Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Reflections on 2016 and Resolutions for 2017

My custom-designed 2017 planner from

As it seemed to be for many, 2016 was not my best year. Life was tough. And, alas, it continues to be. I don't want you to worry about me though. I am confident that I can deal with whatever life throws at me as I am emotionally intelligent and simply fierce. I don't even want to hate the past year because those obstacles provided personal growth and strengthened relationships, both positive outcomes. 

My Resolutions for 2016 were:

1. To work on my blog more often.
Fail. I only posted 61 times last year when I tend to average about 100. Life I said, life was tough, and I suppose that many times, I didn't feel the time was right to compose an inspiring blog post. I resolve to blog on a regular basis in 2017 though.

2. To entertain more.
I did frequently act as hostess. Not only did I start having this one friend over during the week more often, it evolved from wine and cheese to wine and dinner. I still kept it simple. As I gain confidence, I will add more and more. I am so happy that this is now one of my habits and furthermore, I am becoming the woman I want to be.

3. To have fresh flowers in my home more often.
I succeeded in this resolution. I did purchase fresh flowers at the grocery store every once in a while and will continue to do so. Red roses are my signature fresh flowers at home. 

I also adore white tulips, dark pink tulips, gladiola, and sunflowers.

4. To fit into my current clothing size better.
Over the year, I did get down to 152 pounds! At that weight, I did fit into my clothing comfortably. 152 is only a couple of pounds from my goal weight of 150. During the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, however, I did gain five pounds. Since then, I have lost two of those pounds so far. Regarding weight, I have a goal rather than a resolution this year. 

I am optimistic about 2017.

My Resolutions for 2017 are:

1. To eat more elegantly.
I already sit at the table for lunch and dinner, sometimes even use a cloth napkin, but rather than standing up in the kitchen, I would like to take a seat for breakfast as well.

I would also like to exercise portion control instead of piling food on my plate. If I took a photo of my plate and posted it on Instagram, I wouldn't want to feel like a pig! For each meal, I could think that I should make my plate pretty. If you follow me on Instagram @theitaliagal, then you might have noticed more pictures of my dinner lately. I do not want to eat until I am absolutely stuffed anymore.

Most if all, I would also like to eat more slowly, savoring each bite, rather than shoveling it in. I could try putting my fork down after three bites. While taking it slow, I could additionally remind myself to practice good manners and posture.

2. To drink more elegantly.
I drink red wine regularly, but don't consume a lot at once. In fact, I tend to stick with a glass and a half of wine in the evening. What I would love to do for 2017 is impose a strict limit of two drinks per day. No matter what. If I have enjoyed two glasses, then I do not need to finish the small amount in the bottle at home nor succumb to peer pressure to drink more with a date or with friends or family while out on the town. When it comes to alcohol, I am a lightweight, so I don't favor feeling out of control whatsoever. While entertaining, I wish to enjoy the drink I'm serving, but still desire to be a good hostess.

As I often feel lethargic after two glasses of wine, at home, my unofficial limit would be my usual glass and a half or a quartino. This measures about 7 oz. rather than the 5 oz. in a single glass. A quartino is also about 1/3 of a 750mL bottle of wine. Instead of keep pouring some more from the bottle into my glass, unsure of how much I have had since I may begin sipping wine to unwind soon after work or while making dinner and already feel mellow, I could pour a glass and a half into a carafe from the start and then pour from the carafe into my glass. After I finish that and still want more, I may have half a glass, reaching my two glass limit. I want to enjoy my simple pleasure yet maintain my composure.

3. To blog more frequently.
I realize that you've heard that before. I want to develop the habit of working on my blog at least five days a week, not necessarily publish. This time last year, I realized that I needed to write, or at least start a post, which is the most difficult part for me, in the morning. I often compose blog posts in my head while I am getting ready for the day each morning. I should "strike while the iron is hot." My energy and creativity remain low each evening, particularly starting around 7:30, but I could still edit text or photos at that time.

In addition, rather than trying to publish 8 or 9 times a month like I attempted last year, for 2017, at the beginning of each month, I would like to set a goal of certain number of posts each month. I plan to mention the number I want to shoot for as well as upcoming topics I plan to write on sometime in the beginning of the month. I realize that I need to spend a little less time on my hobby at times. Other times, I may need to catch up or I simply feel inspired. Regularly checking in and readjusting would be the best this year. In my planner, I could add completing a specific post to my weekly to do list. I could even break down tasks for each blog post, assigning a small step such as taking photos on a certain day.

I still hope to publish a post sometime on Sunday throughout the year, hopefully one falling into either my Simple Pleasure Sunday or Signature Sunday series. When I follow a blog or YouTube channel and the creator doesn't post on their normal day, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. Like my Monday wouldn't be complete without a video chat with Jennifer, The Daily Connoisseur, for example. I want you, reader, to know what you can expect from me. Plus, it keeps me accountable to my audience.

