Friday, September 29, 2017

Products I Always Have On Hand

I am in so many ways a creature of habit. From enjoying a routine and schedule to gravitating towards the same products on a daily basis I am really not that spontaneous. As a first year teacher, I don't think this will be my year for spontaneity either. So, instead of try to deny it I thought why not share some of the products that are a part of my daily routine with you! Hopefully you weren't too confused by how these items fit into my life just by looking at the picture but the information below the image better elaborates on why I always have it on hand and any other details you may be dying to know.

La Croix
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit how quickly I can go through La Croix but it really is my go-to drink aside from coffee. The lime, grapefruit, berry, and tangerine flavors are my favorite. When I found out I was in a kindergarten classroom this year with a refrigerator I was most excited about the prospect of storing La Croix in it and so far that's exactly what I've done!

 K Cups (My favorites are Donut Shop and Starbuck's House Blend)
One of my roommates and I have been alternating whose turn it is to purchase k-cups for our coffee cart since we are both avid coffee drinkers. We buy 72 K-cups at a time (of our favorite Donut Shop  coffee) and we are already on our third rotation. I have at least two cups in the morning and if I get home early enough it's not a rarity for me to have some in the afternoon as well. 

JIF Peanutbutter
If you know me in real life then you probably already know what an essential part of my diet peanut butter is. Every morning I have a waffle with peanut butter on it for breakfast. Between that, peanut butter granola bars, and pretty much anything else with peanut butter I'm sold.

While my skin is pretty normal but in the fall and winter can get pretty dry. A good moisturizer has been a lifesaver during that time. I've been changing up my skincare routine and have been loving this Beauty Counter Adaptive Lotion. I use it at night and in the morning and found that it layers well with tinted moisturizer too! 

Dry Shampoo
College is full of life lessons and one that I encourage everyone to learn is the convenience of dry shampoo. I am a big fan of dry shampoo as a time saver at night. If you have dark hair a colored dry shampoo is super helpful but I also really love the Dove dry shampoos! 

I am definitely not a makeup pro and rely on tinted moisturizer when I am getting ready in the morning. I especially like ones with a bit of coverage and plenty of moisture for a long day ahead. My skin is far from perfect so it's nice to know that not only will it be covered but it also won't feel super dry and flaky.

Dove Deodorant 
While I definitely wouldn't say I am picky about deodorant after trying this at the barre studio I go to I was hooked. A spray deodorant may sound a little bit funky but it dries clear, smells good, and is so quick to use. It has been my go-to ever since discovering it.

Day Designer
I am an avid planner. While I haven't been using my Day Designer quite as often as I did in college I still rely on having my daily plan written down. Whether it's a Target planner or something like a Day Designer I don't know where I'd be without a bit of organization.

So there you have it, some of the products that I like to always have on hand! I'd love to hear your go-tos!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Meal Prep In Your Step: Homemade Granola Bars

Welcome back to my second installation of "Meal Prep In Your Step." I'm a bit embarrassed to share meal prep this week since this past Sunday I was NOT feeling the idea of meal prepping. I was kind of dreading the week ahead and meal prep made it seem like the weekend ending was even more of a reality. 

So, this week I decided it would be fun to share one of my favorite snacks to make and have on hand during the week. If you ask any of my friends what one thing I always have on hand is after a few guesses I can pretty much assure you they would tell you it's a granola bar of some sort. I don't know if I have a serious fear of not having food when I'm hungry or if the idea of my blood sugar dropping with nothing to fix the problem scares me more but I attempt to avoid those issues at all cost. There have been many times when I have lent friends a bag to use and left the granola bar in it just so that they won't be without either. With how quickly I go through granola bars I thought it would be fun to try and make my own at one point and they were a hit! These are easy to make and really only take one big bowl and a pan to put them in! I usually make a double batch to fill my pan and last me the whole week but below is the recipe for one batch!


