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Monthly Goals / October

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October 02, 2016

Last Month's Goals:

Sooooo I could bother to spend time outlining my goals from last month, but in all honesty, I didn't do so well at most of them. The one thing I did succeed at? Start composting! I bought a airtight plastic bin and my roommates and I started filling it up with food scraps. Last week, I took our scraps to the Student Compost Co-op in our town and officially composted for the first time! So that's my victory for the month!

This Month's Goals:

BODY: Transition to a mostly-Paleo diet and document it on the blog. I've been dealing with some sleep/energy issues for the last six months or so and I'm fiddling around with my diet to see if what I eat affects how I feel. I don't think I'll follow a typical Paleo diet to the T but I definitely want to remove dairy from my diet and get rid of most grains/legumes/artificial sugars.

MIND: Turn off my phone for two hours a day. I think this is self-explanatory...

SOUL: Make a list of good-for-me/happy activities + actually do some of those activities when I feel a funk coming on. A lot of times lately, when I feel tired or in a bad mood, I watch some TV or lay around. But in the long run, that only makes me feel worse. I'm trying to break that negative cycle with something that might take a little more effort but makes me feel better!

SOUL: Follow the HelloMornings plan for well-balanced mornings. If you're interested, I highly recommend checking out the website and getting the free ebook about how to put together a morning that works for you. But the gist is, every morning you take time for God, planning, and health (God-Plan-Move). I'm hoping to write a more detailed post about how this works for me!

WORLD: Volunteer at least 10 hours in October. This year, I've started volunteering with a primate sanctuary near me and helping out with a local pit bull rescue. So my goal is just to be a little more intentional about the time I spend volunteering!

What are your goals this month?

Curated / 23

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October 01, 2016
I feel like I've been in a bit of a daze the last few weeks. For months, I've been having trouble with my sleep and energy levels. That, combined with my total lack of meditation lately, makes me feel totally spacey. Sometimes I reach the end of the day and I honestly couldn't tell you what I did all day or what thoughts went through my mind. Truly, that kind of mindlessness is bumming me out and I'm trying to approach it from a few angles. But before we get to all the links and stuff of this post, just wanted to pose the question to y'all--do you know the feeling I'm talking about? How do you deal with it?

15 little things to do to feel centered again [Rachel A. Dawson]

Practical ways to unplug [The Free and Wild Blog]

Bible reading for the modern woman [a GREAT read from The Tiny Twig]

How to stop worrying: 4 essential practices [Simply Relished]

This adorably decorated cabin in Helsinki!

How to fall in love with yourself [Daring to Live Fully--I love #2 and #4!]

10 steps towards a tiny wardrobe [Be More With Less]

9 things everyone should do while reading the Bible [Relevant Magazine]

7 ways to stay healthy at work [The Balanced Berry]

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (still) - really loving this book, but for some reason I can't handle more than 10-15 pages at a time so it's taking me quite a long while! I'm hoping to finish it in the next week or so.

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs (via audiobook) - This summer in France, I listened to the first eight hours or so of this audiobook over the course of my daily walks to and from my university. I had downloaded it through my library and finally checked it out again so I can finish it!

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." -Oscar Wilde

Read, Reading, To Read

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September 12, 2016

It's good to be back into blogging. I really enjoyed getting to share my last post and just dump out some thoughts about instagram and how it affects our self-worth. But shifting gears a bit, I'm linking up with one of my favorite bloggers today. Bailey from Love Bailey Jean. Every September, she hosts a challenge for bloggers to post every day for the whole month. And I'm just not about that, but man does that impress me. I can't handle posting every day but I thought I'd just pop in here and there to address my favorite prompts.

Today's is....Three books! One you just read, one you're currently reading, and one you want to read.


Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary / Goodreads

Usually I don't bother to give a summary of books I review because there are plenty of those out there, but just to give you a peek, this book outlines several strategies that we can use to succeed in cementing new (good) habits in our lives or breaking (bad) habits. A lot of the strategies were pretty common sense, but it was still very helpful to have someone delineate a great plan of attack for putting new strategies in place. For example, the strategy of convenience says that habits are easier to form if the action we want to take it convenient. So if you want to go to the gym in the morning, have your clothes all laid out and plan to go to the gym nearest to your house. Logical, right?

I think the best way to read this book would be to have a habit in mind that you have had trouble implementing or would just like to add to your life. Then, as you read the strategies, you can try to apply them to your own situation. This book is definitely one I will review (if not reread) as needed.

