My Why's and How's of New Years Resolutions

Wednesday, December 31, 2014



Around this time of year many people (about 40 to 45 percent of Americans) make New Year's resolutions. It's a very hot topic. Why you should, or should not. But personally I believe that you have to have something to work towards, so here's why and how I'm setting my resolutions and what you should do too!

1. I, personally, am a very goal oriented person. Yes, I do like to achieve my goals, but even if I don't, setting resolutions helps me remember what I want to do or work on in the new year.

2. While many people often quit their goals not even a full month into the year, I like to try to focus on one goal for each month. After reading The Happiness Project, I really liked the idea of gradually adding resolutions to your life. That way it will be something new and interesting each month, while still trying to keep up with your old resolutions.

3. January 1 is just a day, yes I will admit that. But there is something special in the idea of the changing of the year that gives the feeling of a clean slate. Something starting new. And with that comes the need to make ourselves better.

4. Don't think of them as resolutions set in stone. Think of them as goals. They are able to move and change. Yes, maybe you didn't read the 25 books or you didn't lose the 10 pounds in 2014, so you just continue that goal to next year. They don't have a certain deadline.

4. If you do succeed at one of your goals, the feeling is amazing. You made it! 

5. Reasonable resolutions goals are key! Why set yourself up for failure?! I'm not going to set a goal of visiting Ireland this year. It's just not going to happen, Kansas.... more than likely, but Ireland.... nope not in the picture.

6. Goals within goals is a smart idea! I have plenty of blogging goals, but I've set little "roadblocks" that I try to get to by a certain time in the year. It helps me keep myself on track.


So see... 2015 can be a success!




Top 10 Post of 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


This year has been an amazing blogging year! I can't believe how far I've come this year. So in honor of an amazing year, I wanted to look back at some of the more popular posts (and maybe a few of the great memories from this year)! And thanks to the responses in the survey y'all filled out, I have a feeling 2015 will be an even better year!




10. My Power Song Playlist. I'm really glad this one made it on the Top 10! Since I'm running again, it's a great reminder.

9. I Feel. I love when link-ups bring you a lot of new readers! Thanks to all those new to American Honey.

8. Boys Behind the Blog: February Edition. We all love our February Boy Valentines!

7. So I Made a Mistake and Learned From it. This post surprised me with all of the views! Sometimes it's good to just get the difficult things out.

6. Boo Eye Doctors, Yay Surgery. It feels like so long ago that John had his eye surgery, but he's sure glad he had it done!

5. The Military Life. I'm sure most of y'all understand this one!

4. Seven Things I Learned in College, But Not in a Classroom. I find it is very interesting when you learn useful life tips outside of the usual learning places.

3. DIY Christmas Series: Dotted Sharpie Mugs. I loved making this mug and am so glad that my viewers loved it as well!

2. Seven Reasons I Get Nervous at Military Balls. Well, everybody gets nervous and there is no need to fret over it, now is there?!

And last but certainly not least viewed...

1. Simple DIY Canvas Art. I attribute the success of this blog post to the wonderful Silhouette Challenge. Having so many wonderful crafty people come check out this great art was a huge blessing!




Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k

Monday, December 29, 2014



For five years now (count it, 5 years!) I've wanted to run in the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k! I remember running with my friend, Lisa, around the indoor track at Longwood and specifically telling her we should do that 10k.



After having it be my goal to run a half marathon this past fall, that being a fail, I decided I was going to just do it. I officially signed up for the 10k early last week. I paid my money and come March I will be dragging myself and Lisa up and down Monument Avenue.

This is my first real race. I've done a few 5k's here and there, but they weren't anything super official like this. When I started signing up, they asked for which wave you would like to be put in, so I naturally chose one of the slowest jogging waves where the estimated finish time is 75 to 90 minutes. At first that seemed really fast, but when you think about it, it means I have to run each kilometer in about 9 minutes. I think I can do that. At least I hope after training I can.

Speaking of training, I started on Saturday with my training. I am pretty out of shape. Literally the last time I ran was about 10 months ago. Okay, maybe that's a lie, I ran at the beach this summer, but as far as training... I stopped last February I believe. So I really need to get back into that to get back in running shape.

