Thursday, August 17, 2017

Adulting {Months 6-8}

It's time for another adulting update.  Last time I talked about my adulting adventures was in May, and lots has happened since then.  Rather than breaking it down by month, I decided to switch things up my events. 

The Job Hunt
June, July, and August have been such an emotional roller coaster for me. This summer my focus has been on landing a teaching contract. I have spent most of my time and energy into achieving this goal. 

 If you are a teacher, someone you know is a teacher, or you've read about becoming a teacher, then you're aware of not only how hard it is to find a job but how brutal the interview process can be. Well, if not then I give you a little glimpse into the process.  I'm blessed to live in an area with great school districts that treat their teachers pretty well, pay well, provide safe learning environments for students, and have an abundance of resources. That being said, everyone and their mom wants to teach in my area, which makes landing a contract pretty difficult.  As a teacher fresh out of college with very limited experience it can be tricky to even land an interview.  I applied to close to 40 different positions by the end of July.  During July, I had only been invited to interview for five of those positions. Some of them fizzled out after round one while others I endured anywhere from three to five rounds before being denied. The school I thought I was being hired at decided to go with a candidate that had more experience.  At the time, I was disappointed but I still had other options on the table. Everyone told me that things happen for a reason we just don't always know the reason why until later on. 

Well,  I have found my reason.  I didn't give up and I continued to persevere despite feeling a little defeated.  I continued on and ended up being one of the final two candidates at two great districts.  Last Monday, I left for my family vacation still unemployed and uncertain what would happen.  The following day, I woke up to a phonetical with an offer from a district.  They wanted to hire me as a long term substitute with a possible permanent contract once I complete my first year with them. I gladly accepted, which brings me to the news I promised I would share on Tuesday.  I am officially employed and will spend the upcoming school year as a sixth and eighth grade Language Arts teacher.  

I truly feel blessed to have been given this opportunity. I have many friends who are still searching for a job.  I am excited, nervous, and maybe a tad bit overwhelmed thinking about everything I need to accomplish while simultaneously not knowing all that exactly needs to be done. So here I am today with a big girl job making big girl decisions like what insurance plan is best for me and how much life insurance I need to have. I'm sure the next month will be nothing short of crazy, but I am excited to continue my adulting journey. 

Fun Adventures
I've been job hunting, nannying, and working here and there at my retail job, but I promise this summer hasn't been all work and no play.  I've spent several weekends at the beach, a week in South Carolina, celebrated National Ice-cream Day, spent some time by the pool, and was able to relax a little too. I definitely haven't crossed everything off my summer bucket list, and now that I'm prepping for the school year I realize I'm probably not crossing every item off.  However, I have been able to make homemade popsicles, watch fireworks on the beach, played mini golf, and read several books.  

Adulting Month One
Adulting Month Four
Adulting Month Five

Now accepting advice on how to balance work and play!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pulse Check

Good morning. I hope y'all (apparently my vacation down South is rubbing off on me) had a fabulous week and your week has been off to a great start! While I don't have a full blog post for you to read today, I just wanted to do a quick check in- a pulse check. I thought this short post would be better than nothing at all because we all know how inconsistent of a blogger I can be when life gets crazy. 

Yes, I'm alive and well and home safe from vacation with my family.  After taking an entire week off, I'm feeling more relaxed than I have in months. The trip was very much needed. Although, my head is already starting to spin with the changes that are about to happen in my life. I have a lot going on in the next fews weeks and a to do list that might be close to impossible to accomplish. The month of July was an emotional roller coaster for me, but now that it is over I have some exciting news to share with you.  I'll be doing a big reveal for you by the end of the week, but in the mean time I wanted to leave you with a few pictures from my vacation!


Friday, August 11, 2017

What to Watch on Netflix

Happy Friday! Congratulations, you've survived the work week and (almost) the second week in August.  I don't know about where you live, but where I live it's been pretty hot and humid outside lately.  The hot sticky weather does not make me want to spend time outside.  It seems like everyone has been looking for things to occupy their time that don't require them to be out in the hot sun. 

Watching Netflix. It's not the most productive task, but it's summer so it's okay to relax a little bit without feeling too guilty.  Everything in moderation, right? I'll be honest.. I'm not one to binge watch anything. I get bored when I want TV for long periods of time. However, I do like to watch an episode or two in a sitting.  It takes me what some people would consider forever to get through a series.  Example one, it took me almost an entire semester of college to get through Friday Night Lights. Example two, I've been watching Grey's Anatomy since November.. I'm still not caught up. I feel like everyone is always seeking recommendations for great shows and movies to watch, so today I'm sharing some of my favorites with you!

