April in Review and My Plans for the Future of the Blog

Hey everyone! Are you loving that May is finally here!? I know I am. The weather seems to be finally warming up and staying warmed up…though I could do without all this rain! I think May is going to be a pretty awesome month. 🙂 Especially because Draz and I are taking a vacation this month for our 2 year anniversary! We aren’t actually planning to go anywhere this year, but taking the time off of work will be wonderful. We both have side-project stuff to work on, but we will be spending plenty of quality time together as well and I can’t wait! Ok….before I start rambling too much….on to my April review!

April Goals:
2-3 resistance workouts and 3-4 LISS workouts done each week – LISS yes, resistance no. My back is still acting up a lot, so I’ve been doing smaller workouts where I can and trying to keep up my physical therapy. I really have been itching to workout, but I’m trying to be careful and not injure myself more.

Spend at least 1 hour a week outside, without technology – nope. not at all. Part of it has been the weather (cold and rain anyone?) and part has been my schedule. I am hoping to get outside more in the coming month!

Spend time each day improving my social media – I think I did this for the most part. I’ve been doing research and trying a few new things, so we will see how much of a different those things make!

April Overall:
April was a great month overall! I didn’t make the progress in some areas that I would have liked to, but that’s ok. I have made a lot of progress in other areas and am really enjoying life right now! The realization that I was pushing myself too hard and working too much was a big one…It’s amazing how much of a difference just taking a little bit of ‘me’ time has made!

MayAdaHaydenFog
One of my favorite pictures over the past month, taken at the beginning of May 

My Plans for the Future:

Some Immediate Changes:
As I mentioned in last Wednesday’s post, I have decided to cut down to 3 posts a week – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This is most likely going to be a temporary change as I get some routines in place and get my Etsy store launched. During this change, I am going to cut a couple of monthly series posts. This is so the posts you are getting from me are quality and on topics I am excited about (and I hope you are too)! So I’m thinking the Goals and Fitness Updates are going to be cut for now.

If you like these and want me to keep them, be sure to let me know in the comments!

Further in the Future:
I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the true focus of this blog and I hope to fully bring the posts that I put out into alignment with that focus in the near future! I don’t think that this will bring a huge change…more of a clearer feel to the blog as a whole and to how I think I can help, you, my readers, improve their lives! I’m not quite ready to share this full vision yet, but I do think you will love it!

Sara

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Self Care in Blogging and Business (Plus 5 Tips You Can Try!)

 

Life can get stressful & it can be hard to prioritize "you". But it's important, so I'm talking about why I think so & share my top 5 tips to self care!Let’s be honest, life can get pretty busy sometimes. Overwhelmingly so. Whether you are just getting started on your blog or business or you’ve been going strong for years, you have a lot of responsibilities….a lot of things you have to get done and so little time to do them. I could go on, but you all get what I’m saying, right?

So what happens? You have to give somewhere, let something go. And more often than not, that something is yourself. Now, I’m not talking sweatpants, messy hair, no make-up kind of letting yourself go (though that can definitely play a part in this) I’m talking about not doing the things that fulfill you or allow you to relax, whatever those things are. It can be a difficult thing to prioritize yourself when you have so many other things to take care of! I mean, those things can come later, right? I can’t go out to this movie when I have this blog post to write, products to make and a house to clean! I can do it later, when things are less busy. So your self care gets pushed to the side to make room for the “important” things.

Only things really aren’t ever going to be less busy. There are going to be times where things slow down for just a bit, but usually those things are then filled in with something else that will fill up your time. It’s a pretty serious cycle and one that can get out of control really quickly.fstockphotosb-9

And this is something that I have been struggling a lot with. I had slid into this cycle without even realizing it. I knew I was busy, and getting busier…but I had no idea just how little down-time I was taking until the end of last week. I kept telling myself that I had to get all of these things done right now and it’s just the price I had to pay right now to get my business going and make improvements to the blog. That it was temporary.

I’m going to get really honest with you right now. I was probably on the verge of a breakdown at the end of last week. I was stressed, not sleeping well, getting frustrated at Draz over things that never bother me normally and taking things personally when I knew they weren’t meant that way. I was feeling run down, my workouts (when they were happening at all) were sub-par. From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed I was working or busy in some form. I would guess that there was less than 1 hour in each waking day that I was not working or thinking about working, or mentally creating the next blog post, etc.

It took a near-fight with Draz over something absolutely ridiculous and a couple pointed statements from him to wake me up and make me realize what I have been doing to myself. And this is going to sound silly, but the one that affected me the most was “When was the last time you took a long bath?” Now, this might not sound like a big deal, but let me give you some context:

I used to take a long bubble bath once a week….just me, my book, some music and some candles. That was my rejuvenation time, no matter what else was going on. I counted this as an important part of my self care. And you know how long it’s been since I’ve done that? 6 months – a year. That’s right. Something I used to do weekly as my self care has been so completely pushed out that I can’t even remember when I took one last.