I will gladly take any an all suggestions on running and training. (That means you my running friends... Jen, Janelle and Chelsea!)



Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 26, 2014


Merry Christmas y'all! I know it's a day late, but I took the first part of the week off to get ready and enjoy Christmas! I had an absolutely wonderful Christmas this year! I hope y'all have as well.



It has been a very busy week and I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove of things next week (as much as I can anyway)! I got a new computer for Christmas and Windows 8 is kind of kicking my butt! Anybody who wants to give me a crash course in Windows 8, please feel free. It would be greatly appreciated. Until then, I'll be googling everything!

Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year!




Readers Survey Results!

Monday, December 22, 2014


I want to thank everybody who participated in the first American Honey readers survey! And the long awaited results!




I also really enjoyed reading your responses to me and about your Christmas traditions! I hope y'all are having a great holiday season!


DIY Christmas Series: Picture Clock

Friday, December 19, 2014


Y'all might notice that this DIY Christmas Series post is coming to you a day late! I had a bit of trouble with this DIY and it took me a few "oops! oh crap." moments to finally get this right which left me writing it a day later than planned. But none the less, here is the final DIY Christmas of 2014!



You'll need:
Board to mount your clock (about $10)
Picture/decoration (depending mine was $3)
Clock mechanism and movement hands ( about $10)
Modge Podge (varies)



How to make it:

1. First you'll want to make sure that you have your decoration that will fit your clock face. This is one of the reasons it took me a slight bit longer to get this project done. I originally got an 8x10 picture which was just a little too small for my taste. So I had to re-order a bigger size from Sam's Club.

2. Cut out your decoration so it will fit on the face of your clock. Use a sponge brush to apply a thin layer of Modge Podge to the wood front of your clock. Place the picture or decoration down and press firmly. Let the glue set for a few minutes before trying to assemble the clock.

3. Punch a hole through the picture where you'll need to insert the clock assembly. Insert the center of the assembly through the hole and add the clock hands as according to the directions of the back of the packaging. (Make sure your wood clock face and clock mechanism will work together, i.e. if your board is 3/4 inch, your mechanism works with 3/4 inch)

4. Add desired numbers to the face of the clock. Set the time and wrap this baby up!


Christmas is less than a week away! Have you finished your Christmas shopping?!



Tacky Light Tour

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



Happy Wednesday!  Yesterday was a very long day and so I'm being lazy today. Here's a few pictures from our tacky light tour last night. Enjoy!

 


And my personal favorite house. There was a light up American flag on the roof! 



 Did y'all go to see some awesome lights this year?!


Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Even though we are getting into Christmas time where we stuff our faces with all the fancy Christmas food, I still love some good home-cooked Southern style food. Mac and cheese would be it for me. It is a staple in my cookbook and I could literally eat only mac and cheese for days!

I wanted to find a quick, simple and inexpensive mac and cheese recipe for game night and I hit the jackpot. Julie's Eats and Treats had an amazing mac and cheese recipe that I couldn't wait to share with y'all!


Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions: 

1. Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Boil the macaroni in water for 6 minutes, drain. Don't overcook the macaroni!
3. Mix the butter and cheese over high heat in a saucepan (I reused my macaroni pain, save washing another pan!). Stir until it melts.
4. In the crock pot combine cheese mixture, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper. Add drained macaroni. Stir that baby up!
5. Cook in crock pot for 2 to 2 1/2 hours on low, stirring occasionally. Just until it's hot. Don't let it cook too long or it will turn to mush!
6. Enjoy your delicious mac and cheese! Try not to eat it all in one sitting!

Do you like mac and cheese? What is your favorite, go-to side dish?


Christmas Wishlist

Monday, December 15, 2014


Every year I come up with a few things I put on my wishlist. I think it's good to have a variety of items on your list so gift givers can have things to choose from.



2014 Christmas Wishlist


one - New Dell laptop, two - Dump Dinner and Dump Cake recipe book, three - Alex and Ani bangle bracelet, four - Crimson Trace laser, five - stemless wine glasses, six - Origami Owl locket, seven - Knitting Loom kit

Obviously the laptop and laser for my new gun are my most expensive wishes. The other items I would love to receive, but would be okay if I bought them for myself throughout 2015.

