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?
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!
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
Whoa, just like that it’s almost Halloween! People, can you believe it?!
Well, to tell you the truth, I certainly can’t, but there you have it. The Great Pumpkin will rise here in a few days and trick-o-treaters will be knocking on the door and I need to think of some Halloween costume or something or other that I can wear to work come Wednesday. Much to do, folks, much to do!
What all can a gal accomplish in a month? Quite a bit, actually, so lets get right down to it and update you on all that’s been going on!
My best friend and college roomie, Karley, came to visit in September and we boogied a night away celebrating a sorority sister’s wedding (Congrats, Vicky!)! It was a perfect weekend full of reunions with beautiful friends!
Karley has this incredible talent for braiding hair and did an awesome braid crown for me and I was thus inspired to finally learn how to do double dutch braids. *See photo below.
I wrapped up three massive pieces for our Christmas show—whew! Now to clean and rehearse for December. Still some work to be done, but everything is on it’s feet for the most part.
We wrapped up and opened the student choreography show which turned out to be a huge knock outta the park this year! Always proud to work on that show and see our students grow so much in the process.
I took a quick trip to Colorado to see my dear, dear friend, Megan, her husband and their brand new sweet baby boy! I flew into a perfect fall day and woke up to a snowy covered world, a perfect first visit to Denver! By the way, the science museum there is way cool and has an awesome dinosaur exhibit!
The last couple weeks has been spent focusing jumping ahead into the midterm to-do’s at work. Pyro Man has been keeping his nose the grindstone studying, I can somewhat remember what his face looks like, but a date night tonight might refresh my memory.
Life feels sometimes like a runaway train and when I get a chance to hop off for a bit, I still feel like I should be spinning my wheels just a go-go-going to keep moving when what I really need to do is relax. I knew back at the very beginning of the year that from July on, life would be one long runaway train until...about Christmas time.
When I saw that, it was easy to get a little bummed knowing that free time would be a rare occurrence. On the flip side though, my schedule would be packed with things that light me up. So free time was light—at least my time would be spent doing things that I found to be fun and with people I really enjoyed being with. Best of all, I got lucky that my free weekends filled up with visits with friends I hadn’t seen in quite literally years.
Yeah, life’s busy, but it always is and that’s just life! In fact, I feel weird when there’s too much downtime and yet, that down time is so necessary to recharge your batteries. You can bet, though, that after a few days off, I’ll find a project of sorts to fill whatever time off I have! The question is whether I really get the chance to finish it or not.
Eh, c’est la vie!
Happy first day of fall, y’all!
Here’s to a new season full of good changes, hot cups of cider, many spiced donuts and lots of great boots! Bring on the flannel, crisp morning air, and all the fall leaves we can stand. Welcome, fall! Stick around for a bit and be sure to bring those great fall temps!
I always feel really accomplished when I set myself up for a successful and less stressful week. Meal prepping has been all the rage for a while and there's tons of articles out there to help you, sometimes it gets overwhelming.
The past four weeks have been whirlwind crazy and I’m still four weeks away from having a “normal” week, i.e. nights where I’m home before 8:00 something at night. I’ve definitely been relying on my Sunday’s to prepare my food needs for work and for home, not unsurprisingly since a lot of people do it! While it can take a bit of time and elbow grease, I have to say, it’s been an absolute lifesaver!
Five Favorite All Week Meals
Soup’s Up! I’m a huge fan of soup when I’m in the throws of a busy week like a show week. I’ll make a huge pot and fill up several containers for lunches and boom! I’ve got lunch for every day that week. Just a sleeve of crackers or some fresh french bread and I’m good. Throw a side salad with it or a half a sandwich and the meals seems fresh and new on day four.
My personal favorite soup recipe is the Spicy Chicken Soup from Real Girl’s Kitchen and yes, that is Haylie Duff’s cookbook. No judgement, she’s got some pretty good ones!
BBQ Pulled Pork Take 2. OK, so it’s easy to throw some pulled pork together, 1 can of soda and a bottle of BBQ sauce, large crockpot on low for 8 hours and ta-da! A great meal is ready for you! You can put it on a bun or on a baked potato or just eat on it’s own with a salad or delicious sautéed veggies.
