Summer Slipping By

Summertime feels endless at the very start and right about 4th of July I start realizing it’s slipping away. My schedule starts filling up, the work emails start coming in with dates for August and the impending start to the new years starts looming. New starts, new beginning, they can be fun for sure, it’s just the saying goodbye to the downtime I’ve grown accustomed to that’s hard.

The last couple of weeks have been packed with summer classes and it’s been so much fun, tiring, but fun! Switching to more lecture based courses has pulled me off moving more and at the first that seemed to give my body a good rest it needed. After a while I noticed I wasn’t moving much at all, personally or at work. This last year I had to change it up because my hip flexors were seriously suffering. At one point I couldn’t even butterfly and if you’re a dancer, you know that’s bad. Things aren’t 100% back to normal yet but they’re getting there. I’m trying to re-up my PT exercises and teaching the last couple weeks has given me a good opportunity to just move.

My brain tends to focus on the big project coming next and I often forget to enjoy the moments that I have left. The to-do’s start infiltrating the brain and before long I’m more consumed with an urgent feeling of “it has to be done now!” Ever get that feeling? It’s a lot of pent up anxiety waiting to just explode and I really don’t want to end a lovely summer that. Nope, no one does. Little by little I’m working through the list and I’ve given myself the next two weeks to really focus on work so that I can be fully present and enjoy my upcoming trip to NYC (Insert squealing here)!

So, ladies and gents, time to buckle down and get some schtuff done and get to enjoying this summer before it all slips away!

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

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Favorites Right Now

It’s finally Spring! Ever since the snow thawed I’ve been dying for more warmer weather. Not that we’ve had a ton of snow, but we’ve had a ton of cold weather and I’m ready for some sunshine! Happily, that’s what Mother Nature is gracing us with these days.

OK, so now that’s it’s officially spring, here’s all I’ve been loving these lately that’s put me in a perfect spring mood!

Sweet Ice Tea

My man makes the best sweet tea and we’ve been brewing a fresh batch every couple of days in this pitcher by Pioneer Woman . I use her recipe for lemonade, too, and you can bet I’ll be making a ton this summer! Glasses to match only make the tea that much sweater!

White Tennis Shoes

I’ve been eyeing these white slip-on tennis shoes from Rothy’s, but those just don’t fit the budget right now. I do have some cute slip on’s I picked up from Target last year, these are a close second. And if you’re looking for something in between, these Keds will do the trick. They’re great to throw on with jeans or comfy to wear with a long maxi.

Bombas Socks

OK, no joke, these ultra low no-show socks have changed my shoe life! My great slip on’s I just told you about, well, they used to rub the back of my heels until I got these golden socks! .They have a little sticky on the inside heel part to keep them from slipping. They feel great, don’t fall off, and best part, they actually don’t show! Win-win-win!

Jean Jacket & Scarves

Well, we’re no totally out of the winter weather yet, spring officially arrives March 20th, but I know we’re still going to have some cool breezes until about late April. Cue the jean jacket, warm enough to block the wind, cool enough to layer over some white jeans or capris. I love my oversized one (got on a heck of deal this fall) and my shorter one from Marshalls still comes in handy (see a well made one here). A decent priced one from Old Navy or even Target if you’re on a budget.

Until we start hitting the higher digits, I’m still wearing scarves, dang it! Love, love this one and it’s spring green color! This one reminds me of the Gal Meets Glam ones.

Curvy Jeans

I tried shopping for some jeans at Madewell recently because I was in desperate need of a new pair, but after seeing the price tag, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. In any case, I popped next door to LOFT and found these babies, aka the best jeans on a budget! They fit well, don’t fall down and my booty looks aces in them. Seriously. Last note, LOFT always has sales so you should be able to get a good price for them.

Happy spring, y’all!

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Podcast Roundup

Ever since I discovered podcasts four years ago, I can’t seem to get enough of them. I’m constantly playing them in the car on my way to and from work, Pyro Man and I have used them on road trips and they’re great if you need something other than tunes on a long walk.

Last roundup I had lots of true crime, and it’s still a favorite, but I’ve got a few inspirational ones, too. Let’s get to it!

Podcast Roundup

Over My Dead Body

If you’re looking for the next podcast, dig into this one! So freaking interesting! I enjoy a good true crime and this one is laid out in six perfect chapters for the listener. Essentially the story lays out a perfect marriage, nasty divorce, a murder (shocker) and the unraveling of family drama. Get in, get hooked.

