New Year, New City

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Baltimore City

A new year is a great time for a fresh start. If you’ve been looking to make a big move, why not make 2012 the year you finally leap? As the job market begins to improve, there are some locations that outshine others. US News put together a list of the best cities to find a job – here are a few of the cities that made the top 10:

Baltimore, Maryland: Elegant, historic neighborhoods, a vibrant downtown, the Patapsco River and the nearby Chesapeake Bay … this is a great city. If you plan on renting an apartment in Baltimore, you’ll enjoy a healthy economy, history that dates back to the 1700s, top-rated universities such as Johns Hopkins University and the University of Baltimore, the Baltimore Ravens football games, and the amazing Inner Harbor. The fact that Baltimore is also walker-friendly and pet-friendly may move this city to the top of your list.

Not too far south of Baltimore you’ll find the number one city for job growth: Washington, DC. This is a great location – government, of course, plays a key role in the area’s job growth – all three branches of the Federal government are located here. But Washington, DC is also home to foreign embassies, the World Bank headquarters, major international organizations, and a strong tourism industry. It is home to  the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the US Capitol building, and (of course) the White House. Washington DC has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, beautiful neighborhoods, the Smithsonian, and the Lincoln Theatre.

If the busy East Coast isn’t calling you, perhaps St. Paul, Minnesota is your perfect new place. It is the smaller of the Twin Cities, but it packs a major punch – St. Paul is densely-populated, home to roughly 285,000 residents. Major corporations call this beautiful Upper Midwest location home, including Gander Mountain, Ecolab, and Lawson Software. St. Paul is a family-friendly location and is home to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the Como Zoo, Lake Como, and the Wabasha Street Caves.

During Prohibition, St. Paul was a haven for big-name mobsters. The Wabasha Street Caves, which date back to the 1840s, served as a speakeasy during the 1920s. Rumor has it that John Dillinger was a frequent visitor. With its fascinating history, a great parks system, charming neighborhoods such as Saint Anthony Park and Summit Hill,  St. Paul is the perfect starting-over city.

Perhaps you want to really get away from it all and start over in a location with plenty of elbow room. Utah is one of the least-densely populated states in the US, and Salt Lake City was number two on the US News list for job growth. Wide-open spaces and plenty of opportunity, plus soaring mountains and the Great Salt Lake make Salt Lake City a hot destination. As the state capital, government plays a key role in Salt Lake City’s economic stability. Other major employers include Salt Lake City International Airport, Intermountain Health Care, the University of Utah, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Wasatch Mountains give Salt Lake City residents the perfect place to play – snowboarding, skiing, camping, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, boating, fishing – the list of outdoor recreation is long. If you’d rather enjoy sports from the sidelines, the NBA’s Utah Jazz will give you plenty to cheer about.

New Year’s Resolutions

Author: Alecia Pirulis

I’m already looking forward to January 17. Why? Because January 17 is Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t make New Year’s resolutions with the intent to ditch them, but I do tend to get a little carried away and make resolutions I can’t possibly keep. Let’s face it – it is easy to make a proclamation in a giddy haze of champagne to do something drastic in the coming year, whether it be to lose an ridiculous amount of weight, stop smoking cold-turkey, become a super-saver, or promise to go to the gym six days a week.

While there’s nothing wrong with these time-honored resolutions, perhaps it is time to try something a little different this year — make resolutions you won’t ditch on January 17.

Here are some ideas to substitute for the usual suspects:

Champion a charity. Whether it’s the ASPCA (and those tear-inducing commercials with Sarah McLachlan) or something else that moves you, consider giving a little to the cause.

Take up yoga. Yes, it is the resolution to exercise more in disguise, but choosing a smaller, more obtainable goal may be the key to keeping this resolution. Whether it is martial arts, Zumba, or boxing, find something you consider fun and give it a try.

Do some redecorating. If your apartment is looking a little forlorn, resolve to spruce it up a little! Get inspired with online design tools such as this one.

Try something new. It is a little vague, but definitely a resolution that’s easy to keep. It could be adventurous – for example, snow skiing or rock climbing. Maybe take a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit but never had the time. Resolve to take a class in something that interests you, such as pottery or furniture reupholstering.

Make the move. If you’ve been putting off a career change or a major move to another state, make this the year you follow through! So, you want to move to Bethesda or Houston? Or perhaps you want to go back to school or enter a new field? Figure out what’s stopping you and take the necessary steps to remove the obstacles and start the process.