Holly Springs Farmer’s Market

On Saturdays when my sister Emily and I are both in town, we like to wake up early-ish, make coffee, and go walk the lake trail by our apartments. Since the weather has been cooling down a little, it has been so nice to start off the day with a brisk walk!

A couple Saturdays ago, we were driving back home and passed by a tiny farmer’s market on the way. We didn’t have our wallets with us, but we pulled over and walked through, vowing to return the next week more prepared! There were so many local businesses represented by food, drink, produce, body products, etc. Last Saturday, we got up and went on our walk and then swung by the Holly Springs farmer’s market a second time. This time, I had cash and was ready to buy a few things (particularly some swanky dog treats I had seen the week before).

We got a delicious iced coffee from Five Star Coffee Roasters while we browsed the rest of the tents. I picked up a birthday gift for my friend Jordan from a tent full of bath bombs, soy candles, lip balms, soaps, lotions, and more! The lady who owns it also has an Etsy shop. I also picked up some fresh baked bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. (I got the extreme cinnamon swirl!). There was a tent from Paradox Farms, and if anyone knows how much I love goat cheese, you know I had to pick some up! I got the pumpkin goat cheese spread and it DID NOT disappoint.

I mentioned the swanky dog treats earlier – you know I love spoiling the dogs! This company, Good Grace’s Dog Treats, sells handmade specialty dog treats. I picked up a variety pack for Bruno, Oliver, and Nala to share. The flavors include sweet potato fries, P, B, and YAY, Eat your Carrots, Piggly Wigglies, and more! I love that the ingredients are listed on the back and that they put sticker pictures of their doggie customers on the front of the bags ūüôā ¬†I’ll have to send in a picture of my three hooligans! They go CRAZY for the treats.

It was a really fun Saturday morning activity and I can’t wait to keep going back to see new vendors! I love supporting local businesses and if you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend it! We are lucky enough to have the NC State Farmer’s Market close by, but each little area also has their own smaller versions, and I think you can find some real treasures sprinkled among those! Lots of free samples, doggies walking around, and local goods to peruse.

FriYAY feels!

Happy FriYAY! This week has been so packed Рnot with anything bad, just with a lot. I am really looking forward to the weekend!

Yesterday was Andrew’s mom’s birthday, so we are heading out of town tonight to take her out to dinner and celebrate! It’s only a couple of hours away, so it will be nice to take the short trip together and see her!

Saturday is the Apex Music Fest in downtown Apex, so I’ll be working an extra shift at the pub to help out – then it’s off to one of my best friend’s 30th birthday parties!!! Speaking of which, this is month of birthdays for me! I have a lot of friends/family members with birthdays in September, not to mention I’LL BE 30 THIS MONTH. I’m not too worried about turning 30, to be honest. I have always been the young one in my friend group, so by the time my birthday rolls around, I feel like I’ve already been that age for a while. Plus, I think 30 is going to be great. Thirty, flirty, and thriving! #namethatmovie

I’m taking a big trip for my 30th birthday with my mom! We are heading to Arizona about a week after my actual birthday. We are going to do some hiking, shopping, relaxing, and we’ll visit the spa for massages! We are also going to hit the Grand Canyon, which I am SO excited about!! I’ve been thinking about getting a new pair of these for the trip – my absolute favorite leggings of all time. I discovered them when my sister and brother bought me a pair for my birthday two years ago. I had just started my yoga teacher training! They are literally like a second skin, and don’t grab you anywhere you don’t want them to. I also love these stylish chaco sandals for walking around town all day! I already got my new Fitbit, and I’m loving it! So I’ll be interested to see what kind of step count I’ll get on the trip. I seriously need to start my packing list!

Well, I fell asleep writing this so I guess that is mother nature telling me to slip off to dreamland. Everyone have a great weekend!

 

All curled up

These days, I’m typically always rocking a curled ‘do. When my hair is short, it looks fine styled straight and I usually mix it up between different styles. But now that my hair is getting long again, I really have to make sure it doesn’t look scraggly since it’s so thin and fine (more about that here – thick haired gals, you really will never know the struggle of your ear poking through your hair).

I wanted to give a quick & easy mini tutorial on how I do my hair. One day I’ll get comfortable filming myself, but that day is not today, my friends. There’s no magic trick, but like most things beauty-related, I’ve spent lots of time googling and YouTubing, then practicing to get what I like. Now I’m at a place where I can pretty much always get a good result with this method!