*PS - They also did “Dirty John,” which was made into a TV series. Also an excellent listen!

RISE Podcast

Julie-come-lately, I found Rachel Hollis last spring when her book came out. Tons of ads started showing up on Facebook for Girl, Wash Your Face and friends were posting her quotes constantly. I found her podcast first and really enjoyed her message and how she put it all out there. I liked her interviews and how she seemed to really connect with each interviewer. Yes, if you listen constantly then you’ll realize it’s the same message over again, but honestly, maybe it’s a message you need to hear over again.

Favorite episodes: #79, How to Find Your Calling with Lewis Howes, #75 Daily Habits that Change the Game with Brendon Burchard, #73 How to Gain Control of Your Money with Rachel Cruze, #61 Lewis Howes Interview, #58 The Lie - I Am Not Enough

Cultivate Your Life with Lara Casey

A friend recommended Lara Casey’s book, Make It Happen, several years ago and I found a lady who’s whole mission was to help you figure out how to make your goals happen through planning and following faith. I. was. hooked. First of all, I love planning. It’s a weird thing I learned from my mother and her trusty blue book, aka the Bible. If your plans did not get written down in Mom’s blue book, it didn’t exist. Our family lives ran off that calendar and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to have a beautiful planner of my own. Fast forward to college, I went to an incredible place that really nurtured that love of planning to a whole other level. Truly. So, finding someone who’s mission has been to help women dig into goals, learn to plan them out and tackle them with grace, I knew I had found someone I could get behind. I had listened to all her interviews I could find on Apple Podcast and was thrilled when she announced she was starting her own show. Her podcast is new so there aren’t too many episodes out there yet, but I enjoy the message she sends out and how she incorporates her family into it all.

The Daily

I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s still my favorite quick and easy 20 minute news source. I’ll use iHeartRadio to stream NPR in the morning while getting ready and follow up with “The Daily”. It’s New York Times sponsored, they bring you straight facts, usually focused on one central concept and they end the show with something you need to know for that day. In essence, if you’re looking for a snippet of information on something pertinent for the day, this is it!

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That’s what I’ve been soaking up a lot lately! A little mystery, a little news, and a lot of personal growth because, hey, it just keeps me trying to be a better human every day!

Happy listening, y’all!

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Wonderfully You

Hey y’all. How ya doing? Hanging in there?

It’s March tomorrow, can you believe it? The month has flown by and I’ve been taking my time enjoying those quieter moments to just relax, let my brain veg for a moment. I wouldn’t exactly call it finding inner peace or stilling myself so much as just trying to figure out what is rest, what does that look like and how the heck do you keep yourself from bingeing all the Netflix shows or falling down the Instagram rabbit hole during rest.

I set up timers on my phone a few weeks ago so that I don’t spend more than an hour on social media a day. You guys. I did not realize how much time I was spending picking up my phone for a quick scroll here and there or how much time I took after work just mindlessly scrolling!

I also shut down all apps for downtime at 10:00 every night. Essentially I make sure the essentials are available (weather, clock, messages and phone), but everything else is off limits until 7:00 am. I was trying to make changes so the last thing I do at night and the first things I do in the morning have nothing to do with social media.

So far it’s been pretty helpful for me. You can try it, too, under "general settings and the tab “screen time.” Try it! I’m also attempting no-screen-time-Sunday’s…a challenge to be continued.

Social media can be great, a real tool to connect people, update on information quickly, spread a little joy even. I found myself falling into a not so good pattern. Too much time on the apps, too much time wasted, a need to check for…nothing really, and an overall dissatisfaction in general with myself. The highlight reels are so true and even I post only the good stuff. It’s what I want to put into the world, happy things. I posted a couple weeks ago about practicing patience and I realized in order to do a better job of that, to find satisfaction and gratefulness in my heart, I needed to separate myself from those apps. I’m ashamed to say it’s not been easy, but I’m definitely trying to break the habit or at least control the amount of time I’m on there and be more conscious when I am.

