Monday, April 4, 2016

Small Goals: April 2016...



It is time for monthly small goals!

It feels like every single month so far this year has been filled with unexpectedly challenging times. March was no different. I got sick multiple times (I think that stress has taken a toll on my immune system and general health) and continued to be with my family through my Mom's cancer journey. Then, the month finished with my Mema passing away and having her funeral on the very last day of March.

Life has been crazy this year, but I am entering into April with hopefulness. There is a good job prospect that may become a reality very soon, I am starting to think about the future and dream again, and my Mom is doing so incredibly well. Life feels like it is starting to transition into a bit more normalcy instead of being so chaotic. I am excited to see what this month holds.

Before I look ahead to this month's goals, I will reflect back on my March small goals.

1. Complete my taxes. Done! I am so happy to have finished my taxes.

2. Continue applying for jobs and preparing well for any interview opportunities that I receive. This is a goal that I am so happy to have met last month. Not only did I apply for jobs, but I had an interview for a position I am incredibly excited about. There is a very good chance that I will be receiving official news about the position later this week. 

3. Read at least two books. I did not achieve this goal last month. Between being sick and dealing with family stuff, I admittedly spent more time sleeping and watching Netflix than I spent reading. 

4. Work on being a better internet fairy. (To learn more about this check out this post.) I am happy to say that I worked on being more intentional about my internet interactions. I tried to take more time to write thoughtful comments and encourage others in my social media spheres.

5. Journal more. I did journal a bit more last month and I am thankful for the time I took to process my thoughts and emotions on paper.  


Now for my April small goals!

1. Read at least two books. This goal didn't happen last month, but I would like to try it again in April!

2. Get back into a more regular workout routine. As soon as I am fully recovered from this nasty cold I've been fighting, I want to make it a priority to start exercising more regularly again. Exercise is one of the aspects that I unfortunately did not keep as a priority the last few months. I really believe getting back into a fitness routine will help improve my physical health as well as improve my stress levels.

3. Pay off my student loan from last year. With a combination of my tax return and some savings, I hope to pay off the loan that I took out last semester.

4. Be more intentional about taking time to be creative. Normally I am able to be creative through the good and difficult times of life, but last month especially I noticed that I was more likely to veg in front of digital entertainment than I was to take time to be creative. This month I would like to take more time for little creative moments. I want to return to more creativity during my week and remember how much joy creativity infuses into my life.

5. Have a self-portrait photo session. I recently went through some old photos and realized that just a few years ago I frequently had mini self-portrait sessions. I would dress in an outfit that made me feel great, grab my camera, collect a few props, and go outside and simply play in front of the camera. It has been an incredibly long time since I have done that and I think it would be a good way to reconnect with some of the simple joys of living.

Do you have any goals for March? If you do I would enjoy hearing about them and would encourage you to link up with Nicole over at Writes Like a Girl for her monthly small goals series.

Simply,
Sarah

Friday, April 1, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Mema...



Last week my Mema's health took a turn and so I went to give her one last kiss and one last, "I love you."A few days later on March 26th, Mema quietly left this world  in the early morning hours. When we received the news I cried, but I was thankful she was no longer in pain and that I had the chance to see her one last time.

Mema had Alzheimer's Disease and had fought for so many years. It is an incredibly difficult disease to watch progress and I imagine so much more difficult to live through. However, Mema was so very loved throughout the progression of the disease. Some of my favorite memories with her are musical. She sang so beautifully and played multiple instruments throughout her life. She taught me to love old hymns in a profound way. She amazed me when she continued to be able to sing those old songs even when so much of her other memories were gone. Yesterday, as we said the final goodbye, Amazing Grace echoed beautifully in the cemetery's stone memorial space. It is a moment I hope I will never forget.

Simply,
Sarah

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Weekend Housewarming...

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Over the weekend, two of my dear friends had a housewarming party. Their home was built in the 1950's so they invited each of their guests to come dressed in 1950s style clothing. While I do not wish to go back to that time period, it was fun to dress up in the fashions of the time and photograph details of their home in black and white. 

One of the aspects that is so wonderful about a housewarming party is seeing how individuals settle into a space and make it their own. I took a little time to photograph some of the details of their space. They had succulents that were center pieces at their wedding, little items that hold special meaning such as a heart shaped puzzle box, creative spaces, and of course their dog Fez. 

