Archive of ‘Life’ category

How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions // Setting SMART Goals

So, it’s the first week of January, which means we’re all being super diligent with those New Year’s Resolutions we made, right? I mean, if you’ve already fallen off the wagon, I’m not sure there’s any hope for you…JUST KIDDING — keep reading/watching!

Today, I want to give you a few tips for how to make resolutions you can keep.

1. Choose goals that are important to you. You may have a hundred things you want to do differently this year, but don’t put them all on the list. That might sound obvious, but I’m sure we all get tempted by tons of things we should do, but don’t want to do. Yet, there are also probably a lot of things that we should do that we also want to do, so pick those goals. That way, you’ll be less inclined to half-ass it…and you should always use your full-ass.

2. Choose goals you believe you can achieve. Believing in yourself is really helpful with being able to kick your goals in the butt.

3. Establish a routine with trigger actions. For example, if you want to read a certain number of pages in however many books this year, then alter your routine to make that happen. For example, a trigger action for that could be, while my evening cup of tea is brewing after work, I’m going to grab my book and put it on the couch so that when my tea is ready, I’ll read my 25 pages. Or, every day after work, I’m going to change immediately into my workout clothes and head back out the door for a run.

4. Adjust your surroundings. If you can change things in your environment to help you to achieve your goals, then do it. For instance, and this isn’t necessarily one of my goals, but I often resort to working from my couch instead of my desk. I know I’m more productive at my desk, but I use it as a storage space and it gets hectic, so I don’t like to sit there to be creative and productive. By giving my desk a little makeover, it makes it more inviting as a workspace and that much easier to change my habits and actions.

5. Identify reasons you might fail. That way, you’ll be prepared to face them and fight them when those roadblocks come up. Imagine all the possible reasons why you might break certain resolutions or not reach your goals, and then think of actionable plans for how you avoid falling into those traps.

6. Make sure your goals are measurable, and set up recurring times to track your progress. Saying “I want to eat healthier and lose 10 pounds” is fine, but setting up benchmarks and timelines for how you’re going to get there, and how you’ll be able to track your progress against certain milestones is very important. Tracking your progress is great because it’s encouraging and exciting to see yourself move forward on your goals, but it also helps you to assess what else is needed and any adjustments you should make to your habits in order to make sure you’re going to achieve that goal at the end of the year.

Thanks for watching and reading! What are your New Year’s Resolutions or goals for 2015? Here are my resolutions/goals for 2015.

2014 Year In Review / 2015 Resolutions

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2014 was a big year. When thinking back on it, the best word that comes to mind is TRANSITION. There were great transitions – AMAZING ones – but there were also really tough, shitty ones too. Here’s my top 5 of 2014.

  1. I got engaged!!! (read the story and watch the proposal here)
  2. I lost my Nana. (see how beautiful she was here)
  3. I left a company I’d been at for 4 years.
  4. and then…started my own business! (more on that later)
  5. I started living about 50/50 between Santa Barbara and Hollywood and finally started to really remodeling my house in Santa Barbara.

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As you can see, these are all HUGE things. All transitional, major life changes. Most totally awesome, some tough and uncomfortable, and fewer (thankfully) really sucky. And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I have a very good feeling about this coming year, that all the grinding and discomfort of the past year will really be paying off in big ways, that a lot of things will fall into place. Anyone else have that feeling?

And without further ado, here are my 2015 resolutions. Actually, there is “further ado”…the word “resolutions” is such a loaded term. So many people “don’t make resolutions” or “don’t believe in them;” I’m not really one of those people. Let me be clear, I don’t think you use the excuse of the New Year to change bad habits or make important life changes – you should do that when you need to do it, not just at the end of the year. But I also feel very strongly that you should set measurable, actionable goals for yourself, your career, and your life each year. So, my 2015 goals = my 2015 resolutions. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Here they are… (and yes, it’s gonna look long, you’re gonna think I’m hyper-ambitious, and you might even think I’m going to fall flat on these by February…but let me prove you wrong. Sidenote: If you want some tips for how to keep your resolutions, check out this video.)