Also as a side note, I love the author's podcast Happier. So if you're not a reader or just want even more Gretchen (or as podcast-listeners think of her, Gretch) and her sister Elizabeth, check it out!


The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

So far, this book is fantastic. I haven't been reading it very quickly, but it's really quite fascinating. The 19th Wife is an odd mix of somewhat biographical retelling the life of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young who eventually denounced Mormonism and polygamy, and a modern-day (fictional) murder of a fundamentalist Mormon by his 19th wife. This book is just brilliant the way it weaves together the two stories. That said, there is a good bit of language and sexual content in the modern day section which I'm not too keen on. So far, it hasn't been a deal-breaker to me, but it definitely takes away from the historical part, which is very interesting.

To Read.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

This one might be cheating because I've technically started it and read like twenty pages. But I haven't gotten read any more than that anyways, so I'm adding this one to the list! I've heard lots of good things about this book, especially that it's funny and I'm all about that. Let me know if you've read it and if you liked it!


Why I Took a Break from Instagram (and You Should Too!)

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September 09, 2016

Guys, I really loved instagram for a long time. I've come a long way from my first couple posts years ago that only got a few likes. Now, I know how to take a better picture. I know what my followers will like and what my friends will comment on. I love picking out the perfect filter and coming up with funny captions, and to be honest, seeing those 'like' numbers add up. But a few weeks ago, I finally decided to delete my instagram app, thinking it would be just a temporary thing. But now I'm not so sure I want it back.

This summer, I traveled all through Europe and got to see some really, really beautiful places. The streets of France, wandering through England and Belgium, and taking in the glorious outdoors in Iceland. Every time I got a great shot of somewhere I visited, I got a little extra excitement from the thought that in a few hours or days, whenever I got internet again, I would get to share it on social media. It felt like a compulsion--posting it on instagram, just so everyone could see all the adventures I was having. But I really enjoyed it! Is that bad, in itself? To get joy out of showing off a little bit? I'm not sure.

But what concerned me more is that more and more frequently, I didn't feel like I was having enough fun, or a 'good enough' time unless I got to show it off to other people. I would stand in front of a magnificent ice cap in southern Iceland and instead of taking in its grandeur with awe, I would think of the best way to frame a photo, or what I would caption it. When did seeing something beautiful not become enough for me? Why do I have to post a photo in order to feel like I'm fully experiencing life?

I never want to get to a place where I do activities just so that I can document is on social media. It sounds like a ridiculous thing to do, but it's not that far off from reality, at least for me. I know months before my trip I was excited for all the fun pictures I'd get abroad and how I'd have an exciting new profile picture. I even started thinking of captions on the flight there.

I know I sound silly. I sound like a caricature of a millennial. I hate that I became that obsessed, but what's weird is that I didn't really feel obsessed...I didn't feel like I was any more consumed by social media than any of my peers. This is so normal for my generation and I'd venture to say, most people living in our day and age (in developed countries, at least).

Cue the introspection. Maybe I just really want to share my excitement about expanding my horizons. Maybe I want to show people that these awesome places really exist in the world! I do think that's part of it. But if I'm honest with's at least equally (if not more) about curating an image and perpetuating my own security. If I post pictures of myself doing exciting things with friends or visiting exotic places, then I therefore must be popular and loved and glamorous. 

But does the opposite have to be true? If I decide not to post a picture of my friends, does that mean they don't exist? If I don't post a picture of myself traveling, does that mean I don't lead an adventurous life? Of course not! But so often, we make that conclusion. At least, I do.

I guess the real question is 'where am I finding the source of my value?' I think that my previous use of Instagram would say that my value is found in my image that I've cultivated. The words that others would use to describe me. The jealousy or admiration that I receive from others.

In Isaiah 43:4, the Lord says, "You are precious and honored in my sight and...I love you."

Again and again in Scripture the Lord tells us of our value. Not because of anything we've done, any image we've created. Really, he loves us in spite of ourselves. Everything we do should make God turn his face away from us in disappointment but yet he still embraces us. All of the secret sins that we (of course!) don't share on social media are fully known to him, but we still are able to live in harmony with him thanks to the ultimate sacrifice.

So when I've received the most valuable and undeserved approval possible, why do I still fight for my reputation with others? I'm not saying I'll never use Instagram again--I'm sure I will. But I want to be increasingly aware of the needs and compulsions that lie behind a seemingly small choice to post. I want to remember whose love I already have.