What are your favorites on Netflix right now?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why I Love My Fitbit

When I sat down to write this post, I started to think back to when I first got my Fitbit. It made me realize that I forgot what life was like before having this fabulous fitness tracker. I was originally reluctant to jump on the fitness tracker bandwagon. I thought it was quite silly to pay money just to count how many steps you walked in a day.  That was until I tried a Fitbit out.  Summer of 2015, my family and I took a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. By this point in time, my mom had the original Fitbit Flex for at least six months. She liked it but wore it off and on. While packing for the trip, I stumbled upon her Fitbit and asked if I could try it out for the weekend. If you've been to D.C. or live(d) in D.C., then you know how much walking is involved in a single weekend! With all the walking, I instantly fell in love with checking how far we had gone, how many steps we had taken, and how many floors we had climbed. After a busy weekend, I knew what the newest addition to my wish list would soon be. 

The next month or so I did some research on the best fitness trackers. It seemed to be the popular opinion was that Fitbit was the way to go.  I knew I wanted a tracker with a screen, so that I could time my runs and see how far I had run without having to check my phone.  I figured out that I wanted the Fitbit Charge.  I was lucky enough to receive as a gift from my boyfriend that October.  It was great. It lasted about a year and half. I wore it almost every day.  In December, it started not to hold a charge for extended amounts of time and the band was literally falling apart. Luckily, Fitbit has great customer service. Although, my warranty had expired they were able to give me a discount to purchase a new tracker. I chose to treat myself with my graduation money to the Fitbit Charge 2.  I actually have learned to love this tracker more. It has a large screen, tracks my heart rate more accurately, and has a few extra features like guided breathing to help calm you down. 

So, if you're on the fence I would definitely recommend purchasing a Fitbit. I have so many reasons why I love mine!

As someone who loves to win, I obviously enjoy a good competition.  The app allows you to participate in different types of fitness challenges with your friends.  These challenges have actually motivated me to take the stairs, park further away, go for an extra gym session, and be a little healthier. 

Goal Oriented
I'm a huge goal setter. The Fitbit app helps you set personal goals for yourself and allows you the option to keep them private or share them with your friends. Regardless of your choice, you are provided with constant encouragement and motivation.  Even when I'm not in a challenge, I feel motivated to meet my goal of 10,000 steps daily. 

The app
In general, the app is pretty useful. It allows you to track your weight, calories consumed and burned, how much water you have drank, your heart rate pattern during a workout, how active you were each hour, and how well you slept. The app really provides you with some great tools to lead to a healthier lifestyle all for free!

Overall, I would say my Fitbit has motivated me to live a healthier lifestyle. 


Monday, August 7, 2017

Creative Ways To Use Your Agenda

Now that we are a week into August, I hope you have found the perfect planner. If you haven't, then no worries you can check out my guide to finding the perfect planner. So by now, most of you have been using your new agenda for a week.  You're finally acquainted with the single item that contains your everyday needs for surviving a busy lifestyle.  Or you might be one of those people who opts for a new year new agenda, and now you're six months into your planner.  Regardless, it's time to start using your agenda to the maximum! 

I've come to realize how many different purposes an agenda can have.  It's so much more than a place to write down important dates, meetings, and reminders. Check out my suggestions for getting the most out of your planner!

Daily Schedule: This is an obvious way to use your agenda.  Write down your schedule every day to make sure you don't forget a meeting or a class. 

Daily To Do Lists: Create a to do list each day with everything you want to accomplish. 

Goal Setting: Chances are if you are the type of person to utilize an agenda, then you are a goal setter.  Use your planner to keep track of the progress you have made towards achieving your goals. 

TV Shows: Keep track of when your favorite shows are on TV. Make a little note so you never forget. 

Inspiration:  Jot down an inspiring quote at the top of each week. You can never have enough motivation. 

Packing Lists: Use the notes section to prepare for your next weekend getaway. Creating your packing lists in your agenda allows you to refer back to them when you pack for the same location in the future. 

Budgeting: Write out your monthly budget in the calendar lay out. 

Track your spending: Write down what you've spent each day. At the end of the month, you will be able to see how much you spent and where. 

