Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Novels With Nell - Quiet

Anyone feeling shocked that there were two book style posts in one week? Sometimes I think I make it sound like I never read but if you read this post then hopefully you know that is an exaggeration. Regardless I trust Nell's judgement when it comes to sharing books worth reading with y'all and am excited for her to be back today to share another one of her favorites!

I am especially excited about today's recommendation. Nell has told me about this book before as we bond over the fact that we are definitely introverted. I'm glad I'm not the only one who becomes frustrated whenever categorizes someone who is introverted as shy since it's all about how I am gaining my energy. I like people, don't get me wrong, but when it comes to recharging I need to be by myself. I can distinctly remember a week last year when I was with other people non stop (no exaggeration either) and by the end of the week I suddenly could not handle it anymore. I'm thinking this will be the next nonfiction book I read, thanks Nell!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking
By Susan Cain

When I googled the definition of “introvert,” the result was “a shy, reticent person”, while googling “extrovert” gave the definition of “an outgoing, overtly expressive person.” In actuality the difference between introverts and extroverts isn’t necessarily shy vs. outgoing. It’s a matter of how a person refuels and gains energy. Introverts recharge by being alone, while extroverts find energy from being with other people.

I read this book in high school per the recommendation of my grandmother, an extrovert. She remarked, “your family is a family of introverts,” which I would agree with. She said she wished she had read it earlier when my dad was growing up or when I was young because the book has various tips for parents of introverted children. One of which is not to call the child shy because “they’ll believe the label and experience their nervousness as a fixed trait rather than an emotion they can learn to control.” Also, kids can pick up on the negative connotation of the word, and then are embarrassed because they realize they’re doing something “wrong” and are then being called out on it in front of another person (in the instance you and your mom run into someone at the store, and when your mom introduces you she says, “Don’t be shy.”) Now, I actually was really shy when I was little, say up until age 5. However, my grandmother used to do that to me and said she wished she hadn’t because it only made me more embarrassed. I think Quiet can help extroverts understand introvert tendencies a little better.

I liked the book because I found it interesting and relatable. I’m an introvert. That’s not to say I find all human interaction to be draining. We all have those people who, after interacting with them, we leave feeling tired, and those who we leave feeling energized. But I do recharge by being alone.
The author argues that today’s society values people who are entertaining, charming, charismatic (none of which are bad) but at the cost of undervaluing the more thoughtful, reserved types who have a lot to bring to the table. “Introversion- along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness- is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.” Do any of y’all see some truth in this? For people who are introverted, extroverts who want to better understand their introverted counterparts, people who love personality types and tests (Dorothy) this book is worth the read.

“At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.”

What's your take?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Sunday Routine with prAna

Thank you prAna for sponsoring this post.

It wasn't until graduating college that I really got a taste of what people meant when they referred to the Sunday Scaries. Yes, in college you have another week ahead of you and likely have homework to do and tests to study for but you also het some time throughout the week to accomplish these things. As I've entered into the "professional world" (does teaching count as professional if I am working with children?) I've realized just how real the Sunday Scaries can be and how important it is for me to make the most of my Sundays in order to prepare for the week ahead. Forget Sunday being the day of rest because instead I choose to utilize my Sunday to get things done so that when I come home from school and meetings after work I may get a moment of rest on weeknights instead.

So while ignoring the idea of Sunday being the day of rest I should also admit that I also end up ignoring the concept of Sunday bests. Since I am no longer in college and can't get away with occasionally wearing workout wear throughout the week I like to be comfortable on the weekends and especially on Sunday. I love that athleisure has become such a trend since there are so many ways to look cute while still being really comfortable. I recently discovered prAna and was so impressed by the versatility of clothing they offer from comfy loungewear to pieces that are completely practical to wear out and about to feel put together in. While I opted for a more casual look for my Sunday routine it's a combination that I wouldn't hesitate going out in public in due to it being equally cute. And as if you need another reason to opt for something comfortable to go through your weekly routines prAna shared an awesome video all about Why Organic Cotton Matters that is worth a watch. One of prAna's visions is to make clothes that help you thrive in any environment and these pieces do just that. 

So now that you've got the perfect pieces for relaxation and getting things done, you can find me wearing this outfit to complete my Sunday routine which includes the following:

Clean & Do Laundry
I may be in the minority of people who love to clean. There is something about cleaning that makes me feel in control and put together. Sometimes I'll clean a bit on Saturday so that I don't have quite as much to do on Sunday but I tend to vacuum our apartment, wipe down the counters and mirrors, clean my bathroom, and every other week I'll stiffer any wood or tile spaces. Knowing that I am starting the week with a clean apartment calms my nerves about having 5 days of 5:15 wake ups and afternoons when I never know when I'll actually get home. Coming home to a dirty space would not be relaxing so I try to avoid that at all cost. Additionally, the weekends are usually my time to do laundry as well. Maybe y'all aren't surprised by my weirdness at this point but because of my laundry detergent I actually LOVE doing laundry. I wash my sheets every other week but usually have accumulated enough laundry from the week to do a load of clothes and towels to make sure everything is fresh and ready for the week.

