2013 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


5 Tips to Achieve Your Goals in 2014

Monday, December 30, 2013

We tend make New Years resolutions that we can't keep. Instead of hoping for ridiculous goals, create resolutions that are realistic. Believe in yourself. Establish some things that you'd like to accomplish this year. There is no time to wait. NOW IS THE TIME. Follow these five tips to make the most of 2014 and to actually achieve your goals. 

1. Write it down - Sounds easy enough, right? Then do it! What good is something if can't even remember it? Write your goals so you can see it. You can type it up and print it if you choose. But I highly recommend physically writing it down with pen and paper. Looking at your list throughout the year will be a constant reminder to strive for your goals.

2. Be specific - Simply saying, "I want to work out more" doesn't amount to much. How often do you want to work out? For how long? On which days? Where? Vagueness is not your friend. The small details make a difference. A better and more specific goal is: I want to workout at least three times a week for 45 minutes.

3. Share your goals - What pushes you more (or is more embarrassing) than having a friend ask, "Did you ever finish that project you were working on?" or "I thought you were going to give up watching so much Netflix." Sharing your resolutions might be the shove in the right direction. If you ever feel unmotivated, your friend asking you, "Whatever happened to...?" could be just what you need to keep going. So tell your friends and family!

4. Don't give up - Whatever your goals are, don't give up if it doesn't happen or work out right away. Sometimes life can get in the way. Distractions happen, but don't let it completely derail you. For instance, if your goal is to get a job, get a high GPA or even to buy a car, it takes time and effort. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't instantly work out. Keep at it!

5. Do it - Don't just say you're going to do something, do it.  Don't procrastinate. You want to workout more? Well, get up off your butt and head to the gym or go on a walk. You want to eat healthier? Stop eating chips all the time and incorporate more fruits. Actions speak louder than words, so let your actions do the talking.

7 Things To Do Before 2014

Friday, December 13, 2013

Just a couple more weeks until 2014 begins. But that's in the future. Let's focus on today. Right now. We've got to be present. We can spend our days looking forward to (or worrying about) tomorrow or we can spend it enjoying today. With that said, it is a festive time of year. But it combines with that end of the year hustle. Keep the pace and set your goals high. Here are 7 easy, fun, cool, amazing things to do before 2014 comes and goes.

1. Have a movie marathon - Have a boy's night. Have a girl's night. Have a parent's night. Have a date night. Do you see where I'm going with this? Use this as an excuse to chill out and watch a few movies. Scary movie marathon? Christmas film marathon? Comedy marathon? So many options, so little time.

2. Call your mum - Or dad. Or grandma. Or nephew. Or tia. Phone a relative you haven't heard from in a while. Find out about their life. Let them know how you're doing. Catch up. Family means a lot, especially during this time of the year.

3. Play a board game - Notice that it's called a board game not a bored game. They are played on a flat surface aka a board. These are not boring, so do not skip this step! Remember all the board games you used to play as a little kid. Bring back those gleeful memories. I recommend Sorry!, Clue, or Monopoly.

4. Read a book - Reading is an escape. You can avoid your real life for as long as you keep reading. Visit a far off land. Learn about the odd animals in the deep ocean. Peruse your library. Plus, reading at night can calm your nerves and make it easier to fall asleep.

escape // carmen varner

5. Sleep in - The small things in life add up. A full night's sleep is important, but sleeping in once in a blue moon is infinitely more important. Don't you think? Well, kind of. Receiving that extra 30 minutes (or three hours, depending on how you roll), can lift your spirits a great deal.

6. Donate your items - Now is the perfect time to purge your wardrobe/belongings. Do you really need that old shirt that you've had for eight years? On the other side of the spectrum, do you really need those boots that have been sitting in your closet for two years and still have the stickers on the sole? Get rid of the things that add no value to your life.

7. Buy yourself a gift - You deserve it! Spend some bucks on yourself. If you really want something, just get it. Don't wait and wish and hope for someone else to read your mind and purchase it for you. Sometimes it feels the best when you earned it yourself.

Start off the new year happily. Take an hour to spend time with yourself or loved ones. Time is more precious than money.

Anatomy of a Smoothie

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

I don't dissect animals, but I do dissect smoothies. Here I have analyzed the internal organs of a tasty drink. I enjoy smoothies because they can contain a lot of fruits, veggies, and nutrients. This one has five fruits! You can even add more depending on your hunger/thirst. Smoothies are like cold soups; you can mix anything you want and it almost always turns out delicious. I don't care if winter is on its way. I LOVE SMOOTHIES!

