Monthly Roundup: July Favorites

philliesstadium_keribetters_instagram_png.

Mid-summer and hot as ever, July was a month for the books.

From baseball games to more wedding planning to all the little adventures in between, July flew by! We also reached DOUBLE DIGITS (!!!) in our wedding countdown so to say I’m excited is a complete understatement. October, where ya at?

Check out a few other July Favorites below.

{ONE} The Best Dog Instagram Accounts

Need a little happiness today? Mashable compiled a list of the best dog accounts to follow on Instagram and I’m obsessed. A few of my favorites made the list (hey, Jiffpom!), as well as a few other furry friends. Although he didn’t make the list, another favorite of mine is Wally the Welsh Corgi. That smile!

{TWO} My First Official 5K

This month I checked “Run an Official 5K” off of my 101 in 1,001 list. I wrote all about it in a recent blog post but I highly recommend running one if you haven’t already. If you’re not an avid runner (like me!) it’s a good goal to work up towards. If you are a runner, well… It’s not difficult for you but you should still run one anyway!

{THREE} Morey’s Pier Ferris Wheel

Another item I checked off my list was go on a Ferris Wheel. My fiance and I recently went to the beach for the day and as the sun set, we had the spur-of-the-moment idea to hop on the ferris wheel to check out the view from above. I was surprised because I wasn’t expecting to be scared of heights, but as we rose to the top, it was super windy and I was a bit anxious! However, the views were totally worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Check out this image Luke snapped at the top!

{FOUR} Kalyn Nicholson

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been watching a lot of vloggers lately. I don’t watch much TV, but I find myself playing YouTube videos in the background as I do things around the house. One of my favorites is Kalyn Nicholson. Honestly, what got me hooked on her videos were her apartment tours, outfit ideas, and Coffee Talks. Highly recommend checking out her channel – she has the best style!

{FIVE} Goodreads

I finally jumped on the Goodreads train and I love it so far. I downloaded it because one of my goals for 2018 was to read at least 25 books, and I realized I had no streamlined way of tracking that without actually writing it down. In a digital age, that wasn’t good enough for me so I decided to give Goodreads a try. For those of you who don’t know, Goodreads is a free mobile app that tracks books you want to read, have read, etc. You can create virtual bookshelves and search for books that are recommended, read by your friends, suggested for you, etc. My favorite part is the “Percentage Read” feature because it’s a visual way to measure your reading success!

Advertisements

My First Official 5K

IMG_7150.jpg

Well, I did it!

I ran my first official 5K.

For all you avid runners out there, this is not an impressive feat. A 5K is probably a warm up for most, but for me, it was a goal I’ve wanted to achieve for a while now.

At the beginning of last year (2017), I added “Run an official 5K” to my 101 in 1,001 list and I finally completed it this week.

I “trained” for the 5K the past couple of weeks (AKA I ran 1-2x a week) so going into the race, I knew I could physically complete it.

In my June Monthly Roundup post, I mentioned my 5K goals were to a) run it within 30 minutes and b) run without stopping. I was a few minutes short of completing my time goal, but I didn’t stop!

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the run to affect me mentally, but it did. It was my first official race so trying to find my pace and personal rhythm was challenging with other people running near me. I was able to focus on the goal, but I usually can tune out when running and that didn’t happen this time.

A few running favorites that I have to have in order to run: my Nike sneakers, my favorite running leggings, gum, and water before and after the run.

Fun fact: I don’t typically listen to music while I run! I find it distracting (but maybe I just haven’t found the right mix of songs yet).

What are your running must-haves? Do you have any favorite running songs? Let me know in a comment below!

Monthly Roundup: June Favorites

IMG_6872.jpg

How am I writing another monthly favorites post? I’m telling you, the months are going by so quickly these days…it’s crazy!

June was a fun month, less event-heavy then May but that’s okay. I made some fun memories and checked a few things off of my summer bucket-list in the midst of working and everyday life. It was a fun start to the summer and can only go up from here!


{ONE} Sonic

Yes, a drive-in restaurant made my June favorites list. Why? Because I finally went there with my fiance and a few friends for the first time ever and it was an awesome experience! After seeing the commercials for years, we decided to finally check it out. Marketing works, people. Highly recommend.

