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?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Reading List

My goal for this year was to read a book each month. So far I have been able to do so successfully. This summer I've actually been able to read two to three books per month. Summer is hands down the time of year when I am able to get the most reading done. I am still busy in the summer months, but no school work is involved so it allows me more time to read. 

During the day I am a summer nanny. The children I look after are getting older and don't need to be entertained by me every minute of the day, which allows me to have more free time while watching them. My favorite activity to pass the time is to read. I can take a book anywhere we go- the pool, trampoline park, swim lessons, outside, inside, etc. The amount of reading I get done depends on the week, but there are some weeks when I am able to read at least a whole book. I try to read at night, but I usually get no further than ten pages and you will find me asleep with all the lights on. 

Most books I read during the summer are light beach reads.  I like mindless reading that has a happy ending. This summer I seem to be mixing it up a bit more with some thrillers and non fiction. 

"...Straub packs wisdom and insight and humor together in a satisfying book about neighbors and nosiness, ambition and pleasure, the excitement of youth, the shock of middle age, and the fact that our passions- be they food, or friendship, or music-never  go away, they just evolve and grow along with us."

"Every day the same. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their desk. She's even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life-as she sees it- is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. Until today. And then she see something shocking.."

"At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone."

Currently Reading: 
"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why."

What's Next:
"Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working a dead-end job, Mary is dating a nice guy with an awful mother, and Lauren is waitressing at a midtown bar and wondering why she's attracted to the sleazy bartender."

"In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling 
Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you're ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them - it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW."

"Is it really better to have loved and lost?  Louna's summer job is to help brides plan their perfect day, even though she stopped believing in happily-ever-after when her first love ended tragically.  But charming girl-magnet Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged now that he's met the one he really  wants.  Maybe Louna's second chance is standing right in front of her."

Note: book descriptions are from Amazon

I'd love to hear about what books you've been reading this summer. I'm always looking for books to add to my reading list!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Productivity Tips for the Summer

It's Friday! I don't know about you, but this week has felt really long for me! I worked all day Monday through Wednesday and then was preparing for an interview, which made it a bit of a stressful week. Anyways, I couldn't be happier that the weekend has arrived. Today is the start of my weekend. I took off and am headed for a girls' beach weekend from today through Sunday. I'm excited to have a little rest and relaxation time as well as catch up with friends I haven't seen in awhile. 

It's bittersweet that after this weekend there is only one more weekend left in the month of July.  We pretty much have one month left of summer.  I look back and wonder where the time has gone. I've spent the past month working two jobs, blogging, and getting my summer to do list conquered.  At the beginning of the summer, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish. Slowly but surely I have been crossing items off of this list. I've realized how getting one small thing done a day leads to a month full of productivity.  Today I thought I would share with you some productive things to do with your time this summer as well as some tips on how to actually be productive. 

If you don't have much going on this summer, then this list will help you make your days more productive. 

Now it's your turn, if you haven't made your list of productive items do so now.  Make a list of about ten items that you can actually accomplish. Impossible to do lists are not any good because they make you feel bad for not accomplishing all of the tasks plus this list is supposed to be filled with items you can actually do to feel productive the last half of this summer.  

Now that you have your productivity list, it's time to get started. How can you actually be productive? We all know that making a list is one thing, but actually accomplishing the tasks on your list is entirely different. We are all guilty of sitting on the couch binge watching out favorite Netflix show, scrolling through social media for what you think are a few minutes but ends up being an hour, or just napping the day away. Well, it's time to get moving and become productive. This summer I feel like I have been mastering this. I have been working two jobs, applying to full time teaching jobs, keeping up with my blog posts, taking adventures, and actually conquering my summer to do list. So yes, it is actually possible to be productive this summer, but you have to make it happen!

Get Dressed
Don't get me wrong, I love the little luxury of being able to spend summer days in my pajamas. However, there gets to be a certain point where you need to get dressed. Pajamas are fabulous, but they make you want to stay in bed our lounge around. When you're doing either of these things chances are you are not being productive. Putting on a cute outfit just motivates me on its own. By no means am I talking about putting on business casual attire just something other than your pajamas. In the summer, my go to is usually athleisure. 

Create a to do list
Each Sunday, I create a to do lists with the tasks that I want to accomplish throughout the week. I fill it with tasks that can actually be accomplished not with things that simply can't be done in the limited amount of free time I have. My weekly to do lists usually has no more than ten items on it. I write it down on a piece of paper, then break the tasks down by day in my agenda.  Weekly and daily to do lists will definitely help motivate you to be more productive.  Try to accomplish one to two items on the list a day, and then by the end of the week you will feel pretty good with all that you have gotten done!

Establish Routines
Routines are crucial to success. This summer I have been working on waking up earlier to get more done. I wake up, take care of my puppy, and then workout before heading off to work.  Running in the mornings gives me a great jumpstart to the day.  I also create a mental to do list during my workout. It's the time I take to organize what my day will look like.  Another routine I have is eating breakfast each morning. I am most productive during the morning hours, so I try to get most of my tasks done then. Fine the time that your work best and schedule your tasks to be completed during this timeframe. 

