Good morning!


I had so much fun tallying up the votes for the Sweet Santa and Scary Santa 2014.  Here are the winners!


Natalie won the Sweet Santa category.


And Ashton won the Scary Santa category.  Hah!


Thanks to everyone who entered and voted.  As always – it was super fun!  Can’t wait to do it again next year.


Up next…


Organized My House: This was one of my original resolutions for 2014, but I didn’t really get down to it until the last few months of the year.  Mostly, this goal was about decluttering closets and the attic.  I was ruthless about tossing and donating stuff that I no longer wanted.  My advice? If you’re struggling to get rid of something, put it in a box in your garage for a month and see if you “miss it” – odds are that you’ll get used to the idea and be willing to toss/donate it without emotion when the four weeks are up.


Cleaned Out My Inbox: I had great success with the website Unroll.Me, which unsubscribes you from e-mail lists automatically.  I also try to unsubscribe from junk emails instead of just deleting them.


Started Saying No: Before I had kids, I almost always said yes. Yes, I’ll take on that extra assignment.  Yes, I’d love to go out!  Yes, I’ll help you with that project.  But I’ve learned that, especially now, I have to say no – or I drive myself crazy and fall short at meeting my priorities.  I actually said no to a freelance job a few weeks ago – probably the first time I’ve ever turned down a writing opportunities.  Over the last few years, I’ve learned that not being wild-crazy-nuts-busy is actually not a bad thing… not a bad thing at all.


Detached Myself from My Phone:  I really wanted to unplug and live real life a little more – here’s how I did it.


Budgeted Smarter:  Our goal was to save more money so we could travel more.  I tried to follow an actual budget but just can’t keep up with it.  However, we did a pretty good job of saving (among other things, we grocery shopped smarter and really cut down on eating out), so we got to go to the beach and to Disney without guilt!


Took Better Care of My Skin:  I used the night cream and mask featured in this post daily/weekly, and it made a huge difference in my skin!  My face is so moisturized now and never winter-itchy (I hate that).


Continued to Race:  This was also one of my 2014 resolutions – but a pregnancy put this goal on the back burner.  However – I did do the Heartbreak Hill 5K and 10K (back to back!) when I was about 15 weeks pregnant. I ended up running sporadically until about halfway through the second trimester, which felt like a huge accomplishment!


Stopped Trainwreck Reading on Facebook:  You know what I mean – the ‘friends’ who post inflammatory articles, passive-aggressive digs, inappropriate jokes, TMI posts, and drama-packed vague updates.  It can be fun/amusing to read, but more often than not, I found myself getting annoyed or upset every time I opened Facebook.  So I started to do a lot of ‘unfollowing,’ and now my Facebook is more enjoyable than ever.


Made an Effort to Parent Better:  I’ve been reading How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so You Kids Will Talk.  It’s been slow going (the book recommends you read a chapter and implement it before moving onto the next one), but it’s truly been life-changing so far.  I really cannot recommend this book enough – the tactics have actually improved my communication with everyone in my life, including my husband!  But especially with Henry – there are so many ways you shut kids down without every realizing it. I also read NutureShock and 123 Magic, both of which I give two huge thumbs up.


Backed-Up the Back-Up of My Photos:  In October, I tripped over my external hard drive cord and broke the USB connection port.  All my photos from 2007 onwards were on that hard drive!  Luckily, I managed to get it fixed (whew!) but the experience taught me to back-up my back-up.  Now I keep two copies of everything (in separate places)!


How did you make your life better in 2014?



  • Marissa December 30, 2014, 1:18 pm

    We organized everything from our house to files to budget this year. It is THE BEST feeling….such a weight off my chest! Now I must work on saying no, which I am not doing well with as evidenced my by schedule in January! Oh well, always can continue working on it!

  • Alex @ True Femme December 30, 2014, 1:43 pm

    These are all great tips! I made my life better in 2014 by prioritizing sleep (no more late night cram sessions studying for exams!), starting a meditation practice (even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day, the difference is huge!), and I stopped making myself feel guilty for stupid things. That last one helped me dial down some of my perfectionistic tendencies, which in turn just made life flow that much easier!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed December 30, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Love the Santa photos, such a fun contest! One of my goals for 2015 should be to organize my basement! We just moved in 2.5 months ago and the basement has been kind of a catch all for anything we don’t want to deal with at the moment. I know it’s going to be a bear to deal with later! I also currently learning how to say no. I need to take a break from too many big commitments and keep some time for myself!