Meal Prep 
This may be my least favorite part of my Sunday only because I tend to stick to the same recipes each week. Having all of my lunches and dinners (and even snacks already in their zip locks) makes so much of a difference during the week. I usually carve out an hour to an hour and a half to knock this out in preparation for the week ahead. This week I'll be having a few different salads for lunch at school and turkey rice bowls for dinner. I even decided to make some delicious and filling peanut butter granola bars to have as a snack throughout the week as well. Doing all of my cooking on one day helps to keep the kitchen a bit cleaner during the week and emptying the dishwasher a chore that only has to be done a couple of times.

Schedule Content 
This is one routine that I am still trying to get into the habit of as I am not used to not having much time at night to work on blogging related tasks. Scheduling out all of my blog posts over the weekend allows me to be better at responding to emails, highlighting my posts, and sharing my content throughout the week in a stress free way. Usually if I miss a post on a weekday it is due to me not planning in advance so I've been trying my hardest to make sure that this is done in advance. Fortunately this is a task I love doing and am able to do while sitting in our living room with my roommates while watching my newest guilty pleasure, New Girl.

Go For A Walk & Call Home
Since a lot of my Sunday rituals involve accomplishing tasks inside my apartment I make a conscious effort to make sure I get out of the house and enjoy the fall weather we've been having in Greenville. Since I tend to call my parents on Sunday anyway I have found a park near our apartment to walk through as I update them on what's been going on here while also hearing about anything exciting happening at home. These walks & talks have become one of my favorite Sunday rituals as they are relaxing and remind me to take time for myself and enjoy where I am right now.

Plan For The Week Ahead & Relax
I'll be the first to admit that I am not very good at relaxing and also have found that with teaching there is no way to feel ahead. So instead of stressing I've been trying to make sure that I am relaxing and doing what I can to plan for my week. From scheduling in workouts, writing down tasks, responding to and drafting school emails, and even closing my computer to enjoy my friends company Sunday nights spent with other people make the approaching Monday seem to loom a little less. The more I know what to expect for the week ahead the more prepared I feel and in turn the less terrified I am. 

sweater (c/o) // pants (c/o)
couch // blanket // rug // pillows (similar)

With clothing that is Mindfully Made and my effort to get in the right mindset I can't recommend prAna's clothing and preparing for the week ahead over the weekend enough! If you're interested in shopping prAna's pieces be sure to use the code F17CGDW for an exclusive discount! Learn more about prAna and see all of their cute and comfortable clothes on their site!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Step Into My Week

Happy Monday, friends! It's a bit of a tease claiming that considering this is only my second Monday of the entire school year, yep you read that right. The last time I had a five day week was the second week of school so you can go ahead and bet that I'll be dragging come the end of the week! With labor day and hurricane days I'm also not used to weekends feeling so short but I suppose it's about time to face the reality of a normal week. 

Since our last Step Into My Week I ended up getting an extended weekend which was a happy surprise. Sunday night an email was sent out that school in Greenville County was canceled for Monday and I don't think we could have been the least bit more excited. Then on Monday afternoon we were informed that schools would stay closed on Tuesday. As wonderful as those two days were I quickly came to realize that I am so much more productive when I have a set schedule and I used those two days to relax and hang out with friends and do very little more than that (oops). We (my friend group here in Greenville) have recently become obsessed with Scattergories and played at least three times this week. Despite never losing power we still defaulted back to our childhood ways of making fun without electricity even when that didn't have to be the case. We also took a little bit of time to start brainstorming how to get our apartment living room looking a bit more put together and I'm excited that we are finally making progress. We now have two more chairs, a mirror above the tv, and have cleaned up some of the communal areas which is major progress. I am so impressed by people who magically have their spaces done when they move in but considering we just started getting paychecks and have been in the space since June it seems to be about time. 

Considering we only had a three day week sadly I only have three outfits to share with y'all this week and it's a bit of a tease since we had jeans days all week. Meaning these are not the most professional outfits but being comfortable at work is never something I'll complain about. 

top // jeans // shoes

top // jeans // shoes

I had a fun dinner meeting on Thursday night and left school that day feeling really put together and ready for this coming week. Friday was a busy day but I was able to leave relatively early for me without having to bring home anything to grade or put in the grade book as I was able to do that before I left. Whenever I start to feel like I have it together more work seems to come to my plate but it was nice to have that feeling two days in a row. Friday nights as I've discovered are meant for an early bed time and being lazy since I tend to be too exhausted to do anything else (although sometimes I will grocery shop on my way home on Friday). Saturday night my friends and I decided to go out to dinner so that we'd be out of the class and wouldn't have to cook. We went to one of our favorites, Rick's Deli, but not without a stop to see the dog one of my friends was dog sitting. This dog looked like a pig and was so fun to play with before we left. I definitely don't feel like I am capable of taking care of anything but myself right now (and I guess the 26 kids I teach) so it was fun to be able to play with a dog without any responsibility. 