  1. Career Goals (Commentary: I started my own business in August 2014, and it’s been an exciting and fulfilling ride thus far. I’m excited to see it continue to grow!)
    1. Email 5 new client prospects each week (and then continue to follow up with prospects on a weekly basis).
    2. Primarily sell my standard 3-month or 6-month social media plan.
    3. Earn a specific income amount by working a specific amount of hours.
  2. Fitness Goals (Commentary: Ever since I stopped working 9-5 in an office – or more like 8-7 – which I in no way regret, it’s been tougher for me to maintain my healthy diet and exercise schedule, so I’m feeling a little out of shape these days! And I’ve got a wedding in 8 months, so I gotta get fit!)
    1. Get back to peak fitness.
    2. Workout 4 times per week for at least an hour.
    3. Allow myself 2 cheat meals each week (as long as I do my 4 workouts).
    4. Do 2 races (like a Tough Mudder, a half marathon, a 10k, etc.).
    5. Log food and exercise each day in MyFitnessPal.
    6. Drink a gallon of water each day.
  3. Blogging & Vlogging Goals (Commentary: I LOVE blogging and vlogging, and I only recently decided to take it much more seriously so that I can do it more and more…heck, maybe it turns into my job. *Dreams.* So, this year, I’m really going to dig down and build this blog! Stay tuned.)
    1. Stick to my weekly vlogging and blogging schedule (which I’m already a day late on, due to temperamental internet while I was trying to upload this week’s vlog yesterday…grr…). Said schedule is one weekly uncut vlog (typically Tuesdays), one weekly video tutorial, review, or list of tips (typically Thursdays), and one weekly photo- and text-based blog post.
    2. I also want to do more partnerships and collaborations in the coming year. There are so many amazing bloggers, vloggers, and brands out there that I love to follow, and I want to team up more! (hint hint…if you’re interested in collaborating, contact me!)
    3. Go outside and take photos at least once a week. This doesn’t have to be for a specific blog post or anything like that. I spend so much time on my phone and computer for work – and I love that! – but sometimes I don’t take time to get outside and just ENJOY being out in the world and in the moment. (The photos in this post were from this past weekend’s photo sesh during a super-casual walk Charlie and I took in Hollywood!)
  4. Travel Goals (Commentary: I worked really hard this past year, and while I played hard too, I haven’t done much traveling lately, and I don’t want to get in the habit of letting that slip by the wayside. I love to travel. It doesn’t have to be some extravagant trip or anything, I just love to see new places, and I want to do more of that this year! Here’s where I want to go…)
    1. D.C. (girls trip planned with friends from college in the Spring)
    2. Savannah, GA (trip planned in February)
    3. Tahoe
    4. Camping trip
    5. Tropical Vacation for HONEYMOON (!!!!!!)
  5. Go to church twice a month. Because I’m living between Santa Barbara and Hollywood so much these days, I’ve been bad about going to church regularly. My “home church” is in Santa Barbara, and we don’t really have a church in LA, so that doesn’t help. So part of the process will be to find a church we really like in LA and to get involved there and start going.

What are some of your goals for 2015? How do you plan to keep track of them? How do you plan to kick them in the butt? I wanna hear!

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ROBOLIGHTS Epic Holiday Light Display in Palm Springs (Vlog)

Charlie and I spent five days in Palm Desert during Christmas. Charlie’s parents live down there, and my parents and younger brother decided to come too! So it was an epic family holiday! One day we were watching a show on TLC about awesome holiday light displays, and they covered one right there in Palm Springs! It’s called Robolights, and it’s created by artist Kenny Irwin. So, we HAD to go. And it was INCREDIBLE. A little bizarre, but so cool! Tons of neat sculptures and amazing light set ups. Some of the displays were a little off-the-wall, but if you like art, you’d definitely appreciate it. And it’s suitable for kids too, though some of the sculptures are a little adult themed (but nothing really inappropriate)! I’d highly recommend it.

I HATE WEDDING PLANNING

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I know, I know, that sounds super dramatic. But so far, wedding planning hasn’t exactly been fun for me, which, if you know me, is a little surprising. I LOVE this kind of stuff. (And if my wedding planner is reading this, NONE of this is a reflection of you. You are awesome, so patient and helpful, and I am so relieved to have you as part of my wedding planning team! xo!)

I got engaged in the end of February (read that story here) and have made what feels to ZERO progress wedding planning. We haven’t set a date, we have no venue, nada. I’m basically failing at it.