Timed Tasks
Don't let these boring tasks take you all day. Giving yourself a time allotment to get something done ensures that you are using your time efficiently and not wasting the day on something you don't actually want to be doing.  

Make Time For You
Part of being productive includes being inspired. Be sure to set aside time to do things for yourself. You don't need to be productive 24/7.  I like to make sure I have time to read each day as well as watch an episode of one of my favorite TV shows.  Taking breaks allows you to refresh yourself.  Some great breaks include reading, coloring, working out, catching up with a friend, or taking a 20 minute power nap. 

If you liked this post, then you may want to check these out:

What are your tips for being productive this summer?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Behind the Blog Name

When people discover that I'm a blogger, the first question I get is always what's the name of your blog. The second question I am usually am asked is why I chose the name that I did.  People commonly think that I love " the shore", which is true but there is more to it than that.

Let's start with how the blog came about..
I started blogging in January of 2013. It was winter break of my freshman year in college.  My college started the second semester a few weeks later than most of my friends who were attending universities in Pennsylvania.  My family had all gone back to work and school after enjoying the holidays, so I had a lot of free time. I took advantage of this time by doing a bit of reflection on the previous semester, where I was at in life, and began to think about what my future might look like.  I had done well in school, but there was definitely room for more improvement as I headed into the next semester. Although I did well, managed to play a college sport, and maintain a semi long distance relationship I still felt like something was missing. The semester required a lot of studying, practicing, lifting, attending meetings, and time spent at field hockey practice. With everything going on, I was in need of a creative outlet.  

I had been reading blogs for several months at the time because a college freshman can never get enough advice and what better advice is there than a great blogger. After reading blogs religiously, I thought it would be fun to start my own. I loved to write, take pictures, and network. It took some time to figure out where to even begin. Once I chose a platform, it was time to brainstorm what I would write about and what to call my corner of the internet.  I decided that I would share what I know the most about-navigating life as a college student.  Over time this has transitioned into just navigating life..another lifestyle blog written by a millennial. 

So how did the name come about? I played around with about twenty different names, but The Shore Life According to M just seemed to really stick with me. I was going to college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I loved the beach, and as a type A perfectionist I like to be sure of everything I do. I didn't want to commit to a name that was specific to a certain topic because I knew my blog would grow with me over time, and we tend to outgrow certain interests as we get older. 

While I only attended college on the Eastern Shore for a year, I chose to keep my blog name because it was here that I found my passion for writing, discovered who I am, set the long term goals I still am striving to achieve, set some of my core values, and began to transition from a child to an adult. I will always see my time on the Shore as a pivotal point in my life, so keeping this name honors that. Plus, for branding reasons I don't deem is necessary to change names. I like how it is unique and serves as a great conversation starter.  


Monday, July 17, 2017

Planning for The Perfect Planner

Can you believe that we are closer to August than June? The summer is flying by. I was running some errands last week and I noticed that stores like Target and Walmart already have their big back to school displays up.  

* Cue the anxiety here* Currently, anything back to school related just reminds me how I am still job-hunting for a teaching job for the school year. We're about a month out from school starting and I am still searching. Anyways, I'll spare you from my anxious thoughts for now and continue on with something more exciting to read about- selecting the perfect planner. 

My love for agendas started back in high school. Post concussion, I had trouble remembering my assignments so I started writing things down in the agenda that was issued to us by school.  It slowly began to have more use to me than solely just a hall pass. My freshman year of college is when I truly relied on an agenda to get me through each day.  It became the place I kept track of important dates, assignments, wrote to do lists, and kept important information like passwords and class schedules. Throughout the rest of college I continued my love for agendas. I began to color code items and events, which was incredibly helpful. 

Last year I actually had two agendas. One that I used for lesson plans and student teaching related items, and the other agenda I used for personal use to keep track of social events, bills, blogging etc. I used two different styles of Lilly Pulitzer agendas for these.  

Around July each year, I begin my research to pick out the perfect planner(s) for the upcoming school year.  Over the years, I feel like I have become quite the expert. I've used several different types of agendas and have researched a good number of others.  I thought it would helpful to breakdown each agenda for you to help you decide the perfect planner for you whether you are still in high school or college, a teacher, a mom, a business woman, or just someone who needs some extra help organizing their life. 

These come in several different sizes. It is a seventeen month planner with monthly and weekly planning pages.  Each month has a side bar that allows you to jot down any important reminders.  There are sections for notes, packing lists for trips, and important dates.  There is a pocket folder at the front. A unique feature to the Lilly agendas is that they are filled with gorgeous artwork and inspiring quotes at the beginning of each month. Each agenda also comes with a set of stickers to help you plan out your life. 

These only come in one size. They are fairly similar to the Lilly Pulitzer agenda. They have 17 months (August 2017-December 2018) and include both monthly and weekly planning pages. You get a set of fun stickers at the front of this agenda. Included are pages for notes, holidays, and dates to celebrate. A pocket folder is located in the agenda, and all of the monthly tabs are laminated. 