Workout Schedule: Keep track of your workouts.  You'll never fail to forget to go to the gym nor what exercises you ddi during that really great workout at the gym two weeks ago. 

Bill Due Dates: Gross. Not what you want to hear, but a great way to make sure you always pay your bills on time. 

Meal Planning: The perfect place to plan your meals each week.  

Remember important dates:  The perfect location to keep all the important dates you need to know (anniversaries/ birthdays/holidays). 

Mini Phone Book: Write down any important numbers and addresses you may need in the notes section or on the date you actually need them. 

Wedding Planning: If you're getting married or you are in a wedding party, then you know how many dates there are to keep track of. 

Water Intake: I like to keep track of how much water I drink each day.  Not getting enough water explains a lot of things. 

Crafting: If you use a Lilly Pulitzer agenda, then you definitely can recycle it for crafting. There are so many different crafts involving recycled agendas on Pinterest.  You can check out how I recycled an old agenda here. 

Interview Tool: I like to use the notes section to reflect after my interviews. I write down every question that I was asked, how i felt after the interview, what outfit I wore,  and any random notes I might have.  

What are the creative ways you use your agenda?

Friday, July 28, 2017

What's in My Beach Bag

What's in my bag blog posts are one of my favorite to both read and write.  I always find it fun to explore what people take with them for different occasions. It's neat to learn about different products, habits, and what people consider to be their essential items. This weekend is the last weekend in July. There are so many people I know who are planning to head to the beach, are away on vacation this week, or are packing to head out for a vacation in the next few weeks. I thought this would be the perfect time to share this post with you all! 

I have loved going to the beach ever since I was young. According to my mom, even when I was a baby I loved hanging out and playing in the sand.  Growing up, my summers were always filled with day trips, weekend getaways, and an occasional full week spent at the beach.  We are lucky enough to live about two hours away from Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey beaches, which makes short trips more than doable.  It's pretty easy to wake up, pack up, and head out for a two hour car ride to spend a day on the beach.  

Last week I was lucky enough to do a girls' weekend at the beach with several of my friends from college.  Spending time at the beach with three other people made me realize how different each person's beach routine is. Everyone seems to have a different beach philosophy when it comes to how  they spend their day at the beach...

Getting there early and leaving early vs. Getting there later and staying later vs. Getting there early and staying later

 Bring snacks with you vs. buy something from the snack shack or boardwalk

Spend the day laying out on a towel vs. hanging out on a beach chair

 Bringing water in plastic bottles vs. a swell bottle

Applying sunscreen vs. tanning oil

Spending the day on the sand vs. in the water

Lounging around all day vs. being up and active

Umbrella vs. no umbrella

Beach blanket vs. beach towel

Beach naps vs. staying awake all day

I think you are starting to get the point. Anyways, I feel like what people pack in their beach bag is pretty reflective of their beach philosophy. 

 My beach philosophy includes a long day whether it's going early and staying later or going later and staying later, a beach chair, a beach towel, bringing snacks, bringing a reusable water bottle, applying and reapplying sunscreen, spending most of the day on the sand and dipping my toes in the water, spending most of the day in the sun with maybe an hour under the umbrella. and definitely a few short beach naps throughout the day. So how does my beach bag reflect my beach philosophy?

Cover Up
I have a slight cover up obsession. I am a huge fan of sporting a cute cover up to the beach and on the beach rather than a pair of shorts or an oversized tee. Cover ups are great because they are airy, easy to throw on, and they are adorable.  If it gets chilly, then I throw it on top of my bathing suit, or if I feel like I'm burning up I will put it on to prevent my skin from getting burnt. My favorite cover ups have come from JCrew Factory. You can usually find them during a sale for $30 or less!

Sun Glasses
What's a day on the beach without a pair of sunglasses. I'm sure they are a must in your beach bag too! My current go to shades have been these Ray Ban Classic Clubmasters that I got last Christmas as a gift.

Whenever I go to the beach, I spend a long time actually on the beach. Part of the reason I'm able to do this is because I pack so many snacks. Some of my go to beach snacks include cheese and crackers, fruit, chips and salsa, chicken salad and lettuce, popcorn, trail mix, chips/ veggies with hummus, and pretzels.  Last weekend my go to snacks were grapes, cantaloupe, and popcorn.

