Making and Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

As we approach the end of the year, something that might be on people’s minds is what their New Year’s resolution will be for the year 2020 (wow, how is it already 2020?!).

If you’ve ever made a New Years resolution, odds are you won’t be surprised to hear that over half of all New Year’s resolutions fail – honestly we’re shocked it isn’t more.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to diet or eat healthier, to exercise more, to lose weight, to save more money, to quit smoking, and to learn a new skill or hobby.

We all start the year with good intentions and goals to “be better.” However, somewhere along the way – whether it be the first week, the first month, or somewhere after that – that goal slowly falls to the wayside. It could be that life throws us a curveball, or we set too lofty a goal to meet, or that goal becomes not so important to us anymore, etc…

Whatever the reason, with such a high rate of people giving up on their New Year’s resolution, how can we make this time around more successful? How can we stick to the goals made with good intentions to be better people than we were the year before?

Here are some tips to help you make and keep that New Year’s resolution this year:

  1. Make your goal a lifestyle change: Go into your New Years resolution with the mindset that this is a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix. For example, if you want to diet and exercise to lose weight, it’s best to start making healthier and realistic lifestyle choices. A burger with a side salad instead of French fries. A thirty-minute walk after work instead of one of the many episodes you’re going to binge on Netflix. Diets and exercise plans tend to come and go, but if you make a lifestyle change instead, you’re setting yourself up for a better chance of success and learning how to have a healthy balance.
  2. Keep your resolution simple: Start out with one small goal that is easy to keep. If you’re trying to change your entire lifestyle from the 31st of December to the 1st of January, of course you are going to feel overwhelmed and give up! Start out small and make your way up from there.
  3. Set clear, realistic goals within your goal: Take your resolution one small step at a time. If you try to bite off too much at once, you’ll likely give up. Set a goal to lose 5 pounds and have a plan on how you’re going to do this. Once you reach that, set a goal to lose another 5 pounds and a plan for that as well. If your goal is to save more money, start out by trying to save $50 a month and decide how you’re going to do this (by not getting your daily Starbucks, by riding your bike to work 2x a week to save on gas, by making a budget for going out with friends so you don’t overspend, etc).
  4. Create a schedule: How often are you going to check yourself in your goal to evaluate how you are doing? If you just make a goal with a vague “I’ll do this for the year,” it’ll be hard to keep yourself accountable. Give yourself a timetable to evaluate your goal once a week, or once a month to ask, “How am I progressing? What can I change if I’m not progressing the way I want?”
  5. Get support: Find friends and family who support your goal and want to be there for you along the way. They can also help keep you accountable and can be a good support system to lean on when you’re feeling week and wanting to give up.
  6. Give yourself grace: You won’t be perfect and there might be times where you slip up in your goal, but don’t let that talk you into giving up completely. Have grace for yourself, knowing you aren’t perfect, and just try to get back on track the next day.

Tonight is Acker Night!

Acker Night is finally here and we are so excited!

From 5PM to 8:30PM, Acker Night will take place, an event produced solely by volunteers. Opening ceremony takes place on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza at 5PM. Musical acts will begin at 5:30PM and go until 830PM.

A tradition continuing for thirty years now, there will be over 500 performers dispersed throughout the downtown area to sing, play instruments, and raise money for music programs and instruments for the youth in Prescott. Nearly every shop in the downtown area will have someone performing accompanied by complimentary hot cocoa, apple cider, and goodies to eat that they kindly provide free of charge for our delight.

You do not want to miss out on this time-honored tradition that has such a beautiful history behind it. The courthouse will be lit up, there will be carolers and performers everywhere gracing us with their musical talents, there will be dancers performing in the streets, and do we need to mention the hot beverages and treats again? Bring your friends and family, and enjoy the show! BUT, don’t forget your layers because after 5PM the temperatures will drop low! Grab that winter scarf, put on those wool socks and ear muffs, and snuggle up in your coziest jacket. Grip a complimentary hot beverage to warm your belly as you walk around engulfed in music and joy, and take in the Christmas season festivities.

Happy Acker Night to you all! Stay warm!

P.S. For those who are not from Prescott and do not know what Acker Night is, here is a bit of history:

Acker Night is an event that was created to fulfill the wishes of Prescott resident and patron James S. Acker. Living from 1865 to 1955, James S. Acker stated, “All the residue of my estate… I give to the City of Prescott to be used for parks and for promotion of music, particularly for children.”

When Mr. Acker died in 1955, he wanted much of his estate to go towards supporting and promoting music with the youth, which is where Acker Night comes from and why it was created.

Not only did he donate his estate for music, but he also donated a good number of parcels of land he owned to the City of Prescott to be used for parks. Today, from his generosity, we have Acker Park, an 80 acre parcel of natural parkland near the downtown Prescott area. The park includes a one mile loop trail, picnic areas, restrooms with a mural on the outside of the building depicting the history of the land and the nature there, mosaic art walls, an amphitheater, geocaching spots, and more!

