Yes, I took a 30 day sabbatical. For all of my adult life, I’ve been going full-throttle. School, work, parenting, more work, side work, fun work. You name it, I want to do it (and am determined to do it perfectly). It’s a blessing to love what you do, but sometimes it can also feel like a curse. Honestly, most days it feels like a tornado that ends with a migraine. (I bet some of you can relate.)
So, when the company I have been working for for the last seven years (The Grommet) announced a new policy that would give me the chance to take a 30 day paid sabbatical, I was equally excited and nervous. I’ve taken a week vacation before (still checking in here and there) but this was an entire new level. I wondered if I could do it. (I also tried negotiating working one day a week during it so I could still get stuff done, I know…pathetic). In the end I took an entire 30 days off.
I wanted to share a few things that I took away from this experience. From the planning process, to how I spent my time, to what I learned when I took a step back and let things
go … for thirty. whole. days.
The planning dilemma I was stressing over what to do with my time off (what a first-world problem to have, I know). But you see, I want everything to be just right. When in my life will I get another chance to take 30 days off? I ran through several ideas. My first thought was to quickly plan an international trip. Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot (my favorite was to Maine last summer) but never outside of the US. However, my husband couldn’t get that much time off, and traveling with a family of four is pricey. I ran through other ideas like volunteering my time, finally getting that passion project going I’ve been thinking about for years, creating a ton of content for this blog, deep cleaning my house (yes this crossed my mind), and more. In the end my husband asked me what I wish I could do every summer. And my answer? “Fun stuff with my daughters.” I work from a home office and summers are HARD. When the kids are out of school they are always asking to go do fun things and I am always saying “no” because I’m working. I keep business hours so hitting the beach on a Wednesday isn’t something we can just go and do. I realized that I wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted, and just have some summer fun. (more…)
I have been compensated by ZonePerfect® for this post; however I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. #Ad #ZonePerfectRevitalize
Summertime is supposed to be filled with warm, lazy days and fun cocktails, right? That’s not at all what I’m feeling at the moment. How about you friend? So far my first couple of weeks have been filled with rushing kids around to their activities, working long hours, and trying to pencil in on the calendar all of the fun things we want to do and all of the parties I want to host. Oh and writing content for my new DIY Marketing site. There just never seems to be enough time in the day (or the season!). Do you feel this way? Tell me I’m not alone.
I try to keep reminding myself that my mantra has always been “keep it simple.” I mean, the name of this blog does means a lot to me. Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? I’m totally guilty of this at times, but I’m working to keep myself focused and in check with how much I schedule and to better manage my expectations. Honestly, I think I need to cut myself a break once in awhile. We can put so much pressure on ourselves. I’m trying to stay focused on what’s important and what needs to get done.
One thing that’s helping me get through these long days is having the perfect snack always on hand. I discovered these ZonePerfect® Revitalize for Mental Focus bars recently in the lunchbox aisle at Target. And I have started keeping them on hand always! I have a couple in my desk drawer, in my purse, in my work bag. YUM. I’d keep them in my car but it’s like 115 out here and I’m certain they’d melt.
ZonePerfect Revitalize bars help me stay mentally sharp and focused throughout my busy day and the flavors make them taste like a delicious treat (hello Salted Carmel Latte, Strawberry Shortcake, and Hot Chocolate Marshmallow!) My current favorite is the Salted Carmel Latte and it even has 11g of protein. They also have green tea extract that has caffeine levels equivalent to a ½ cup of coffee and Choline which is a nutrient that supports brain health. They are the perfect snacking solutions for active and busy lifestyles. You can find out more about this product here.
What fun things do you have planned for the summer? Any entertaining plans in the works? I hope you’ll resist scheduling too much and remember that it’s okay to keep things simple. That’s really my main reason for creating this space. I want to encourage you that simple can be gorgeous, fun, and memorable. Pick a few elements for your party and do them well. The rest, can be basic. Honestly. Focusing on a few things rather than “everything” will help you feel less overwhelmed and hopefully bring you more joy. Whether that’s summer activities or details for your backyard dinner party.
If you want a little reminder, print out this sign and put it on your desk, or pin it up on your fridge. Cheers to staying focused, and getting it all done friends!
This post is in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are my own.
I absolutely love to entertain in my backyard. We’re pretty lucky here in Southern California and have a long season where we can comfortably host a backyard dinner party without worrying about the weather. I jump at every chance to set a table outdoors and invite friends and family over for a laid-back evening of food, wine, and good company. Are you wondering how to host a backyard dinner party? I’m sharing some of my simple tips with you!
Although it just might seem easier to host your group indoors, I encourage you to consider dining alfresco next time. I’ll show you how to host a backyard dinner party that is simple but feels really thought out. Here are the main steps.
