Reflecting on 2016 and Goals for 2017

What a year it has been. A lot happened during 2016, and this blog was no exception. Since this will be the last post of 2016, I thought it would be perfect to reflect back on the year and to share some of my goals for the new year.

Killer Harmony | At the end of the year, it is important to reflect on the past and set goals for the new year. Here are the goals for 2017 that I am setting for the year.

I made some big changes to this blog last year, and I know that I will also be making some other (somewhat big) changes in 2017, so I want to also update you guys today so that you can have an idea of what’s to come.

2016 Reflection

January

In January, I changed blog names from It’s Mixed Arts to Killer Harmony, and I bought a domain name to prove it. I also moved back from WordPress.com to Blogger so that I could use the domain without having to pay extra.

Another cool thing that happened was that I was published on the Huffington Post. While I did not get paid for the post nor did it get a ton of views, I am happy I did it. I had a post that I wanted to share but it wouldn’t quite fit this blog, so I thought of Huffington Post. I am grateful for the experience, and I can now put it on a resume.

February

In February, I blogged about blogging for the first time. It was a little out of my comfort zone, because I had only ever blogged about college. But, I thought it could be cool for me and my readers (that’s you) to see something a little different.

I also liked getting to put a spin on blogging that college students could relate to. Since that first post about blogging, I have managed to include blogging related posts more often and include blogging as part of my niche.

March – April – May

These next few months, I didn’t really have much going on. I went to blogging once a week instead of two, which had its pros and cons. Other than that, it was blogging as usual.

June

At the end of June, I finally made the jump to self-hosted WordPress! I had just finished my two online summer classes and thought it would be the perfect time. I could use my extra free time to learn the ins and outs of how WordPress works, figure out plugins and themes, etc.

I am so happy I switched, I only wish I didn’t put it off so long.

July – August

I spent a lot of time learning about WordPress and working on making my blog look like my own. I also had to prepare to move back into a dorm for my last year of college. In July, I celebrated my 21st birthday…no alcohol, though.

September – October – November

With school as my main focus, I didn’t really do much out of the ordinary. I continued blogging once a week, and I got a little better at promoting my blog and posts on social media.

At the end of November, I finally worked up the courage to reopen my Etsy shop with downloads. I opened on Black Friday with ten listings and have added a few more. I plan to add more listings soon, which I will talk about more in the section on my goals.

December

I decided, literally the day before December, that I was gonna do Blogmas. I didn’t post about it on the blog or social media until December 1. One might think I was a crazy person for posting every day on my blog, and I wouldn’t disagree.

I wanted to do Blogmas, because once a week was getting a little boring, and I wanted to challenge myself. This semester, I lucked into only one final, so I didn’t have as much work to do at the end of the semester.

Related: What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

Goals for 2017

I haven’t broken my goals down monthly yet, because I want to do that on a per month basis. That way, I can change my goals each month based on the progress I make. In this post, I am going to share some goals that I want to accomplish in 2017 in general.

College Goals

I graduate in May, and I do not plan on attending graduate school this year. So the only goals related to school are to finish strong and to keep up with my friends from college (and from childhood).

I have a feeling that if I don’t keep up with those friendships now, it will be harder later. Also, I want to finish college strong so that I leave with a better sense of accomplishment.

Career Goals

Since I will be able to work full time come the middle of May, that definitely made the list. Specifically, I want to make a full time income from home online. I want to work with bloggers and businesses to improve their blogs and social media.

I might have to take a job at first, but I would love to eventually work for myself and to take on clients that I choose.

Personal Goals

This year, I really want to cut out certain junk foods entirely. I have a bad habit of eating a whole bag of chips in two days, so I don’t want to ever have chips, unless they are in a portioned bag. For snacks, I want to stick to fruit and pretzels as well as the occasional popcorn.

I also want to move back in with my parents (yeah, I know what you’re thinking). I plan to move back home for awhile so that I can save money while I am just starting my career. At home, I can live rent free in a nice area, and I can save more of the money I do make for when I am ready to move out.

So…

Those were some of my memorable moments from 2016 and my goals for 2017. I will keep you guys updated as I achieve these goals, and I hope that this post will help keep me accountable.

What are your goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out my latest post and follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) so you don’t miss future posts!

Lastly…

Plan out your goals!

