Keeping Organized as an Adult

Keeping-Organized-7.jpg
Keeping-Organized-1.jpg
Keeping-Organized-2.jpg
Keeping-Organized-3.jpg

August is the month when the kids head back to school, teachers get back to work, and college students get ready to spend countless hours in the library again. Even though I've been out of school for almost six years, it doesn't mean that I get any less excited about the end of summer.  It's a great time to check in on your New Year's resolution, one-word resolutions and establish mid-year goals like getting organized. It's also a great time of year to pick up a new planner! Who doesn't love new office supplies?! I snagged my planner from May Designs when they were having a sale at the end of July and I stock up on the Cambridge circle-the-date notebooks anytime I see them at Target. 

I'll be the first to admit that I've found it challenging to establish a routine when it comes to keeping organized as an adult. I sit in front of a computer for nine hours a day that unlike in school, isn't my own personal laptop. Since I can't utilize the computer for personal use, I've tended to flip flop between different types of planners and calendars (both digital and paper) but can never seem to stick to just one method. Over the summer I've settled into a routine that seems to work for me that utilizes a paper agenda for planning and my digital calendar for scheduling.

Here are a few tips for keeping organized as an adult!

Keeping-Organized-8.jpg
Keeping-Organized-6.jpg
Keeping-Organized-5.jpg
Keeping-Organized-4.jpg

Sync your Calendars

I've recently added an Apple Watch to my collection of gadgets and I'm loving how easy it is to set reminders, check in on my fitness goals, and access my calendar throughout the day without picking up my phone. Because it syncs so well with all my Apple my devices, I've started using iCal again instead of the Google Calendar app. 

Use the Monthly View for Events At-a-Glance

The Monthly calendar spread is my favorite place to plan out my monthly blog post topics and keep track of bill due dates, weekend travels, holidays, and birthdays. I always turn to the monthly view when I need to see what is happening at a glance.

Utilize the Weekly View for Event Details

In addition to keeping major events on the monthly view of my calendar, I schedule our meals in the weekly spread. I will also pencil in the day's blog post topic in the weekly view. I use a separate notebook to schedule my daily to-do list. I have found that it helps me to actually schedule my time in my calendar by the hour when I get busy. That way, for example, I know after work from 5-6 p.m. I'll be busy finishing up the grocery shopping, taking a walk from 6-7 p.m., eating dinner around 7:30 p.m. and then have time afterward to work on various chores, reading, watching YouTube videos, scheduling social media posts, etc.

Create Event Categories, Reminders, and Reoccurring Events

I keep separate digital calendar categories for work-related events, personal events (e.g. concerts, weekend trips, and doctor's appointments), my husband's work schedule, my sister's school schedule, and my blog / social media. I also use my calendar and reminders to keep track of when bills are due and when I should make our monthly payments. It's so easy to set up reoccurring events and reminders on the iPhone's built-in calendar.

Let Your Apps Work for You

Using apps like IFTTT and Buffer, I am able to automate a lot of my work for the week. You can use IFTTT to create an event every time you add a reminder on your iPhone, add the forecast to your calendar track your work hours or trips to the gym, and so much more. I started using Buffer this summer to schedule my Twitter and Facebook Page posts each time I blog. I use Evernote and the notes app to keep track of the random ideas that pop in my head, create lists of hashtags by category for Instagram, and type up my grocery shopping lists. I occasionally also use the Clear app because it's simple and convenient if I don't have a physical notebook stashed in my handbag. 

What are your favorite apps that help you keep on-task during the week?

August 2017 Spotify Playlist

I don't post many photos of myself here because I'm usually too busy at work behind the camera so I thought I'd throw it back with a little selfie from our Christmas trip to Chicago a couple of years ago. 

Speaking of the Windy City, did anyone make it to Lollapalooza this year? I'm incredibly jealous of my friend Kristen who just happened to be in town. I was living vicariously through her Instagram stories during the Chance the Rapper set! 

We stayed up way too late Sunday night watching the Lollapalooza live stream and dancing around the living room with the puppies. Hearing the new Arcade Fire song "Everything Now" makes me bust out my Disco dance moves every time. Silly as it may seem, it was honestly the most fun I've had just hanging out at home this summer! Hilarity ensued when we realized that Mac Demarco is also known by "Pepperoni Playboy". You should read his Wikipedia bio. Just for fun.

