Plans for 2017

Chrystina Noel Plans for 2017

(Please take a moment to appreciate the symbolism of this photo. Trashing some things from 2016, recycling others… too much? Maybe. Eh.)

Happy New Year! (Said like Frosty the Snowman says Happy Birthday.) That’s what I’ve decided. Last weekend was actually New Year’s weekend. I feel a little bit more rejuvenated. There’s a strong possibility that I’m feeling refreshed because I finally had a chance to clean the bathroom, but we’re just going to roll with it.

I’m decided my word for 2017 is going to be simple. If you’ve been reading along for a while or know anything about me in everyday life, you know this is the opposite of how I usually do things. It’s not that I try to make things complicated, I just tend to overthink things and commit to so many things that I find myself making things more complicated than they need to be. My goal is to spend some time cleaning out the excess this year. So what does that mean?

  • I’m going to focus on relationships that matter for a while and stop over-complicating things with such a large amount of acquaintances.
  • I’m going to stop buying too many groceries and focus on how to best use the food that I already have so that I throw less away. This also includes something I’m working on this year called “stop eating when you’re full,” which is surprisingly harder than expected.
  • I’m going to cut down my expenses so that I’m able to save a little bit more money.
  • I’m going to get really solid on my values so that the decision to say “yes” or “no” because much more simple. This definitely includes not saying yes because I feel like I’m supposed to say yes.
  • I’m going to put my energy into things that I feel like I get some return on as opposed to putting energy in with no positive outcome.
  • I’m going to put the work in up front when I start a big idea so that when I actually go to execute, it becomes simpler. For example, I’ve already pre-addressed and organized all of my birthday cards for the year, so now it should just be a matter of picking the card and envelope up off of the top of the pile and getting it sent.
  • I’m going to leave some open nights on my calendar so that I can relax. Whatever the heck that means.

When I wrote every one of those bullet points I wrote “I’m going to try to…” and then had to go back and cut out the “try to.” You’re either going to do it or you’re not, right? We’ll see how this goes.

What do I have up my sleeve in terms of the blog?

  • Hostess posts about where to start if you have no idea what you’re doing.
  • Instead of “weekly snippets” posts I will be switching to currently posts for the year.
  • I’m going to be participating in Nicole’s small monthly goals link up.
  • I’m going to start a series about following people around while they grocery shop.
  • There will continue to be party recap posts.
  • There will continue to be greeting card posts.
  • I’m 95% sure I will be starting a podcast with Jessica of Sweet Love & Ginger. Maybe we’ll become famous. But let’s be honest, mostly I just want to talk about hosting parties with somebody else who loves hosting parties.
  • I’m going to continue to run PHLbloggers.

That seems like enough. I’m excited. It’s going to be good.

PS. I’m linking up with Nicole from Writes Like a Girl who shared her 2017 word: forge. Head on over to her site to check out her (and a lot of other cool people’s) post(s). Maybe it will give you some inspiration for a word of your own.

Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Make Me Happy via Chrystina Noel

Last January I wrote a post very similar to this one. And by that I mean one that literally has the exact same title. This must tell you that I’ve been searching for something for a while, huh?

I’m not ready to think about 2017 yet. I still feel like I haven’t actually decompressed from 2016 yet. First I sent out 150 holiday cards, made at least 15 custom cards, attended 5+ holiday parties, and managed to have plans every night from December 1 through Christmas. Then came my birthday, then came New Year’s Eve, then came a trip to Houston for work, then came my birthday party, and now we’re in the last week of The Blog Connect speaker applications being up. I just need two days to catch up. Lucky for me, it’s a three day weekend. So maybe next weekend I’ll feel better. And I’ll share my word for the year, how I plan to implement it, and what I want life to look like for year 28.

Until then though, I’d like to share a little bit more about things that make me happy. Partially to remind myself, partially to have this documented somewhere because I think it’s fascinating, and partially to see if anybody agrees with me or has any similar quirks. (Yay for validation?)

Last year when I wrote this post I listed watching television, playing video games, reading YA romance novels, hanging out with friends, dancing to anything with a beat, dressing up and taking pictures, driving, writing, hosting parties, and singing. I’d say I did a pretty decent job of addressing these things in 2016. I watched a heck of a lot of Netflix, I got a library card to read more YA romance novels, I took a cardio pop dance class for at least a few months, I drove as much as I could, I wrote on the blog, I hosted a bunch of parties, and well… I failed at singing. But don’t worry, I’ve already started fixing that.

The things I want to talk about today that make me happy are concepts. A little bit more abstract than watching tv or playing video games. I’m going to talk about big picture ideas that I can find as themes in books, video games, and life happenings to make them even more meaningful to me in the future. Not sure what I’m talking about yet? Maybe it will make sense at the end. Most of them start with “that feeling when.” (Which I learned is what the acronym TFW stands for, who knew?)

Finding Out What Happens In The End

This isn’t to say that I like to flip to the end of books first. This is getting to find out what happened to characters you loved growing up. Whether it’s the Full House crew, the Gilmore Girls crew, the Boy Meets World crew, the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants crew, or the Alice series. There have been opportunities to find out how all of these characters lives have turned out in past years, whether through television show or book. I think this is one of the reasons I like staying in touch with people. I like to hear about the good things that happen to them in their lives and be super excited for them. And when you come across something that’s maybe not as good you start to understand more of what makes that person who they are.