{TWO} How I Built This Podcast Series

I am always searching for alternatives to music for commutes. Someone recently recommended the How I Built This podcast series and I am hooked! In each episode, the podcast host interviews a CEO/entrepreneur of a famous brand or company and asks them to share their story of how they got to where they are today. A few of my favorite episodes include Kate Spade, Instagram, The Home Depot, The Knot, and Chuck E. Cheese.

{THREE} 5K Training

I signed up for my first official 5K. While it does not seem like a long distance, this is a pretty big deal for a non-runner like myself. In June I started training for the race (which is in July) and made it my goal to not only run it under 30 minutes, but to do it without stopping. Stay tuned on progress.

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners Daily Pad

I won this daily pad on Twitter recently and I absolutely love it. I felt wasteful using each sheet for only a day so I changed up how I use it to accommodate my needs. Instead of a daily pad, I use it as a week-at-a-glance. I fill out my weekly must-dos, important days/times of the week, things to buy, other to-dos, etc. For the meals section, I write “M T W R F” in each subsection so I can document each day’s meals all in one place. I’ve loved it so far and highly recommend it!

10 Ways To Be A Girl Boss (Without Owning Your Own Business)

Girl boss.

You’ve probably heard this term thrown around on Instagram or in the home decor and office aisles of Marshall’s and Target. It’s everywhere – on notebooks, T-shirts, plaques, Pinterest, Twitter, Mashable, and phone cases…just to name a few.

You have heard stories of strong, determined women approaching challenges with vigor and motivation to prove others wrong.

The term is greatly valued these days, especially as “The Year of the Girl” unfolds and more and more stories of women CEOs and entrepreneurs rise to the level of books, TV stations, and news articles.

If you’re anything like me, “Girl Boss” motivates you, and scares you a bit.

I love the rise of productive, inspiring women doing great things for others and their communities. I love listening to podcasts like How I Built This and reading books like Yes, Please, Bossypants, and The Year of Yes… but I don’t own my own business. I’m not my own CEO. So there is this (slight) disconnect I feel from this “Girl Boss” trend and it got me thinking.

How can I embrace this Girl Boss mentality in my every-day life? Check out my Top 10 ways below.


{ONE} Listen to yourself talk.

It may sound self-absorbed, but listening to yourself talk helps you learn your struggles. What are your filler words? Do you up-talk? Once you can pinpoint these, practice speaking with confidence and authority.

{TWO} Non-verbals are everything.

Communication is 10% what you say and 90% what you don’t say. The way you sit or stand, what you do with your hands, and what facial expressions you give help communicate your message nine times more than the words you choose. Be aware of your non-verbal communication, even when sitting at your desk.

{THREE} Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

I received this advice from my mentor years ago. Dressing for the job you want embodies confidence, a goal-oriented mindset, and a push towards the future. It not only makes you look professional, but it also shows that you care and do what it takes to succeed.

{FOUR} Make time for yourself first (even if it means waking up a bit earlier).

I listen to a lot of podcasts, watch videos, and read books all about productivity. One of the trends I’ve realized is that people wake up early. I’m not a self-proclaimed early bird, but this year I’ve begun waking up 1-2 hours earlier than I did in 2017 and the results are incredible. Girl bosses wake up early and they make time for themselves (and their passions) first. Wake up and write that blog post, send that email, read that book. Whatever you do, make time for yourself first so you can continue that energy and passion throughout the rest of your day.

{FIVE} Live life goal-oriented.

Girl bosses do not live life without a plan. They do not go through each day wondering what their goal is or what to-do to check off next. Live your life with purpose, with goals, with aspirations. Strive for something. That alone separates you from the crowd. Many will blend in and do the bare minimum. Go above and beyond, no matter how small.

{SIX} Don’t come with a problem without a solution.

THIS. One of my most memorable and incredible professors taught me this and it is one of the most life-changing lessons I took away from her classes. A Girl Boss does not come with problems for others to solve; she solves the problems. She comes with unique, thought-out solutions. She sees an issue and approaches it head on with determination to make it better.

