How to stick to your New Years Resolution

Turn Last Year’s Obstacles into this year’s Optimism

As the end of the year approaches, many of us find ourselves running on an empty optimism tank. Luckily, this means the new year is right around the corner with an entire year’s worth of attitude boost. And of course what better way to begin a clean slate than with the answer to all of last year’s problems? A resolution so to speak. While the purpose is to iron out the crinkles of last year, sometimes creating a resolution only adds to the list of problems. Here’s what you need to know in order to set out your new year’s resolution and how to stick to your goals.

 

First comes the golden rule of resolutions: Be realistic. Being overly optimistic can result in setting goals that might be out of your reach. Setting the goal of getting a 4.0 GPA when you’re at a 1.3 just isn’t reasonable. While it’s great to shoot for the stars, don’t set yourself up for failure.

Secondly: don’t feel like you need to solve every problem right away. Last year could have been an eventful one for you where life presented you with obstacle after obstacle. If we all sat down and made a list of all the things that went wrong in the year, it would be simply overwhelming.  It’s perfectly acceptable to start off with a few goals in mind at the beginning, and add to your list when the others have been checked off.

Thirdly: follow your realistic goals with a plan of action. While ordering pizza for two to be eaten by one may be the resolution to a stressful week, it’s not the resolution to living a healthier lifestyle. Instead, make a realistic dietary plan that you know is appropriate for you that you won’t be tempted to cheat every chance you get.

Fourthly: treat yo self. Good behavior deserves to be rewarded. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a little pat on the back once in awhile when you have achieved your goals. Having one cheat night, taking one night off of studying to do something fun, or even putting on some music to accompany a nice hot bath is what this could look like. Don’t forget to encourage yourself and acknowledge how far you have come.

 

Above all, remember the goal is to manage your issues, not create more. Be honest with yourself, decide what it most important to you, stick to your word, and don’t forget to feel some pride while doing it. Let’s kick 2015’s problems to the curb and being 2016 with optimistic engines full.

 

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Asher Marie: Featured Brand

Kaylee Schatz Berg: CEO of Asher Marie

Tell us the Asher Marie story…and how did you get into fashion?

Asher Marie has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl in grade school. Although it didn’t yet have a name or a specific purpose, I always knew I wanted to create a brand; something that would be shared by women around the world and allow myself a creative outlet. For me, it had to have a global purpose. This was before social media had been invented, the Internet was a pastime and smartphones were daily accessories. From a very early age, I knew the world was much bigger than me and I had the vision of creating something that could be shared by many. After following a more “traditional” collegiate path, I started to develop my ideas, fashion sketches, scrapbooks and vision boards. It took over ten years for my ideas to become tangible and for me to gather the courage to take the leap of faith to create Asher Marie. While creative, I have always been a very calculated person. I am grateful for my decade-long professional real estate and interior design career, as it gave me the discipline and business focus I needed to launch a global brand. Then, about three and a half years ago, the most amazingly spectacular thing happened to me: I became a mommy to my son, Asher. He truly is my greatest gift. Asher is my joy, my light, my life and my motivation! I love him beyond words and cannot express how he has inspired me as a person! It was this life event that finally gave me the humanly push I needed to develop my inaugural collection and my brand.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

The Asher Marie Collection offers bright, vibrant and explosive pieces that are inspirational both in their patterns and silhouettes. Asher Marie can transition any woman from day to night, from the boardroom to cocktail hour with friends. Our pieces are travel friendly, with little to no wrinkles and are easy to care for with our machine washable and durable fabrics.

What are your plans for the future? Anything exciting coming you can tell us? 

I couldn’t be more excited to answer this question, so it will take a bit of personal restraint to not share EVERYTHING!  But, what I can say is we are extremely focused on building a lifestyle brand that celebrates women and life!  Naturally, we will be progressing by adding resort wear and lifestyle pieces including, maxi dresses and Athliesure shorts and cropped pants.  Swimwear will ultimately follow sometime in the next few seasons.  We are also planning to participate in a handful of exciting runway shows in 2016 just as we successfully showcased at LA Swim Week earlier this year.  Coastal photo shoots and some noteworthy collaborations are all on the horizon!

What is the meaning behind your brand name, Asher Marie?

My son is named Asher, which means “happy and blessed.”  The second part of my brand name is a family name that extends four generations before me and is also my middle name, “Marie.” Fuse the two together and you have, “Asher Marie.” To me, it symbolizes happiness, blessings and strength for those women who have come before us!

What are your inspirations for your collection?

Asher Marie, as a brand, is inspired by women and our desire to feel good about ourselves while living life.  It may sound cliché, but when I became a mother, I felt like I lost a piece of myself in the daily grind.  I was used to juggling family, friends, a social calendar and multiple businesses, but throw in a baby and life became a lot less about me and a lot more about him!  I wanted to create something that would allow me and my friends to effortlessly feel sexy and fresh without the fuss… Our gorgeous prints are inspired by life’s celebrations.  Deep moonlit conversations; barefoot walks on the beach with the sun at your back; colorful markets filled with ripe fruits and crafty finds of the Caribbean; exotic textiles from Europe; road trips with sisters or your best girlfriends; or even the simple Sunday brunch.  I believe all women are connected in spirit and Asher Marie is inspired by mothers, entrepreneurs, grandmothers, college students, women who love to travel, enjoy fine food or the arts.  Asher Marie is made for any woman who wants to feel good about herself and participate in vibrant prints, while embracing classic silhouettes. My goal with each collection is to push the boundaries, ever so slightly.  When you walk into a boutique that carries Asher Marie, you may find everyone from aged 21 to 71 purchasing and loving our pieces.

