Now we’re really into the winter weather, folks. It’s cold. We’ve already had some wintery mix watches in OKC and I’ve officially broken out the giant jacket for the chilling winds. Yup, winter is here.
I’m happy to say that with the blustery winter weather means more time to enjoy those cozy sweaters I love so much! This one has been a favorite for sure.
It’s giant, it’s comfy and I can dress it up or down. Black or navy leggings, jeans or joggers, it doesn’t matter because it’s all good! Boots, booties, tennis shoes or just plain ol’ socks, you can’t go wrong.
You’ve got to find the things that are going to take you out of all the winter blues that happen this month and for me, sometimes that’s putting on a deliciously cozy sweater and tackling the day.
January is one of those months that’s easy to fall into a blue mood like it’s blue weather. The skies don’t seem to shine as bright, it’s cold which makes all warm blooded creatures want to retreat to the comfort of cozy covers. Nothing gets me more fired up than the promise of spring, but we’re a ways from getting there.
Rather than succumbing to the gloom of the month, I’m all for finding ways to lift my spirits. I think getting dressed up always helps! You’ve got to put on that outfit, pull up your hair and get started. Sometimes you’ve just got to make your own sunshine, you know? For me, well, I guess it’s an oversized snow white sweater that’ll do the trick!
Happy back to school for all those starting back today! This marks my seventh year working with this university which seems like both an enormous amount of time and yet the shortest amount of time. Isn’t that funny how time works?
I’m ready for the semester as best as I can be and looking to another full and busy spring time. Knowing it’s going to be a full semester (I counted, there’s only 4 fully work free weekends this year—eep!) I’m going to try and beat the burnout phase as best I can by being as prepared as can. Maybe you’re about to enter a busy season, too, and if that’s the case, here are a few things that might help you out as well:
Tips for Busy Times
Meal Plan - Yes, this really does help and I really do this faithfully every week! I plan meals to be leftovers for both Janson and I, meals that are easy to fix when I’m dead tired and also based on what’s in season and on sale.
Meal Prep - If I have lunches already in my fridge at work, that’s one less thing to worry about the night before or the morning off. A little time on Sunday basically saves me a lot of time during the week.
One Stop Shop - I’m not a person that goes to the store eight times in one week. That does not work me. I enjoy my shopping time but I plan to pick up everything and not return until the next week’s list is ready. I’m thinking this year I might investigate online grocery delivery or rapid pick-up just say me a couple hours.
Chore Chart - So I don’t have a specific chart up anywhere, but I do have designated days when I get household things done. Friday’s are meal planning and grocery shopping. Saturdays are my days to spend with Janson or with friends. Sunday’s are always my get-it-together day to do meal prepping, laundry and any picking up around the house. I’m going to try to designate one night to vacuuming and one to wiping down the bathroom just to sneak those in without being an all day affair. Just make it a habit each week and you’ll find your house is less of a disaster than you thought.
Planner Time - By taking some time on Sundays to look ahead, I can see what all needs to get done and when, which allows me the opportunity to plan for what’s coming down the pike that week. It doesn’t have to be more than about 15 - 20 minutes and I’ve saved myself some sort of freak out for the week. I call that winning. PS - I wrote about my favorite planners here. Check it out.
Daily Tasks - Each day I take a sticky note and write down 1 to 5 things that have to get done based on what I have written in my planner. You’ve probably heard of this before, but I’m telling you it helps get your long to-do list done so much easier. I can’t save the world in a day, but I can grade some papers, choreography 4 sets of eight, send off that email and prep the next days class efficiently if I make them a priority. Sticky notes. Go buy a ton!
Schedule It All - Friend time to date nights, I have to schedule it in. Fly-by-the-seat-of-pants moments just don’t work when my time is that precious so I have to carve out the time. That allows me to actually make time for fun, relaxation, connection, and oh yeah, living my life outside of work.
