Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Cutest Swimsuits For Summer

Is anyone else in disbelief that July is already halfway over? In some ways, I am so excited because I have two big trips planned for this second half of the summer, but I am also a little bummed that the time left is starting to dwindle. I nearly feel silly saying this since I have a job and no longer have a traditional summer, but there is something about June, July, and August that bring about a more carefree attitude and more socializing. Going into the summer my roommate and I both decided that even without days off all summer long we were going to have a summer attitude, and it may take some convincing, but I’m hoping I can convince her that we should have this mentality all year long. 

The heat isn’t going anywhere here in Alabama so there are still plenty of pool days to come and a last-minute lake trip with friends this weekend had me interested in looking at swimsuits while watching The Bachelorette on Monday. To my surprise, there were so many cute new pieces released since sharing my first round-up of swimsuits in this post in the Spring. Not that I need anymore, but I thought it could be fun to share the ones I found with y’all in case you’ve found yourself tired of the options you’ve been reaching for so far this summer. 

To shop the options, I’ve shared click directly on the image in the graphic below to be taken to where they can be purchased. 


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Step Into My Week 7.16

Happy Tuesday! I hope y’all didn’t mind the switch up yesterday with a post aside from Step Into My Week going live. Amazon Prime day is just too good not to share and is still going on. If you’re looking into purchasing any of my favorite items shared in yesterday’s post now is a great time to do so. 

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but life has been busy. We’ve had a ton going on at work, I’ve been putting in lots of hours on the blog to make sure I get helpful sale (and regular) posts live for y’all, and I’ve been trying to take advantage of hanging out with friends and enjoying the summer weather all of which together make for a full agenda. On top of that, I head to Seattle next week for Sophia’s wedding and am trying to get ahead on a lot of fronts so that it’s mainly play, not work while I am there. I hope that y’all haven’t felt so on the go lately, but if you have then I know how you feel!


Monday I hit the ground running for my busiest week in a while starting my morning with comments, emails, and lots of copy. For Southern Lady, we were finishing up our October issue, so pieces were routing and a few things left to finalize. Around lunchtime, the wrapping paper we needed for a shoot later in the week (yep, Christmas in July is a very real thing) arrived, so I spent most of the afternoon wrapping presents for that shoot. Fortunately, I had a really good audiobook to listen to while I did that (see Listening below). Covered in glitter from the bows tied onto the presents, I left the office and headed to the Y for a workout. From there, I hurried home to shower while my friends showed up to watch the bachelorette. More exciting than the episode was the fact that Ellison (one of my best friends and previous roommate in Greenville) texted Sophia and I that she got engaged! Once the episode was over and friends left, I went to bed to prepare for what I knew was going to be an equally as busy Tuesday. 



I only had a couple of hours in the office on Tuesday, and all of that time was spent working on social media captions and scheduling. You don’t really realize how long that can take until you sit down to do a lot of it at once. Around 9:30 a stylist and I headed over to our location for the next two days to begin setting up for The Cottage Journal’s Christmas cover shoot. By the end of the day, we had set up and decorate a nine-foot tree and transformed the house into a Christmas miracle. That afternoon our team darted back to the office for a web meeting before heading out the door. I went straight home to change and get ready for dinner with a friend at Bottega Café that night. We ended up sitting outside, and I was especially glad the restaurant had set up fans since Alabama has been experiencing an intense heatwave. After dinner, we went to a cool speakeasy called the Marble Ring in Avondale. Once I got home, I quickly changed into pajamas and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.


Wednesday morning was similar to Tuesday morning with my time at my desk being spent really productively since it was limited. I had a Southern Lady team meeting at 10:00 and then headed back to the Christmas cover shoot once that was finished. We shot everything we needed and at the end of the day disassembled the tree, loaded up the cars, and unpacked everything at the office. Macy met me at my house to go for a walk that afternoon, and since I felt like I hadn’t taken time to take a breath so far during the week I skipped bible study and instead showered, made dinner, and worked on the Nordstrom sale posts y’all probably saw last week. Eventually, I read and turned off the lights to finally go to sleep. 



I felt like on Thursday I did not come up for air when it came to tackling my to-do list. I kicked off the day responding to comments and editing pulled photos and then moved straight into writing social media captions and scheduling posts. It was a binder day, and I ended up having to put all the binders in order before finalizing the resources for the issue. At lunch, I raced off to get the straps shortened of a bridesmaid dress and then it was back to work for a busy afternoon. I had to read through the binder, prepare comp copies for both titles, and mail out packages and giveaway products all before 5. After work, I went to the Y to get in a workout and sweat out some stress! I was shocked by how many people were at the gym on a Thursday since usually it’s a pretty slim crowd then. After the Y, I headed home to shower and make dinner before Nell came over to catch up and have me act as a pretend patient for one of her PA school assignments. She ended up staying over til a little after 9:00. The day caught up with me after that, so I closed my laptop and put my phone down to read before bed. 


