Monthly Archives: December 2016

my 20s

why i kept my 2016 new year’s resolutions. and will in 17, too.

December 30, 2016

i have been thinking a lot about why 2016 was the first year that i really felt growth from my new year’s resolutions. and i think i nailed it down in two pieces:

  1. i focused on parts of myself that i didn’t like and made resolutions to follow. i didn’t like how negativity popped up instead of optimism, so i tried to push myself to see the good first and foremost. i realized that i didn’t want more things but more memories, so i budgeted for some small trips to san diego, carmel and denver. i realized i didn’t like all the jealousy i had in my heart so i stopped thinking that people were perfect or had the lives in their instagrams and really trained myself to know that comparing will rob me of everything. literally everything. joy, contentment, peace, gratitude. i realized that i had lost my love for working out in the midst of some extremists in college and want to love being fit again not because i would lose a pound here or there but because of the rush of endorphins and the guarantee for a healthier tomorrow.
  2. i focused on the intangibles. to be honest, january is not a great time for someone who just spent loads of money on christmas presents and great sales to be like “oh yes, this will be the year i travel abroad.” i save my live list/bucket list/physical i-can-check-that-off list for my birthday in august when i feel refreshed and have more brain space than immediately following basically the busiest time of the year. also, i am always making goals and reading self-development books and stalking brene brown etc. etc. so new year’s goal sheets and planners and financial tips just overwhelm me right after the buzz of the holidays. so i keep it simple and focus my resolutions on things that i want to become part of ania. for 2016, it was choosing joy and seeing people as people, not perfect images on instagram. it was also spending 30 minutes of fitness everyday and choosing to travel instead of have some new shoes or accessories.

and looking back, 2016 has been one of my most joyful years. not because of perfect circumstances because holy smokes, between second semester being one of the most difficult and emotionally draining of my life, moving home, taking care of my mom, the scare with my nephew, feel unstable and undirected in every sense of the word, being rejected from jobs, getting a job, moving back to the city i swore i wouldn’t move back to and everything in-between, there was plentyyyyy of space for whining and griping and enlarging my woes. but i c l u n g to choosing joy like my freaking anchor and lo and behold, it worked. joy to the world.

it was ALL but because of my attitude shift. i just simply chose joy more. and i focused especially on everyday life. i know it’s probably almost annoying to the people around me but i think when you really start to live in gratitude and see tiny flickers of hope and joy in the everyday, it really changes you. at least it changed me. and i like this version of ania a lot more than the moody, “i am always busier, more tired and more broke than anyone ever” version. things like seeing my nephew for 20 minutes after work, cooking a good meal for friends, taking a walk to crunch through the leaves – these are the good things in life, i have come to realize. traveling will always be such a big part of my passion but not truly a big part of my life (at least right now).


things i have been thinking about that i don’t super love about myself… #honestyisthethemeofthispost

something that came to light this summer that was not so bueno was how heavily i have placed my identity in earthly things. particularly where i lived post grad and what my job was if we’re speaking recently. the fact that i might work in a cube K I L L E D me. i mean seriously it did. i had straight up anxiety when i left my job interview FOR THE FREAKING JOB I LOVE AND HAVE NOW. all because of the cubes. truly, i am the worst. but i had placed my identity in some trendy corner of NY so God literally had to wrench it off that and on Him by placing in my hands one of the biggest blessings with my current position. which yes, involves a cube. and i don’t mind at all.

other things include but are not limited to: my blog compared to others’ which are amaze balls, my photography, my wardrobe…the list goes onnnnnn but i don’t really want you all to realize how vain i can be. hehehehe.;)

so my 2017 resolution is to “reroot my identity”.

i want to root my identity firmly in what is worthy of my time and energy. aka i want to root myself in Him. reallllyyyyy spread them out in good, fertile ground.

