mark your calendars.

I like quirky things. That fact coupled with working in higher education has led me to have a deep-rooted love of calendars based on an academic year. I design academic planners for our students, I pause at Target every single back to school season to see what colors are popular on planners each year, and I drool over great planner layouts on instagram and etsy. When A Beautiful Mess posted about their academic planners for 2015-2016, I was all over it. In fact, I tagged my friend, Carly, in the post or texted her (all forms of communication blur together over time) and she said she was already looking at them.

#busy

This planner is up to snuff. I am in love with it. I carry it around like I would a book for class. It’s quirky, colorful, and it’s providing a way to keep track of all the things I do (for work and for play). Plus, it comes with emoji stickers. EMOJI STICKERS.

Anyway, there’s no real point to this post. I just wanted to share something with the world, and why not my #busy planner.

planner

Friday Favorites.

Hello friends! The sunshine is glorious in North Carolina, and I hope it is just the same wherever you are. I’m loving a lot of things this week, so I thought I would share them with you!

First up, Bow and Drape! My friend Carly tagged me in a photo on their Insta this week. It was a sweatshirt that said “Hair on fleek” (I’m not really sure what that means, but apparently it’s what the kids say these days) and had sequined TROLL DOLLS on it. I immediately fell in love. Turns out they customize sweatshirts and clutches. I’m counting down the days until my gray and black “Goal Digger” sweatshirt arrives. 🙂

Second, we have a water bottle by Ashley Brooke Designs. I’ve been coveting her coffee mugs for a while now, but being that I have a coffee mug for every day of the week, I can’t bring myself to buy a new one. However, this sassy water bottle that says “I Like the Way You Work It” is calling out to me.

Third, the fact that Run the Quay is next weekend and I’ve been consistently running 5 days a week. Crazy talk. Here’s to breaking an hour on my time!

Last but not least, Dr. Pepper. My one true love.

dr pepper

arm party.

I lead a conflicting life. I really love my fitbit, but I really love having an arm party. What’s an arm party? Well, that would be a stack of bracelets that create joy every time you wave your hands erratically while talking. Oh? You don’t do that in every conversation? Me either…..

Anyway, I switched from a fitbit flex to a fitbit charge HR at Christmas. I was so excited for my new shiny fitbit, but I was bummed because I saw no point in wearing my fitbit and a watch. Furthermore, there was no way of disguising this thing as something other than a fitness tracker.

So after months of meticulously trying out new things, I have found a solution.

fitbit

 

That would be three parts Alex + Ani bracelets, one Is it or Isn’t it cable bracelet, an 8 year old Tiffany’s bracelet, and my newest addition: a silver and rose gold Pandora bracelet.

I feel like the mixture of metals with the sporty band of the fitbit is a good mix. Or is that just me?

Happy fitness tracking!

the woman i want to be.

There’s a quote by Diane von Furstenberg that goes, “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become.” I think I stumbled upon that quote right as I was launched into the adult world after undergrad (thanks, Pinterest!). It struck a chord in me, and it’s always been in the back of mind. It doesn’t matter what I do career-wise or hobby-wise, as long as I become the woman I want to be. That woman is a blend of Audrey Hepburn, Kate Spade, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, my mom, and my grandmother to name a few. Someone who oozes joy  but understands there are bad things in life. Someone who sets high goals, but admits there are moments when you have to cut yourself some slack. Someone who walks (and works out) with grace, but knows it’s kind of fun to laugh at yourself when you fall down.

As I’ve been meandering through adulthood, trying to figure out how to cook the perfectly portioned meal for one, how to not be awkward in every day life, and how to pay my bills without complaining, I’ve slowly noticed a change. I feel myself becoming more confident, more joyful, more outgoing. I find myself needing less validation from my peers, and I’m learning how to make efficient decisions and not saying “maybe” when I really mean no.

