muse moments: 2016 new year resolutions

Maybe you’re not a big believer in the cliched New Year’s resolutions, but there is value to recognizing your aspirations and designing a plan to better yourself. At the end of 2015, I looked back on last year’s resolutions for myself and felt a strong sense of accomplishment. Chances are you already tell yourself you’re going to get better at this thing or another. Turn that thought into a mantra this year and find a way to challenge yourself in the best way possible. After all, baby steps can lead to big changes in a year’s time. Here are my 2016 resolutions… Maybe you’ll find an ounce of inspiration in them:

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This is the part where I apologize to you, loyal readers, for my hiatus from LIVE THE LUXE LIFE. Since mid Fall, I’ve filled my free time with writing pages and pages on my novel. Inspiration hit me like a mad fever, as often happens when you’re a writer… But this delirium still has me in its grasp. I think I’ve finally figured out how to subdue my procrastination and stay dedicated to the craft from which I derive all my passion. And for that, I do not apologize. So, here’s looking at you, 2016. This may just be the year I near completion (or possibly even finish) my first book.

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You know that friend who always pulls the camera phone out any time you go out? Uh huh, that’s me. Y’know, the one you rely on for your next profile pic or trip down memory lane. As my friends and family can tell you though, I’ve gotten real bad this year about posting those photos in a decent time span. (I haven’t uploaded photos from as far back as summer yet, oops.) I’m starting fresh this year and aiming to upload photos within a week of an event. Won’t my friends and family be relieved?

 

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We’ve become the perpetual hosts for any holiday shindig as you can see here and here. It has been a true pleasure…and a heck of a lot of work. This past year, we’ve spent more time cleaning up after these events than actually enjoying them. So, we’re pulling back the reins a bit. We still love entertaining and plan to do so in the future. House parties though are happening at a much more manageable size; and big numbers will be moved to an outside venue. Not our zoo, not our monkeys…that’s what I’m always sayin’.

 

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Most importantly, I must strive to find the good in the world. With terrorism and gun violence running rampant, it’s difficult to stay optimistic and keep faith in humanity. But there is good to be found in this world. Look at the people taking in refugees. Look at the homes that opened their doors to harbor strangers during the Paris attack, or the countries around the world that lit up their landmarks with the colors of the French flag. Yes, there is evil all around us. Let us shed light on that evil and stand in solidarity against it.

headliner image c/o Essence Photography by Martha

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As the heat of summer finally begins to roll in, the outdoor festivities are in full swing. From food trucks in the city parks to the Renaissance Faire & outdoor theatre, the city comes alive with vibrant activity this time of year. All this & more is keeping my calendar filled to the brim, but I love every minute of it. Hope the longer days are as joy-filled for you as they have been for me! Here’s some #MuseMoments of late that have put a smile on my face:

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An oversized ring wrapped in gold & topped with a pale pink rose.

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I was thrilled to hear Jimmy Fallon’s announcement on the The Tonight Show when he introduced Ben & Jerry’s newest creation, The Tonight Dough. Combining chocolate cookie swirls, & chocolate chip & peanut butter cookie dough, it was as tasty as I’d hoped it be.

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I fell in love with this enormous disco ball at a nearby nightclub.
Equal to the size of three of me, I sadly could not take it home.

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This wine drinker loves her some sangria, especially come summertime.
This light, zesty white wine concoction cools you off on a humid evening.

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Saint Louis Art Museum hosts a delightful shindig the last Friday of every month, known as SLAM Underground. The extended happy hour gives you an up-close experience with one of the exhibits, & celebrates the art with a DJ on hand & activities, like this distinctive photo booth.

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This month has been filled with one excitement after another…from a promising career move to numerous wedding invites from our dear friends (even as far away as Sweden)!  I’ve never felt more in my element than I do now, and I hope I can keep riding this enthusiasm and fill my blog with delicious reads for you all to enjoy!  This session of muse moments highlights things that keep my inspired thoughts burning bright: 031515 1

Sparkling silver nails with white accent.

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A constellation cup from my childhood friend.

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A dino desk companion complete with memo pad.

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Retro chic Mary Janes from Steve Madden that make me think of pin-up style.

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 A cup of joe this non-coffee drinker can get behind: the tuxedo.  Basically hot chocolate (white and milk chocolate, to be exact) infused with espresso.

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I’m finishing off a beautiful weekend here. After quality time with family & fun-filled evenings with friends, I am ready to tackle the week with enthusiasm! Here is some inspiration around the web to help you launch your week:

At first glance, this scenic view looks like the elven paradise from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  This national park in China certainly seems to be a dreamscape.  It’s real enough though.  Shall we go see it for ourselves?

