Monthly Roundup: June Favorites

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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!

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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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7 Tips For Your Morning to Maximize Workday Productivity

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It’s already March?! It seems like yesterday was January 1st. Time flew and now we’re a quarter of the way through 2018. Craziness.

If your work week is anything like mine, the days blend together with meetings, tasks, emails, assignments, due dates, projects, and more. So much to do, so little time!

It’s easier said than done to stay organized, but I kickstarted these habits during my college years and never looked back. If you’re looking for ways to start your day organized and mentally prepared to tackle your to-do list, you’ve come to the right place.

— — — —

{ONE} Start The Day Before

The process from waking up to arriving at the office is a couple of hours of pure craziness for me. The last thing I want to do is try to remember everything I have to do that day.

Instead, I start the day before. Before I leave the office, I clean up my desk and write down all the tasks and meetings I have for the following day. I even write reminders to drink water, walk, eat lunch, and skim news articles. It may seem like a silly exercise, but cleaning my workspace and jotting my thoughts on paper before I head home relieve stress and serve as visual reminders of the next day’s priorities.

{TWO} Make Your Bed

It’s a simple trick that many fail to do, but when I make my bed, my morning is instantly better. It takes only a few minutes and once it’s done, I feel accomplished because I’ve already checked an item off my list. Plus, my room looks and feels cleaner because the pillows are off the floor and the blankets are folded neatly.

{THREE} Eat Breakfast 

“Hangry” is definitely a thing. Not only does eating breakfast give me the necessary fuel my body craves in the morning, it also brightens my mood and releases those hangry tendencies. I typically eat eggs and sausage for breakfast, which give me a quick boost to make sure I’m mentally and physically ready to tackle the day ahead.

{FOUR} Drink Water Before Coffee 

I am a huge coffee lover. I drink at least 24 ounces every day, but I try to drink even more water. Before I drink my first cup of coffee, I sip water first. It not only helps me start the day healthy and hydrated, but it also gets me in the right mindset to tackle the day head-on. Plus there are tons of health benefits on why drinking water first thing in the morning is good for you so it’s a win-win!

{FIVE} Check Emails

Once I arrive at the office, I sip my coffee, check my to-do list, and dive into emails. I don’t typically check my emails first thing in the morning. I wait until I am at my desk before I open my inbox so I can give myself enough time to sort through, read, and respond to them all at once.

While I check my email, I write any additional to-dos to the list. It kills two birds with one stone because I’m keeping my list updated while also trimming down the number of emails in my inbox.

{SIX} Stick To A System

I’m a color-code, check-everything-off kinda girl. You may be like me, or you may not be. Whatever works for you, stick to it.

For me, I check things off as I go so I can visually see my progress. I have a notebook dedicated to my daily lists, a planner for important dates and reminders, a monthly wall calendar, and a pad used only for weekend goals & tasks. I’m a bit Type-A, can you tell?

You don’t have to manage the same system I do but find what works for you and stick to it. One major way to stay organized and ensure you’re ready to take on the day is to find a system that works for you and do it until it becomes a habit.

{SEVEN} Just Do It

Similar to the organization system, stop avoiding the unavoidable and just do it. Know when you’re most alert and productive and do the harder tasks then. For me, I write better in the morning so I try to do a lot of my writing when I first arrive at the office. I also am more creative in the afternoon so I try to plan in a way that allows me to tackle creative projects then. However you operate, try to accommodate your to-do list around it to ensure you are creating your best work every day.

28 Healthy Habits You Can Start Right Now

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How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?

A lot of people laugh at this question nowadays because by now, many have given up on them.

Admittedly, I was this person in years past, but this year I chose three words to shape my 2018 perspective. One of those words is “Change” and the other is “Do.” You can attribute so many resolutions to these two words alone that the list is endless!

When it comes to healthy habits, I’ve struggled a bit. As I experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, I realized something.

Every little thing counts.

In my mind, I have thought of ‘being healthy’ as a series of huge decisions destined for failure. But really, that is not the case at all! I started listing out all of the healthy habits I’m already doing and looking at the list, I realized it’s not hard to be healthy.

You simply have to change little things in your life and then, as Nike says, just do it.

  1. Take the stairs.
  2. Eat an apple with your lunch.
  3. Park farther away in the parking lot.
  4. Do squats while brushing your teeth.
  5. Do squats while watching TV.
  6. Do squats basically whenever you’re standing still.
  7. Drink a glass of water in the morning.
  8. Drink a glass of water at night.
  9. Drink water more often in general.
  10. Eat a big breakfast.
  11. Don’t eat late at night.
  12. Try black coffee without tons of creamer and sugar.
  13. Do sit-ups during commercial breaks.
  14. Do planks.
  15. Laugh often.
  16. Go to bed at a decent hour.
  17. Rest when your body needs it.
  18. Get outside.
  19. Cook at home if you can.
  20. Eat more fruits & veggies.
  21. Stop drinking soda.
  22. Sit less, stand more.
  23. Don’t snack if you’re not hungry.
  24. Eat sitting down.
  25. Don’t drink your calories.
  26. Eat colorfully.
  27. Walk more.
  28. Read more.

There are so many more, but those are the ones that came to mind. What is one healthy habit you’re going to start today?

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!

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.

On My Radar: 2018 Edition

Happy 2018!

I can’t believe it’s the start of a new year. In some ways 2017 flew by, but in others it dragged on. I’ve been eagerly awaiting 2018 for a while now, and it is finally HERE. Cue all the praise hands and happy dances.

So many exciting things are bound to happen this year, I can hardly wait.

Although I am still planning and finalizing my “resolutions,” I will share those with you soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share what’s on my radar lately because I’m really excited about them.

On My Radar…

{ONE} “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines

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This book! I received it for Christmas because I’m a huge fan of Fixer Upper. I was always intrigued by the husband & wife duo who flip and design houses, raise four kids, live in Texas, and keep God at the center. However, while reading The Magnolia Story, I became an even bigger fan of the Gaines’.  It’s an easy read, too, so it hasn’t taken me long at all to be almost finished it. I’ll probably finish it tonight and I started reading it a few days ago.

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{TWO} La La Land Piano Sheet Music

This piano sheet music book is another thing I received for Christmas and I *love* it. I’m always on the search for new songs to learn on the piano to challenge myself and keep my skills sharp. Since I teach piano and no longer take lessons myself, playing for fun usually does not happen on a regular basis. La La Land quickly became one of my favorite movies in early 2017, and the soundtrack is downright ah-maze-ing, so I am excited for the challenge.

{THREE} Fur Vests

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This trendy piece of clothing has stumped me. I love how it looks and received one as a gift this year. I’ve pinned a few outfits on Pinterest that includes this statement piece, but I have yet to test it out. It’s so warm and stylish, I’m excited to wear it soon.

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 4.10.56 PMI discovered Bloom Daily Planners a few years ago while researching the best academic planners to use during my senior year (*cough* my Type A is showing *cough*). Bloom is a Delaware-based company and their founders attended the University of Delaware, so obviously when I found this out, I was hooked and purchased my first of many products from Bloom. This year, I received the Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar and it sits proudly on my desk at work. It’s not only adorable and colorful, but every day features a quote or a challenge – two of my favorite things!

 

Those are a few things on my radar. What’s on yours?