This is a twelve month planner that comes in one size.  The layout is a little different. Each weekly outlook includes features such as a method to track how much water you have drank, fitness goals, and a meal planner.  A notes section is included at the back of the planner along with a smaller set of stickers to help keep you organized. 

This company offers many different styles. They even have a customizable teacher planner. The traditional Life Planner allows you to plan for 18 months. It includes a mini month spread, quotes, goal setting pages, a monthly calendar, weekly calendars, lined pages, dot grid pages, coloring pages, four pages of stickers, a folder, and a pouch to store your agenda accessories. These agendas have lots of options to customize them however you wish. 

This is your basic academic planner. It has a monthly outlook followed by weekly pages for each month. There aren't many bells and whistles that come with this type of agenda, but it is great for basic organization. 

These have been really popular lately. I think partially because they have been sold in stores like Anthropologie. These are built to last you from May 2017 through June 2018. Included in each of the daily pages are scheduling from 5am-9pm, to do lists, what to make for dinner, gratitude spaces, and more. The actual agenda also has goal setting sheets, daily quotes, weekend pages with a weekly overview, monthly tabs, two page monthly overviews, and two page yearly overviews. 

This is an eighteen month planner ranging from July 2017 through December 2018. It has sturdy laminated front and back covers, laminated tabs, year at a glance pages, monthly, and weekly pages.  Each month includes goal setting pages. Included in the agenda are also notes pages. The neat thing about these agendas is that you can add and take out whatever you like. The company offers lots of different options. I saw these when I was in Michael's last week, and it reminded me of a scrapbooking agenda. I thought it was neat how you can change what you don't like. 

 As much as I rely on technology,  I don't think I will ever be able to digitalize my calendar. There is something about physically writing on paper that I just love. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Skinny Chicken Parm

Does the summer heat have anyone else craving healthier foods? There seems to be something about the summer heat that makes me crave more protein and veggies rather than carbs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not on the carb hating train. I love my pasta and bread! However, recently I have just found myself reaching for those healthier foods. This summer my family has started getting a box of farm fresh veggies each week.  We have no idea what will be in the box, but it's been a great way to get us to eat a wider variety of vegetables with more frequency. We have gotten a ton of zucchini, so I've been searching for creative ways to use all of it.  

About a year ago I became infatuated with zucchini noodles. They definitely aren't pasta, but they are a great healthy alternative. Plus, when they are cooked the right way they are pretty tasty! There's a couple ways to get a whole zucchini to turn into noodles. You can use a spiralizer, a veggie cutter (this will give you straight noodles), or just chop them into thin long pieces.  We don't have a spiralizer, so I usually use our veggie slicer. 

2 Zucchini
2 tbsp. Olive Oils
1 egg
4 Chicken Breast 
1 tbsp. Italian Herb Seasoning
3/4 cup Panic Bread Crumbs
Mozzarella Cheese
Pasta Sauce 
1/2 cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese 
Angel hair pasta (optional) 


One: Prep 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray it with canola oil. This will prevent the chicken from sticking plus it makes for an easy clean up.

Two: Prepping the Chicken 

Combine the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, Italian he seasoning, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper in a gallon size ziplock bag. 

In a separate pie dish, crack one egg and mix it until the yolk and egg white is well combined. Dip each cleaned chicken breast into the egg and then place it in the bag of crumbs. Mix the chicken in the bag until it is well covered. Remove it from the bag and place it on the baking sheet. Continue this process until all pieces of chicken have been covered. 

Three: Bake the Chicken 
Bake the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through. 

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven. Place a spoonful of sauce on each piece of chicken. I tend to go lighter on the sauce, but this can change depending on your preference. Add a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top of the sauce.  You can also add provolone cheese. Personally, I think the more cheese the better! 

Place the chicken back in the oven until the cheese is melted. 

Four: Cooking Zucchini Noodles 
To cook the zucchini noodles, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan with salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic.  Add the zucchini, once the oil is hot. Cook for two minutes. After two mines add a quarter cup of water and cook the noodles for five to seven minutes until they are soft.  This will give them flavor but also make them soft like actual noodles. Once the noodles are cooked, set them aside in a serving dish. 

If you're cooking for people who don't like zucchini noodles, then you can also make a quick batch of angel hair pasta. Sometimes, I enjoy mixing the noodles with the angel hair. It adds a bit of flavor! 

Five: Enjoy!
Plate your food and enjoy. I usually like to add a little bit of sauce and parmesan on top of my noodles before I place the chicken on them. 


Monday, July 10, 2017

The Art of Decluttering

Change is definitely a good thing. Sometimes I find myself craving it actually. Small changes that is! I have a habit of cleaning and getting rid of the junk I've accumulated every six months to a year. I am a fairly organized person, but I do seem to collect random stuff and can never find a place for it. I think we all have those one or two places where we just shove the random stuff we can't find a place for. For me this place seems to be the desk in my room. It just seems to be the catch all for the items that I neglect to put away or have no idea what to do with them.  I come home and don't have enough time to put my belongings away..they end up on my desk. I can't decide what to wear, so I raid my closet and try on outfit after outfit without putting away the clothes I choose not to wear.. they end up on my desk.  The random mail that I don't feel like sorting and filing gets shoved in a folder on my desk. I think you're probably getting the point by now. Anyways, after a certain amount of time I just get tired of looking at all the clutter that has collected.  