Due to Mr. Acker’s generosity – and to fulfill his wishes – we now have Acker Park and one of our favorite Prescott Christmas events: Acker Night!

 

Christmas Parade and 65th Annual Courthouse Lighting

Join us in downtown Prescott for first the Christmas Parade and then later that night for the 65th annual Courthouse lighting.

These events officially kick off Prescott’s Christmas season, which could arguably be labeled the main event season in Prescott considering our town IS called “Arizona’s Christmas city.”

And… trust us when we say, the Christmas events coming up in the next weeks are ones you will not want to miss!

The Christmas Parade will begin at 1PM on Saturday, December 7th, giving you plenty of time to walk around after the parade and enjoy the downtown area before the lighting ceremony begins at night.

At 5PM there will be musical groups performing Christmas songs followed by a reading of the nativity story from the Bible to bring joy and cheer, and a reminder of the reason for the season. The lighting of the courthouse is at 6PM where the entire downtown area is lit up in a spectacular show of Christmas lights and celebration.

Nearly every tree is wrapped in colorful lights, the gazebo is a beacon on display of Christmas radiance, and the courthouse building itself it aglow with Christmas lights and light up decorations to showcase its historic beauty.

Enjoy the lights, an awing sight to see, and hang around afterward to take it all in. With countless restaurants, coffee shops, bars, vintage shops, and so much more, you will have no trouble finding a warm beverage and something to do with your friends and family after the lighting.

We hope you come out to see the show, to take in the Christmas season, and connect with your loved ones!

Ready or not, Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we’re here to help!

Below is a list of all the things you may need to purchase at the grocery store so you don’t forget anything! Cooked and basted turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, honeyed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and the list could literally go on and on! Is anyone else’s mouth watering? Courtesy of our friends at Lawyer’s Title, they have thought of everything you could ever possibly need to buy at the store so you won’t have one single staple Thanksgiving dish or food missing from your feast.

So, print off this list, do your grocery shopping, and get ready for Thanksgiving because it’s only three days away! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, we are thankful for you!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last week we talked all about how to build good credit from having both no credit and bad credit.

SO, naturally, now we are going to talk about how Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner! This is a day where people both spend and save a ton of money on their holiday shopping.

Black Friday used to just be on one day… Friday – the Friday after Thanksgiving to be specific. However, that soon became not soon enough for many stores and consumers, and now Black “Friday” often begins in stores on Thursday night, the night of Thanksgiving!

Black Friday signifies the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season in the United States and is a day that stores offer up special discounted deals in order to sell more merchandise. This day has caused much pandemonium in the past with deals too good to be true. People go as far as to camp outside of stores and wait in massive lines that extend around store corners just so they can get into the store first and grab all the Black Friday gifts they’ve eyed in the sales catalog.

The event has caused chaos to the point where there are mobs of people all pushing to get into the store first causing shoving and injuries that land people in the ER! When it comes to sales, people do not mess around! Once that half-priced 60” TV is gone, it’s gone, so one can understand the urgency to grab yours before they’ve all been taken.

This Holiday shopping extravaganza has now been extended past Black Friday too! Perhaps becoming just as big as Black Friday, if not bigger, is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving promoted by online retailers who sell their merchandise at exceptional discounts comparable to Black Friday deals. The best part about Cyber Monday is all your shopping is done online, so you don’t even need to leave your home!

When researching what some of the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals were going to be this year, it seemed as though the best deals will be taking place at affordable retail stores like Walmart and Target. Big screen TVs, tablets, phones, smart watches, video game consoles, Bluetooth speakers and headphones, laptops, smart watches, and more. Nearly anything technological you could name seems to be being sold at an incredible discount this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, whether you normally partake in these days as part of your holiday season or not, it might be worth taking a look at the sales ads.

All that being said, it is good to remember, and remind ourselves, that this holiday season isn’t about buying new toys and receiving all the things on our Christmas lists. The true meaning of the holidays is to give and give thanks. To be with loved ones and friends, and tell them how much we care for them. To be thankful for all that we have and are blessed with, not focus on what more we can attain. We pray your holiday season is filled with good food, good conversation filled with laughter and joy, and good time spent with those you cherish most.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Black Friday and Cyber Monday hunting!

The History of Veteran’s Day

In case you didn’t know Veteran’s Day occurs every year on November 11th. It originated as “Armistice Day” in 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of World War 1. In 1926, congress passed a resolution for the remembrance to be an annual observance on November 11th and in 1938 it became a national holiday. It was officially renamed Veteran’s Day by president Dwight D Eisenhower in 1954.

According to history.com, “In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.”

Veteran’s Day differs from Memorial Day because it pays homage to all Veterans, whether living or dead. However, it is meant to especially give thanks to living veterans who’ve served their country with honor during war AND during peace.

While it is mainly an American holiday, some other parts of the world observe it was well. Great Britain, France, Australia, and Canada commemorate the veterans of World War I and II on, or near, November 11th. Canada has a holiday called Remembrance Day and Great Britain’s holiday is called Remembrance Sunday, which takes place the second Sunday of November. It is also common in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries to observe two minutes of silence on November 11th at 11AM.