You may not care about long baths. And that’s all fine (though seriously, they are pretty awesome). But is there something that you care about, something that rejuvenates or fulfills you, that you haven’t done for a long time? When was the last time you did some self care? Can you remember? I know I have a few items on that list…the bubble baths, making artwork just for me, taking the dogs for a long walk, watching a movie without working on something at the same time.

rottweiler mix, mastiff mix, out for a walk, spring, dogs, self care
Draz and I taking the dogs out for a long walk right after we got Crystal. We haven’t done this in a LONG time.

And I’m going to be making sure to get more of that time in, even if that means some of my business goals take slightly longer to be completed. It’s not going to matter when I launch my business if I’m rundown, sick and unhappy when I finally do. So there will be more walks, more art that’s just mine, and definitely more bubble baths. Draz and I already did a bit of this over the weekend…a wonderful at-home movie date, with popcorn and everything! I left my phone across the room with the sound turned off and didn’t worry about what blog or business tasks I needed to work on. And you know what, the blog didn’t disappear! My progress on my business didn’t disappear! And this is something I need to remember and take to heart. Self care is important, essential even. This isn’t the first time I’ve come to this realization and prioritized myself, as you may have saw in my Journey to Happiness post. But sometimes even when we know this lesson, it can be…well, not really forgotten, but set aside.

That’s why this post is coming to you on a Wednesday. I have decided that while I work on launching the business side of things, I am going to cut down to 3 posts a week. So you can now expect to see posts on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. I hope at some point to go back to 4 posts a week (and there might be more occasionally!) but for now I need to focus on creating quality content while still allowing a little more time for self care.

So what are some things that you can do for self care? Well, a lot of that is pretty personal, but there are some that I think are pretty much universal for bloggers and business owners.Wonderlass Stock Photo 2a

5 Easy Things You Can Do For Self Care

  1. Step away from social media – For a few hours, a day, or a week, stepping away from all social media can be a really good thing.
  2. Get outside – Go for a walk or a hike!

    outdoors, woods, stone bridge, spring, self care
    My favorite place to get outdoors AND get away from social media!
  3. Go out with friends – Blogging and running a business can be very isolating sometimes. Meeting up with friends in person can be very rejuvenating.

    self care, farmers market
    To a Farmer’s Market maybe?
  4. Get dressed up – I don’t mean fancy dinner party dressed up. But a nice shirt and pants, or maybe do your hair and makeup. Do whatever will make you feel more confident and put together. I know that when I’m working at home my tendency is to be in a kinda torn up, too big t-shirt and jeans, so this is something I need to work on myself.make-up, self care
  5. Exercise – It can be easy to be inactive or get caught up with your work when you work from home. Exercise can be so helpful and make you feel so much better!

If you would like to read more on this topic or just get some fun ideas for self care, self love and a whole lot of other topics, here are a couple of my favorite resources!

I hope that you always remember to take a look at your schedule and make sure to put some time for yourself in there! Is self care something you’ve struggled with? I would love to know how you have dealt with this, so please leave a comment below!

Sara

Know someone you think might benefit from a self care reminder? Then go ahead and share this so they can see it too!

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Clean Eating on the Go with Jenn Baxter

You all know how high on the list I put eating healthy and planning ahead to keep your goals on track. But one topic we haven’t really covered on here is how to do that when you are on the go! I mean, yes, I talk about meal prepping every week(like this from last week), but how does that translate into keeping on track when you are busy running errands around town? Well, today we have Jenn Baxter from Live A F.A.S.T Life visiting to talk to us about just how to go about doing that! Make sure to head over to her gorgeous site afterwards, she has a lot of great things to say!

Enjoy!

clean eating on the go

You’ve cleaned up your diet and purged your kitchen of all the sugar-filled cookies, the salt-laden chips and the genetically modified “foods.”  You filled up the fridge with organic fruits & veggies and antibiotic-free meats.  You are rocking this healthy eating thing, and then…

You’re caught on the go.

Maybe you just got off work and don’t have time to go home and cook before it’s time to pick up the kids at practice.  Or maybe you’re on a road trip and you have to depend on the interstate restaurants for your next meal.

But you’re suddenly stricken with panic, as you realize… there’s no way to eat clean in this moment!  You don’t have enough time… there aren’t any healthy places nearby… you’re tempted to just give up and grab a burger and fries at the nearest drive-thru.

But wait!  It doesn’t have to be that way!

It IS possible to eat cleanly on the go.  Whether it’s just on your lunch break, during a day of running errands or in the middle of a road trip.

The key is to plan ahead.  

Eating clean will always be easier at home because you can control every part of the process.  The quality of ingredients you choose to cook with, the ingredients you include in your recipes, the way you prepare them and even the way they are served.

