Monday, January 30, 2017

January Favorites

Can you believe that the first month of the year is almost over? I definitely am finding it hard to believe.  January has flown by, but I don't feel like that much has happened in my life.  This past month has been a recharging month for me.  I have been spending time doing things that make me happy, relaxing, taking care of myself, working out, and regaining the energy I had lost. There have been a few places and products that I have been loving this month. Check them out below!

Fitbit Charge 2
The first week in January my fitbit stopped working. I had it for almost two years and wore it just about everyday. After calling the company, I found out that it was out of warranty but I was eligible for a damage discount.  Initially I thought I could go on without purchasing a new fitbit, but several days later I found myself missing it.  After some research and consideration, I chose to purchase the Charge 2.  There hasn't been a day yet that I've regretted this purchase.  

Green Smoothies
New year, new me... Just kidding I actually hate that saying.  I've always loved smoothies, but this month I've started making more green smoothies; filling my morning drink with kale and spinach.

It's grapefruit season.  I've been eating half a grape fruit with my breakfasts. They're great hot or cold.  When I have some extra time, I broil one in the oven with a little brown sugar and honey. 

If you know me, then you know that I love pizza.  My favorite pizza is one that is thin and crispy.  It's hard to find the perfect slice.  My mom and I have always loved Peace A Pizza, but in the past few years they closed down.  This month we discovered a new place called SNAP. It turns out Peace A Pizza shutdown and re branded themselves into this company.  The pizza is custom to your liking so you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you'd like.  When we went, we split a custom pizza topped with herb butter, goat cheese, olives, spinach, and artichokes. 

Bookending the day
I've been loving ending my day with a little reading rather than watching Netflix. It's helping me sleep better, and it has reminded me how much I actually love to read. This month I read The Friends We Keep and No Baggage.

My face has been really dry lately. This moisturizer has done miracles for my face! It's definitely pricier, but it's made of all natural ingredients. 

Of the five goals I had for the month, I've managed to complete three of them, which isn't bad at all.  Over the course of the next day I'll be setting my intentions for February.  I'm looking forward to what the month has in store for me. 

What have your favorites been form January?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Walk in my Week: First Month of Adulting

Happy Friday! 
Yesterday I shared a little reflection about how my first month after graduating college has been, also known as my first month of adulting.  I've gotten requests for more posts like these, so I thought I'd give you all a glimpse into what my average week has looked like this past month. Below is an outline of what I do on each day every week. Each day more items are added to these core lists depending on what is going on in a given week.  Throughout each day I usually watch at least one episode of Grey's Anatomy, read some of my favorite blogs, read for thirty minutes, draft a blog post, and take care of the dogs.

Morning Routine
Each morning is pretty much the same. If I don't have anywhere to bed, then I'll sleep until eight most days. I wake up and read The Skimm to find out the highlights of what's going on in the world.  I take Brody out and feed him breakfast.  I drink a cup of hot water with lemon as I make breakfast or eat my pre-workout granola bar. I then head upstairs to make my bed and get dressed for my workout. 

Around noon I usually feed the puppies their lunch.  I make my own lunch and then take the puppies out.  After taking care of the puppies, I sit down to eat my own lunch. As I eat lunch, I usually watch Netflix or read some blogs. 

These tend to vary depending on the day. Some days I meet my mom at the gym when she's done work, some nights I coach, sometimes I run errands, work on the blog, etc.  Once my parents are home, my mom and/or I cook dinner then we eat together.  Most nights, after dinner, my mom and I watch a silly reality TV show together on Bravo. I'm working on reading for a little while before I go to bed, but most nights I end up falling asleep after reading a few pages. 

I have a feeling this schedule won't be lasting for too much longer. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Adulting: Month One

Happy Thursday everyone! Just one more day until you've survived the fourth week of 2017. For some of you the first few weeks of the month have been fabulous- filled with healthy eating, daily workout routines, and happiness.  For others the first few weeks might have been a roller coaster of a rough start to the new year.  The good news is that next week we start a new month, which brings and opportunity for a fresh start.  I honestly cannot believe that January is just about over.  January has been my first full month out of college, or as the majority of my fellow millennials would refer to it as my first month of "adulting". I thought I would give you all a little update as to how the post grad life is going for me.  
So where do I even begin... 
If you've been following along, then you know that I didn't graduate this past spring. Instead I graduated a semester late (this past December).  I chose to graduate a semester late for several reasons. First, I wanted to be able to do well in my classes rather than overloading credits and overwhelming myself each semester.  Second, after doing some research I found that student teaching in the fall semester is actually the best option for education majors.  Third, I refused to spend every single break taking classes. I think it's important to give yourself a little brain break in between semesters.  Fourth, transferring schools and changing majors altered my original plan.  

