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Archive for December, 2012

Bright and shiny.

Friday, December 21st, 2012

White lights and rich hues on the backdrop of winter. Happy holidays!

Shot on an iPhone by Paul Bell using an Instagram filter

Resolve To Keep Our Resolutions

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Since New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, many people are beginning to formulate their resolutions, vowing to lose weight, learn something new, or travel more frequently. Even with the best of intentions, many of us are quick to forget our promises for a ‘new you in a new year’. Why do our resolutions fail and how can we stick to them?

Survey data from Forbes shows that over 90% of Americans break their New Year’s resolutions by springtime. Why you ask? The Top 10 Most Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions are so unspecific that they are begging to be tossed by the wayside. Motivation to complete goals is not garnered from thin air, but from the small successes that we accomplish. Not only are most resolutions too general, but they are not enjoyable. Positive habits are not easy to acquire, especially if it is difficult to validate affection for the chosen resolution.

Business News Daily suggests a few steps for selecting and following through with New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Commit to a specific plan. The more specific, the better. It is easier to complete a short-term, thought-out goal than long-term obscure resolution.
  • Imagine success. Visualizing how an accomplished goal can work in a pre-established lifestyle can facilitate the creation of a new habit.
  • Monitor progress. Failure to meet resolutions can jumpstart change while success can motivate continuance.
  • Integrate your resolutions. It is easier to turn resolutions into habits if they are integrated with a part of your work or social routine.
  • Find a buddy. If someone close to you is pursuing the same goal, you are more likely to follow through.
  • Create a routine. Repetition is key. According to Psychology Today, it takes three weeks of continual repetition to form a habit.

Still struggling to think of a New Year’s resolution? Call an old friend on the first Sunday of each month or take a weekly cooking class. The possibilities are endless with specific goals and new tools for success in 2013. What will you resolve to change in the New Year?

There is life.

Friday, December 14th, 2012

No matter how desolate the urban jungle can be, life still seems determined to spring forth.

Shot on an iPhone by Rick Painter using an Instagram filter

First Dogs of the White House

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Harry Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” According to Animal Planet, more dogs have taken up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than presidents, first ladies and presidential children combined, with rough estimates reaching 250 pooches.

Dogs help portray the First Family’s human side in the White House. Throughout history, dogs have played an important role in presidential approval ratings and elections, including pups such as Buddy Clinton, Him and Her Johnson, Millie and Barney Bush, Fala Roosevelt and Charlie Kennedy, just to name a few famous first canines.

Bo, the family dog that was promised to Barack Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, after winning the 2008 campaign is now the star of a White House promotional, where he can be seen inspecting the elaborate holiday decorations throughout the White House. Bo has an official photo gallery, an interactive profile on Animal Planet’s website, as well as countless new articles chronicling his upscale life in the White House. The presidential pup even has a Twitter account (although it’s not officially certified) and a Facebook page, which states, ‘Even if you don’t like Obama, you gotta love his dog!’

President Obama’s Christmas card features none other than Bo, the Obama family’s Portuguese Water Dog. Political opinions aside ‘ who doesn’t love dogs?

An ABC article notes how easily public opinion can be swayed by a political figure’s canine relationship.’ President Nixon’s famous Checkers speech in 1952 kept him on the Republican Vice President ticket after he denied allegations about his personal finances and that he intended to keep cocker spaniel his family had been given as a gift. In this year’s election former Governor Mitt Romney was scrutinized for crating his dog on the roof of their car during a road trip.

If presidential dogs could talk, imagine the stories they could tell; what coveted sources they would be for the media? And how much of their knowledge could make or break approval ratings?

To grandmother’s house, we go.

Friday, December 7th, 2012

It’s almost surreal how nature can look when interpreted through the lens and then manipulated.

Shot by Ashley Youkilis on an iPhone with an Instagram filter to desaturate color palette.