By setting timers to shut things down, I’m helping my brain to focus on things I want to do more, like reading. I actually just finished Misty Copeland’s book, Life in Motion, and loved it! I know, I’m late to the party, it came out in 2014, but I still found her story fascinating, her career amazing, and her words inspirational. You know what’s crazy is a year after she wrote this book she was announced as principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Dreams really do come true, baby! Truly though, read her story and you’ll see it came with a lot of work and a lot of support.

Misty’s story delved into everything about her journey including the doubts she had in her career. Doubts are like seeds, they creep into the back of your mind, plant themselves and they can grow if you don’t weed them out. Even after weeding, you might find a couple seeds are still there and they grow back. If you don’t pull those suckers out by the root, or even weed at all, those doubts can take over your mind like an overgrown backyard. It seemed that when faced with those thoughts Misty embraced them, entertained them even, and moved forward without ever actually falling prey to them because she knew her purpose on this earth was meant for more. Giving up was not an option.

The last chapter really spoke to Misty’s great understanding of herself, finding out who she was in life, in ballet, and fully immersing herself in that. I find that so inspirational, to really watch people embrace themselves. They just are who they are, for better or worse. They live and act in their truth without being in your face telling you who they are. They don’t need to because they’re just being themselves; their actions speak to that.

Also, how many times can a person use “they,” “their, “ and “they’re” in a sentence? Praise the holy Grammar Gods that my English teachers, including my mama, made dang sure I knew the difference!

Some of my favorite role models, choreographers, and characters are just like that: Gene Kelley, Scarlet O’Hara, Bob Fosse, Ree Drummond (aka Pioneer Woman), Brenda Lee Johnson (of The Closer), and Dolly Parton. I know, it’s a random list.

I’m drawn to them because they’re fascinating to me and all they did was live their best lives, follow their path and their dreams. I’m sure each were faced with an opportunity to doubt who they were, but something told them not to. Ultimately when you know yourself you just are yourself, right? That fundamental “why” drives your actions.

I mentioned earlier my need to shut off social media (I promise this long post is all connected). In a lot of ways I felt like I kept seeing the same things online over and over again. Things that I once found so creatively inspiring became stale. Influencers using the same inflection, selling the same products, using the same presets, styles, and looks. Choreography videos of the same nature, not all, but many, and poses of the same kind. I like what I like but I began to realize that it all felt the same, nothing felt original or rather the better word for it, authentic. I started to feel stale .What was I on here for if I’m not getting inspired? Then it hit me, why the heck do I need to be on here to be inspired at all? Shouldn’t my own creativity be enough to fuel me to be, well…me?

So maybe I need to remember what I like, who I am, follow my why. If I step away from everything that’s packaged the same way, if I take a moment to delve deep into my own self, spend a little more time tapping into my own thoughts and creativity, maybe I could get a little more comfortable with who I am or at the very least, remember who that girl is before I was inundated with constant pictures of perfect. Had I forgotten what it was like to follow my gut?

Maybe I would actually take a step towards doing things that bring me real joy. Maybe I would actually feel a little less unsure of my song choices, movement choices, less lost on what to post, what to write because I’d actually be following my gut, numbers and followers be damned. Maybe I would actually spend more time working rather than “getting inspired” scrolling through the same content over again. Why couldn’t I produce the fresh content I’m craving? Be it in class, choreography, in my blog or heck, in my own life.

I suppose I’ve been on a thought train for a while about embracing oneself more, conforming less to what gets the most likes, and remembering that being yourself really is the only way to go for a fulfilled life. Following that heartbeat, following that drive the propels you forward is the only way to find a sense of self satisfaction. I know I could not live my life without dance even if means I didn’t end up on the Great White Way. I know I will always write even if it’s just a handful of people who read it or even just my mother. That’s being true to me, following what fuels me regardless of what it brings.

Misty Copeland’s book may have been about her journey to where she is today and if you’re wondering how these thoughts all intersect, remember she is in the ballet world, a world that demands perfection. Artistry is abound, your own mark and style is required to make you stand out and yet, there are rules to making it to the top, requirements that demand time, energy, and perfection. Doesn’t that sound like social media today? Be yourself, but if you want to be well received, well liked, these are the things that will get you there. A constant battle between excelling at the basics, but leave your mark as only you can. It’s the same as demonstrating a tendu or taking a picture of your coffee, the use of épaulement or the way in which you shot the pic can grab the attention of the viewer.