Start by pinning up your hair with a duck bill hair clip (my hair only needs one because it is so thin). I use this heat taming spray first (I’ve been using it for years). Since I don’t have a lot of hair, it’s really important to me to take care of what I’ve got. I also put moroccan oil on the ends when I get out of the shower and comb through my hair, before blow drying. Just lightly spritz a section of hair, let it air dry for a few seconds, and then curl! Or you can spray it all before you begin. I bought this curling wand last year on sale around Christmas time, and it’s a great size for my hair! It is super basic – it doesn’t even have a temperature setting on it – but it does the job!

I have watched a lot of tutorials, and a lot of people hold their curling wands upward. I can only use it pointed downward for whatever reason. I wrap a section around the base of the curling wand and wrap the hair twice around the barrel, moving towards the actual top of the barrel, since it’s pointing upside down. I try to start close to my head to give some lift and volume near my roots. I always leave a solid inch or so out of the heat, and that’s what I hold onto away from the curling wand so I don’t burn myself! I can’t use those gloves that come with it; they mess me up.

After you curl the bottom layer of hair (for me this is just two curls!), let down the next layer by scooting your fingers backwards from your temples and grabbing hair at temple level and up. Re-pin the rest of your hair on top of your head. Repeat the process!¬†I always curl my hair away from my face. You can alternate toward/away from your face each curl, but since I don’t have a lot to work with, that can sometimes look odd on me.

my lipstick is revlon colorstay moisture stain in parisian passion

One trick I use is to let the curls fall straight off the wand, so instead of unraveling them, I just slide the wand back out and let the curl slide off. Another tip I use is not touching my hair until I’m completely finished with my whole head. I like to let the curls set and cool off. If I don’t, it falls more easily. When I get to the last and top layer of hair, I like to curl the very front piece straight back to give it extra volume!

When you’re finished, double check the back of your hair with a hand held mirror. Then, run your fingers through your hair, toss it around a bit, and spray it lightly if you want – I love this hair spray.¬†I also like to use a texture spray sometimes to give more hold and lift – just lift your hair up and lightly spray from underneath as it falls.

Voila! If I want tighter curls or curls that will last longer as they fall, I wrap the hair three times around the wand instead of two. Larger sections of hair = larger curls, and obviously the less meticulous you are about it, the messier and more carefree your curls will look! If you want to see more tutorials/how-tos, let me know!

You already know who shot these photos.

The softest pants

I recently stopped in to Old Navy to look for some simple back to school outfits. That place can be really hit or miss for me, but I love that I can afford the clothes and they always tend to last well. I ended up grabbing these pants on a whim Рthey were so soft, and looked nice enough to wear to teach in while still feeling relaxed.

It may not seem like it, but this outfit is a little bit out of my comfort zone. I’m not a white tee kind of gal (as most of you know, you can generally find me wearing black, black, and‚Ķ.sometimes black). I love the loose pocket on this shirt, though, and it’s very soft. I also love the fact that it’s a v-neck and I don’t feel too exposed (I like to keep pretty covered up). Here’s where it’s from. I love so many things on their site!

I wrote about my shoes in this post, and I just love them. They are the perfect amount of bold for me without making me feel like I’m being someone else. And they only have a few sizes left, but they are on sale for TWENTY DOLLARS right now!!!

I’ve sent the link for the pants to a few friends and my sister, so I figured maybe some of you out there would like to know about them, too! Scoop up a pair or two – they really are¬†so cozy. And guys‚Ķthey’re elastic waist. I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP. Old Navy for the win!

photos by j parker photography 

 

Mental health & trying to keep it together

photo by j parker photography

This post is for when you feel like life is getting the best of you.

I ran into a colleague of mine recently while I was working at a coffee shop, and he encouraged me to write this post on mental health – how to keep it together when it feels like you have too many things going on (he’s getting his doctoral degree). I’ve written about that sort of thing before, but I’ve never really written a “how to” post.¬†I certainly don’t have a magic recipe or a button to push to make all of life’s hard things disappear. ¬†But I’m always happy to share my own experiences and give advice, so this post is about what always works for me when I’m feeling way too overloaded. These tips have gotten me through graduate school, juggling several jobs, heartache, loss, and more.