If you read this post from Friday, then you already know that I nearly overslept. Y’all! I never do that. I think I must’ve forgotten to set the alarms on my phone when I went to bed and am so thankful for the text I received from a friend at 7:21 that had me jolting out of bed to be ready to leave my house by 7:35. Clearly, the week took a toll on my energy level. Fortunately, work doesn’t start till 8:00 on Fridays so I was still on time and laughed about it. I got through my to-do list for the most part with one small thing I needed to take home and finish up and left the office at noon and headed straight to Starbucks. For those of you who have been around for a while, you know Starbucks Friday is normally my morning tradition, but I held off this day to use it as my workspace for the afternoon to get two Nordstrom sale specific posts live. After that, it was back home to shower and tidy up my room (it always looks its worst on Friday afternoons) and relax before my evening plans. My roommate and I got ready and were picked up by some of our friends to head to another friend’s house before Art on the Rocks that night. We got to his house around 6:00 while the whole group trickled in before eventually leaving and heading to the event close to 8:00. I didn’t really know what to expect from the event since I had never been, but it turned out to be one of the most fun nights I’ve had in Birmingham in a while. There were performances, live music, and delicious drinks and food. We went with a big group which made it even more fun as we navigated our way around the art museum. I was shocked by just how many people were there too given that I hadn’t heard of the event until I bought my ticket. This is the 15th year that it is hosted in the summer and there is one more event this summer on August 9th if you’re in the Birmingham area and are looking for something fun to do! Once the event ended at 11:00, some of us went to the Redmont Hotel’s rooftop bar before eventually making our way home.



 


Saturday morning, I woke up much earlier than I should have given my bedtime and couldn’t seem to fall back asleep. I laid in bed for a while, trying to until I eventually got up and made myself coffee and breakfast. Our group text from the night before was going off, and somehow it was decided that we would all do brunch together at 11:15 so I did some work until then. We ended up cooking quite the spread and hung out on a friend’s screen porch while it rained outside, which was so relaxing. I spent the middle part of the day trying to get some more work done but was only mediocrely successful. My friend Macy was house sitting nearby, and the home has its own gym so in an attempt to feel like we were somewhat productive we did a long workout there. After that, I tried to make up my mind of whether or not to go to another live music event and ultimately ended up not going opting to watch Grey’s Anatomy with a friend instead! I think I was even asleep by 11:00, which was nice. 

 

On Sunday, I got up and read in bed while eating my breakfast before getting ready for church and heading to Starbucks to do work there before the service at 11:00. I met my roommate at church, and then afterward, I ran to the grocery store to stock up for the week. I ate lunch while doing laundry and working on some blog work before heading back over to the house were Macy was house sitting to meal prep together (this is the recipe we made) and then workout again. By the time I finished there it was nearing 6:00 so I came home, talked to my parents, and put away the laundry before showering and doing the rest of my meal prepping for the week. Nell came over, and we caught up on our weekends while I was cooking and eating my dinner. Once I had cleaned up the kitchen, I dried my hair and got in bed to finish up the last few things I needed to do before reading and attempting to fall asleep. I don’t think I actually fell asleep until well after midnight which was frustrating, but I’m just going to use it as an excuse to go to bed earlier tonight! 


Lately:

Reading: Dear Wife by Kimberly Bell
I just finished this book and holy cow it was so good! I find a lot of thrillers to be a bit predictable, and while there were some things I guessed the main plot twist shocked me. I almost want to go back and reread it now knowing what I know. This would be a good beach read but probably not one I’d want to listen to since it shifts perspectives in different chapters. 

Shopping: The Nordstrom Sale
If you are planning to shop the sale either with a card or when it opens to the public on Friday you can find all of the posts I’ve done so far about the sale here!

Listening To: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanan
Y’all know how much I love the Libby app and how easy it makes listening to audiobooks. The only downside is that lately, I haven’t had a ton of time. I had started this book and am loving it, but sadly it got returned before I finished it. I am hoping it’ll be available again soon since I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next. I may have to pick it up from the library just to find out! 

Planning: AHEAD! 
I leave for Sophia’s wedding next week so between getting ahead at work, preparing to head to Seattle for that, and trying to make sure all my blog posts are ready to roll while I’m gone my to-do list and calendar are looking extra full. 

Wearing: Dresses
We had a heat advisory warning here in Birmingham all last week, and I took that as an excuse to wear the flowiest clothing items I own. As you may have noticed in the work outfits I showed above dresses were all I wore. 

Posts You May Have Missed: 

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Amazon Prime Favorites For Prime Day

Like many people, I have fallen trap to loving the near-instant gratification that an Amazon order can provide! They just make it too easy to stock up on anything you may need plus all of the things that you didn’t realize you wanted until you started to scroll or search mindlessly. In college, I had a Prime student membership, which meant that I could easily order textbooks, coffee, or even a dress or shoes for a function and have it to me in two days. That’s setting the bar very high when it comes to the speed in which orders are delivered. 

Since graduating from college and grad school, I have outfitted a classroom in Amazon supplies, ordered furniture and décor for my house, and have discovered some of my very favorite items I own thanks to Amazon. Although I know this isn’t a Step Into My Week post (don’t worry, that’s ready to go live for y’all tomorrow!), I thought it would be fun to share what my favorite Amazon Prime buys have been in honor of Prime Day. 

