Friday, January 11, 2019

Blooming { Vol. 1 }

I used to do "Five on Friday" posts but I thought maybe I would switch it up a little to keep my in check with my word of the year. I probably won't post these weekly - most likely I'll alternate with a Friday Favorites type post. But, let's start this first Friday post off with "how I bloomed this week".

Over the weekend I finished my second book of the year, The Perfect Nanny and got to work on the third: The Clockmaker's Daughter.  I feel like I'm in a little reading rut because I've had a lot going on (and I decided to binge watch the last season and a half of Jane the Virgin thanks to Whitney finally watching it!). But, I've got a huge stack from the library that I've got to get through before I rack up any more late fees! 

On Monday, I joined a hot yoga/spin/weight lifting studio to supplement the barre classes I take. I like to mix things up and get cardio in different places and I just freaking love a good yoga class. They offered me a great new client special so I jumped right on it and I've already taken a hot yoga class this week and have two scheduled for the weekend! In addition, I'm 4/20 for my barre class challenge!
I set a goal to get back to waking up early and working out because I truly do love that schedule the most. I started slow on Monday by just waking up about 30 minutes early but not working out ( Monday nights I'm at the studio so I take class then!). I jumped in hard with a hot yoga class at 6:15 Tuesday morning which was aggressive since Monday was Bachelor night. I made it to barre Wednesday morning but Thursday, my body said no. I went to bed at 9:15 Wednesday and woke up at 7:15 Thursday... So I swapped my sleep in day from today to yesterday :) 
So part of my bloom challenge, is investing in friendships here in Charlottesville. Well, this week I did a lot of that. Saturday I dragged a friend to barre and then we ate brunch. And by that I mean we sat in the restaurant for 3 hours catching up! On Sunday, a couple friends and I took our dogs to the very muddy dog park and spent almost 3 hours letting the dogs play while we talked about life.
Monday night I hung out with a friend who I hadn't seen since the first week of December and watched The Bachelor and talked about life. And on Wednesday, I met a new friend for drinks after work and we had a lovely time. You would also think Christian would be used to me meeting up with people "from the internet" but he still finds it weird...
And on Thursday we had our weekly "family dinner" with our best friends and finally showed our friend the last Harry Potter movie! He had truly never seen them until we started them a few months ago. Now he finally knows how they end! I'd definitely say this week was very successful in the friend department and that my introvert really wants to spend some time alone this weekend.
It was a very successful, tiring week and we've got plans to celebrate a friend's birthday and play in the 4-6 inches of snow headed our way!!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Shopping My Closet {Week 1}

One of my goals this month is to not a repeat an outfit or wear workout clothes if I'm outside the apartment and not working out. I had gotten in a really bad rut of only wearing "athleisure" on the weekends when I have a FULL closet I should be taking advantage of.

Today I'm sharing last week's outfits starting on New Year's Day and skipping Sunday thanks to staying in my leggings all day going from barre, to the muddy dog park, to washing Ellie and the cooking dinner. I say that all counts as a workout.

I didn't think about sharing these as a blog post until a few days in so the first few pictures are the worst. I'll also say that our apartment is super tiny and dark and it's dark outside when I get home from work so many of these are going to be taken in the bathroom at work so if you hate looking at bathroom stall doors, maybe skip these? Christian has been a trooper and has snapped a few for me when he's around.

And finally, I'm sharing them all on Instagram, too with the posts linked so you can shop the blogger's I'm "copying" if you want. I'll also tell you where my clothes are from in this post!

Well, without further ado, the outfits from the first week of this challenge!

Day 1

My Look: 

I got dressed super late in the day so the lighting was terrible. I tried it in our apartment and out on a walk. I swear in person these tops are the same color, but I haven't edited/brightened my photo at all.