If you’re on the go or traveling, it’s obviously pretty impossible to maintain this level of control.  But you CAN still keep a fairly decent amount of control over what you’re eating by making plans ahead of time, based on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.

So, the next time you’re getting ready to hit the road or are running short on time, try implementing some of these tips:

 

1.Pack snacks

 

Whether you’re eating clean or not, it is important to eat smaller meals consistently throughout the day, instead of leaving large gaps of time between several large meals.  This will help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and dropping erratically.  But when you are committed to eating cleanly, it is even more important to make sure you’re never caught without a healthy snack on hand.  

If you’re on a road trip or just short on time and find yourself hungry without a snack, you will be much more likely to give in and grab something quick like French fries or a milkshake.  So, make sure that never happens by preparing your snacks ahead of time!  Here are some easy ideas for clean snacks you can keep on hand or prepare ahead of time and take on the road with you:

  • Almonds, walnuts or other nuts
  • Organic blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Protein bars (make sure you check the ingredients!)
  • Pickles
  • Organic apples with almond butter
  • Organic applesauce
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Healthy luncheon meats (like Applegate Farms)

 

2. Look up menus ahead of time

 

Whenever I am traveling to another location or am even just meeting a friend at a restaurant I’ve never been to before, I will look it up on the internet in advance.  By checking out the menu ahead of time, you can make a plan for what you will eat and avoid being tempted by not-so-great options once you get there.  It’ll also save you some time because you’ll already be ready to order!  If you have questions about an item on the menu or want to know if they can make a substitution or leave out a certain ingredient, call ahead and ask them!  Most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate dietary requests, so don’t be afraid to ask.

 

3. Have some old “stand-bys”

 

This is especially important if you’re traveling on the road and don’t always know where you’ll be stopping for your next meal.  But once you’ve been eating clean for a little while, you will start to know which places are good to go to and what you can get while you’re there.  For instance, if you’re traveling on the interstate and are left to choose from the usual suspects, but you know you can eat salad from Panera or grilled nuggets from Chick-Fil-A, then try to find one of those before you stop.  Most chains have “store locator” functions on their websites, so you can always pull off the road and look them up on your phone too.  

 

4. Bring it with you

 

You might think it seems a little silly to pack your lunch and carry a cooler bag around with you on a normal day of doing errands or going to appointments, but you have to do what you have to do!  If you know you are going to get stuck in a tough spot where you don’t have a lot of time to eat or you’ll be somewhere without a healthy option, don’t just bring a snack… bring your whole meal!  I have literally walked into my naturopath’s office before, carrying my cooler with salad, hard boiled eggs and pickles because I knew I’d be coming straight from another appointment and would be too hungry to wait until after.  Don’t worry about what others think (which in actuality, is nothing at all because no one is paying attention!), just look out for you and your health!

5. Don’t be afraid to try something new

 

Even though it is a good idea to have some old stand-bys or bring your own food with you, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid new places altogether!  Make it a point to search for “healthy grocery stores” in an area you’re traveling to or look up new restaurants and check out their menus.  Some of my favorite places to eat clean on the go, have just been places that I found haphazardly while traveling.  Just make sure to check out the ingredients they use and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Want to know what some of my favorite places are to eat clean?  Check out my FREE Clean Eating Travel Guide right here!

Jenn Baxter, clean eating on the go

BIO

Jenn Baxter is an accomplished writer in Charlotte, NC, who has been published in numerous print publications, as well as featured as a columnist on Beliefnet.com.  Her freelance clients span across the nation, as well as Australia and the UK, in the fashion & beauty, health & wellness, travel and life coaching industries.

In 2015, she launched her website, Live a F.a.s.t. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living, emotional health and downsizing into a 160 sq. ft. tiny house, and released her first book, “Tiny Abundance:  My Journey to a Simple, Yet Fabulously Abundant Life in 160 Square Feet,” which is available on her website and Amazon.com.  She also strives to help others learn to clean up their homes, their bodies and their lives in her first e-course, “De-Clutter, De-Tox, De-Stress.”

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Creating Your Own “Day Zero Project” – And Why You Should!

There are many ways in life you can go about pushing yourself and your boundaries, finding new challenges and improving yourself. There are the always favorite annual goals, along with monthly goals and sometimes even weekly goals! There are bucket lists and “30 before 30” and the list goes on. None of these seem to quite do what the Day Zero Project does.

This project allows you plenty of time to achieve some pretty big goals (1,001 days), enough items on the list that you can feel okay including some small and/or silly items (101 things) and finishes soon enough that it doesn’t seem ridiculously far off (again, 1,001 days). All of these things combine together to form one of the most fun and challenging projects I have ever tried!

Those of you who have been with me for a while know how much I love lists and setting goals. But as you saw in this recent post, 6 months ago I decided to try setting goals in a bit of a different way!Creating a Day Zero Project

101 Things in 1,001 Days. It seemed like both a lot and not very much at all when I got started making my list. But even making the list was a challenge! So now I would like to take you through why I think you should do a Day Zero Project yourself and how I created mine!