1 cup of whole oats
1/2 cup of peanut butter (I use JIF natural)
1/3 cup of honey
1/2 cup of ground flax seeds
1 tsp of vanilla
Chocolate Chips to your discretion 

How To Make It: 

1. Measure out ingredients.
2. In a large mixing bowl mix all ingredients together.
3. Spread into a pan lined with aluminum foil.
4. Store in refrigerator once done. 
5. Cut and serve cold! 

If you haven't picked up on the trend of Meal Prep In Your Step posts I am all about something easy. These snacks are filling and so delicious that I find myself eating them for dessert on occasion! I hope you'll give them a try! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fall Bucket List

Nearly a week into my favorite season I figured now would be as good of a time as ever to go ahead and make my bucket list for the season. I am hoping to make the most of the weekends to come and would love to be able to update y'all on my progress in future "Step Into My Week" posts. 

I'd love to hear what you would add to this list! I'm hoping to print this out and laminate it to attach to our fridge as a nice reminder! The adorable illustrations used were done by Evelyn Henson, check out her prints here!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How To Be A Great Post Grad Roommate

One of my most read posts is the one I wrote about "How To Be A Great Roommate." Of all of the things on my blog it makes me laugh that that post is constantly getting traffic. While I included details about some of the things you may not think about when it comes to living in a dorm with another person it all boils down to one thing, respect. As long as you respect the space you share, your roommate, and each others time and belongings things should work out even if you are not the best of friends. I have found that living with other people outside of a dorm and on campus apartments works in a similar way with a few differences, but the respect component remains the same. 

At Furman, where I went to college, we were required to live on campus all four years. So, this is the first year that I have lived in an apartment off campus since taking a job in Greenville. I still live with two other Furman girls but our apartment set up and what we've gotten used to is completely different than it was when we called Furman home. Now instead of a four bedroom apartment with two bathrooms we live in a three bedroom apartment with two bathrooms. We have laundry and a dishwasher directly in our apartment and our schedules are very different than they once were while we were in college. 

I may be in the minority when it comes to post grad roommates since all of my roommates and I are teachers so we have pretty similar schedules. I feel like that is not normally the case and would require a bit more consciousness towards one another than is needed in our situation since we are all up before 6 am and tend to be asleep before 11 pm. Whatever your situation may be here are some tips I have that will help you to be a better post-grad roommate and even help out those of you still in college. 

1. Be Clear With Chores And Responsibilities
While I do enjoy cleaning I don't want to be doing it all the time and nor do my roommates. By breaking up who is going to vacuum, empty the dishwasher, stiffer, and clean the bathroom we are able to have a clean apartment without having to do it all individually. We are still working on coming up with a system for this but are pretty good about cleaning up on Sunday's. Taking out the trash and emptying the dishwasher is a bit more difficult to schedule since it's usually whoever finds that it needs to be done does it but coming up with a chore chart or some system will also help with tasks like this. 

2. Be Clear About Financial Responsibilities
Living with other people definitely lessens your financial responsibility since you are able to split wifi and energy costs not to mention the cost of rent. Making sure you split up these costs at the beginning and at the very least decide when you will be making payments to one another will help you to not have to confront your roommates about money as that can be a touchy topic. It is also more than likely that your roommate(s) has a different salary than yours so being conscious of how things will be paid is important. 

3. Discuss Your Expectations As Roommates From The Beginning
Going into the living situation with clear expectations as roommates will make the situation better. You don't need to lay out whether or not you're going to be friends but instead need to discuss how you would like to live. Do you like your space to be hot or cold? Do you want to host friends to your apartment or solely use it as a space to decompress after a long work week? Do you love to cook and plan to use the kitchen a lot? Little things like this being discussed at the beginning will help the person you are living with picture what living with you may be like. By picturing how you are living together with realistic expectations from the beginning hopefully you'll be more satisfied in the long run. 

4. Be Considerate & Courteous
Caring about your roommate and what they are doing in your space is necessary for you to have a good relationship. Be considerate of them when they are sleeping. Try not to be too noisy early in the morning and late at night. If you share a bathroom try to make sure that one of you ins't taking too long making it so that the other person doesn't have enough time to get ready. Move your clothes from the washer when you are finished so that if needed your roommate can do a load of their own. 