Have you ever taken a break from social media? Why or why not?

Monthly Goals / September Edition

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September 03, 2016

Wooooo it's September! I'm so excited to be back into the groove of writing monthly goal posts. I really think that writing these posts help me achieve more + reflect on my life more, both because of the accountability and because it forces me to take the time to think about what I really want out of my month.

But as a side note, I'm excited that it's September, becauseeeee September is almost October and October is autumn and I LOVE AUTUMN. I love when it starts to get cool here in Florida (so like 75 degrees) and we get a little bit of a break from the humidity. But as little as it sounds, I really just love fall clothing! I love vests and boots and jeans and sweaters and long sleeves. I'm getting so excited just thinking about autumn! But for now...tis September. So here we goooo.

This month's goals:

BODY / Get up at 7:30 at least six days a week. My schedule this semester is a little haphazard and it's been taking a toll on my sleep cycle. Some days I get up at 7, some days I get up at 10! That just makes me feel a little out of wack for the whole rest of the day. I really just feel infinitely better when I get up early! To make getting up early as easy as possible, I plan to go to bed promptly around 10 o'clock every night and put my phone away from my bed. I also like to use an app called Alarmy that requires me to take a picture of something (like my bathroom sink) before it can be turned off. Then I have to get up!

MIND / Get at least a week ahead of schedule in my apiculture class. So apiculture (beekeeping!) is my one online class this semester and because all of the course material is available immediately, I'd love to take the opportunity to get a little bit ahead of where I need to be so that I can have some wiggle room later on if I need.

MIND / Read every night before bed. I really love to read + I think it's a really effective method for winding my brain down for sleep. Currently I'm reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. Follow me on Goodreads to see more!

SOUL / On tough days, make a list of things that I've accomplished. Some days I make a long to do list and by the end of the day, I feel like I have it all left to do the next day. That tends to really get me down and in a funk so on hard days, instead of focusing on the things I didn't get done, I think it'd be helpful to list things that I did get done. For example, today I didn't do a single bit of school work. But...I did get to love on some lonely shelter pups and got a birthday present for a dear friend. That might not sound like much, but it's a happier thought than thinking about all that I didn't do.

WORLD / Start composting. I live in an apartment and don't have any sort of garden, but I still want to find a way to compost my kitchen scraps. Composting is basically like a super efficient way to recycle food waste into a really useful organic material. I've heard there's a community composting area in my town, but I'm not sure quite how to go about joining it. This is my month to figure it out!

What are your goals for September?

Goal Getters / August

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August 04, 2016
It really has been a while, friends! I took a long, long break from blogging to deal with an incredibly tough semester, some personal issues, and a bit of disillusionment with some of the directions blogging has moved in the last three years since I started this blog. I can't guarantee that I'm back for good, but I've missed blogging enough to give it another shot. 

That said, I think my attitude towards blogging has shifted quite significantly. For awhile, I was focused on getting products and sponsored posts and certain stats and things like that. When I was taking my blog break, I realized that I didn't miss any of that. I didn't miss the validation of having readers or the free things that I would receive here and there. I missed writing and discussing and publishing my thoughts. Blogging helps me value my intentions and organize my thoughts.

That said, I'm really not sure what this blog is going to look like in the next few months. But I suppose I'll find out as time moves along! Here's a quick update of what life has been like lately...

- I studied abroad this summer! I was in Lille, France, studying French, and then followed the program up with some solo travels to England, Belgium, and Iceland (holy beautiful!!). 

- I'm in Michigan for the last few weeks of summer and then I'll be moving back to Florida for my JUNIOR YEAR! After a very stressful and emotionally draining spring semester, I'm finally excited for the opportunities of this coming semester. I'm really looking forward to some of the classes I'm taking (beekeeping! resource conservation! sustainable ecotourism!) and that I'll be living with my best bud (hey g!). 

That's really about it! And in the spirit of getting back to tradition here on the blog, I wanted to share my August goals! Really, these are my pre-school-year my goals for the next three weeks! And also, I really love reading about other people's goals so if you have a blog and write about goals, leave your links in the comments so I can check them out! 


+ put away my phone for two full hours every day. It might not sound like much, but honestly, I'm a little too connected to my phone. Part of my issue with blogging was that I felt like it made me so dependent on technology, not only to write my posts, but to check stats and update social media, etc. I'm really trying to eliminate a lot of the extraneous tasks of blogging like social media, but I still waste way too much time on my phone. 