Most people graduate college at the conclusion of spring semester.  There's usually lots of pomp and circumstance along with what seems like endless celebrations. Graduating at the end of the fall semester was much different than the experiences I watched most of my friends have roughly six months prior. Graduating in December was rather uneventful.  Graduation was a one day celebration from brunch with my family, the actual graduation ceremony, and then ending the day with a dinner hosted by my parents.  The semester ended, graduation was a whirlwind of a day, a week later the holidays happened, my post grad friends returned back to work a few days after Christmas, and in the past few weeks my undergrad friends returned back to their college campuses for another semester. 

Then there's me and my first month adulting.  Just before graduation, I was feeling pretty burnt out.  My parents and I decided that for my mental health it would be best to give myself a month off before  really beginning the job hunt.  Needless to say, this first month of post grad has been spent focusing on improving my mental and physical health.  I've been working on creating healthy habits, finding hobbies that make me happy, and catching up on the rest that I missed this past semester.  The first two weeks of January my brother was still home on his winter break from college.  It was fun having him home during the days.  We would go to the gym, play games, and binge watch Netflix together.  These were essentially my lazy recovering weeks.  He went back to school, so the past two weeks I have been home alone most days while my parents are working.  These two weeks I have been searching for hobbies, spending time at the gym,  binge watching Grey's Anatomy, snuggling with the puppies, cooking dinners, and beginning to apply to jobs.  

The honest truth.  As everyone has headed back to school and work, I've been feeling a little lost. The past four and a half years of my life have been centered around succeeding in college in order to be prepared to enter the real world.  This is the first time in awhile that I have no idea what I will be doing a month from now.  As someone who is type A and used to being on the go, this feeling is a little scary and overwhelming.  I'm learning to embrace the uncertainties of life, but sometimes I can't help but feel like I'm standing still while everyone around me is moving forward with their lives.  I know this feeling is pretty irrational, but I think it's part of being in the minority of people who graduate in December.  Those who I've shared these feelings with have gently reminded me that most people graduate and take the summer off (about three months) before they begin working. I am working on not being so hard on myself and finding joy in this oddly calm point in my life, but I would be lying if I told you it has been easy.

Enough of the negativity, let's talk about some of the positive things that have happened my first month of post grad.  I have finally gotten back into working out again.  It has made me happier, and I'm already feeling healthier.  I've also started cooking dinner for my parents.  I'm learning to become a better cook and how to really plan out meals for an extended period of time.  My blog has been thriving.  With my free time, I've become more dedicated to writing.  This month my blog has gotten the most monthly views in its four year history.  Picture me doing a little happy dance. I've been able to spend time with our puppies.  They are full of energy and growing quickly.  They are only puppies once, so it's been fun playing and attempting to train them. I've been living at home, which has helped me become even closer with my parents.  I'm grateful that they are allowing me to stay with them to save money until I'm financially ready to stand on my own two feet. Their constant love an support has been so helpful. 

Looking ahead into month two. I'm not really sure what will happen.  I've started the on boarding process to begin substitute teaching, so I'm thinking in month two I'll begin that journey.  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 begin his college lacrosse career. My goal for month two is to spend more time focusing on my positive traits rather than dwelling on the negatives. 
Celebrating month one of post grad like..

Thanks for reading my update. Tomorrow I'll be sharing a glance into my day to day life in my first month of adulting!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

5 Things To Do Instead Of Checking Your Phone

It's crazy how so many people around us are addicted to their phones.  If you're in a public setting, take a second to look around and count the number of people you see on their phones.  My guess is that it's more than you can count on your own two hands.  We're all guilty of using our phones too much..maybe some of us more than others. There's so much we are missing out on when we are staring at our phones.  This digital connection is preventing many of us from being present and enjoying the moment.  The past few weeks I have been working on finding more productive things to do when I find myself reaching for my phone out of habit and/or boredom. Recently social media has been filled with too much negativity for me, so it's made decreasing the mindless scrolling of the phone much easier. I've created a list of some happier and healthier things to do in your spare time.

