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

ncma summer films 

The North Carolina Museum of Art is one of my favorite places in Raleigh. It’s like walking into a peaceful world in the middle of the hustle and bustle that is the capital city. I’ve been to visit the exhibits, to take photos, and to just wander around the trails for a little exercise. The trail is by far my favorite. You can walk, bike, and run for miles alongside people laying in fields reading and art sculptures scattered along the property. Last night, I discovered something even cooler. They show films outside in the amphitheater on summer evenings. 

 

feeling kate spade-esque in my play on patterns

 
Carly and I packed picnic snacks and headed out there last night to see To Kill a Mockingbird. Kudos to the NCMA for seeing an opportunity (like the release of the highly anticipated, highly debated Go Set a Watchman this week) and taking advantage of it. The place was packed – I was glad we got there early and claimed a good spot. The people watching was highly entertaining, and it wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be. And as Carly said, it would be a cool date spot for all ages. For $5, you really can’t find a better deal on a weekend night. 

They’re showing films through the rest of the summer – everything from The Theory of Everything to Big Hero 6 (for the kiddos) to the Sound of Music (maybe I can get my sister down here for that…). I know Carly and I have a date with Chris Pratt in September when they show Guardians of the Galaxy. #swoon 

Life Lessons from a Half-Marathon

Y’all – I did it! I am a half-marathoner. I have a hard earned medal to prove it. Getting here was interesting to say the least. Throughout this whole process, I learned so much about myself. I’m still learning, but I thought I would share a few things that I didn’t know 7 months ago.

medal

  1. You don’t have to follow a training program to the mile. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. For example, I restart games over all of the time if I don’t do something perfectly. In my world, I’m either 100% or not doing it. So when it came to my training program, I hit every mile assigned to me consistently for four weeks, then I hit a wall. I just didn’t want to run that week, and I struggled with feeling like I was failing. That I wasn’t really a runner if I couldn’t get all 310 miles of my program in. Then I cut myself some slack. I went from not exercising at all to volunteering to run 13.1 miles at once, so it was okay if I didn’t want to run every day. That was a big moment for me. I realized that I don’t have to live and breathe by a training schedule, but I need to listen to my mind and body. I also have learned to determine the difference between exhaustion and laziness.
  2. Listen to your body. It knows what’s best for it.
  3. Running is cheaper than therapy (including retail therapy). The more time you spend hitting the pavement, or treadmill, the less time you can shop online.
  4. You don’t need fancy things to get started. Just a decent pair of running shoes and determination. A planned running route wouldn’t hurt either.
  5. There’s no such thing as a “runner” body type. I saw all kinds of ladies and gentlemen out there getting their run/walk on. Don’t think because you aren’t currently a runner that you can’t accomplish something as significant as a half or full marathon.
  6. Foam rolling is as amazing as they said it would be. Once you learn how to do it, that is. It took me a few months to learn proper techniques, but I found a helpful little video that covers IT stretches, calf stretches and a neck roll.
  7. Like most things in life, you get what you put into it. I got a little discouraged going into the last leg of this journey. I didn’t follow my training program, I got lazy with the cold weather and snow, and I let my insecurities get the best of me. But when race day came along, I realized that I had been dedicated and determined and I knew I would finish, even if I had to walk the whole way. And I finished 10 minutes faster than my goal time of 2 hours 45 minutes.

The most astonishing thing I learned was how much I learned about who I am through this whole process. I mean it really shouldn’t surprise me being that running is spending quality time with yourself (and putting one foot in front of the other). I’ve learned that I need time to process things – or more accurately put, obsess over things until I’m tired of thinking about them. I’ve learned how to motivate myself and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting my butt out of bed or off the couch. I’ve learned that if I can sing-dance while running, I’m a lot happier. I’ve learned that I’m good company even on my grouchiest of days.

castle

Thanks for joining me on this journey! I can’t believe it’s already over. Now onto my next adventure!

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… 🙂

 

Goals

I was talking to my brother-in-law yesterday about how I have my goals for work this year pinned to the bulletin board above my desk so I could see them every day. Conversation ensued, and I wondered why I didn’t do the same thing for my personal goals. To remedy that, I made this lovely little image to frame and hang on the mini inspirational wall I’m creating in my bedroom.

2015 goals

 

A lot of my goals are intangible, or ideas, to help me become the person I want to be, but others are goals that I can meet and exceed if I tried really hard (hello, 1,000 miles) and things that I really need to make more time for (reading every day).  I submitted my little goal picture to PostalPix to be printed this morning, so I can start reminding myself to live on purpose and not out of habit this year. No one wants to live the same year 85 times and call it a life.

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

thebalm.

I have a confession to make: I am terrible at being a girl. Absolutely horrifying. I’m lazy when it comes to make-up. I don’t like to shop unless I have a purpose (or if I’m going to Target). I don’t know how to use a curling iron. The reasons are endless.

However, with my intentions post, I am vowing to at least give it a little more effort. With that in mind, I scoured the interwebs for the perfect eyeshadow palette. I’ve been using the same Clinique liquid eyeshadow combo for years now and I’m sure they discontinued the shades that I like.

In my stumbling, I came across the Urban Decay Naked3 palette. Ooh lala, it’s gorgeous! Unfortunately, it is out of stock on the website and it hasn’t made its way to retailers like Ulta or Sephora yet. So the only option was to spend $125 for it on Amazon.

Kidding.

Instead, I saw where Ulta sold the Urban Decay Basics palette and I added it to my cart as I was purchasing some shampoo that’s promises to make my hair grow faster. But then something amazing happened. I found an even better palette by a brand that I’m familiar with and really love – thebalm. It’s called Nude ‘tude and comes in “Nice” and “Naughty”, but both of them have the same palette. It has more shades and it was less than the Basic palette (on Amazon). So now the next step is to learn how to paint my face. Anyone willing to help? If not, I guess I’ll have to turn to the YouTube make-up gurus.

Thebalm

rabbit, rabbit.

Let me be the first to wish you a very happy November! I love November – it’s warm colors, delicious food, and quality time with family and friends just makes me want to settle in with a blanket and nap for a while. Here’s my favorite things this week:

1. I spent some quality time with my mom shopping yesterday. Well she spent the majority of the time laughing at me while I fought back the urge to twirl in my Beetlejuice dress and orange scarf.

2. This fabulous list from Kate Spade to inspire this holiday season. It’s making me want to create my own little bucket list for December.

3. My Christmas cards! Sorry – I can’t show them to you yet, but I can show you this adorable little sticker that was on the packaging they were mailed in.

Sticker

4. And last, but not least: The Paris Wife. It’s what I’ve been reading this week & it is phenomenal so far.

Happy weekend, friends!

halloween.

Every now and then I get a tiny burst of creativity. For example, this little guy.

cute monster

He’s the latest addition to the various forms of e-News that I send out in my job. Since e-News goes out on the last day of the month, I figured we could use a little Halloween fun around here. Hope your Halloween is as cute as this little guy.