Why I Think You Should Try Completing a Day Zero Project

  1. Push your boundaries.
  2. Makes you think about what you want in your life to look like over the next 2.8 years (and beyond!)
  3. You have long enough to choose some major goals.
  4. But not so long that you can’t see the “end” of the project.
  5. Enough items on your list that you can pick some silly or less serious items.
  6. Gives you an extra push to work on projects you have been putting off.
  7. 101 Things really pushes you to think outside the box – It’s harder than you may think to think of that many items.
  8. It can be the excuse you need to do those things you keep putting off for a later date!
  9. Increases your motivation.
  10. It’s fun!

Why 1,001 Days Instead of a Bucket List or Annual Goals

So why this instead of just your normal yearly goals? I definitely set goals for 2016, and I am working towards them. And they are related to a few things on my Day Zero list. However, I like that I can put silly things on my Day Zero list that I would NEVER put as a year goal (build a snowman anyone?). Also, there are things that I put on my Day Zero list that would be really overwhelming to try to accomplish this year. It’s just not in the cards right now.

Ok, so why not a bucket list then, if it’s out to make them yearly goals? Personally, while I like the idea of a bucket list, for the most part I don’t think they are helpful in actually getting you to accomplish anything. It’s too big, too open-ended for me. The idea of things I want to accomplish in my lifetime is interesting, but I’m not going to be actively thinking about and working towards those things on a daily or weekly basis. They aren’t always going to be on my mind. My Day Zero list is pretty much always there in the back of my mind, and I am regularly thinking of activities I would like to do that are on that list!

Getting Started

Keep it Possible

To even start working on your project, you have to have your list of 101 things. It doesn’t sound like a huge thing, right? We all have things we want to do, so thinking of 101 should be easy! And yes, I could have easily filled the list with all the incredible, out there things I want to do someday. But that’s not the point of the project for me. The point is to push myself, to try new things, to create improvements in my life. It’s not to create a list that is impossible to complete in 1,001 days.

So while I was working on my list, I kept that in mind. Travel the world?

San Ildefonso in Peru - amazing place, not reasonable for me in the next couple years
San Ildefonso in Peru

Probably not reasonable. Take a weekend trip out of state? A lot more likely, but still pushes me! (If you don’t understand why this is a push, I haven’t been on an actual vacation in YEARS, even for a weekend)

Waterfalls in Portland a few years ago
Waterfalls in Portland a few years ago

If you travel a lot and it’s totally possible that you could travel to 10 different countries and you want to do that, put it on there! Your reasonable and possible is not the same as mine!

My point is, I want to actually have the chance that I could finish every single item on this list, if I try hard enough.

Push Your Boundaries

The other thing I had to push not to do was to censor myself. This was more difficult than I originally thought it would be. Some items I listed I initially resisted putting down….some because I thought they were too silly and didn’t belong on a goals list (hello there snowman) and others because they scared me to put out there in the world. Or even admit them to myself that they were goals I have. Other items seemed selfish to put down, or, and this was a big one for me, a waste of money.

Day Zero on a Budget

I have a hard time spending money on things that are not essential. I am better about it than I used to be, but it is still a struggle. And I’m not talking about irresponsibly blowing money…I’m talking about any money at all. So some of the items on my list are specifically activities that I have wanted to do for years but haven’t been able to justify to myself, like going to the opera or a play.

That being said, I don’t want you to think that you can’t do a Day Zero Project on a budget! I tried to pick a variety of items and costs, but notice that a decent amount of my items are free or very cheap! While I do hope to better my finances over the next 2 years, I didn’t want all of my items to require that to be completed. My suggestion would be to keep your list within your planned capabilities, whatever that may be. Again, I would not put travel the world on mine, because there is really no way I could afford that in the next 2 years!

One of my favorite pictures from one of my free items on my Day Zero Project - A year-long, once-a-month photo project at Ada Hayden Park
One of my favorite pictures from one of my free items on my Day Zero Project – A year-long, once-a-month photo project at Ada Hayden Park

Take Your Time

The last thing I want to point out is to make sure to take your time while making your list. I took around 2 weeks to make mine! That might seem like a lot of time, but along with all the stuff I talked about above, I really wanted to put thought into the items I listed. I wanted them to be things I really want, things that matter to me (yes, even the snowman). So I kept a running list on my phone and added to it as I thought of them. Don’t feel as though you have to get the whole list done at once!DailyEssentials

Go!

So now you have your Day Zero list and can start! I don’t have a huge amount of tips for this, as I’m still working through my own list. One thing I would say is to keep a copy of your list somewhere on hand. I actually have a couple different copies! One on my computer, one of my phone and one in a journal that is dedicated for the project! Each item on the list has a space within the journal for me to take notes, make plans and write my progress out. Now, you don’t have to do all these, or even any of these, they are just what works for me! But I would keep a copy somewhere easy for you to access when you are out and about so you can keep working towards the items on there!

