December 20, 2014

2014 Atlanta New Year's Eve Events

Last year's #NYE post with events in Atlanta received over 10,000 views, so I had to do another one for this year! In a city like Atlanta, of course, there are lots of events going on. Here's what I've gathered so far that seem like really fun and affordable events! Per request, I've also included the prices of the events if those were available.

Check back for updates & additions, and leave a comment if you have more suggestions on how to bring in 2015!


Church Services/Celebrations

Dining & Drinking


Other Events

Other ways to celebrate
  • Meditating on the new year and creating a vision board/goals list
  • Watching NYE celebrations on TV from the warmth of your home
  • Fun activities with friends/family to countdown
  • Themed date night
  • Hosting your own NYE party
  • Working out into the New Year
  • Babysitting (earning money as you enter the New Year)
  • Service projects
  • Doing good deeds for others to make their New Year special

Regardless of the way you choose to bring in the New Year, I hope it's a fantastic night for you! 

December 17, 2014

VKV Prints {Life Is Peachy & Sparkle Notepads}

These past few days have been a time for me to relax and recover after an extremely busy semester. I took five classes and worked, making every week pretty interesting. I'm very proud of how I did in my classes, and I am so grateful for a break from school and work for the next few weeks. 

One area of my life that has not taken a break is my communications company. November and December have been busy with photo sessions, graphic design projects, and new additions to my company. One of those new additions is VKV Prints! One of my freelance designers and I have been working on this idea for the past few months and it's great to see it come to life. We've designed multiple notepads and other prints to sell on my company's website. We'll be rolling them out two at a time, and have so many exciting designs to share.

Our first two designs are the "Life Is Peachy" Notepad and the "Don't Be Afraid to Sparkle" Notepad. Since we live in Georgia, the "Peach State," this design has been super popular, and I really love it too! The notepads come with 50 sheets and are the perfect size to keep on your home or work desk. 

I use notepads all of the time so I thought this was a great product to launch first for VKV Prints.

Both of these notepads are available to order here for just $10 each, and will be available until they sold out! We have a few of each left.

I appreciate all of my readers for supporting my projects and dreams, it's always exciting to share updates on my blog and get your feedback!

December 14, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

While I was home for Thanksgiving break, my family went to an Italian restaurant for dinner one night and I ordered eggplant parmesan. This was my first time ordering this dish from any restaurant, but since it was one of the few meat-free items on the menu I decided to try it. This was the best vegetarian meal I have had yet! It reminded me so much of the heartiness of chicken parmesan + meat lasagna, but I still felt so great after eating it. After that meal, I wanted to have it again but make it myself because this will be another one of my winter break go-to meals.

I used the recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli from Food Network. Her video and post is a perfect explanation of how to easily make this dish. The only things I did differently were that I didn't add sugar to my sauce, I used olive oil for frying, instead of basil leaves I used baby spinach, and I used shredded mozzarella cheese. 

I took some photos while I cooked to show you how mine turned out!

P.S. I've been eating like a pescatarian for 9 months! 

December 11, 2014

New Year's Eve fashion {shoes}

I do have some outfit options for New Year's Eve, and I'm glad my first NYE fashion post was helpful! I'm happy to keep sharing my picks for NYE fashion including (dresses, outfits for guys, accessories, and now shoes). I am such a fan of glitter and sparkle all year round, but I think it's necessary for NYE night. But I also know and understand that heels aren't always a reasonable shoe option and can leave your feet in pain at the start of the new year if you have them on for too long. So I've also included a few flat shoe options as well. Here are my NYE women's shoe picks, all under $100!

Leave a comment with your favorite one & happy shoe shopping!

December 08, 2014

2015 Promises to Myself

I didn't plan to post this until later on in the month, but I already have friends asking how I'm setting goals for 2015. So here goes! I'm doing "promises to myself" again like I did in 2014. This method worked really well for me because I printed out my promises, shared them on my blog, and figured our how to get them done throughout the year. Even though 2015 will be impossible to completely plan for, it always helps to set goals and make promises to yourself. Here are my 2015 promises to myself, and below I have a blank copy you can use!

And here's a clean copy for you to use if you like this format too!

Set yourself up for a great new year!