Leggings: Zella from Nordstrom // Thermal: Thrifted // Striped Tee: Old Navy // Necklace: Anthropologie // Boots: Literally no clue


Day 2 

My Look: 

Jeggings: Old Navy (similar)  // Sweater: Old Navy // Boots: Steve Madden, super old 


Day 3 

My Look: 

Sweater: No idea // Jeggings: Old Navy ( I love these pants so much) // Flats: Target 

Day 4 

My Look: 

Sweater: Target // T-shirt: Old Navy // Pants: Old Navy // Booties: Old Target // Necklace: Anthropologie // Dog: Australian Shepard Lab 


Day 5 

My Look: 
Long Sleeve: Old Target // Scarf: Old // Jeans: Old Navy // Booties: Old Target


Week one, complete. Do you have any cute bloggers I should follow for inspo?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A January of Books

It's already time for the first link up of 2019! Four of these were read last year with just the first two being read this year. 

I'm trying something different this year by completing the Popsugar reading challenge for the entire year as well as participating in Erin's Book Challenge that's running January 1 - March 31. I picked my books based on what was already on my "to read" shelf on Goodreads but I did of course have to add some for a few categories. So, for the books I read in 2019, I'll be adding the challenge category that it checks off (if it does, of course. 

Books read in 2019

The Perfect Nanny // Lila Slimani
Rating: 2/5 
Challenge: Erin's - book that was originally published in a language other than your own

Nope. Apparently it was based on a true story but has no real conclusion. This is not spoiled because its the first line of the book - the nanny kills the children and then it goes back and forth from her perspective and the parents of how she came to be their nanny and the time between that and the kids dying. But, there is NO resolution and its a very choppy book. I read it in a day, though, because it was short. 

The Third Wife // Lisa Jewell
Rating: 4/5
Challenge: Popsugar - book you meant to read in 2018

Yes, read two Lisa Jewell books back to back. This one was not the thriller I was expecting but had some good character growth while still maintaining some mystery throughout. 

2019 books read to date:

Currently on the nightstand: The Clockmaker's Daughter, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, The Rhythm Section, The Lies We Told, One Day in December, The President is Missing, Severence, Rich People Problems and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Books read in 2018:

I Found You // Lisa Jewell 
Rating: 4/5 

This book was so GREAT. A great thriller with pretty good characters that didn't come off as too unbelievable like some thrillers do. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban // JK Rowling
Rating: 5/5 

Just doing that reread on audiobook with Christian :) 

China Rich Girlfriend // Kevin Kwan
Rating: 3/5

I think these books are great, fluffy reads. Although occasionally, I can get a little bogged down by all the over the top descriptions instead of actual actions taking place. 

The Last Day of Emily Lindsey // Nic Joseph 
Rating: 4/5 

This book was interesting! I thought the twist of somewhat obvious, but then there was an additional twist on top of that which I thought was less obvious. 

Linking up with Steph and Jana!
Life According to Steph

Monday, January 7, 2019

January Goals

Hey look at this - 3 new posts in 2019 and it's only the 7th! Let's see if we can keep this up.

Last week I recapped my year of thrive in 2017 and looked forward to 2019: the year of bloom

As I mentioned in that post, I didn't come into January with a bunch of health and fitness resolutions. Over the last two years, I tried a lot of new fitness and "diets" and I've finally found something that works for me. I didn't want to come into the new year trying to drastically change anything, but just get back on track with a lifestyle I enjoy after a crazy few holiday weeks.

I've broken my goals for the year down into monthly goals and plan to share them monthly and how they align with my word.

Read six books. My goal for the year is 70, so I've broken it up in doable chunks based on what's going on each month. I've already read 2 and started the 3rd over the weekend so I think I'll be good here...
Purge the Instagram feed. I know a lot of people that purged their feed from accounts that don't spark joy. I've started doing the same. I follow so many accounts that with the new algorithm, I just don't see them all. I've started trimming them down as they pop up and I realize it either makes me sad/mad/annoyed or I just don't relate. For example: some accounts that started as blogger follows are now only posting pictures of their kids. Their kids are cute, but I don't have any or want any right now so it's just not relatable. Not to say I'm unfollowing people the second they have a baby, just if that's literally every single post because I no longer relate :)

No fast food or Starbucks. This is partially a health goal and partially a budget goal. I am the only cook in our household. Don't worry, Christian does like literally every other chore. I'm a horrific housewife - not in my nature. But, in December, I was worn out so we did a lot of passes through the Zaxby's drive thru... But that's just not good for us and we're trying to finish saving for our down payment which is now most likely due a month early. I mean, YAY for getting out of this tiny apartment but YIKES because we would have preferred that extra pay period to make us feel a little more comfortable jumping into the projects we need to complete the second we move in.
No repeated outfits / stop wearing workout clothes if not working out. Since we moved, I've been lazyyyyy in my closet. A few weeks ago, Nadine did a "lifted her look" challenge and I loved it! So I bought a few basics I was missing with Christmas money and I'm taking on the challenge. Check out her posts about it for more details, but basically I'm taking inspiration from my favorite fashion bloggers and recreating them in my closet - no repeats!