This new school year is already proving to be a challenge for me. I can’t seem to keep my head above water and every day is a constant to-do list that doesn’t even get halfway accomplished. Clubs, department chair, budget, committees, lesson plans and grading – I have never been this behind on grading so early on.¬†On top of that, add a second job, keeping up with this blog, trying to exercise, 2 dogs, friends, family, etc‚Ķyou get the picture. I’m sure you also have your own list! I really started to feel overwhelmed this week and even as I sit here, I’m trying to squeeze in writing a blog post after school before leaving for my second job at the pub. SO. I am also writing this post as a reminder to myself of the steps I need to take so I can keep my sanity and not completely fall apart.

People frequently ask me how I’m always so positive, happy, upbeat, etc. or tell me that I always seem “put together.” I’ve gotten that comment (compliment!) a lot in my life, and I can guarantee you that I do not always have it together – I’m just really good at faking it ’til I make it! But I do tend to stay pretty positive and I try to look at life’s hardships as a growing process and as problems with solutions, rather than letting them ruin my life. Here are the steps I take when life is really sticking it to me and I feel like I’m about to explode:

1. Take a breath.¬†The cheesiest, most overused cure on the planet – but if people would just take a second and actually breathe in and out a few times, the world would probably¬†definitely be a much better place. Breathing does a few things, and there is a lot of science behind it, but I’ll save that for another time because I know I can get long-winded (see what I did there?). Breathing gives you a few moments between stimulus and response: ¬†The moment something “happens to you” and however you decide to react to it. If you’re taking a few moments to just breathe in and out, you are saving yourself from overreacting, saying something you’ll regret later, breaking something, etc. You have a few seconds to think about how you want to respond. Doing this simple task – breathing – and being aware of it, has literally changed my life and my whole outlook on it.

2. Allow yourself to wallow – but not for long. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and upset. It is okay to feel like life isn’t fair sometimes, or like you don’t deserve “all of this,” whatever “this” is for you. I get it. So take that time to really get a good “Dang, this sucks”¬†moment in for yourself, and then remind yourself that you are done feeling sorry for yourself because you have mountains to move. At some point you have to dust yourself off and start making a plan. You just have to. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in the dark place, and that is a hard place to pull yourself out of.

3. Distance yourself from whatever you need to.¬†Give yourself space. Remember up there in #1, where I talked about stimulus and response? We often respond too quickly to a situation, a conversation, or a moment of frustration without giving it some time and space for thinking about it. If it’s school, work, social problems, whatever it might be, give yourself some distance. Physically walk away from whatever it is and take a break. Get some air, think about your feelings, all that good stuff. Weigh your options and then respond/act once you’ve been able to process everything. I wrote more about that here.

4. Vent to a non-judgmental ear.¬†Sometimes we just need to get it out. Find that person that can listen to you without reminding you later what you said when you were stressed out. A sounding board that can understand you’re just having a moment and need someone to say, “I hear you,” and not, “I told you so.” Typically in these moments we aren’t looking for advice – we just need to be heard and validated. There is value in that. I believe there is true healing in just getting bad things out of your brain and into the open, whether that’s in writing, talking to friends or family, or even talking to a trained professional.

5. Prioritize.¬†Make lists! Even if making lists isn’t your thing and it doesn’t bring you satisfaction like it does to me (which I can’t even begin to understand), making lists is the number one way to make sure you can accomplish all you need to accomplish – and in the order that it all needs to get done! So you’ve had your time to feel sorry for yourself, and now you have to make a plan on how you’re going to make it through. I usually keep several lists – for to-dos at home/errands, things I need to do at school, a list for the blog, a list for pictures I need to take for the blog, a list of workouts and groceries for the week, etc. You can do this easily on your phone, too. I set a million reminders a day and Siri always comes through for me if I don’t come through for myself. There are tasks that have to get done RIGHT NOW, and things that can always get done later, so put dates or times next to your items. Prioritize and then get to work. Focus on one thing at a time. Then the next thing. Then the next. And let me tell you, life doesn’t stop, so your lists will keep getting longer, but as you start crossing things off, it balances out. Even people who fly by the seat of their pants have to have a plan of attack if things are ever going to get accomplished.