For those of you who may be unaware, a yearly Prime membership gets you free two-day shipping and returns, access to tons of movies and shows, and more. For me, the shipping benefits are alone worth the membership price, but today is an especially tempting day to get on board with a Prime membership due to the deals that Amazon releases. If you’re unfamiliar with Prime Day, it’s taking place today and tomorrow, and various products on Amazon will be discounted throughout the day. Some of the biggest savings will be found on the lightening deal products in case you're looking to narrow your search further. You can see all of the different items included here, but below I’ve taken the time to share my favorites (although I can’t guarantee that they will all be on sale).

You can shop my picks by clicking on them in the graphics below to be taken to where the product can be purchased. I've also shared other top personal amazon buys, top teaching amazon buys, and top affordable workout wear buys in previous posts! 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Top Picks In Each Category

I hope that y'all aren't tired of the Nordstrom Sale just yet. I am sure you've seen several posts about it and will continue to as well. I am doing my best to make them as useful for you as possible in case you're planning to shop the sale. The sale opens to the public at 3 AM ET on Friday, and I am so excited for everyone to have access. With that in mind, I've gone through every single page of the sale to pick out my favorites in each category. It can be tricky to narrow that down, but I feel confident in my picks.

Don't forget that you can see all of my Nordstrom Sale posts under the label "Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019."

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday Shopping vol. 20

Happy Saturday! I’ll be honest that I missed sharing a roundup of the cutest things I’d found online last Saturday, but hopefully, that makes today’s post that much better. With the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale happening now I’m sure you’re getting a very healthy dose of shopping style posts. While I prefer to mix up my content a bit more, I will say that this coming week will be chock full of my favorite finds from Nordstrom and Amazon (since prime day is Monday and Tuesday) for those of you in search of a deal. It’ll be back to normally mixed in shopping and lifestyle posts before long so if these aren’t your favorite, hang in there :)

To purchase any of the items featured click directly on the product you’re interested in to shop it.

Friday, July 12, 2019

What's In My NSale Cart

Did anyone else wake up this morning feeling a little like a kid on Christmas? If not, then maybe you don’t have a Nordstrom Card because knowing this was the first day I’d be able to shop the sale had me giddy. Even if you don’t have a card and are planning to wait and shop next Friday when the Anniversary Sale opens to the public you are still able to scroll through the pages upon pages of fall new arrivals to get a feel for what you may want to purchase. Speaking of purchases, my cart on Nordstrom’s site is overflowing and will need some combing through before I pull the trigger on checking out.

Before I share what’s currently in my cart, I want to remind you about how great Nordstrom’s customer service is. With free shipping and free returns, I tend to buy more than I normally would while knowing that I can return anything that doesn’t fit or isn’t my favorite. I will be sharing what I end up purchasing with y’all next week when it comes in so that I can speak to the sizing and quality of each item but for now, here’s a look at what’s in my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale cart!

To purchase any of the items featured, click directly on the product you’re interested in to shop it. The sale officially opens to Cardholders at 12:30 EST today and purchases won’t be able to be completed until that time! If you’re not a Nordstrom Cardholder, you will not be able to check out until the sale opens to the public next Friday.

To shop any of the items shown click directly on the product in the image below to be taken to where it can be shopped.

Don’t forget that you can see all of my Nordstrom Sale posts under the label (in the sidebar) “Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019.”

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Pieces Most Likely To Sell Out

Want to know a secret? I had every intention of waking up early this morning to finish this post but instead forgot to set my alarms and nearly overslept for work. I still got there with 5 minutes to spare but as you can imagine that didn’t leave much time for finalizing a blog post. Oops.

Since the sale opens to cardholders today (hang tight till next Friday when the sale is open for everyone if you don’t have a card), I thought it could be helpful to go ahead and share what items are worth grabbing relatively quickly since they are more likely to sell out. These are tried and true pieces that people come back to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to shop year after year and with good reason. Most of the items are versatile, and fortunately, Nordstrom does an excellent job of trying to re-stock these items throughout the sale. Maybe they’ve ordered plenty of inventory this year and keeping these items in stock won’t be a problem but these are my sell-out speculations!

To shop any of the items shown click directly on the product in the image below to be taken to where it can be bought. And stay tuned this afternoon for a second post since I’ll be sharing all the sale pieces I’ve filled my cart up with!

Don’t forget that you can see all of my Nordstrom Sale posts under the label (in the sidebar) “Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019.”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Nordstrom Sale Items I Own And Love

Remember last week when I shared an exclusive sneak peek of some of my favorite finds so far for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale happening this Friday? Well, as you prep your scrolling fingers and wallets I thought it might be helpful to share some items I own and adore that will be available during the sale. I will warn you that many of these items are a bit pricier; however, with them being on sale, there’s more incentive to scoop them up at a discount while you can. Take it from me that the cost per wear or use from these items I own are so low thanks to how frequently I reach for them. And better yet, many of these items are ones that I wear year after year thanks to the quality of them.