But I didn’t realize this change was visible. Well, my friends, I think it is. 30LeahWhitt

 

The girl in that picture is exactly who I want to be. This picture was taken at 9:00 p.m. on a Thursday. That day consisted of getting up at 5:00 to go to the gym, working an eight hour day, stressing out about an event that was happening the next day, changing my outfit twice, laughing with my sister, and greeting 5 dozen women to an event that was all about them. But that day felt so full of things that I love to do. I mean, yes, Ashley  (of Story Photographers) is so incredibly talented it’s not even funny, but when she sent me that photo I felt beautiful. She’s taken my picture plenty of times before; family photos, my sister’s wedding, selfies for instagram, and with a boy….but that picture. That picture of me tied to nothing else made me feel whole. I felt like relieved because I finally feel like I match my interior (to paraphrase Elphaba in Wicked).

Every girl goes through an ugly duckling stage – but I have felt like I have had an identity crisis in my looks. First, my hair was too long and crazy and overwhelmed me. Then I learned I had to wear glasses every day, so I went with rimless ones so people wouldn’t immediately notice them. Then I cut all my hair off. Next, I decided to grow my hair out and learn how to use a curling wand. All of these little exterior changes never really made me feel like myself. But I think I have figured it out. My hair is never going to be perfect and I’m always going to feel naked without my glasses. I’m never going to master the smokey eye or remember to put lipstick on after I brush my teeth. But I am always going to remember that happy girls are the prettiest girls and I’m always going to know how to make an Old Navy dress look like Kate Spade. I’m going to know that my heart shines through more than I know, and that my brown eyes will captivate the right person.

So, thank you life (& Ashley), for showing me that sometimes it’s not about living the life society pushes on you. It’s about becoming the person you want to be.

sleepytime.

Friday nights for me are my nights to decompress. Lately, it seems like my week nights consist of an hour at the gym, working for Story Photographs, and/or meeting my run club for 3 miles and a drink. So Friday nights I like to do absolutely nothing. Case in point, tonight I came home, ate some dinner, set up the present I bought my apartment (an Amazon Fire Stick), and watched 3 episodes of Drunk History. I followed that up with putting freshly washed sheets on my bed and watching an episode of Parks & Rec. Clearly, I have adulthood figured out.

Anyway, I was hunkering down for the night when I got a message from my sister saying, “FYI I check your blog every day for new material.” Yeah…she’s at the beach with her best friend and she’s worried about this little space of mine on the interwebs. I promised to write something this weekend, then made a few notes of what I could write about and put my phone away.

Then it hit me. I should share my sleepytime playlist with you. You mean you don’t have a sleepytime playlist? Well…I cannot go to sleep without mine. I’m sure it’s completely psychological, but I can’t remember a time in recent history (college years to present day) that I have slept well without music in the background. Heck, I even slept with earbuds in at Disney and sleeping with earbuds in is not the most comfortable thing in the world. I blame my parents for this. I remember being little and knowing they were going to bed because I could hear the Bose radio fire up from my room and Delilah (of the “love someone tonight” fame) was playing love songs that sung my parents to sleep. The only exception to this was when we were at Myrtle Beach for our summer vacations and it was Leah, the country version of Delilah that was patching up the hearts of listeners who called in.

Without further adieu, I present to you the carefully curated sleepytime playlist:

https://open.spotify.com/user/l_whitt/playlist/7HRirAeTY1TFMPSxAgTKRX

(I will embed this code later. Spotify is being extremely difficult at the moment and my computer hates me. What I thought would take 20 minutes has now taken an hour and I’ve fallen asleep in the process twice…whoops).

race day gear.

I have spent countless hours pinning and researching what other runners wear on their runDisney race days. I’ve read about gels and GI issues. I’ve read about costume malfunctions and chaffing. I’ve read about socks and tennis shoes lost in airline baggage mishaps.

That’s all well and good, but I’m a new runner. I don’t own a fancy GPS watch or use a hydration belt. What am I supposed to run in?

race outfit

I’ve decided to stick with what I know. Above you can see what I’m planning on wearing on race day!