December 05, 2014

Holiday Dress Fitness Challenge

Image via 30 Day Fitness Challenge

I can't believe this is the final fitness challenge of 2014! I have loved these monthly fitness challenges and I know some of you (through emails and comments) have loved them too.  This one is from 30 Day Fitness Challenge's website, and is called the "Little Black Dress" challenge to help you fit into that LBD. With Christmas, New Year's Eve, and other holidays & celebrations approaching I thought this challenge would be perfect to get into my holiday dresses. 

This challenge is a good blend of planks, triceps, mountain climbers, bridges, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and more! So, you'll never get bored. I just finished doing Days 1-5 and I'm feeling it. 

Let me know if you decide to participate!

December 03, 2014

Eating healthy after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving food was so good, but so bad for my fitness goals. And I know I'm not alone. The past few days have been dedicated to switching back to healthy food choices and putting down the macaroni & cheese and pie. 

My suggestion for trying to eat healthy after a holiday break such as Thanksgiving is to ease your way back. Start by having fruit smoothies for breakfast while you enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and dinner. Then, try having a healthy lunch as well. Eventually you will run out of Thanksgiving leftovers and making the transition back to eating healthy will be easier.

Another suggestion: take the healthy leftovers from Thanksgiving and use them for healthy meals. For example, you can use leftover turkey to go with salad or fresh vegetables.  Or, you can use leftover vegetables to go with eggs for breakfast. I prefer these methods, but I have friends who prefer to detox after a holiday full of heavy eating, and that is understandable as well.

Here are a few of my recent healthy meals

Organic arugula salad from one of my favorite restaurants, with shaved parmigiano reggiano and drizzled with lemon vinaigrette

Brussel sprouts, using my go-to recipe!

Baked sweet potato, chopped up grilled salmon (I thought about making it into a patty, but was too hungry for all of that), and a blend of sautéed collard greens, mustard greens, and kale. My mom cooked the greens and they are always so good, and such a healthy side.

I cooked this salmon in a skillet with olive oil and used the following to season it: black pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, drop of mustard, and lemon juice. I'm normally not a mustard-eater, but a drop of mustard/honey mustard is such a great way to season salmon in a unique and delicious way.

Spring mix with carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and salmon on top. Then I drizzled it with lemon juice and honey, so good!

And then I added some grilled corn to my salad!

Fresh vegetables are my favorite, when they're available! This basket includes cucumber, corn on the cob, and bell peppers.

This is vegetable soup my mom makes every year! I can't give away her secret recipe, but it does include a tomato base, chopped carrots, corn, and peas, and ground meat (but she made mine using veggie crumbles). I am freezing some of this soup to enjoy throughout the month.

I hope healthy eating is going well for you! I'll be posting the monthly fitness challenge later this week.

November 30, 2014

Final exam study tips {college & grad school}

It's final exam season, ugh I know. But I have learned to appreciate this time of the semester because it means the end is near! I'm sharing a few tips that I practice for midterms & final exams that really help me feel prepared before tests and have my final projects completed ahead of the due date. I hope these help you have a happy and successful final exam week!

1. Divide and plan | Finals require a plan of action to handle calmly. Before I start studying or working on anything, I write down all of the finals I have and all of the assignments I have due during finals week. This semester I had the following written down:

Multivariate Statistical Coding Analysis Take-Home Final
Comparison Essay
Research Paper Proposal
Final Research Paper
Final Policy Memo 

Having a written list really helps keep me organized and also helps me prioritize my assignments. Trying to take on everything at the same time is very hectic and has proven unsuccessful for me in the past. So now, I stick to getting finals studying and assignments done using a system.

2. Get the assignments done first | When I have a ton of studying to do, the last thing I want to think about is doing assignments for another class. That's why I finish my assignments that are due before I start seriously studying. Of course you can do some light studying during the weeks/days leading up to your final, but I spend the majority of that time knocking out any assignments I have to do. This helps me really focus on the study material and decreases my stress levels since I have fewer things on my to-do list. After finishing my assignments, my list looked like this:

Multivariate Statistical Coding Analysis Take-Home Final

3. Take breaks | Taking short breaks is a great way to reward yourself for getting work done/learning information and it helps keep your brain from getting exhausted too quickly. If I'm studying at my place, I take breaks by watching an episode of a TV show, checking social media, painting my nails, having a snack, or doing some yoga.