Don’t Forget to Breathe - Yeah. Take time for yourself. My time looks different depending on what I need. This year I’m hoping it’s reading for spell, spending time on the blog, taking more baths or going to a do a yoga class. The point is, do something for you even if it’s just sitting for 5 whole minutes without any screens or sounds.
You know that saying, “You have to spend money to make money.”? Well, I feel that can be true for time. You have to spend time to make time happen. What I mean is set yourself up for success by taking time to plan it out with just a few short minutes. Set a timer if you have to, put your phone away (I leave it charging in another room—that’s a habit I’ve started doing), and write it out, get it done. You’ll be surprised how much extra time you make for yourself and how much faster you get at things when you practice those good habits.
What are the best things you do during busy, busy times of life?
Oh yes, y’all! It’s that time of year where we see an overabundance of health club adds, active wear sales, pushes for the latest exercise craze and tons of new year diets. In short, we’re all ready to get back to some good habits after months of indulging. All I can say is pass the greens, please!
I’m pretty proud of the fact that I didn’t go hog wild, but I definitely enjoyed every piece of fudge, little cookie, and decadent meal we had and y’all, we had many a good meal! When Janson and I got home we both couldn’t wait to get back to simple meals, veggies included, and ate oranges like they were going out of style.
If you’re in the mood for a simple morning drink, a mid-morning pick-me-up or an afternoon snack, I’d say this isn’t half bad!
Basic Green Drink
1/2 a banana
1/2 cup of orange juice OR 1/2 an orange OR 2 small cuties
1 large cup of spinach
1 TBLSPN of peanut butter (or almond butter or protein powder)
Dash of cinnamon
1/2 - 3/4 cup of coconut water (or plain ol’ agua)
Blend all ingredients together, add more liquid if desired and voila! One very easy green drink.
Add any fruit you like. Personal favorite, mango with banana and pineapple
Blueberry works really well with ginger and chocolate almond milk
Classic strawberry and banana is always a winner, too! Add a little almond milk to make it a tad bit creamier
Side tip, slice up your perfectly ripened bananas and freeze them in a Tupperware to use as needed
That’s as simple as it gets. Unless you just want to eat spinach by itself, but if you ask me, this is tastier and offers a few more vitamins and nutrients as well so maybe go with what’s more appealing.
Here’s to getting our bodies back in order!
Happy healthy eating, y’all!
Boy, what a year! I think everyone walked away from 2017 ready to jump into a fresh start and for the most part, this was a pretty awesome year, if I do say so myself.
I feel very fortunate that I had opportunities come my way and I’m so glad that I took them, not always knowing how the balance would work out. We got another year closer to Pyro Man’s graduation and with every step, we’re even more sure of the direction that’s taking us.
I thought it would be fun to go back through pictures from this year and I quickly realized that when I’m feeling swamped, the only pictures I take are of my animals and my dinner plate. Sooo, that’s a goal for 2019, more pictures of life and less meaningless shots.
In all seriousness thought, putting together this little grid made me stop and reflect on the last year, remembering more than just the last three months. This year started off a little slow, low on energy and low on inspiration. About May, just as I got out of school, I dove into living a heck of a lot more. I saw shows, spent tons of time outside, and went on adventures with Janson. Don’t get me wrong, I still taught like crazy but I felt refreshed and enjoyed every minute of it. Dancing really pulled me out of a slump. Go figure, right?
I traveled a bit, spent time with family, set an amazing show on an incredible group of kids—truly, probably the highlight of the year. In fact, I set a bunch of great pieces this year I felt really proud of. I worked. A lot. But this year I learned how to balance some things, let stuff roll off my back (still working on that one) and started shifting my mindset to help be a little less crazy and stressed. I’d say that worked about 85% of the time and whoa baby, did that do a lot for my fall semester!