+ read for fifteen minutes every day. This summer, I've really started reading a lot! I've always loved reading but haven't made it much of a priority over the last few years. I've finally given in to less traditional reading formats like ebooks and audiobooks and it has honestly made all the difference. I especially love listening to audiobooks while driving or jogging or while waiting in line. I want to keep up this habit!

+ start a short morning strength routine. I've been running a lot this summer, but without the gym nearby, my strength training has definitely suffered a little bit. I plan to put together a 10-15 minute routine of arm, leg, and core exercises just to start my day on a strong note!

+ read one chapter of scripture every weekday. I currently am working through the book of James with my boyfriend H. I'm finding that one chapter per weekday is really manageable and if I miss a day, I just catch up on the weekends. 

That's all I've got for now! Now I need your help - book recommendations, advice on reducing dependence on technology, or links to your goal posts! Add 'em below.

A Little Life Update

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February 06, 2016
Well hey y'all! I'm alive!

I know I made a lot of plans for this blog at the beginning of the year as far as series and link-ups and posts to come. But as I'm sure you know, not all plans end up coming about.

The last few weeks have been insanely tough on me. I deeply underestimated the difficulties of my classes this semester and have basically been having 70 to 80 hour weeks if you include my classes, studying and working two jobs.

I can't do it all. 

That's been a hard lesson for me to learn. I've always believed that if you work hard, things will always, always work out. But in all honesty, there's just not enough time to make that happen. I've had to reprioritize and regroup. I'm trying to pull myself together and set myself up for success in the future.

Don't worry - I'm not quitting the blog. I'm just letting you know that things are going to be quieter around here! My goal is to post at least once a week here, but to make sure to be reading and commenting on other blogs as well.

But let me update you on a few bits of my life in the meantime. :)

1. My hedgehog Flora has been doing so well. I love her so much, I just have to mention her! I've always loved animals but at the same time, I think people who call their pets their children are a little weird. But no, I get it with Flora. She's basically my child. I miss her when I'm not at home and I always want to talk about her and the cool thing she's doing these days. anyone who's had to hear a little too much about her I'M SORRY I JUST LOVE HER. And she's cuter than you.

2. I've been trying to work on my cooking skills lately. I've mastered a lot of the basics, but my problem is that I want to try new recipes, but I don't want to buy a lot of ingredients that will go mostly unused and sit around in my pantry. Do you have any favorite recipes? Feel free to share any Pinterest boards in the comments so I can follow!

3. Because I've been SO busy and stressed with classwork this semester, I'm trying to be really intentional with how I spend my 'rewind time'. I'm hoping to do some more reading in the upcoming weeks. Have you read any good books lately? Give me recommendations!

I'll be (hopefully!) back with some more posts. Thanks for reading! :)

Health Goals / #BeBold2016 Link-Up

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January 22, 2016
Be Bold in 2016 – a Blogging Linkup

Hi guys! Sorry I've been so absent lately! It's really turning out to be quite a busy, frantic semester already and I'm a little bit overwhelmed with all my schoolwork. I knew my classes would be harder than ever but two in particular are really kicking my booty. I'm hoping to still post regularly this semester, but in all honesty, blogging is priority number #37 after work and classes and friends and family.

In other news before we get onto the fun stuff, I've finally gotten a pet hedgehog, which I've been wanting to do for months now. Her name is Flora and she is the sweetest little nugget in the world. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of her around here! Also, just because I'm silly, she already has her own instagram, @florathehedgehog.

Isn't she cute? Anyways, on to the link-up for this week. Just a reminder! This link-up is hosted by me (duh), GinaCatherineChristina and Kate. We would love if you'd head over and visit all the blogs--say hi! I know I've discovered a couple new blogs this week that I'll definitely be reading for awhile...maybe you will too! Let's review what the #BeBold2016 link-up is all about!

What are we writing about?

In the past weeks, we all wrote our own posts about our word or focus for the year and shared them here on your hosts' blogs. Then, we applied our focus to setting blogging goals. This week, we'll be applying the focus to our health goals. And then finally, next week on January 29th, we're chatting about personal goals. By that time, I guarantee you'll be super ready to put those goals into action for February and the rest of this year!

What do I do?

If you are a blogger, you can write your own post responding to the prompt for each week. Starting the Friday of each week, you can add your own post in the link up (the third one is below!). If you are not a blogger, we'd still love to hear from you! Leave your responses down in the comments.