When Things Happen Efficiently And No One Talks About It

This happened last night at chorus rehearsal. (Yup, that’s right, guess who’s singing with a chorus for the next two months? This girl. Come watch at the Philly Pops Broadway Blockbuster show.) And it was so good that I almost feel like talking about it ruins it. But I need to share. I was sitting next to Madison (like old times) and we had only one pencil between us. So every time the director made a note about the music we would need to trade off who used the pencil. Well, logistically, it doesn’t make any sense to swap it back and forth every time he says something. After the first person marks something, you should each wait for at least two before swapping pencils: the one he just said and the says next. So much more efficient. So good.

When People Who Don’t Know Each Other Are Banning Together

This one makes me exceptionally happy. Sure, there’s like a big scale global version of this. But I’m talking about things as small as your plane just got in late and there’s a few people on the plane who are just going to make their connection. Then everybody on the plane bans together to make sure those people get out first. People helping people, man. It’s my favorite.

Giving People On the Street Directions

I love being helpful. Being able to direct somebody the right way is a really quick way to get a boost of “I feel like a good person” while helping other folks out. It also helps other people think that the people in your city are super nice. So that’s cool too.

A Solid Harmony Sung Under A Kick Butt Melody

This. Is the answer to everything. A really good harmony where the vibrations against that melody just feel so good. Whether you’re listening or singing. That feeling is absolutely incredible.

Introducing Really Cool People To Each Other

This one is probably the other reason that I keep hosting parties. There’s something so gratifying about introducing cool people to each other. It’s why I do a lot of things in life. I just think all cool people should know each other. (It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited for my wedding one day in the way far off future.) Sometimes I like to take a step back and realize that I’m the reason why a handful of people know each other, not in a cocky way, just in a – yeah, that was totally worth it – kind of way. This will probably keep me going for a while. It’s probably 100% the reason I’m supposed to start a mastermind group this year.

Let’s see how this goes 2017. So much promise. It’s time to make things happen. Now I just need to figure out what those things are.

Until next time, y’all. In the meantime, let me know below what sorts of things make you really truly happy. I’d love to hear about it. (No really, does anybody else think about this stuff?)

Top 6 Posts of 2016

Hi, friends! Happy New Year’s! No matter which part of the world you’re in I hope you were able to take some time to relax with friends and family, think about the previous year, and think about what your goals are going to be for the upcoming year. I’m still finishing up my 2017 goals, I think I need a little more time to think about them (as well as time to go through the Fizzle Show’s 5 steps to goal setting, which I just discovered this week).

As per usual, my top 6 posts for the year were: Ideas for Bridal Shower Question Game, How To Throw a 1920’s Party – Part 2, How To Throw a 1920’s Party – Part 1, Chocolate Fondue Dipper Ideas, It’s Official, I Need Help With Karaoke Songs, and 16 Party Ideas Inspired by Gilmore Girls. Of course, none of these posts were written in 2016. Today I want to share with you the Top 6 posts of 2016.

How To Make Your Family Tree

I had the chance to interview Diane Haddad from Family Tree Magazine to ask some questions about what to do when you’re starting your own family tree, what to do when you get stuck, and to find out any tips or tricks she’s learned along the way. Check it out here.

How to Make Your Family Tree via Chrystina Noel

A Wardrobe Overhaul

I’ve never considered myself a very stylish person. That’s why this year I had Sarah from smoorelovin’ and Sarah from Shades of Sarah go through my wardrobe and help me figure out what I should get rid of and what I should keep. Check it out here.

My Wardrobe Overhaul via Chrystina Noel

My Diva Cup Review

This was a post I debated writing because it felt a little too personal. That said, I clear went ahead and wrote it anyway. If you were ever considering using The Diva Cup here is my complete review of the product, all details included. Check it out here.

My Diva Cup Review via Chrystina Noel

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Nida

Every time I write a post about Nida it shoots to the top of the list. She’s really awesome, has a lot of friends and family, and hosts some really excellent parties. If you’re looking for some tips and tricks to make your next party great, I absolutely recommend checking this post out. Check it out here.

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Nida via Chrystina Noel

Closing Down Shoppe

This year I decided it was time to close down the greeting card shoppe. I realized it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be and I think it’s time to find my next adventure. While I haven’t figured out what that’s going to be yet, I still think I made the right decision. Check it out here.

Closing Down Shoppe via Chrystina Noel

The Best Chai in Philadelphia

I had a lot of fun writing this post. And I really want it to be a living post that I add to every few months. I love chai so I went on a mission around Philadelphia to try +20 of them and then plot them on a chart using spiced-ness, spiciness, and sweetness as the three variables. If you like chai and find yourself in Philadephia, this post is for you. Check it out here.

