For me the New Year kicks off in September. There’s something about the crisp autumn air and the start of the school year that smells fresh to me. Don’t get me wrong — I still enjoy the blank-page feel of January First, too. It makes us start thinking about how to do better, how to step in a different direction, how to use this incredible gift of 12 unwrinkled months wisely. We don’t want to repeat our old mistakes. And so we make resolutions. We pull together promises and lay out intentions to eat more kale, learn Italian, run a marathon, travel to Japan, and generally live our best lives.


We were there, at a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside, to see wine made.
But then, there were these lemons!

Chianti Rufina; Canon Rebel XSi 50mm, March 2012

But we all live in the real world together. We know that it’s easy to slip back into not-so-great habits. And sometimes staring at a clean slate can be intimidating. Plus, so many of our resolutions are too grand and broad to begin with, they’re almost set-ups for disappointment. This pressure to radically improve your life starting immediately on January 1st is what led me to do away with the usual resolutions many years ago. Now I start small, get specific, and focus on things that are actually doable. It’s with those small things, those small wins, that I might open the doors to some of the loftier goals on the list.


This building, with all its peeling paint and age, was simply stunning.
Venice, Italy; Canon Rebel XSi 50mm, March 2012

For instance, some of my recent resolutions have been things like:

  • listen more and interrupt less
  • sip my everyday drinks from charming tea cups and fancy glasses
  • use the first five minutes upon opening my eyes in the A.M. to give thanks for the morning light (corny, but it works — sets my mood for the day)

The light pouring into all of the cracks and alleyways of this peaceful,
cobblestoned town, beyond beautiful.

Montepulciano, Tuscany; Canon Rebel XSi 50 mm, March 2012

I also use this time of year to look back at what was, at what my lens captured, with the hope of gaining some insight into what might be. Taking a look back through 2012, I came across some sweet, little moments with my son and husband…


Some of the best times I’ve had all year involved these two Cute Pies.

…as well as several “I’m-actually-doing-this-yessss!” times with my sisters!


The Blades Sisters head out on an “us-only” trip every October,
and last year we hit the Florida Keys.

Key Largo, FL, October 2012


Looking at my first-ever homemade Mother’s Day gift from The Youngster continues to make me giggle.
Connecticut; May 2012, Canon Rebel XSi 50mm

This is not a call to end all traditional resolution-making. Quite the opposite. Turning your eye towards what’s ahead with focus and intent is always a good thing. If it moves you closer to happiness and abundance and striving for better, then do it. Resolve away! Just leave room to adjust your lens as needed.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.


On the Sisters Trip, we decided the sky really isn’t the limit.
Key Largo, FL, October 2012; Canon Rebel XSi 10-22mm

Nicole Blades is a writer, journalist, storyteller, and ever-learning photographer. She’s also mother to perhaps the most delightful little boy on this spinning globe. You can read her parenting blog, Ms. Mary Mack or follower her on Twitter @NicoleBlades, Instagram, and Flickr.

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