make most nights “date nights.” And we aren’t necessarily hitting up the town every time… but we’re spending time together. Alone. Whether we’re grabbing dinner somewhere, cooking at home, catching the $6 movie ticket special on Tuesdays, or watching a movie at home, we are the priority. Life is busy, but the “us” should never be last.

3. De-clutter, and get organized. Holy goodness, guys. The struggle is real. We live in a tiny apartment. I mean, it’s adorable and all, but it’s ridiculously small. (Like, it has one teensy closet.) And we’re grown ups. With stuff. And a dog. And I work from home, and receive quite a few packages from companies I work with. And the stuff just seems to keep piling up.

Before the holidays, I gave up on it. I let the boxes accumulate, the closet throw up on itself every morning when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, and the clutter overrun the place. BUT NOW I MEAN BUSINESS. It’s certainly taking some time, but I’ve already sold some extra furniture and tackled the overflowing shelves in the bathroom. Now, I’m cleaning out the office and starting to make piles of clothing: sell, donate and trash. (Here’s the inspiration.) More on this later. It’s a slow process, for sure.

4. Eat better, and lay off the coffee. I’m not a food person. I’m super picky, and just don’t love very much. If it were up to me, I’d survive on three things: bagels, ice cream and Kit Kats. And steak. I love steak. ;)

But this isn’t healthy, and I need to start eating responsibly! So I’m turning a new leaf, and trying really hard to eat balanced meals three times per day. Mitch and I even went food shopping after we got back from the East Coast to stock up on food I actually like. The fridge is overflowing, and I love it! (I do miss my Kit Kats, though.)

As for the coffee, it makes me sick to my stomach all day (even when I have it with food), and yet I continue to consume it. I, my friends, am an idiot.

5. Start singing and “playing” the guitar again. I’m not good at either, but I love singing and playing country songs. I do the fake accent and everything, haha. The goal is to pick it back up again this year, because I used to have a lot of fun with it. But we’ll see. I tried the other day to learn a new song, and failed miserably. So this might take a few months!

6. Take better care of my hair, and ditch the straightener. The disaster that is my hair is one of my biggest insecurities, and I’m pretty sure it’s all self-induced. The highlights, the straightening, the blowdrying–ugh. All of it has left my locks thin and lifeless, and I’m sad about it! (I know. It’s vain. But there you have it.)

This year, I’m ditching the straightener. I’m not throwing it out, but I’m reserving it only for super special occasions. Instead, I’m learning how to blow dry my hair with a round brush. (So much harder than it looks!) I’m also planning on getting lowlights instead of highlights the next time I visit my stylist… and I’m taking vitamins. Wish me luck! (Thanks for all the advice, Annie! Love you!)

7. Do something kind for someone without their knowledge every week. “The best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth

8. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour on weekdays, and get up and moving earlier on the weekends. I’m a night owl. Always have been. BUT IT’S RUINING MY LIFE. Like, right now–It’s 1 a.m. as I’m writing this, and I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning. What the heck is wrong with me?! I need to stop. I might enjoy staying up late, but the most of the world–including Mitch and Noodle–is on a much different schedule. This shop needs to close down every night around 9:30 or 10! (This will definitely be the hardest resolution for me to follow through with!)

9. Stop being so insecure about my skin. Oh, the battle. Listen: I know what you’re going to say. It’s not that bad, or you can’t see anything. My mom says this as well when I get crazy. (Thanks, Mom.) The thing is that I never post photos when it’s bad, and the last two years have been comparatively good. Gone are the days of Accutane (yikes), at least! But it still acts up. And it wrecks me.

Sigh. For some reason, I think of my skin as this giant fault I have. It worries me sick. I wake up in the morning and pray that it hasn’t erupted overnight, and when it does, I’m convinced that it’s the only thing that people see. And until it clears up, it’s the only thing on my mind. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve called my mother hysterically crying or refused to leave the house on account of my skin.

But it’s just skin. And I have to remember that. I’ve gotten to a point in my life in which I need to let it go a little. There is more to me than my epidermis! Those who love me see past it.

10. Focus on the positive during winter. I’m generally a very positive person, but the lack of sunlight in the winter deeply impacts me. (A story for another time.) I’m trying my best this year to surround myself with all things positive, though. I’m making my apartment a happy place, I’m playing cheery Pandora stations all day, and I’m hanging out with people who see the glass as half full. I’m walking Noodle whenever it’s warm enough so we get sunshine, and I’m traveling to places with cheerier sceneries. (Two trips to Florida planned, haha!) Life is good. Even in the winter. Life is good. Even in the winter. (Say it with me…)

Have you ever made similar resolutions? Were you successful in upholding them? What worked? What didn’t?

Happy 2015! (Better late than never!)