Exploring someone's home is a bit of a glimpse into who they are, what they do, and what they are passionate about. It is fascinating to get to see and hear stories about the little pieces that make up the picture of a home. 

Simply,
Sarah

Monday, March 21, 2016

Muse Mondays: Pines...


In a world where it is so easy to only purchase a song or two from an album, it is a special moment when you find an album that you prefer to listen to as a whole from start to finish every time. Today's Muse Monday is dedicated to one such album.

A Fine Frenzy's Pines is truly an experience. It takes you on a journey. When I listen to it I feel grounded in story telling and the natural imagery that is found throughout. There are so many stories woven within these lyrics. Some of the stories, such as the song Avalanches, have a jubilant feeling while others feel more haunting.

This album always inspires me when I listen to it. I can imagine myself sitting beside the ocean, breathing in the sea-salt air, and letting the wind dishevel my hair when I close my eyes as it floats through my speakers. I think that this album also contains so many complex emotions that I sometimes identify with. Listening to these songs makes me feel like I am swimming through a fantastical world of story telling, nature, mystery, emotion, and music.

Do you have any albums that you try to listen to as a whole from start to finish every time?

Simply,
Sarah


Friday, March 18, 2016

March 18th: Friday Favorites...

It is Friday! The past couple of weeks have been crazy and blogging hasn't gone as planned, but I am thankful for today and want to share a few link favorites from the past few week.


This song by Andra Day is one of the most incredible songs I have heard recently. She is such an inspiring and powerful woman and the way that she sings is captivating. If I ever meet her, I want to thank her for being such an incredible woman and sharing this powerful song with the world.


I am also so inspired by the crochet pattern Etsy shop The Dream Crochet Shoppe. Ashlee's work is so lovely and her Instagram inspires the crochet yarn lover in me. Someday soon I hope to purchase one of her patterns and take time to make a fun crocheted garment. In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy seeing her posts and how her creativity continues to be expressed!

Shelter Box

Lastly, this week I learned about Shelter Box. They are a nonprofit organization that works to provide emergency shelter and supplies to help support communities around the world during disasters and humanitarian crisis. As I have been learning more about the work they do, I have been very inspired to donate once I am employed again. Even if you aren't able to donate, I would encourage you to check out their website, learn more, and consider sharing the information with others.

You can also donate directly to help with their work in the Syrian crisis by visiting this link.


I hope that you have a truly great Friday and start to your weekend!

Simply,
Sarah


Monday, March 7, 2016

Small Goals: March 2016...

It is that time of the month again; small goals!

February was a really crazy month. Between supporting my Mom through surgery and recovery, dealing with other life circumstances, and getting sick with a nasty virus, it was a hectic month. However, I still managed to meet some of my goals.

Here were my February small goals:

1. Support my Mom as she has surgery and goes through an intense recovery period this month. 
I am happy to say that I helped support and encourage my Mom as she went through surgery last month. I'm also so incredibly thankful for how my family, friends, and my family's friends have loved and helped through this time.

Most of all, I have exciting news! Mom just found out this month that she will not have to have chemotherapy!!! Words can't fully express how thankful we are as a family. There are still steps in this journey that she has to take to deal with cancer, but we are so excited she won't have to undergo chemo and will be able to return to work later this month!

2. Make sure that I find moments to take care of myself through rest, self-care, and continuing counseling.
I learned to continue to take care of myself in February. I also had times where I didn't do as well at this, but overall I continued therapy and other self-care techniques throughout the craziness of the month.

3. Take time to crochet. haha Nope. This simply didn't happen.

4. Continue working on my zine projectYES! I am so excited that I not only continued working on it, but I also published it on Galentine's Day!!! Eeeee!!! I am really proud of myself for working on this creative dream and thankful for the women that contributed to make it a reality. If you would like to check it out, here is the link to Sistership Zine.

5. Work on my taxes. Well, two months in a row with no progress on this. (Unless stacking tax related paperwork onto my desk counts. Maybe that counts for something?)

Honestly, for how crazy this month was, I am really proud of the success of 3/5 completed goals.