These small gold studded earbuds are ideal travel mates that can fit in your pocket.  As you travel along, you can play your own wanderlust-inspired playlist or listen to travel guides & design your own unique tour.

I live in leggings in the winter, particularly fleece-lined & textured ones.  These comic strip leggings ought to be added to the closet.  What do you think?

Create a visual aid to help you master your work week. This daily interactive reminder will help keep you on track.

Embracing who you are, faults & all, can only strengthen your character.

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It’s a frigid weekend here, so snuggle up & sit for a spell while you catch up on my latest muse moments.

I am quite fond of hot air balloons ever since Greg & I incorporated them in our wedding decor to pay homage to our song, “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine.  This darling air balloon basket serves as the perfect mail holder for us.

Winter is no longer coming…it’s most definitely here.  Even though winter brings with it bitter temperatures & dreary landscapes, the season does allow us to break out the boots & the big cuddly scarves like this plaid fringe neck warmer.

The croque monsieur sandwich is a French ham & cheese combination that is simply divine.  Choose gruyere cheese & smoked ham to sizzle between flaky bread.  Then, top with a fried egg for what is possibly my favorite sandwich in the world: the croque madame.  Mouth-watering, believe me.

As a lover of wine, what better tour of California wine country than a Napa Valley wine train?  Bonus: you can enjoy as many glasses as you please without worrying about a designated driver!

When setting out to accomplish anything in your life, remember these words. Your journey is your own, & while it is helpful to have a role model for inspiration, it is vastly more important to be proud of each step you take forward on the path to success.

See you on Monday when I feature how St. Louis celebrates the holidays in my latest hot spots!

muse moments

Welcome to 2015, ladies & gents!  Greg & I hosted a fancy affair & rang in the new year with a champagne toast surrounded by friends.  I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions because I constantly set goals for myself throughout the year.  I like the idea of resolutions though & starting a new year with a fresh perspective on who I am & where I want to go in life.  So this year, I will set resolutions of a sort by sharing my goals for 2015.  Here is what I hope to accomplish in the new year:

Goal 1: work hard at the thing I love.  Since I’ve started this endeavor back in August, each week has been more exciting than the last.  Now that I have found my groove, it’s time to focus on making this venture as successful as I can.  I can’t thank you enough for supporting LIVE THE LUXE LIFE & playing a key role in the growth of this blog.

Goal 2: check another new destination of my travel list.  Travel & education are the only things you can buy that make you richer.  I am ready for a new adventure because with each new travel experience, I feel my global perspective broaden a little bit more.

Goal 3: improve my snapshots.  I want to focus on capturing memorable photos by thinking outside of the box like these unique travel pictures.

Goal 4: work on my punctuality.  My friends & family are quite accustomed to me arriving fashionably late (it’s become part of my charm!).  However, I plan on allowing myself more time to get ready so that I can improve my on-time record.  Wish me luck!

Goal 5: read more often.  I’ve been an avid reader all my life, but my busy schedule has been eating up my reading time.  This year, I’m going to get back to my favorite pastime.

This should be an exciting year for this blog as well.  Welcome to the new revamped version of livetheluxelife.net!  You can expect fresh content weekly, including new travel guides for Europe & places in the States, more hot spots from Kansas City & St. Louis, & tips on hosting your own fabulous parties throughout the year.  Stop in on Monday for one final look at Venice, & again on Wednesday for a feature on our first holiday party.  Till then, I shall simply say have a wonderful new year!

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Hello, ladies & gents!  We’re wrapping up another week and counting down to the holiday.  My week started off wonderfully after my friend & her beau came for a visit over the past weekend.  We got the chance to act like tourists in our town as we went around seeing the sites with them.  After strolling through our historic downtown area, which is all dolled up for Christmas, I am absolutely in a festive mood.  Here are other things inspiring me at the moment:

What’s on your Christmas wish list?  For me, it is always an extravagant trip.  I wouldn’t mind visiting New York City again…except this time, let’s stop by during the holidays to really see the city all aglow.  We could watch the Rockettes and take a horse-drawn carriage through a snowy Central Park.

This red dress complete with a teacup skirt will make quite the impression at a holiday party.  Santa’s suit doesn’t have anything on this velvet.

Top off that holiday party look with a sleek & elegant hairstyle.  This simple chignon is polished with a braid.

Capture the warmth of Christmas lights with this trick for a bokeh effect on your camera.

Want to keep the lights shining all year-round?  Create your own unique marquee lights with this how-to guide & display a cool message on your walls.

See you next week with some more travel guides and holiday inspirations!