Back in the early morning routine. I won't lie, our tiny apartment makes this hard because neither of us can get up without waking the other one. But, I'm much happier when I wake up earlier and squeeze in a workout or some reading time.
Complete 20 barre classes in 30 days. My studio is hosting a challenge that started on Saturday to complete 20 classes in 30 days. I am ready to get my butt kicked!

Do you have any January goals or are you more of a resolution for the year kind of person?

Friday, January 4, 2019

From Thrive to... {My 2019 Word of the Year}

Ah, a new year.  A time to set a bunch of resolutions about getting skinny and completely changing everything about your life... If you're listening to the media. But that's not how it works. You can't just wake up on January 1st and be a new person.

Over the last two years, I've worked on bettering myself slowly and have really built some solid habits and grown as a person. I've made fitness a solid part of my life since 2015 and I LOVE to workout - except for cardio LOL but I will find creative ways to do it that I enjoy because I know its good for me (hiking, long walks, megaformer). I know how to eat healthy and have things I enjoy to eat that are good for me. I've embraced who I am and if people don't like it, cool.

So, yes, it's a new year, a new "book", a fresh start, etc. But, you're also still you so just be you and give yourself grace to embrace that. And then make small changes throughout the year to keep bettering yourself or reaching new goals.

This is why I like the idea of a word of the year and keep doing it. I'm able to make smaller goals fit into a larger vision for the year without feeling the pressure to lose 20 pounds, get 7 promotions, and have a perfect Pinterest house. 

I struggled to decide on my word this year because I had so many great words that would fit my current stage of life. To finally make a decision, I did a little exercise that I decided to put into this post.

What I'm leaving in 2018: 

Guilt. I touched briefly in my last two yearly recaps that my parents are divorcing (who knew it took this long...). Unfortunately, it hasn't been amicable and my brother and I have really been put through the ringer from our dad. 2017, I let it completely control me and wreck my year. In 2018, I started setting boundaries but then would try to open the door back up, only to be upset again. I kept opening the door because I feel guilty that he is "alone" (he's not) but it's not my job to fix anyone else. I have to prioritize healthy relationships so GUILT is staying in 2018.

Fad dieting. I mentioned yesterday that I tried a few diets this year: 21 Day Fix and keto being the big ones. Did I lose weight on keto? 10 pounds. Guess what 10 pound came right back over the holidays? But, as a result of trying them, I did learn how my body reacts to certain foods AND what I can mentally do. Keto was so mentally hard that I could never live that way but I did learn that my body responds to less carbs. 

What I'm taking with me into 2019:

Confidence to be me. This year, I really embraced who I am. I am pretty basic in my love of Fall and all things pumpkin decor. I'm over the top crazy about Christmas. I'm way too obsessed with Harry Potter. I love to read thrillers but won't watch scary movies. I genuinely love Zaxby's and won't turn down a McDonald's Coke and french fries. My beer taste is embarrassing and I'm drunk after 2 drinks. I love cold weather but also love complaining about being cold. I am an introvert who likes to be the center of attention and talks way too much. I like to watch all The Bachelor shows even though I usually read spoilers and think they're all crazy.

Taking care of my mental health. For me, this is setting boundaries and spending time alone or at least in silence in the same room as my husband. This is also reading a lot of books that help me disconnect. And working out.
Great friends. I feel like I really honed in on who my great friends were last year and I've started building some great foundations here in Charlottesville as well. Distance doesn't matter when you've got great friends. I haven't lived in the same city as two of my most favorite friends since I was 18 but here we are still being friends and going on vacations together because those two just get me and I couldn't be without them!

Big goals for 2019: 

Read 70 books. 

Buy our second house. 