No matter if you're a blogger or not, we'd love for you to take some time and check out some of the other awesome bloggers joining in this project (especially the hosts!). Leave a comment, send a tweet (use #BeBold2016!), or just take some time to check out some new blogs. You might find a new favorite!

My health + wellness goals for 2016:

It's really easy, when considering goals and health together, to immediately think about exercise routines + weight loss. And that kind of thing will make an appearance to some extent, but health is so much more than that. Real, holistic wellness comes from the mind and the body both being at their best + I want to reflect that in my goals.


/ Choose to speak positively about myself. Whether it's my body or my productivity or my performance in something, it's so easy for me to get swept up in a quicksand of self-destruction and unkind talk to myself. 

/ Continue to be a voice for mental health concerns on my campus.

/ Try to do one activity every day that relaxes me and makes me feel happy. Lately, this has been spending time with Flora! But it also can be coloring or reading or going for a walk.

/ A few other private goals. :)


/ Start logging my workouts on Fitocracy again. Fitocracy is a fitness app on my phone that lets you record your workouts and "level up" so to speak. It's helpful for me to remember what weights I used to lift + what weights I lift now.

/ Make a plan before I get to the gym. Lately, my problem has been that I get to the gym without a clear plan + then I just sort of amble around and do random things. I never feel like I get a great workout or like I use my time efficiently, except when I have a plan ready before I walk in the doors.

/ Incorporate fitness into my daily routine, outside of "workouts". Whenever I need to take a break from studying, a couple tuck jumps or a set of push-ups is great to rejuvenate + wake up my brain before getting back to work.

/ Take one group fitness class a week. I teach group fitness, but somehow I rarely make it to other instructors' classes anymore. I love group fitness and I want to support my coworkers.

/ Go dairy-free for a certain period of time. I absolutely love pretty much any dairy products. I love milk and cheese and creamy things and ice cream. Calcium is good and all, but I think the amount of dairy I eat may not be making me feel the greatest. I've also heard anecdotal evidence that limiting dairy can help clear up skin. I want to do a little more research on this before I do a dairy fast, but I'm curious if it would help me feel my best!

/ Eat a vegetable at lunch and dinner every day. I know, I know. I should be better about this.

Now it's your turn!

2016 Blog Goals / #BeBold2016 Link-Up

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January 15, 2016
Be Bold in 2016 – a Blogging Linkup

Hey y'all! Welcome back to the second installment of our #BeBold2016 link-up! I have loooooved reading through all of your posts that you shared in the link-up last week + I'm so happy that so many of you wanted to join in! I especially enjoyed reading the posts written by Chelsea @ Heartnatured, Cait @ Cait's Cozy Corner and by Becky @ Eliorah.

Just a reminder! This link-up is hosting by me (duh), Gina, Catherine, Christina and Kate. We would love if you'd head over and visit all the blogs--say hi! I know I've discovered a couple new blogs this week that I'll definitely be reading for awhile...maybe you will too! Let's review what the #BeBold2016 link-up is all about!

What are we writing about?

Last week, we all wrote our own posts about our word or focus for the year and shared them here on your hosts' blogs. This week, we're going to be applying our focus to setting blogging goals. Next week, January 22nd, we'll be applying the focus to our health goals. And then finally, on January 29th, we're chatting about personal goals. By that time, I guarantee you'll be super ready to put those goals into action for February and the rest of this year!

What do I do?

If you are a blogger, you can write your own post responding to the prompt for each week. Starting the Friday of each week, you can add your own post in the link up (the second one is below!). If you are not a blogger, we'd still love to hear from you! Leave your responses down in the comments.

No matter if you're a blogger or not, we'd love for you to take some time and check out some of the other awesome bloggers joining in this project (especially the hosts!). Leave a comment, send a tweet (use #BeBold2016!), or just take some time to check out some new blogs. You might find a new favorite!

My blogging goals for 2016:

In case you missed last week's installment of #BeBold2016, my word of the year that I've chosen is "mindful". I know that word has a lot of associations and connotations that come along with it, so I would love if you'd go read that post to see what I really mean by being "mindful."

One part of mindfulness + this practice of being aware relates to the process of learning to recognize how things affect the way I feel. Obviously, we can't avoid all pain and negativity in our lives, but if something trifling is causing significant negative emotions...why would you keep it in your life? 