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Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner 2017 Overview

It’s that time of the year, friends. The new year is just around the corner, and so that means it is time for planners! In the spirit of the planner season, I am giving you guys an overview of the 2017 Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

I have used the EC Life Planner for the past couple of years, and while I love the quality of EC products, I don’t really use the weekly layout as much as I should. This year, I decided to go for the new Deluxe Monthly Planner. It’s cheaper than the Life Planner, but it has almost all of the same features. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Cover & Intro Pages

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

This is the cover of the planner. I went with the larger 8.5 x 11 inch planner, since I wouldn’t have the weeks, and I chose the pattern Ikat. The cover is nice and is laminated, so it will last all year. As with the Life Planners, you can take off the cover and replace it, if you are interested in that.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

When you first open up the planner, you get a white board that you can write on. You can put assignments, test dates or random notes here. You could also stick a notepad there, too.

On the first page of the planner, you have a page with information on the planner as well as a place to write your personal contact info.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

Next, you have a couple of pages with quotes with a nice rainbow background. The cool thing about the Erin Condren planners is that they all have cute quotes to inspire you. The colors are also nice and make planning more fun.

Calendar Pages

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

The first calendar page is an overview of 2017 with some space to write down big picture goals or whatever you want. I will probably write some of my big year long goals in that space so that I don’t forget them. I don’t really use the year long calendar, but I’m sure there are tons of ways to use it.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

This isn’t really a calendar page, but the next layout has twelve boxes where you can write down some goals you have for each month or maybe goals for different parts of your life. Again, customization is one of the best things about the Erin Condren brand.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

Another not-really-a-calendar-page, before each month, you get a dot grid page. You can’t really see it in the picture, though. These pages could be used for monthly goals, notes, or budgeting. I will probably use these pages to track my income and expenses. I want to start off with a good budget since I will be working graduating in May.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

Also before each month, is a different quote page, with a different background color for each month. I think this quote is pretty perfect for January. Note: if you get the neutral version, you will have all black and white pages throughout your planner.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

Next up, we have the monthly layout. Since I got the larger planner, the boxes have a ton of room to write in, which is awesome. I will be using the monthly calendars to plan out my blogging editorial calendar as well as other important dates.

The right hand side of this page is also nice, because it has a lined section for goals and to dos for the month. This is a great way to remind yourself of your goals and items on your to do list. I will probably use this section for the more time sensitive/important things I need to do.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

The next spread has one page with five boxes so that you can categorize things or break big projects into steps. I haven’t thought too much about how I would use this section. I might have a box for my blog, school, client/job work, personal and other. That might change.

The other page has some lines as well as lines with check boxes on the right. This is probably where I will do the most intense planning, since I can write out ideas and plan details for different projects.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

This last planning page is for 2018. If I think of plans for the following year, I can write them down and then transfer them to a new planner later. I can write a few things for each month as well as yearly goals.

Other Pages

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

In the back of the planner, you have a bunch of blank lined note pages. The planner comes with forty pages, or you can add an extra forty (80 total) for five dollars.

I decided to add the extra pages, because I would be using them more since I would not have weekly pages. I will use these pages for things like big to do lists, random notes and possibly ideas for my blog and biz.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

After the note pages, you have two full sheets of stickers. I’m guessing you probably would not get as many stickers with a 7 x 9 planner, because there would not enough space. You would still get some, though.

I will also be using stickers that I didn’t use in my previous planners, because, why not?

In the very back of the planner, you also get a nice big pocket to hold random things like stickers or loose sheets of paper. Since you can take the covers off, you can even move the folder to the front, if you like. You could also move the stickers with it.

Killer Harmony | Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner | Erin Condren planners are seriously the best. Here is an overview of the new deluxe monthly planner for all of you who don't plan weekly-plus my thoughts.

The last thing in the planner is the back of the pocket, with a shallower folder, and a dry erase board on the back cover. Again, you can use the dry erase board for just about anything. I do think that I will not use this side of the pocket just because it is so short. I’m worried that things might fall out, but at least it’s there in case I do need it.

So…

That is a look inside my new Erin Condren Planner for 2017. I really love their products. The paper in the planners is just amazing, the covers are super sturdy and they’re really cute. That’s a total plus. If you would like to get a planner for yourself or as a late holiday gift, you can use my referral link for ten dollars off your purchase (I get ten dollars off, too!).

Have you bought your planner for this year? Are you excited to use it? Let me know in the comments! Also, be sure to read some of my other posts and follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) so you don’t miss future updates!