6. ¬†Do not be too proud to ask for help.¬†I cannot stress enough that we are only human. We are not magical superheroes with more than 24 hours in a day or limitless energy and peppiness.¬†If someone asks if you want help with something, or if you want to split something up, and you’re about to seriously go off the deep end,¬†let. Them. Help. You.¬†Give up the control and let someone know you are overloaded. There is no shame in admitting that you have a lot going on and could really use a little help. Then, the next time you’re feeling more on top of things, maybe you can pay it forward and help someone else who’s fighting to keep their head above water. It feels good to know we are needed, so let someone know you need them!

7. Be physically active.¬†This is so key¬†to keeping it together, and it is usually where I fall short, so I get it. You’ve heard the saying, “A tired dog is a good dog?” The same applies for humans! You may not be chewing up your favorite pair of shoes, but without releasing your negative energy, tension, and stress from your day-to-day life, you are going to be bottling up some pretty serious stuff, and when it has no outlet, it starts to leak like poison. No matter what you believe, you can’t deny the scientific proof that exercises releases endorphins. It also helps give you some head space and clear your thoughts. I know – you’re busy. You don’t have time to exercise, you’re too tired to exercise, you’ve got a million other things to do. But I promise you the payoff is so worth it. You can read all about how yoga changed my life here, but I also love to walk my dogs, do tabata circuits, and lift weights! Anything that gets you moving is better than sitting around feeling too overwhelmed to be productive. You will never regret it afterwards.

8. Check in with yourself throughout the day.¬†Something that makes a huge difference for me is being mindful and aware of how I am feeling. That sounds so obvious, but a lot of us don’t stop to think about the¬†why.¬†We just go through the motions without thinking about what’s going on in our bodies or minds. Am I tired? Cranky? Does something just not feel right? Did something happen that made me feel this way? Am I clenching my teeth or wrinkling my forehead or tensing up my shoulders? Throughout the day I have to constantly remind myself to breathe deeply, unclench my teeth, and relax my shoulders. Those are the three biggest ways I can quickly just feel calmer. Make sure you’re checking in on yourself and taking care of your needs.

9.¬†Fake it ’til you make it. My high school students can’t believe that I am “always in such a good mood.” What’s my secret? The secret is I’m not always in a good mood! But I DO believe that moods are contagious, and if you can fake it and put on a good face – even if it’s just to yourself – you can really help frame your mood, your day, and the moods of those around you. I’m not saying you have to act like Little Miss Sunshine, but even little things like not complaining when someone asks how your day is going can make a huge difference. Smile and tell yourself that you can handle this and have this covered, and then remind yourself of that as you start to take one thing at a time.

10. Celebrate. Life is short, and adulting is hard, and if we don’t give ourselves things to look forward to or celebrate our accomplishments, then what’s the point? When you cross a big thing off your list, or when you complete something you’ve been working on for a long time, do something that you enjoy, buy yourself a new something, treat yoself. Make plans with people you love and just go celebrate the fact that we are all making it through somehow. I think that’s something we deserve to celebrate, don’t you?!

Finally, and I think maybe most importantly, is to just be realistic with yourself and know when too much is really too much. Everyone has a different threshold level for how much they can pile on their plate. You have to be able to admit to yourself when your metaphorical food is about to splatter all over the floor. If you are focusing on too many things at once, you can’t do everything well. Sometimes you have to look at what’s really important and let go of one or two other things – even if it is only for now, until you can clear some space in your life. I continue to re-learn this every so often, but at least I’m really good at telling other people what to do ūüėČ

 

I really hope this helps even one person out there who may be feeling overwhelmed like I am right now. We are going to be okay – we have to be! The world keeps on turning and life keeps on going. The sun will rise tomorrow and it is up to us to choose the tone of our days. Today, let’s choose joy.

Oh, and if you’re wondering‚ĶI didn’t get the post finished before my shift. That’s life! ūüôā¬†

BarePro foundation review

I recently bought the new Bare Minerals barePro liquid foundation from Ulta. I have been a long-time wearer and believer in Bare Minerals products, but for full coverage needs and special events, I love a good liquid foundation. Especially for taking pictures! When I started seeing great reviews about this foundation on Instagram and YouTube, I had to try it for myself. I got the shade “Cashmere 06” and it was a PERFECT match for my fair skin – even though it looks a little off from the shade of my hands in the picture!

This foundation has A LOT of claims. I will spare you all the specific details, but basically this foundation is supposed to give an incredibly flawless finished look, the site says it is amazing for your skin, “so pure you can sleep in it,” good for hydration, pores, texture, and more, great for photos, etc. So clearly I had to see if it lived up to the hype. And I think that, overall, it does!