Once I muster up the time and energy, I begin to de-clutter.  I begin by sorting the items that are just randomly placed in piles (bobby pins, hair ties, etc. belong in the bathroom, clothes belong in the closet, etc.) I sort the items until the loose items are gone. The next step is to put these random items back to where they belong. Sometimes this even means purging a few items. The next step I like to take is to re-organize.  I focus on one area at a time. Within each area I remove everything sort through it disposing of items that I no longer need nor use. If I haven't used it in the past year, then there's no point keeping it. I make two piles- one for trash and the other for things I plan to donate. I then take what is left and organize it in a way that minimizes clutter and maximizes organization. 



Desk organization that works for me
Filing Important Papers
I like to use pretty filing folders to store important papers. I currently have four folders. One for all of Brody's vet records, a folder for all of my teaching credentials, a folder for bills, and another folder for miscellaneous important papers like contracts. I like to use cute filing folders because they double as a practical item and a bit of decor. 

Organizing the random stuff
We all have that small collection of random items that we use regularly, but just can't seem to find a neat way to store them.  I use a small wicker basket for these.  The basket makes everything appear as organized even though it's actually not. In my basket I keep koozies, my dollar jar, lemon wipes, sunglasses, etc. You can find some great baskets and bins at the dollar spot at Target or even the dollar store.  You'll be amazed at how quickly using a few storage bins changes the look of a room. 

I love to read, and I also love the collect "coffee table" books. I clearly don't have a need for a coffee table yet since I live at home with my parents and my only personal space is my bedroom. However, I still insist on collecting these pretty books filled with fun pictures and information.  I use them as a decor item in the cubby of my desk. Storing them horizontally rather than vertically makes them look more organized and intentional rather than a pile of books that are just randomly collecting. 

Writing Utensils
I have always loved colorful pens, pencils, and markers. I've shared my love for new office supplies many times on here.  Well, it's no surprise that I have lots of writing utensils.  I keep them organized in a storage bin that I found at The Container Store.  The bin was a little pricy, but it helps to keep e everything organized. Some other ways to store pens and pencils would be to put them in a cute mug or cup, in a small container, or in a pencil case.

When it's all said and done, decluttering feels a lot like hitting the reset button. It makes me feel refreshed and inspired. 


Friday, July 7, 2017

July '17 Playlist

There's nothing quite like a good playlist to help you write the soundtrack to your summer.  During the summer, I feel like I am constantly listening to music. I seem to always have something playing whether I'm running, cleaning, getting ready for my day, driving, cooking, or just hanging out. I have been listening to a wide variety of music, and this playlist definitely reflects that.  

Are there any other good songs I should checkout in addition to these?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fourth of July Outfit Inspiration

It's the final countdown. Only one more day until the Fourth of July! The most American holiday there is- red/white/blue, stars and stripes, barbecues, parades, backyard fun, a day at the beach, etc. Regardless of how you will be spending the holiday, I'm sure you're looking for a fun outfit to wear. Well, I'm right there with you. I would love to go shopping for something cute to wear, but I'm trying to save money plus after a closet raid this weekend I realized that I have plenty of items I can pair together for the perfect outfit. So have no fear, I'm here to bring you some inspiration without having to go on a mini red, white, and blue shopping spree. 

My tips for putting together the perfect Fourth of July outfit:
Step one:
Put on your favorite playlist. It's always more funs styling clothes with a little music on!

Step two:
Raid your closet for anything that is red, white, or blue.

Step three:
Lay all of the items you found out on your bed.  It's best to categorize the items (bottoms, tops, dresses, accessories). 

Step four:
Use my outfits as inspiration to mix and match what you have to create a cute look. Don't be afraid to do some pattern play here either.  It's a fun holiday, so don't feel you need to be boring!

Once you create your outfit, don't forget to tag me in it or use the hashtag #ShoreLifeofM

Have a fun and safe holiday!

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Favorites

Can you believe that today is the last day of June? The month has flown by. The first half of the month was filled with end of the school year shenanigans and the second half has been filled with more summer related things like being a camp counselor, nannying, and enjoying a day a few days off.  This might be the first summer in awhile that I won't make it to the beach until the month of July (sigh). I guess this is what the adult life is like. On a positive note I have a few beach trips planned for the upcoming month. 

Here's a little recap of my favorites from the month of June:

Now that school is over, I feel like I have time to read some books that I want to.  I'm working on a list of books to conquer this summer, so feel free to send any suggestions my way! I am hoping to read a combination of some popular YA Lit. books (keeping up with my future students) and some adult light fiction novels. I'm a sucker for a good romance novel. 
Currently, I'm reading Girl on the Train. It's not my usual read, but I do have to say so far I'm loving it. I've read over half the book in the past few days. I'll have a review to come in the future. 