Lastly, make sure you calculate your end date and write it down with your list! There have been a few times I have had to check mine to figure out when I HAVE to start an item by to complete it in time.

I really hope you think about creating your own Day Zero list, if you haven’t already!

Sara

Already doing your own Day Zero Project? I would love to check it out! Leave a link to your list in the comments below and I will include it in my next update!

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Day Zero Project-101 Things in 1,001 Days: My 6 Month Update

Hey everyone! I have been anxiously waiting to share this post with you and I’m so excited that it’s FINALLY time! 6 months ago I started my Day Zero Project, or 101 things in 1,001 days. I had seen this on a few other blogs before and was intrigued, finally doing some research and deciding to start my own! To read more about Day Zero, head over here for their site.

Basically, I set a list of 101 things in 1,001 days. I spent a while creating this list (I think around 2 weeks) because I wanted it to be things that were realistic while still pushing my boundaries, my comfort zone, and/or my expectations. I believe that everything on this list is possible. Some of it may be very difficult to accomplish, but it is possible.

Once I started this project, I decided that I will update all of you every 6 months on my progress. We are finally at the first update! Things in regular bold are finished, things in bold italics are in progress and everything else still needs to be done. I didn’t make quite the progress I hoped to on some things, and more than I expected on others!

101 Things in 1,001 Days

Start Date: October 6, 2015

End Date: July 3, 2018

  1. Get $2000 in Emergency Savings
  2. Take a day trip to a state park I’ve never been to
  3. Complete Kayla Itsines BBG1 – Started 10/12/15 Finished 1/17/16 (Check out my progress though the guide on these posts: Month 1, Month 2, Complete!)WorkoutGear
  4. Complete Kayla Itsines BBG2
  5. Take a trip to another state (for at least 3 days)
  6. Attend a BBG Meet-up
  7. Start my business- In Progress. Launch expected in next 2 months!jewelry business card glass fusion
  8. Blog 5 days a week for a month
  9. Take a weekend trip with Mom
  10. Meditate daily for a month
  11. Complete a 365-day photo project
  12. Take a cooking class
  13. Take a metal-working class
  14. Upgrade my camera
  15. Take a photography class
  16. Run a 5K
  17. Attend a blogging conference or workshop
  18. Go to a jazz festival
  19. Make a piece of wood furniture
  20. Complete a pull-up
  21. Do 30 consecutive full push ups
  22. Learn to can vegetables
  23. See a ballet
  24. See an opera
  25. Write a recipe ebook -In progress Started 10/13/15
  26. Have a picnic
  27. Learn to sew
  28. Finish 5 crochet projects
  29. Go to an art museum
  30. Attend the local crochet & knitting group
  31. Learn Japanese to a conversational level
  32. Take a pottery class
  33. Go zip-lining
  34. Bake a birthday cake
  35. Get dressed up for a special dinner
  36. Go to the Omaha Zoo
  37. Get a massage
  38. Take a ballroom dancing class
  39. Go rock climbing
  40. Take a yoga class
  41. Create a gallery wall – Complete! Finished Early Dec 2015
  42. Read a book of poetry
  43. Wear a two-piece swimsuit
  44. Go to a drive-in movie
  45. Bake a pie from scratch
  46. Make a new friend
  47. Find and buy the perfect LBD
  48. Find and buy the perfect shoes to go with the LBD
  49. Complete a coloring book -In progress. Started early Jan 2016
  50. Learn basic HTML
  51. Wear a skirt or dress every day for a week
  52. Have fresh flowers in the house every week for a month
  53. Have a date night once a month for six months
  54. Learn how to make sushi
  55. Do something special for my 30th birthday
  56. Build a snowman
  57. Wear nothing black for one week
  58. Meet an online friend in person
  59. Save $10 for each task completed
  60. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
  61. “Re-learn” how to ride a bike
  62. See 2 stage productions
  63. Visit Hindu Temple and Cultural Center
  64. Pick 10 books by unknown (to me) authors and read them – In progress
    1. “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
    2. “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
    3. “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon
  65. Go to a personal clothing stylist
  66. Do a handstand
  67. Send in a card to PostSecret
  68. Do henna on someone else
  69. Refinish deck
  70. Build pergola
  71. Take parents out for a nice dinner
  72. Do yoga outside in a public place
  73. Go ice skating
  74. Go to a local town festival
  75. Plant and maintain a raised garden for one summer
  76. Plant a fall garden
  77. Visit two friends from college
  78. Make a meal entirely from the garden
  79. Learn to play the guitar
  80. Take another bellydance class
  81. Do an outdoor photo-a-month project: Ada Hayden -In progress Started 10/13/15