Now, for March!

1. Complete my taxes. I didn't make this happen the past two months, but this is officially the month that this happens.

2. Continue applying for jobs and preparing well for any interview opportunities that I receive. Now that life is settling down with my Mom, it has become vital for me to begin working again. First step is to find a job. I actually have a job interview tomorrow that I am really excited about, but we will see what happens. If I don't receive a job offer for this position it is important that I continue the job search.

3. Read at least two books. Life has been so crazy that I haven't really been reading much. I have also found that I have been spending more time vegging on Netflix than I would like. Instead of vegging in front of a screen whenever I have down time, I want to make it a priority to read more.

4. Work on being a better internet fairy. Last week I blogged about the internet fairy concept and this month I want to meaningfully put into practice some of what I discussed in the post. If you want to read more about being an internet fairy, feel free to check out this post.

5. Journal more. Along with not reading as much, I also haven't been writing as much. This month I want to take time to journal even if it is only for a few minutes each day.


Do you have any goals for the month? If so, you should check out Nicole's linkup on Writes Like a Girl.

Simply,
Sarah

Muse Mondays: Advanced Style...


Today's Muse Monday is the Advanced Style documentary and blog. Advanced Style is the work of Ari Seth Cohen. He photographs incredibly stylish and creative older women and sometimes gentlemen.

I remember years ago when I first learned about his blog that I was so inspired by the ladies that he photographed on the streets of New York City. He has since been involved with the publication of two books as well as in the Advanced Style documentary. I continue to be so inspired by his work!

The documentary is one of my inspirational movies. Whenever I am feeling creatively in a funk, it is one of my favorite films to watch. Each of the women encourage me to bravely be who I am and to be bold in personal style. Honestly, the film and blog posts also help me remember how short life really is. Plus, humans fascinate me and this documentary is full of fascinatingly complex humans. If you have Netflix, I suggest taking time to watch it!

Advanced Style and Advanced Style: Older and Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen.
If you want to add some inspiration to your Monday then I highly recommend checking out Cohen's work on the blog, his books (you can pre-order his newest book here), and the documentary.

Happy Monday!

Simply,
Sarah

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thoughtful Thursdays: Internet Trolls and Fairies...

Today I begin a new blog series for Thursdays called Thoughtful Thursdays. This series will be a space for me to jot down whatever thoughts that I have been thinking about and want to express each week. It will also be a space where I often ask questions at the end to encourage dialogue and would like to hear your thoughts.

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Lately all of the negativity and ugliness that we have been seeing online and in the world has been really heavy on my heart. While it is important to continue discussing serious matters and to address the hate in society, it can also feel so very overwhelming.

This week I started to think about how I could be more intentional about being encouraging and a positive contributor in the online sphere. I was struck by a thought yesterday; what if I was as driven and intentional to encourage others in the online sphere as internet trolls are to tear down and hurt others? Then, I began to wonder what the opposite of an internet troll would be. I decided upon the concept of an internet fairy.

A quick Google search of the term "internet fairy" gave mixed results. To some it means the magical powers that define when and if your internet will work. To others it means a mischievous but relatively harmless and much nicer version of an internet troll. (Think along the lines of someone inundating a blogger's comment section with cat memes.) Yet, there is another version that fits what I envision. It is the complete opposite of an internet troll. It is the bright and intentional presence on the internet. It means intentionally and passionately encouraging others. That is the sort of internet fairy I want to be.

After thinking about it, I have decided to be more intentional in the ways that I interact online. I have decided to define this change by saying that I am an aspiring internet fairy. Today I want to define what that means to me.

What I mean by aspiring to be an internet fairy:

1. As an aspiring internet fairy I will intentionally choose to encourage others online. (This means that when I see a post or content that someone has created that I think is great, instead of merely thinking, "That was a great article!" I will take the time to leave a positive response.)

2. I will set aside a little time each week to sprinkle fairy dust across the internet. In less whimsical terms, this means that I will actually set aside time that is simply for encouraging others on the internet.

3. When there are serious topics or conversations that I get involved in online, I will do my best to conduct myself in a way that is respectful and not intentionally ugly or hurtful.