Read a book
This is honestly becoming a lost art.  We all convince ourselves we don't have any time to read, but in reality we're just not making time. Rather than coming home from work or school and spending twenty minutes catching up on your social media, why not open a book and read a few pages.  

Head to the Kitchen
Find a new recipe to cook or bake.  This is always a fun adventure, and if you don't like to eat the sweets you make you could always mail them to a friend.  Your other option while you're in the kitchen would be to meal prep.  This requires a little bit of time, but your productivity will pay off when you're having a hectic week.  Remember, there's lots of recipes out there that give you the option to freeze food for later (a great meal prepping alternative). 

Get Crafty
You don't have to be artsy in order to craft. There's tons of simply DIY projects just waiting for you to complete. You could make a bracelet, learn how to knit, make a card, doodle on a piece of scrap paper, paint a canvas, and the list goes on. Another option is to simply color.  Adult coloring books are everywhere, or you could even print a coloring page for free from a website. 

Call a Friend
Yes, believe it or not you're phone can be used to actually call someone.  Pick up the phone and call a family member or friend. If you're lucky, they will be free to grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee.  

Create a To-Do-List
There is always something that needs to be done (clean your room, make your bed, clean the bathroom, organize a closet, social media clean up, etc.). Creating a to do list is the first step to getting something accomplished. Once you have created your to do list, then you can decide what on the list you want to get done first.  This will give you plenty to do rather than checking your phone. 

Take some time to take care of yourself. Spend a few minutes meditating, take a nap, paint your nails, give yourself a pedicure,  create a face mask and apply it, take a bath, do a hair mask, etc.  It's important to take care of yourself and give your eyes a break from staring at that tiny bright screen. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Kitchen Adventures: Kale Salad

Kale is one of my favorite winter greens to eat.  There are so many different ways to can cook it, which makes it one of my staples.  I love adding it to soup, baking it into kale chips, or using it as my salad base.  Recently, I used it to make a fresh salad, perfect for snacking on or for lunch. It required very few ingredients, took minutes to make, and throughout the week I added to it. 

 5 chopped Kale leaves
2 tbsp. Parsley
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Pepper
1 pinch Garlic
1 can White Beans
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Rinse and drain the white beans

In a bowl, combine the white beans, salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. 

Chop the parsley until it is in finely chopped pieces. Add it to the larger bowl. 

Chop the kale into smaller pieces, and add it to the larger bowl. 

Mix the combination and add salt/pepper for taste. 

Throughout the week I added chicken, faro, and zucchini to the salad. It's a great dish to meal prep, and then add leftovers to it throughout the week for your lunches. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mother-Daughter Date: Brunch

The bond between a mother and her daughter is one that is different for everyone.  For me, I'm lucky to have a great relationship with my mom. Sure we bump heads every once in awhile, but the majority of the time we get along and enjoy spending time together. The older I get the more I appreciate her. She's my go to person for advice, is always willing to binge watch reality television shows with me, shares my shopping addiction, loves good food, and is always willing to open a bottle of wine with me.  Last week she had a day off from work, so we decided to go to brunch together.  We headed out to one of the best brunch spots in our area, Terrain

For those of you who aren't familiar with Terrain. It's part of the URBN brand (Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Vetri restaurants, BHLDN weddings).  Terrain is a combination of an upscale home store, garden center, and garden cafe.  I actually work part time in their home store (talk about loving your part-time job!).  It's a fun place to both work and shop at.  They have two stores, one in Pennsylvania and the other in Connecticut.  If you live too far away to check it out, then you can follow along from a distance through their Instagram or online store

We enjoyed people watching, chatting, and raving about how great each part of our meal was. When we go out to eat together we usually split everything. One, there's usually more than one item on the menu we want to try.  Two, neither one of us can eat a ton in one sitting.  Three, we always want dessert.  Four, it's all about moderation! So just like every other time we go out, we decided to split our meal.  

We started out with the bread the restaurant gives you when you sit down. It was sweet, light, and fluffy served with a sea salt honey butter. The decadent combination just melted in your mouth. I think we would have been satisfied just eating more bread as our meal.  We then opted to split a breakfast board and order of truffle fries.  We are both loves are fries, especially truffle fries with parmesan cheese! The breakfast board was delicious. It was complete with two fried eggs, brioche toast, bacon, sausage, and a small pile of home fries.  After finishing our meal and browsing the dessert menu, we opted to finish our brunch with a little ice cream. We split two scoops of the richest chocolate ice cream and orange curd ice cream. These two flavors together was just the perfect way to end a meal.  As the check came, I quickly took it and let my mom know that it was my treat.  It's nice to treat the woman who is always treating you! 