I wouldn’t say that the foundation lives up to every single one of its claims necessarily, but I am really loving it! It sits on your skin softly, without feeling greasy or thick, and gives coverage throughout the whole day. With my job teaching high school, I need to be able to put my makeup on at 6 in the morning and then not look at it again until about 4pm, and I can do that with the barePro foundation! ¬†You can use as little or as much as you want – it is very build-able. And I love that if I’m too tired at night for a full skincare routine, I can just use a makeup wipe to clean my face and put on my moisturizer, because there’s nothing in the makeup that will clog my pores or cause a breakout.

For school days or special events where I really want a full face of makeup, I use 3-4 drops on a foundation brush or damp beauty blender. For a quick daily face, I use 2 pumps on my fingertips and spread it on my face like a moisturizer. I finish setting it by dusting my favorite powder of all time over it with a brush, and then I complete my look with whatever else I want to use that day!

here’s my before, with just mascara on & a big shiner hanging out on my chin

beauty blender (i got mine cheap from target but there are nicer ones)

I run the beauty blender under water for a split second, then squeeze it out and pump my foundation on it. I start with 2 pumps, because this foundation is pretty liquid-y and it runs! I dot the foundation all over my face with the sponge – a few blobs on my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. No rhyme or reason, just spreading the love.

always make sure to look super glamorous while doing this

Then blot, dab, blot, dot, dot, and before you know it, you’ll have a full face on! Try not to rub the makeup around, because then the sponge will absorb it more than your skin. You’re just using a stippling motion to set the foundation nicely on top of your skin. Then, finish with the rest of your face!

my daily face lineup

if no one is around to take 5 million photos of you, use a tripod and clicker

let your dogs steal the show for a minute, as always

and there you have it! makeup is done and now you have selfies galore

I think what I love most about this foundation is that it just looks so natural and soft – in real life and in pictures! I hate feeling like I have a cake face or like people think I look like a totally different person with my makeup on, so this foundation does a great job of bridging that gap without going too overboard. It’s a win for me!

For a less expensive foundation, I’m a longtime fan of Revlon ColorStay for combo/oily skin. It lasts FOREVER and gives a really full-coverage, flawless finish without looking cakey. But for now, I’ll keep enjoying this Bare Minerals liquid foundation until it runs out!

FriYAY feels + intro part 2!

old shot by whitney from back when i was using my passion planner ūüôā

The first week of school is DONE!!! I am so pooped from 5 days back in the classroom, learning names, getting technology to work, and standing on my feet all day! My to-do lists keep getting longer and longer, but I’m starting to see my students’ personalities and figure out the vibes of my three different class periods and that’s always the fun part. Thank goodness we have a day off next week for ¬†Labor Day!

I’ve been a long-time follower of Kate and her sister Lauren, and I’ve linked jewelry items I’ve purchased from Lauren’s shop Elisabeth Ashlie before. She took a summer break and I have been dying for Elisabeth Ashlie to re-open and TODAY IS THE DAY! Perfect for jewelry, gift items, and pretty little things.

Teachers got our first paycheck since MAY 31ST this week, so I feel like I can finally breathe a little! (And buy groceries!) I have to get a few necessities like, you know, dog food and new flea/tick medicine for Bruno & Oliver, but I also have had my eye on a few goodies that I might scoop up (this, these, & this!).

I had a lot of people respond to my last Friyay introduction, so here are a few more little things about me to finish out my Friyay introduction mini-series(for now!):

-Mascara: ¬†Probably the number one beauty topic I get asked about is my eyelashes. People ask if my eyelashes are real, and then they always ask what mascara I use. I’ve covered this topic before, but in case you didn’t know – yes, they’re real! And these are my favorite mascaras in life: ¬†Covergirl full lash bloom, and if I’m splurging I love this and this!

-When I was little I really had a lot of dreams and aspirations. I wanted to be a teacher, singer, actress, writer, waitress, but I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be a news anchor. I love to read, and I just always liked words. (And, if I’m being honest here, when I was a kid I loved being in front of the camera. My family jokes that I got all my practice for the blog back then!) I used to record myself on my Walkman giving news reports and reading from my children’s Bible. My old Walkman is still in my old closet at home in Asheville, with me reading about Cain and Abel and giving a child’s interpretation of a news story about the O.J. Simpson trial! Kids are so weird.