  • lulu lemon running capris
  • gray old navy ankle socks
  • black long-sleeve semi-fitted top
  • flipbelt for my chapstick, starbursts and phone
  • asics
  • hello alyss crown hair piece
  • Not pictured: Disney Birthday Button!

Maybe one day, when I’m an experienced runner, I’ll look back and laugh at my affinity for old navy socks, but I swear they are my favorite things ever. I have them in black and gray, and I always feel like I run better when I wear the gray ones.

That’s what I plan to wear when I take on my first half-marathon. I’m curious to see what my future race gear will look like.

what i’m reading

I love to read. It’s always been a hobby of mine. Is reading considered a hobby? I’m going to go with yes. I was that kid who waited at midnight for the release of the next installment of the Harry Potter series, then I would devour the book in days. Well – except for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – that one scared me for a solid 2 weeks before I picked it up again.

Anyway, I thought I would write a short post on what I’m reading currently or planning to read in the next few weeks. As you can see here, my dresser has turned into a make-shift bookshelf. That’s mainly due to the lack of space on my nightstand. I do, in fact, own a bookshelf, but I’ve gotten into a habit of picking up (or ordering off Amazon, let’s be real) books and starting them all at once. It’s my intention to finish at least 2 of these by the end of February.

Make it Happen – Lara Casey
My friend, Carly, and I went on a trek to Barnes & Nobles a few weekends ago for this book and I didn’t really know much about it. She was intent on reading it and told me she would let me know how it was. Then I met the author the very next day at a bridal show I was working. It’s a small world, after all.

One Plus One – Jojo Moyes
Ever since I finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, I’ve been entranced by her writing and the way she tells a story. I would also recommend The Girl You Left Behind – so good.

The Empathy Exams – Leslie Jamison
It’s rare that I pick up a book that’s non-fiction, but the description of this one grabbed my attention. It’s a collection of essays about the human experience and how we express empathy towards others.

Tiny, Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
This one stays on my current rotation. It’s a collection of advice columns (questions and answers) from Dear Sugar, also known as the best-selling author of Wild. Every time I have something frustrating in my life happen or my heart breaks, I reach for this one.

A Book of Sunshine
My Meme gave me this book in September of 1998 (it says so on the inside cover). I just came across it a few months ago while moving, and it made me immensely happy.

booksfeb15

Not shown here is the book I’m actually reading at the moment. I’m currently working my way through The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes. It’s on my kindle and I’m enjoying it so far. Now if only I could read all day instead of work… 🙂

 

baby, we were born to run

Hey. Hi there. Hello. Remember me? Yeah, I hoped that you would.

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, I have signed up to run the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. That is 13.1 miles. Or as my sister likes to put it, 13.1 miles because we’re only half-crazy. While it’s arguably one of the most fun half-marathons, I’m still quite overwhelmed/intimidated/scared to death of this 13.1 mile journey that is 22 weeks away.

Slowly, I’ve been nudging myself into shape – crawling out of bed at 4:45 in the morning, fumbling for socks and earbuds in the dark, squinting at the Couch to 5K app as I stumble towards the gym in the dark. This is where I admit that I have never been a runner. Sure, I played running sports, but let’s be real – I got to stop running whenever the ball wasn’t near me on the field/court. So this has been a big deal for me. The first week, I was amazed I could run 8 one-minute intervals without dying. Yesterday (week 6), I was amazed that I could run 10 minutes in a row. Endurance has never been my strong suit.

High points so far: My legs looked damn good yesterday in a pair of wedge booties. #holla
Biggest challenge: Finding a good speed to pace myself – I thought I was failing if I wasn’t running at 6.0+ mph, but I was just wearing myself out before I could even get anywhere.
Next goal to accomplish: Running a 5K – Signed up today for my first race!
Things I’m excited about: Getting my gait analyzed and getting fit for a proper pair of running shoes!

Exactly.

follow your arrow.