Honestly, besides the new laptop, I would be perfectly okay with all handmade gifts this year! I'm already excited for my handmade gifts from Suzzy Q!

Do you have your 2014 Christmas Wishlist all made up?


Untold Stories of John and Ashley: Photo Shoot

Friday, December 12, 2014



We're back!!! This will be part three of my first trip to Alabama! {Insert shameless plug for previous Untold Stories of John and Ashley} You can read about the road-trip down and my first experience fishing in Alabama by clicking on the links!

John wanted to take me down to Tuscaloosa and I'll be honest, I was very excited. It was a blistering day in June and Alabama didn't disappoint. We were definitely in the South! Our first stop was to his old apartment. I got to hear all the interesting stories and see the rebuilt fence that may or may not have been demolished during this time there. Shh! Don't tell the landlords! 

After taking a drive through the middle of Alabama country, we ended up at a park on the lake. It was really pretty and I couldn't help but take some pictures.





When we got back to John's house, his sister offered to take pictures for us which actually turned into a whole photo shoot. So prepare yourself.








Come back next month to see our trip to the Coca Cola museum in Georgia!


DIY Christmas Series: Taco Seasoning

Thursday, December 11, 2014


We are getting so close to Christmas! And you'll need to get that hard to buy for man in your life a gift. Well if he likes tacos, here's the perfect gift that you probably already have in your kitchen!



This is a really simple taco meat seasoning made with ingredients you can pronounce! I actually stumbled across this on Pinterest and knew it would be the perfect addition to the in-laws personalized baking dish! Thanks to Brown Thumb Mama for sharing. I'm very excited to give this as a gift and can't wait for the feedback from them!

You'll need:
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
cayenne pepper to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)

Mix all your ingredients together.

This makes enough for 1 pound of taco meat (turkey or ground beef). If you want to make a big batch and store it, use 1/4 cup per pound of taco meat.

I got my containers from Michael's out of the dollar bins. They are actually magnetic so you can stick them to the fridge if that's your style!




The Golden Vlog Christmas Edition

Wednesday, December 10, 2014



I was super excited about The Golden Vlog this month! Were y'all as excited as I was? Anyway, I'm sure y'all didn't come here to read about my vlog, so I'll just get to it.

PS don't forget to check out my New Year's Eve picture below my vlog video!









Serial: Can You Account For Your Actions?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Can you account for your actions last Tuesday between 2 and 4 pm?! Maybe, maybe not. I could have been home or I could have been out with friends. Can you say what you were doing?

A few weeks ago, Nadine posed the same question. She introduced an amazing podcast called Serial. Ever since I read her post, I couldn't stop listening to it. I listened in the car, while going to sleep and even in the shower. I literally went through all of the current episodes in two days.


Serial is currently in the first season. So what is this season about?

"On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t."
 
Each season is based around one specific case. And each episode focuses on a different aspect of the case. There are currently 10 episodes available to listen to and the 11th one will go live Thursday morning. Each new episode will also air Thursdays. Also, it was recently announced that Serial will be producing a new season.

I absolutely love this podcast and I think y'all might too! Check it out and let me know what y'all think.

Do you listen to podcasts? What is your favorite thing to listen to in the car?

Whole Lotta Baking Going On: Holiday Cookie Contest Results

Monday, December 8, 2014


The Holiday Cookie Contest finalists are in! For those of y'all just tuning in, a few weeks ago I submitted two cookie recipes to my local Holiday Cookie Contest. It was a local event where readers submitted their unique, interesting or special family cookie recipes. The top 10 finalists (9 from the staff hosting the contest and 1 readers choice) would move on to the next level to compete to the the best holiday cookie plus receive a delicious gift basket.


Even though I thought my cookies were the absolute best, the judges had different favorites in mind. Here are the top 10 cookie finalists in no particular order. *All pictures from Richmond.com*

Black Walnut Filled Cookies

Cherry Cobbler Meringues

River City Reindeer Bark

Apple Cider Shortbread Cookies

Browned Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Bourbon-Chocolate Pie Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Reader's Choice: Mom's Portuguese Coconut Biscotti

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti

Mary Randolph's Tavern Biscuits

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


If any of these cookies make your mouth water, you can visit the Richmond website to check out the recipe and try them for yourself!

What holiday cookies do you make?!