Now, in case anyone is worried about my sanity, I am not saying that I believe I am actually a fairy. I am using this concept of an internet fairy because I have always loved the use of story and metaphor to help convey a topic. For me, the concept of being an internet fairy helps take a more abstract concept of how I want to conduct myself online and transforms it into something that is much simpler to express.

So, today I begin aspiring to be an internet fairy and being more intentional in the way I interact online.

What do you think of the internet fairy concept? What if there were lots of people who were as passionate about being positive internet fairies as trolls are about being trolls? How might this change the internet space?

Simply,
Sarah  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday Threads: Velvet Suits...

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Life lately has been a bit crazy. I have been sick with some sort of virus for a week now. While being sick I am still having to learn to deal with other life issues and struggles as they come up in my life and the lives of those I love.

In the midst of all of the craziness lately, I find myself needing some sort of consistency and a creative outlet. I think that blogging more consistently may be that outlet again. To help bring that goal into a reality I have created a general blog schedule and theme for five days a week.

Today I am starting the new blog series for Tuesdays called Tuesday Threads. This series is very loosely themed to give creative flexibility. The plan is that each Tuesday I will post about something that is thread oriented. This may mean fashion, crochet, cross-stitch, or any other topic that is connected to the thread theme.

For this Tuesday I want to write about velvet suits. Since I have been sick I have been in bed quite a bit. Between naps I have had a propensity to research random things online. I have been thinking about women's suits lately, specifically in more of a 1940's style. When researching vintage clothes I often like to browse Etsy to have fun looking at items. While browsing Etsy over the weekend, I discovered the lovely concept of velvet suits!

I am now positively smitten with the velvet suit concept! None of the suits I shared in the photo are in my size, but it was fun to look at them and dream about what I would want if I ever owned a velvet suit. The green suit from Crush Vintage is my favorite, but I also really like aspects of the suits from Savvy Spinster Vintage and the deep purple suit that is also from Crush Vintage. I won't be in the financial market to buy a velvet suit anytime soon, but for now it is fun to browse and dream.

Would you ever wear a velvet suit? Would you try one on just for fun?

Simply,
Sarah

Monday, February 29, 2016

Muse Mondays: The Sea the Sea






Today I am starting a new blog series called Muse Mondays. This series will explore whatever is inspiring me lately. Some Mondays it may be music, visual elements, poetic, mathematical, or who knows what else! What I do know is that it will be a fun way to share and document what has been inspiring me.

My muse for this Monday is The Sea the Sea. I came across their new EP while exploring iTunes last week. I was struck by their sound, but most of all by their lyrics. There are moments when I listen to music and a line of lyrics stops me in my tracks. There are multiple such lines from songs off of their In the Altogether EP. Over the weekend their music has been the soundtrack to my creativity, cleaning, and relaxing.

The Sea the Sea is the creative expression of the singer-songwriter duo Chuck e. Costa and Mira Stanley. I highly recommend checking out their EP on iTunes or in their store.


What about you? What is inspiring you this Monday?

Simply,
Sarah 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sistership Zine Published!


Today I am incredibly excited to share a creative project that I have been dreaming about for over a year that is finally a reality.

Introducing Sistership! It is a digital zine focused on women that inspire me. This is the first of what I hope will be many future volumes. This project is focused on nurturing relationships and is centered on the theme of encouragement. I am so thankful for the many women who contributed. This first volume was released on February 13th (aka Galentine's Day) and features interviews with six incredible women.

I hope you will take a little time to read some of the inspiring interviews within these pages. Each woman is so unique and I am excited to be able to share the completed project with the world. Most of all, I am thankful for Nadia, Chelsea, JoAnna, Jessica, Liz, and Katie for taking time to contribute to this project. 

If you have a dream for a creative project, I would like to encourage you to take that first step toward making it a reality. I am so thankful that I finally made the decision to start reaching out to women that inspire me and ask them if they would participate in this project. Dreaming is a wonderful thing, but stepping out and beginning to make a creative dream a reality is even more wonderful and exciting. I hope you will dream and then take brave steps to make it happen.

I wish you a weekend of happy reading and artistic expression/making creative dreams happen!

Simply,
Sarah


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dry-Erase Board Memories...



