Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Current Favorite Podcasts

I mentioned in my self care post that I've really gotten into podcasts recently so I thought I would share a few of those. Full disclosure: I have really weird podcast tastes but maybe you're interested in some of my weird stuff, too?

First up, Bachelor podcasts. I'm putting this out first because it's the most embarrassing and I'm just embracing it. 
  • Here to Make Friends
  • Bachelor Party
  • The Ben and Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast 
There's something about listening to these guys either dish about the behind the scenes stuff or vent my exact thoughts about the previous episode that I just love. Most of my friends don't watch it, so I guess this is my way of talking about it. These are also good for when I'm multitasking because I'm not really trying to absorb the material like I would some more development type podcasts. 

When I'm not listening to podcasts about my guilty pleasure TV, I like to listen to things that make me think a little bit more or give me ideas or actionable items to make changes in my daily life. 

My number one favorite is Stuff Mom Never Told You. I have listened to SO many episodes of this since finding it. I started listening to episodes where Bridgette and Emilie are the co hosts but have since gone back and listened to a few from the original co hosts and enjoyed all of them. A few of my favorites are: 
  • Can a Marriage be Feminist?
  • Can I be a feminist and still enjoy trashy reality TV? (I mean, hello, see above) 
  • The Problem with a Pinterest Perfect Life 
  • Women and Pyramid Schemes
  • The Mommy Tax 
Image result for stuff mom never told you podcast
Clearly most of these are feminist centered and I've really enjoyed digging into these topics and thinking through my own opinions more and its started some great discussions with friends and Christian as a result. 

Unladylike is another favorite, but its newer. It is hosted by the original hosts of Stuff Mom Never Told You so you can assume it has some similar ideals. It's all about women who are defying the term "ladylike". It is a newer podacast so there aren't as many to binge but I'm a fan so far.

Image result for unladylike podcast

Bossed Up is hosted by Emilie from Stuff Mom Never Told You. Clearly, this was my podcast jumping off point.. But, it's a professional development podcast. There are four episodes so far and I love them all: 
  • To Lead or Be Liked?
  • When is it time to quit?
  • How to get a Male Mentor 
  • I started my company - Now what?

Goal Digger: The Podcast is Jenna Kutcher's podcast on marketing, social media, small business strategies, etc. Not all of it is beneficial to me because I don't have a small business but some are super helpful for anyone with a job or a blog. I've just started listening to this one so I'm looking forward to digging in even more to it. 
Image result for goal digger podcast

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. I LOVE Dax Shepard. Last summer, I binged all of Parenthood and from that moment on, I was sold. It also helps that he tweeted me a few times in response to my tweets about him and I love that he interacts with his followers so much. They are longer episodes so they're good for when you're cleaning on Saturday or have a few uninterrupted hours in the car. I really loved both the episodes with Kristen Bell and Ashton Kutcher and hearing their take on life and how they approach it. 
Image result for armchair expert podcast

Do you have any favorite podcasts I should add to my life?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

8 Little Ways to Take Care of Yourself

As I've mentioned a few times, my word for 2018 is Thrive. 2017 was a hard one for me. I mentioned this in my 2017 wrap up post back in January. It was a good year in terms of work, my relationship and trying a lot of new things, but there were a lot of personal issues where I ended up totally exhausted and unable to function outside of going to work and getting by.

As things in my personal life calmed down, I realized I needed to do a better job of putting myself first. You know how on a flight they say to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others? It's truly the same thing here. You have to take care of yourself so you can help others and thrive. Hence, my word ;)

This isn't going to be your typical roundup of bath bombs and face masks. Yes, those are great, and as much as I love a good bath, there are plenty of other ways I'd like to spend my time. These are some of the other things I like to do to prioritize my mental (and sometimes physical) health so I can be the best version of me every day.

one // Click unsubscribe. I started doing this during our physical clutter cleanse in February (more to come, soon!) and I really enjoyed it. Any time an email comes in that I realize I don't need or I haven't opened in awhile, I just unsubscribe! It's amazing how refreshing it is when you only have emails coming in that you care about. It also helps to unsubscribe from all the store emails (or put them in a hidden folder) so you're not tempted!