What can I say, I love my Bravo TV shows. This month I have been hooked on Southern Charm. I find the characters on the show quite funny. They are drama filled, which makes the show entertaining. Plus, it's set in Charleston, South Carolina- a place I have always wanted to travel to. I love their sense of style and seeing the different places where the show is set. Sadly, the season finale was Monday night, so it's time to find a new show for the rest of the summer. 

Lots and lots of workout clothes. The past two weeks I've worn more athletic outfits than I have normal clothes. Being a camp counselor last week, a summer nanny this week, and working out regularly has me wearing all different kinds of athletic attire.  At the beginning of the month, I found an adorable pair of leggings with mesh and cut outs at the bottom. They were less than $20 at 
TJ Maxx, which was such a steal for their quality and how cute they are. They have been perfect for yoga, barre, and spin classes. 

Pink Sands by Yankee Candle has been my go to scent lately. This candle scent was given to me as an end of the year gift from one of my former students. It's nice and light, plus it has a hint of a beach scent to it. I'll be sad when I reach the end of it soon. 

I've been working on eating healthier.  Everyone says how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but there are some days where I just don't feel like eating. Recently, I discovered a protein bar that tastes good, doesn't make me feel sick, and provides me with enough energy to make to lunch. These RX bars are made of only a few ingredients, so they are pretty nutritious. They come in several different flavors, but my favorite flavor is the chocolate sea salt.  Most grocery stores sell them and if yours doesn't, then you can always purchase them on Amazon. 

Products I'm Loving
This month there are two products that I am just loving. The first is pink nail polish. I always enjoy wearing bright colors on my toes and hands during the summer months. This year I'm definitely going for the many different shades of pink.  My current nail color is Cascade Cool. I refer to it as a less obnoxious shade of  barbie pink.

Last weekend, my mom and I wandered into a local shop that sells products from numerous vendors in our area.  We found a fabulous line of body creams that are made of natural ingredients. I picked up a bergamot and grapefruit body cream that has just been fabulous. It smells so great and it makes my skin feel incredibly soft. It's been great for helping to sooth sunburns. The neat part is that it is actually made in the town I live in. You can check out their products here

My go to beverage lately has been just about any flavor of La Croix Seltzer water.  I drank it a few years ago, but the past month I discovered it on sale in Target again.  I love how flavorful each type is.  I drink a ton of water, so I like to mix it up with one of these every once in awhile. Hands down, my favorite flavor is grapefruit. If you haven't tried it, then I highly recommend it. 

Your Turn:What have your favorites been this month?

Remember you can always keep up with me via Instagram @shorelifeof_m

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Bucket List

For some of you the summer is a third of the way over, but for me it seems to just be getting started this week.  I enjoyed my day off on Monday and getting back into the routine of nannying the past few days.  I feel like this summer is going to be a short one for me, so I'm looking to make the most out of every day.  I've created a summer bucket list to help give me fun ideas for things to do the next few months.  

In addition to the fun list, I also have a more practical list of things that need to get done (find a job, clean my carpets, etc). 
If you enjoyed this list, then check out my 101 in 1001 list

What's on your to do list this summer?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Seven Summer Shoes

We are less than a week out from July, which means summer is in full swing. During the summer months I tend to go barefoot most of the time since I'm usually in my house, in the backyard, at a pool, or at the beach. However when I'm wearing shoes, I like them to be fun, cute, and comfortable.  We all know the summer is filled with a wide range of events, so it is important to have the perfect summer shoe collection that fits all of your needs. Summer includes lots of trips, so it's important to have shoes with multi purposes that way you can save some room in your suitcase

I have seven different summer shoes that I rotate in and out depending on the day, event, and my outfit. While they are not all staples, I thought it would be fun to share them with you. 

Jack Rogers
Yes, I have three different pairs of Jacks, and I am equally obsessed with each of them. I bought my Hamptons Sandals in platinum five years ago, and they are still in fabulous shape. The Lauren Sandal in white is great to pair with dresses and skirts. The Alana Sandals are such a fun look. I have them in navy, which matches with just about everything in my summer wardrobe. The tassels are cute and classy. It took me awhile to get used to this style, but eventually I realized how comfortable they were. The What I love about all three of these is that they can provide a dressier look when paired with the right outfit, or they can be great for a casual look with shorts and a tank. If you're looking to purchase a new pair but don't want to pay full price, then you can checkout their current sale or wait until Nordstrom's has one of their anniversary sales. 

Casual Flip Flops
Everyone needs a pair of flip flops that they can wear to the beach, at the pool, to pilates class, or just around the house.  For me these sandals are Sanuk yoga mat flip flops. They are incredibly comfortable especially when you're doing a ton of walking. They're made out of recycled yoga mats, so if you are into being green then check them out. 