For me, the Nordstrom Sale is a time to stock up on classic pieces that fill any hole in my wardrobe and can be worn in several different ways. I don’t typically gravitate towards anything too trendy and instead, like to look at what pieces I’ll be able to get the most wear out of. I’ve shopped this sale since high school and over time have been able to build up quite the collection of items that tend to be re-released each year during the sale as crowd favorites. 

From beauty products to shoes and house wears, even though the colors may differ a bit and the styles may be slightly updated, the products generally remain similar. Below you’ll find tons of pieces either identical or very similar to pieces I own and love. If you’re on the fence about any of these items, I would say that going ahead and purchasing them now when they are on sale is going to be better than making it halfway through the season, regretting that you don’t have it, and then paying full price. While I could talk for paragraphs about each of these items individually, I’ve highlighted a few of the very best pieces below the image.


Take my word for it that the white sweater featured in the image above (that is also available in 3 other colors) will be an item that sells out. It’s at the top of my list of items to purchase since the mock-neck style is chic and also practical for an Alabama fall and winter. Sweaters are something I live in during those seasons so finding options that are in colors I gravitate toward, and styles that can be paired with leggings or jeans make them worth every penny of their full price even when I’ve purchased them on sale. I was so excited to see that the exact striped sweater I got last year was back this year too. The scooped hem and mismatched lines of the stripes make it especially flattering. 

While these could be classified as a “treat yourself” kind of item, I was so glad to get a set of these candles before they sold out last year. I had seen them in the sale during previous years but was never quite fast enough to get my hands on them. Whether you keep them for yourself or separate them (each one is individually packaged) for hostess or holiday gifts you really can’t go wrong scooping up a set!

Dark Denim (I especially love the brans 1822 and KUT from the Kloth)
If you’re on the hunt for a new pair of jeans, you will have countless options during this sale. I’ve found that while the designer brands are discounted well, many of my favorite pairs of jeans have been the ones I’ve purchased from the more affordable brands. I’m not sure I would have given them a try had it not been for the Anniversary Sale but am so glad that I did. I tend to stick to dark wash skinny denim but have seen some really cute flare hem options that I may have to order to try on!

Barbour Waxed & Quilted Jackets (also have and love the vest)
I’ve said this before, but one of the best gifts I ever received was my Barbour Jacket. I got it freshman year of college and have worn it nonstop in the fall and winter ever since. I need to get it re-waxed this summer to keep it protected, but everyone I know who is older and has one has mentioned just how durable these jackets are. While the one on the sale isn’t identical to the one I own, it looks super similar in its dark color and waxed exterior making it worth it if you were considering one since it is over $100 off. You can see the guide I created to Barbour Jackets here if you’re struggling to figure out what size you would want! When I was in London after sophomore year, I purchased a vest that zips into my jacket for added warmth, and it looks equally as cute styled on its own as it does under the jacket. I also have a quilted Barbour Jacket (in a lighter weight grey color) that is perfect in the spring time. While it didn’t seem like the sale had any lightweight, quilted Barbour Jackets, I did find this quilted Barbour that would be perfect for the fall and winter! 

Booties (Light Tan & Brown)
The shoes I’ve purchased during past Anniversary Sales have been some of my most worn items in the fall and winter. While I’ve been on the hunt for a new pair of riding boots (fingers crossed there is a cute pair offered this year), I have a pair of light tan booties that I got two years ago that I have worn the steam out of and luckily they still have plenty of wear left in them. The darker brown pair I got during last year’s sale have also become a staple. 

I remember purchasing this set during one of my first Nordstrom Sale shopping experiences, and I haven’t strayed from it since. It lasts such a long time and is the perfect non-intimidating bronzer, blush, and highlighter trio that is easy to pack away when traveling. I’m not quite out of my current set but am considering grabbing a backup to have when I do run out. 

The style of this bag is a modern update on the Tory Burch crossbody bag I own and use all year long. When it comes to purses, my mindset is that having a few high-quality ones that you can wear no matter the season is better than having a bunch of trendy ones. For that reason, I think sticking with the brown or black option is a practical choice. 

I blame my dad for this since he is definitely a big fan of athletic shoes, but growing up we always had a pair of shoes we actually worked out in and tennis shoes that you could throw on with workout clothes but didn’t actually workout in. This may sound crazy, but it helped extend the life of our actual workout shoes and made it so that I could choose cute athletic shoes without having to think about whether or not they would actually be decent for exercising in. In my mind, it’s a win-win. While I can’t say that the Nsale will have the best of the best supportive tennis shoes, they have some cute and colorful options that would fit the bill for any athleisure style outfit you put together. 

Hunter Rain Boots (short & tall)
Hunter boots have been my rainy day staple since 7th grade when I first received a tall version of these boots. I have them in a deep purple color, and while I love that original pair eventually decided to get a short pair. Now I wear the short pair more frequently, but you really can’t go wrong with either option. I believe these are only offered in black during the sale, which would make them a perfectly practical rainy day buy!