5. Be Intentional
The more you put into your roommate relationship the more you will likely get out of it. Be sure to include your roommate in plans on occasion or when possible. Take the time to ask them how their day was and what they are up to. If you're running to the store ask them if they'd like to join or if they need anything, this sincerity won't go unnoticed. 

6. Deal With Problems As They Arise 
If problems do arise or if you aren't thrilled with how your living situation is currently be sure to talk about it in a kind way with your roommate instead of letting this anger build up. Being passive aggressive is not going to help either of you in the long run. If you're frustrated make sure to calm down before bringing up the issue and be sure to try not to point fingers but instead work together to come up with a solution. 

7. Respect Each Other's Space & Respect Shared Areas Even More
Allow your roommates to do what they want in their own space. If they close the door when they leave in the morning that probably means you shouldn't go in. Self explanatory, I know but something to keep in mind. When it comes to shared space however, a good run of thumb is to try to leave it cleaner than you found it. If you make a mess in one of these areas clean it up right away instead of the other person feeling the need to clean up after you. Whether it's dishes or an unorganized living room from friends coming over you don't want to have your space a mess and your roommate probably doesn't want it to be that way either. 

8. Discuss Organization Of The Apartment So You're On The Same Page
Knowing how you plan to organize the pantry, laundry room, fridge, and any communal closets will help to make sure that no one claims more space than they should. Storing extra supplies in communal space seems fair for all and double checking to make sure that it's ok if you store your suitcase somewhere other than your room is just good practice when it comes to living with other people and being conscious of their space as well as your own.

I am sure there are other tips that would be prove to be helpful but these were some of the most over arching tips I could think of. But remember, it all boils down to being respectful. I by no means am claiming that I am the easiest person to live with and definitely find myself not following some of these tips when I'm in a hurry or stressed. I'd love to hear any other tips you may have the have made your living situation after graduation better! One last tip that we were required to do as undergrads at Furman and would be helpful for those of you who may not have the luxury of living with friends you know is making a roommate contract. If you'd like to see an example of one check out this post

Monday, September 25, 2017

Step Into My Week

If there is one thing that became all too apparent this past week it is that the days can be LONG. I know that I am not used to five day weeks but in reality the week didn't feel all that long but the days certainly did. I'll be the first to admit that not having the most stellar week could be the culprit of that but I still don't fully understand how the time between when I woke up and went back to sleep could have felt so lengthy. 

I am hoping that this week is better in a number of ways but especially with how lengthy the days felt. I did feel on top of my work for the most part which is good but my email inbox still felt like it could dictate the amount of time I had and even the mood I was in. I am looking forward to finishing up September and entering into October at the end of this week. Hopefully a new month with some exciting things to look forward to will help to continue to boost my morale! 

I am happy to say that I was much better at working out this week than I have been in past weeks! I made it to a couple of barre classes and have scheduled some for this coming week as well and even went on a pretty lengthy run given the fact that I haven't run that much as of late. With meetings after school it is hard to always make it to barre3 classes so remembering that running is a great option (and something I am still capable of) especially as the temperature gets cooler is a great option! 

I completely forgot to take a picture of one outfit I wore this week but remembered to capture the other four. It has been so hot here this past week and is expected to be equally as hot this week which has delayed me transitioning my closet from summer to fall. That is a bit of a chore so it was ok with me but I look forward to eventually having continually cool weather. 