It is incredible how meaningful little moments can be in life. We often get so caught up in the busy of daily living that we stop embracing the special moments and memories in even the smallest of things.

Just before the new year we found out that my beautiful Momma had breast cancer. It turned life upside down. Daddy took time off from work to be with Mom through medical appointments and procedures, my sister put looking for a job on hold, my brothers took on extra responsibilies around the house, and I withdrew from college to move back home and help support her on this journey.

On February 4th, she woke up early and prepared to go to the hospital for major surgery. I walked into the kitchen that morning and saw that she had drawn one of her Mommy doodles and written in bold letters, "Mom LOVES YOU!"

Beneath her words I wrote, "And we love Momma!"

Next to my words my sister wrote a long line of O's with two X's at the end.

My heart was comforted as I looked at the board the rest of the morning. There is so much love in our family. Momma loves each of us so very much and we each love her and one another. We aren't prefect. We bicker, we disagree, we sometimes hurt the feelings of one another, but we choose to keep loving. We learn lessons daily in forgiving, loving when someone is acting in a not-so-loving-way, comforting through hard times, celebrating in times of joy, having honest conversations, and growing together. Family.

The older I get the more I realize that all relationships take work. It is a choice to keep loving in my friendships, my family, and other relationships. Relationships take investment and nurturing. I learn that more and more each day. It means so very much. I continually give thanks for my family and the close relationships that we have. I also continue to learn to never take it for granted and to always remember that we are as close as we are because we continue to choose to love and learn and grow together.

Today I sit and write all of this from a hospital room while Momma sleeps. Today I reflect on the love of my family. In this month so filled with hearts and valentines, I give thanks for the love of my Momma.

My Momma who:

-Carried me within her and fought through pain to help welcome me into this world.
-Taught me how to read, to love learning, to cook, and so much more.
-Comforted me in sickness, in heartache, in pain, in sorrow.
-Was the first to celebrate with me when life held cause or news for such jubilation.
-Spoke truth into my life even when I didn't want to hear it.
-Held me when I needed to cry and rubbed my back when the world felt overwhelming.
-Let me fly as I was more and more independent.
-Stepped back and let me make mistakes.
-Led by example in her faith in Christ.
-Taught me to look beyond myself and to help others.
-Showed me the passion of a Momma bear when she told an angry dog to leave her babies alone while we were on a childhood walk.
-Allowed me to explore creativity even when it looked very messy.
-Instilled the lessons of how powerful words can be and the importance of meaningfully apologizing.

I am so humbled to call this woman Momma. I am so thankful to have her in my life. Today as I look at this mighty woman in the hospital room, I am reminded of all of these things. Today I hope that I can love her even half as much as she loves me. If I ever have children, I hope I can love them as fiercely as I have been and continue to be loved by this incredible woman.

This February, I hope you won't forget to look beyond the busy swirling of daily living and cherish the "dry-erase board memories" of life. There is so much love contained in those little treasures.

Simply,
Sarah



Monday, February 1, 2016

Small Goals: February 2016




It is officially February!

January was nothing like I expected it to be. My Mom was diagnosed with cancer just a few days before the new year and January was spent with lots of medical appointments and news about her health. Originally, I planned to return to college for the spring semester, but as time continued it became very clear that I wanted and needed to withdraw for a semester to support my Mom on her journey. So, January was spent focused on helping my Mom, spending time with family, withdrawing from college, moving back home, losing my student job, and being supported by the most amazing family and friends.

With that said, it is still important to me to reflect back on the goals I set for January and create new goals for February. I think January was definitely a reminder to be kind to myself when life takes all of my plans and scatters them in all directions.

Here were my January goals:

1. Create a blog post schedule. I did create a general blog post schedule. Hooray! However, I definitely didn't follow it considering I only posted twice in January. I am okay with that. January was honestly a month where life was pretty consumed with riding out the craziness of major life changes and loving and supporting my Mom.

2. Work on my zine project. This is the goal that I am most proud of myself for last month. I had the idea and dream for the zine and I took major steps toward making it a reality. During the month of January I reached out to many individuals to ask if they would help contribute to the project and I was so humbled and amazed by the beautiful responses I received. When life is crazy and filled with challenges, creativity is even more vital to me. I am thankful that I didn't give up on the project last month and hope to share more about the zine later this month!