Patagonia Jackets (Size Up!)
Last year one of my best purchases was my quilted Patagonia jacket. Although I haven’t seen it just yet in my browsing of this year’s sale, there are a number of awesome jackets from the brand offered. While it’s crazy to think about bundling up come winter during the heat of July you’ll be glad to have gotten it on sale before you actually need it! Patagonia does tend to run small so definitely size up. Personally, I’d order a large in their pullovers for an oversized fit (I’m usually a 2 or a 4 in clothing and am about 5’7”) and have a medium in the quilted front zip style. 

Over the Knee boots were something it took me a while to fully adapt to. For the longest time, I thought they were much too edgy for me and that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off. After seeing so many friends in theirs over previous years, I decided to give the pair I own a try during the sale two years ago. I was kind of picky when it came to what I wanted them to look like, and somehow, this pair completely fit the bill. With a flat bottom, tight but not too tight shaft, and waterproof coating I was sold and have worn them every winter since. Whenever I wear them, my friends always ask where they are from and for a while, Nordstrom didn’t carry them anymore. I’m hoping they bring back this exact pair but love the detailing and color options available in the pair featured. This would be a great item to ask for as a gift and save until the time comes since you likely won’t be wearing them any time soon. 

My Madewell Tote is one of my most used tote bags and is perfect for carting to work or packing up for a weekend trip. I love the newly updated style with a suede stripe in the middle, and although I am glad I have the cognac color think that the navy blue option is adorable as well. This would make a great tote bag for anyone in college or the working world since it’s durable and spacious! 

And remember, all my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale posts can be found here in case you missed something! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Value of a Pivot

It’s early on a summer Sunday morning, and I woke up with this thought on my mind and couldn’t shake it. When this happens writing out a blog post is my go-to but often results in me being long-winded and possibly not the clearest. After multiple edits and additions, I am just as excited now as I was when the idea hit me to get this post live. I hope that it provides insight to any of you who may be considering a pivot in the future and help show y’all just how good this last year has been from a more personal perspective. 



If you listen to podcasts, read millennial-focused newsletters, or scroll through inspirational Instagram accounts then I’m guessing you’re like me and have heard an increase in the use of the word pivot as of late. Key phrases and buzz words seem to come and go, and right now pivot is sticking around. As a big Friends fan, the first thing I think of when I hear this word is the image of Ross and Rachel carrying a sofa up a narrow stairwell with Chandler yelling pivot during their attempt to maneuver it. I can’t help but love that scene especially since it makes me think back to my sophomore year of college when Nell and I were walking up the stairs of the building we lived in only to see our friend Olivia (a fellow Friends fan) and her mom carrying a couch up the stairs. Quick-witted Nell immediately started saying “pivot,” which had us all on the verge of buckling over in laughter. 


Stairwells and couches aside, I’ve come to realize just how valuable it can be to pivot. By definition, the word pivot means the following:

According to Merriam Webster: 
            Noun: a shaft or pin on which something turns; a person, thing, or factor having a major or central role, function, or effect; a key player or position
            Verb: turn on or as if on a pivot

According to Urban Dictionary:
            A pivot is where a start-up company decides to switch direction in how they make their revenue. This is often after their first plan results in failure. 

Like many catchphrases’ pivot has started to be used in ways that it was not necessarily initially intended. In the case of this post, I’m referring to it as a verb. I don’t view Urban Dictionary as a valuable source of information, but it relates in this case, so I’m including it as well. Pivots can be relevant in a variety of situations, including changing careers and locations. Personally, the word sums up exactly what I chose to do a year ago when deciding to quit teaching and move away from Greenville. I decided to take a risk and make a significant change in a different direction after my first plan didn’t go as planned (or as I hoped) which has played a central role in my happiness. I may be trying to connect the dots a little too thoroughly, but I haven’t found a word that sums it up better than pivot. 

What’s especially reassuring is that although at the time it felt like I was, I’m not alone in switching gears entirely when it came to both my location and career. Plenty of people pivot and for those of you questioning whether or not to continue doing something you may not love I’m hoping that my experience will provide a bit of clarity and optimism in the decision-making process. 
Disclaimer: I am not telling you to quit your job. I am instead reflecting on how doing that has been the right pivot for me.

Hindsight is always 20/20, so now looking back, it’s clear to me some of the signs that indicated that I wasn’t feeling fully myself while teaching. As someone who was very involved in sports in high school and consistently worked out in college, I should’ve realized something was up when I pretty much entirely stopped working out during my first year of teaching. On top of that, I never allowed myself to truly turn off and stop working. I know many people struggle with that given the nature of email and social media, but for the most part, I didn’t even attempt to take a break. If I felt ahead on teaching tasks and grad school assignments, then I’d dive deep into blog work without even considering whether or not I should come up for air between them.  


Fast forward to now, nearly a year since I made the decision to move and change careers and there’s no question in my mind that those were the right decisions for me and my happiness. I’m back to working out consistently and have never had such a good work/life balance. I’m not saying that all of this is due to pivoting what my college self would’ve had planned for me but is definitely in some ways related. 