Explore Charlottesville. 

Build my Harry Potter Christmas tree ( just WAIT until you see it!!!) 

Prioritize friendships.

Secret fitness goal. 

Secret goal in case Christian reads this post ;) 

I promise I'll update when those two secret goals are completed.

But there are my big few goals - if you can even call some of them "goals". Nothing earth shattering - just some things that make my heart happy. I also have a few smaller goals that I'm working on each month (January's will go live Monday!) but all in all, they all get me to the same place.

And that is to my word for 2018:


You've heard the saying "bloom where you're planted". Well, last year we planted ourselves somewhere really great and now I'm ready to bloom here.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Year to Thrive

Well, 2018 has come and gone and we're all sitting here looking back at what we accomplished and getting ramped up for another year. This is the first year I almost felt that "shift" between the years because I actually had some time off between Christmas and New Years and the days I was at work were very chill and not full days. 

Even though I didn't really feel the shift in years past, I still started coming up with a word or phrase of the year in 2017 and I'm still mulling on my word for 2019 so now seems like a great time to reflect on 2017 and my year to thrive

I posted an update in April about how I was doing so far and then I fell off the blogging wagon again as our life starting to change completely in June. 

I started the year really read to see 2017 move the eff on and start to set some boundaries with family members in my life and really focus on "self care" (wow has that word really gotten blown out of proportion) and making myself the best me. 

I started with new workout challenges - BBG, PWR, Lauren Gleisberg with some of my old favorites thrown in (aerial, megaformer, hot yoga) and recommitting to my first fitness love, barre, at the end of the year. I tried some new eating styles (21 Day Fix, intermittent fasting, keto) and I think I've found what's maintainable for me. 

Along with those, I spent most of the year sticking to my nighttime routine and morning workouts thanks to meal prep, putting away the screens and recharging at night. 

I read 52 books after spending quite a few years barely reading more than a handful even though I've been reading since I was a tiny toddler and LOVE it so much. 

I started getting out of my comfort zone and doing things on weeknights and trying to coax my introvert out of her shell which in turn led to some great friendships being forged. 

But, the biggest thing I did this year to thrive was to have the courage to apply for a new job. Four and a half hours away from the home we had been building since 2013. Christian and I used to talk about leaving Charlotte all the time when we first moved there but he had a great job and he was doing so well. I had a horrific first job out of college but then landed what I hoped was my dream job in May 2015. I truly loved the years I spent there and I was so comfortable. 

But, comfortable was also turning into higher stress levels and frustration. I also didn't believe in the direction everything was going anymore. So, on a whim, while working on July 4th, I submitted an application for a job in Charlottesville. Which, if you've been around here a bit, you know we travel to a lot and really love the town and our best friends who also live here. Within a week, I had a phone interview and an in person interview scheduled. And by the end of July,  I had a job

I freaked out. I was so scared we would somehow fall on our faces during this time. That we wouldn't' be able to sell our house. That we wouldn't find somewhere to live. That I would bomb at this job. That Christian wouldn't find a job. That I'd never make friends like the amazing ones I have in Charlotte. That I had built this town up in my head and I wouldn't love it like I did as a visitor. 

But from the second we spent the first night in our tiny cramped apartment on an air mattress with all the animals piled on top of us, it just felt right. 

Since then, I really took thrive to heart. I went out of my comfort zone again and asked for a position at the local barre studio and now I "work" there on Mondays in exchange for free classes. Know what else happens? I meet awesome people who love barre as much as I do. I jumped on BumbleBFF and started swiping right to meet new friends. I kept making plans for weeknights (it's also easier when there's so much less traffic and we live 2 miles from downtown...). I became a culture committee member for my new team at work and helped plan all our holiday fun. 

So, did I reach my goals for 2018? Hell yes. 

It feels weird to write about all the great things that happened in 2018 when of course there were some tough days, too. But, after such a horrible 2017, I chose to focus on the positives and let that be what I take with me into 2019. There will always be stressful days at work. My dad is clearly always going to be crazy. I will definitely get my self stuck in the snow again (hopefully not this year since I already did that this winter but you never know...). But, those aren't the moments that define me or my year. 

So here's to 2019 (and eventually narrowing down my word...)