My First Official 5K

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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!

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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! 

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The Year of 3 Words: A Mid-Year Update

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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.

On My Radar / 5 February Favorites

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February was one long month, which is pretty ironic considering it is the shortest month of the year!

I blame it on the cold, miserable temperatures and minimal sunlight we received.

Although it was long and cold, I did choose to find the good and discovered a few favorite things about the month!

Since it’s Mid-March (aka way too late for a monthly round up in my opinion!), I’m combining my February Favorites with what’s currently on my radar.

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{ONE} Flowers

Okay, okay… This isn’t a February-specific favorite, BUT I did learn to appreciate the touches of spring when it was snowing outside. There’s something special about having fresh flowers inside when it’s cold and snowy outside. This bouquet was my favorite because of the colors and because I won it at a bridal event (a win-win)!

{TWO} Bloom Daily Planners

I love to plan, organize, and schedule everything. I call January my “trial” month because I coast on the motivation that comes with the new year. February and March, however, wake me up pretty quickly and puts my organization skills to the test. I’ve been using Bloom Daily Planners for over two years now and they’re amazing. The planner breaks it up by month, week, and day so there is plenty of space to write notes and be as Type-A as you want!

{THREE} This is Us

All. The. Feels. If you watch NBC’s This is Us, you understand. February was a shocking month for the show, to many viewers’ dismay. Still not over it. What an amazing show, though. It has quickly become one of my favorites. For those of you who are in the same boat, watch Parenthood on Netflix. That show is good, too!

{FOUR} The Super Bowl

What would February be without the Biggest Game of the year? This year was a real nail-biter and a history-maker. I was fortunate to work behind-the-scenes for this game in particular and had the privilege of meeting Brent Celek, who up until recently, was the Eagles’ Tight End. He’s super nice and very, very tall.

{FIVE} Fern Flowers

I traveled to Boston this past weekend and visited a little flower boutique called Fern Flowers. It’s a two-room shop filled with plants, succulents and flowers, a.k.a. Keri heaven. It was magical. This picture does not do it justice.

 

Can’t wait to see what the rest of March has in store. So far, so good!

5 Wedding Planning Tips From a Budget-Friendly Bride

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As some of you know, I’m engaged! So far wedding planning has been a whirlwind of to-dos, appointments, and meetings, but I’ve been having a blast dreaming and preparing for our big day.

It blows my mind how much money brides will spend on their day. I am all for big dreams and beautiful weddings, but I am also budget conscious and proud of it. It’s been a fun challenge to find creative ways to save money while also planning the wedding of our dreams.

Here are 5 ways I’ve stayed budget conscious as I plan for October!

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{ONE} Save-The-Dates

Save-the-dates were one of the first things I checked off my to-do list because… I’m not doing them. Many of our friends and family already know when our wedding is either by word-of-mouth or by asking us, so I’m saving money and only sending out official invitations instead!

{TWO} RSVPs

I haven’t officially sent my invitations yet, but I already know one thing I won’t include when I do: RSVP cards. Creating a wedding website where guests can RSVP, find location details, registry information, and more not only saves on postage, but it also keeps all of the RSVPs and necessary information in one place.

{THREE} Dinner

This is total preference, but I love buffet-style dinners as opposed to multiple-course dinners. It allows guests the flexibility to eat what they want while also making sure you don’t over-order and over-spend.

{FOUR} Cake

Do you remember the cake from the last wedding you attended? Probably not. Instead of cashing out tons of money for an extravagant and multi-tiered cake, I will order a giant sheet cake and serve it pre-cut to our guests. To keep up with tradition, we will most likely still order a smaller cake for photos and tasting, but since my fiance isn’t a huge cake person, stay tuned for possible alternatives. 😉

{FIVE} The Dress

love my dress for many reasons but one of them is the fact that I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on it. I watch TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and am baffled by the amount of money some brides spend on a beautiful dress they will wear once. Don’t get me wrong, I think the dress is extremely important, but will I spend a down payment’s worth on it? Absolutely not. I’m a witness to all you brides out there: It is possible to find your dream dress without breaking the bank!

Do you have any budget-saving tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them so comment below!

On My Radar 🎧📱

One of the habits I’ve been trying to “break” this year is watching a lot of TV. It’s so easy to come home after work and turn on “background noise” as I do other things or watch a Netflix show to relax.

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that I could be using that time to my benefit. Why watch what you can listen to? Since that epiphany, I have challenged myself to avoid TV after work.

It’s not easy.

I allow myself to text and scroll through Instagram, but when it comes to watching TV, I avoid it when I can. (This is Us and How To Get Away with Murder are my two exceptions!)

My No-TV challenge has helped me discover a few great podcasts & audiobooks in the last couple of weeks.

Here’s what’s on my radar so far.

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{ONE} Serial Season 1

A true-story murder mystery told by a curious individual who details her investigation through 12 episodes. Honestly, this season of Serial is what sparked my interest in podcasts.

{TWO} Reach Church’s “The Great 8” Series

My church is studying Romans right now, and I’ve been learning so much. I absolutely love the book of Romans and I can’t get enough of it. It’s so powerful! “The Great 8” series focuses only on Romans 8, and it has been eye-opening so far. Check back each week for more videos added to the series.

{THREE} The Village Church’s “Romans 12-15” Series

When searching for a new sermon series to listen to during the week, I stumbled upon The Village Church’s sermon series on Romans 12-15. As mentioned above, we’re studying Romans at church but I enjoy listening to other sermons about it when I can. I’m halfway through this one and highly recommend it.

{FOUR} The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Audiobook

I can’t give an honest review about this yet since I just started it, but so far, it’s good. This is an experiment, to be honest, because I’ve had mixed experiences listening to audiobooks. You’d think the experience would be similar to listening to a podcast, but I find it harder to focus on an audiobook than a podcast. It might be the fact that it’s scripted instead of conversational, but doesn’t hurt to try, right?!

 

What are you listening to? Let me know your recommendations & I’ll add them to my growing list!