    One of my March photos for this project!
    One of my March photos for this project!
  82. Go to a poetry reading/event
  83. Write a letter to my college mentor
  84. Go on the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad
  85. Go minigolfing
  86. Make a healthy pizza from scratch
  87. Go canoeing or kayaking
  88. Find a daytime job
  89. Go to an arts festival
  90. Go to a crafts fair
  91. Attend a holiday service with my parents
  92. Attend a religious service of a religion I’m unfamiliar with
  93. Run a charity race
  94. Donate any clothes I don’t use anymore
  95. Go to a big fireworks show
  96. Declutter and organize basement
  97. Go to hot balloon festival
  98. Take a floral arrangement workshop
  99. Read 100 new-to-me books- In progress (Next update I will have a better way to list these!)
    1. “Icebound” by Dean Koontz
    2. “Dead and Alive” by Dean Koontz
    3. “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
    4. “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
    5. “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon
    6. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  100. Make treats for everyone at work for no reason
  101. Go to 2 cultural festivals

So that’s it! That is what I have gotten done or worked on in the last 6 months!

  • Complete: 2
  • In progress: 6

I have a few that are planned out or forming, but not officially started yet. I’m going to have to step up my actions if I want to get all of this list done! All 101 things in 1,001 days….wow that sounds like a lot! It definitely gives me something to work towards though!

Have you ever tried a 101 Things in 1,001 days project, or something similar? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on it, so please leave a comment below!

Sara

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March in Review, Goals for April

Hey everyone! Can you believe March is over already? I don’t know why, but it feels like March has just flown by! Ours was pretty good overall, and I have been feeling extra-motivated to work on my jewelry and blog lately. This has helped me create a lot of great content and art….but sadly it has not helped me in achieving my set goals for this month.

But before we get to that….my favorite picture of the month! I’m sure you are getting tired of this one, and I can understand that. But it’s just so pretty! I am surprised by how much I love how this grapevine wreath turned out. It still makes me smile every time I walk up to our door!

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Ok, now that I’ve gone on again about how much I love my new wreath 🙂 On to how my goals for March went!

March Goals

  1. Keep working towards establishing that morning routine!
  2. Add yoga into routine at least 3 days a week.
  3. Add guided meditation to routine at least 3 days a week.

I started off with 3 goals for the month and achieved none of them. I did add some yoga and mediation in to the end of my day, but not nearly as frequently as I would have liked. It did really help me relax on the days I did do it though, so I am still going to try to add that in more frequently.

Now on to the other goal. Shifting my schedule to going to bed earlier and waking up an hour and a half earlier. If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that this is something I really would like to happen. And something that I struggle with A LOT. This month was no different. Actually it was worse than some previous attempts. I was so focused on the projects that I worked on when I got home that I rarely went to bed before 12. Now, I don’t know about you all, but I need my sleep. I value my sleep. I don’t function well on 6 hours of sleep at all. So getting up earlier was rough. It basically consisted of my alarms (yes, alarms) going off at 6:20 and 6:25, me hitting snooze multiple times, giving up and then setting alarms to get up at the normal time. So yeah….I maybe got up earlier 3-4 times for the entirety of March. FAIL.

For a while, I was dreading this post. I was so disappointed in myself for not hitting any of my goals, for not having the strength of will to follow through with what I said I wanted. And yeah, I could have just skipped this post this month. But I strive for transparency on here. I want you all to see me as I am, not as an idealized version of myself or just who I want to be.

But as I got closer to the end of the month and really looked at what I accomplished, my views shifted a bit. I am still disappointed that I didn’t hit my goals for this month. But I’m also really proud of what I got done. I’m working towards some major events, like starting my online business, and working on some improvements to the blog that took up a lot of time and energy as well. And I got a lot done in those areas! And while I didn’t get up early and get every workout in, or add in the yoga and meditation in any sort of consistent way, I didn’t completely fall off track fitness-wise either. I still ate healthy and I still did some workouts in. I may not have progressed much on my fitness journey, but I didn’t backslide either!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I hope you all give yourself some understanding and appreciation when you have months that don’t work out the way you hoped, goal-wise or otherwise. This is something I have struggled with a lot over the years, and still do. But I am trying to look at all the wins I had this month, instead of focusing on the few things that didn’t get accomplished. And that viewpoint allows me to end this month on a high note instead of feeling bad about myself!

Keeping that in mind, and what I have coming up in April, here are my April goals! I think this month I am going to try to keep pushing myself, but also keep in mind where my priorities are right now and keep my goals in line with those. And as always, planning everything out is key for me!