This playlist is full of some of my current favorite jams (including some Lolla performers like the Arcade FIre, Little Dragon, and Mac Demarco). I'd love to know what you think! Let me know your current favorite song in the comments. I'm always looking for new music to check out.

Little Free Library

Over the past year or so, several Little Free Libraries have popped up in North Augusta. Since we live downtown, we decided to venture out and give three of them a visit. If you've never heard of a Little Free Library, it's a neighborhood library system designed for people to take a book and return a book. It's entirely free and based on the honor system.  Before we left home, I grabbed three duplicate books from our bookshelf so that we could share a little love with the libraries. I chose Night by Elie Wiesel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac to trade. While I didn't find a book to add to our collection at every library, I did pull The Twits by Roald Dahl from the shelf of one. I've been on a bit of a Roald Dahl kick this year, as I never read his stories as a child. So far this year I've read Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We'll be stopping back by the Litttle Free Libraries in North Augusta more often to see what titles pass through!

Do you have a Little Free Library in your town? You can use this map to find the closest location. 


DIY Instagram Wall with Printiki

Before we get started, Printiki reached out to me about ordering some of their Instagram prints. While I received the product in this review courtesy of the company, all thoughts are mine and I only write about brands that I truly love. This post contains referral links and I will earn store credit if you choose to use my code. 


I honestly cannot remember the last time I've had photos printed! We don't have a ton of photos hanging in our home, especially not of ourselves, which is why I was so excited when Printiki reached out to me about ordering some of their "M" prints. I chose the M prints in matte for this project but Printiki has a lot of other really neat products like photo books and posters. 

The ordering process was so easy! You can connect your Instagram account or upload photos from your Desktop. After they're uploaded, you have the ability to adjust the crop and add captions. 

If you've been reading for a while, you know that my husband and I love film photography. While we enjoy using our Instax camera from time to time, it's not practical when traveling light and Printiki is a way cheaper alternative to get the same look. You can only get 20 Instax photos for around $20. Printiki is just $8 for 20 prints and you can get free shipping with my code: 8439F3YC!

I used my Printiki photos to create a gallery wall of some of our more recent travels on an awkward blank entry wall in our home office / library / studio. The whole process took around 10 minutes and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out! Our office entrance is so much more colorful and I feel inspired every time I walk in and get down to business. We collect so many great memories every year and it makes me feel nostalgic to actually be able to see them all at a glance! 

Printiki was so simple to use and I've already come up with more ideas for future print orders. These prints are perfect for college students getting ready to go back-to-school shopping! You could use them to decorate the back of door panel, affixed to a push pin board, or clipped to string lights! Personally, I think I'm going to create a scrapbook / bullet travel journal to recap some of our trips! The possibilities are endless!

If you'd like to try out Printiki, don't forget you can enter my referral code for free shipping when you checkout! Just enter: 8439F3YC

House Plant Club

I mentioned in my last post that we picked up a few plants and pots at Bedford Greenhouses on our first trip a couple of weekends ago. Well, we are now official members of the house plant club! Since our initial trip, I've added a few more to the collection. 

I have a lot to learn about house plants so I've been researching the best ways to care for indoor plants on Pinterest. We've been guilty of overwatering them in the past so I'm going to be a bit more careful until we find a rhythm that works. 

Our house actually gets pretty terrible light without the front door open so we made sure to pick plants that don't need a lot of sunlight and some we can easily move around on the windowsill. So far they're holding up!

Do you have any tips for keeping your house plants alive? Give me all your tips in the comments!

Bedford Greenhouses

Do you ever feel like getting out just for the sake of being creative? On a rare Saturday off together we decided to do just that. I planned a day full of mini dates to places we could whip out our cameras and really get the chance to explore our hometown. 

We grew up just outside of Augusta, Georgia in a place called North Augusta, South Carolina. Confusing, I know. Augusta has earned the unfortunate nickname "Disgusta" over the years and not a day goes by that you don't hear someone complain that there's nothing to do here. We're on a mission to prove that wrong. Having worked for a small non-profit where I was able to collaborate with other organizations at my previous job, I can confirm that there's actually SO much to do here you can't accomplish it all sometimes. 