So tying that back into blogging, I'm connecting the idea of "blog goals" + my word "mindful" to make what I'm calling an "ungoal". And what I mean by that is...I don't want to make blogging goals. 

Blogging is just a hobby for me. I don't make any money from my blog right now. I don't get anything tangible out of it. And I enjoy it, at least 80% of the time. But y'all fellow bloggers are gonna give me an amen on this: blogging can suck your energy + free time down to nothing because it's a hobby that keeps asking for more of you.

In blog circles, it isn't enough just to write a couple of posts a week. We're told (by each other!) that we'll never "succeed" as bloggers, whatever that means, if we don't focus on SEO and coding and responding to every comment and all. Some people really enjoy all those details. I really don't.

Maybe that means that I "shouldn't" be a blogger. Maybe that means I'll never be "successful" as a blogger. But that's not my goal. I blog because it makes me feel heard and it makes me feel useful and because I've met so many lovely people because of it. I think that's worth it to me.

If I had to make some concrete goals to go along with this, I would delete my Twitter + Instagram pages. Social media doesn't fill me up; it empties me out. I want to stopping reading the blogs I feel like I should enjoy or the blogs I read out of bitterness or jealousy that they somehow are "beating" me. I want to feel a little freer.

My blogging ungoal for this year is to allow blogging to be whatever feels best. To stay away from those posts that tell me all of the things I'm doing wrong. To comment on other blogs because I care about having a conversation, not because I think it'll bring in new traffic. As it relates to blogging, I will do whatever continues to bring me joy and satisfaction and cheer + skip out on the bits that bore me and make me feel less-than. That's my goal.

Now it's your turn!

Your blogging goals might be (and probably are) totally different than mine. That's totally cool, dude! I wanna read them anyways. Add your link to the widget below + I'll be reading! 

3 Habits That Make Me Less Stressed

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January 11, 2016

Let me just come right out and say that I know that being a college student isn't the most stressful thing in the world, by far. I'm not the president or dependent on a paycheck or trying to support a family. But...sometimes it feels crazy stressful. 

I bet all of you know what I'm talking about, whether you're in a career or you're a mom or a student like me. Life doesn't really spare anyone from stress. Really though, I've come to believe that some stress is a good thing. Stress makes me work hard + it pushed me to stay on top of things. But...stress can also be rough on our mental health when we have more than we can manage. 

I use these three habits to help manage my stress levels.

Every day (or most days, at least), there are a couple different things that I do that help me keep that stress + anxiety in check so that I can control it instead of allowing it to control me. 

The first thing that I do is that I clean my room every night. (Mom, if you're reading this, be proud.) I don't make things perfect; sometimes I leave things out on my desk or floor. But I at least try to do the basics. I'll pick up any clothes from the bathroom floor and tidy up my desk and floor for five or ten minutes. I've found that cleaning a little bit each night keeps things from getting totally out of control. Plus, if I don't clean my room at night, I actually get a little bit stressed out when I wake up in the morning and look around me room. Physical clutter can definitely feel like mental clutter. 

Secondly, I'm totally shameless about telling people 'no'. Whether it's someone asking to go out or someone asking for a favor, I really try to focus on my priorities + cut out the things that just...aren't. There's a great book called The Best Yes that talks a lot about this idea. The author, Lysa TerKeurst, teaches that we only have so much time + attention to give out. Eventually, our reserves will run out if we don't prioritize what we spend them on. My favorite idea from the book is that if we say yes to everything that comes our way, we won't be able to say yes to some really great opportunities that come later, aka the best yes. 

And lastly, I try to make sure that every single day, I do something that makes me happy. It's as simply as that. Sometimes I get lazy + other than studying or working, all I do is watch Netflix. But as much as I like Netflix, it doesn't fill up my happiness tank. That requires a little more intention. Usually, I try to read a book or journal or find some new music or cook something new every day. 

How do you control your stress levels?

My Word for 2016 / #BeBold2016 Link-up

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January 08, 2016
Be Bold in 2016 – a Blogging Linkup

WOOHOO! Today's the day!

I'm so excited to be one of your hosts for the Be Bold in 2016 linkup with Kate, Gina, Christina and Cathetine! These ladies all have amazing, inspiring blogs and I can't wait to see what they come up with for our prompts. But even more than that, I can't wait to see what you have to say on our topics for the next few weeks.

What are our topics again?