A Small Heel
It's no secret that the summer season is known for weddings, graduation parties, family reunions, showers, and other fancier events.  I think it's important to have a little bit of a dressier shoe in your summer collection. Plus if you work through the summer, then you need a shoe to pair with your business casual outfits.  I am a fan of a small scrappy nude heel that you can pair with many different outfits.  I found these block heels from JCrew Factory a month ago for less than $30. They are cute, comfortable, and a great essential for the summer wardrobe. 

White Sneakers
White sneakers are perfect to wear when you are doing lots of walking but still want that summer fashionista look. You can pair them with jeans, dresses, skirts, shorts, and even athletic clothing. My favorite pair of white sneakers are Jack Purcells. They have great support for days when I'm on my feet for an extended amount of time. I like them because they are a little different than your typical white converse plus they fit my narrow foot well. 

Running Shoes
There is something about the summer that seems to have everyone on a fitness craze. For me, I like working out in the summer because I simply have more free time than I do during the other months of the year.  I also love running in the summer time because you get a good workout in a short amount of time. Recently I've discovered that a quality pair of running shoes make such a difference. My current pair are Brooks. You can find them here. I have the Ravenna's. I have nothing but fabulous things to say about them. 

What's your go to summer shoe?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let's Have Coffee

Good morning sunshine. I hope your week has gotten off to a fabulous start. If not, then let's start to turn things around now. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer), put on your favorite playlist, and have a seat to chat about life's recent happenings.  We're going to have a bit of a virtual coffee date. I clearly have not been posting regularly, so I thought it would be fun to catch up a little bit.  I'll share  some life updates with you, then I have a few questions for you to answer! 

The first question I have for you...What's your current go to coffee date beverage?
If we were on an actual coffee date right now, then I would be drinking some type of iced coffee with cream and a little sugar in it. It's way too warm outside to be drinking a hot beverage! The heat index the past few days has been around 90. My go to Starbucks order lately has been iced coffee with milk, two pumps of simple syrup, and a pump of flavored syrup depending on my mood. 

So the last time we chatted, I filled you in on month five of my adulting adventures. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then check it out here. Since then I have finished out my temporary long term substitute contract as a seventh grade math teacher and started my summer "break".  The teaching position gave me lots of experience. I realized this weekend that this past school year I had the opportunity to help open a sixth grade Language Arts classroom, and then I learned how to finish out the year with my substitute teaching position.  The end of the year was filled with so many interruptions, schedule changes, high energy adolescents itching for a break from school, and some really heartfelt gifts from generous students. I could go on and on about my experience as a new teacher, but I think I might save all the details for another time. 

Do you have any exciting plans this summer? 
This summer I have a short list of items I'd like to cross off. I'll be working several different jobs- my part time retail job, nannying, and working a camp this week. I plan to continue getting into better shape by playing field hockey, running, getting back into lifting, doing yoga, and attending spin classes. I'm hoping to find time to relax and simply do nothing because the past few months have been crazy busy.  I intend to catch up with friends I haven't seen in awhile. The goal is to have full time teaching contract by the end of summer, so ideally I will be busy with interviews. 

Have you read any good books lately? 
I love to read, but lately I haven't had time to do so.  Now that I have more free time, I'm looking for book recommendations.  I discovered an app yesterday that allows you to use your public library card to download audio books. I'm excited to try this out. I'll let you know how it works out. 

I'm working on posting on my blog regularly again. I have some ideas of things I want to write about, but I am constantly searching for better ideas plus it's all about the readers. 
What types of posts would YOU like to see in the next few months?
I have a few posts planned about healthy dinner ideas, some outfit inspiration, and of course an adulting update. My blogging editorial calendar hasn't been finalized yet, so I'm still open to any and all suggestions!

What's been your favorite lunch food lately? 
A few weeks ago, I discovered the perfect bento box at Starbucks. I have been working to recreate it at home, but I have yet to master it. I'll be sure to share my recommendations once I perfect it. I have also been loving all of the fresh fruits and veggies that are in season. 

Have you found any cute clothes lately? 
You know by now how much I love to shop.  I am such a shopaholic. I've been working to save my money, but every once in awhile I have to #treatmyself. A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to the mall and had some fun trying on dresses and coverups in Lilly Pulitzer. How cute are these!

I love the bright colors and light fabric- perfect for hot summer days at the beach. The dress would even be great to wear for work to brighten up the office on those days you wish you were somewhere tropical instead. 

I hope you enjoyed our coffee date. As you finish reading this, I am most likely running around with elementary aged kids teaching them how to have fun while thinking outside of the box through problem solving! I'm looking forward to coming home today to read all of your answers to the questions and your feedback on our first virtual coffee date. I'll be sure to answer any extra questions your have- be sure to leave them in the comment box below. In case you forgot, here were my questions:


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Adulting Month Five

I cannot believe that over an entire month has passed since I've published a post. Navigating the world of adulting has truly consumed me.  Month five has been much more positive than the previous two months. 