Lastly…

Be a Goal Getter!

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How Often Should You Blog?

Well friends, it is Christmas Eve. That means we are at the end of Blogmas. I will not be publishing a post tomorrow, because I will be spending the rest of today (Christmas Eve) and tomorrow celebrating the holiday. I figured I am long overdue for a day off from posting. Don’t worry, I’ll still be on social media. Anyway, this post will be all about how often you should blog.

Killer Harmony | How often should you blog? Most bloggers have had this question, and the answer depends on many factors. You really have to try different things yourself.

I figured that since I did do Blogmas, and I stuck it out until (almost) the bitter end, that I should share what I learned. It takes a lot of work to publish a new post every day, especially a good quality post. Here are some things I learned from going from one blog post per week to one post per day.

I hope these things help you figure out how often you should blog.

1. Motivation helps…a lot.

I learned that the accountability in promising that I would post something new each day on this blog was a great motivator. I told anyone who has access to the internet that I would publish a blog post every single day, and I did. That external motivator was awesome, but internal motivation is important, too.

I had to motivate myself, specifically during finals week. I had to study, but I didn’t want to neglect blogging either, and I think doing something for the blog daily was the best thing I could do.

2. Good post ideas have something of value.

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks (and months, if we’re being honest) that the posts that get the least amount of views and engagement are posts about my personal life. I take no offense to that, after all, who wants to read about a girl who plays flute all the time? (not me…)

I like writing personal posts occasionally, but I need to include some sort of value for you reading the post. I can’t just write a diary about my day; that’s not interesting.

3. Blogging takes time.

It is not easy to write a post, optimize it for different platforms like Google and social media, publish it and then promote it. Even with scheduling tools for posts and social media, it still takes time to schedule stuff to post.

You can’t just write a blog post and expect it to go viral anymore. That’s not how the internet works. You have to make sure you are posting good content that people want to see, and you have to somehow get it in front of those people.

4. Visuals are everything.

In the online world, your visuals can make or break someone’s first impression of you. The look of your blog, social media profiles and post graphics are super important for having a successful blog.

If you didn’t notice, I added a new color to my blog’s style this month. While I do love turquoise and grey, the blog needed something else. I found a nice complementary maroon that looked great with the colors I had in place, and I am obsessed.

I also streamlined my blog graphics, and I hope to spend some time in the near future updating the graphics from before I made the change.

5. Everyone needs a blogging “process.”

Some people prefer to work in batches. They will write all of their posts at one time, design all of their graphics at another time, schedule social media at yet another time and so on.

I have found that I like to work on a post and all of its parts in one go, if I can. I sit down and write the post, make sure it is optimized for search engines (thanks, Yoast!), create the graphics and schedule it for the appropriate time.

6. I truly love blogging and all that comes with it.

Going through my entire blogging process each day really made me love what I do. I love writing posts, editing them, creating graphics, working on search engine optimization (SEO) and promoting my blog.

In fact, I might have something in the works that can help you and your blog…hint, hint. Stay tuned for more information.

So…

How often should you blog? Blogging daily is one option. It is not something I would do again, at least not until next December, but I did enjoy it. I love getting to share things I have learned with my readers, and that is why I am working so hard to make this blog successful.

I will probably move to about two posts per week. As I said, I really nailed down my process this month, and I will have more time in the next few months to write more.

Have you written or blogged daily? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments! Also, be sure to catch up on my latest posts and follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) so you don’t miss future updates!

Lastly…

Be a Goal Getter!

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How to Prepare for the Spring Semester Now

I know finals just ended for the fall semester, but in just a few short weeks, the spring semester will begin. You have a new schedule, new classes and might need to get some new supplies.

Killer Harmony | How to Prepare for the Spring Semester Now | You made it through a semester. Just because it's winter break doesn't mean that you should ignore school. Here's how to prepare for the spring semester.

Winter break, especially after the holidays, is a great time to get organized for the upcoming semester. It’s cold out, and you don’t have too much to do, so why not get everything together. Here are a few ideas for how to prepare for the spring semester now.

1. Clear out your backpack.

After finals, you probably didn’t want to think about school or your backpack. It’s still full of your old books and binders, right? No shame, but you don’t want to wait until the night before classes to clean it out.

Take out all of your old books and supplies that you no longer need. Get rid of any trash that inevitably collected in the bottom of your bag. Set things you don’t need aside and in a safe place. Make sure your backpack is all ready for the new semester.