Sun hat
This summer my sun hat has been a new addition to my beach bag.  I have pretty fair skin, so I burn rather easily.  I have tons of freckles, and I'm not trying to get too many more if I can prevent it.  Since my mom had cancer, my awareness of sun protection has increased. Wearing a hat is a great way to keep the sun off your face while looking fashionable.  This year we found adorable hats that have UPF 50 in them.  They come in a wide range of colors and are very flexible, which makes them easy to pack in any tote.  You can check out my hat here.

Water bottle
This is such a beach essential.  Spending all day in the hot sun puts you at risk for dehydration.  It's so important to stay hydrated while basking in the sun on the beach. I always bring my 32 oz. Hydro Flask to the beach. I fill it half full with ice and the rest with water. It stays cold all day regardless of how hot it is.

One of my favorite things to do is read on the beach. I never spend a day on the beach without a book. Sometimes I can read an entire novel while other days I read a few pages before dozing off. Regardless, I always have a book with me. If you're looking for your next beach read, then check out my summer reading list. 

Wet Suit Clutch
I found this little bag at the outlets this spring. It is lined, so you could put your wet swim suit in it or it could protect your belongings you don't want to get wet at the pool or beach. This pouch holds all the random things I don't want free floating in my bag.  I usually keep bobby pins, hair ties, sun screen, lip balm, headphones, money, my ID, hand wipes, tylenol, and face mist.

The hair accessories are great because you never know what kind of hair day you're going to have with the humidity at the beach.  As far as sun screen goes, I usually bring two types- a face cream and a spray. I always apply sunscreen before heading to the beach, so the spray allows me to reapply without getting too messy. I recently discovered a tinted lip balm that has SPF 35 in it. It smells great and adds a little color.  I like to bring essential oil lemon hand wipes to the beach. They are useful for wiping sand off, washing your hands, or just freshening up. Face mist is an essential for me because it cools me off without having to go in the water.

Other Random Items
Some other random items that I always have at the beach include a hair brush, a beach chair, and a beach towel. I like to bring a brush to tame my messy hair.  I pretty much spend all day in my beach chair, so I couldn't imagine not having one. I use a cheap backpack chair, but I'm thinking about splurging on a Tommy Bahama chair for next summer. This year another new discovery of mine was a beach blanket that doubled as a towel. One side is terrycloth and the other is cotton. It's perfect for the beach or the pool. I found mine at Nordstrom Rack but this is a similar one.

I'd love to hear what your beach day essentials are. Be sure to share with me by adding a comment.
Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Last week I shared with you that one of the things I did before I created my blog was to read blogs. To this day, one of my favorite things about blogging is still reading other blogs. I usually read blogs in the morning when I wake up and at night before dinner. I think it's fun to read what others have to say, gain inspiration, and learn new information.  On a daily basis, I read anywhere from five to fifty five different blogs depending on how much time I have. My reading list includes a wide range of bloggers from small start up blogs to big blogs that have tons of sponsorships. I find value in reading both types because I am able to learn from both. 

Today I wanted to share a list of some blogs that I frequently read. I'm always searching for a new blog to check out, so I thought most of you would enjoy learning about some new (to you) blogs as well. 

I go through phases of reading a ton of her posts and then I go awhile without.  Carly's blog was the first blog I remember ever reading. She's seriously blogger goals.  Her posts are a combination of sponsorships, guest bloggers, and her own content.  Her preppy style and life advice are a great source for inspiration. 

Cristina is a legit lifestyle blogger. She shares about all aspects of her life (healthy, beauty, anxiety, recipes, her constant moves, college, etc.). I love the variety in her content as well as the way she shares her honest views on different parts of life. As bloggers, we tend to sugar coat the negative aspects of life and paint a picture that is so far from our reality. Cristina does a fabulous job of being real with her readers. 

Another great lifestyle blogger. Fran just finished her freshman year of college and shares her daily life adventures. She has everything from fashion to food on her blog. I always enjoy her top ten posts she shares on a weekly basis. 

Dorothy's lifestyle blog is one of my absolute favorites. She is a year younger than me and shares a lot of commonalities (chapter president of her sorority, teacher, blogger). She has lots of great fashion posts, travel diaries, and book reviews. Her step into my week posts are always fun to read. 

Mary's blog is one that I have stumbled upon in the past few weeks. She has lots of fun posts about relationships, life advice, traveling, and more. Her blog is filled with fun GIFS, great photography, and has a fun layout. 

What are your favorite blogs to read?