Sunday, January 29, 2017

Optimistic Sunday Savings vol. 2

After feeling super ahead this week and then being told that the unit I've been planning for two weeks for student teaching and a class project isn't a unit they actually have time to teach and having to start over completely I am in need of this reminder. Here's to another week of productivity and hopefully some positivity too! 

Happy Sunday! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Step Into My Week

Happy last week of January! While this was a good week I am having to sit here with my planner open beside me just to remember what all I've done. Between presentations and added assignments with school classes have still been a little bit of a stressor for me, but this week was a lot better than the last two. I spent time combing through syllabi and successfully knocking out parts of assignments with approaching due dates which definitely boosted my spirits. So far from my education block I think the most important thing I've learned is that when you have time to be productive put your phone and distractions away and just knock stuff out. Another thing I think that helped contribute to a less stressful week was attending a number of workout classes. I try to make it to Barre 3 frequently but with it being about 25 minutes away that takes a solid chunk of time out of my day. What I've realized though is that because I take that time out of my day in a productive and energizing way, when I am trying to get back into homework on those days I am so much more efficient and feel overall more satisfied with my work.

This past weekend has a lot to do with my lower stress levels as I took time to get assignments done Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to help prep for the week ahead. I went to bed early enough on Friday night to go to barre at 8:30 and head to Starbucks to get work done afterward. I actually vlogged last weekend but haven't taken the time to edit it just yet but that will come soon and I'll be sure to include it in my next step into my week post. Saturday afternoon was restful and I was able to draft all of my blog posts for the week ahead which meant I didn't have to rush to finish them the night before they were to go live which meant earlier bed times! Saturday night Nell and I went to see Hidden Figures and I can not recommend it enough. We both left talking about how much we enjoyed it, and I immediately texted my parents telling them that they needed to go see it. Sunday included laundry, more school work, and an afternoon workout class before getting some assignments completed before chapter. 

Monday I had a to-do list that filled up almost every slot in my Day Designer but getting it all done helped to set my mentality for the week. I even managed to have time to go to Barre and have a fun dinner with my KD family (aka my little and grand little). I finished out Monday feeling so great that I opted to go to 6 am barre before the seminar style class we had that day. Usually our classes are pretty normal and our professors are teaching but this day they brought in a panel of principals from local schools to talk to us about expectations when it came to job applications and interviews (y'all the real world is approaching way too fast). After that we had another session all about resumes. Fortunately, I have one on file and only felt the need to switch up a few things on it which meant I didn't have to start totally from scratch. If you are starting from scratch though, I have a post with a template for the resume I used in this post. Thank goodness for older brothers who can test the waters with that sort of stuff first and then edit yours otherwise I would have been relatively clueless when it came to first creating my resume. Tuesday night I went to dinner downtown with a friend which was good and still managed to keep my productive streak going. Wednesday was about the same class wise but that night I had a senior class wine tasting party to attend, I went to the Furman basketball game, and finished the night with a group project session. This week has definitely allowed me to better see that I can have time to be social if I commit to getting things done right after class. Yesterday I was at my student teaching school all day which was nice and headed straight to barre after it. Although some little things I wanted to accomplish yesterday weren't totally finished I've decided that to-do lists can roll over and I hope to have just as productive of a weekend this week as I did last. 

One other thing I did this week that was a little out of the usual was film a video for the Furman Marketing Team to use to show prospective Furman students about what it is like to go here. They had me vlog a day in my life which meant my camera joined me in class, the library, and at meal times. I'll hopefully be editing that this weekend and can't wait to share it with y'all since those are normally places I wouldn't think to show y'all. 

This weekend is shaping up to be a little more social than the last but will hopefully be equally as relaxing. I am going to a fraternity date function tonight after a Friday afternoon snack adventure with my little so let's hope I remember to take pictures because that is something these posts have been lacking. I'd love to know how your week went or if you have anything fun planned for this weekend! 

PS. I couldn't be more thrilled that it is finally getting colder! Bring on the jackets which is something I don't feel like I should have to say in January. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ways To Unwind During The Week

Work and school weeks can be stressful; there is no denying that. Oftentimes, I feel like all of my major assignments for the month fall in one singular week. Even when this isn’t the case, however, finding a way to unwind after a stressful day of class or work is essential to your mental health. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in stressors and maintain a focus on them when trying to come up with solutions for them. Over time I’ve discovered that sometimes giving your mind a break from these things will help you to approach them with a better attitude or idea when you do eventually come back to them. In no way am I encouraging you to procrastinate or all together put off working towards completing various tasks, but instead am hoping that by finding relaxing ways to step away from these stressors and unwind, you’ll be able to tackle them more efficiently and with less anxiety when the time comes.

While I am sure that the list of ways to unwind could span an entire page I’ve decided to include some of my favorites for you!