Find Your Favorite Chai Latte in Philadelphia via Chrystina Noel

Thank you so much for another great year of Chrystina Noel. I’ve loved getting to know all of my readers a little bit better and I’ve loved sharing the things I’ve learned about party hosting, greeting cards, and staying in touch with you on this journey. Here’s to an excellent 2017 full of lots of parties, snail mail, and friends you love.

My 2016 Recap

My 2016 Recap

Well. 2016. It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? Yes, 2016 has been a hot mess on a grand scale, but it also hasn’t been one of my favorites overall personally. There were some good things that happened (I came up with 10), but for the most part my brain is really quick to remember all of those negative moments first. Those feelings of not being good enough &  feeling incredibly lost. Or maybe that’s just what your late twenties is all about? (I’m convinced everything starts to make sense at 30. Don’t ruin it for me, y’all.)

So we’re going to take an overall look at the year, some of which I’ve shared on the blog before, and some of which I haven’t. (Hey, you’ve got to leave some life to live, right?) I’m going to start with the negative so that we can end on a high note. Here goes nothing:

9 Things That Were A Bummer About 2016

  1. Y’all. I didn’t sing at all in 2016. There was no barbershop choir, barely any church choir, no car sing-a-longs. My voice is shot, y’all. So is my sight reading. I really need to find a way to bring this back in 2017. I’m hoping it’s like riding a bike.
  2. I completely failed at my summer photo project. I did this great blog post where I did a round-up of all of the possible photo projects you could do. I decided to do self portraits. And then I found out exactly how difficult it was to take self portraits without a remote. And that was the end of that project. I found that I really missed challenging myself creatively and really hope I can get my shit together for next year. If you’re curious about how the few I took did turn out, you can look at the photo above and the photo I used on this fake album cover.
  3. I spent a lot of time this year complaining about things that I got myself into. I complained about sending so many birthday cards. I complained about sending so many Christmas cards. I complained about having such a busy schedule. There’s seriously no need to complain, Chrystina. You did this to yourself. So in 2017 I’m going to have to start guarding my time a little bit better. On that same note –
  4. I found that I was trying really hard to make plans with people who just didn’t seem to care. And then I would stress myself out about it. There are a lot of people who have become notorious for canceling plans last minute. And that’s totally fine. I just need to not plan my life around them as much.
  5. Halloween. That is all.
  6. I stopped going to church for the first four months of this year. I was traveling so much that the thought of needing to be somewhere on Sunday was too much for me to handle. I found after the fact that I really missed this time. I missed this time for singing and I missed this time for meditating. Whether I’m listening or not it’s probably the only hour in my whole week that I’m sitting still doing nothing without my phone in front of me.
  7. This year I was informed that going to church makes me weak. Clearly this was not by someone in my inner circle. But it’s by someone that I’m probably not able to kick out of my life any time soon. The amount of anger that statement produced was pretty incredible. That said, it did result in me getting a pretty great pep talk from the lady I see at the salon. So that was a bright spot.
  8. On that same note of traveling too much, being gone Monday to Thursday from January to July really did a number on my relationships: friend relationships & my romantic one. I’m not a great communicator from the other side of the country. It also means I have far too much time to put words in people’s mouths that they never said. And finally, I’m not great at staying in touch with people when I’m not around to make plans. It took me about two months to start to feel like I had gained any traction in piecing things back together.
  9. I realized I really need to get my head in the game more at work. I got to the point this year that I was multi-tasking too many things and I started dropping some of the balls I was juggling. And I’ve got to tell you, it doesn’t feel good – to forget to email someone, to forget to schedule the meeting, to miss the instructions – it’s really crummy.

11 Good Things That Happened In 2016

  1. We planned the first annual Blog Connect conference.
  2. I got promoted to manager. (And then celebrated by dying my hair red again.)
  3. I managed to spend time in 17 states/districts: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington. Here I made you a map:

Places I Traveled in 2016

  1. The amount of burritos I ate smothered in green chili was everything. If I had to choose between a green chili-smothered burrito and a New York bagel, I honestly don’t know what I’d do.
  2. I have a new baby cousin! She’s 11 months old now, so it’s not super new, but she’s still new as of 2016. And she’s adorable.
  3. It took me 4 years of living in this house, but I’m (we’re?) finally starting to make it my (our?) own. The living room walls are painted. The living room is now being used as a dining room. The basement no longer has quite as much of other people’s stuff in it. The next thing is to hang some of my own photos around the house.
  4. I attended 5 conferences this year (that doesn’t count The Blog Connect): Thrive, The Lady Project Summit, The Yellow Conference, VenturePop, and The Positivity Charge.
  5. I spoke on my first panel this year. At The Lady Project Summit I spoke on a panel about blogging. That was cool.
  6. I got paid to write a blog post this year. I’ve gotten free things before, but this was the first year I was paid in cash. So that’s cool too.
  7. Fuller House and Gilmore Girls round 2 both came out this year. And I’m a big television person. So that’s been wonderful for my soul.
  8. I got a library card. That means I’ve been reading a lot more YA romance novels. My favorite.

I’m excited to take these things, both negative and positive, and transform them into some actionable items for 2017. I’ve started that list as well, and I can’t wait to share it with you all next week. See you all next year! Happy New Years!!