Saint Louis University

As we welcome a new year into our lives, many of us resolve to make positive changes to better ourselves and those around us. Here are a few ideas for those who are still working on the perfect new year's resolution for 2013:

Support local businesses - Whether you have a baby shower, birthday, anniversary, or a special Tuesday to buy a gift for throughout the year, try shopping at a local business rather than a big chain store. Places like the Delmar Loop and South Grand are perfect places to find unique treasures. For everyday household supplies, explore stores like Home Eco and Local Harvest.

Shop at a farmers market at least once a month - This ties back to supporting local businesses. Of course, support your local farmers too! There are so many farmers markets in the greater St. Louis area, and some of them are even open in the winter. Summer farmers markets will start up in April and May, but until then, some foodies' winter wonderlands are:

Try one new recipe a week - Use those fresh in-season foods to create your latest culinary masterpiece. Finding a new-to-you recipe is as simple as doing a search online for "recipe using _____." Lots of times the recipes on websites will have level of difficulty as well as reviews from other cooks. Or you can visit your local library and check out a cookbook you've never thumbed through before. (If you don't have a library card, consider adding that as a resolution!) If you're feeling brave, try experimenting with different cuisines. The sky is the limit with new recipes!

Dine out at local ethnic restaurants - Cure those monthly (or in others' cases, weekly!) I-Need-A-Vacation Blues with an exotic meal. St. Louis has loads of ethnic restaurants bringing food from all over the world to the Gateway City. Use the website Urbanspoon to search for restaurants by location, cuisines, and special restaurant features. Never had Ethiopian food before? Branch outside of your comfort zone to discover what could become your new favorite food, and don't be afraid to ask the waitstaff for suggestions.

Happy New Year! Have a peaceful, happy, healthy, and delicious 2013!