two // Reading. I understand that this isn't relaxing for everyone but man I love to get lost in a really good book. If you want to see what I've been reading recently check out these posts. Reading can be an expensive hobby, though, so I suggest a library card. Our library here in Charlotte is great and has tons of resources besides just the books - e-books, audio books, Lynda, etc. Another great option is (ref link) Book of the Month club. For $14.99 you get one hard back book a month ( you choose from about 4) and then you can add more for $9.99.
three // Podcasts. In the last few weeks, I've really gotten into podcasts. I've been listening to all sorts but mostly Bachelor themed, feminist and a few motivational/work related. Yes, it's a weird grouping - I know. I've been full on binging some of my favorites while doing every day tasks - getting ready in the morning, driving, making dinner, and even while at work when I'm working on building training and other similar things.
Image result for stuff mom never told you
One of my current favorites! 
The reason I find these to be taking care of myself is that they give me a lot to think about and its led to some great discussions with friends and over dinner at night with Christian. It's also great to listen to people who share my Bachelor thoughts and then I can dissect them with Maggie.

four // Declutter. I love stuff. When we first moved into our house, I wondered how we would fill up four bedrooms + an office. And, we almost have... In February, I started purging stuff. There's all that stuff you keep around "just in case" you need it. But, let's be real: you probably won't need it. I'm not talking about becoming a minimalist - because that will never happen in my household - but get rid of the junk in junk drawer! Or the random water bottles you never use. Or the magazines you're never going to read again. You get what I'm saying - you'll feel so much lighter!

five // Phones away! I'm sure we can't be the only couple who lays in bed on our phones, right? I've started swapping this habit out with reading and/or yoga. I try to cut out the phone around 9/9:30 because my goal is to be asleep by 10. We've all heard that turning off the devices will help you sleep and I can say that I have seen an improvement since swapping out the phone.

six // Yoga/Stretching. In addition to putting down the phone, I try to do some yoga or stretching before bed, too. Stretching is so important - especially after working out. I do a quick 10 or 15 minute session after washing my face and jump right into bed so I'm fully relaxed and can slip right to sleep. There are some great nighttime yoga flows on Pinterest if you're lacking inspiration!

seven // Midday walk. I mentioned this in my Day in the Life post, but a few co-workers and I like to pop out and take a quick walk during the afternoon when we all have a few free minutes. The last few months it's been tough to do, but I always feel refreshed after spending a few minutes outside in the fresh air and getting the blood moving. If I can't squeeze that in, I try to take Ellie for a walk in the evenings!

eight // Find something small you love, and do it every day. This can be anything - a piece of dark chocolate, a good cup of coffee, stretching, reading blogs, listening to Bachelor podcasts, watching an episode of Friends, you get it... Just something that you know you can look forward to or can use for those moments when you're having a rough few minutes.

What do you do to take care of yourself everyday? Anything I should add to my list?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Reading is My Favorite

Another month, another link up with Steph and Jana! I have been SO motivated this year to read and I've found so many good books from the linkup so I am keeping my library hold list pretty full!


Final Girls / Riley Sager
Rating: 4/5

Honestly, the only reason this didn't get 5/5 is that I keep that reserved for books like Harry Potter that I am willing to read hundreds of time and never get tired of. This book was GOOD. I was nervous to start it because I don't like gory, slasher films and this is a spin on a slasher film and the "final girl" standing at the end and I was worried about it being too gory for me. Definitely wasn't and the twists were shocking. I thought we were headed one place and we ended up somewhere totally different in the last few chapters. My only criticism is that there was a lot of build up to the twist and then BOOM, the book was over. There was one chapter of somewhat wrap up, so I guess it was better than Since She Went Away in my last link up!

Woman in Cabin 10 / Ruth Ware
Rating: 3/5 

I'm pretty on the fence with this book. I've been hearing about it for awhile now and have been wanting to read it and finally got around to it. It took a little while for the book to pick up and then it weirdly felt like it dragged along a bit. I was definitely feeling intrigued during the climax but it still just didn't quite do it for me. I may have liked it more had it not been built up for me so much?


Where'd You Go, Bernadette? / Maria Semple
Rating: 4/5 

Yes I really enjoyed this one! It's a different vibe that what I normally read (but still with the missing person aspect that I seem drawn to). The story is told from the daughter's perspective...sort of. The daughter combines a lot of emails and letters between different people in her and her mother's life with her own commentary to find out where her mother disappeared to. It wraps up very well - which has been my biggest complaint with most of my recent reads so I was happy with the ending and the book left me with a smile on my face.