My blog had a restart and thanks to a supportive picture taking husband, we had a lot more opportunity to collaborate together on something that I found creatively fun. Spending more time with him was a huge win this year and I’m happy we made those moments happen more often and those will keep happening this year! Best of all, I saw dear, dear friends that filled my love bucket and made so feel so grateful for that time. When everyone is scattered across the US, it’s so difficult to make visits happen. I’m glad I had chance to hug the necks of women I dearly miss.
When I stop to look back at 2018, I really think about the fun I had. Yeah, I know, a lot of those pictures I look just a wee bit tired, but I’m serious. I made a solid effort to enjoy my summer even with tons of classes and prep work to be done. I spent time living outside of work and I loved it. I made time and travel plans to see people and again, I loved that. Being worn out and exhausted is frustrating, but a change in mind set, a conscious choice in making the most out of what’s happening gave me a year of incredible fun.
Lately I’ve been feeling tired and looking ahead to the jam packed spring semester, I’m worried I’ll be in a constant state of irritation for lack of rest and free time. Looking back through 2018, I think I can change that attitude now. I just have to choose to make the best of a busy time. That’s life! It’s full and thank goodness there’s work to be done and pieces to be set and a need for me in this world!
If I want to have fun, I need to set time for it! If I want to travel, I need to just do it. If I want my life to be full, I need to live it.
As we wrap up this year, close out the old to welcome in the new and usher it in with new resolutions and knowledge from this year. There’s nothing special about January 1st, but there is something special about another opportunity to take another 365 days and fill them up with good memories, new ideas, and full hearts.
Alright, y’all, enough of carrying on! Bottom line, I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2018 and I want to wish you the happiest of new year’s!
I’m three days into finals week and only a few more days away from wrapping up this fall semester! We’re making it, y’all! We. are. MAKING IT!
Hope everyone has been enjoying the December month so far! I’m totally behind on Christmas presents, what I have isn’t wrapped, no baking has happened yet and only half of my decorations are up but I’m 100% fine with that. That’s life, right? Things get a little hectic and you just roll with the punches. Honestly, I’m keeping my eyes on next Monday evening when I can crash a little bit before all the Christmas traveling beings.
We’ve got dear friends coming in this weekend to visit and I can’t wait to hang out! To top that off, we’ll all be watching another sweet friend marry her man this Saturday—can’t wait for all the fun celebrations we’ll have going on this weekend! It’ll be so great to let go of work for a couple days (we’re going on day 18 at work here, straight…) and even though I’m ready for little down time at home, I know these are the moments that mean the most.
During busy times like this I always feel exhausted just around the time I should be enjoying all the fun of the season and in someways that seems so unfair. Rather than sitting in that sulking moment, I’m choosing to remember what this time of year is for and what really is important. Now I’m not saying I don’t still need a nap or 9 pm bed time for the next week to help get me there, but I am saying that I’m actively choosing not to be a Scrooge with my time this year. Or at the very least, being present with the time I can give.
In other news, Miss Penny Pup is doing so much better. Last week she got very sick and after seeing three different vets, having three different x-rays, and two ultrasounds to be sure, they found something was lodged in her small intestines as it connects to her stomach. One surgery later and a week out of recovery, she’s doing very well and almost back to her Penny self! She still can’t understand the no jumping thing or why she has to wear a cone of shame. Another week and she should be released to return to her natural routine, sans squeaker toys though!
Well, folks, it’s time to get back to grading and doing a little house cleaning! Gotta get those grades in so I can get to all the fun stuff of the season including a holiday nap!
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
In the spirit of the season, my favorite holiday, five grateful thoughts for today:
I’m thankful for the sweet people in my life. From husband to sister, mother and mother-in-laws, precious friends, nieces, nephews, brothers, fathers and all, I’ve got good folks in my life and I’m so very grateful to have them!
I’m thankful for my job. I have the best students in the world, a team of faculty and staff to lean on when needed and encourage whenever possible and days filled with dance. Sure, some days I might feel like my hair’s on fire, we all have stressful times, but most days, most days it’s just about pouring into students the passion for dance, teaching, and choreography.