3. Continue to develop self-care and attend counseling. I am really proud to say that I continued both of these even in all the craziness of January. I did not miss any counseling sessions and I continued self-care.

4. Create a budget that helps rebuild savings. Funny story on this one, I did create a budget before making the decision to withdraw from college, but once I had withdrawn and lost my student job on campus it was no longer valid. My plan is to find a job back home once Mom is more stable and then recreate this budget. However, since I did create the budget I am going to proudly check this one off of the list.

5. Photograph my outfits each day. (This was to help me get a better concept of what clothes I wear the most.) haha Nope. That one simply fell away in all of the craziness of January.


Now it is a new month with its own new set of challenges. Today I want to link-up to Writes Like a Girl's monthly small goal post for February.


February Small Goals:

1. Support my Mom as she has surgery and goes through an intense recovery period this month. Goodness, this month will be intense, but I am so thankful for my amazing family and friends that are supporting my Mom, my family, and I as we walk through this season.

2. Make sure that I find moments to take care of myself through rest, self-care, and continuing counseling. I realized last month that this journey that I am on in supporting my Mom is not a sprint. It is important to find moments to recharge. I can better love, support, and help my Mom and family when I am making sure that I am re-energizing. Some days that may simply be a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes before I fall asleep, but those minutes are still important.

3. Take time to crochet. I continue to realize that taking little moments to crochet is very therapeutic and stress relieving. In the craziness of this month I hope to use it as a healthy form of stress relief.

4. Continue working on my zine project. This small goal is not my #1 life priority this month, but it is important to me to make a little progress on it. Maybe it will simply be creating a little bit of art for the project during the small minutes I take in the morning and evening, but it will still be progress.

5. Work on my taxes. This is practical and also a necessary part of being an adult. *sigh*


Do you have any goals for this month?

If you want to join in the monthly small goals fun, check out this link for the February meet-up. Plus, it is always great to read Nicole's blog. ;)

I hope that your February is off to a great start!

Simply,
Sarah

Monday, January 4, 2016

Small Goals: January 2016

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2016 has arrived. I rang in the new year at home with family while wearing a golden flower crown and red lipstick. It was the perfect way to end 2015. New Year's Eve closed the chapter on a difficult year. Some of the struggle of 2015 continue on into 2016, but this year also holds so much possibility.

Last year I came across the lovely blog Writes Like a Girl. Nicole's blog has really inspired me to work on returning to blogging once again. So, I have decided to start linking up to her monthly goals posts. I think it will be a great way to work on goals throughout the year, reflect on each month, and connect with other wonderful bloggers.

Here are my January goals:

1. Create a blog post schedule. I have realized that creating a plan and structure for blogging would really help me be more consistent. I've recently started brainstorming the best structure, themes, and schedule for blogging over the next few months. In January I want to create a great schedule and plan that I can follow and adjust as needed for the rest of the year.

2. Work on my zine project. I have had an idea for a zine for a really long time. Unfortunately, I allowed doubt to stifle its creation. Part of the zine project is reaching out to women that inspire me and seeing if they would be open to participating in the project. This month I want to actively reach out to the individuals on my list. I am reminding myself that it is better to ask and be told no and/or not receive a response than it is to never try at all.

3. Continue to develop self-care and attend counseling. Last year I had a traumatic experience. This year I want to continue to heal from that experience and create a new normal. Both self-care and counseling are good for me, but sometimes they are also really hard. For January I want to make sure that I continue this healing process. It is vital that I continue on this journey even as life becomes really crazy this month.

4. Create a budget that helps rebuild savings. This year I have to be very frugal and work on building up my savings as much as possible to help with college expenses. I am a few semesters away from graduating from college and working hard to graduate with minimal debt.

5. Photograph my outfits each day. I have embarked on a sort of data collection process. This month is the first step of documenting what I wear each day. I want to do this to help discover what clothes I really wear the most and how my personal style continues to evolve. I'm not sure that I will share the daily pictures, but I hope to share about the process and insights I gain from it.


Do you have any goals for this month? If you do you should click here to visit Nicole's blog and join in on the small goals link-up!

Happy 2016!

Simply,
Sarah