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!

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Monthly Roundup: Five January Favorites

Can you believe it? January is (pretty much) over. This month went by too quickly and too slowly all at once.

As I wrap up the first month of 2018 and start prepping for February, I want to take a minute and highlight a few of my favorite things from this month.

— — —

{ONE} The Greatest Showman

What an ah-maz-ing movie. Soundtrack, acting, story, casting…You name it, The Greatest Showman aced it. I saw it twice this month and highly recommend it. My favorite song: “From Now On.”

Listen to the full soundtrack here.

{TWO} 1-Second Everyday App

My friend completed the 1-second-video-a-day challenge last year and challenged me to attempt it this year. I already can tell it’s going to be a memorable part of 2018 as I capture the little moments of each day. It has helped me look for the good in each day and document moments I may have forgotten otherwise. Download the app here.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.22.46 AM.png{THREE} Carly the Prepster

Carly is one of my favorite bloggers, hands down. I follow her on Instagram and read her posts multiple times a week. I even had breakfast with her a few years ago in New York City! Carly’s Instagram feed is beautiful and her blog posts range from recipes to fashion tips to lifestyle hacks. Check her blog out here.

{FOUR} Starbucks’ Coconut Milk Vanilla Latte

I’m usually a caramel latte girl, but I decided to be adventurous (ha!) and order something vanilla the last time I was at Starbucks and oh my goodness, this latte is so good! A grande is *only* 200 calories, which yes, is still a lot of calories for a drink, but compared to a few of the other choices, it is wayyy less. And delicious!

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{FIVE} The Beautiful Word Devotional

I received The Beautiful Word daily devotional as an anniversary gift at the beginning of the year. It quickly became a highlight of my day. Each day focuses on one verse and a little reading to go with it. The pages are beautifully illustrated and the devotions are deep and thought-provoking. I can’t wait to keep reading it this year.

January’s been a fun month. I’m excited to see what February brings!

Don’t forget to share your favorite January moments below – I’d love to hear them!

2018: The Year of Three Words

I’m a little late on the whole “New Year’s Resolutions” trend. Better late than never, right?

A few years ago, instead of the usual list of goals, I chose three words to theme my year: First, Risk, and Joy.

Shortly after that, I (unintentionally) stopped blogging for a while and I didn’t track my progress on how that shift worked for me. I wish I had stuck with it; it kept me accountable. Generally speaking, though, I liked that way of kickstarting a new year.

This time, I sat down towards the end of December and began thinking of all that was to come in 2018. So many milestones, so many goals, so many items on the to-do list! Instead of jotting them all down, I noticed a couple of themes. I realized 2018 would not be the year of checking things off…

2018 would be the year of three words.

So I reviewed my list of goals and chose my 3 words: Change, Do, and Joy.

——-

Change.

Change of last name. Change of mindset. Change of scenery. Change of style.

It kind of, sort of scares me that “Change” is inevitably one of my 2018 words. Change makes me nervous because routine is interrupted and my Type-A senses have difficulty adjusting to a new normal.

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BUT it is also a good thing.

Change means growth and learning new things. It means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Adventuring into the unknown can be exciting and full of possibility and joy. For example, I’m getting married this year (!!) so that alone comes with a lot of changes like place of residence, last name, relationship status, routine, schedule, responsibilities, and it also brings a lot of love and laughter and memory-making, to name a few.

I am excited that “Change” is one of my 2018 themes, even though it does make me a bit anxious. A few other changes that I hope to conquer this year: drinking more water then coffee, updating my blog, modifying a few habits, and waking up earlier.

——-

Do.

2018 is the year that I do. Literally, I will say the words “I do” this year!

“Do” is action. It’s a step towards completing something. It’s a verb.

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Honestly, something about the word has always inspired me. It’s not just an idea or thought; it’s a word that takes that and turns it into something. I’ve never been much of a daydreamer and I hate procrastinating. I’ve always been a girl who wants to spring into action ASAP and do something.

This year is no different; I want to do many things like read at least 25 books, complete my social marketing certification, buy a house, and get married. I want to be more intentional with my friends and write more letters…just to name a few.

“Do” encompasses so many things; it’ll be an adventure to see how God uses this word in my life this year.

——-

Joy.