 I have been a long-term substitute teacher in a seventh grade math class for five weeks now. This position has confirmed that I have chosen the right profession. It has been quite fun putting all that I learned the past five years into action with students that I can actually call mine.  In five short weeks, I have already learned so much. I've learned a lot about myself, the inner workings and politics of schools and the surrounding community, and best teaching practices.  Waking up every morning and working at the same place has been quite refreshing compared to the day to day changes I experienced while substitute teaching in five different school districts earlier this year. 

I'm finally establishing routines in my personal and professional life, which makes me feel like I actually have a grip on things.  I am a creature of habit, and I LOVE routines.  I thrive when I can schedule my time out.  I've learned that packing my lunch the night before, picking my outfits out for the week on Sunday nights, and going to bed before 11pm are crucial to a successful work week.

Since I've started my life as a working woman, I realized it was time to make a big girl purchase.  During my second week of work, I purchased my first car.  I had been searching for quite some time now. I had determined the criteria that was important to me- sun roof, heated seats, leather seats, a cross over size vehicle big enough to fit my pup, and something that would be safe in winter weather.  I had it narrowed down to about four different types of cars. One afternoon, Todd and I went to test drive a few different cars just for the heck of it.  I ended up hating the car that had been #1 on my list and loving the one that I thought I wanted the least.  Trust me when I tell you that test driving is so important to purchasing a vehicle.  We met with a sales associate, but I walked away that afternoon thinking my credit wasn't be established enough to actually purchase a new vehicle. Several weeks passed and the car was still on my mind. After a few phone calls with the dealership and some serious thinking, I decided to purchase the car! Initially, the purchase was overwhelming, but looking back I don't regret it one bit. I am now the proud owner of a Black 2016 Subaru Forester Limited. I settled for a black interior, but ended up benefiting from all of the limited features so I can't complain.

Looking ahead at month six, I'll be entering the uncertainty of what comes next again. As of right now I don't have a full time teaching contract for the upcoming school year. I have no idea what I'll be doing three months from now, and I am much more comfortable with this unknown feeling than I was in January.  I am hopeful that things will work out how they are supposed to.  I have been working hard to apply to any and all jobs that I am qualified for in hopes that the right school will want me.  In the mean time, I am working on putting my summer plans together. I'll be nannying again three days a week, working a camp, working out, playing field hockey, and the rest is up in the air.

Lessons I've learned in month five of adulting:

Being tired is a lame excuse. 
Seriously, I had been using this as a reason not to so much- work out, get together with friends, play with my puppy, say yes to adventures, and enjoy life.  During the past month I realized that mind over matter is actually a thing. Although I might be tired after school, I've started to push through the exhaustion and make it to spin classes, grab drinks with friends, and have more fun.

The importance of eating during a working lunch.
As a teacher,  your time to get things done during the school day is limited. I've found that working lunches are necessary in order to get everything crossed off the to do list before I head home for the day.  In recent weeks, I've frequently forgotten to actually eat during these working lunches. On those days, I found myself struggling to make it through the second half of the day because I had such little energy.  I've found that even eating something small is better than not eating at all.

Goals for the next month:
-Continue working out regularly
-Get together with friends I haven't seen in awhile
-Publish a post at least once a week


Monday, April 17, 2017

Adulting Month Four

Hello lovelies, thank you for coming back to keep up with my blog posts and not giving up on me. Yes, I haven't blogged in over a month, but I think I have a pretty good(not so good) reason why.  

First, let's begin by rewinding to my last and first adulting update. If you didn't read it, then check it out here. I had navigated my first month of adulting, shared a personal anecdote of how I was feeling a little lost, and was hopeful for what month two would have in store for me.  Well since then, have been two and a half months filled with adulting. These past three months have been a complete rollercoaster for me. 

Month Two (February)
Things that I thought would happen in month two: 
"I'll be searching for open teaching positions to apply for, updating my digital portfolio, continuing my fitness journey, celebrating my twenty third birthday, taking a weekend trip, and watching my little brother being his college lacrosse career." 
Looking back, all of those things I thought would happen did occur. These were what I thought would be the highlights of month two, but they ended up being the small things I experienced.

Breast cancer took on a new meaning for my family...
  During the first week of February, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My family realized in an instant that life as we knew it was about to change, but we just weren't quite sure how. The rest of the month was spent figuring out what the best course of treatment(s) would be for her, what her options were, and what our roles as supporters would be. For me it seemed like a month filled with anxiety and fear of the unknown. 

I started working...
Despite what was going on with my mom, life still had to go on. I started working again at my part time job. It was nice to be back with my wonderful co-workers in such a peaceful place to work. I also began substitute teaching. I was initially nervous to enter buildings and classrooms that I knew close to nothing about. However, the classrooms I was in during February were fabulous. I enjoyed being able to pick and choose the days I wanted to work or have off without any repercussions. I learned a lot about different teachers' methods of organization, classroom management, routines and procedures, and tricks for writing substitute plans. I was excited to add more ideas to my imaginary bag of teaching tricks. I also loved the short five to twenty minute commutes I had in comparison to my student teaching commute (65 minutes plus). 

