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new year


Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy Chinese New Year)! Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is on January 28th and is the year of the rooster! Determined by the Chinese Lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is on a new day every year.  Each year is a different animal and this year is the year of the rooster. Roosters are considered to be courageous, resourceful, observant, confident, active, hardworking and talented. To see if you are a Rooster or curious to see what animal you are, check out the Chinese zodiac calendar

Celebrating the New Year is one of my family’s traditions and happens to be one of my favorite holidays.  Officially the holiday lasts for seven days but my family only celebrates for a few of those days–Chinese New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and one other day.  Our family tradition is to eat a new year’s dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, a traditional vegetarian breakfast on the day of Chinese New Year, and another dinner days later with our extended family.

What I love the most about Chinese New Year is it brings all of our family (even our aunts, uncles, and cousins) together and we get to enjoy all of the delicious foods my parents (mostly my Mom) cooks for us! I love that we celebrate our family heritage.



For Chinese New Year we also receive lucky red envelopes (also known as “lai see” in Cantonese) filled with money from our parents, grandparents and others. In Chinese culture the color red is the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. So giving red envelopes symbolizes sending good wishes and luck.

Red Envelopes

Even if you aren’t Chinese, you can still celebrate along with me and my family. Have fun by printing out your own red envelopes and filling them up with money, coins, or candy. You can also DOWNLOAD the rooster printable pictured below to add to your decorations or to make napkin rings. Then all you have to do is order up or whip up some Chinese food and celebrate!

Rooster Printable



New Year’s Resolutions in One Word


It’s New Year’s Eve, the day we resolve to change all the things! The day we feel motivated for progress! Eat better! Lose weight! Sleep 8 hours! Drink water! Spend quality time with those we love! Organize our life! If you’re like us some years you are motivated and ready to conquer the world and other years you are overwhelmed before the clock even strikes midnight. It was on one of those overwhelmed New Year’s Eves that my friend, Angie, told me about having “a word for the year” instead of a list of overwhelming resolutions.

The idea behind choosing just one word is to focus on an attribute rather than task. Let me explain a little more…Think about your ideal resolution list, what would it include? Now dig a little deeper. Why haven’t you been able to be as consistent and successful with these tasks as you have wanted? What is keeping you from accomplishing these goals? You will soon find the answers to those questions are exactly where you will find your inspiration for your “word of the year”. For example, if you want to eat healthy and exercise, but you fail every time because you always cave and find yourself eating chocolate and Diet Coke (us too!) maybe your word for the year could be “self-control”. Or perhaps you just never buy healthy food and are too busy for the gym, then maybe “plan” or “prepare” could be your word for the year. Are you getting the drift here?

It’s amazing to see the difference it makes when your focus is narrowed to one word rather than an endless list. Once you pick your word put it somewhere where you will see it daily–ALL DAY. Put it everywhere! Like on your mirror, a post-it in your car, do some fancy craft, write it on a chalk board, plaster it to your fridge…you get the idea. Then think about how you can stay true to your “word” that day. Take this one day at a time, people, one day at a time. We got this. Here’s what a few of us decided to choose for our words this year…

Danelle: Balance
Hello, my name is Danelle, and I am an over-committer, over-planner, and over-indulger. I sleep more nights in a hotel than I do at my house, live off of Delta Biscoff cookies, and am always forgetting something (usually my charger). Despite all of that work travel, I still want to have a life, so I stay up late or wake up early all in the name of social interaction. Please tell me I’m not the only one that thrives in chaos and wears my “busyness” with pride. I know, I know, there’s a better way, or so the organized people tell me.  I just have to plan better, prepare more, have boundaries, say “no”, practice self-control, learn to sacrifice, say what I feel, respect myself more, respect other people more, sleep more, eat less, meditate, practice self-compassion, let things go, yada…yada…yada…the list goes on. But seriously, like where do you even start with all of that? AGH! I definitely need an intervention. Like big time.

So when New Year’s rolled around I knew this was my chance. I’ve done the “word of the year” thing before and it was awesome. The hardest part for me is actually picking just one word. How do you pick one word out of all of that mumbo jumbo above??? There’s literally no way. But as I started to dig a little deeper, I realized that perhaps there is one word that might help—BALANCE. Yuck. I already don’t like it—which is precisely why I should pick it. Ugh, I hate it when you know you should do something, but you really, really don’t want to. This is definitely one of those. Please bless this this change only hurts a little. Here’s to 2017!


Megan: Positivity

I’m not the most optomistic person on the planet, in fact, I’m very aware of my sometimes negative attitude. It’s something I’m not proud of but it’s a hard habit to break. I’ve noticed my negativity has really taken a toll on me over the past year in all aspects of my life. Negativity has also played a role in my health and brought me more stress over the past year. 

When thinking of a word for 2017, I couldn’t think of anything better than positivity. I’ve decided it’s time to break the negative pattern and change my mindset for the new year. I know it won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but by being mindful of my thoughts and words, I think it’s something I can work towards. 

One way to help me work towards this goal is to have constant reminders of being positive for myself throughout the day. This includes having a special message to myself as my screen saver and my bathroom mirror, sticky notes with reminders to stay positive in my workspace and my car and even help from my friends and family to nudge me when a negative thought or word comes out of my mouth. 



Ashley: Commitment

Well, Danelle was pressuring me to come up with a word for the year and I thought about choosing “commitment”, but then I realized that is too harsh of a word. I can’t see that word sitting on my mirror all year! It will just make me mad. I tossed around “focus” and “believe”…maybe if I focus and believe in myself I can be more committed without having to actually use that as my word. As usual, procrastination got the best of me and I showed up to our meeting without choosing a word. I gave the girls my list and they unanimously agreed that commitment should be my word…I don’t know, they said it had something to do with the visible reaction I had just talking about commitment. Haha. So, there you have it, I will be facing my commitment demons for 2017.

I kind of feel like I didn’t choose “commit”, it chose me. Through the process of talking with my friends about what our “one word for the year” was going to be, I was indecisive and tossed around the words “focus”, “believe”, “prepare”, and hesitantly, the word “commit”. They asked me the whys about each, and as I was  thinking about the different words, I felt like I wanted to choose all of them and by choosing commit I could tackle the entire list. However, “commit” just felt so harsh! So final. So…committed. As I thought about what I really wanted to change this year I decided it is to improve my awful habit of procrastination.

Like most people, I work best with a deadline. I do pretty well under pressure and think to myself, “It’s fine to wait to the last minute. I got this.” However, when it comes down to crunch time and I fail, I always beat myself up for waiting until the last minute! My procrastination lies have failed me many a time. As I thought about the “whys” I started to think that preparation and focus were my issues, but then I realized that my biggest problem was actually follow through. As I thought about the word “commit” and what it means, it stands for determination and accountability and those things are what’s keeping me from following through. So, by choosing the word “commit” I am getting serious about things and will be more determined and accountable in 2017! And hopefully my procrastination problem will improve along the way! Here’s to commitment (I’m already dreading it)!



So follow along this year as we embrace the ups and downs of change together. Pick your word, put it on your mirror, and don’t look back! We got this. 2017, watch out!