What I’ve Been Reading Lately

flatlay photography of book and cup

I’ve been on a huge reading/audiobook kick lately. I blame it on the grey, rainy days we’ve been having. They make me want to curl up on the couch with coffee and a good book for hours.

Since my evenings are dedicated to wedding planning and cleaning/organizing our house, I decided to download Scrib’d and Libby – two iPhone apps that allow you to listen to audiobooks for little to no cost. They have been life-changing (and I don’t like to use that phrase lightly).

I’m always on the hunt for a good book but don’t visit the library or the bookstore as often as I’d like to. Audiobooks have been a great compromise so I can continue enjoying my hobby without breaking the bank.

I recently added a section to my website called 2018 Bookshelf. In January, I promised myself I would read at least 25 books by the end of 2018. Reading was a huge hobby of mine in high school and college and I wanted to reignite that passion. My 2018 Bookshelf is frequently updated with books I’ve finished this year. I’m also on Goodreads so you can see what I’m currently reading there, as well!

A few recent reads:

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham – Anything by Lauren Graham is my favorite. This was a quick read and worth every minute.

What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey – This was suggested by Scrib’d so I thought I’d give it a listen. It was interesting to learn more about Oprah’s background and some lessons she’s learned from being on TV for years.

Where There’s Smoke – Jodi Picoult – I usually love anything by Jodi Picoult so I decided to listen to this short story. I will be honest, I wasn’t a fan of it for a few reasons but the beauty of an audiobook is you don’t physically own the book once you finish it!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo – It really is life-changing. While reading this, I found myself wanting to get rid of almost everything I own. It’s a quick way to get inspired and think like a minimalist. I recommend this to everyone and I might have to purchase this one because it is one I would definitely read again.

Advertisements

Monthly Roundup: August Favorites

keri moving.png

August, where did you go? I swear it was August 1st yesterday but alas, here we are, the end of another month.

This month was fun and crazy. There were many Firsts this month as you’ll see below. We also hit the “2 Months To Go” mark so the start of September is super exciting yet insane that our wedding day is almost here!

{ONE} Bloom Daily Planners

If you’re an avid reader or follow my social media, you know I’m a huge fan of Bloom Daily Planners. I’ve used their products for at least 5 years now and talk about them frequently on my social channels. This month Bloom surprised me by reaching out and asking me to visit their headquarters; it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Their kindness was contagious and they graciously gave me products to give to friends and family. I even grabbed a new Vision Planner and it made me so excited to plan out the rest of the year! We had a lovely visit and I am so thankful for the opportunity to visit my favorite company. Thank you, Bloom!

{TWO} Spin Class

Another First that occurred this month was attending my first Spin Class. It was something I added last year in my 101 in 1,001 list and have kept an eye out for opportunities to try it out ever since. When my alma mater offered an alumni-only spin class at a discounted price, I couldn’t refuse! My friend and I went together and were sore for days afterward but I’m glad I did it and hope to attend another class soon!

{THREE} Pentatonix Concert

A coworker won tickets to a Pentatonix concert and couldn’t go so she gave them to me. It was such a lovely surprise and Pentatonix, as always, was unbelievable! We saw them back in December when they sang all of their Christmas hits but listening to them sing their other hits was a fun experience. Echosmith opened for them and they were also fantastic. Current favorite Pentatonix covers: The Evolution of Michael Jackson and Hallelujah.

{FOUR} Moving

HUGE First of the month was moving to our house (!!!). In a blur of packing and cleaning, the realization that I moved out of my childhood home into our future house didn’t hit me until I saw my stuff sitting in an empty room. Craziness. However, it has been a fun experience unpacking, settling in, and making a house our home. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about that in the coming months!

{FIVE} Wedding Look

With two months to go, the to-do list should be dwindling down but it is, in fact, skyrocketing. All of the to-dos, however, have not been all been boring. For instance, this month I had my first dress fitting, found my veil, and had a hair trial! Putting the dress on again after a year was so exciting and made it all feel more real — I can’t wait to walk down the aisle and dance the night away.

{SIX} Date Night Diaries with Steve and Stacy Hart Podcast

I mentioned this podcast series in my recent post about my morning routine but I wanted to give it another shout out. Steve and Stacy discuss a variety of topics and keep Christ in the center of it. I love that. Each episode is between 30-45 minutes so it’s easily digestible and the perfect length to stay focused. Spoiler alert: Stacy is my wedding photographer!

{SEVEN} Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Don’t judge me but I totally purchased a PSL within 48 hours of Starbucks announcing they were back. I can’t help it — I love fall and everything about it. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 😉 #SorryNotSorry

The Accessory That Pulls It All Together

person holding white ceramic mug

Anyone who knows me knows I love to accessorize. I never leave my house without earrings, sunglasses, a “full face,” and my engagement ring. I also love necklaces and bracelets, but there is one accessory that often is forgotten in the list of must-haves.

