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!
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.
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…)
If you’re looking for a few simple, but effective, food photography tips you’re in the right place. If you’re a blogger looking to take photos worthy of your killer recipe, creative styling, and personal flair, you’ll want to dig in. Personally, I’ve been blogging here for seven years and that means well, I’ve published a lot of images that are not that great. But that’s okay, let them live on–because well, improving is part of the journey (right?). Just don’t judge too harshly when you stumble upon a old post. HA.
Photography has always been one of those areas that I vow to do better, take a class, learn how to “use my big girl camera” … etc. Can you relate at all? I bought some books, studied some Youtube editing classes, but at the end of the day it all still seemed overwhelming. Guys, I was even using my PHONE’s photo apps to edit my images that I would take with my nice camera. Aside from not being quality I was proud of, it was taking me FOREVER. That’s a little embarrassing to share but I’m just being real here.
All the curly-haired ladies are rejoicing today over Dove’s new emoji campaign. Okay, maybe not. BUT … marketers and content creators should be taking note.
Dove’s release of new curly-haired emojis is part of the larger marketing campaign that kicked off last year around their new products for curly hair (and quite frankly, I think it’s a fun and smart play). While it may not make sense at first glance that Dove got into the emoji business, when you look deeper you’ll see it’s not at all about emojis. It’s really about creating relevant content that fills a gap, falls in line with their larger marketing goals, and gets people talking. (more…)
Raise your hand if you’ve participated in a Twitter chat over the years (also commonly referred to as Twitter parities)? I’d guess that you have either:
1) joined one 2) hosted one or 3) passively lurked in one.
I do all three, quite often –hosting my first one in early 2008. The value of Twitter chats is now crystal clear seven years later for participants, hosts, bloggers, and brands. These chats are an obvious way to gather a group of people focused on a shared topic or engaging around a new product or service. The direct, real-time exchanging of ideas and advice….. GOLD right?
Well, here’s the thing….I think Periscope is WAY better for this.
If you haven’t yet joined Periscope don’t tune this out. There are currently over 15 million people on the platform who are engaging even more directly with one another around common topics. The sharing of ideas, talking about business, and dishing about real life is happing 24-7 just like on Twitter. BUT … with video! (more…)