I like to have a plan. I like knowing when things are going to happen and how they’re going to happen and even why they’re going to happen. Unfortunately, life doesn’t really care about my preferences on planning and it just does its own thing. To distract myself from that little truth, I decided that I would purchase some temporary tattoos…because why not?

As you  may have read on this blog, I have talked about tattoos on just about every birthday. Now what has stopped me? I’m slightly indecisive. One time it was the word JOY. Then it was an arrow. Then it was an arrow ampersand. But the location has never changed. Always on the inside of my left arm, above my elbow.

So I headed over to Tattly and bought a cute little set of arrows. I figured I would wear them around a little bit as research. Last night I cut out one of the tiny arrows and stuck it on the spot I’ve been stubborn about during this whole process and….hated it being there. It probably had something to do with it being crooked. Those things are hard to apply one-handed!

So I moved locations and stuck the rest of that sheet on my arm, and oh my – I think I’ve created a monster. I’m in love. I feel like a badass every time I look down at my arm, with its arrow and gold stack of alex + ani bracelets. I feel so chic.

Why arrows? Well in order for an arrow to go forward, it has to be pulled back. Kind of reminds me of life’s struggles sometimes. So maybe there’s permanent arrow in my future, or maybe not. I haven’t planned that far out just yet. 🙂

arrows

adulting.

If I’m 100% honest with you, I feel a bit pretentious sitting down to write this. What do I know about being an adult? I’ve only had 3 years of experience, and I got the job with practically no life skills and one small qualification to my name (hello, bachelor’s degree hanging on my wall). But for some reason, this feeling that I need to craft a list of things I’m learning won’t go away.

1. Picture the person you want to be – I have this vision of who I want to be one day. She’s this mixture of Audrey Hepburn and Anna Wintour with a little Tina Fey and Katy Perry mixed in there for good measure. She’s assertive, but kind. She’s confident, but quirky. She’s independent, but loving. So right now, I may feel like I fall short…a lot. (haha…I’m short…there’s nothing to see here, folks). I may get frustrated and feel defeated, but as long as I can picture who I want to be, everything else will fall in place.

2. Work smarter, not harder – dear Lord, I try to circumvent this all the time. Especially when I first started working. Instead of doing it the easy way, I felt compelled to do it the hard way. I thought it showed that I was hard-working and dedicated. Looking back, it probably made me look a little silly.

3. Don’t take anything personally – I’m starting to realize that people’s attitudes toward you and the way they handle things are rarely (if ever) actually about you. Unfortunately, I realize all this in hindsight after I’ve jumped on the phone to tell my mom about the latest injustice I’ve suffered.

4. Always have a spare $125 for an unplanned car repair or more importantly, a Kate Spade New York surprise sale.

5. Be gentle with yourself – still working on this one, but it counts that I recognize I need to do this, right? Right?!

6. Be impeccable with your word – always do what you say you’re going to do. You’ll astound people.

7. Spell check.

8. Call your grandmother.

9. Don’t buy/adopt a pet because you’re lonely. This goes for boyfriends too. – I’ll admit, I’m working my way through this one. I want a dog so bad. It’s hard to go home to an empty apartment, especially when you can get a dog who will always be excited to see you when you get home. But dogs are more than an adoption fee. They rely on you, and if you can’t rely on yourself some days, you probably shouldn’t have another living being with puppy dog eyes looking up at you expectantly.

10. Stand up for yourself.

11. Exercise – & not “eggs are sides…for bacon”. I struggle with this every day. I know I should exercise. I know I’ll feel better, physically and mentally. I still have to fight off the lazy bug, but once I do, I feel so much more productive.

It’s easy to sit here and craft aspirations for life and forget about the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day. It’s easy to say you’re going to always do you  best, then spend 25 minutes griping about your colleague, your boyfriend, your friend, or all three to different people. It’s easy to put things off until tomorrow. It’s easy to go home and hibernate instead of going out because you’re tired or introverted. But I hope this is a reminder (if not to you, than to me) that life is a work in progress. Being an adult is not some predetermined idea of success. It’s just a reminder to get up, show up, and grow up. 🙂