“Joy” was one of my words for 2015, and I loved it so much, I’m choosing it again. This is what I said in 2015 about why I picked “Joy.” I think it sums it up pretty well:

Different than “happiness,” I choose “joy.” Happiness is temporary and circumstantial. Joy is a mindset. Through the little things, I yearn to discover the joy. Choose joy and keeping choosing it — that’s what I want to do. Instead of “I have to …”, replace it with “I get to…”   A mindset makes all the difference. Through every situation, good or bad, I aim to focus on the joy of it all.

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——-

So there ya go! My three words for 2018. What are your New Year’s Resolutions or Word(s) of the Year? Comment below; I’d love to see them as we encourage each other to live the greatest year yet.

The Top 5 Songs You Must Listen To Right Now

 

I commute every day and get sick and tired of the radio.

You can only listen to Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5 so many times before you cannot stand it anymore.

In the same boat? You’ve come to the right place.

Three of these are new songs and the other two are oldies, but I cannot stop listening to them and thought you might love them, too.

Here are The Top 5 Songs You Must Listen To Right Now.

  1. Mike Love – Permanent Holiday
  2. Grouplove – Spun
  3. Elon University (cover) – Sia – Chandelier
  4. Sara Bareilles – (Sittin’ On The) Dock Of The Bay
  5. Chopin – Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 35 1. Grave Doppio movimento

Bonus song! One of my favorite hymns sung beautifully by one of my favorite worship bands: King’s Kaleidoscope (cover) – How Deep

What song are you currently listening to on repeat? Share it in the comments below!

Several Months Later

* Several Months Later *Several_Monthes_Later..._

I feel like I am living a Sponge Bob episode where time races forward and the next scene occurs months after the previous scene. AKA I have not written a blog post in several months and a lot has happened since my previous one.

A few months can change a lot of things. For example, my role as a student took its final bow and I received a college degree as proof. My role as job searcher ended, as well, and I accepted a post-grad job with great excitement. My role as Smurf-owner changed, because I bought a new {silver, not blue} car.

If you do not stop to take it all in, life goes by pretty fast. It feels like just yesterday I wrote a blog post about the anxiety I felt before entering college and here I am, * four years later * reflecting on the truth that I left it.

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Life goes on after college. That is one fact I had a hard time grasping throughout the last semester or two. It was difficult to imagine a world without homework, exams, group projects, and presentations. To be honest, it has been challenging to get out of the mindset that I start school in the fall. I’m relieved, of course, and very excited — still, it is bizarre to embrace the idea that I’m actually done. Eighteen years of school and *snap* – it’s over.

Life goes on — a truth, a revelation, a promise.

An adult. A real one. I am a full-fledged adult now, but I still feel {sometimes}
like I am 12. Maybe it is because I have not grown since my pre-teen years, or maybe it is because I do not feel “old” like I once thought adults should feel. Nevertheless, it’s official. I’m a college graduate and a new member of this much-talked-about place called, “the real world.” Ready or not, here I come.

In the beginning of the year, I chose three words to help guide me through the next 365 days: First, Risk, and Joy.

My oh my, how perfect those words have been to summarize the many joys, struggles, difficulties, and blessings I have experienced thus far this year. In just these seven months of 2015, I feel like I have been stretched in ways I did not anticipate. Stretched in patience, faith, love, and joy. Stretched in trust, work ethic, focus, and determination. Stretched, stretched, stretched — but stretched in ways that always pointed me towards focusing on the God who gives me strength.

Without firsts, without risks, and without joys, life is pretty dull. As a girl who usually loves routine and order, the idea of risking a comfort zone to try new things can be a true test of what I am made of.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 10.42.51 PMI have a lot of adjusting and stretching to do. Obviously, I am not nearly as stretched as God wants me to be. Every day of life stretches you a little more towards Him. I’ve been stretching my identity to be more then just a piece of resume paper. My identity is more then the tasks I perform, the activities I participate in, and the motions of everyday life. My identity is through Christ, in Christ, alone.

A professor said to my class two weeks before the semester ended this past spring. He said to me, to us, “Stop thinking about what you want to do after college. Who do you want to be?” It struck me. Not because of the question, but because I realized how often I think about the things that need to be accomplished that I often forget to stop and really enjoy the moment.

The ironic part of this sort-of epiphany is how often I have blogged over the years about learning to find the little joys in every day life. It is a constant, life-long battle, and one that requires me to be constantly stretched and tested.

All I know is that I’m excited… and ready.

Another chapter has opened, full of new firsts, risks, and joys.