Purchase and gather a few outdoor entertaining essentials
Stage your area by setting up the table and place settings ahead of time
Here’s a glimpse at our set up from the other evening. It all really starts with getting a few essentials for entertaining outdoors. Bed Bath & Beyond is a great place to head if you’re looking for outdoor entertaining essentials like tablecloths, cups, plates, and serving pieces. I recently partnered with them to highlight some of their great finds for outdoor entertaining. Here’s a look at some of the items that set the stage for our recent dinner party.
I just fell in love with this palm leaf tablecloth. It’s stain and water resistant which means it’s perfect for dining outdoors. It just screamed “summer” to me and knew it would make a great base for our palm leaf tablescape.
I wanted to mix patterns and textures to keep it interesting but not too matchy-matchy. I grabbed some melamine serving pieces that had a wood and marble look to them. Melamine pieces are great for dining outdoors–you won’t be afraid to break them. I also layered melamine plates on square natural woven jute placemats. These brought a nice earthy feel to our outdoor table. I also love how versatile they are. We use them regularly.
Next, I layered on some place cards, glasses, stemware, and bowls. I highlight recommend setting up everything you can ahead of time. It gives you time to enjoy setting the table without feeling rushed. You can do this hours ahead of when you expect your guests to arrive.
About 30 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out an arrangement for the table. Flowers tend to wilt fast in the heat so I don’t bring them out too early. I always combine fresh blooms from my yard (in this case roses) with a few store-bought blooms (like the hydrangeas and greenery). A small arrangement just makes your table feel pulled together and adds such a thoughtful touch.
About 15 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out the chilled rosé (though, rosé spritzers would have also been a great choice). I recently got this copper plated ice bucket and am mildly obsessed with it! It’s going to match everything on my bar cart and get used so often. I just love discovering unexpected and unique items like this and Bed, Bath & Beyond never disappoints on that front. (more…)
I can’t sleep without it being completely dark so I recently made these these DIY sleep masks to always have on hand.
I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and turn in. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.
This sleep mask it totally fitting for me. It’s a play on the phrase “sip sip rosé” and also exactly what I’m thinking the morning after I’ve stayed up too late with friends. ;) I think this would also make a cute gift idea for your girlfriends.
You can use any phrase you’d like! I used my Cricut Explorer Air Machine to create iron on transfers. You can do this using your printer as well. Just look for iron on transfers at your local office supply or craft store. The possibilities are endless! Just create your phrase and iron it on to a blank eye mask. (I used these satin eye masks.) One tip is be careful not to iron the straps when you are applying your transfer (mine started to melt). (more…)
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.
I spend a lot of my “free” time (late nights after work and after family time) crafting. But ironically, I also really always want to be sleeping. I know, the struggle right?! I find that the older I get, the more I truly value a good night’s sleep. But yet, I just can’t seem to let go of burning the midnight oil–I guess I still love DIY projects more. I recently made a few DIY sleep masks which seem to be the perfect representation of my current struggle–sleep vs. crafting.
I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and tune out the world around me. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.
They are pretty simple to make (you know I don’t like a ton of steps). I’ll share more in an upcoming post, but basically you just create an iron on transfer and apply it to a blank sleep mask. So easy!
Crafting is really a way to turn my creative juices on and have a little “me” time. Mostly happening late at night, but I also set aside one Sunday a month to tackle projects to share with you here. (Stay tuned for the DIY of these sleep masks coming this week!) I often get asked how I manage this blog and also work full time. Well, this is it. I just carve out time to be creative and get things done. No big secrets over here! Those all-day Sundays set aside for creating are really important to me because they allow me to create for the weeks ahead.
I kick those days off with a delicious carafe of coffee which keeps me going. I’m really enjoying Folgers Simply Gourmet coffee (I picked it up at Walmart). It’s made with natural flavors and I appreciate that it’s not overly sweet. I’m not a big creamer fan so having a hint of vanilla feels like such a treat.
Whether I’m enjoying some crafting time or just lounging in bed on the weekend, I love a warm cup of coffee to keep me company. Folgers Simple Gourmet also comes in Natural Cinnamon, Natural Chocolate, and Natural Caramel (you can see them, here). I think I’ll make it a goal to try all of the flavors :)
What does your “me” time look like? Are you a reader, a crafter, a binge watcher? Tell me in the comments!
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Looking for veggie tray ideas for your next BBQ or dinner party? I love laying out a variety of fresh veggies and dip for guests to enjoy. Especially at a summer BBQ where the menu is typically heavy on grilled meats. A fresh veggie tray is a great way to offer guests a great appetizer to snack on without being to heavy.
When possible, I always head to our local farmers market to pick up some fresh vegetables. I love to mix up what I serve based on what’s in season. And I always look for something unexpected to add into the tray–in this case they were some delicious black figs I discovered.
There are several ways you can go when thinking of veggie tray ideas, but my favorite is creating a long board like this that can go in the center of the table. I find when you put the appetizers off to the side or out of the proximity of where your guests are sitting, they often go untouched. Using a long board almost makes it feel like a colorful (and edible) centerpiece. (more…)