Anatomy of a Smoothie // Carmen Varner

finished product // Carmen Varner

Photos of Fall in California

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall in California is a wonderful thing. And if every day is a blessing, shouldn't it be captured? How can we let these seemingly small yet considerable occurrences pass us by? The grass is never truly greener on the other side; it only looks that way because of the shade. And nothing--I mean nothing--can stand in the way of the eye of the beholder. So open your eyes.

Vans - Red / Hawaiian & green grass // Carmen Varner

Succulents & such // Carmen Varner

I like to reflect. Mainly on the positive things. Spending too much time stuck in the negatives of the past is not recommended. I want to remember how the leaves looked on a cloudy fall day. I want to look back and recall how it was "back in the day."

Autumn leaves & tigers please // Carmen Varner

The person: Carmen. The time: Autumn. The year: 2013. The month: November. The place: California. What it's like: The trees lose their leaves slowly. Some are sparse, if not barren. Other trees are more fortunate; their green leaves lovingly hanging on. There is the mesh of the fresh greenery of living plants and the crunchy browns of the fallen leaves. It's a beautiful chaos. 

List of Nice Words to Use More

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This is a list of nice words. Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? Or maybe you're stuck in a word rut? "Dinner was great. The movie was cool. She looks cute." How about you add a little zest? "Dinner was phenomenal. The movie was marvelous. She looks glorious." Oh yeah, I like the sound of that.

We need more variety, happiness, and positivity in our lives. Let's start with our words, our thoughts, our vocabulary. These are positive words. They are adjectives for the good things. Note: this list is draggable. Drag it from my blog to your desktop. Share it with friends. Use these words. Life is like poetry. We can express ourselves however we want. Let's enrich it. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I like shoes. I have sneakers, high tops, boots, sandals, slip ons, flats, heels, you name it. I recently bought a pair of black velvet combat style boots. I saw them. I loved them. It was pure bliss and passion. Don't you love those moments? Whether it's for a painting, a puppy or a pumpkin, it feels nice to have such a strong wave of likeness toward something. I adored (and still adore) my Vans Red/Hawaiians I got earlier this year.

Well, now I've added these rad transparent combat boots to add to my collection. They're perfect for the fall and winter months. I always had shoes that left my toes damp due to the rain. In university, I used to walk to school. My shoes, socks and thusly, my feet were soaked all day. Not to mention, our campus seemed to create rivers rather than puddles.

For years, I wanted rain boots but never found any I swooned over. Well, it's that time of year again. You know. It gets cloudy and overcast. The days get cooler and it starts to rain. At the seemingly perfect time, I spotted these. The internet is a great thing. It can inspire you, get your brain thinking, and show you the world. These transparent plastic boots chose me.

I saw. I searched. I conquered. I waited. I wore. I'm wearing. Now I just need some cool socks to pair with them.

5 Films To Watch On Netflix ASAP

Friday, November 08, 2013

Netflix is like the current; it's constantly moving; there's an ebb and flow. Don't let amazing films flee from your grasp. Netflix is a superb service because it's simple, cheap and easy to access. Normally, its films are quick to load and high-quality. 

There are a bajillion movies out there but here are five fabulous films to watch on Netflix. Take a gander at them before they vanish and you have to view a horrible online version or rent it from Redbox. Heaven knows the last thing you want to do on a lazy day is drive to a grocery store to rent a movie. Take it easy.

1. Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn. Gregory Peck. Black and white. Rome. Romance. Yadda yadda yadda. Come on guys, you know this is a "classic." This is one of those films you have to watch just to say you've seen it. Ask another friend who hasn't seen it to check it out with you.

2. Clerks

This 1994 cult classic is also in black and white. Oooh, plot twist. "Clerks" is an essential film for any human who's had a brain melting dead end job. Don't miss out. It's funny, understated and relatable. Funny note: a pack of cigarettes only cost $1.65. 

3. The Truman Show

Jim Carrey plays a guy who doesn't know his entire life is broadcasted to humanity as a television show. Then...he finds out! OMG! What?! So good. Carrey is pure gold. Make some popcorn. Invite a friend. Watch it. Be intrigued. 

4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas  

This was a random find for me. I put it in my "to watch" list. It stayed there for a while before I read the tiny blurb, remained uninspired but decided to give it a go. Best decision ever. This is a must-see! Two boys become friends. One is a Jewish prisoner. The other is...not. The relationship is dynamic, heart-wrenching and divine.

5. The Emperor's New Groove

So there's this self-obsessed emperor. Long story short, he gets turned into a llama. Okay, this may be for kids, but I'm a kid at heart. I recommend watching with some children or youthful folk so you don't feel awkward doing so alone. Or if you're confident in yourself like me, watch it regardless. This is fun, animated and you can never beat a Disney film!

