New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Losing Weight

Call Home More Often
I am not someone who misses people. Maybe my dog from time to time but even he slips my mind most of the time. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget it’s normal to check in on people. I’m one of those people who believes relationships can stay the same even without daily communication. Maintaining relationships with high school friends through text is definitely not my strong suit but even worse, calling home almost never happens. I am an only child and my hard working mom is home alone with the dog for almost a year now. It’s time I become an adult and learn to pick up the phone. How often do you call home?

Leave Work On Time
This is a big one. Our generation has shown a significant increase in the importance work has in our lives. I have experienced extreme work overload on behalf of pressure from management but mainly from myself. Yes, work is important. It is what puts food in our mouth and it takes up the majority of our time which is why it is so hard to disassociate work from life. Working is not your life, but a part of it. Learning to maintain a challenging work environment and a fulfilling life after 5pm will be this year’s challenge. Try to stay organized and prioritize important deadlines so you don’t feel obligated to work overtime allowing you to tend to hobbies and extracurriculars.

Stop Buying Cheap Alcohol
Face it, we are not in college anymore. sigh The days of buying the cheapest handle of vodka should be over. Traveler’s Club Vodka, this is directed towards you – and also peach Xclusive (dry heaves). I live a block away from a Trader Joe’s Wine store which has sales on bottles of wine as low as $3! Yeah, that’s an amazing deal but realistically, how good is that wine going to taste? Frat parties are a thing of the past so let’s leave binging on cheap beers there too. Try to make your alcohol purchases meaningful. Stock up your bar cart with spirits you can easily incorporate into multiple cocktails but are a great staple on their own as well. Although the point is to elevate your palette, don’t feel the need to spend ridiculous $$. Here are a few cost-efficient, high-quality spirits to fill your cart with – Espolon Tequila Blanco, Ketel One Cucumber & Mint, Maker’s Mark Whiskey

Finish Your Beauty Products Before Buying New Ones
I am 100% guilty of the mentality that more is better. We waste so much money on buying the new it cream or the new it dry shampoo. The industry tricks us into thinking we need newer, better all the time by repackaging, releasing limited edition products or adding free gifts with your purchase. As a hoarder, I understand the appeal of fully stocked drawers of beauty products only tested once or twice. I recently threw out hundreds of dollars worth of makeup and skincare I have accumulated throughout the last three years of internships and jobs because everything had expired. I have been using the same eyeshadow and contour palettes for almost two years now and repurchase the same liquid eyeliner every time it runs dry, so why do I need all that other sh*t? 2019 will be a year of minimalistic beauty habits.

Start Caring About the Environment
Piggybacking off the last resolution, 2019 should be the year you really take a good look around. Instead of adding to the problem, become a solution. I never really thought it was important to recycle or support green initiatives until I moved to the city and saw everyone doing their part. And not in that, “I am giving food to the homeless so I can post about it on Facebook or make a YouTube video about it” way. Every time I go to the grocery store I see people with reusable bags. More and more I am seeing people bring their own reusable travel mugs to Starbucks and the list goes on. Small actions like these may seem like they do nothing but as a whole, we are helping the environment one reusable bag at a time. Just under 25% of plastic is recycled a year. In order to contribute to the solution, my goal for this year is to begin using metal straws (as I drink absolutely everything through a plastic straw). What can you do or have been doing to become part of the solution? Share tips with me so I can incorporate into my lifestyle too!

I Had No Friends – So I Turned To A Dating App

Roughly six months ago, I finally took the plunge and followed my dreams across the river and moved to New York City. Although I have been working in the city almost three years now, my group of friends (acquaintances) was almost non-existance. High School friends either stayed local or moved cross country and between 10 hour work days and two-hour commutes, time certainly didn’t permit for extensive friend search parties. Everyone I met was always a one-night bar crawl type of friend who loves to text back “we should hang out again soon!” never to make concrete plans. Well, I have had enough and desperate times call for desperate measures.

On October 22nd, I joined Bumble BFF. You may be more familiar with Bumble as a dating app where women make the first move – a concept I was never really behind but luckily I’ve been in a loving relationship for four years now and don’t have to worry about openers, or so I thought. The whole idea of choosing your friends feels a bit deranged. When looking for suitable partners, of course, it’s easy to choose based on looks. I know I like brown hair and won’t settle for someone with poor dental hygiene but would that matter in a friend? I wouldn’t be kissing my friend so who cares if her teeth aren’t perfectly straight or white, right?

Before I began exercising my thumbs, a profile upgrade was in order. Anxiety washed over me. Women are far more judgmental than men so the pictures I choose really have to tell a story. Do I emphasize my love of frozen margaritas or do I underline the importance of culture? Disclaimer: throughout my time on the app, I adjusted my photos and bio multiple times. Here’s my current profile.

I opted for pictures that showed my interest in fashion.. and alcohol since I can never pass up a good cocktail. I also connected my Instagram for easy stalking and Spotify for music comparability. While I love all music, a girl who can get down to Korean rap as much as Migos is okay in my book.

Now for the swiping. I blindly began skimming through girls in my area. I set my preferences of age for 23-28 since I’d love to find girls my age because, well, relatability? I quickly realized a common thread among the majority of the profiles – brunch, wine, soulcycle, and the Bachelor. No hate towards any of those but how can I pick between 10 profiles who are basically the same person. I knew I had to dive deeper, find meaning in their pictures, harness my inner Nicholas Cage in National Treasure.

Profiles with solely bikini pics and snapchat filter edited photos i.e. puppy ears were a quick swipe left. That is not my personality and I know we wouldn’t mesh well in person. I tended to always swipe right on profiles with careers similar to mine since we would have common ground to talk about. In terms of looks, I have to say my choices surprised me. 80% of my matches looked exactly like me. Who knew I loved myself so much? But it’s true – who better to get along with than yourself? That doesn’t mean every girl was a 5’11 blonde-haired, blue-eyed polish girl but a majority of the time they were Caucasian, with natural-looking makeup, trendy clothing with a well thought out bio.

