Archive of ‘Life & Work’ category

So, I took a 30 day sabbatical

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.)

Here's what I learned when taking a 30 day sabbatical from work. How I planned, what I did, and what I learned from the experience.

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.

Here's what I learned when taking a 30 day sabbatical from work. How I planned, what I did, and what I learned from the experience.

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…)

Keepin’ It Simple

I have been compensated by ZonePerfect® for this post; however I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. #Ad #ZonePerfectRevitalize
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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.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

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.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

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.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

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.

Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? Grab my free printable as a reminder.

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!

How I Make Time for Creativity

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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! 

You Had Me At champagne Popsicle

Summer is speeding our way. I want to say “bring it on” but honestly, I start thinking of how much time I have left to “get ready.” You know all of those boxes that need checking before you can fully embrace summer and “check out” a bit yourself? For me it’s things like making sure I’ve planned summer trips (have you ever tried booking a beach campsite in southern California? You have to plan six months ahead–no joke), get kids’ activities and camps ironed out, coordinate dates for a family vacation, find bathing suits for yourself + two growing daughters, uh-hem… get into shape. The list goes on. But boy do I LOVE summertime. This summer should be extra special because I’ll be taking some extended time off of work to hang with my girls. I. Cannot. Wait.

Here’s a few things I’m currently dreaming of for this summer.

Wait for it…..boozy pops!

boozy popsicles

Can you even believe these boozy popsicles? I am ALL about the frozen drinks when it’s 100+ degrees outside. I recently discovered these pops and got super giddy. Looks like they are not yet available in the US (can we petition or something?!) so I might have to try my hand at a DIY version. Don’t they just sound wonderful? Boozy pops sound like the perfect summer cocktail to me! (more…)

Must-Have Colorful Summer Accessories

Here is Southern California, it’s basically summer (I mean it was 95 degrees last weekend). So, whether I’m ready or not (my pale skin says, not), it’s time to start thinking about bikinis, beach days, and fun summer activities. During the summer, we like to plan several long weekend trips that are within an hour or two drive. This makes us feel like we are constantly going on vacation! We’ll camp (we have many nearby state parks), definitely head to Palm Springs (my favorite place to mini vaca), and do as many beach trips as we can fit it. Our summer itinerary will also include more mellow things like lazy pool days and backyard dinner parties (with a summer dinner party play list of course). I like the laid back vibe that comes along with summer entertaining.

I  do a little pre-summer shopping around this time of year because retailers have all of their new summer accessories and clothes out now and if I wait until we really need it, everything will be gone. Have you ever tried to buy a new bathing suit or cover up in July? Impossible I tell you. I pick up a few things for my daughters and also for myself. This year I am loving all things super bright and also loving the colorful pom poms and tassels that I am seeing on just about everything. The bright colors work so great for summer and can easily go from beach to resort, to a vibrant backyard fiesta. Here’s a few summer essentials that I’m snagging up this week!

 

These bright and colorful summer accessories are the perfect addition to all of your summer plans. The colorful tassels and pom poms are a big trend!

I’m not sure what screams “SUMMER” more, bright colors or tassels. I’m thinking this wooden beaded tassel necklaces would look adorable for a summer night out paired with a white or chambray sun dress or shirt. And I’m pretty sure these tassel bracelets will be on my wrist all summer. I love wearing fun bracelets with my bathing suits when I’m hanging out by the pool. I never really could pull of the big earring/bathing suit thing so my go-to are fun bracelets. (more…)

Work It :: Update these 6 things now, thank yourself later

It’s been awhile since I just chatted here, so a big wave hello to you all. The New Year always seems to be the time we all feel pressured to get our act together (or, is it just me?) and that can feel a tad overwhelming in my opinion. Fitness, health, career, organizing, relationships–I mean can’t a girl enjoy a glass of wine and some first-of-the-year calmness? Anyway, I tend to avoid major resolutions and putting a bunch of pressure on myself. BUT, I do pick 1-2 areas and get things “in order” a bit. On the personal side of things, I chose to revamp my diet by kicking off another Whole30 (see how I also didn’t make some crazy fitness goal? Baby steps people). On the professional side, I decided to use January to get “it” together a bit in the administrative area. I posted about this on Instagram and got such a great response that I thought I would elaborate a bit here.

Prepare yourself for success with these tips for bloggers. 6 things you can do now that will help your blog and small business later.

I’m going to share six tips for bloggers and small business owners that I think are simple to do but can really be game-changers. As a blogger and small business owner it’s extremely important that you’re able to respond to opportunities quickly. Whether its’s an email that comes your way, a potential client reaching out via social media, a last minute networking event, or an unexpected piece of press. I realized that when these things came my way, I was often scrambling to reply because there were things I didn’t have together. For example, I would need to update my media kit, or my bio was out of date, or darn it … I had run out of business cards (again). So, this month I decided to pick a few things to “get together” so that when opportunities came my way, I was ready for them. And, it actually already paid off! Two cool things came my way unexpected last week and I was in a great position to respond quickly–without stressing out and stopping what I was doing to update things. Woo hoo! (more…)

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