The Perfect Stranger / Megan Miranda

After reading another book by Megan Miranda last month, I was eager to read this one, too. I enjoyed that it was not told backwards like her last book. It was a slow and steady type of book. There were quite a few stories/mysteries/characters that did make me have to focus towards the end but I didn't expect what really happened and I felt like it had a good conclusion - unlike some others I've read recently. Definitely recommend this one!

A Wrinkle in Time / Madeleine L'Engle
Rating: 3/5

I read this as a kid, but with the movie coming out, I wanted a refresher. It was a super fast read (honestly, read it in less than two hours while babysitting for a friend) but I definitely see why I liked it as a kid. I also see why it is a kid's book. While I enjoyed it and can't wait to see the movie, I think the book definitely could use some more explanations/character development. I hold all kids books to Harry Potter standards so I should definitely lower that, I guess... Regardless, I will definitely have my future children read this book because I like the "lesson" to be learned!

Life According to Steph

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Looking Forward to March + Goals

Y'all. I don't like Summer and Charlotte starts Summer in March so I don't usually get excited for this month, but this March is going to be so fun (and so tiring) and I can't wait for it all! I already started the weekend off with a bang in Nashville this past weekend for Alyssa's Bachelorette party and it was such a fun weekend! Even if I did come home and get diagnosed with strep and now I'm writing this from the couch with all the lights off and curtains drawn.

Moving into the rest of the month, I have quite a few great things happening:

LASIK EYE SURGERY! I've been looking forward to this since I found out what LASIK was. So... when my mom got the surgery 22 years ago. I have been in glasses since I was 5 and started in contacts in middle school. Sometimes, I meet people and we bond over "being blind" and I ask what their prescription is and then I get "oh, I'm a -2".........................................

As someone who wears a -7.5, it's funny and little heartbreaking. I also found out during my consultation that I'm even worse than the prescription I'm wearing and it should be more of a -8.25 so needless to say I'm SO READY to get this surgery done! If you see me in person before March 16, I will definitely be talking about it incessantly. #sorrynotsorry

Baby Bria's first birthday. She's not even my baby but I find myself asking all the time how a year has gone by already?! She turns one on the 19th and her party is a few days later and I can't wait to celebrate a whole year of one of the cutest babies on the planet.
Chicago! One of my best friends is getting married this year and I'm going up to Chicago to go wedding dress shopping/do some planning over Easter weekend and I'm just SO excited! I was also able to work out perfect flights where I get there Friday morning and come home Monday morning without ever having to wake up early or take PTO :)
Katherine giving her speech at our wedding!
On top of these big things, I also have some fun nights planned with friends and a stewardship work event this weekend.

Since I have such a packed March schedule, I'm going to set some smaller goals for the month to keep working towards my word: Thrive.

one //  Blog 2 - 3 times per week. I've been doing a lot better the last few weeks and I have quite a few things in my drafts so I'm feeling good about this one!

two // Finish my 4 library books by March 20. I just finished Where'd you go, Bernadette? and I've got four more library books on the nightstand: The H Spot, Nasty Women, The Perfect Stranger, and The Good Daughter. 

three // Complete the BBG 12 Week Challenge! I have 4 weeks left of BBG Round 1 and I'm so motivated to finish. Hopefully this strep throat won't knock me out for too long so I can get through the last four weeks!
four // Switch out our decor. It's still technically winter so my winter decor is still fine, but it's been pretty hot in Charlotte already so it feels weird to still have my snowmen and penguins out even though I love them so much.

five // Clean out/organize my closet. I'm going to be fully transparent and say that I don't know if this will happen, but I really want to clean out my closet and get rid of things that no longer fit or I don't like anymore. I did a little bit of this with our minimalist challenge last month (more to come!) but there's still more to do because I have my eye on a few new spring/summer pieces!

What are your goals for March?

Friday, March 2, 2018

5 on Friday: Non Scale Victories

We made it to Friday! I'm headed to Nashville for Alyssa's Bachelorette this weekend and I'm so excited to spend a weekend with some of my best friends celebrating our girl! To kick off the weekend, I'm sharing some non scale victories I've had recently on this BBG/21 Day Fix/get it together life I'm living.

one // I'm back in my skinny jeans/leggings! A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out my closet and there were some skinny jeans that I've had there "just in case" and was ready to throw them out. As a last ditch motivator, I tried them on... and they FIT! I didn't throw them away and they've started fitting better and better since that day! Then, on Tuesday, I grabbed a pair of leggings in the dark and didn't realize it was the hot pink pair that I've been avoiding recently and again, THEY FIT! I was feeling so motivated for that workout!