It’s all relative I suppose. I took away many things from Misty’s book, how her path truly lead her to where she is today, all the people that helped her along the way, and how all it took was one teacher just noticing her abilities and someone else offering her the opportunity. My goodness, it’s remarkable. At the heart of it, she had to be true in what she wanted, following that desire many times over even if it meant going against the wishes of others. Misty’s story really is a good reminder that becoming who you are is a journey and that you need only look inside to fully embrace wonderfully unique and original you. So maybe get off the apps and start following your gut more, remember who you are away from the influence of constant perfection.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time…

Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.

- Judy Garland

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Just a Little Sunday Hello!

Hello!

Good morning! Or afternoon or evening, whenever you’re reading this!

Just a quick little post to say hi y’all! I’ve been eyeball deep in work, no surprise, but I’ve also been actively trying to enjoy the downtime I have in the evenings and weekends. Somehow taking a little less pressure off myself to accomplish and do all the things seemed like a bright idea to reduce stress. Who’da thunk?

In that down time I’ve gotten to enjoy finally seeing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and I love it! I think Amy Sherman-Palladino is brilliant and I love her quirky style, fast dialogue, and the characters she creates (read: original Gilmore Girls fan). In any case, yes, I know I’m late to the game but I really wanted to like it and surprise, I actually loved it! On to season two!

I wrapped up The Bear & The Nightingale trilogy. If you are someone that enjoys fantasy books, this one is really lovely. Katherine Arden blends Russian folklore together with some historical references, it’s very light and she’s well aware she’s mixing things together for this beautiful story. Essentially you follow the story of a young woman on her journey to fully embracing herself as a witch by watching her grow up, mess up and rise above all the struggles, and she she has a lot. In a lot of ways, if you strip away all the folklore, you read about woman growing up, discovering who she is, learning to embrace that even if it costs her the security of familiarity by walking down the traditional path. I know I’m summarizing three books very, very broadly.

There are tons of books that take on that subject, most likely set in current day, but what I really liked about this character is that she never shied away from what she knew she needed to do or wanted to do. Even if her family told her, “this is a terrible idea,” she went through with it because she knew it was what was best for her. I get very tired reading about the same character that has a responsibility and doesn’t want to step up to the plate. For Vasilisa, our heroine, she just continues to plow ahead without really sitting down to feel sorry for herself (Thank you!).

Here are all three books with the most gorgeous covers! Yes, marketing teams are totally selling to people like me.

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the fun read and it was something different to dive into. Plus, any time I can find a series I’m usually sold. I love seeing characters continue on and if I’m really enjoying the book, there’s nothing better than knowing another story is around the corner!

Currently I’m wrapping up Life in Motion by Misty Copeland. I picked up her book just before school started as a nice way to get back into reading more on dance. When I think back to my college days, I couldn’t believe I got to spend so much of my time immersed in dance and I thoroughly enjoyed our dance history classes. Reading and writing about dance? Yes, please and thank you, more please!

But as many people will tell you, when your hobby becomes your job, and know that dance was always more than hobby for me, things shift a bit. Your whole world revolves around the subject and there’s no other creative outlet outside of that passion which means the chance of burnout is pretty strong. So, I tend to turn off a lot of dance things at home in order to recharge a bit. I listen to podcasts, I ready murder mysteries and fantasies, I cook and bake, study fashion bloggers, and anything else I can find to let my dancer brain rest.

I wish I could be that person that’s always fueled by it, completely content to think, talk, dream, do nothing but dance, but I’m simply not. For a long time I thought that made me a terrible dancer if I wasn’t 1,000% committed all the time. I actually came to realize that it helps make me a more well rounded person and therefore better at my job because I can get perspective.

In any case, I thought this year I could dedicate some time outside of work to dance a little more often and do it because I wanted to, not because I needed research for a project or lecture. See the difference there? Whether that was spending an afternoon watching a dance documentary or a musical or reading a dance related book, I just wanted to enjoy it simply for pleasure again.

So here we are, reading Misty Copeland’s book and I’m definitely enjoying it. I only knew a fraction of her story and I was always fascinated with her. My niece in particular thinks she’s amazing and she is. How she got where she is was truly a path of hard work, dedication, pure love for the art, and a whole heck of a lot of believers supporting her.

Alright y’all, that’s my Sunday wrap up! I’ve got a week full of choreography and grading ahead so it’s time to get back to work. But if you’ve got any reading suggestions, let me know in the comments section. I’m always looking for another good read!