April Goals:

  1. Get in 2-3 resistance workouts and 3-4 LISS workouts each week, no matter what time I get up – I am still going to try to shift to an earlier schedule, but I need to have my focus on my fitness, not on what time I wake up. This was a problem last month, which lead to me only getting a few resistance workouts in.
  2. Spend at least 1 hour a week outside, without any technology – I know 1 hour doesn’t seem like a lot, but since I’ve basically been glued to work of some sort (when not at my “regular” job) pretty much the entire time I’m awake the last few weeks, I think this is a reasonable goal 🙂 Now that the weather is getting nicer again, maybe a few hikes are in order!
  3. Spend time each day working on the quality of my social media for the blog – This honestly feels a little silly for me to put as a goal. But social media is an important aspect of blogging and something I’m still working on regularly. Plus I do enjoy it and would like my followers to enjoy their experience as well!

That’s it for this month! Are you setting goals for April? How did your goals for March go? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara

Want to start setting goals but aren’t sure how to go about it? Check out my Top 5 Planning Tips!

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February in Review, March Goals

Ever have one of those months where nothing goes as planned? That was definitely February for me. It can be really rough to go through the month knowing you’re not making the progress you hoped you would.

I did get a lot done though, just not the things that I had planned on. I made a lot of progress on my jewelry and a few new DIY projects. I had a wonderful last couple weeks and I’m really looking forward to seeing how March goes!

February Goals

  • Keep working at that morning routine – Up no later than 6:30 all days except Saturday (This will start once my back is feeling better…my neck hurts too much to work out for at least a few hours after waking up. Hopefully next week.)

This did not happen. But it was not for lack of trying. As I said at the beginning of last month and in my fitness update, my back was hurting. Then I got sick. Then my back (but a different part!) was hurting again. Then I got sick again, but worse. Yeah…the first 1/2 of February was not very nice to me. But now I’m doing better and I am getting up on time, so yay!!

  • Keep active 6 days a week – Until my back heals up, LISS. After that, it’s back to Kayla Itsines’ BBG for round 2!

Yeah…for the same reasons as above, it was pretty much LISS for most of the month. But I am now starting Week 2 of my second round of BBG and so happy for it! (Very, very sore…but happy!) I didn’t make it 6 days a week when I was sick, but I did push myself to be as active as possible.

  • Spend at least 30 minutes a day working on either the blog or my art.

Yes! I actually manage to do this almost entirely. I’m sure I missed a day or two, but for the most part I have actually done very well on this one!

Favorite Pictures from February

March Goals

  1. Keep working towards establishing that morning routine! – I’ve done okay this last week, but I really need to make it through at least a whole month. I know I feel better when I get up early, get my workout in (with time to warm up and stretch) and get ready at an easy pace. I just need to stay focused on those positives and make sure I get to bed at a decent time!
  2. Add yoga into routine at least 3 days a week – During workouts and yoga is about the only time right now that my mind quiets down. I think this will help my productivity and overall mental state
  3. Add guided meditation to routine at least 3 days a week – This goes along with my second goal and I think will achieve the same ends. Plus it’s just a good practice anyways.

That’s it for this month! Do you set goals for yourself each month? How do you deal if the month doesn’t go as planned? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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Want to start setting goals but aren’t sure how to go about it? Check out my Top 5 Planning Tips!

 

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Fitness Mini-Update

It’s been one month since I finished Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide! Sadly, I can’t tell you that I’ve been doing much since then 😕 My body seems to have turned on me and my fitness journey has stalled (again). It does that a lot, doesn’t it?

That is not saying I haven’t been able to work out some…it’s just been limited to mostly treadmill and exercises they gave me in Physical Therapy.

Setbacks can be difficult to deal with. I know I’ve had some ups and downs over the last month. Times where I felt like I was never going to get back into my fitness routine. Heck, there were times it felt like I was never going to feel well again at all!

Of course, that was (mostly) in my head! I am feeling better now, though I have come to the realization that the PT exercises for my back have to become a part of my daily life.

I am hoping to start BBG1 round 2 next week and can’t wait to get going again…hopefully with less injuries this time! 😀

How have your workouts been going? Have you been struggling this winter with your routine or had any setbacks? How have you dealt with them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Life Lessons: The 29 Things I’ve Learned in 29 Years

birthday muffin celebrate 29 years 29 lessons

It’s my birthday! I might be freaking out a little! But…honestly not as much as I thought I would be. 🙂

Ok, this is something I’ve actually given a lot of thought to the past month or so. I turn 29 today….I think back to when I was 20 and what I thought life would be like in 9 years and this isn’t it. In fact, it’s not even close.

That’s not a complaint. I love my life! My family, Draz, my dogs, my home, this blog and all of the awesomeness related to that and so much more! Instead, it’s more of a realization that life takes some crazy and unexpected turns. Twists and turns that put me in a wonderful place in life that I could never have imagined at 20!