4. Mix solo studying and group studying | I personally prefer studying and working alone, but that gets old really quickly during finals week. So, I like to alternate studying/working on my own for a few hours with working with others. Group/partner studying is good if you have the social self control to be around others when there's work to be done. But, I appreciate sitting at a table with a friend while doing work - it makes me happier, it makes me feel more obligated to study and it's nice to know someone is in the same boat.

5. Eat healthy snacks and drink water | I prepare healthy snacks and meals during finals week so that I can easily pack and eat them. Some of my favorite healthy snacks include bananas, blueberries, and yogurt. I also always keep a bottle of water with me.

6. Set alarms | I use alarms on my iPhone to set limits on my work (so I know when to take breaks), and to remind me of things I may forget otherwise because of the craziness of finals week. I also set limits on how late I will stay up during the week, and use alarms to tell me when it's time to wind down for the night and get some rest.

7. Make/use practice tests Before your exam, do a practice version of the exam to prepare! I sometimes make my own exam with possible questions or have a friend quiz me over the test information. All of these get your mind prepared for an exam and calm your nerves.

8. Be confident | Once you've done all you can to do well on your final exams, just believe that you're prepared and  try your very best when it comes time to take the test!

And remember to celebrate once your finals are over - here are a few suggestions of how to celebrate!

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day outfit

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm spending the day with my family in South Carolina, but I wanted to share my Thanksgiving Day look with you. I hope you have a happy and safe holiday. We all have so much to be thankful for.

Padded Parka = H&M, Sweater & Tank Top = Forever21Jeans = H&MBoots = Kohl's

November 23, 2014


It's been way too long since I've shared a check-in/update with me on here. This past week has been the most hectic, school-wise, and other life commitments have required my time as well. So please forgive the lack of blog posts, but I'm back! Here are a few things that I've been up to recently...

This semester I've been taking 5 classes while working at my graduate assistantship + an internship. Yes, it's been busy...and that's how I like it. My internship ended a few weeks ago, and it was a great experience that I'm so grateful to have had. My classes are going well, and I'm hoping to achieve one of my birthday goals of having a 4.0 semester. So that means I'll be spending these last few weeks organizing, studying, and praying!

Speaking of graduate assistantship involves planning three conferences for college students across the state, and one of those conferences was earlier this month. It went so well, and was so much fun! It's always great to see your hard work come to life, and see other people enjoy themselves as well. Check out the group selfie I took with some of the students above :)

Holiday Parties (already!)
I finally went to Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta when my friend Alexandria invited me to be her +1 at her job's holiday party. It's such an awesome venue, and the food was delicious. We also had a hilarious Uber ride home...which always makes for an interesting night, right?

One of my friends from high school recently moved back to Georgia with her husband and adorable baby. I finally got to babysit him, and it was so much fun. He is such a sweet baby and didn't cry one time, lucky me!

While my Atlanta Falcons team isn't having their best season, my Georgia Tech football team has been beyond impressive! I went to the last regular home game, and we beat Clemson! Now, Georgia Tech has been named as the ACC Coastal Division Champions and we're headed to the ACC Championship against Florida State University for the ACC title, so exciting!

Birthday Celebrations
I've celebrated several friends' birthdays this month, and most importantly I celebrated my dad's birthday last week! I helped prepare dinner (above) for him, and we invited friends and family over for dinner and just to hang. It was such a fun day, and I'm so happy I got to spend another birthday with my sweet dad. FYI, our meal included: asparagus, yellow squash, fried catfish, mango chicken, green beans, cabbage, macaroni & cheese, baked fish, sweet potato pie, and apple pie. It was amazing, and a great variety for a large group of people.

VKV Communications LLC
November has been the best month so far for my communications company, and that is so exciting but also a little frightening. I cannot say no to work projects because they are so much fun, and because I plan to spend 2015 really focusing on expanding my business. Besides photo sessions, I've been working on multiple logo designs, branding projects, and websites. The photo sessions I've done this month have been tremendously fun, and nothing feels better than hearing how much clients love their photos!  

So as you can see, November has been a busy, but beautiful month for me thus far! I hope it's been a great month for you too and that you enjoy Thanksgiving next week! I'll be spending time with my family, and enjoying some time off from work and school :)

What have you been up to recently?


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