Stay tuned for more Netflix recommendations! Happy viewings!

Late night inspirations by lamplight

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I was inspired by the internet & the plethora of art & creativity on it. I saw some really excellent drawings & poems done in old books & loved the idea. So I decided to try it. I write in it whenever I feel inspired. Sometimes I have a vision. Sometimes not so much. Sometimes I wing it. Sometimes I lose my train of thought. I usually doodle as well. I'm not the best artist though. But I try. I think one can only get better at things they suck at. 

page 13 from my book of poems // Carmen Varner
The brisk breeze sent shivers 
down my soul
and through eternity 
until it reached my lips
with your hot kiss.

+ by Carmen Varner

15 Ways to Get Rid of the Monday Blues

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh great...it's Monday. Monday is a horrible day. It reminds us of the days of work, effort, & tasks that loom ahead. Mondays got their bad reputation way back in the day when we began going to school. We had class all day every day starting on Monday. Many jobs also adopted the Monday thru Friday routine. But Monday doesn't have to be so spooky and dreadful. After all, a case of the Monday's is self-prescribed. Today doesn't have to be crappy at all. Here are 15 ways to get rid of your Monday blues.

1. Make iced coffee
2. Create a delicious breakfast for yourself
3. Dress to impress (yourself)
4. Listen to your favorite song of the 90s ♪ ♫  
5. Take a long lunch
6. Text your friends "HAPPY MONDAY!"
7. Reward yourself with an afternoon treat (soy latte? gelato? new headphones?)
8. Set 3 goals you'd like to accomplish by Friday ✔ ✔ ✔
9. Do a search for "dogs welcoming soldiers home"
10. Take a selfie
11. Eat a piece of fruit
12. Meditate ☮
13. Watch a movie that you haven't seen in years
14. Tell someone you love them  
15. Go to bed early

Monday Blues // an art piece by Carmen Varner

I double dog dare you to complete everything on this list. If not everything, at least 3 things. Tell me which ones you end up doing! Happy Monday! :D

A Glass Door // A Poem

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My life is like a glass door.
I can see the other side.
It's sunny & green & lush.
It's everything I wanted it to be
& it's forgotten everything I loathe.
But this glass door is just that.
A glass door.
A barrier.
A clear wall.
I can visualize, imagine, think & ponder
but I can't get to the other side.
If I am a plant,
I must bloom where I'm rooted.
But I don't wish to be rooted here.

By Carmen Varner

Fall Becomes Winter

Monday, October 14, 2013

i can't wait for crisp cool nights
& christmas lights
& scarves & fuzzy socks,
for films & tea & holding hands
& never ending fun,
for foggy mornings & rainy days
until the year is done,
for pumpkin pie & cinnamon
& all those tasty eats,
for costumes & candy
& spooky trick or treats.
for me, i love this time of year
it's the happiness, the love
& that overall sense of cheer.
i better not blink too fast
because i don't want it to end
but it never seems to last.

By Carmen Varner

5 Things To Do in an Hour

Friday, October 11, 2013

Oh no!! You only have an hour to spare!

Time is precious. You only have approximately 60 minutes before you have to head to class for the afternoon. You only have 60 minutes to spare after you get off work. You only have 60 minutes until you're obligated to spend the afternoon at a bridal party. Lucky for you! You can actually achieve a lot in an hour. 

1. Listen to your favorite song - All you need is love? Perhaps. But sometimes all you need is music. Let it calm you down after a long day. Let it pump you up for the day to come. Let it inspire you. You know you have a favorite song right now.

2. Groom yourself - Do your eyebrows need a little help? Are your toenails too long? Use this time to make yourself look a little more polished. Maybe it'll boost your confidence for the day. 

3. Do an online workout - Ugh, you're too pooped to get dressed, drive, go to the gym, deal with people and workout. Go to Youtube and search "30 minute home workout." There are over 4 million results. That's a lot!

4. Check your bank statement - How much have you spent in the last week? Did you put any money away? Go online and peruse your bank statement. Take a look at your funds: checking, credit, savings, etc. 

5. Prep your food - Make your sandwich for work tomorrow. Cut up some veggies to use throughout the week. Portion some snacks. It'll save you time and effort later in the week.

Attempt to complete all five tasks or do a couple which apply most to you. This is your time. If you feel best doing nothing, then by all means don't do anything. If you want to feel a little more accomplished, get to work! :]

Back to the Light

Monday, September 30, 2013

There was a time when life was a nightmare
& nightmares followed my dreams.
Reality was a horror,
a mess,
like me.
And then there you were.
You followed me into the dark abyss,
which I desperately tried to escape,
and brought me back to the light.