Well, that’s not completely true. In the past ten months (holy crap, I’VE BEEN ENGAGED FOR TEN MONTHS?!?! Get it together, Salaun! Plan that wedding!), I’ve chosen a wedding planner, set my budget, seen about a bazillion venues, done lots of pinning on Pinterest, and started the beginnings of the registry process (last weekend I registered for ONE thing on Amazon…progress!).

When it’s all written out like that, it feels like I’ve actually done SOMETHING, but for 10 months of being engaged, I definitely feel like I should have done a bit more. (We’ve always planned to get married in August/September of 2015, so we haven’t postponed the wedding or anything due to lack of planning, we’ve just shortened our allotted planning time).

But back to the hating wedding planning thing…I wouldn’t say that I currently hate wedding planning. I think I’ve finally reached the turning point where I’m excited about it again (don’t get me wrong, I was SO excited to get engaged, I have absolutely LOVED being engaged ever since, and I am so pumped to marry to Charlie… it’s just the planning an actual wedding part that is more the headache.) I went to a good friend’s wedding last weekend — Congrats to the Givens!!! — and it helped propel me out of the grumpy planning phase. BUT, before that turning point, every time I dove into wedding planning, I came out on the other end stressed, having a bridezilla-lite freak outs on the regular, and just not wanting to do it. At all. And also feeling extreme guilt every time I saw friends or acquaintances because the go-to conversation starter when you get engaged is “How’s wedding planning going?” My response was always, “Not any further than the last time we talked! Soooo, pretty much nothing.”

And here’s why…

Inside my head, and sometimes on the outside (*sheepish smirk*), I’m a princess. I don’t have one of those wedding binders with all the details already planned for my dream wedding, nothing like that. But, like probably every girl out there, I want to have a FANTASTIC wedding. In my head, I’d love to have a $100k wedding (imagine all you could do!!!), but practically speaking (and even if I had an extra $100-grand to throw at a wedding), that is a bit excessive. Frankly, as princessy as I can be, spending an astronomical amount of money on a wedding just doesn’t make sense to me. I think that amount of money can go a lot further on a number of other things (like buying a house, taking an epic vacation, paying off student loans, getting a new car, investing in something, etc.).

But let’s be honest, the princess in me is at odds with the financially practical side.

We’re planning to get married in the Santa Barbara area (right now, our top venue choice is in Camarillo). This area is one of the most expensive places to get married. It’s a destination wedding location for many people. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $30k (excluding the honeymoon), while the average cost of a wedding in Santa Barbara is nearly $45k (minus the honeymoon). I just started my own business, so I want my wedding to be as economical as possible. Pretty tough when you’re planning a wedding in the 6th most expensive place in the country! And then, when I go to see venues that fit in my budget, they fall dramatically short of the wedding I’m picturing in my head. So, this beginning step, finding a venue, mostly ends in disappointment. None of the venues (aside from the one that was half my entire budget) feel like the right now. Oh, I also have a ginormous family and want all my family and friends to be able to come, which doesn’t alleviate the budget concerns at all.

I do think that choosing your venue is one of the toughest pieces of the wedding planning puzzle. The venue sets the stage for the entire wedding, so it has to feel just right. You have to be able to visualize your entire wedding there. And then it has to fit the price too.

I will also say that right now, in my life, everything is huge and life-changing. I started my own business shortly after getting engaged, I’m remodeling (aka nearly completely rebuilding) my house in Santa Barbara, oh, and I’m planning a wedding. All, huge, things. If you didn’t already know, my fiancé and I don’t currently live in the same city either. I’m based in Santa Barbara, while he’s full-time based in Hollywood (my work does allow me to split my time about 50/50 between the two cities though). So, wedding planning also involves planning to move my life to a whole different city. Another HUGE thing. (Don’t worry, SB peeps, I’ll still be in Santa Barbara about 1-2 days a week, but will most likely be based in Hollywood, rather than based in Santa Barbara). So, as you can see, wedding planning has often been put on the back-burner, for obvious reasons.

Like I said above though, we’ve narrowed our venue options down to a top favorite, and I’m feeling good about it (I’m just seeing one more option this weekend before making my decision). And the wedding I went to last weekend really re-inspired me to get back into the wedding planning game, and I can tell I’ve rounded the corner out of “I hate wedding planning!” town, and it feels good. (Trust me, I know there will be more freak outs, but over all, I’m in a better place with it.)