Here’s a new one though, slap some of that BBQ between to tortillas, add some cheese, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice and you’ve got yourself some delicious BBQ quesadillas.
White Chicken Chili for days! I wish I could take credit for this, but good ol’ Pinterest to the rescue. Here is THE best white chicken chili and I promise you won’t get sick of this one! Add tortilla chips or pair with a light green salad to stretch it out and shake it up.
Tray Bakes for the win! Roast up a few chicken breasts in the oven with a separate tray of your favorite veggies and that’s an easy full meal with tons of nutrition packed in. I like to use brussel sprouts, asparagus or zucchini with sweet potatoes or purple potatoes and a bit of chopped onion. A little olive oil and some sea salt and you’re good to go. Other spices are fine, but I like the simple flavor come out through the roasting.
Muffins, man. I know, bad pun, but still funny. I whipped up a batch of Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins since I was hankering something delicious warm and fall flavored. Definite success although this particular recipe calls for a pretty good amount of sugar. I’m wondering if I could pair that down or trade out with a different type of sugar. Either way, I’ve got delicious breakfast muffins to pair with scrambled eggs and some fresh fruit.
The trick is to make it all at once and divvy everything up, a plate or bowl for each day of the week. I cart all these bowls to work and leave them in my office fridge prepped and ready to heat up. I’m a leftovers fan so this type of eating isn’t too tricky for me and if you’re looking for something other than a frozen meal for lunch or another sandwich, these might perk up your meals for the week!
Happy meal prepping, y’all!
Oh man. I was feeling on top of the world, writing post after post, scheduling out everything and keeping this little day dream running while I worked the real job making magic happen through choreography and teaching dance. Then things just got busy.
That’s okay though! I’m trying to catch up, make things happen and not get too down on myself for this hiccup in progress. It’s all part of life, am I right?
A Chorus Line is off and running in Dallas at Booker T. Washington! The kids did exceptionally well and I was so pleased and extremely grateful for the opportunity! It’s crazy to think in January I was planning ahead for September and now that time has come and gone. Every time I set a show or start a project, it always feels like a giant mountain to surmount in a short amount of time. Like eating an elephant, you take it one bite at a time and before you know it, everything is done.
I am a little sad to close this chapter, but that always leaves room for something new. With one show on it’s feet, it’s now time to move on to the next. I’m four weeks away from a second opening for our departmental choreography show and then it’s 100% into Christmas show. Eep! I’ve got one number set and two more to go and granted that’s not an entire two hour show, it’s still a good amount of work. Just like with A Chorus Line, I’ll take those pieces win bite at a time as well .
Suffice it to say, my life has been 110% work lately which has left little time for anything else. That probably came at a good time, too. I have loved diving into this project with a fresh renewal of interest over the last couple months. In a lot of ways this corner of the net has helped me focus on work better by giving me an outlet, prioritizing to-do’s so there was always time to carve out for this. It’s allowed me to play with my closet more, sifting through clothes and coming up with fresh looks and reigniting a love of dressing up. It’s given my husband and I something fun to do, searching for new places in the city for taking pictures, laughing at the crazy things he says and learning to work as a team on a new project.
I got a little discouraged a couple weeks ago when I felt like I wasn’t making progress on anything. After the initial high of my restart, things slowed down and I started to see more of the follow-unfollow game on my Insta and I got frustrated. All those negative thoughts came rushing in and I realized I just needed to step back for a moment and truthfully, it helped to remind me of how much fun this thing is!
A few days away from social media and time off from writing and prepping new posts let my brain rest and quiet down. Stepping back only gave me the chance to focus on things that needed my attention and let my negativity cool its heels. Bottom line is that I enjoy posting! So, who cares if people follow-unfollow or if my progress is slow, it’ll get there so long as I’m having fun and loving what I’m doing!
I’m looking forward to carving out more time for my little blog in between all these work projects! Here’s to more posts and more fun because, why the heck not!