By Carmen Varner

Your Thoughtful Kiss

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I never knew that the touch of your callused hand
would feel so gentle against my freckled, sun kissed skin.
And your thoughtful kiss upon my forehead
speaks volumes about the adoration within the chambers of your heart.
It's not a beating box of blood vessels
but a testament to your commitment.
I knew you & you knew me
but now we know each other wholly.
The monotony of a Monday morning vanishes instantaneously
the moment I receive your message.
There should never be a night when we don't sleep side by side,
but life never goes according to one's wishes.
Tonight, I shall rest my head against my pillow solely.
The only trace of you is
the memories in my mind,
the photos on my phone,
the smell of your laundry detergent on the sweater you lent me.
You're rarely with me
but I wish you were.

By Carmen Varner

The bougainvillea or the bag

Friday, September 20, 2013

What am I doing and where do I go? I can choose between the bougainvillea or the bag. The conflict within my cerebral cortex may be permanent. I prepare for the constant battle between what I strive for and what I settle for. But beauty endures throughout. At first glance, the eye spots the faded fuchsia bougainvillea. She extends her arms through the fence, showing off her parched pale pink petals. Her allure is undeniable. The empty plastic bag sadly billows by the fence. Despite my desire for the bougainvillea, I must first throw away the bag. Of course beauty seems like the most valid option, but the plastic bag might contain a lesson or two.

Thankful Thursday September 19

Thursday, September 19, 2013

apres-hard // by carmen varner

"feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative." 

Being thankful isn't just for Thanksgiving. Gratitude isn't only relevant in November. Let's be appreciative all the time. Woohoo! Fall is almost here! I can feel it lurking in the night. The sneaky breeze and cool air come right after the sun sets. A cardigan is a valid option lately. I'm lovin it.

This week I'm thankful for:

sleepovers staying up late the smell of a new perfume when the warm day turns into a brisk evening ♥ lavender ♥ free food ♥ a 5-minute rendezvous  1,300 Twitter followers ♥ brownie in a mug ♥ hot tea ♥ iced coffee (with milk & sugar, duh) ♥ healthiness  the countdown until fall  frozen chocolate chips  learning Spanish  persistence  reading a book a night  free magazines  closure  8months! 

What are you thankful for today?

"why?" - questions on my love for you

Sunday, September 15, 2013

why do you make me feel this way?
why do i dream of you so often?
why do i think of you so much?
why do the hours seem like seconds with you?
why do i feel so alone the day after we hang out?
why do i want to be with you all the time?
why does wearing your sweater to bed make me happy?
why is the smell of your clothes so comforting?
why aren't we together when we wake up each morning?
why does everything seem brighter with you by my side?

The morning hustle and bustle

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The morning hustle and bustle has officially begun. The drones line up one after another to get their daily fueling. Like gas powers a car, caffeine powers the people. They look fatigued. Her eyes are puffy. His eyes are half open. These people appear dead, out of sorts, dazed and confused. Perhaps sleep is not something these addicts have experienced. She orders dirty chai tea latte with two extra shots of espresso and four pumps of hazelnut syrup. He orders an iced vanilla coffee. I witness these behaviors because I am the scientist, watching my experiment to see how it unfolds. Will my hypothesis come true or will I have to account for variables? I don't appreciate the price of that $4 specialty drink that I could make infinitely better. After all, I too used to be a barista. I order a regular coffee but add chocolate. The poor gal's mocha. The barista didn't call "Carmen" as I expected. She instead yelled, "coffee with mocha." I add some half and half, a dash of vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa and nutmeg. Yeah, why not? I like to take risks. I can make my own specialty drink thankyouverymuch. I had originally purchased this coffee as a crutch, to support my lack of sleep from a late night with my lover. But by the time the concoction caresses my lips, I've already awakened. Just as the morning glory opens up for the dewy dawn, my mind has revived. At this point, my consumerism allows me a critically acclaimed spot in the cafe so I can have a spot to type ferociously. So here I am. At least it's Tuesday.

Thankful Thursday September 5

Thursday, September 05, 2013

"feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative." 

