The Movement Challenge: 6 Ways to Move More

This month I’ve been challenging myself to MOVE.

Now this may sound pretty straight forward and obvious, but if I’m being honest with you (and myself), some days I’m really bad at moving. I work in an office where I sit for most of the day, whether at my desk or in meetings, and when it’s a busy day I am usually “chained” to my desk. (Not really, but you get the idea.)

I mentioned in my Monthly Roundup: 7 March Favorites blog post I received a Fitbit HR recently from my fiance. I love it but it also was a visual reminder that I didn’t move enough during the day. It alerts me every hour to walk at least 250 steps and on some days in March, I would go a few hours (if not most of the day) without walking a single step from 9-5 p.m. (Terrible, I know.)

They say sitting is the new smoking, so this month I decided to do something about it.

I still work at a desk job so my 9-5 p.m. schedule can’t change too much, but here are a few habits I’ve started to incorporate more movement into the day.

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I’m changing my “I can’t” to “I will.” Before action comes the mindset. I sometimes say, “I don’t have time.” That’s not true. I do make time for what is important to me. If movement was important to me (and it is), then the mindset must change. In April I began changing my thinking from “I don’t have time” to “I will have time.” Using an “I will” statement is a promise I don’t want to break.

I wake up earlier. Let’s be honest here, we love sleep. I’m not a self-proclaimed morning person but this month I’ve been trying to wake up 1 – 1.5 hours earlier than I did in March. When I wake up earlier, it is so difficult to get out of bed, but when I’m up, there are no excuses to skip my workout. I can’t say “I don’t have time,” because I do! So I roll out of bed and do Insanity and by 7:30 a.m. (when I’d usually wake up), I’ve already completed 3 healthy habits: more sweat, more steps, and more water.

I park farther away. Granted, the parking garage is directly below my office building so I don’t have to walk blocks to arrive at my desk. BUT, parking farther away from the entrance makes me walk farther and therefore, move more.

I take the stairs. I refuse to go on an elevator unless I absolutely have to. In the mall, at the office, in a hotel… wherever it might be, I don’t take the elevator. I opt for the stairs. It gets my heart pumping a bit if there are multiple flights to climb and it is also an easy way to get more movement in my day.

I drink more water. This is a win-win because you a) drink more water and b) walk to re-fill the bottle. This month I’ve tried to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, which is honestly a lot harder then I originally thought. Consequently I’m less hungry, feel healthier, and consume less coffee (sad but good).

I walk laps around the office. I can get so buried in a task that I don’t even realize I need a mental break. My Fitbit HR helps me out because it buzzes a reminder that I need to walk before the hour is up. It’s my cue to stop what I’m doing and take a lap around the office. Even a 5-minute mental break from looking at a screen makes me feel refreshed and motivated to do my best work.

I’ve enjoyed The Movement Challenge so far. It’s not only been a positive change, but a much needed one. What are some ways you add movement to your day? Leave a comment below!

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Monthly Roundup: Seven March Favorites

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March is one of my favorite months. I may be biased because it’s my birthday month but there’s something about March that makes me happy. The start of spring weather, sunny mornings, longer days, and the feeling that winter is almost gone.

This month went by quickly and winter made it clear it was not going away anytime soon. Although we had a few springlike days, we had a nor’easter on the “First Day of Spring,” so I’m not convinced yet! That doesn’t mean I can’t channel spring inside, though. Check out a few of my March (and spring!) favorites below.

{One} Bloom Daily Planners

I’m a sucker for planners and have purchased academic planners for the past few years now. However in March I decided to make the switch from academic to yearly planner and therefore bought this one from Bloom Daily Planners. I love the pattern and the different sections in it. I can’t wait to use it more in April.

{TWO} Essie Nail Polish

I can’t stand when my nails aren’t painted. I love switching out the colors and trying new ones. In the winter I tend to stay dark — burgundy, wine, rose, navy — but in the spring, I like to lighten it up! I’m currently obsessed with minimalistic by essie nail polish. It’s a light and airy pink that is almost nude. It gives my nails the exact spring refresh I was looking for!

{THREE} Insanity

Spring means summer is coming! To get ready for it, I’ve restarted Insanity: a nine-week, 6-days-a-week, HIIT-esque sister to P90X. If that description scares you then you’re not alone. This time I knew what I was getting into since I completed Insanity this summer but that doesn’t make it any easier. So. Many. Burpees. But the best part about it is you don’t need weights or a lot of room so it’s a great hour workout I can knock out before work to kickstart my day the healthy way.

{FOUR} Fitbit HR

My fiance gave me a Fitbit HR as a gift and I love it. I’m obsessed. It not only tracks your steps but it also tracks your heart rate, calories burned, and miles walked. I sync it with the FitBit app regularly to learn more info including my sleep schedule, how much water I drink, a food log, etc. Not to mention it’s cute and there are a lot of wristband options for it so you can always make a fashion statement and be healthy at the same time!

{FIVE} Payless Pumps

Throughout March I found myself cleaning out, purging, and wanting to start fresh, especially wardrobe-wise. I bought these pumps from Payless in three colors, but how could I not?! They actually were on sale at the time so I got them in Black/Pink Floral, Rose Gold Smooth, and Watermelon Pink Suede. They’re surprisingly comfortable and go with a lot. I can’t wait to wear them more often!

{SIX} Balayage

My wardrobe wasn’t the only thing that got a refresh…my hair did, too! I caved and got balayage highlights to lighten it up a bit for spring. I tried balayage for the first time in the fall and loved it so I decided to revamp it and go a bit lighter this time.

{SEVEN} Tulips

What’s a spring favorites post without flowers? I’m currently in love with a bouquet of tulips a few of my piano students got me the other day (pictured above). I placed them on my desk next to a window so they can receive the best light. I love having fresh flowers – they make everything better!

Coffee Shop Musings

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It has officially been spring for a month now but the weather has not received the memo. We had a nor’easter here on the First Day of Spring with over 9 inches of snow.

Oh the irony.

I cannot wait for spring temps so I can wear my heels and sandals, drink iced coffee, walk out of the house without a sweater or jacket, and drive with the windows down.

While I anxiously await the days of warmer weather and mornings sans-ice, I continue my search for new cafes and coffee shops. It honestly is one of my favorite things to do when it’s cold outside. If a friend wants to meet for coffee, we try to find a place we have not visited before. If I can’t explore outside, I can certainly explore in a caffeinated sort of way!

This weekend, Luke and I stopped by a coffee shop before heading to a friend’s birthday dinner. As soon as I stepped inside, I was in love. It had rustic charm with an array of frames on the walls. Chandeliers hung from the ceilings and the tables, chairs and couches were mismatched. It definitely rocked a Friends-esque vibe.

Although I love my Starbucks and Dunkin drinks, there is something special about little coffee places that are not part of a franchise. It somehow makes the visit feel extra down-to-earth and cozy. If (when) I go back, I will order a hot mocha latte (it looked delicious), but I will say their iced chai is 10/10!

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.

— — —

{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!

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.

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{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!