In the beginning, my matches were quite frequent because I spent a good deal of time on the app. Unfortunately, the more matches I had, the worse the conversations were. Let’s be honest, it’s awkward finding friends through an app, there’s no doubt about that, but what’s even more awkward is trying to pick up a girl to hang out with you.. on an app. What do you even say, hi? How original. Every conversation would start the same – “hey, hi, how are you, great, where are you from, how long have you been in the city, where do you live, cool” – like clockwork.

Eventually, I got fed up with one-liners and struggling to think of openers to catch the other person’s attention so I changed my bio to be direct and it worked! Girls started messaging me their numbers and we made plans to meet up before even sharing any information about ourselves. This is what worked, this method made me two new friends.

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Date One: Victoria

We went to the Polynesian, a bar I had been DYING to go to. These “dates” were the perfect excuse to try out new bars and restaurants that had been on my radar. Disclaimer: drinks at this place are very overpriced but definitely delicious! Victoria works at Conde Nast so we definitely had things to talk about work-wise. The conversation was great but I wasn’t sure we would ever hang out again. Before parting ways, we made indefinite plans to hang out again but I thought of it as a polite goodbye rather than a genuine attempt at friendship. Roughly two weeks went by with no communication until I received a text asking to hang out again. I was definitely caught off guard and nicely surprised. Since then, we have hung out twice and even text every now and then. 

Date Two: Mallory

Mallory and I really hit it off. We went to Fonda which was cozy and quaint, almost romantic which made us laugh. She too works in public relations so our work experiences were extremely similar giving us a great topic to start out with. We ended up chatting for hours about work, music, hobbies, family, relationships and just about everything. For the first time, I felt as though I found someone I could truly see myself becoming close with. When ordering drinks, we even ordered the same thing without consulting each other – Love me a spicy margarita sister! She even offered to pay for half my uber ride since my apartment was a bit away from the restaurant. I would have never expected that from friends I’ve had for years, let alone someone I met three hours prior. Before parting ways, we made concrete plans to hang out again – and sure enough, we did! 

What I learned: Making friends is hard. Really hard. Just like dating, it may take a few people for you to find someone you really get along with. I was naive to think friends would simply find me. Life isn’t a scripted movie and as much as we’d like to think best friends just happen, sometimes they don’t. In fact, for most people they don’t. I was ashamed for not having many friends and decided to do something about it. My initial perception of the app was that it would be filled with girls who are a bit shy and maybe struggle to fit in but I was completely wrong. There are people just like you looking for friends either because they moved or their friends moved or they simply don’t have the time to put themselves out there. The internet is a beautiful thing. Put yourself out there because only good can come out of it.

Trust me.

Evil Eye Accent Wall: DIY IKEA HACK

Last year I painted my room completely white. I’m talking white walls, white furniture, white curtains, the whole 9 yards. I needed a change from my gray walls and orange accented pillows I slept in for the last four years. I wanted something more “adult-like” and something I wouldn’t get bored of after a few months. The great thing about having a white room is being able to decorate it with whatever color palette you want and being able to change up the entire look and feel with only a few throw pillows. But the bad thing about having an all white room is having to actually decorate it. My mom had hesitations about my all white room because of its #hospitalvibes but I knew I would be able to make it my own. Unfortunately, up until now I haven’t been able to really make it that. Call it interior design block.

Last week I was strolling through Ikea, aka the land of the meatballs and home of the lingonberry juice. Ikea finally introduced some new artwork to their collection and it was very refreshing seeing something other than an oversized Audrey Hepburn, a foggy bridge, and a London landscape with a double decker. You know exactly which paintings i’m referring to and this is how we know Ikea was long over due for some newness. In the corner of the art section, I stumbled upon some decals from the new SPRIDD collection, a limited edition print-based collection of vibrant must-haves perfect for modern nomads. One decal pack in particular caught my eye which contained two abstract looking eyes, a nose and a mouth. Not exactly sure who would want or need a face like this on their wall but I immediately thought of an Urban Outfitters pillow I saw a some time ago.  Evil Eye Ikea Hack 4.jpg

Unfortunately the pillow is no longer available but here is similar option if you are in the market for an eye pillow. This decal pack is not available online and is only sold in certain Ikea stores so if you’d like to pick these up, definitely call your local Ikea ahead of time to see if they carry them before you make the trip. Each pack is $10, a steal in my opinion for such a large sized decal. I bought three packs. In total, I spent $30 on this wall.

In order to make sure I liked the final look of the wall, I played around with the placement of each decal before completely committing to sticking them on. I took a pair of scissors and cut each decal out to have separate pieces instead of one large sheet. Then, I put two piece of tape on the back and stuck them on the wall where I thought they would look great. Once happy with the placement, I took off the back piece of paper on the decal and stuck each onto the wall for good. Although they are sticky, they are not so permanent that you cannot remove them without ripping off chunks of paint. Just remember, each time you remove them, they will lose a little bit of their stickiness allowing them to eventually peel off the wall before you are ready to take them off. So my best advice, have someone stick the decals on and have a friend watch from a far to make sure the placement looks good before committing to a spot.

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The overall labor of this project is so minimal, it’s hard to even call it a “project”. For $30, I was able to completely transform a bare space into a cool tumblr-esque accent wall giving my room the character it was missing. And although these eyes are “eye catching”, they are minimal enough to match any other patterns or textures I may add to my room in the future.

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Let me know in the comments if you like how this mini project came out and if you would ever consider giving your room an accent wall like this.

xo,

Nicole