Being thankful isn't just for Thanksgiving. Gratitude isn't only relevant in November. Let's be appreciative all the time. I'm truly amazed at how rapidly a 24 hour period can go. You wake up, eat breakfast and ponder about the rest of the day. Then you work for a few hours, drive to the grocery store or to the post office. You run a couple errands. Your family from out of town arrived and you have to entertain them. Then it's bedtime. Now you do it all again. How can we utilize and take in each and every second?

kewl kids // los angeles
by Carmen Varner

What I'm thankful for this week:

seeing your best friend ♥ breakfast in bed ♥ spending a few hours with your favorite person ♥ getting 8+ hours of sleep when the cool air conditioner blasts on a horribly hot day free food ♥ pumpkin spice lattes ♥ counting down the days until it's fall ♥ finding inspiration ♥ a beautiful view & a cold drink with a friend ♥ compliments ♥ landing a job interview ♥ looking back at old photos ♥ opening yourself up to someone & it's reciprocated ♥ 1,200 Twitter followers!!

How about y'all? What're you thankful for?

Para Siempre

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

before there was you,
there were others.
and they left me defeated.
they left me defeated.
they left me.
they left me wondering about love,
that tender affection,
that sense of passion,
that deep desire for another.
was it a truth?
or was it a false plot,
like a zombie flick?
was love a reality
or an invention?
i never knew
but always wondered.
my imagination ran untamed
like a band of wild horses
until we found each other.
each day with you feels like a moment,
elapsing expeditiously.
your embrace feels like home,
exactly where i want to be.
para siempre.

by Carmen Varner

Never Grow Up - A 5 second poem

Monday, August 12, 2013

I live to travel.
How precious.
I will never grow up.

"Never Grow Up
By Carmen Varner

*Sometimes a poem isn't long. Sometimes a poem isn't descriptive. Sometimes a poem doesn't rhyme. Sometimes a poem does all those things. Sometimes it does something else. These, my friend, are 5 second poems. Sometimes we don't have all day.

Shark Week Inspiration

Friday, August 09, 2013

Oh yeah!! It's Shark Week. I've been catching up on past Shark Weeks courtesy of Netflix. There are several seasons on there and it's super interesting. But let's get to the point. Sharks-piration is everywhere. Wish I could own all these items, mainly the backpack and shark print leggings.

May inspiration hit you too,

HARD Summer 2013

Music is the art of arranging sounds into a variety of combinations. Music can be vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having a beat, melody, or harmony. Music is something that humans created long ago and it'll stick around long from now.

Electronic music hasn't been around for thousands of years, but it's making its way to excellence. I was never a huge fan of electronic dance music. But after attending HARD Summer 2013, I must say I am now a loyal follower. 

The light shows, the rhythm, the crowd, the heat of the sun and the breeze in the air enhanced the experience. A music festival is just that. An experience. It can be a positive or negative one, depending solely on you. You don't need drugs or alcohol to have music seep deep into your core.

I saw Keys N Krates, Disclosure, Flying Lotus, Crystal Castles, Gesaffelstein, Dillon Francis and Baauer. I drank $7 crappy beer. I ate $8 angel sent macaroni and cheese. I met cool people. I spent time with the love of my life. I danced until I couldn't move. I took hundreds of photos and filmed dozens on movies. 

HARD was everything I thought it'd be and more. You can pay for the ticket, but you can't pay for the experience you'll have. See some of HARD from my eyes.

Keys N Krates 
Keys N Krates 

Flying Lotus


Thankful Thursday August 8

Thursday, August 08, 2013

"feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative." 

Being thankful isn't just for Thanksgiving. Gratitude isn't only relevant in November. Let's be appreciative all the time. It's one week into August!!! Despite the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, the world's still turning. Let's all smile to that. We've made it through another day, week, month. The days keep passing. What are you doing to make them worth it? Don't waste life. Be thankful for it.

What I'm thankful for this week:

baking something for the first time & it turns out totally delicious getting something taken care of  making a new friend  summer's breeze  reading another Bukowski novel  feeling love & being loved  fresh pizza out of the oven  receiving a meaningful gift  rain in summertime  feeling rested after a good night of sleep  coconut frozen yogurt  tidying up   fab smelling candles   out with the old   music festivals

How about y'all? What're you thankful for?

Keys N Krates playing their set at HARD Summer 2013

One day in LA

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

"To live and die in LA, 
it's the place to be.
You've got to be there to know it, 
what everybody wanna see."

Tupac's song "To Live and Die in LA" said it best. Los Angeles is a pretty cool place. Yeah, there are a lot of cops. There's plenty of traffic. There's more than your average of pissed off drivers. But hey, it's the city. There's a higher population so trash and police and homeless are to be expected. This big city is also full of life, art, design, fun, people, memories, culture. Take a journey there yourself. Here's a photo montage of one day in LA.

Where's the delicious food from?
+ Vanilla cream puff from Beard Papa's
+ "The Fairfax" from Egg Slut


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