I’m thankful for my fur creatures! Yes, truly! Without my shadow, Penny Pup, I’d be a little lost. She gives me so much love and I can’t imagine a day without her by my heels. Those kitties, while they may be persnickety at times, they are without a doubt the best fuzzy motors anyone could ask for, especially my Honey.
I’m thankful for all the great experiences I’ve had this year. Choreographing new works, meeting new performers in new venues, teaching, teaching and more teaching—it all fuels my life. It’s easy to forget in the trenches of work that all the time and efforts comes back ten fold to me, but I remember when those magic moments happen and I’m always grateful for those moments of pure bliss.
I’m thankful for you, dear reader! Whether you’re a friend, family, someone just reading, each time you click on to my site, you help to build my little passion project up and I appreciate those clicks and those comments. Small though it may be, this blog has been a small dream I keep coming back to, way too stubborn to quit even when it feels indescribably frustrating at times. You’re engagement helps and I thank you for that!
Alright y’all, go dive into that turkey, enjoy the game, watch the parade, but most importantly, take a moment to say “thank you!” for the life you have, the blessings around you, and the people you’ve got your in life!
Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK! Yay! Let the festivities begin! Oh wait, first a couple days of work and then we can get to it!
We went to a friendsgiving this past weekend and had a lovely time hanging out with friends we know and visiting with newer ones. I had a hankering for Pioneer Woman’s Cranberry Sauce, which I highly recommend! I might try to whip another batch up for the real turkey day. Very easy and really delicious nestled next to that golden bird.
I really wanted to bake a pie of some sort so I grabbed my Waitress cookbook and whipped up her “Thanks for Taking Me to the Moon” Pie and y'all. It is totally worth it especially if you are a peanut butter lover. Lucky for you, I found a copy of the recipe on Taste of Home so click that link I set and surprise your family with one heck of a delicious pie!
Tonight Pyro Man and I are having a date night—we’ll see if I can kick his behind in bowling! It’ll be nice to get out and doing something out of the ordinary for us especially before holiday week starts. It’s funny to me how sometimes during trips, even though we travel together, he’s actually the person I end up spending the least amount of time with. The whole point is to visit with family we don’t get to see much so it does make sense. Still, a night out together will be a nice change up.
We’ve got a couple more days of work and school before we head to Texas and I’m more than ready! Just a few grading assignments and costume runs are standing between me and a worry free break. We’re really lucky that our families are all so close, we can usually see everyone on one trip.
Aside from Thanksgiving, I’m trying to find another read for the next little bit. I wrapped up a great book a couple weeks ago, The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, which apparently was a TV series at one point. Overall, I was totally wrapped in the book and fascinated with each character and their journey in the desert of Masada in 70 CE. There are so many strong female characters and their stories are just heart wrenching, each one different from the next and yet, they all have the common tie of following their truth. If you’re wanting some historic fiction, I highly recommend trying this one.
Alright y’all. Time to start the week and get that turkey timer started! Only three more sleeps until Macy’s Day Parade and a full day of giving thanks!
I forget, quite often actually, that this little space is all my own to be me and post what I want without any expectation. There’s no need to share perfectly posed pictures except that I like the aesthetic of that and it makes me feel like I’ve got something put together in my life the way I want. Reality says otherwise and yet I can snooker myself a bit into believing things are as organized and beautified on my Instagram.
Is it wrong to see a beautifully curated setup? I didn’t think so until the last few weeks. Sometimes you start a project with a fuzzy idea and then you get a little lost in what the point of it was much like telling a long story. You start down one road and somehow end up somewhere else completely thinking, “now, what was the point of this story again?”
This blog restart, for example, I restarted this summer because my brain opened up a vein of creativity that I followed happily and hungrily. I was writing like crazy, posting consistently with tons of ideas in my head. I grabbed my wonderful husband any time I had an idea and we would go shoot some photos for the heck it, him figuring out my camera, me trying to figure out how to stand, pose, use my hands, etc.