 two // Energy levels. So, yes, some mornings waking up early is HARD and I don't want to do it. And yes, I occasionally get the 3 pm yawns, but overall, I have more energy. I'm waking up earlier on the weekends and getting more things done throughout the day.

three // Motivation. Now that I'm working out more consistently, I am more motivated to stay active throughout the day. You know, that whole "body in motion stays in motion" thing. If you read my "day in a life" post Wednesday, you saw that I try to get in an afternoon walk every day. I also attempt to stand up and take a lap around the building every time my Fitbit tells me to. At night, we walk Ellie anytime the weather is up to it and Christian isn't still working at 9 pm.

four // It's getting easier! This statement is misleading. I am still dying in almost every BBG workout but that's because I've upped my weights and can get through more circuits during the 7 minutes than I could the first week.

On week 1, I couldn't even get through the full 28 minutes - now I can do multiple circuits within the 28 minutes!

five // I actually want to work out. I never really thought this would be something I would say about something that isn't barre. I still LOVE barre, but I needed to mix it up and I feel sad when I miss a workout because it's time to show up for me to better myself and I'm learning that I need that. 

Linking up for 5 on Friday with April and Christina

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Day in the Life

Do people still like to read these types of posts? Because I really love reading about people's day to day lives and see how they spend their time so I've decided to finally share one of my own!

And excuse the pictures - I wanted to be as true to my day as possible. No staging/filtering/getting the light juuuuust right/etc. And it was raining Monday so there was no hope on the lighting. 

6:00 AM: Alarm goes off.

6:15 AM: After two snoozes, I'm finally up and stumbling to the bathroom to get ready for the gym.

6:15- 6:40 AM: Put in contacts, brush teeth, throw on workout clothes (thank the LORD I get everything ready at night), grab my gym bag, throw protein smoothie in the Ninja while I put my lunch in the lunch box and out the door!
Current smoothie recipe that I've been doing for weeks and still am not tired of: 
  • 1 scoop Shakeology (any chocolate protein powder will work but this is my current favorite)
  • Banana - usually frozen
  • Bunch of baby spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Ice 
6:55 AM: Arrive at the YMCA, throw stuff in the locker and head to the workout room. 

6:55 - 7:40 AM: 28 minute BBG workout - today was leg day and I'm still shaking - thanks, Kayla. I always make sure to stretch after every workout (hence this taking longer than 28 minutes), though, because it really makes such a difference in my soreness level.
7:45 - 8:20 AM: Shower and get ready at the Y. After 8 weeks of this, I swear the Y locker room feels like my own personal bathroom at this point. It's the same few ladies in there most mornings and we all have our little routines.
8:25 - 8:30 AM: Drive to work. Yes, it takes me literally 5 minutes to get to work and I don't even have to get on a main road so there's no traffic, no stopping, no excuses to not be at work on time at 8:30 AM.
8:30 - 10:00 AM: Somehow I have no meetings this morning. I'm not sure that's true and I may just be sitting at my desk missing a lot of important things? I'm using this time to book a flight to Chicago for the end of March (#priorities) and working with some managers on performance management.  

10:30 AM: Snack time! My favorite time of the morning.
Greek yogurt banana protein muffin
10:30 - Noon: Track our performance management process, follow up with managers on annual reviews and work on a curriculum. 

12:15 - 12:45 PM: Lunch time. Most of the time, a few girls from my team and I sit in the break room and chat about life while we eat and today was one of those days!
12:45 - 3:00 PM: Work, work, work. This afternoon I'm taking some training modules for some new e-learning software I received.

3:00 PM: Snack time again!
3:30 PM: A few of us on the team try to get up and take a walk in the afternoon to get the juices flowing after sitting most of the day and get those steps in!

3:45-5:00 PM: More of the same. My days are usually full of meetings so I take full advantage when they're not! 

5:07 - 5:25 PM: Charlotte traffic is the best... Honestly, some days it will take me 20 minutes to get home and other days it takes an hour. It's shocking. Thankfully, today was only 20ish minutes because we need to be home so Whitney can pick us up for trivia!
5:30 - 6:00 PM: Read. I have library books due tomorrow so I'm trying to finish this last one - DIY Rules for a WTF World written by the creator of the Pussyhat Project!
6:00 - 6:50 PM: I showered this morning so my hair was straight, so I curled my hair before trivia. Since curling my hair can take a little time,  I like to do it at night so I just have to touch it up in the morning. It cuts my morning routing by about 20 minutes which is great after a workout! I also packed my gym bag and got ready for Tuesday.
6:50 - 7:10 PM: Ride up to Catawba Brewing with Whitney and Nick!