If you know me, I've recently been obsessed with watching Zoe Sugg, Alfie Deyes, Poppy Deyes, and Sean O'Connor's vlogs. It seemed like there was a week where they went in search of house plants nearly every day. We haven't done much in the way of house plants so I wanted to add a few to the mix to clarify our air and add a bit of color and character to our living spaces. A place that's been on my list for a while is Bedford Greenhouses. I know I'm spilling the beans a little on this hidden gem but it's a must-see! Tucked away in the Bedford Heights subdivision near Lake Olmstead is Augusta's cutest little garden oasis. 

We started out walking around outside to look at all the plants and then wandered through the back of the lot by the half-emptied greenhouses. There were so many beautiful colors and textures to be found. After getting lost in a maze of plants, we made our way back around to the inside portion of the nursery. Inside were an assortment of pots and garden gifts and their succulents. Bedford Greenhouses has THE cutest terrarium bar! I've never seen anything like it. You can choose your own glass terrarium bowl and fill it with whatever succulents, rocks, shells, moss, etc. that you like to fit your taste. Everything is priced a la carte so it can be as affordable or expensive as you'd like. I can't wait to go back and create our own terrarium next time! We didn't go overboard on our plants but we selected a few things for inside and grabbed some beautiful pots while we were there. I have a feeling we will be stocking up on birthday and holiday gifts there as well from now on. 

I'll save the house plant reveal for another post! Until then, fingers crossed that we are able to keep our plants alive and my black thumb doesn't show itself. 

Do you have a local greenhouse that you love? Let me know your favorite house plants or care tips in the comments!

Tuesday Tunes - Canadian Road Trip

Lake Memphremagog
Fitch Bay
Boathouse on Fitch Bay
Cabin on Fitch Bay
Reading Everything is Illuminated

Last week my husband drove 17+ hours with his brother to Canada for his cousin's wedding. While I'm sad to be missing out on a mini family reunion up in Fitch Bay (just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the famous Bleu Lavande), I know that Alex will be eating enough poutine, ketchup chips, Tim Horton's and Jos Louis for the both of us. 

Name a band that you love and they're probably Canadian. Okay... maybe not really but there are so many great bands and artists that hail from our northern neighbors. From Canada's country sweetheart Shania Twain to pop heartthrobs like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes or indie cuts like Feist and Arcade Fire, you really can't go wrong. There's no denying that Canada has its fair share of great music! I thought I'd do a little roundup of some of my favorite songs by Canadian artists in the spirit of a summer road trip. Hope you enjoy! Let me know your favorite Canadian singers / songwriters / bands in the comments!

Harry's Razors - Not Just for Men

Harry's Truman Kit packaging

Before we get started, Harry's reached out to me about testing out one of their razor kits. While I received the product in this review courtesy of the company, all thoughts are mine and I only write about brands that I truly love. 


Okay ladies, let's get real about all the products that are pitched to us through digital and print advertising all day long. They're pink and purple and set apart from their male counterpart. In fact, we pay up to 13% more than men for personal care products according to this article about the "Pink Tax". It's 2017. Why are we even making everyday items that are gender specific? When it comes to shaving, when is the last time you remember shaving around the pool with twenty of your closest friends being offered Pina Coladas by the pool boy? Never. And remember this little gem? Yeah, they went there... The advertising associated with personal care products is ridiculous! Why do we keep buying into this stuff?

Harry's Razors Truman Set
Harry's aftershave balm
Harry's

Remember when I mentioned that I left all of my toiletry bags at home when I was packing for the beach? Well luckily, I did manage to remember to pack the Harry's Truman razor kit that arrived in the mail that day. It ended up being a total lifesaver. Of course, I still had to run to the store for a toothbrush, foundation that matched my skin tone, and sunscreen but I managed on a pretty minimal beauty routine which, ironically, is what I had originally intended to share in this post. It was a little more minimal than I originally planned but when you're on vacation, there's really nothing else to do but relax and go with the flow! I'm not a super girly-girl so my average shower routine includes washing my hair and face, lathering up a bit of Dr. Bronner's castille soap, and maybe shaving my legs... if I'm awake enough. What can I say, I like my sleep in the mornings so I'm ecstatic if I'm in and out of the shower in less than six minutes!