If you’re feeling like you’re in a wedding planning rut or you just do not like it, it’ll change. It might take 10 months, but it will. And a good thing to keep in mind is that while yes, your wedding is a reflection of you and your fiancé and you want it to embody everything you both are in your love and fabulousness together, but it’s also a reflection of where you are right now, at this point in your lives. It doesn’t define you or dictate your worth as individuals or as a couple, and it doesn’t have to be the end-all celebration of your life together. Saying that out loud seems like an “oh duh” statement, but I think we get wrapped up in trying to make this day something more than it is. Don’t get me wrong, I think weddings are incredibly meaningful, precious, and wonderful, but it doesn’t define your relationship or your future as husband and wife. And that’s something to keep in mind (talking to myself here!).

Major Food Coma from The Melting Pot! (Weekly Vlog 8.5.14)

Take a look at the above video for your weekly dose of Lauren randomness, including date night at The Melting Pot (keep reading for specifics on that), some car time chit chat, and a gut reaction review to Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” song.

SO, like I said, the other night, Charlie treated me to a fancy date night dinner at The Melting Pot in Pasadena. It. Was. Awesome. I’ve been to The Melting Pot (at different locations) a few times before, but it was Charlie’s first time there. It did not disappoint.

We were tucked away in a back booth, which was really nice…made for a very intimate dinner, like it was just the two of us in the whole place (until someone knocked over what sounded like a shelf containing every single plate stored at the restaurant and reminded us that there was indeed a bustling restaurant going on). But anyhow…I digress.

We went all out and did the 4-course special. I mean, you’re going to be forking over a bunch of moola anyway for dinner, you might as well go big, right?! Here’s what we got…

  • Course 1 (one cheese fondue to share): Quattro Formaggio Cheese Fondue (Butterkase and fontina cheeses, roasted garlic, basil and tomato pestos, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesean) with veggies and bread for dipping
  • Course 2 (one salad each): California Salad (mixed baby greens, Roma tomatoes, candied pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, and raspberry black walnut vinaigrette) and The Melting Pot House Salad (crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, crispy croutons, and sliced egg, with ranch)
  • Course 3 (two entrees with one cooking style): We chose the Seasoned Court Bouillon as the cooking style and our entrees were The Classic (Angus beef sirloin, Memphis-style BBQ pork medallion, Pacific white shrimp, herb-crusted chicken breast, and teriyaki-marinated sirloin) and Land and Sea (filet mignon, herb-crusted chicken and Pacific white shrimp)
  • Course 4 (one dessert to share): I created a custom dessert by combining two of the desserts, the Turtle and the S’Mores, so it was dark chocolate, crush graham cracker, caramel, and marshmallow with a bunch of yummy goodies to dip (marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, brownies, goldies, pound cake, pineapple, etc.)

Dinner was amazing. A great thing about The Melting Pot, though, is that not only are you getting really awesome food, but it’s a super fun experience too. I’d definitely recommend it for your next special night out. Or, if you don’t wanna fork over all the dough for a big spendy meal, you can go in with some friends and share a cheese fondue or dessert. However, if you do go for the FULL meal, just know you will surely end up with a pretty major food coma. But it’ll be well worth it.

Broke Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Last weekend, my cousin Kelsey got married!!! The wedding was in Monterey, and it just so turned out that my friend, Kaitlin, had a wedding to go to in San Francisco. So, we carpooled…which turned into quite an adventure. About 3 hours into the drive, our car broke down! And of course, as luck would have it, we broke down on the one-hour stretch of the 101 between Santa Barbara and Salinas where there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No gas stations, no rest stops, no stores, NADA. Thankfully, we only had to wait in the car for about an hour before getting picked up by Triple A. We were towed to Salinas, and then my mom picked me up and took me to my Aunt’s and a friend of Kaitlin’s also happened to be passing through on their way to SF. So it all worked out.

The weekend was really fun. Lots of work prepping for the wedding, lots of running around from place to place, and lots and lots of family time. It was awesome. The wedding was beautiful, and it was SO fun. Hope you guys all had a great week!

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