I hope that you all had a great week and are feeling prepared as this new (long) week kicks off! 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Books I Read This Summer

One thing that I have already begun to realize that I am going to miss as this school year picks up is reading for pleasure. I've never been the best at closing my laptop and picking up a book before bed since I always find that there is more work to be done. Somehow in the summer when the workload lessens and sitting by the pool becomes an option I am much better about getting in the groove of reading. If you've somehow missed the book recommendation series I have going on the blog, Novels with Nell, then you may not know that I'm also not the best at straying from my preferred genres and reading what friends recommend. In my defense however, one of the books on this list is one that Nell recommended (for the better part of two years...) so maybe I am getting better at that as well. 

I am including below all of the books I read this summer either by the pool, in bed, or on a plane. I honestly think I read more this summer than I did all of senior year. It's amazing what you make time for when you have a bit of free time to spare. I decided it would be fun to go ahead and say whether or not I'd recommend each of the books since I did read some that were a bit of a dud in my opinion. Different strokes for different folks though and y'all may love one of the books that wasn't my favorite so I may as well include them all. 

Some of y'all may remember from previous posts that my taste in books is a little funky. I like to jump from scary psychological thrillers to self help books which makes my book shelf look a bit strange. With that disclaimer aside I think that there is just about something for everyone on this list. 

Self-Help / Nonfiction

You Are A Bad Ass (toss up)
This was a pool side read between psychological thrillers. While it definitely is good and worth being talked about (as it is by so many people) it wasn't one of my favorite self help style books. There are different sections in the book that include money, love, etc and while there are some good takeaways overall it wouldn't be the first book I'd recommend.

The Defining Decade (my top recommendation of this list)
I flew through this book. Holy cow was it good! I had a number of friends look at the title of this book and think it as going to be discouraging to 20 somethings but it is the exact opposite. This book highlights why your 20's can be such a pivotal time in your life without scaring you that you're not making the most of them or making you feel behind. I have recommended this book to so many friends and continue to do so. Nell and I actually read this book at the same time and I piped up on her Novels with Nell about it because I liked it so much. Not only does it include tips but it also includes stories about the difference that taking these tips to heart can make. 

Love Lives Here (recommend)
If you've ever read Love Does by Bob Goff you may recognize this author considering it is his wife. This is a faith based book with short chapters making it the perfect before bed read since you don't have o completely remember the last chapter for the book to make sense. The stories in the book relate to some life experience or impactful decision that the author made and it's a nice encouraging non-fiction read. 

Psychological Thrillers

Bittersweet (wouldn't recommend)
I read this book at our beach house this summer and was so mad at the ending. The decisions made by the characters were not the most "moral" and ended up frustrating me so much that I left the book at the beach. In retrospect I probably shouldn't have done that since someone may think to pick it up and read it but then I'd have someone to vent my frustrations of the book to. 

The Girl on the Train (recommend)
I think this book is hyped a little bit more than it should be. The cover and a number of reviews compare it to Gone Girl (which I read and loved) but I didn't think it pulled the reader in quite as much. Regardless, it is still really good and the ending was a bit more surprising than I had anticipated. A good pool side read if you like a murder mystery that is written in diary-esque form. 

This was my favorite psychological thriller of the the summer. After I finished reading it I was still making connections to different parts of the plot which is the sign of a good book. It's set on a luxury cruise liner and you can't help but believe the protagonist throughout the story. Would highly recommend this book. 

The Husband's Secret (recommend)
This was one of the first books I read this summer. It took a while to understand what was happening with the three different families that took over various chapters but once you made the connection the plot really started to pick up. This book is written by the same author who wrote Big Little Lies. It does switch perspectives a lot but was a good read with a lot of unexpected aspects. 

In a Dark, Dark Wood (currently reading)
I just started this book the other day so I don't feel like it is fair to state whether or not I recommend it. It's written by the same author as The Woman in Cabin Ten so I'm expecting to love it as much as I loved that one.

Beach Reads

Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter (Nell's recommendation)
I am finally reading this book based on Nell's recommendation. I'm a little over halfway through with it but picked up In a Dark, Dark Wood to read at the same time. While this book is good I don't think I've really gotten to the point where it's really hooking me. If you like girly or southern books then this is a good pick for you! 

I hope that y'all are enjoying your Sunday!


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