Read a book
Reading is a great way to escape from reality for a bit. Unfortunately, most of the time when I am reading, it is for a given class or assignment. I wish I could find more time each day to read novels solely for fun but sometimes that just isn’t the reality. With that in mind, I like to keep books on hand that I can pick up and put down without feeling too lost when I do have time to pick it back up. Currently on my bedside table is Emily Ley’s Grace Not Perfection. I am about halfway through it and have thoroughly enjoyed reading what she has to say

Working out is the ultimate stress reliever. Not only do you get to work towards a healthy lifestyle but you can indulge in a new fun playlist in the process. I prefer to workout in the afternoon or at night as a way to take a break from what I need to be doing for school. In turn, I have discovered that after working out I am usually a lot more productive and alert than on days when I skip a sweat session.

Make A List
I find list making really therapeutic. I know that may sound bizarre but it allows me to get my thoughts down on paper which in a lot of cases clears my head a bit. Whether I am writing a list of what I need to accomplish the following day or writing in my 52Lists for Happiness book, it’s a great way to unwind and de-stress.
Take A Bath
I think somewhere in the definition or examples of things that can be relaxing there would most certainly be a picture of a bath. In my mind that bath would be overflowing with bubbles and there would be a candle or two nearby. Soaking in a warm bath is a great way to let go of some tension from a hectic day.

Enjoy a cup of tea

It wasn’t until last semester that I started to discover the wonders a cup of tea can provide. Ending the night with something warm and tasty was a great way to destress. While I didn’t take example of this little luxury every night I felt a bit less stressed on the nights when I did.


Go For A Drive
This may be my personal favorite on this list. Something about going on a drive regardless of whether you have a destination in mind or not relaxes me. Since you’re driving, you obviously won’t be multitasking, which is a nice break from the "get things done" mentality I typically embody. I find myself going on a drive about once a week and always come back feeling a little more relaxed.

Call A Friend
Sometimes we take for granted just how nice it can be to vent to a friend. While I love talking to my friends here at school I also love calling my friends at other schools to catch up with them and hear about their lives as a little break from my own!

Paint Your Nails
Painting my nails is something that I tend to do pretty quickly. I can put on two coats of nail polish and a layer of top coat on in less than 5 minutes but regardless of that timing you still have to sit still for a bit to let them dry. This time sitting still isn’t something I often allow myself during the day as I try to get things accomplished and not waste time. In this way, painting my nails and the time spent letting them dry is a good reminder to slow things down sometimes. And not only that but you also end up with a fun color on your nails in addition to that down time.

I’d love to know if you have other solutions when it comes to unwinding at the end of a long day. Watching TV shows, cooking dinner, or having a relaxing routine all sound pretty nice when things seem overwhelming so I’d love to hear additional ideas.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day Designer (Planner) Organization

After sharing what exactly I keep in my backpack with y’all, I was surprised to see so many of you interested in an updated planner organization post! Once I find a routine that works for me, I tend to stick with it, so with this being my second year using the Day Designer, you’ll find that a lot of my organization tactics remain about the same. This semester is a bit different since come the second week of February I’ll be finished with my classes and in the classroom full time. The photos of the inside of my planner will help to give you a general overview of what I have coming up while also hoping to inspire your own organizational tactics. I am very aware that planner organization can be personal and it will depend on your preferences, so I am just including the practices that have worked best for me over the years as a student!

In the same way that choosing how you would like to organize your planner is a personal preference, so is picking out which planner to use however, I couldn’t ignore explaining why I adore my Day Designer in this sort of post!

Reasons why the Day Designer is totally worth the price:
1. It's aesthetically pleasing yet simplistic making the pages very functional.
2. You have a page for each day of the week complete with time slots, a to-do list, and a place for additional notes.
3. It's perfect for college students or adults because you are able to fill it to fit your individual needs.
4. The lining is light blue and never fails to make me smile when I open it up.
5. I never run out of space to write down appointments or things I need to do  even the busiest days.
6. The monthly calendar boxes are plenty roomy and look so pretty all color coordinated.
7. It's sturdy and still looks great after carrying it essentially everywhere and shoving it in my backpack multiple times each day.
8. There is a whole section at the beginning of it just for goal setting.
9. You get endless satisfaction from checking off something on your to-do list (ok, this works with any planner but still…)
10. It definitely keeps me sane and is a whole lot cheaper than a therapist would cost after constantly being overwhelmed trying to think about what you may have going on next.

So a quick side note/funny story for you that has made me an even more loyal Day Designer user. I got this new Day Designer back in October and kept it in its box until the new year approached. I took it home over Christmas break but didn’t really start using it until I arrived back at school. That’s when I realized I was missing over half of the daily pages for January in it. It was the most bizarre team and after flipping through it perplexed for a bit I emailed Day Designer’s customer service team. I heard back the next day after explaining what happened and after a quick phone call a new one was on its way to me that same day. I am seriously impressed! Not only does the planner help to organize your day but Day Designer’s customer service team was so sweet to ensure that I didn’t have to go long without my favorite organizational companion!