You can read the original post to see allll the exciting info, but in short, today we are chatting about our 'word' or phrase to focus on for 2016. Next Friday, (January 15th) we'll be talking about how this word applies to our blogging goals. The following two weeks, starting on Friday, we'll be applying our chosen focus to our health goals (Jan. 22) and our personal goals (Jan. 29). 

What do I do?

If you are a blogger, you can write your own post responding to the prompt for each week. Starting the Friday of each week, you can add your own post in the link up (the first one is below!). If you are not a blogger, we'd still love to hear from you! Leave your responses down in the comments.

No matter if you're a blogger or not, we'd love for you to take some time and check out some of the other awesome bloggers joining in this project (especially the hosts!). Leave a comment, send a tweet (use #BeBold2016!), or just take some time to check out some new blogs. You might find a new favorite!

My focus for 2016:

My word for 2016 is MINDFUL. 

When I first played with the idea of choosing the word 'mindful', I was hesitant. Especially in self-improvement/wellness circles, the idea of mindfulness has become so sexy and trendy to the point that it seems cliche. It makes me think of people who promise that if you mediate every day, then you'll find true love and a six-figure salary and everything you ever wanted in a month. 

That's not what I'm talking about. 

Being mindful means checking in with myself. It means accepting the bad emotions just as readily as the good emotions. It means basking in the fact that I'm very talented at somethings, but also identifying my human failures and flaws.

It means recognizing when I just can't work anymore and I need to spend time nurturing myself...but it also means recognizing when I have more potential than I'm putting to use. It's cutting myself slack when necessary, but recognizing when I am capable of taking up a challenge. 

I want to be present in the facts of what my current situation is at all times, accepting them as truth before I decide how to handle them. I want to control how I act, instead of reacting to things that happen around me.

My goal to live by the word 'mindful' means I'll be spending less time consumed by technology, people who aren't kind, and other distractions. Life is good + it's time I give it a little more intention.

Your turn!

Join in the link-up below or leave a comment telling me about your word or focus for the month! I can't wait to read what you all have to say. I'll be reading every single one of the posts in the link-up and I hope to comment on most, if not all of them. Each week, I'll be sharing a favorite (or a few favorite) post from the previous prompt so check back in next week to see my fave posts--maybe it'll be yours!

Curated / 22

| On
January 07, 2016

This year, I'm really hoping to bring these Curated posts back, on a biweekly/monthly basis. I love reading other bloggers post collections of inspiration and links and all. I know some of you do too! 

Right now, I've got that somewhat unsettling mixture of excitement and anxiety sitting in my belly because tomorrow is my first day of the new semester! I feel like I should be used to this by now but for some reason, every semester I get anxious, convinced I won't be able to handle the workload. But, as my boyfriend H reminds me, I have a 100% survival rate so far! So even though I'm taking some tough classes, it'll all be fine in the end.

Just a reminder! This Friday, we're starting the #BeBold2016 link-up. Join me and a bunch of other awesome ladies to kick off the New Year.

Here's a little recap of what I've been reading/listening to/thinking, etc.

You might have missed...

I feel like when you live in Florida, it's so hard to find clothes that feel seasonally appropriate and wintery without being overkill for our warm winters. So I pretty much treat winter here as an extension of autumn, at least wardrobe-wise. I've been living in anything tan, white, grey or black these days. I especially love this cozy flannel top and these gorgeous loafers. And if only I lived somewhere cold, I would be alllll over this beautiful two-tone coat.

I've been working hard on addressing all of the envelopes for my sister's wedding invitations. As much as I love calligraphy...I so love the idea of these calligraphy stamps to get the same feel without the time commitment!

Some good travel! Last summer I was so lucky to be able to travel all over Germany and Austria and the Czech Republic...but I'm ready for more!! I'm hoping to spend some time in France soon to polish up my French + I've been eyeing the lovely city of Lille.

How fun are these wooden engraved pins? I love all the little messages, especially the "Do More Fun Stuff." What a great (and cute!) reminder.

Wooden Engraved Quote Pins

I love this reminder from Jill Makes. You can order it as a print on her etsy--I love it so much that I just may!

What have you been loving this week?

Sleep Savvy: A New Series

| On
January 05, 2016

Ahh! Still can't believe it's 2016. WOO. I love the new year. 

Anyways....the last few weeks have been lovely. I've been home from school, with my family in Michigan. It's been delightfully lazy and relaxing but I've quickly realized that I have a large problem--I've ruined my sleep cycle. 