Penny likes a good read so long as there’s cheek scratches to go with it!

Penny likes a good read so long as there’s cheek scratches to go with it!

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Practice in Patience

What is that joke about asking God for patience? Be careful because you’ll likely be granted an opportunity to practice patience, not necessarily the divine gift itself? I mean, a complete lol, am I right? Because it’s so very, very true.

I’ve had many opportunities to practice patience. We all learn patience as a kid, waiting for Christmas morning, turning double digits, driving, and graduation. Even dancing helped teach me patience in the process just as much as persistence. Teaching, unsurprisingly, has taught me quite a bit of patience and I’ve gained so much over the years. Bet you didn’t see that one coming? Kidding.

So yeah, I’d call myself a pretty practiced person at patience. I can be cool as a cucumber with all the questions in class and I’m much better having patience with my husband and his discarded socks all over the floor. Ok, lies, I’m still not even 85% okay with that but I’m work in progress as is he.

One thing I have struggled with lately is being patient in where I am now. Over the years this comes up when I see people moving beyond me, almost like in a race where we’re all at the same pace and then someone gets that energy that spurs them on just a little more ahead. And it grows, other people move faster and suddenly I feel very much alone at my steady pace.

This is the time to clarify and say I’m in the exact spot I know I need to be. Pyro Man and I working steadily toward some goals and we’re one year out from his second bachelors being complete. This time next year, things will be different, he’ll have a new job, a new career venture and we’re thrilled for it! We’ve talked continuously over the last couple years, and more so these last few months, of all we will have opened to us with this big change. We also remind each other of all the steps we have to do first to make those things happen because, you know, reality check, things take time.

There are moments, though, that sneak up and whisper in my ear, “you’re being left behind,” which, for the little sibling in me, just turns me into knots because I hate being left behind. I am always supportive and happy for those friends and folks that take another step towards their ultimate goals, but dang if that little line doesn’t sneak in there sometimes. Several years ago I had that hard hitting epiphany of people will not wait for you.

I’m going to say that again because I have to repeat that sometimes to make sure it sticks to my brain:

People will not wait for you.

Everyone has their dreams and their ambitions they want to reach. Whether it’s wanting to move to a new city, a new house, start a different job, make a change in careers, have a baby, or whatever, people will make choices that move them closer to that because it’s their dream. So if you’re holding back thinking that these people are going to wait until you’re ready for them to move, think again.

That really was a reality check for me. I can’t remember the specifics when this moment hit me, but I remember the feeling, like a slap to the face, completely and totally flabbergasted, essentially gobsmacked (Great word, right?).

Of course people are going to move forward! Why wouldn’t they?! I didn’t expect friends to hang out waiting on me to tell them, “it’s okay now.” Yeah right! I think it was just the fact that I felt left behind because I wasn’t making the progress in the same amount of time or I wasn’t ready to make those moves or changes with them.

It’s never about that person, it’s always about how I’m feeling. So what do I usually do? Well, I tend to want to take swift action on things and then I stall out. I spend too much time waiting to make a decision, a little scared to make a change or sometimes I don’t give the time to that’s needed to take the step forward. I know all these things and since having that revelation, I’ve been working on that, being good with where I am, moving myself forward.

Truth be told, I would feel terrible if I started pacing myself based on someone else’s tempo. It wouldn’t work. Keeping up with the Joneses is not for me. Take dance for an example, I can’t dance the exact same was as someone else because it doesn’t feel true to me. I’ll adjust and correct to fit me and my style. Or even choreograph the same way—I may love someone’s style and ideas, but if it doesn’t ring true for me, ain’t no way that piece will work.

Patience in being me, in being here now, most of the time I can do. Lately it’s been extremely difficult to hang on to that idea. Pyro Man’s school journey so close to being over, we’re nearly there and I’m feeling anxious to jump ahead. I see the years going by more quickly, I feel older and my brain tricks me into thinking I should be somewhere else by this point.. My fear is that I will have wasted time by not making decisions and moving forward but on the other hand, I fear rushing into something that isn’t right for me.

I have to steady myself, take a breath, remember who I am, what I’m working towards, how much time it takes, and like I tell my students, trust in the process. The journey doesn’t need to be rushed because that’s where life is, that’s where the good stuff happens. There will be a surge in my race later on, but right now, I’m at a comfortable pace and when I’m ready to change it, I can. No one else’s journey would look the same. I’m not behind in any way.