2. Re-evaluate your organization strategies.

With your new set of classes, it’s the perfect time to evaluate what worked, what didn’t and what you should do next semester. If you had a semester of lecture classes but next time will be more labs or discussions, you might need to organize your stuff a little differently.

This is also a good time to reorganize your planner. If you buy your planner with the calendar year, you will have a new planner to work with. If you bought a planner in August, you can look back at your previous semester and see what changes you can make.

I know I tend to neglect my planner as the semester goes on, so do something to spruce up your planner and make it more interesting. It’s a lot easier to use something that you like and makes you want to get organized.

3. Get your books.

Order your textbooks as soon as you can. Even if you have that dreaded book that you can only get at your school’s bookstore, order it. You don’t want to get back to campus only to be put on a wait list for your books.

Look in Facebook groups for textbook exchanges and set up something, if you can. Order available book store online, or order ahead from the bookstore.

4. Organize your supplies.

Figure out what you need to buy and what you can reuse. Once you have your supplies, put them all in one place so you don’t forget them when you go back to school.

Make sure you know where all of your pens and pencils are and whether you need to buy more. If you like colored pens, make sure they all have enough ink or buy some backups.

5. Relax.

Lastly, take advantage of your extra time off and relax. The fall semester can be hard, especially after a summer off. With the stress of the holidays, it can be hard to stay relaxed, but it’s important. You won’t have as much time to relax once classes start.

So…

Those are five of my best tips for preparing for the spring semester over winter break. Classes are never fun to think about, but getting organized over the break can make your first week back that much easier.

What do you do to prepare for classes over break? Let me know in the comments. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) and catch up on my recent blog posts!

Be a Goal Getter!

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5 Easy Ways to Destress

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. People are rushing to get gifts, you have to bake goodies to take to a family gathering and who knows? You might even be hosting a holiday party. All of that stress at the end of the year can get to you, so you need easy ways to destress.

Killer Harmony | 5 Ways to Destress | With the end of year stress, you need to stay sane. That's why I came up with five (5) awesome, easy ways to destress from the comfort of your own home.

It can be easy to get burnt out if you are not careful. To avoid that burn out, you need some ideas for ways to destress during this hectic season. That is why I have five easy ways for you to get rid of stress from the comfort of your own home.

1. Sleep

Your body simply won’t be able to function without enough sleep. While it may seem like we do nothing during sleep, that is when our bodies convert short term memories into long term and heal damaged cells. The point is, sleep is necessary, and it’s a great way to get away from the hectic holidays for a few hours.

2. Take a Bath

If you want an easy way to relax that won’t take too long, try taking a bath. You can get a bath bomb or go au natural and just wing it. Taking a bath allows you to just be with yourself and your thoughts for awhile. You get to relax in a warm tub all by yourself. Who wouldn’t want that?

3. Watch Netflix (or Hulu or YouTube)

With the stress of final exams or year end business, you probably haven’t had a chance to watch some of your favorite shows, but now you can. Catch up on new releases on Netflix or Hulu or watch some of your favorite YouTubers. Watching a comedy video or show is a great way to unwind and destress.

4. Read a Book (or Magazine or Blog)

Reading is a great destress method. You can find a fiction book and get into the story. Or you can read something nonfiction and maybe learn something new. Reread the Harry Potter series if you like. You can check out the newest blog posts, if that’s more your speed. Either way, reading gives you something to focus on that is separate from the stress you might be facing due to the holidays.

5. Start a Journal

If you would prefer to write or draw instead of read or watch, this idea is for you. Odds are you can find a blank (or almost blank) notebook in your house or for cheap. Maybe you have an old journal that still has a ton of empty pages. Why not start a journal. You can write or draw whatever you want in it, and you can keep it a secret or share it with your friends.

Bonus: Organize Your Room

Maybe it’s just me, but nothing feels better than an organized living space. If you feel that way, why not put on some of your favorite songs and organize your space? If you are visiting home for the holidays, your room is probably a little neglected, so give it some TLC and make it tidy. That way, you can more easily find stuff without having to stress too much.

So…

Those are some of my favorite ways to destress. Most of them (if not all) can be done without leaving your house! That makes it super easy to relax and stay sane, especially now that it is officially winter.

What are some ways that you like to destress? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to catch up with my previous post and follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) for updates! And lastly…

Be a goal getter!

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