Harry's Truman razor in orange
Harry's Truman razor in orange with shave gel

Before Harry's reached out to me about their product, I had seen it in on an endcap display at our local Target but to be honest, I had never considered using a "men's razor" for myself. I studied art in college and I'm intrinsically drawn to products with a great design and packaging. I not only love the way that the Truman razor looks, but it fits in my hand perfectly and the handle is slightly textured to prevent any slips in the shower! Recently, Alex and I have also adopted a quality of quantity mindset and when it comes to making decisions about the products we purchase, we will gladly spend a little more for an item that will last longer. Luckily, Harry's razors look better AND are cheaper than the razor I've been using! I was paying $9 a razor and $23 for 6 pack of blade refills. Harry's Razors like the Truman razor that I selected start at just $9 and an 8 pack of blade refills retails for just $16. 

Harry's shave gel and orange Truman razor

The beach was the perfect place to test out how close of a shave I could get. Harry's surpassed my expectations! I got a closer shave than I do with my old go-to and the shave gel kept me from having any irritating razor burn. As someone with very sensitive skin, I was a little nervous to try it out because it does have a fairly strong amber / musky fragrance. Because it's made with natural ingredients, it didn't bother my skin at all! Just as a heads up, the shave gel comes out quickly and a little goes a long way! I was able to get a full lather from about half a pump. 

If you're thinking about trying Harry's razors, just do it! You can start a trial for free (just pay $3 shipping). Trust me, I don't think you'll miss your old pink razor. 

 

Aeropress Brew Guide - Inverted Method

It's been a lot of fun preparing these brew guides for the blog. I love having my own personal barista at home and we wanted to share our favorite ways to brew coffee at home. Making your own coffee is cheaper than grabbing a cup at Starbucks and often times much tastier! 

Here's our guide on how to use an Aeropress. Today we're brewing using the inverted method.

What you'll need to get started:
the Aerobie Aeropress
Aeropress filters (we use paper filters in this tutorial)
a Grinder (we use a Mr. Coffee Automatic Burr Mill Grinder)
Coffee Beans (we've been drinking Counter Culture Hologram lately)
a Gooseneck Kettle
a Mug (we love our classic mugs from Le Creuset)
a Kitchen Scale that measures grams
a Timer (we use the Intelligentsia App)

Aeropress Brew Guide - Inverted Method

Step 1

Weigh your coffee beans.
Use an electronic scale to measure 45 g of your favorite whole coffee beans. 

Step 2

Grind the beans.

Step 3

Boil your water and prep the gear.
You'll want to lay out all the pieces of the Aeropress while you're boiling some water. 
Preheat and rinse everything you'll use during the process including your mug, filter, and the Aeropress vessel itself.

Step 4

Add the coffee + water then let it bloom.
Add the ground coffee to your Aeropress. 
Pour 65 g of water into the Aeropress vessel within 10 seconds.
Stir for 60 seconds.
Pour the rest of the water to fill the Aeropress (up to 250 g). This should take about 20 seconds.

How-To-Brew-Aeropress-Coffee-67.jpg

Step 5

Place the filter on the cap and wait 45 seconds before you take the plunge. 
Flip the Aeropress onto the top of your mug and press down to release the coffee. 

Step 6

Dilute the coffee to your personal preference and E N J O Y!

Have you ever used an Aeropress? It's pretty easy! What do you think?


And in case you missed it, take a look back at how to brew the best cup of coffee with a Chemex coffeemaker!

We've been dabbling in videos so if you'd rather watch a video tutorial, head over to my YouTube channel!


Why Not Me?

IMG_5918.JPG

I've had this blog post in my head for a long time and it's good to finally put my fingers to the keys and get it all out! If you've never ready Mindy Kaling's "Why Not Me?", I highly suggest you head to the bookstore right now. That is unless you don't find Mindy Kaling funny because in that case, this book is definitely not for you (and if I'm being totally honest, we might not be a great fit as friends). I read "Why Not Me?" back in January when I was at a crossroads with my job. It came at just the right time. Mindy is brutally honest at times in her book but she writes everything in such a funny, lighthearted way. She's so loveable and relatable in the way she shares her story. I admire the meaning behind the words she shares just as much as her word choices. There are so many awkward situations we all go through and Mindy owns every moment without holding back! I wrote all that just to explain my choice in the title for this blog post. Excuse my rambling, I'll get to the point now. It's time for some real talk on this little blog today.