-Now that I’m an adult, I still have a lot of dreams and aspirations! I truly love teaching, but there are so many other things I’d love to do – own a cute little coffee shop, write a novel, have a boutique, start up a yoga studio‚Ķand winning the lottery wouldn’t be so bad, either.

-Speaking of winning the lottery, one of my favorite games is deciding what I’d do with all my winnings if I ever actually did win the lottery. No matter how much the lottery is for, I always have basically the same plan, but I still like to play the game and ask Andrew and other friends and family what they’d do if they won. Would you keep your job? Would you move or stay where you are? Would you give money to good causes? Have several homes? Travel? It’s just something I started back in college with Whitney. But then again, you have to play to win, right? I CANNOT believe some woman in NC just won like $355 million in take home winnings. Could have been me!

-My family and I are kind of obsessed with 90s classic movies.¬†Heavyweights,¬†The Mighty Ducks¬†series,¬†3 Ninjas¬†series,¬†Surf Ninjas, Big Business,¬†etc. They never get old. My brother sends random movies to us in the mail from time to time, and it’s always such a fun throw back. I’ve probably seen¬†Heavyweights about a hundred times and can quote it word for word really obnoxiously (but I try not to while watching it, duh).

-I’ve never broken a bone, but I am incredibly clumsy. I hurt myself all the time – trip over things, run into things, knock my knee into a corner. I am perpetually bruised and scratched.

– I always keep my nails painted and you’re not likely to ever see me without color on them. Toenails, too. I just can’t stand it on myself and love a fun pop of color. I can’t remember the last time I had bare nails.

-I can touch my tongue to my nose and can keep one eye crossed while the other stays straight! But I can’t whistle. I have never been able to and have tried countless times to be taught. I just straight up can not do it. It’s a reality I’ve had to face in my (almost) 30 years.

Let me know if you have more questions!

I’ll try to be back next week with a normal Tuesday/Thursday/sometimes Friday schedule. The first week of school hit me hard! I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend! Andrew and I are going to a cookout, I’m having coffee with an old student, and I have a ton of cleaning to do around the apartment!

Emily // NPC Bikini Competition

my beautiful, strong, sassy sister

My sister Emily has been working¬†so hard for the last few months to get ready for her first ever fitness competition this weekend. My mom and I (and a bunch of her friends + some other family members) are heading to Charleston, SC to watch her compete! We have t-shirts and the whole crew will be there to cheer her on (I’ve got peanut butter and Double Stuf Oreos for backstage after the show!).

I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I think what people miss is that this is a fitness competition. It’s not a bikini contest like you might be thinking; these women give their all and challenge themselves immensely, seeing what they are capable of and finding out they can do whatever they put their minds to. My sister and I live together, so I’ve seen firsthand how much she has pushed herself, how hard she has worked, how tired she has been at times, and how strong she has been to keep sight of her goals and not falter – not even once. I always think it’s important to show up for people, so of course I’ll be there! Then I’ll jet back Sunday because Monday is THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Emily recently did a fitness shoot with Whitney and the pictures are amazing! I know my sister will always look back on this time proudly no matter what the outcome is of her show, and I will, too – she is already a winner to me! I can’t wait to see her strut her stuff and show off all her hard work in her fancy and sparkly mermaid bikini that she designed herself! Nails done, hair done, spray tan on full force, and a full face of makeup for the stage. I’m sure it will be a crazy experience for me, too, because I’ve never been to a show before! I’ll recap it sometime after the show! Follow along on social media to see some sneak peeks as it all unfolds this weekend! Good luck, Em!!! I am so proud of you!

go get ’em, girl!!!

Photos – huge surprise – by Whitney at J Parker Photography

Hustlin’

working at the mill, one of my new favorite places!

Yesterday was officially day one of teacher work days. A day full of meetings and emails with questions that I don’t know the answer to yet, and a classroom that still needs lots of unpacking, organizing, and decorating. I did get to borrow another teacher’s solar eclipse glasses and watch everything outside with Andrew and some other teacher friends, so that was an exciting part of the day!