{SEVEN} Respond quickly – don’t waste someone’s time.

Email, a phone call, a tweet, a letter. Whatever it is, respond quickly to it. Be respectful and be efficient. Procrastination results in missed connections and opportunities and a poor reputation.

{EIGHT} Help others in their journey, too.

Girl Bosses help each other out. They do not stab each other in the back or do things in a twisted, catty way. Help others in their journey, too. We need to stick together, not drive each other a part.

{NINE} Find your cheerleaders. 

Find those who can mentor you, cheer you on, encourage you, and help you grow. The world has plenty of critics; finding haters will be easy. When you find those who want the best for you, never let them go. No one gets to where they are today all by themselves.

{TEN} Go for it.

“{Girl Boss means to me} Always pitching your idea, even if it’s crazy, too big, or it’s never been done before!” – @NatalieHines1


Did I miss one? Share what Girl Boss means to you in a comment below! 

IMG_6969.JPG

The Year of 3 Words: A Mid-Year Update

img_5821.jpg

At the beginning of 2018, I declared this year a year of three words.

You may (or may not) be wondering how 2018 is shaping up to my three-word description. I decided to ease your minds and give you a mid-year update. It is June, after all, and the year is halfway over (whoa, that’s weird). It’s time for a little checkin.

Change. 

Change is inevitable and my Type A self can’t cope with it sometimes, but this year there has been good change, bad change, and uncomfortable change.

Changes in habits: less coffee, more water, more reading & audiobooks, less TV, less clutter, more budgeting, more time with people I love.

Changes in life: Updates at work, new house, new professional accomplishments, new friends, new perspectives.

Not to mention many changes that have pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

Needless to say, change happens pretty much every day and I’m learning how to embrace it and trust God every step of the way.

Do.

I’ve written about wedding planning multiple times this year so you know how the “Road to I Do” is generally going, but just in case I haven’t made it clear, this is the biggest “Do” of the year and I am pumped.

At the beginning of the year, a few other “do” items included: complete my social marketing certification, buy a house, read at least 25 books, and write more letters.

So far, I have completed my certification, we found a house, I have read many books, and love writing letters when I can. I’ve also traveled to places like New York and Boston, worked on a few incredible projects, and have begun training for my first official 5K (a big deal for a non-runner like myself!).

“Do” encompasses so many things, so it has been interesting to see how 2018 has unfolded this way. It’s not always about checking things off. Sometimes a “do” is a mindset, just like my third word of 2018 is.

Joy. 

This is one thing that is not a “check off the list,” so to speak.

Joy is a choice and something that takes focus and practice in order to make it a constant part of your life. I have a post-it note on my mirror that says “Joy is a choice,” and this year, in the good and the bad, I try to focus on that mindset.

An easy way to do this is instead of saying, “I have to…” replace it with “I get to…”  A mindset makes all the difference.

So that’s a bit of a recap as the year keeps flying by! What about you? How are your three words going for 2018? This week I challenge you to revisit your goals and be motivated to keep going!

7 Lessons From My Mentor

I’m going to get a little personal here.

I usually try to keep it pretty upbeat and positive on my blog, but I am going to be totally honest.

I’m heartbroken.

I recently lost my mentor, a truly beautiful and brilliant person inside and out. The world is a little darker because she is no longer here.

The loss is deep for so many who knew and loved her. She was incredible, innovative, and inspirational. Her mark on the world changed a lot of people, including myself.

As I, and so many like me, try to process the unimaginable, I’ve started thinking about the countless lessons she taught me, whether she knew it or not.

It would be ignorant to keep these lessons to myself; what good does it do to keep what isn’t yours?

These lessons are not just for me; they’re for you, too.

{ONE} Be kind

Everyone is going through something, whether they tell you or not. Be kind, you never know what’s happening underneath.

{TWO} You are your own advocate

Confidence is key. You can do it. You can pitch that crazy idea, go the extra mile, create that special project. Advocate for yourself and don’t put yourself down…You’re worth more than that and you can do more than you think.

{THREE} Ask “Why?” and “What if?”

Think big. Ask questions, learn always. Let information help you grow. Never stop being curious. Ever.