Why not me?

No, seriously, why not me? What's holding me back from reaching (or even just pursuing) my dreams? The answer is me. I'm the only thing holding myself back. I let my fears, anxieties, and jealousy hold me back from living the life I want to live all too often.

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. I'm not sure who "they" are but they're right in my case. So why can't I stop? I'm not just throwing myself under the bus here, either. If I had to guess, comparing yourself to your friends, celebrities, and even strangers is something you struggle with too. I think we all do to some degree and you know what? It's okay... but we've got to push ourselves to focus our energy on our own goals and stop comparing ourselves to others!

Let me take you on a trip through my daily stream of consciousness as I peruse Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

So how can she afford to travel when she's in school and doesn't have a job? Do his mom and dad pay for everything for him? Do they not have their own bills and rent to pay? Why did she get the job right out of school when I interviewed for months? Maybe their parents still cook for them so they never have to spend money on food. What are they doing that I'm not doing even better? Are they just lucky?

There, I admit it. I'm judging you. Hard. You know all too well the types of judgemental questions we ask ourselves about how someone else has carved out their own path. It really sucks because I want to be happy for my friends but it's hard sometimes when I feel like I'm missing out on these great experiences. The truth is that we can speculate all day long about how someone has achieved their goals but unless you ask and they give you a completely honest answer, we may never really know. We also probably shouldn't expect that sort of transparency from every single person. There is such thing as privacy still, believe it or not. At the same time, though sometimes it helps others to learn and grow if we are a little more open with our audience. That transparency makes us vulnerable but at the same time allows us to create really deep and meaningful connections with other human beings! I'm sure not every great Instagram picture has a great story behind it. Sure your milkshake in New York looks fabulous but maybe the service was terrible and ou spilled half of it on your white jeans mid-bite. There will always be a side of the story we don't see and more likely than not, the side of the story we don't see will be the hustle or the struggle. There is always more than meets the eye! 

So how do we avoid blogger envy or FOMO or just plain jealousy when it comes to our friends? I'm not an expert and I certainly don't have all the answers when I just spent several paragraphs explaining why I'm struggling lately but sometimes we're able to offer advice that we should follow so I'll give it a shot. Here are just a few ways I plan to focus on achieving my personal goals.

  1. Worry more about myself and less about others. How can I hone in on my purpose instead of comparing myself to someone else's version of success? We're all unique individuals so no two people will ever create the same life story. It's important to me to keep in mind that I'm just on a different path. 
  2. Put in the time. Success takes work. That means some things that waste too much time need to be cut out. Maybe that means getting up an hour earlier or going to bed an hour later. Maybe it means giving up an hour of Netflix for an hour of watching lessons on Skillshare. I have to want to achieve my goals more than I want to be lazy or put things off.
  3. Ask for help. Instead of feeling like everything is a competition, I want to garner a sense of community and build a tribe of like-minded individuals who can truly support me and be happy for me. I want to give the same to others and truly feel joyful for my friend's successes. Mentorship is a huge key here. I've also been reading up on some of my favorite boss ladies' books. 
  4. Stop the negative talk. No one else is going to believe in me if I don't believe in myself. I have to work on my own confidence to see the need for comparison disappear. 
  5. Remember that everyone feels this way. No one is perfect and all we can do is try to be better every day. It's okay if we fall short sometimes but with a little self-reflection, it's important to try to get back on track with our goals. I'm not alone in this big world even though sometimes getting stuck in my mind feels incredibly isolating. 

The negative talk stops now! All that just to say at the end of the day I'm really proud of myself because everything I've worked extremely hard for everything that I have. Everything we own, every place we've traveled is a result of hard work and planning. It's hard sometimes to save our pennies when we hardly feel like we have any extra to save but we do it because we crave those experiences that make our life together so much more meaningful. Judging other people or making assumptions doesn't make me feel any better and it doesn't help me on the way to achieving my goals. I may need a little extra encouragement, but I'm ready to take on my goals with a new perspective and positive attitude!