if i work in a cube or don’t meet the love of my life tomorrow or don’t have my apartment the way i want it to look, it shouldn’t matter. because if i am on solid ground and don’t build a house around me of tiny twigs of vanity, self-love and jealousy, than those things won’t matter. because what does matter is getting to heaven. if we’re really just getting sups real.

so at the end of 2017, i want to look back and see that every time i found myself clinging to earthly temptations, i tore myself away and spent more time with Him. or His kingdom.

this doesn’t mean i am not going to shop, decorate my apartment or travel in 2017. but if none of those things happen, ill be fine. if i don’t in some way become a better version of myself, i think i’d be a leeeetle more disappointed than if i don’t make it to new york.

i also love how choosing a phrase can be applied to multiple aspects of my life. for example, i am going to continue to reroot my identity from some perfect, unattainable body to healthy and fit. i am going to reroot my identity from fast, fast, fast changes to my apartment, wardrobe and travel schedule and remember that patience is a virtue. i am going to reroot my identity from the clothes i wear to the people and places i visit.

i am excited for 2017. i love the feeling of a fresh start. but if this isn’t the best time for you to make resolutions, then don’t. set a goal of making resolutions by valentine’s day or even later. i hate the idea that this time is the only time for goals or resolutions. there is nothing wrong with setting a small goal for winter and then revisiting in spring.

i love my 23 year bucket list and my little new year’s resolutions combo. it’s a good fit for me so hopefully it helps you know that whatever works for you is what works for you and at the end of the day, that’s the best you can do. <3


(first) maternity photo session: hofman family

December 27, 2016

i am so very lucky to have wonderful people who will let me learn as i take their photos. abby and jimmy are friends of my sister and i’s so doing this specific type of shoot for the first time made me feel more at ease.

abby and jimmy wanted to capture this special time for them as they prepare for their first child and i always am looking for practice so this was a win-win!

we met in forest park in st. louis and laughed through learning how/where jimmy should pose without looking awkward or…awkward. 🙂 it was definitely not his fault because as you’ll see, they’re brilliantly photogenic. it was more so the fact that in her black dress, abby’s baby bump didn’t show in the photos without her hands around it. but then what does jimmy do with his hands?! we couldn’t stop laughing at our failed attempts but i think the successes turned out beautiful.

i am so happy for them and the beginning of this special new life. there is nothing sweeter that seeing a couple grow their love for each other.


congrats abby and jimmy! i am praying for baby hofman and can’t wait to meet him/her!

home design

repurposing pretty candles.

December 20, 2016

i’m baaaaack. did ya miss me?!?!

i missed you all! truthfully. i love blogging and writing and designing these posts. being so crazy busy lately, along with my weekend trip to colorado, completely threw me off my schedule. but i think my new routine will be posts on tuesday and thursday. let’s see how it goes. 🙂

i have been meaning to post this little number for awhile because it’s one of my favorite ways to  repurpose something i love so much – candles. oh my goodness, i love candles. i always have at leaaaaast two burning when i am home. there’s something so romantic and cozy about a flickering flame and i love the light it casts in a dark room. but i was always so sad when i would have to throw away the pretty containers.

(and especially pretty candles from anthropologie. oh my word, those candles speak straight to my soul. i have worked for anthropologie and i can say from experience, our candles are some of the best. this one is the literal perfect christmas candle because of it’s ornate case but OH THE SMELL. it makes me weak in the knees. i have no earthly idea why it’s not online but it’s most likely in your store as i just bought another one for a gift the other day!!

while i am quickly on an anthro candle tangent, these are my favs: capri blue ‘volcano’  (this is usually what you smell when you want into an anthropologie!), capri blue ‘peach nectar’ and barr co ‘original scent’.)

now i never look at candles the same because i am already thinking about what it will look like when i clean out the container.

okay i’m getting a leeeeettle ahead of myself.

so here’s what happens.

you fall in love with a candle. you burn it basically all hours you are home and soon enough, it’s down to the tiniest wick and nothing you can do will make the flame hold.

usually, you would throw it away. but NOW, you can use that cutsie little container for jewelry, sugar packets, matches, cotton balls, your keys, flowers, shelf decor…the list goes on!