I feel lucky in that I almost feel like I get two new starts to every year – school starts up in August, which comes with a whole set of “new,” and then again in January I get to experience the real new year with everyone else. It should really be no surprise to you by now that I have a lot of goals and love to run myself into the ground stay busy all the time ūüôā I mentioned that I am taking on some new roles at school this year, but in addition to that, my best friend is getting married in April, I’m staying on one night a week at the pub, I have the blog, and I’m making a promise to myself to commit to a very regular workout routine and really focus on my Weight Watchers tracking. I just need that physical exercise as an outlet for the stress in life! Plus, I’m going to be THIRTY in September and I need to feel thirty, flirty, & thriving!

Every new school year, I set new goals for myself, and this year isn’t any different. I feel like I have so many fun and important things that I want to focus on, and I love the challenge of working hard for something that I can be proud of. Another BIG goal I am setting for myself is to make some really serious financial changes. Pay off my car, some of my debt, save more each month, and track expenses more carefully. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be something I needed to worry about, but the world isn’t perfect yet! Money is a huge source of stress for me because I don’t care much about it, but you need it, and life is expensive, but you can’t live lavishly if you don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t make a lot but I love what I do, but you have to live a little, and you want to do nice things for people, but you can’t if you don’t budget your money‚Ķ‚Ķsee what I mean?! So I have to care about it! My new planner has a monthly bill and budget tracker at the end of each month, so I’m going to use it diligently and use my extra money from my weekly shift at the pub to help supplement my teacher salary.

Being an adult is hard, y’all. I know I’m not the first to say it, but MAN.

So anyway, I’ve got some big goals and dreams and things to work toward this year, on top of my regular job and my part-time job. I am so excited to kick off another school year and to get back in a regular groove! Cheers to the year, and to all of my fellow goal-setters and ass-kickers out there (sorry Mom!).

what i’m using to keep track of all my hustlin’ this year, from¬†karma paper company!

So many people who are close to me have big, busy upcoming events – babies, weddings, new jobs, business growth, school, personal goals‚ĶI love getting to support all the people I love in their celebrations and achieving their goals! Comment and let me know what plans and goals you’re working on! And look for a post soon on how I try to keep it all together with so many things going on all the time. A colleague asked me for a mental health post, so it’s coming soon to a blog near you ūüôā

FriYAY feels!

FriYAY! Today is the second day back to school, and I’m just trying to pretend like it’s still summer break. It always flies by, especially when you’re working the whole summer! Here’s what’s new with me:

Last weekend, I got to tag along to one of Whitney’s photo shoots for an engagement session. The couple was so cute, and it was fun to see Whitney in action! She works so hard and takes the most beautiful pictures. The ones I’ve seen so far from the shoot I helped with are amazing! Check her out on Instagram!

Yesterday I worked in my classroom alllll day trying to get everything arranged. This is my third year back in the classroom, and the third time they’ve moved my room – I have a lot of work cut out for me! I’m teaching Parenting & Child Development again this year, which I love teaching. I’m also taking on two new courses, Early Childhood Education I and II where the students go out to help and teach lessons in child care centers in the community! I’m really excited about those classes. I’m mentoring two beginning teachers, and I’m also department chair this year, so I know I’ll have some big responsibilities. I’ve been spending short spurts of time hours looking through Pinterest for classroom decoration ideas! I like to have a bright, cozy, and inviting classroom. Yesterday I bought this plastic toolbox and I’m going to use it for school supplies – I’ll put on cute laminated labels, of course. It would be great for makeup, toiletries, jewelry, or anything around the house, too!

Whitney and I took a SkillPop class last night on branding your business. I have taken a few SkillPop classes and¬†love¬†the whole premise. It’s nice to try new things and the locations are always so cool! I want to do a handlettering class and maybe a watercolor class in the near future! Afterwards, we went and had sushi and chatted for a while. As life gets busier and busier, it’s hard to get together like we used to, so it’s always good to be able to hang!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, and I don’t have cable – but I have always loved¬†The Office and Andrew and I are in the middle of re-watching that. We like to have a show to work through and I’m excited for the second season of Stranger Things to come out in the Fall!¬†My sister and I are obsessed with¬†Grace and Frankie – has anyone else seen it!? I love it! It’s hilarious and I love Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. You have to watch it and see for yourself!

Finally, up next on my list of things to try are this twisted crown braid and this Bare Minerals barePro foundation! I’m a long-time fan of the Bare Minerals foundation powder but hate the mess, and this new liquid foundation has great reviews!

That’s it for now! Have a great weekend! I’m gettin’ my hairs did and I am so excited! Always nice to have a fresh new ‘do.