I felt like I was gaining ground, but on what, I wasn’t too sure. I figured it would come to me as we kept on going. When I started to focus on work (Hello, love my job—and my paycheck—so of course that deserves attention!) Lately in trying to jump back in, it’s felt off. My writing ideas dried up, everything felt forced (Hello, Julie! Probably because it was!) and I had a particular disappointing shoot that really shot my confidence. I had to ask myself, “what the heck are you working towards, exactly, and who the heck are you trying to be?”
In my deepest of hearts, I want this site to be a curated site, a perfect presentation of what life is for me. The reality is anything but that. Yet, I crave having that perfection because the outward appearance is so appealing because it feels like my life is lacking something sometimes. In essence, I starting deviating from being me and starting trying to perfect things because I thought that’s what things needed to look like or its what I craved for things to feel and look like.
And in saying that, I’m reminded of this wonderful quote,
Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”
- Judy Garland
It looks like I sort of forgot that in my pursuit for what I thought things should look like. No wonder I wasn’t feeling like myself. Being influenced by others in style, be it in fashion, art, work, whatever, happens all the time and isn’t necessarily a bad thing…so long as you don’t forget yourself. How easy it is to do that at, apparently, any age.
All this to say that maybe another social media break would be good. Shut down insta for a few days—and by that I mean no checking or scrolling ‘cause to be honest, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve really posted. I think I need to actually do some hands on projects that don’t require anything but pure interest. There’s a half-way made afghan calling my name and a pair of pj pants I’d like to make. Oh, and my guest room is in serious need of finishing. That room has been in lacking some decoration for 5 years now. It’s way past time to finish that room.
Let me see if I can right this train: Essentially, I’m forcing something here and in doing so completely losing track of me and maybe that’s because I’m judging myself a bit in what I think people want. Who am I doing this for? Well, me. Or at the very least I should be posting what interests me and if it pulls people, awesome.
So, maybe I don’t know what I’m working towards or am trying to figure that out right now. Can I still post prettily posed pictures? You betcha and I probably still will, but I’m not going to let a lack of perfection stop me from writing or posting because I don’t want to mess up “a look.” I’m also not going to second guess what I want post any more. Just take a leap of faith and be you, baby. Er, be me. Whatever. You get it.
Alright folks, too much musing for a Saturday and yet, all good things I just needed to work through out loud. If you made it through all this, I thank you, and if you’re trying to find your voice in social media, too, I feel you. We just need to get back to our roots of just being ourselves and drop the idea it has to be perfectly posed something of what someone else wants or needs.
Happy Saturday, y’all!
You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?"
- Dr. Seuss
All my planners raise their hands! Whoop whoop! I see you, I recognize you and I appreciate you! We planner folk area a tribe in and of itself, lover's of all things organized and visual people who need to see and write the word of our schedule down in order for it to happen. I get you.
I am that lady that loves shopping for organizational tools, it just makes me feel like I've got my world together! But I actually do use these tools on a daily basis. My schedule is color coded, there's a calendar on the wall for family life, alarms on my Google calendar for major appointments and meal planning lists on the fridge. I cannot function in an online calendar world alone. Pen to paper helps me process what's happening as does seeing what's coming up and writing out the to-do's for the week, month, etc.
We’ve got 55 days until January 1st hits which, wow, that’s really not that far away! That’s 55 days to hunt down a new planner for the next year and maybe you’re wanting to switch it up a bit. With so many planners out there, you have an infinite amount to choose from ranging from the grocery store finds to the customized exquisite design. I assume people have heard of all the more niche products but in case you haven't, here ya go:
Top Five Planners for a Planner Lover
1. There's the Erin Condren, a beautiful custom designed option, made to your specifications for her Life Planner. There are many, many designs to choose from and you can adjust the layout to fit your hourly or weekly desires. She has so many additional doodads to choose from, it feels like scrapbooking for your life. I wouldn't mind trying one, but I worry the bulkiness of the planner would frustrate me after a time. She does offer petite journals for meal planning, baby information and more as well as wedding planners, teacher planners, academic calendars and just monthly calendars plus so much more! In short, I'd give it a whirl someday and I always go back and look at it each year as an option.