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul December 30, 2014, 2:07 pm

    I love those Santa photos! Here’s to a healthy and happy 2015!

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork December 30, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Great job on a lot of important goals! I actually had a lot of similar ones. I became ruthless with decluttering and getting rid of stuff, especially my wardrobe. I was never a clothes horse or really followed the trends, but I have it so that I have a pretty basic wardrobe of things I love and know exactly what I can wear on any given occasion. What a lovely way to be!
    I also definitely pulled away from my phone and technology in general this year. I loved that, though it’s hard to negotiate that when you have a blog and take an online class. 🙂

  • Cat December 30, 2014, 2:42 pm

    What great achievements! I love that they are measureable, actionable things – not just ‘got healthier’ or whatever. One thing I definitely want to do is unplug from the old phone – possibly all technology (eek!) – for a weekend. Checking out your post for tips!

  • Annie December 30, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Smart thinkin’ on backing up the back up! On Halloween this year, my apartment was burglarized and my laptop AND external hard drive were stolen. I lost thousands of photos from my travels in Europe and Honduras, among many other things. I’m now a proud user of the Cloud:)

    • Caitlin December 30, 2014, 4:20 pm

      Oh no!!!

  • Jamie Hower December 30, 2014, 4:55 pm

    Do less to get more!! I used to go everywhere with my spouse on the weekends, regardless of what he needed to do, because I felt like our time spent together was limited. A lot of the time, what he needed/wanted to do was completely not on my “like to do” lists (hunting luncheons with Sportsperson’s Association…what?!) …and sometimes even things I had no interest in, or actually disliked. Often, this ended with me peeved at how I spent my day and in a foul mood. This year, I said no thank you to the weekend outings that did not hold my interest (unless it was significant or important to him) and instead worked out, cooked a delicious meal, or, GASP, just simply spent time at home chilling out either alone or with my daughter. Making that time for myself, and vocalizing that I did not want to spend time doing things that I don’t like to do, made me a happier and more balanced person, and now the time I have with my spouse on the weekends is super positive time that we’re both enjoying!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 31, 2014, 8:39 am

    For me 2014 was all about taking the biggest risk of my life after I came up with seemed like the craziest idea ever. From that crazy idea and risk has been even more. 2015 will tell me whether it was worth every penny and ounce of time but so far I think it is! 🙂

  • Kristin December 31, 2014, 10:04 am

    I continue to be amazed at the things others let rule their life; phone, Facebook, etc. They are only part of my life in the most minor way. This year I’m cleaning up my friends — if you’re toxic you’re no part of my life.

  • Courtney! December 31, 2014, 10:30 am

    I almost lost all of my photos just a couple weeks ago and am SO thankful for my external hard drive. I just bought a 2nd because I panicked thinking what would happen if I lost my first one! They are reasonably priced on Amazon, so no excuses!

    I’m also going through my Facebook RIGHT NOW to unfollow people. I guess sometimes I feel like negative people will make me feel better about myself, but they still drag you down!

  • Lisa C December 31, 2014, 10:56 am

    Make my life better? Read this blog every day! I really enjoyed this post.

    Here are mine:
    -Keep a journal
    -Time with bible most days
    -Step away from phone most if the day; stay in the moment
    -One declutter project most days, even if it is just one drawer that takes 5 min
    -Regular date nights with hubby; goal = 2x month (we have 4 kids)

  • Emma December 31, 2014, 11:04 am

    I read How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so You Kids Will Talk when I was in college (I was a nanny) and I found it totally changed how I communicate with everyone! I highly highly recommend it to everyone, especially those who frequently interact with children.

  • Jennifer December 31, 2014, 4:50 pm

    Ha! We are reading the same parenting books. I read Nurture Shock a few months back. I’m one chapter in to “How to Talk…” and I have 123 Magic to read next. 🙂 I LOVED LOVED LOVED Nurture Shock and I really enjoyed the first chapter of How to Talk.

  • Lauren @ sassy molassy January 11, 2015, 11:10 am

    Wow, it’s impressive how many effective steps you took in 2014 to make life easier/better. It’s so true that unfollowing people who always have drama or stories you don’t want to read is really freeing. I could use to do that with a few more people. 🙂 And decluttering… gotta do that, especially now that we have a little one on the way and not much storage in our house for things!

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