Let’s do this. IMG_1385

“I’ve had more Starbucks coffee this week then…”

“I’ve had more Starbucks coffee this week then…”

This fragment of a sentence was overheard at a local Starbucks this afternoon. I sat at the counter, overlooking the dreary, grey and rainy skies, slaving over to-do lists — and a woman’s thought resonated with me.

That fragment of a sentence pretty much summarizes March so far, yep. The good thing about this semester is that most of my activities are finished by 3 p.m. I look forward to Wednesdays, in particular, because of the long afternoons of nothing scheduled {usually}.  There is no where else to be except where I end up being.

For today, and for most Wednesdays, that place usually ends up being Starbucks. They know my order {finally}, but still cannot spell my name correctly {of course}.

“Is it C-A-R-E-Y?” A hopeful barista asked me.

“That’s one way to spell it,” I joked, half-smiling. I have given up the battle of correct spelling. If only it was not too late to tell them a completely different name. By now they know Keri’s order by heart, not Whitney’s or Sarah’s or Holly’s.

Half-way through the semester, almost. Next week is spring break and that means I am officially almost a bachelor’s degree graduate. Two more months and it will be here. The cap and gown are ordered and ready for pick-up, the 150+ credits of courses are taken, and the resume has been critiqued and perfected more times then I can count. There is a to-do list that is ever-growing and a mind of thoughts that is ever-thinking.

Yet, on this rainy, springy hump-day, I cannot help but pause and wonder how many cups of Starbucks brewed coffee I have consumed this month… let alone year… let alone life. The question is not “Can you survive without coffee, Keri?” It’s more along the lines of, “Why would you want to survive without coffee?”

I am a passionate enthusiast who believes in the perfect blend of rain and coffee. I do not think there is anything better that complements rainy afternoons then coffee. I dare anyone to try and think of one. At least for my life, Starbucks has helped me through many-a-stressful-time. Why stop now?

“I’ve had more Starbucks coffee this week then…”

Me too, lady. Me too.

The 3 Words: January and February Review

It’s been two months and five days since 2015 began.

To me, it seems like we rang in the new year yesterday… time flies! But, so far, so good!

Remember when I chose 3 words to focus on in 2015?

Well, like all ‘resolutions,’ keeping them requires time, energy, and evaluation. Here’s a review of how the progress is going…

First.

So far, there have been a lot of firsts. Professionally, I purchased my first stack of business cards from Vistaprint. They were very affordable and extremely easy to customize. But that’s not all! They arrived only a few short days after I ordered them, which made my day enough to take this picture. Another first this year was reading Gone GirlYes Please, and Bossypants. These three books were incredibly well-written, inspiring, and hard to put down– I definitely recommend them. {Check out the entire stack of winter session reads here.} I’m also pleased to announce I’m an official The Skimm Ambassador and a member of the Her Campus Blogger Network {hence the new ‘Networks’ tab on the right of this page}

There have been several personal firsts, as well. I won’t name them all {I know, I know– I’m a terrible person!}, but here are several I will share with you. For one, I had my last first day of school — ever! And, in typical Keri fashion, I found a throwback of my first day of school {pre-K} and created this collage to summarize 18 years of school. Time flies! It has also snowed {a lot} this winter. Actually, it is snowing as I type this– just another snowstorm to add to the list. This was the first snow sunset photo I took this year — winter sunsets take my breath away.

Risk.

Thankfully, physical risk has been nonexistent; although, there have been several times while driving on icy roads that I have been convinced otherwise. This entire semester will be one big, risky adventure, if only for the fact that people keep asking, “What’s next?” It is hard for me to answer this question sometimes, because the unknown is…well, unknown. My need to plan, plan, plan is going out the window, and it really has pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, as my word ‘joy’ will explain, risk is not always a bad thing. It can lead to…

Joy.

My need to plan is a silly one, because God’s plans are far better than mine will ever be. Every time I think I know what the plan is, He patiently reminds me that He has it all under control. His have {and always will} be better than I had ever imagined. From job searching to figuring out what the next chapter entails to everything in between, it is easy to dwell on the question, “What’s next?” It is easy to rush through the little moments of life, but those are the experiences memories are made of. Joy is in the perspective, and 2015 has been the year of God teaching me more about it.

So that’s a {general, brief} overview of the first two months of 2015! If this is foreshadowing to how the rest of the year is going to be, 2015 is going to be a whirlwind of {awesome, exciting} adventure.

How’s 2015 shaping up for you? Let me know by sending a tweet or commenting below!

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