Maybe you can sympathize with this. Whether it's due to work or classes or just preference, you probably usually have some sort of a sleep routine (hopefully). Really, it's a healthy habit to have. The more consistently we go to bed and get up at the same time, the more rested and healthy we are overall. 


But I know that at least for me, winter break can wreak havoc on that carefully constructed routine. During the semester, I got in bed around 10pm, read or watched a little TV, fell asleep between 10:45 and 11:15 most nights and woke up at 7:15am. It really was quite lovely. I rarely felt drowsy at all during my 8am classes and I was perfectly ready to sleep at the same time every night. And best of all, I naturally woke up without an alarm between 7:30 and 8 on Saturday mornings.

Thanks to winter break though, I've been going to bed anywhere between 10pm and 1am and I've been waking up between 8:30 and 11am. 11am. I am not a fan of this. Maybe you're in the same boat + you're ready to get your sleep cycle back on track.


If you look at my current sleep habits above, I'm getting at least 8 hours a night, sometimes even way more. So in theory, I should be feeling rested and at my peak. But...I'm not. And I started wondering why + did a little research. 

You've probably heard of your "circadian rhythm", which is basically like a clock inside your body that regulates everything inside you that corresponds with your day, which encompasses a lot more than you think. Your circadian rhythm is in charge of how rested you feel, how productive you are, a lot of the hormones your body produces and your brain activity. 

That's a big deal! So when our bodies don't have a consistent sleep schedule off of which to build our circadian rhythm, we get out of whack in a lot of ways. Even if I'm getting eight hours of sleep every night, moving my bedtime around actually ends up affecting my mood and my productivity. 


I'll tell you! Over the next few weeks, I'll be taking various sleep strategies--mostly ones you've probably heard before but I'm sure some are new. I'll be focusing on three main areas: getting up with an alarm, falling asleep quickly, and knowing when and how to take quality naps. In the next week, I'll take a look at that first idea--getting up with an alarm. I'll be testing a few different alarm apps and some strategies recommended by sleep experts and reporting my results right here on the blog.


Join me! I won't be hosting an official link-up (but if you want to join a link-up, check out #BeBold2016!) but you can write your own related post and leave it in the comments or just come read my post. I'll be posting every other Tuesday. Here's the schedule of topics.

January 19: Waking Up (with an alarm clock or otherwise!)
February 2: Falling Asleep
February 16: Taking Naps

How do you maintain a good sleep schedule? Any tricks I need to try?

Be Bold in 2016 / A Goal-Setting Link-Up

| On
January 01, 2016
Be Bold in 2016 – a Blogging Linkup

Hi blogger friends! Happy New Year! As we've been chatting about New Year's resolutions and habits for 2016, I think now is a great time to mention the Be Bold in 2016 Blogger Link-Up! I know we all love goal-setting, and what's better than starting off the year focusing on our goals as a community of bloggers? With the Be Bold link-up, you can get the motivation you need to focus on what will define your year + the support to get you there! So get pumped to meet new bloggers + smash those goals.


Be Bold 2016 will be a linkup happening every Friday in January, starting January 8. Write or schedule your posts for Fridays and the linkup will stay open all week!


We will be talking about our goals and setting intentions for the new year. A lot of times we come up with our goals all at once, but we want to break it down for this year, so we set goals intentionally keeping in mind the context and focus of our year. Here are the prompts for the linkup!

January 8: What is your word or focus for 2016?
January 15: How does this word apply to your blogging goals for 2016?
January 22: How does the word apply to your health goals for 2016?
January 29: How does this word apply to your personal goals for 2016?


A link-up is a widget that will be on my blog and all of the hosts' blogs (see below) open all week, each week, for each prompt. All you have to do is write your post on the topic and then pop over to one of our blogs and add your link - it's easy! We'll open it on the date above for each prompt but feel free to add it any time that week. Don't worry about choosing which host's blog to join. It'll automatically pop up on all of our blogs, sharing your post with all of our readers. How cool?!


Hint: I'm one of them ;) I'm joining up with a number of amazing, inspiring ladies in the blog world to lead this link-up. Please check out these stellar gals + let them know you're joining the link-up!

Gina / Gina Alyse
Catherine / The Blissful Mind

But this list isn't complete without YOU joining us. Please write posts along with the prompts, check out other bloggers joining the link up + leave some comment love all around! Use the hashtag #BeBold2016 to make sure we see your social media posts.

Can't wait to have you join in! See you on January 8th for the first post!

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