Juan Pablo Ruiz: Featured Artist

Juan Ruiz is a fine artist in the representational and figurative tradition.

Tell us how you got into art.

I always hate this question because the usual answer is so clichéd; “Ever since I was little…blah blah blah” Almost every artist has this same back-story. But it has become a cliché precisely because it is so true. Almost every artist had some spark of expressive creativity or artistic talent from a very young age. In my case, I remember being 4 or 5 yrs old and my mother sitting down with me and my sister to draw little scenes of stick figures next to houses, trees, cars, etc. I was the one that took an interest right away. Then she discovered I had a talent for working with clay so she would get me non-hardening clay and I’d take it with me everywhere. I made scenes on a piece of Masonite with animals, dinosaurs, and cartoon characters. My mother also always talked to me about the Renaissance, especially artists like da Vinci and Michelangelo. So I grew up with Renaissance art as my model of what high art should be. A model that has been hard to shake.

What are you thinking about when you’re creating art?

I try to think of an engaging image, something that will catch the viewer’s attention. I used to think that I was making art for “other” viewers, now the viewer is increasingly myself. I think of what will catch MY eye as the viewer because in the end my paintings are questions that I am asking myself. Since being at Pafa (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) I have had the opportunity to attend several workshops with Vincent Desiderio, as well as having a couple of private critiques with him in my studio. He is one of the most interesting and intelligent painters working today. Among the many things that comprise his artistic philosophy is the idea that the “technical narrative” is of utmost importance in a painting – perhaps more so than the “dramatic narrative.” The dramatic narrative is the story being acted out inside the picture frame but the technical narrative is made up of all the technical choices that the artist has made in order to arrive at the painting you have in front of you: composition, handling of paint and other media (whether paint is brushed on, smeared on, scraped, glazed) the tools used, etc. The technical narrative is of supreme importance because it allows a glimpse into the artist’s mind and thought-process more so than the story he or she is portraying on the canvas. I’ve always had a poor knowledge and engagement with art history so I’ve also tried to look at more art since being at Pafa, both historical and contemporary in order to learn how other artists have dealt with similar technical and conceptual issues.

Tell us about your educational/personal training?

Sometimes I think of myself as a self-taught artist. My undergraduate art department was very small and although they were very supportive and allowed us freedom to explore our own approaches to art, they did not have a significant emphasis on skills training. I often found myself asking questions about glazing and other traditional painting methods and finding very few answers among the faculty. So I constantly turned to Google for questions about painting materials and techniques and then learned through trial-and-error as I experimented on the canvas. I still go through a process of trial-and error but one that is not so blind anymore and which is more confident. I also studied History and a little bit of Political Philosophy so my paintings are the creations of a worldview shaped by these disciplines.

Where do you find inspiration?

From different sources…Sometimes other art, especially master paintings; but always from the world we live in. My paintings are also always influenced by my interest in history, philosophy and politics. Although I hate being called a political artist. Over time I’ve discovered that I always deal with some aspect of humanity. My favorite paintings of all time deal with the human condition: How humans deal with being human – religious experience, moral questions, great events, everyday life, our own biology. People sometimes ask me why I always paint negative things: injustice, violence, etc. I think it is easy to paint puppies and kittens and rainbows, everybody loves these things, but great art challenges us. Great art dares us to ask difficult questions and doesn’t always have a happy ending. Along with the pleasant and beautiful the human world also has many things that are hard to think about in their ugliness and sadness. I think it is important to keep this in mind so that we don’t ignore it just because it isn’t happening in our own backyard.

What is your favorite medium to work with?

Drawing has always come naturally to me and painting is something that I’ve always struggled with. Recently I’ve started to try to combine the two by working monochromatically with oil paint more as a drawing tool than as a painterly one. I now find that I am better at drawing this way than with the traditional pencil or charcoal stick. I usually prepare the canvas with a translucent burnt umber ground, let it dry completely and then draw with thinned raw umber. I use a bristle brush, usually round, and scrub the paint into the canvas, almost sculpting with it as I move it around. The result is similar to Mark Tansey’s monochromatic paintings – “Triumph of the New York School” being a well-known example. I use this approach for studies and underpainting. But I’m also slowly trying to teach myself how to apply the paint in different ways, with a palette knife, wet into wet as opposed to indirectly, impasto, etc. And to make better use of color, which I’ve always struggled with. In the end I hope to arrive at a technique that merges thick and thin, translucent with opaque, and rough with smooth. Similar to the way paint was applied during the Baroque.

To follow his current work, visit Juan’s Facebook page.

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