(can you see my little pieces of scotch tape? hehehe)

here’s what you need:

  • a butter knife
  • a freezer
  • dish soap
  • boiling water
  • your two hands

here’s what ya do:

  1. put the candle in the freezer for about 3-4 hours at least (without the lid!)
  2. take the candle out of the freezer.
  3. use the knife to both stab the wax in 1-2 places so it’ll crack and also to pry it from the inside of the container. the wax will begin to crack and then it’s basically just using picking up cracked pieces!
  4. make sure all the wax is out and then take the tip of the knife to pop out the little metal circle wick holders off the bottom of the candle if they’re still there. usually they are just glued down so they’ve always just popped off for me!
  5. fill the container with dish soap and boiling water. let it soak and then pour out the water, scrub the inside a little and dry with paper towel.

so, so easy! honestly. and it’s made shopping for candles even more fun because i am thinking two steps ahead to what i’ll use it for once i’ve burned it through. i have done this with metal, ceramic and glass candles and my little system hasn’t failed me yet.:)

happy diy-ing!


vibed to the sound of fixer upper. is joanna looking for a personal assistant? i volunteer as tribute.

my 20s

i see you

December 5, 2016

i see you working hard.

i see you getting to the library early in the am as your roommates sleep off a night of drinks while you fell into bed the night before exhausted after class, work and meetings.

i see you pushing through the last mile of your run because you’re determined to be healthy, to live longer and better than those before you.

i see you teaching yourself new skills because you’re passionate about something no one around you knows anything about.

i see you questioning every starbucks you buy and every grocery receipt, wondering if you should’ve splurged on that fancy box of cereal.

i see you laying awake at night praying for your future spouse, your future children, your future.

i see you staying after class to ask just one more question, get one more review of your paper, learn one more way to solve the problem.

i see you letting yourself be a child in your awe of big christmas trees, shining lights and bright stars.

i see you saving money, getting the least expensive drink at the bar and hoping your friends remember to repay you for the uber.

i see you staying up late and waking up early, the first one to arrive at your final and the last one to leave.

i see you going to mass by yourself at lunch, surrounded by the elderly.

i see you choosing the longer of the two dresses for formal, not drinking so you can get your friends home safe, choosing to not go out at all because you’re nervous that you’re not “wild” enough for the night your friends have planned.

i see you relishing in a night at home, reading a good book and breathing in your new candle.

i see you trying new recipes, trying new running paths, just trying new things.

i see you choosing joy despite another dirty diaper, another afternoon of tears and self-doubt as a new mom.

most of all, i see you choosing all of this when no one at all is looking, especially not instagram.

i may not be able to really see you but i want you to know that there are people our age, the “millennials”, working hard, saving money, trying to be good christians in today’s world.

in this lens of social media, it’s easy to feel unknown even though we’re really as exposed as we’ve ever been. i remember thinking in college that i had to be the only one who stressed about money, relationships, my faith, today’s society, etc because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT THESE THINGS.

but what i realized this summer is that everyone is going through something rough, carrying their own cross, and we all should be kind to each other regardless of whether we know the weight of their cross or not.

it’s not up to someone to tell me their life story or convince me how rough they have it or prove it to me in every instagram post. i should be treating them with kindness before a word comes out of their mouth or proof of their hardship is in front of me.

so here i am. little ania laying in bed typing this because i want you to feel known and seen in this crazy world. there ARE other people working their booties off just like you, who have big dreams for themselves just like you, who feel self-doubt just like you, who choose joy just like you. but you have to know that they might not tell you, maybe not at first, but they’re trying too.

i don’t want you to feel alone in this blur of pretty instagram photos. every so often i want to pop in here and tell you i see you, you have worth just by being who you are and your hard work will pay off.

have courage and be kind.





wrote this quickly in place of a style post (coming at ya live wednesday!) because i just feel like this monday post needed a little more oomph.