So you’ve read through this and can relate and are now trying to figure out what’s next. Since I not only changed my career entirely but also my location, I’m breaking down an action plan for both of those potential pivots you may be toying with the idea of. There’s certainly some overlap, and I’d be surprised if you felt completely confident in your decision to take a risk as it’s occurring but can positively say that it has been worth it in the end.  

Career:
  •  SAVE MONEY 
  •  Write down all the things you love to do and brainstorm careers that may encompass those things. Ask your friends and family what they could see you doing, an outside perspective can be really helpful with this.
  • Update your resume and consider creating a portfolio if the jobs you’re applying to would value that. 
  • Reach out to people who have your dream job and ask them how they got to where they are.
Location:
  • SAVE MONEY
  • Think about what you value in a location. Do you want to be in a city or a small town? Do you care if you move somewhere that you know no one or does that excite you? 
  • Visit if you can to get a better feel for whether or not you could see yourself calling this location home. 
Although these lists could go on and on, hopefully, this gives anyone considering making a change a good place to start and remember, it’s going to take time to feel settled with any new big life decision so having patience and perseverance will be pivotal ;) 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

July Q&A

Another month, another Q&A post filled with the questions y’all asked me on social media! This month it’s almost like you’re getting two Q&A posts since I previously shared a 73 question post modeled after the Vogue video interviews of celebrities asking them that many questions. I really enjoy seeing what you are curious about when it comes time for me to request questions. The questions received this month are kind of all over the place, but I hope you enjoy reading through them! 


Q: Do you have any plans to upload Youtube videos in the future? / Do you plan on making more Youtube videos for your blog?
A: I am always so shocked to hear y’alls interest in me making more Youtube videos. For me, Youtube has always been a supplement to blog posts and never been a platform that I’m solely looking to create content for. I don’t necessarily feel like my videos are all that wonderful since my editing skills are pretty basic, and the content created is made to accompany blog posts. I don’t currently have any plans to upload new videos, but if y’all have specific requests I’d be happy to consider it. I will say that it is unlikely that the videos would go live this month since the only time I’d really have to film would be during the weekend and I’m gone every weekend but one in July. 

Q: Favorite romantic-comedy and kid’s movie?
A: Romantic-comedy: The Holiday is the first one that comes to mind, but I’m not positive I’d classify it as my favorite. Kid’s movie: The Parent Trap (although I will gladly argue that it is not just for kids).

Q: If you could only use one nail polish color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Essie’s Fiji, it’s my favorite light pink that is still noticeable!

Q: What’s your coffee order?
A: Iced coffee with vanilla and cream. 

Q: What is one piece of advice you would tell your college self?
A: Eat more dining hall cookies. 

Q: How are you still single?
A: Not exactly sure how to answer this one…

Q: Favorite summer nail colors?

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in Birmingham?/ What’s your favorite spot to visit in Birmingham?
A: Oh, gosh, this is tricky! I’m hoping to start working on a Birmingham guide in the fall, so I think that will do a better job of encompassing all the things I love to do in Birmingham. Right now, I think my answer would be trying new restaurants and going on long walks through the different neighborhoods around me!

Q: Would you recommend moving to Birmingham after college?
A: Yes, I have been really happy in Birmingham, and it was also reassuring to move here knowing that I had people I know already living here! 

Q: Favorite adult beverage?
A: Margaritas or Moscow Mules.

Q: How do you budget/plan expenses and shopping with roommates?
A: My roommate and I don’t necessarily cook together and often end up grocery shopping on our own schedules, so we don’t budget/plan those expenses together since we’re only paying for the food we use. As for rent, we have that set up based on our room sizes, and then we split all utilities. 

Q: How do you keep yourself so self-disciplined/prioritize blogging and work?
A: I have always been someone who likes a routine, so building blogging into my routine alongside work has been the best way I know to make it a priority. Consistency is important to me even though blogging is not my full-time job, so I try to set aside time each weekend to shoot photos and write copy for the blog posts I have going up the following week. While it doesn’t always run as smoothly as I’d like, at this point, I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have a blog to post to since I’ve been doing this so long. Keeping a running list of post ideas is also helpful so that when I do have time to write, I’m not spending it trying to come up with something to talk about. 

Q: If you could only have one beverage aside from water for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Coffee.

Q: What made you decide to stop teaching?
A: It was a combination of things but really came down to knowing that I wasn’t happy in the job I had and would regret not trying something else while I have the support to do so. Blogging and expressing myself creatively always seemed like a fun escape when teaching, so why confine myself to a job I wasn’t happy doing when I already knew that something more creative could make me happier. As crazy as it may sound, quitting teaching may be one of the decisions I am most proud of myself for so far in my life since it has allowed me to discover a job I love in a city that I’m equally as happy in. 

Q: Do you regret majoring in education?
A: I don’t. While it would be a lot easier to sell myself to employers in the field I am currently working in with a degree in business, communications, or public relations the skills I learned by majoring in Education and then getting my masters in it are important while the experience gained from my first year of teaching is an excellent reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to no matter how trying it may be. 