I’ve learned a lot along the way and still have so much left to learn! But here are 29 life lessons that I have learned so far! Some serious, some not quite so, and in no particular order, but I hope you enjoy all of them 🙂

29 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

  1. I don’t know what it means to actually feel like an adult. I’m still waiting for that one.
  2. Parents are people too and pretty awesome to hang out with!
  3. No one actually has life all figured out.
  4. Not everyone will like you or needs to…and you don’t have to understand why.
  5. Be present for the moments of everyday life. It’s amazing.
  6. Reach out to those that you care about, even if you’ve lost touch.
  7. Drive slower!
  8. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
  9. You can like who you are while still trying to improve yourself.
  10. Push your comfort zone!
  11. Don’t expect life to follow your plan.
  12. Be unapologetically you – be honest about who you are and what you enjoy in life.
  13. Try to put a positive “spin” on things when you are having a bad day/interaction/moment/whatever.
  14. Be silly!
  15. Take care of your body – it’s worth the time.
  16. Take care of your mental health too – it’s just as important as your physical health.
  17. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
  18. Find things you truly enjoy instead of things that just fill time.
  19. The best dates and/or moments don’t have to cost much, if anything.
  20. Quality over quantity – applies to much of life!
  21. Don’t procrastinate – it NEVER helps.
  22. Be spontaneous (at least occasionally).
  23. Smile often.
  24. Be kind to others, even when you don’t feel like it.
  25. Make sure you sleep enough.
  26. Try new things often!
  27. Give yourself a break – you can’t do everything.
  28. Always make goals and strive towards meeting them.
  29. Cut the negative thoughts and self-talk.

So that’s some of the things I’ve learned over the years. So aren’t surprising and a few took me a long time to learn. Some I still have to remind myself of. But either way, I am so excited to see how this year goes! I think that 29 is going to be an amazing and transformative year for me! (And I am so excited to share it with all of you!)

What are some of the things that you have learned over the years that have surprised you or been harder to learn? I would love to hear your thoughts!

And don’t forget that the Jewelry Giveaway ends today at 8 pm CT, so if you haven’t entered yet, hop over and get your entry in!

Giveaway

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Bingeable Media: The Books & Podcasts I’m Loving Right Now

 

I have always had a love of music and books. More times than I can count I was reprimanded in school for reading when I wasn’t supposed to be…and I can remember more than a few nights that I read for hours longer than I meant to. However, up to the last month or so, I had never listened to an audiobook!

Now, while I am still very attached to physical books, I am quickly falling in love with audiobooks. I have a lot of time at work that I am able to listen to my headphones, so I go through a lot of material. While I still listen to many podcasts, I’m having fun switching it up with books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Audiobooks:

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I started off with the Hunger Games Series. I had never gotten to finish reading them before and have actually been waiting to watch the movies until I finished the books!

 

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, read by Stephen Fry. This was fantastic and so much fun to listen to!

 

 

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The Phantom of the Opera. This one is not new to me, but I loved listening to it. I also love the movie and the play. I may also have the soundtrack. Obsessed, me? 

 

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What The Most Successful People do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam: I really enjoyed this quick listen 🙂 I have been working (on-and-off) on revitalizing my wake-up routine and this gave me some motivation and some great ideas!

 

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Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein Series: I had read the first book once, but now I’m on the 3rd one and loving it! Sadly I currently only have up to that one. The last two aren’t available 🙁

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Harry Potter: I am really enjoying listening to the audiobooks of this series! This is one of my fav series of all-time! I will admit, I was a little worried that the narrator would throw me off, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far 🙂

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Anita Blake Series: This is another one of my favorite series. Unlike the Harry Potter series, one of the voices of the narrator did throw me off for a bit, but as I listened to it longer it didn’t anymore. Though I’m not sure if that won’t happen again as the series progresses. Also, if you are familiar with the series at all, you might understand why I’m not sure if I will continue listening at work!

Podcasts:

Along with all of the podcasts listed in this post, I have added quite a few more to my regular listening line-up! Here are just a few of the ones I am enjoying!

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Entrepreneurs and Coffee with Brendan Hufford: One of my favorites for entrepreneurship! Brendan is great to listen to! His interviews are always interesting and engaging, plus he is quick to respond to emails and tweets from his listeners!

 

 

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This American Life hosted by Ira Glass: I can’t say enough about This American Life. This show has made me laugh out loud (while working by myself, so I get to sound a little crazy too), tear up and gets me thinking about all sorts of topics I’ve not thought much about before.

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The Art of Charm with AJ and Jordan Harbinger: While this show is meant for and geared towards men, I have found so many episodes useful and interesting. I love the wide range of topics and guests that come on!

 

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The Fizzle Show with Corbet Barr, Chase Reeves, Barrett Brooks & Steph Crowder: Oh, what to say about The Fizzle Show…not only is this show entertaining and informative, it has lead me to so many other podcasts and people! I can’t wait until I can actually join The Fizzle Community online!

Do you listen to audiobooks and/or podcasts? I am always looking for new ones, so let me know your favorites in the comments below!

Also, if you didn’t see it yet, be sure to check out the Jewelry Giveaway I am running Feb 9-16th!

Giveaway

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