Friday, August 25, 2017

Let's Have Coffee

Happy Friday my friends! It's been two months since we've had a coffee date, so I thought it was time we schedule another one.  If you missed my last coffee date, then you can check it out here. Lots has happened this summer and I'm sure y'all have a lot to share as we transition into a new season. Grab your favorite go-to beverage right now and have a seat. Read a little bit, then participate by commenting or tweeting with your responses.  

What's your current go-to beverage?
While I was away on vacation a couple weeks ago, I found the most perfect coffee shop.  They had great breakfast/lunch foods and beverages. I actually drank their coffee black not once but twice.  Their iced coffee was so amazing that I didn't even feel the need to add cream nor sugar.  This is seriously big deal if you've ever seen me make my cream and sugar with coffee.... I mean coffee with cream and sugar. If you're ever in Charleston, South Carolina check it out! 

Do you have any last minute plans for the last little bit of summer?
Next week, I'll be working four days at my big girl job. We start our teacher in-service days... full days filled with meetings, curriculum planing, and a chance to meet some of my students. I'll be spending the most of the last bit of summer by working and making sure everything is ready to go for the first day of school.  However, I do have some fun plans too. I'll be going to the Zac Brown Band Concert Labor Day Weekend. I'm looking forward to the last hoorah before school officially starts. 

Have you cooked anything good lately?
This summer my family seemed to have developed a slight obsession with penne all vodka. I highly recommend this recipe! It's really tasty plus way easier than you'd think to make. I would suggest adding a veggie to the dish- spinach, broccoli, or squash to the mixture. 

What are your current obsessions?
I'm currently loving La Croix Grapefruit water, fresh tomatoes from the garden, coaching field hockey, and my guilty pleasure has become watching Siesta Key. Anyone else shamelessly watching this downgraded version of The Hills?

Have you set any goals lately?
As I start a new school year filled with new opportunities and experiences, I am focused on setting goals that I can actually achieve. My goals are 100% centered around living a balanced life. I think it can be so easy for first year teachers to make their job their life. I really am trying to make sure this doesn't happen. Sure I'm passionate about what I will be doing, but I also recognize that balance is needed to avoid burnout. My goals are to eat breakfast everyday, workout at least three times each week, and make time for fun. 

Don't forget to participate by answering my questions via twitter or by commenting.  I can't wait to hear what y'all have to say and any questions you may have for me!

Enjoy your weekend! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Summer Nanny

I've mentioned it a few times, but during the summer I work as a nanny for a family with two boys. This summer was my fifth with them.  It's funny to look back at how each summer has been a little different. It seems like during the summer everyone has a little bit of a different job and a different routine. I always find it interesting reading about what others' routines are when their job is different than mine. I thought it would be fun to share with you what my day usually looks like when I'm working. 

Before Work
Before work I usually workout or blog. It depends on the day and what my schedule looks like.  If I go to a spin class at night, then I will take advantage of the morning by getting a little blogging done or treating myself to an extra hour of sleep.  It usually takes me about 20 minutes to get ready for work. Since I usually end up running around outside, I just take a quick shower and throw on a tank with some norts.  I tend to make my breakfast and lunch before I head out for the day.  I like to eat my breakfast when I get to work because then I eat with the kids. 

Now that the kids are older (upper elementary school-aged), the mornings are much more quiet. They usually have just woken up when I get there.  The first thing I do is make them breakfast. They usually like to chill out (watch TV, play video games, or on their iPad).  During this time, I make their breakfast. After I've cleaned up breakfast, then I usually read or get a little more blogging done. This summer, I've used the quiet time to apply to jobs. 

Mid- Morning
Usually mid-morning, the kids think of some "big activity" that they want to do that day.  This could be anything from baking something, which friend they want to have over, what movie they want to watch, to what trampoline park they want to go to. Regardless, I try to make the fun activity happen. I'll look for coupons or checkout the weather to make sure we're not going to get stuck in a storm while spending an afternoon at the pool.  Once we figure out what the afternoon will look like, then I make them breakfast and we eat together. 

The afternoons are usually reserved for fun.  This summer we've spent afternoons swimming, at a trampoline park, at a local park, going to the movie theatre, baking, watching a movie, playing games, going to the skatepark, or just playing outside. The last hour I'm there is generally the hottest point in the day, so the kids tend to gravitate towards staying inside.  They typically watch tv or play video games.  While they hangout, I'll watch a movie with them or read.  

After work
After work my schedule changes daily.  On Mondays I usually go to spin and yoga classes at the gym.  On any other given night, you can find me walking my dog, swimming, taking a nap, watching Netflix, reading a book, blogging, or hanging out with family/friends. 

This week my schedule has actually changed. I'm beginning to establish new routines as I endure my first two days of new teacher orientation at my new job.  I'll miss the laid back nature of nannying, but I think I'm ready to get into more set of a routine plus salary pay!

What part of your summer job will you miss the most as we transition to Fall?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Charleston Summer Packing List

I don't know about you, but whenever I'm going somewhere new the first question that pops into my head is, "What should I wear?" I mean seriously anything new- a restaurant I haven't been to, a sporting event, a new store, vacation, etc. Anybody else with me?

So naturally once my family decided on the date and location of our summer family vacation, my first instinct was to start looking up what to wear. I consulted with pinterest, several blogs, and my friends who had been there before.  I had some what of an idea of what to bring, but I wasn't 100% sure.  The weeks leading up to our trip, I kept a list on my phone of possible outfits and I stalked the weather to compare it to where we live.  After doing my "research" I decided I was finally ready to pack the day before we left for our trip.

Just a few pro tips for packing for a trip:
Make sure all of your laundry is done before you start packing. 
There's nothing worse than going to pack an outfit just to find that the top is dirty.  Plus, it's always nice to come home to clean clothes rather than dirty laundry.

Check the weather
Chance are the pictures you see of your destination are always on the days filled with beautiful weather. News flash, the weather isn't always as it seems in the perfect picture.

Pack outfits rather than random items
Packing outfits rather than random shorts and tops makes packing much more efficient. This also prevents you from hitting the bump in the road while you're on vacay getting ready for dinner and you realize you don't have the right top or undergarments to match the skirt you brought.

Less is More
Mix and match. Don't be afraid to re-wear items.  Pack some basics that way you don't have to pack as many clothing pieces.  If the place your staying has a washer and dryer, then you will be able to wash your clothes!

Roll your clothes
If you roll your clothes, then you can actually fit more in your bag and your items won't get wrinkled.


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 by 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?