I’m exactly where I need to be.

I just have to have patience.

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Challenge Accepted

Coming back from Christmas, I knew that I really wanted to get back into feeling better about myself, get a hold of the unconscious eating and start moving my body more. I spent the fall really focusing on eating when I was hungry and making better choices. I wasn’t perfect by any means but changes here and there helped out a great deal. Then the holidays hit…it’s always a rough time for me no matter how much I try to prepare or make a mental game plan.

A challenge was coming up for Tone It Up, a fitness community and program that I follow and I thought, “ok, girl. It’s time to get serious!” When I actually follow their program, I’m solid and I’ve seen real results. What I’ve come to realize is that when I focus and work hard I have great results. Duh. Like that’s big news. But when I start to see those awesome results, I usually backslide. I start to think, “oh it’s okay to have a little more of this, I’ve done so well!” or “I can skip that workout today because I did a really hard one yesterday and look how good things are going!”

Those little indulgences, if you will, add up when you do it over and over again and before you know all those good habits you’ve started to introduce just go away. In case you didn’t know, no matter how much you plan or daydream or think and wish about taking care of your body, it doesn’t do a dang thing unless you put those thoughts into action.

That’s been a big problem for me over the years; a little results, backsliding and then nothing but thinking for a long time until I’m ready to get started again. I’m really burned out on that cycle. I want to make actual changes that are sustainable.

The #loveyourbody challenge is here and I’m doing it but a little bit differently so I actually see the 8 weeks through. I have to have a realistic plan going in because if I did all the things at once I would just be setting myself up for failure.

I started with simple goals and decided to add a new element each week. One thing at a time so that I get a week to practice and get better at it. The week before the challenge, it was all about just getting up and working out, trying to find the time that works best for me. Also, just trying to change the mindset of being too tired or simply put-it-off-til-tomorrow mindset needs some serious focus and I need to actively practice that.

This last week was all about eating better and making smarter choices. Swapping out items, adding more greens, listening to when I’m hungry and when I’m not, downing the water, and trying for a few less sweets. All these things I know and I try to practice but it needs a refresh and I need to be consistent.

This week will be all about sleep. I need it and I can tell that going to be at 11:00 is not allowing me to be successful at getting up at 6. Yup, I’m an 8 hours a night gal and that last hour really does make a huge difference for me. Next week? Probably adding in the daily moves three times a week. After that, who knows, but I’m adding each one as I get better with the previous.

The point is to add in something each week, building better habits rather than trying to change things all at once. I think that was always my downfall; I’d start strong with good intentions and drop it after a couple weeks because I didn’t build in the practice so the work and habits weren’t sustainable.

If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a challenge or looking to do one, get back on track and all, maybe figure out where you can actually push yourself to better and then make that happen in a realistic way. Going all in can work for some, but not all. One step at a time still gets me there, maybe at a slower pace, but hey. It’s my pace!

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Currently Reading...

Back in college, I couldn’t wait for summer to happen so I could dive into reading for pleasure! There simply wasn’t enough time with projects to work on, classes to craft, and tests to study for so summer was the time to catch up.

When adulthood happens, that is to say, life after school, I got really focused on work and suddenly there wasn’t really a summer break to spending reading gobs of books. I just had to somehow fit in reading for fun and I wasn’t very good at that.

To get better with having some fun reading outside of work, I make it a goal to read for 15 minutes every night. I get as far as I need to, sometimes I stay up a little later and sometimes I just crash, either way I get a little closer to my goal of more reading for fun!

Lately I’ve been on a fantasy kick with Bear and the Nightingale (A Winternight Trilogy) by Katherine Arden. Actually, I blew through that so fast and now I’m on to The Girl in the Tower, the second in the trilogy story. If you think I’m stopping at two, you are dead wrong! And oh, they’re great! Russian folklore with a twist, a mysterious magical young woman and her great adventures on a noble stead. Seriously. What more could you ask for?

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A Little Relaxation

Made it! Made it to Friday!

And now? I give myself one large glass of wine, my newest book, and one evening to soak with my very favorite bath bombs!

Happy Friday to me!

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Happy Spring Semester!

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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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?

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