In the united states today, history.com says there are:

  • 1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
  • 2 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • 2 million veterans are women.
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
  • 5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.7 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

That is a lot of men and women who put their lives on the line for our own, for our freedoms, and for our country! This coming Veteran’s Day, we would like to encourage you to say “thank you” to the Veterans in your life, or any Veterans you might encounter during your holiday celebration. They are the true heroes and we owe them more than we could possibly understand, or ever pay back.

To all our Prescott, Arizona, and U.S. Veteran’s out there, we say thank you for your service and all you’ve done for us!

Happy Almost Halloween!

Tomorrow is Halloween! A day full of fun, dress up, candy, pumpkins, friends and family, and more!

Halloween on Mount Vernon

In Prescott, a common place to celebrate the Holiday and go trick-or-treating is on the iconic Prescott street of Mount Vernon, occurring on Thursday October 31st (obviously).

Probably Prescott’s main Halloween attraction, this is a town “event” you won’t want to miss. The entire street gets closed down in the afternoon as trick-or-treaters flock to the site by the hundreds. People come from all over to trick-or-treat, get some cocoa or cider that is often offered by many homes, enjoy all the Halloween decorations the residents worked so hard to put up, and walk down the beautiful street of orange stained trees changing for the Fall. A family event for all, you’re sure to have fun and a night to remember at this time-honored Prescott tradition.

Make sure you dress warm though! The temperature high on Thursday is only 60 degrees, which means it will get pretty chilly at night during trick-or-treating hours.

Halloween History

In case you were curious about the Halloween holiday and it’s historical origin, here’s a small history recap of how Halloween came to be from history.com:

“Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2019 occurs on Thursday, October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.”

 

Whether you’re staying at home to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, going to Mount Vernon with your friends and family to partake in the festivities, going to a Halloween costume party, or just staying in and watching scary movies, we hope you have a great Halloween holiday! From all of us here at the Kathleen Yamauchi Group, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Ways to Make Your Home Cozier for the Holidays

We all love the Holidays, right? The smells of pumpkin and cinnamon, the decorations, the gatherings with loved ones, the amazing food and holiday drinks… there is too much to name!

When these holiday seasons come, there is nothing better than walking into a house (especially your own) and being welcomed with that Holiday cheer. However, maybe as much as you want your home to be cheerful for the holidays you just aren’t very good at decorating, or you simply can’t find the time or money to spruce your home up for the holidays. Well, we’re here to help. Here are some easy ways to add that holiday cheer to your home without too much work or effort at all:

Candles: A candle goes a long way in bringing that holiday cheer to your home! Pumpkin spice, hazelnut, cinnamon stick, forest… there are so many different scents that will bring people into the holiday mood as soon as they step through your door. Another way to use candles for the holiday is to set up a group of them (like the white pillar type) on a decorative tray or display. These touches help create ambiance in your home and give it a touch of the holiday season.

Throw Pillows and Blankets: While these can get a little pricier, you can still find some good deals on them and they help tie in the holiday feel of your home so much! An easy way to accomplish this with pillows is to simply get pillow covers. Then you can just swap out the covers for every season. Ones for year-round, ones with pumpkins on them for Halloween and Fall, ones that are plaid or have trees on them for Christmas, or whatever your heart desires. This solution also makes storing the decorations a lot easier since you are only storing a folded pillowcase rather than an entire pillow.

Wall Art: Swapping out a picture or painting for a festive holiday sign is an easy way to spruce your home up for the Holidays. A sign that says “Home Sweet Home” becomes a sign that says “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Merry Christmas” and just like that, your home has some extra Holiday cheer. If you’re feeling especially crafty, these signs can easily be made from home with an old piece of wood, some sandpaper, and some paint!

Indoor Christmas Lights: While most people hang Christmas lights up outside, which is also cheerful and inviting, a way to decorate the inside of your home for the holidays is to hang some Christmas lights up inside. There’s something magical and awing about twinkling lights, and they are sure to bring that Christmas charm and spirit to your home! Plus, you can get them for relatively cheap at places like Walmart ($5 a box!).

Make Paper Snowflakes: Have any kids? Well this would be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy this Christmas. Relatively mess free and easy, make some paper snowflakes with your children as you sip hot cocoa and apple cider. Then string them up for all to see – and to your children’s delight – to add some extra holiday decorations to your home.

Hang Garlands: These can either be bought fairly cheap at the store for any holiday (coming in oranges and purples for Halloween and Thanksgiving) or can even be made from fresh cut tree limbs off your Christmas tree! Either way, they are an easy way to dress your home up for the Holidays! Imagine a garland made of orange and yellow leaves, or tinsel and ornaments!

These are just a few easy ways to help decorate your home for the holiday season this year! We hope we’ve given you some good ideas to try out and that you have an amazing Holiday season with your loved ones this year!