Hopefully you learned something new about me today! If you'd like to participate in next month's Q&A then be sure to follow me on Instagram

Monday, July 8, 2019

Step Into My Week 7.8

Good morning (or afternoon depending on when you’re reading this). I am sure I’m not alone in struggling a little bit this morning with getting back into a routine after a wonderful extended weekend. I’m gearing up for a hectic week both work and blog wise and am determined to try to get as much done ahead of time as possible. There may be nothing I love more than working ahead instead of playing catch up, so keep your fingers crossed for me, please! 


This Step Into My Week post is especially fun to write since it only involves two and a half days of work, and the rest of the week was all play. I took a quick blogging break from Friday-Sunday even though I had posts I wanted to get live knowing that I’d be able to come back to work more productively after a bit of time off. 

Monday morning was spent as it usually is catching up on emails, responding to comments, and generally making sure that nothing from over the weekend goes unnoticed. We finished up a shoot I was helping with so I spent part of the morning packaging those products up and finalizing the text to be run alongside it. I spent a lot of time in the afternoon planning ahead our social text so that no one on our team would have to worry about that during our extended weekend. I had some products to order in to help a stylist on an upcoming shoot and spent the end of my day trying to come up with similar options in case our first choices didn’t work out. After work, I went to the Y to get a workout in before hurrying home to shower and make a quick dinner before some friends showed up to watch the Bachelorette with my roommate and me. I had a goal of finishing blog graphics during that time but got more sucked into the show than I suspected, so that didn’t happen. After our friends left, my roommate and I got ready for bed. I tried to finish up a few blog tasks before eventually reading and falling asleep.

shop this outfit here (it probably looks familiar to last week's since I had the same thing on only to realize it was raining when I wanted to wear it last week and a white dress in the rain didn't sound like the smartest idea)

Tuesday, I woke up energized knowing that it was my last full day of the work week! My to-do list covered every single line in my planner and looking back at it now I’m glad that most of the items have check marks by them. After spending a couple of hours in the morning scheduling out our social posts, I had a cover shoot meeting and then a team meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page for this week’s busy schedule. After those meetings, I pulled photos from an upcoming issue and edited them to be used on our social platforms in the future. I worked on copy for two pieces I’m working on before running an errand for a stylist toward the end of the day. It didn’t take long for 5:00 to roll around after occupying my time with a slew of tasks and after work, I headed to the library to pick up books to read while at the beach. I went to the Y after that and did a long bike workout before coming home to shower and make dinner. Nell came over for a bit and entertained me while I packed for the beach and put away the laundry I had done the night before. I got in bed around 9:30 with every intention of going to sleep by 10:00 but wound up staying up way too late working on this post for y’all. 


I loaded up my car with everything I needed for the beach on Wednesday morning and even had time to stop for Starbucks on my way to work. The office was pretty empty, given that we had an office holiday on Thursday and Friday, but it was the perfect environment for getting a lot accomplished. I finished the edits I had started the day before on photos, was able to work on our social page for the October issue of Southern Lady we are finalizing, and checked everything off my to do list before meeting Nell at the grocery store to get our snacks for the weekend. She loaded her stuff into my car, and we were beach bound with a pit stop at Chick-fil-a for lunch on the way. The drive down to my grandparent’s beach house in Perdido wasn’t bad at all, and we made it there a little after five. After unloading everything, we made ourselves margaritas and officially kicked off our vacation. We sat on the porch with my parents and grandparents before eating dinner and hanging out that evening. After dinner, it was a bit more time on the porch before heading to bed to read.



Thursday morning, we woke up and made ourselves breakfast that we ate on the porch. My dad and grandfather went to retrieve the boat, so Nell and I ended up opting to lather on the sunscreen and head out front to read and float in the water. My grandmother, mom, and dad joined us, and we all ended up staying out front until close to lunchtime. We got cleaned up, ate lunch, and then partook in one of my favorite beach activities, afternoon napping. Once we woke up Nell and I went back out front to float and read before quickly rinsing off to be ready to go for an evening boat ride with some of our other family that happened to be down for the extended weekend. After getting back, we showered and got ready for dinner, which we ate a bit later than usual. By the time we had finished, the fireworks had already started so Nell and I re-positioned our chairs on the beach and were able to watch all the different shows around us and across the bay before turning in for the night. 



As you’ll quickly discover, most days at the beach are pretty similar. Friday, we got up and made breakfast before getting ready to head out on a boat ride. We went on a long ride that morning, making it back to the beach house close to 1:00. We cleaned up, ate lunch, and napped before reading out front until around 5:30. We were back on the porch with my family in time for appetizers before dinner. After that, we sat on the front porch for a bit that evening before showering and reading before bed. 


Saturday morning, we went on another boat ride with a pit stop at Pirate’s Cove to start. If you’ve ever been to the Orange Beach or Gulf Shores area, then you’ve probably heard of it but if not it can be summed up as a beach dive with great drinks. Nell had never been there, so my family thought it was important to round out her beach experience with a Bushwacker from there. Fortunately, it wasn’t too busy when we arrived so we were able to quickly get a few before continuing our boating excursion. It had gotten pretty hot, so once we were back in one of the creeks near our house, we jumped in for a short swim. We eventually made our back to the house to clean up before eating lunch and stretching out for another nap. Nell and I decided to take our floats over to the boathouse in the afternoon for one last bit of time in the water. We came back, showered, and joined my family for appetizers and dinners next door. After dinner, we sat on the porch for a bit and then eventually headed upstairs to read before falling asleep. 