I got an interview...
My job search continued, I ended up going through an interview process with a semi-local district. I had applied to the position in early January, but I figured nothing would come of it. During February, I endured three rounds of interviews, which included teaching a demo lesson to an actual class of students. This process was exciting for me since it was my first set of teaching interviews. I prepped a little for them, but I went into each interview with an optimistic attitude that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain whether it was a job or just interviewing experience. At the end of the month, I still had no idea if I would be hired for the position or not. 

A weekend getaway happened...
My fun for month two was a weekend away with Todd. This year we decided to skip the gifts and go away to celebrate our birthdays. We spent two days and one night in D.C. It was a fun trip filled with lots of walking, delicious food, navigating public transportation, several museums, some sight seeing and of course a little bit of shopping. More details on our trip to come in the future.

Lessons learned during month two: 
Perspective is everything
Mammograms save lives

Month Three (March)
March Madness is usually all my family talks about during March, but this year it was rarely brought up outside of the reminder to fill out our individual brackets for the annual family pool. Our pool has no bets involved just a year of bragging rights.

Mom's journey with breast cancer continued...
On March 1st, my mom finalized her treatment plan. Her surgery was scheduled for March 17th. The first two weeks of the month were filled with more doctor appointments and preparations for her to be out of commission for awhile. I helped her shop for items she would need after surgery and prep some food that we could freeze for future meals. March 17th came, and she endured a six hour surgery. Her surgery went beautifully! A few days later she came home from the hospital and her road to recovery began. Her spirits were high considering everything that had happened. Less than a week after her surgery, we found out that they had successfully removed all of her cancer (insert happy tears here). The month didn't end as she had hoped. Complications from surgery forced her to return back to the hospital. The second half of the month my dad and I took over all house responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, taking care of the dogs, taking care of my mom, grocery shopping, etc.). I didn't realize how much my mom actually did for us until she wasn't able to do these things anymore.

My interview process concluded...
The first day of the month, I found out that I advanced to the fourth round of interviews for the teaching position. This fourth and final round was with two assistant superintendents and a middle school vice principal. It was probably my favorite interview of the process- very conversational and allowed me to share who I truly am. My interview was on a Thursday morning, and by Thursday afternoon I found out I was hired for the position- a Long-Term Substitute for 7th grade math. I was so excited to accept the position. I found out that I would be taking over for a teacher who would be out on maternity in mid April. For the rest of the month, I served as the middle school's building substitute. I  went to the school five days a week and filled in where they needed me. 

March ended with a fun weekend...
The last weekend in March was definitely one I will forever remember. My best friend got engaged to her college sweetheart. They moved to the mid-west in early August, so I don't get to see them much anymore. However, they came back to their college alma mater (just a few hours from where I live) for the weekend, so I was able to surprise them to help celebrate their engagement. I am so excited to help them plan their wedding. Not many of my friends have gotten engaged/married yet, so this was definitely the realization that we're all growing up and the adult world is oh so real. I spent the second half of the weekend visiting my brother at his college. My parents plus Todd drove up and I met them there. We went to his lacrosse game, enjoyed some of the best brick oven pizza, and ended the weekend with Sunday brunch before returning back home. 

Lessons learned during month three:
The power of positivity is real.
Everything happens for a reason.
You don't realize how much moms do around the house until they stop doing everything. 
My family is lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends/family. 

Month Four (April)
Here we are half way through my fourth month of adulting. Life as I knew it still isn't the same. My mom is still recovering from her surgery, so I still have a lot of responsibilities to tend to at home. I'm definitely learning how to balance adult responsibilities with fun. I'd like to think that I'm mastering adulting much better than I did back in January.  The first few weeks of the month I continued to be the building substitute for the middle school I will spend the rest of the school year in. Last week, I had off for Spring Break. I spent a few days working at my part time job, went to my brother's lacrosse game, switched out my winter clothes for my spring wardrobe, and enjoyed time with my family. 

Tomorrow I begin my first big girl job. While it is temporary, I am excited to begin the career I have been working so hard to achieve for the past five years. I feel blessed to have this opportunity so soon after graduating. I know the next two months will be filled with personal growth as well as challenges, but I am optimistic for what the future holds. 

It's hard to believe that there are only two weeks left until May. We are closer to being half way through 2017 than we are to the beginning of the year. I'm hoping to hop back onto the fitness train. With everything going on with my mom, I haven't been taking the time I need to take care of myself. My goal is three workouts a week right now, which should be realistic to conquer. I'm also striving to get back to blogging regularly. I know posting five days a week is just not going to happen, so I've decided to start posting two days a week- Mondays and Thursdays. I'm moving more towards quality of quantity in all aspects of my life. 

 Before concluding this post, I just wanted to say a quick thank you. Thank you for coming back to read my blog posts after my month-long hiatus. Blogging is something that I love, and YOU, my readers, keep me motivated to continue posting. An even bigger thank you to everyone who has helped my family the past few months. Life certainly hasn't been easy for us, but your words of encouragement, home cooked meals, cards, and overwhelming support have made it easier for us. 

Thanks for reading. Have a fabulous Monday!