7:30 - 9:30 PM: Trivia time! We won last week so we have a $30 gift card to spend tonight and then we won again this week... so basically we now drink for free at Catawba Brewing.
10:00 PM: Wash face and crawl into bed. .

10:30 PM: Asleep. 

I won't lie, most of my nights usually include reading or watching The Bachelor, doing a little yoga before bed and being in bed by 9:30 PM ( I talked more about my true nighttime routine earlier this week). But, it's always fun getting out with a few friends to kick the week off and my Sunday preparations really makes that possible. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

How I've Started Working Out in the Morning

It's now week eight of waking up early to work out before work. I honestly never thought I would type that sentence. Off and on since I started working out consistently I have attempted early morning workouts. I've done a handful of 5:45/6 AM Pure Barre classes and for a few weeks last summer, I attempted to get up early and on the treadmill but it clearly never stuck.

Finally, this year (so far), I have committed to the morning workout game. Before I share how I'm doing it, I want to share why
  1. It's the only time I can use the "free space" in my YMCA. The Y I go to near work is small and there's only one real free space with mats/free weights/Bosu balls/kettle bells/etc. and there are usually classes going in it. There's a 5:45/6 AM, noon, 5:30 PM and 6:45 PM on most days so my only open window to use what I needed and feel comfortable is from 6:45 - 8:30 AM.  
  2. I can easily lose motivation throughout the day. Honestly, I will sometimes spend the entire day talking myself out of working out. Why? Well, I need to cook dinner, we can just walk the dog instead, I can do it tomorrow, today has been rough and I just don't want to, etc. 
  3. I like having my nights free! I was really missing out on time with my husband and being able to do things I enjoy like reading, The Bachelor, family walks around the neighborhood, spur of the moment trivia night, hand lettering, blogging, etc. And with summer coming, I know these things will happen more so I needed to make the switch so I was ready. 
Alright, so there are my three big reasons that pushed me to finally make the change and stick to it! But how in the world am I actually accomplishing this since I've been a true night owl my entire life?

one // Gym preparation. Honestly, this is my life saver. I prep my gym bag which includes everything I need to get ready in the morning and my clothes for the day. I lay my workout clothes on top of the bag once its prepped, tuck my socks into my shoes and put my headband on top.
two // Food preparation. As mentioned in my meal prep post, I do as much as I can on Sunday to be ready for the week and I eat a lot of leftovers for lunch. I look at the menu before heading to bed and put all the foods stacked together in the fridge so I can grab them in the morning and put them right into my lunchbox.

For my smoothie, I have my bananas frozen, spinach bunched and blender cleaned and ready to go. My goal is to make as little effort as possible in the morning so I can throw my smoothie together in about 1 minute. While the smoothie is blending, I throw together the lunch bag and then I'm off to the gym.
three // Unwind before bed. I've started trying to turn off my cell phone/TV around 9 or 9:15 in order to help myself fall asleep early. We all know how easy it is to get into bed and then spend 45 minutes scrolling through Instagram and Twitter.. so I'm doing my best not to do this anymore.

I start my wind down routine around 9:30/9:45 which includes light yoga, stretching and sometimes foam rolling. I've found some good slow flow and meditation yoga playlists on Spotify that I listen to while I wind down.
four // Stick to a bedtime. This can be hard on nights we have plans or Tuesday when This Is Us doesn't go off until 10 pm. So occasionally when this happens, I may not do my full yoga routine because I jump right into bed when the show ends. My goal is to get into bed at 10 and be asleep no later than 10:30.
Ignore that 5 hour night... that was leaving Orlando and it was rough.
I track my sleep with my Fitbit and I've been doing pretty good at being asleep by 10:30 even on nights when we've been busy so that's definitely a win!

five //  Just do it. 

Honestly, this is the biggest thing. I had to stop making excuses and realize that this was something that I want and need for my sanity so I just need to suck it up and do it until its a habit. I just kept kicking myself out of bed and making it happen. There's no way to accomplish this without that will or drive to make it happen.

I didn't have this before and it clearly didn't stick.

What's your preferred time of day to work out? 

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