Nail polish.

There is something about painting your nails that pulls a look together. It gives any outfit an instant touch of sophistication. I could wear a T-shirt and jeans and if my nails are painted, I feel like I can conquer anything.

I have tried many nail polish brands to test which ones are the highest quality without breaking the bank. The brand I keep returning to is Essie Nail Polish.

You can purchase Essie at any drugstore, like Walgreens which is usually my one-stop-shop for beauty products. As soon as I walk into Walgreens, I am drawn to the nail polish section where hundreds of Essie colors line the shelves.

In the winter, I tend to sport darker shades of reds and grays, but in the summer I’m all about brighter shades like pink, blue, and white.

One of the worst things about having painted nails is when they chip, but with Essie that doesn’t happen nearly as often as other brands! They last up to a week, even longer if you apply a clear protective coat on top. I’ve never been the girl to willingly pay for someone else to do my nails so when I find a quality nail polish brand, I embrace it wholeheartedly!

Essie is a bit more expensive than the typical drugstore nail polish since it ranges from $8 – $15 a bottle, depending on the color and quality. However, it is worth the expense especially if you’re like me and don’t go to the nail salon hardly ever!

Current favorites: Bachelorette Bash and Bikini So Teeny.

How I’m Becoming a Morning Person

coffee apple laptop working

I hate to admit this because I never thought I’d say it.

I’m *slowly* becoming a morning person.

Not one of those “I wake up at 3am every day for fun” people. I’ll never be like that. I’m talking about the “I wake up at 6am” person, which may sound unimpressive but that is really early for me.

Apparently you are either a Night Owl or an Early Bird, and for years I thought I was the former. I stay awake until at least 12-1am almost every night and I thought that made me a Night Owl.

However when I started thinking about it, I’m not productive at night. I’m not inspired by or find that my prime hours of creativity are when the sun is asleep. I would rather watch a movie or read a book at night, not create something or clean my house. I realized I’m way more productive and motivated in the morning.

Now that I’ve started to embrace this realization, I love learning about others’ morning routines. YouTube is a jackpot for this. Learning what people do during their morning routines has helped me pinpoint what I can implement into my own.

If you’re like me and want a morning routine, or maybe you’re curious what I do before work, just keep reading.

{ONE} Create a to-do list the night before.

I’ve mentioned this in other blog posts but it is so important I’m telling you again. Creating a to-do list the night before helps me wake up focused and ready to conquer the day. I even add obvious to-dos like making my bed because who doesn’t like checking things off and feeling productive? 😉

{TWO} Don’t check social media.

This is a BIG one and something that is extremely difficult for me to do. I could write an entire blog post dedicated to this, but I’ll refrain (for now). I recently listened to an episode of The Date Night Diaries with Steve & Stacy Hart that was all about how the screen affects us. I was instantly motivated to change my habit of checking social media first thing in the morning. I find myself absentmindedly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter all the time. It’s insane how much time you can waste aimlessly scrolling. No one needs that kind of distraction in the morning and believe me, social media can wait a few hours! Put it aside, get things done, and enjoy being unplugged for a bit.

{THREE} Make your bed.

If you read about successful people and their habits, one theme is they all make their beds in the morning. It instantly makes your bedroom cleaner and helps start your day productive and ready to take on anything. A simple habit like making your bed can be the stepping stone to a good day ahead. As soon as I wake up, I make my bed because it also forces me to stay awake instead of crawling back between the sheets.

{FOUR} Drink water…

I have a difficult time drinking enough water most days. As soon as I wake up, I try to drink at least 16 ounces of water. Some people drink more, others less. As long as water is the first thing you consume, you’re off to a good start.

{FIVE} Then get coffee, ASAP. 

Honestly though, water’s great and all but it doesn’t have caffeine. As a “reward” to myself after drinking my morning water, I get coffee ASAP. It honestly is so nice to drink coffee while going through my morning routine instead of chugging it in the car on the way to work. There’s something about a cute mug filled with coffee that just gets to me every time.

{SIX} Straighten up.

Whether it’s putting clothes away or tossing junk mail, I also try to straighten up a bit. When my surroundings are clear, my mind is clear. It’s a pleasing sight to see that my space is already clean when I come home at the end of the work day.

{SEVEN} Read.

As mentioned before, one of my 2018 goals is to read more. One of the ways I’m fitting this into my daily routine is to read for at least 15-30 minutes in the morning. Whether it’s a few pages or a few chapters, it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m inching my way closer to completing the goal, I’m good!

{EIGHT} Start your get ready routine.

Eventually the “fun stuff” comes to an end and I have to begin by get ready routine. This isn’t as exciting as the other things, but one of the major pros to waking up earlier is doing all the other stuff BEFORE the get ready routine. By waking up earlier, I no longer scramble to fit everything I need to do within a crunched timeframe. Establishing a morning routine is helpful and ensures your day is off to a great (and productive) start.

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!

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!