2. Emily Ley is another one that I like and one I'd be interested in switching to when there is a bigger shift in my life set-up. The Simplified Planner is refined, elegant and chic with a few pops of fun here are there. Where Erin Condren is bright and colorful, this one tends to fall under a more mature feel and color scheme. Bound or spiral, you can find a daily or weekly set-up that fits your style. Her daily only goes to 9 pm which is a bummer for me as so many things go past that time like rehearsals or shows or auditions. Emily is very much into simply tracking and keeping up with your life and to me, it seems like a great fit for mom's who need to coordinate so much. It's definitely a planner to look at someday, but maybe just not yet for me.
3. May Designs is one I found through a podcast series. I heard an interview with Mica May on the Jess Lively show a couple years back and I was so fascinated by her story I went to check out her products. They are fantastic! May Designs has journals and planners that are all customizable and pretty to boot! She has a ton of options to pick from and there are several designs to choose for setting up the calendar that you want. I personally am interested in just getting one of her journals to have on hand, but my journal collection is currently out of control. She also offers leather folios for the journals and tumblers, screen designs and more. I still shop frequently through her merchandise though!
4. Day Designer is another popular brand of planners designed by Whitney English. If you are wanting something similar to the Simplified Planner, this is your stop! Day designs runs January to December and she also offers academic planners as well. Unlike some of the others, there is an option to have a leather planner with refills, a la Franklin Covey if you were a fan of that back in the day. I still have my grapefruit pink planner case from Covey--it's too pretty to pass on! It's a daily planner to really help you get your life on track with intentional planning and if you're someone who is trying to hit big goals or make daily habits, this may be the planner for you!
5. Over the last four years I've been a faithful Passion Planner consumer. A good friend showed me the website when she stumbled upon it the very first year it opened and just… wow. It's truly built around following your passion. The road maps to making your goals was very helpful in starting a year out right. In truth, I've used them less in the last couple years as life has been a bit of rollercoaster but I found that the format really gave me what I desired. A weekly layout with a monthly insert and each week offered a way to divvy up personal and work to-do's nicely. I set an intention every day and thank goodness, the hours go past 9 pm! I am in love with the set-up and how it keeps me accountable.
BONUS: Last summer I tried out a six month run of the Cultivate What Matters Goal Planner. This is not so much a planner for weekly and daily life but a planner that helps you set intentions with how you want to spend your time. In short, it's what helps assist your planner. I loved using it so much that I bought a yearly one last November and have loved using it each month! It's taught how to break down my bigger goals for the year, for the month, the week, and the day. I've learned a ton about what is attainable and what is not. Turns out you can't save the world and cook dinner all in one day, but I can make a step towards my goals and have a date night with my husband if I prioritize well.
The Cultivate What Matters Goal Planner focuses on finding the balance in what you need in relationships like family and friends, work, health, finances, spiritual and recreational needs. I'm not going to lie, I have a hard time balancing all of these things and this book really helped me figure out how to do that better without stressing. At the beginning of each month, it's listing out everything you want to accomplish and then there is a heart and brain dump essentially. I write out all that's on my mind or weighing heavy on my heart and its very cathartic. I can clear away the clutter and get focused on what can be done and break it down in bits that I can handle. From there, it's a matter of passing that information on to my every day planner and it's helped me immensely!
I know, two life planners seems like a lot especially with my love for the Passion Planner. For me it's been the best to help me balance all the things I want to do and all the worries I have about time being split. Since I love journaling so much, this is a joy to spend some quiet time doing that in addition to planning out the month.
What is your favorite planner to use?