Sunday morning, it was time to wash the sheets and clean up the room since I’m not positive if I’ll be able to head back to the beach next weekend (fingers crossed). We ate breakfast and packed up while the sheets were in the washer and Nell and I made a good tag team when it came to cleaning the room quickly. Once we got the bed made, we finished loading my car and began our trek back to Birmingham with a pit-stop at the most overwhelming gas station, Buc-ee’s, on our way. The drive back was SLOW and ended up taking hours longer than it should of. I’m not the most patient in traffic and was definitely ready to make it back. We stopped at Trader Joe’s on our way in to grab groceries, and then I attempted to get my life in order for this week that evening. I did laundry, worked on a few blog photos, and cooked some chicken and vegetables to have on hand. By 8:30 I was in bed and ready to call it a night but wound up staying up until close to 10:00 reading Dear Wife which I’ve really enjoyed. 



I hope that y’all had a great holiday weekend and are looking forward to a great week ahead as well!  

Thursday, July 4, 2019

June Favorites

Happy Fourth of July! I know I mentioned it previously, but it really is one of my favorite holidays given its laid-back nature and my typical proximity to the water when it comes around. For fear of ignoring how great June was with how much I’ve been looking forward to July, I wanted to go ahead and share my favorite items and experiences from this past month with y’all. It’s quite the random assortment (which y’all know isn’t that uncommon here), so I hope you enjoy and potentially find a new favorite to add to your own list for July!


Early Morning Workouts 
Pretty much every Friday morning this past month I got up early (we’re talking around 4:40) to get a workout in before work. Usually, I would cycle for 45-50 minutes before heading back home to shower and get ready for the day. Since I don’t go into the office until 8:00 on Fridays (as opposed to 7:00 the rest of the week), this feels like the only chance I get to get a good workout in first thing in the morning. It’s pretty empty then, and I’m definitely more motivated to go first thing in the morning than I am once I leave the office in the afternoon.

I love most sparkling waters I’ve tried, but Bubly is my new favorite! I particularly like their Strawberry flavor. I can blame Publix for helping me to discover them since they had the drinks’ colorful boxes lined up at the front of the store on sale. Doesn’t take much to convince me, I suppose. I’m interested to try their other flavors and see how it compares to La Croix. 

I’ve raved about Perfect Bars before but have grown even more fond of the snack after trying the coconut flavor. My taste buds must’ve changed recently given that I previously didn’t like coconut very much and now find myself only buying this particular bar. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, Perfect Bars are a refrigerated protein bar that are available (to my knowledge) at most grocery stores. When I’m hungry and need something to hold me over for a while, this is what I eat! 

I identify as a coffee lover but not a coffee snob. For the longest time, I didn’t have any sort of preference on the type of blend of the coffee I drank. That changed when I recently grabbed a box of Columbian k cups for my Keurig. There’s something about this blend that seems even more enjoyable to drink than my normal cup, which is saying a lot since a cup of coffee is one of my favorite parts of the morning. 

The Echo Killing (I showed this book in the image instead since I had already returned The Echo Killing)
How many times can I rave about this book over the course of the month? Apparently at least once more. I’ve admitted before that I accidentally read the second book (A Beautiful Corpse) first, but that didn’t take away from this one being a great read as well. Both books have been my favorite thrillers in a long time! 

Olaplex Shampoo & Conditioner
After trying Olaplex No. 3 and No. 6 and loving those, I picked up the shampoo and conditioner when what I was using ran out. Conveniently this occurred during the Sephora sale, so I was able to get them at a discounted price. My hair has responded really well to the whole line and feels a lot lighter and softer than usual. If you start with any Olaplex product, make it their No.3 leave-in treatment and if that works for you maybe snag these as well. 

Photoshoots for work have been aplenty as we gear up to style things for next spring and prepare for the holidays this year. Whenever I’m at a shoot, especially ones outside, I know that comfort is key. Since I’m still working there’s still a certain amount of professionalism in attire that I deem appropriate, and these New Balance sneakers from J.Crew toe the line perfectly. Mine could probably use a bath given that the white isn’t as vibrant and the gold details seem a bit dim, but I know that I won’t complain about my feet hurting after being on them all day when I wear these.

Another favorite shoe from this month is the pair I purchased from the collaboration I did with Walmart. I had seen similar flatform sandals around but was particularly drawn to these shoes’ color and price. I constantly receive compliments on them, and friends are shocked when I tell them where I found them. 

I believe I included this top in a favorites post from last summer and it has held up just as well year two as year one. The cut of it is flattering while not exposing too much and it’s nice not to have to worry about adjusting it all the time since it has a clasp as opposed to a tie. I own it in this pretty blue color and also black, and it’s typically my first recommendation when friends ask me what swimsuit they should get!



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