New Year’s Resolutions: Living Passionately in 2016

Wow, what a year 2015 was!  It whizzed by in a flash!  My family and I rang in last New Year’s (2015) in Palm Beach, followed by family ski time in Stratton, spent time in Miami, went back to Palm Beach…bought a house in Palm Beach, went to Grand Cayman with friends, went to Greece with other friends, back to Bermuda, time with family in Virginia and Massachusetts, spent July 4th in Washington D.C., Bermuda again, time in Sea Island in August and back to Palm Beach again to ring in 2016. The year came full circle!

My oldest child (daughter) turned ten and I looked back with utter nostalgia on the past decade as a mom.  I still have numerous ultrasound photos tucked into her baby books, and it blows my mind to think that the tiny speck with a heartbeat that I see in those early photos has grown into such an amazing, smart, empathetic and beautiful person.  She delights me at every turn, as do her siblings.  For all of you who are new moms out there, savor every moment!  I started this blog in 2009.  Over the years, I have mentioned my children very little – on purpose- as opposed to the “birth bloggers” who literally blog every moment of their children’s lives literally from the moment of birth in the delivery room.  I can only imagine how it will be for these kids to grow up and see how their parents have publicly chronicled every moment of their lives online for the world to see.  So I have chosen not to do this- but on the occasion of her tenth birthday which passed this Fall, I will reflect.  These are the first photos I ever published of my girls back in 2009 in a post entitled “Having a Whale of a Time in Nantucket”.   I look like a baby myself, with three under three!  My girls were almost four and almost three here:



…and here is my oldest just turned ten!  Wow, what a difference a few years makes!


In addition to having a number of fabulous editorial mentions this year in magazines I love, I was honored to be featured on the cover of Greenwich Magazine’s December issue and to have a fun call-out on my blog in Real Simple Magazine’s December issue.  It was great to end 2015 on a high note!

Melissa Hawks Greenwich Magazine Christmas 2015-2

Melissa Hawks

December is the busiest month for us at our sister site, The Well Appointed House so between work and the kids school schedules (and many holiday concerts and school parties!) things flew by.   With the help of Pickett’s Press and my friend and photographer Cathrine White, I was able to get some holiday cards out to friends and family just in the nick of time.  In case I missed you, here it is.   I love the nod to the elephants — as many of you know my husband and I are huge supporters of elephant conservation through the Wildlife Conservation Society.



This week since returning from vacation and trying to settle back in to the work and parenthood grind, I have had time to see and chat with a few close friends. I have thought about my own Near Year’s Resolutions and what I hope this year will bring (first on the list included signing up for the TSA Pre-Check and the Global Entry travel programs which I completed Sunday night! Wohoo! SO glad to have those off my list finally!  The big one on my list this year is to start a book for children that has been percolating in my mind for years).  I have spoken to a few friends in different places in life and a few things have resonated over the past few days that I thought I would share.  Thoughts to inspire for 2016:

2016 is the year to live passionately.

-Be in love with your life!
-Surround yourself with people- both men and women – old and young – who bring joy to your life – joy in conversation, joy in friendship- people that you want to hug because you love their souls.  I think it is important, whether you are young, old, single, married, gay, straight, transgender, to have meaningful relationships with members of both sexes.
-Say what’s in your heart to the people you care about.  Don’t hold back.  Be sincere.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want – this IS my motto in life
-Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable [Ask E. Jean wrote in this fabulous December 18th post for Elle Magazine ” If you want to win at love, you must be willing to look like a fool” (once in a while- I love it)  I found love at 23, was engaged by 25, married by 26 and in addition to my marriage I have had incredible friends over the years and have always felt very loved. I believe that the energy and openness you put out into the universe comes back to you twofold.
-Have high expectations of those around you (I swear by this. I love the quote by Oprah that “When people show you who they are, believe them ” – it’s another one to live by- **watch her video if you haven’t** I think I saw it in ’97 and it has resonated with me ever since.)
-Trust your instincts, learn to feel them – we have them for a reason!
-Give of yourself to others who are less fortunate.  If we all did this the world would be such a better place.  Whether it’s time, money or even a small gesture like a smile or a hello.
-Care about the earth – your home – your environment.  Yes, it’s yours!  Take care of it.  Nourish it, give back what you take. Plant a tree.  Pick up trash. Care about the people with you and the people on the other side of the globe.  Care about all creatures great and small and realize that yes, we are all in this together.
-Read the paper, engage in what’s happening in the world – once a week if you don’t have time for more
-Read a book before bed, even if it’s just for ten minutes.
-Be inspired by someone or something.  Bursts of inspiration are wonderful!  Creative energy is good for the soul.
-Bring music into your life every day! Listen to good music in the car, invest in a sound system or some bluetooth speakers for home and play music – classical, lounge music, chill music, French cafe music – something!  It’s invigorating and transporting- it spurs creative thought.
-See a show – a live one!
-Decorate your home with colors, fabrics, patterns that make you feel HAPPY!
Love your family
Love your friends’ families!  Offer to pitch in and help if you know someone is having a tough day/week/month.  Friends who show up are the best ones!
-Send flowers and thank you notes! We still all love to get mail!
Reciprocate!  Sit down and think about what others have done for you over the past year.  Respond to their kind gestures with a corresponding one. Bring that good energy back to them. Karma — what you put out into the world comes back!
-If you are thinking of doing something to someone that would cause pain or sadness – don’t!  Spread goodness always!  I love Ellen Degeneres because she has a good heart and makes us laugh.  She said at the Golden Globes January 6th (today/day this post was written) after receiving the “Favorite Humanitarian” Award, “It is strange to get an award for being nice and generous and kind which is what we’re all supposed to do with one another.  That’s the point of being human”  Love her!
-Laugh often!  It’s so cliche but true.  Those who know me know A) I love to play jokes on people and B) I love to send around funny photos and videos (as does my husband).  Sometimes we challenge each other to see who can find the funniest clips and we giggle together as we watch them.  If you’re not on my personal email distribution list, here’s a funny one from a recent Saturday Night Live episode called “Meet Your Second Wife“.  Laughter helps with memory and stress reduction,  Other studies have also shown the wide-ranging health benefits of laughter. A Vanderbilt University study estimated that just 10-15 minutes of laughter a day can burn up to 40 calories (WOW!). Meanwhile, a University of Maryland study found that a sense of humor can protect against heart disease.  Who knew?!!
-Lastly, find that thing you’ve always wanted to do and well, get to it!  Live passionately in 2016!

There is a cute TED talk with Isabel Allende called “How to Live Passionately – No Matter Your Age.  I enjoyed it and will close on that note.  I hope you have some great resolutions for 2016!  Stay with us this year as we continue to blog about The Well Appointed Life – Hortus, Domus, Familia – our logo!  Garden, Home, Family! Thank you for stopping by! ~Melissa Hawks

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  1. Mary Ann Leone

    I loved the photos of Palm Beach, as I’ve visited The Breakers numerous times with my best friend, Cindy, whose mother lives on Singer Island. For me, it was a treat to have lunch there and perhaps buy a book in the gift shop!
    As for travel, even in the best of times my husband and I never linked more than one trip at a time, and since our business tanked, we haven’t been overseas since 2008.
    But through love, hope, and prayer (and some serious budgeting skills!), we’re planning a 2nd honeymoon back to Italy next June. And I must say that it’s been great fun selecting special clothing and accessories over the past three years, tucking each tenderly into the old steamer trunk we bought during our engagement in 1993. (But, truth be told, I’d have been just fine going back after a decade!)
    Your site is lovely and refreshing.

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