After brunch, we headed to the coffee shop for a hot coffee and tea to sip on as we walked around the store. The store has tons of inspiration for DIY projects, home decor, and health/beauty tips & tricks.  We managed to get through without purchasing anything, but we did snap a few pictures along the way.

Who do you love to brunch with?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Top 10: Things to do Before Student Teaching

For some of you, you're just days away from your first official day as a student teacher.  Emotions are probably high- excited, sad, nervous, and the list goes on. Some of you are probably over prepared while others are wondering where to even begin to prepare.  It was only one semester ago when I was in your shoes, so I know exactly how you're feeling (check it out here).  
Take a deep breath- it. will. be. okay! 
Today I wanted to share some things you can do in the following days to make sure you are prepared for your very first day. Here's my list of ten things you can do in the upcoming days in order to head into your semester of student teaching prepared. 

One: Gather your supplies
Take a little inventory on your school supplies. What do you have and what do you need?  The supplies you need for student teacher are a little different than if you were taking classes. You'll want a large binder to keep your lesson plans in,  pencils, black pens, colored pens, highlighters, post-it notes, agenda, notebook, markers, and anything else that makes you happy. You can check out my recommendations for supplies from my blog post back in August all about school supplies for student teaching.

Two: Checkout your wardrobe
Yesterday I shared with you my tips and tricks for dressing in business casual.  Spend some time going through your wardrobe mixing and matching different outfit combinations.  The more outfits you have created the easier it will be to get dressed. Make a list of items you need to get and items you want. Remember you're on a college budget and there is a difference between wants and needs. 

Three: Begin to create a portfolio
This sounds a little intimidating and overwhelming.  You don't have to have this perfected, but you will want to start. Begin by gathering supplies and figuring out what format you want to you. My portfolio is a digital one that is hosted by weekly.  If you have questions about this, let me know and I'd be happy to help you. 

Four: Update your resume/ cover letter
By now you should have created a resume. Take a few minutes to update it and make sure it is error free. Throughout this semester you'll have the opportunity to interview for jobs, so it will be easier if you have this done now rather than rushing to get it done later on.  The same goes for a cover letter. Begin to draft one, if you don't have one yet.  It doesn't need to be perfect, but chances are you will be working on it during one of your seminars. 

Five: Social media clean up
This should have already been done by now, but just in case it hasn't get on it.  When getting hired, your social media accounts will be viewed.  Just because you have them set to private doesn't mean that they can't be viewed.  Make sure everything you are tagged in and have posted is appropriate. The grandma test will help you (if you'd be embarrassed for your grandmother to see it, then it probably shouldn't be posted). Check for alcohol, foul language, etc. If you want to be proactive, then you could also create a professional twitter. This is a great way to showcase your digital citizenship, projects you've done with students, accomplishments you've had, etc.  

Six: Get organized
Starting off the semester organized always brought me inner peace and clarity. It's one way to feel like you have your life together, even if in reality you don't.  There's lots of different things to organize, but there's several items I definitely would.   Clean up the files on your computer, organize your room, organize your closet, and organize your bathroom. Doing this will make you feel much better. 

Seven: Go shopping
Who doesn't love a little retail therapy? Grab a friend or your mom and head out to your favorite stores. If you're stressing or have a little anxiety, it might calm your nerves.  I'm sure you've figured out somethings you need to be ready (school supplies, groceries, a lunch box, clothes, shoes). Take advantage of this time to go out and buy these items.  At the very least, you need to go grocery shopping so you can meal prep for the week.  

Eight:Do something fun 
Seriously. This is a must. Call your friends and plan something fun for the weekend.  This is your time to let loose, laugh, make a few more memories, and enjoy the time you have with friends.  Maybe go to a winery, visit an aquarium, go shopping, enjoy brunch, a night out, or watch that movie you've been wanting to see. This semester you'll feel isolated from your friends as they will be taking classes on campus and you'll essentially be adulting.  Remember it's your senior year, so you should be making memories and having fun with your friends. Use this time now before you're swamped with grading, lesson planning, applying for jobs, and all of that fun stuff. 