{FOUR} Dream bigger

Dream it and do it. Those are words from Walt Disney himself, and my mentor embodied this. Just because it’s a dream doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Make them realities. Dream something crazy and then do it bigger. What do you have to lose?

{FIVE} Try the impossible

People are going to tell you no and that it can’t be done. Try. What’s the worst that can happen? You never know unless you dare to dream bigger and do things. It always seems impossible until it’s done.

{SIX} Believe in others

There is no “I” in team. No one gets to where they are by themselves. It takes a village. Believe in others and give them the encouragement they deserve and need. One of the best things my mentor taught me is the value of giving back. Thank people who helped you and do the same for others. Be kind, the world already has plenty of critics.

{SEVEN} Work hard, stay humble

It is absolutely incredible how much my mentor accomplished in her life. She worked insanely hard and hardly ever talked about her accomplishments, achievements, and successes. She was humble and always grateful. No matter how much you achieve, never let it get to your head. Work hard and stay humble.

 

 

 

 

In memory of my mentor.

Monthly Roundup: May Favorites

May flew by in a blink of an eye! I had a feeling it would…It was such a jam-packed month filled with mini adventures and I loved it!

The busyness of the month is also why I’ve been MIA lately (whoops). I’ve been working on a secret project for you all, yes, but life offline has been a bit crazy in general!

With so many fun things, it was hard to pick just a few to share as my May Favorites, but below is the list so check it out!

32121657_354483754956880_6025357607504445440_n

{ONE} Brooklyn Bridge

I kicked off the month by escaping to New York City for a girls weekend with my mom and cousins. We traveled to Chicago a few years ago and decided to plan Girls Trip 2.0 a little closer to home this time.

We checked many things off the bucket list including trips to Central Park, the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Alice’s Tea Cup Cafe, Chinatown, Little Italy, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m a fan of all-things adrenaline but I have to be honest, at the top of the bridge I felt a little shaky! It may have been the wooden boards and being able to see the water when I looked down, but it was still something I’m glad I did.

{TWO} Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, New York City

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum was another place I wanted to visit while in NYC. I had read reviews and seen a few pictures online and thought that although it looked weird and a bit creepy, I had to see it for myself. I’m so glad we did! It ended up being the highlight of the trip. The wax statues were unbelievably realistic and the gallery included statues of Michael Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Ronald Reagan, Usher, The Rock, and Amelia Earhart. Definitely a must-see!

{THREE} Engagement Photos

Luke and I had our engagement photos taken in May. After rescheduling the photoshoot three times due to absurd DE weather, we finally had a beautiful (hot!!!) afternoon and went to Winterthur Museum & Garden for the day. Stacy Hart Photography did an incredible job and you can view the entire gallery here.

Dress: Dress Barn // Shoes: Payless

{FOUR} Registry

May was the month of checking random wedding to-dos off the list. We had fun scanning things and creating our registry at several of our favorite stores. I never knew I could be so excited about registering for plates and kitchen utensils, but alas here we are. #Adulting

{FIVE} The Knot Wedding Website

I mentioned in a recent post, 5 Wedding Planning Tips From a Budget-Friendly Bride, that I would be saving paper (and money) by creating digital RSVPs instead of requiring my guests to send back paper cards. The Knot makes it easy to create a personalized, user-friendly website and it’s been fun creating one for our guests. I even linked our registries to the website, too!

{SIX} The Royal Wedding

Yes, I was one of those suckers who woke up at 5am to watch The Royal Wedding. Judge me all you want, it was worth it. If not for the fashion then definitely for the memories of my mom and I drinking tea and watching the event unfold across the pond.

{SEVEN} Mercy by Jodi Picoult

2018 is all about change and one of the habits I’ve recently changed is avoiding social media before bed. About 30-45 minutes before I call it for the night, I open a book instead of the Instagram app. During a recent thrift store visit, I picked up Mercy by Jodi Picoult (my favorite author of all time!) for $2. Best two bucks ever spent because I’ve been reading Mercy and it is phenomenal. Picoult wrote it back in the ’90s, but it is a timeless, thought-provoking, and captivating read.