So now for how I keep my Day Designer organized:

I have always been a huge fan of color coordinating my agendas and I knew that I wanted to do that with my DayDesigner again this year as well. I swear by  Le Pens and have used the same ones for about 3 years now (worth the investment!) and the best part is that in addition to writing really smoothly they don't bleed through the pages! At the start of each semester I take a post-it note (these cute ones are from Sugar Paper and match my planners exterior perfectly) and assign each class and activity a different color pen! I use this color coating both on the daily pages and on the calendar overview. After a week or two I automatically start associating each color with its class and don't even have to reference the post-it note.

The daily pages are set up in a really user friendly way with lines to fill in what you are doing during specific times of the day from 5 am to 9 pm on the left hand side and check boxes for your ever growing to do list on the right side of the page. Above those are a place to write down your top three things to do on a given day, what you have due, dinner plans, and a don't forget section. While I don't always utilize each of those boxes it is nice to have them on especially busy days! Also, at the top of each page is a quote and as silly as it sounds I love flipping the page to see which quote will be next!

When filling out the hourly lines I like to write in generally what I'll be doing at that given time whether it be class, the library, laundry, meetings, or even the errands I need to run. If I have a test or big assignment due in a given class I also include that in the hourly section just as an extra reminder! The to-do list section is definitely what I utilize most as I write down just about everything I need to accomplish. In my opinion, with organizing an agenda, there is nothing more satisfying than crossing off something on your to-do list!

For the weekends the agenda is organized so that both weekend days are on the same page which is useful since I usually have less going on on Saturday and Sunday than I do during the rest of the week! I don't typically actually use the hour times on these pages and instead write down generally what I need to get done over the weekend. My favorite part of the weekend pages are the overview boxes at the bottom of the page to fill in what all I have going on the following week. This is a great way for me to get an idea of how hectic my next week will be before the weekend is over so that I can prepare accordingly! I keep this part color coordinated as well and try my best to include meetings, assignments, and tests as well as any other exciting events for the week to come.

I know that the way in which I organize my agenda may change a bit this semester as I am student teaching (aka the to-do lists will probably continue to expand) but for the most part this is the system I’ve found that works best for me currently! I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions when it comes to agenda organization!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

I can’t fully decide if I think January has flown by or been dragging its toes… It seems as though the end of the month has snuck up on me although I am very ready for February and a new month. Winter months can always be a bit of a challenge with dreary, cold weather but the sugar high and pops of pink the February brings can make the weather a bit less daunting! In college Valentine’s Day isn’t that big of a deal. While yes, a lot of time fraternities will host parties it tends to be a normal class day unless your teacher is feeling extra generous and decides to bring candy. This year I am sure it will start to feel like that childhood holiday that constitutes picking out the perfect cards to distribute to your classmates at a class party since I’ll be with my students. Since I am a sucker for a handwritten card I am hoping they don’t forget to make me one despite the fact that I’m in college and their student teacher!

            As you get older, it’s easy to think less about the cards and more about the other little goodies that you would happily receive on this girly occasion. I’ve been shopping some of my favorite online sites for y’all to find some cute prizes that would be perfectly suitable Valentine’s gifts for just about any girl you may be shopping for! From earrings to pajamas and books to ice trays these prizes are all just too fun! Guys, if you’re looking what to give a college girl or your girlfriend for Valentine’s Day then you’ve come to the right spot!

Which of these is your favorite? I can’t get over these fun bathbombs and this striped pajama set!

            So whether you’re shopping for these gifts for yourself (no shame in that) or for someone else I’d love to know which was the first to catch your eye!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Optimistic Sunday Sayings vol. 1

I am so excited for this post to go live since it is the first of a new series that you’ll find on Prep In Your Step! As I’ve mentioned in a few posts I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with the start of the semester. I am a perfectionist by nature and tend to get pretty stressed when I don’t feel like I am functioning at my best. I am sure that is part of the reason I’ve been so anxious the past few weeks as I prepare to begin student teaching in about 2 weeks. With all of this in mind I have been trying to think of ways to get out of this funk and one solution I tend to gravitate towards is looking up positive quotes. Whether that is writing down things I hear or scrolling through Pinterest to find inspiration these quotes have been helping me to reframe my outlook a bit.

The idea for this new series, “Optimistic Sunday Sayings,” came to me in class Friday. The thought of sharing these quotes that have helped me to adjust my attitude while combining my love of creativity makes it the perfect new thing for this semester. I got this really cool drawing tablet for Christmas after taking a digital illustration class last semester and love that this gives me an excuse each week to use it!

My goal is to post a new optimistic saying for y’all each Sunday hopefully including an illustration I’ve had the chance to draw as well. I am by no means a digital illustrator, but I think it will be fun to see how my illustrations develop over time! So, here is this week’s saying! I hope it inspires you to focus on all the good things or what is going right instead of what may be going wrong!

Here’s to starting the week with the right mentality!

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