top (old) // pants // sandals // watch

top (old) // pants // sandals // watch

dress (old) // sandals // watch

This weekend was the epitome of uneventful. Friday night I went to dinner with Sophia at TakoSushi after a rough day and we came back only to grade papers. I showered and got in bed pretty early and attempted to watch the new Beauty and the Beast (which is on Netflix). I fell asleep in the first 10 minutes so it was an unsuccessful attempt. Saturday morning I slept in a tiny bit and then decided to go to Starbucks to finalize lesson plans and work on some blog work. While running a blog while teaching full time and going to graduate school is a lot I've found it to be one of my few escapes. Because of that I allow myself Saturday mornings to go and sit at a coffee shop and work the morning away. Instead of it feeling like a chore it is pretty relaxing especially when I change the environment I'm used to. After that I came back and worked on some anchor charts for my classroom and then ran errands before the Alabama game. I am happy to announce that Trader Joe's has their seasonal food out and I stocked up on more pumpkin flavored things than I care to admit (including my favorite pancake mix). I got back in time for the game but couldn't get the TV to work so resorted to Beauty and the Beast round 2 and fell asleep yet again. Staying awake during movies has never been my strong suit but I was able to stay awake during my third attempt. That night one of my roommates and I got pizza and came back to watch a movie. I don't even know the name of it but it wasn't a very good movie. Yesterday was a normal Sunday aside from making pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes. I talked to my parents, did a lot of work, and went on a walk with Porter before showering and making dinner. I ended the night attempting to relax while watching Gilmore Girls. 

If you didn't catch them, here are my posts from this past week:

I hope that y'all had a good past week and weekend! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

3 Pieces for the Easiest Fall Ensemble

Happy first official day of Fall! I think fall would have to be my favorite season and there is something about the weather that puts me in the best mood! I've found lately that this fall weather has me feeling a bit nostalgic to be back in college and I think that is in part to experiencing my first *real* Fall while at Furman. Growing up in Alabama our winter is an extension of Fall which means football season instead of falling foliage. Experiencing cooler weather, the leaves changing colors, and being able to participate in Fall activities and wearing fall attire without sweating to death make South Carolina a great place to be during the season. Dressing for Fall is also one of my favorite things. While September isn't exactly the prime time for layering sweaters and vests I have a few go to pieces that help me to look put together in the easiest fall ensemble. The best part? These are pieces that I am confident most of you already have hanging out in your closet. 

Item 1: Dark Wash Denim
Dark wash denim is my go-to all year long. They are flattering and comfortable making them the perfect option as temperatures cool down. A few of my favorite brands for denim include KUT from the Kloth, Articles of Society, and Genetic Denim

Item 2: A White Blouse
A good 1/6th of my entire closet is white tops. Despite them being a staple in any closet you can find so many varieties of this basic giving me an excuse to have so many. This particular one partially reminds me of a pirate given the material and lace up detail but the peplum hem and bell sleeves make it a great piece to transition into fall and wear to something aside from a theme party of Krispy Kreme's Pirate Day. A white blouse is just about the easiest way to look put together with a pair of jeans and is great to wear for so many different occasions. 

Item 3: Booties (I find that taupe ones are the most versatile)
Lastly, booties are a staple in my fall wardrobe and likely many of yours as well. I was able to snag this pair during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and think that the taupe color is perfect to match with brown or black and the split side give an added twist. Plus they are on sale currently and Nordstrom is offering triple rewards! Booties are perfect with dresses, skirts, or jeans and have nearly pushed riding boots aside during early Fall.

blouse // dark wash denim // booties // bag // watch (c/o) // bracelets ( 1 & 2 ) / rose gold bracelet

Whenever I am standing in front of my closet with "nothing to wear" before heading out the door these are the pieces I know to reach for to make an outfit. I'd love to hear what your go-to pieces are for the easiest outfit so that maybe I can mix it up a bit more! For now, here are some of my favorite fall fashion picks of the season so far. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Blogger Bloopers vol. 3

I hope that y'all are all powering through this week. Today I am willingly sharing embarrassing photos of myself on the internet. Quite honestly, I love sharing blogger bloopers with y'all. Hopefully it serves as a necessary reminder that just because I post "put together" photos most of them are actually a little bit more like this. I am definitely grateful to have friends who are so patient with me when we are taking photos since more of the photos than I'd like to admit look a little something like this. I hope y'all enjoy this look behind the scenes, but be sure to check out the actual posts in the link above each outfit! 

Instagram with Sant and Abel

Not Yet Featured

I honestly don't think I could recreate some of these faces if you were choosing to pay me to do so. Hopefully these don't come back to haunt me someday! 

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.

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