4. To write a to do list for the next day in my planner every evening.
I would like to incorporate this into my evening routine. I predict that I would be much more productive when I have items to check off. I have already developed habits, doing certain chores on certain days. These items would go on the list first. Another benefit of this resolution would be more sound sleep since I am getting things off my mind before I head to bed.

5. To show myself grace.
In terms of chores and beauty treatments, I truly became more productive over 2016. I know that I will continue to put pressure on myself to get more done, but I will also attempt to give myself a break. Rest is important. In addition, if I choose to do something out of the ordinary, then I may not be able to accomplish a routine task as well. This sacrifice is warranted. It's okay not to do it all.

In addition, I will try to not let my INFJ perfectionism make me procrastinate or not even begin a task at all. Whatever I am doing does not have to be perfect. Concerning blog posts, my readers have always appreciated me being real in the past. And I highly value authenticity. I want to think, "good enough is good enough." My last post on a signature nail polish of mine is an example of this idea. I kept delaying it since I only managed to capture a single decent photo of my Christmas manicure. So, I intended to paint my nails again and then take more pictures prior to posting. With this resolution in mind though, I just got it done with what I had. This post is far from perfect, but it's done and I published as normal on Sunday. What I have done is far superior to not even trying at all. I don't want to hold myself back from living life any longer. I plan to frame this beautiful reminder...

Card/art available at etsy shop RoseHillDesignStudio

A resolution is something you keep forever, but a goal is something you hit and it's done.

My Goals for 2017 are:

1. To accomplish No Spend Month during February.
I will go on a spending freeze in February. Planning to pay rent, utilities, bills, doctor's appointments as well as buy medicine, contacts, and basic food such as fresh vegetables and dairy products using "new" money earned during the month, I will not purchase anything extra for the 28-day month. I plan to go into the month with a stocked pantry, wine cabinet, and bathroom cabinets as well as a limited amount of "old" cash that I am allowed to spend. The objective is to add to my savings. I also hope this challenge will teach me a few things! I will practice being frugal for February, sharing my tips, progress, temptations with you along the way and immediately afterwards. I will elaborate much more on this goal in multiple posts from late January, throughout February, to early March. I may focus on some sort of goal for a month every few months. I'm thinking more lifestyle ones rather than any more financial ones.

2. To weigh 150 pounds.
My goal weight has been 150 pounds for awhile. In order to hit this goal, I need to lose 5 pounds, which I would like to do so by my April 15th birthday. I plan to accomplish this by making healthy food choices, keeping portion size in check, eating slowly, and walking often. I will also write down my latest weight loss goal and the dinners I plan to prepare each week in my planner.

What are your resolutions and goals?

I hope you have a very happy 2017, achieve everything you set your mind to, and have a life full of simple pleasures.


  1. Hi Michelle. I am very pleased to see you will be increasing the frequency of your blogs. I sincerely admire and respect your frugality, inherent sense of style and your appreciation of all the lovely things in life. I, too, believe in celebrating all the simple pleasures in life, and I enjoy reading about all the ways you accomplish this as well. Great blog!

    1. Thank you for reading, sticking around for a slow 2016, your lovely comment, and the motivation!

  2. Hi, I've never posted before (just lurked) but I just wanted to say that I found this post to be very inspirational in a practical way. As a fellow INFJ I understand the "all or nothing" perfectionism that can get in the way and am also striving for good enough! Will enjoy keeping up with your blog and I hope 2017 is a much better year :)

    1. Thank you! Yeah... I did label it "INFJ perfectionism" specifically. It's challenging, but I want to be real and be myself so much that I am making a real effort to share more, to change my thoughts. Since I won't be spending in February, blogging will be a project instead! Thank you so much for reading. I think 2017 will be amazing eventually! Like I said, don't worry about me in the meantime as I am strong, deal with situations appropriately, and always choose happiness. I hope you have a fantastic year!

  3. Similar goals for the year: slower eating, eat and drink more elegantly as well. In addition de-cluttering and spending less.

    1. We can help each other! I'll be updating about my goals and I hope you'll comment.

      As always in January, I like to declutter and organize, but I truly don't tend to discard much anymore. Just things here and there. I think 3 was the most of anything I donated and those were books (to make way for new ones!). My main organization project was whipping a single lower kitchen cabinet into shape. I bought a couple of bins at Target and they did wonders.

      I hope you achieve your goals!

  4. Wonderful post Michelle!!! Wonderful goals!!!

  5. Best of luck on your resolutions & goals this year! Looking forward to your future blog posts, especially the ones about your no-spend month.

    1. Thank you so much! I look forward to writing about my no spend challenge!