Nine: Meal Prep
Head over to pinterest for a little inspiration.  The more you cook now, the easier your nights will be during the week.  Start with something easy, then work your way up to more challenging things.  Checkout my pinterest board if you need some help getting started. 

Ten: Treat Yourself
The day before you begin, do something for yourself.  Get a manicure, a pedicure, buy a latte, binge watch your favorite Netflix show, etc.  Do something for yourself that will make you feel relaxed.  In the upcoming months you won't have much time to do these little things, so take advantage of your time now and #treatyourself. 

If you're still feeling lost be sure to checkout my following links for help:

Good luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Teacher Outfits

Another post in my Survival Guide to Student Teaching. Today I'm sharing some tips for dressing professionally, how to pick out your outfits, and a few (three plus weeks) of my winter outfits. This guide is great for anyone who needs some help with dressing in business casual whether it's for teaching, student teaching, sorority chapter attire, an internship, work, etc.  I mentioned in my guide how important it is to be professional during student teaching, and what you choose to wear has a lot to do with this.  It is important that you are dresses appropriately at all times. Most days this means business casual, but other days it might mean pajamas or your favorite sports team.   

Dressing Professionally
In order to know the appropriate attire to wear, it's best to overdress on your first day and then observe what those around you are wearing.  Each school has a different dress code for faculty, so you will want to make sure you are adhering to your school's guidelines.  You want to look put together but not over the top.  Mirroring what the teachers in your school are wearing is a great guide to know if you're dressed appropriately or not.  You will always want to make sure your clothing is never not too tight, too baggy, too low cut, too wrinkly, or dirty. If you don't have one, now is a great time to purchase a steamer or iron.  As far as shoes go, make sure they are clean and comfortable.  Heels are cute, but they aren't necessarily the most practical teaching shoes.  You want to seem approachable to your students, and if you tower over them then they might be intimidated (especially elementary students). I recommend having a few pairs of comfortable flats, sandals, booties, and riding boots. This goes without saying, but sneakers are definitely not appropriate.  Unless it's a dress down day, stay away from wearing them to school. 

Planning Ahead
In my opinion, getting dressed in the morning is either lots of fun or absolutely torture.  If I can't find an outfit that I love or I'm comfortable, then it becomes torturous. I think we've all had those mornings when you finally find the perfect outfit your rooms looks like a tornado hit.  During student teaching I discovered a method for making my mornings less stressful.  I would pick out my clothes for the week on Sundays.  That's right- choose five to six outfits at one time.  I would first look at the week's weather and my calendar, and then I would choose six outfits that I liked. I chose six in case there was one day I wasn't feeling that outfit.  I would then group these outfits together and hang them on my closet door.  Having them preplanned made my mornings run much more smoothly because I didn't have to think about what to wear. You can find over- the- door hangers at lots of places. I got mine from Target for less than $6. You can actually order the same one and have it shipped to your house within a few days.

Business Casual Staples
In order to make getting dressed a little easier, there are a few staples you'll want to include in your wardrobe.  You can find these for inexpensive prices at Old Navy, Target, JCrew Factory, and TJ Maxx. 

Outfit Inspiration
Here are some of my go to business casual outfits for the winter. They vary in how dressy they are. 

Plaid blouse// black cardigan// houndstooth skirt// black flats

Fur vest// polka dot blouse// black pants// riding boots

Red pants// boatneck striped sweater// plaid flats

Houndstooth pants// black sweater// black flats

Black pants// blue collared shirt// red plaid vest// tan flats

Plaid tunic// tan sweater// navy skinny pants// riding boots

Navy cardigan// plaid blouse// tan pencil skirt// tan flats

Black dress// blanket scarf// riding boots

Black pants// striped shirt// herringbone vest// booties

Navy skinny pants// sweater// purple gingham shirt// riding boots

Navy printed pants// white blouse// maroon cardigan// tan flats 

Black pants// teal cardigan// long sleeve tee// booties

Fur vest// chambray shirt// skirt// riding boots

Black pants// oxford shirt// leopard flats

Herringbone vest// black pants// polka dot blouse// herringbone flats

Black pants// Sweater// oxford shirt// black flats

Hunter boots// tan skirt// 1/4 zip

teal cardigan//white Oxford// plaid black skirt// riding boots

Dress Down Days Outfit Inspiration
Pajama Day: Lilly Pulitzer pants// pink tee// oversized sweater// tan flats

Sports Day:  Jeans// Villanova shirt// oversized sweater// booties