How Exercise Helps Me Achieve My Goals

I recently shared my list of goals for the year and announced my word of the year: WORK. After that post, I realized I wanted to share a bit more about why I chose the word “work” to intentionally drive and focus my year ahead. Intentionally focusing 2017 around the word “work” was a decision I made during the last quarter of 2016 after a lot of reflection and prayer. 2016 was, by and large, a year of grad school for me. After I completed my coursework in September, I spent the remainder of the year resting, reflecting, and looking ahead.

Making 2017 my year of work lead me to some (somewhat) unexpected places: I’m finding time for exercise. In the past, it always seemed counterintuitive to me that so many successful people I knew made time for exercise. Wouldn’t it deplete their energy? How do they come back from the gym looking so happy? Where do they find time for the activities they actually enjoy?

I now know that exercise gives energy rather than depleting it. I also know that finding an exercise that’s enjoyable not only leaves me feeling happy, but it is also becoming an activity I look forward to most days.

My exercise routine is not one intended to transform myself into a body builder or to rapidly drop weight. Instead, the purpose of my routine is to help me have more energy and happiness. Focusing on work this year meant that I absolutely had to find a way to be more productive with my time, and exercise has helped me find more energy, which, in turn, has made it feel as if I have more time to dedicate to all those areas needing my attention.

Instead of feeling encumbered by needing to log an hour at the gym or 30 minutes on the treadmill, I know that I’ll gain enough energy to help me get through all of my tasks ahead.

Here’s some benefits I’ve noticed from regular exercise in my own life:

  1. More energy.
  2. More mental focus and clarity.
  3. I’m making better use of my time. Rather than crashing on the couch for several hours each evening out of sheer exhaustion, I’m now accomplishing more with my time because I feel better.
  4. I’m more intentional about taking my AdvoCare products, which make me feel better every single day.
  5. I’m happier.
  6. I’m sleeping better.
  7. I have more fun in my life.
  8. Household chores no longer exhaust me.
  9. I’m saying “yes” more.
  10. My work is more focused. I’m making better use of my time.
  11. Travis and I are spending more quality time together playing games, doing puzzles, or some other activity I never had the energy for before.

For the longest time, I thought exercise was absolutely no fun at all. In fact, I hated it. Finding the right routine for me has really changed my mindset about exercise. So, what’s my exercise routine look like?  I see a personal trainer for one hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to walk/jog on my treadmill for 30-40 minutes at least one day a week (usually Monday), I do a yoga flow class on Friday, and I try to be a little active in some way during the weekend. Examples: walking the dog, yard work, cleaning, etc.

I don’t have a stringent program that’s impossible for me to keep up with. In fact, I don’t always have time in my schedule for this exact routine, but I do the best I can. I know that I have two hours scheduled every week with my trainer, and I do the best I can to squeeze some activity into every single day. And, it’s totally working for me right now! Have I lost a ton of weight? Nope. Have I lost some weight? Yep. I feel so much better every single day that I truly think in the year ahead I’ll be able to continue focusing on exercise to help me do great things during my year of “work.”

Easy Do It Yourself Dreamcatcher

Recently, I made a DIY dreamcatcher for my sitting room, and I thought it might be fun to share it with you!

Supplies:

  1. Lace Fabric
  2. Yarn
  3. Embroidery Hoop
  4. Faux Flowers

Steps:

  1. Add lace fabric to an embroidery hoop and trim excess fabric from the back. (You could add a little glue at this point, but it’s definitely not necessary.)
  2. Cut the yarn into strands. I chose to leave mine rather long.
  3. Cut a few small holes in the lace fabric near the bottom of the hoop.
  4. String the yarn through the holes.
  5. Add some yarn to the top of your dreamcatcher to hang it.
  6. Add some decorative faux flowers to the top, and you’re done!

 

2017 Goals and My Word of the Year

This year, I’m planning to simplify my goals a bit and only concentrate on a few for our home. Instead, I’m going to focus on a word this year. In years’ past, I’ve definitely had a major, overarching goal that could have been summed up by one word. For example, last year would have been school or MBA. But I’ve never publicly shared that word — until now!

My Word of the Year

This is going to be my year of WORK. I’ve finished my master’s degree, and it’s time to crush it professionally. This means I plan to work extra hard this year to make myself indispensable to my company. I work remotely, and I absolutely love my job. I want to make sure this year they know just how important they are to me. After having a career with some serious ups and downs, I feel like I’ve finally found a workplace to call home. Working from home sweetens the deal!

I also purchased a small business at the end of 2016. I know, Crazy! I haven’t decided how much to share about this new business venture here on the blog, but I’m sure there might be some crossover at some point. For now, let me just summarize a bit: I purchased a consignment event business from a person who started it from the ground up. This meant I purchased all of the equipment as well as the intellectual property. I have a business partner, and I really love knowing I can lean on her. She’s definitely part of my tribe. However, my business partner and I definitely have our work cut out for us. We’re changing the business name, creating a new website, implementing new banking and tax procedures, and moving the consignment sale events to a new town all while learning how to run a business.

Additionally, I’m setting a goal for myself to blog a minimum of 18 times this year. This means I must post at least once a month. I would really like to find a blogging rhythm this year. I have plenty of post ideas to share!

House Goals

  1. Add deck skirting to the front porch.
  2. Paint the last door in our house black.
  3. Tile the kitchen backsplash. (Check out some of the options I’ve been considering here.)
  4. Work on the overall curb appeal of our home.

It’s definitely going to be a busy year, but I’m really excited for what’s ahead!

New Year’s Eve Favorite Things Brunch

Happy new year! The ladies in my family have started a new tradition of having a favorite things brunch around the holidays where my younger cousin and I host our moms, aunts, and grandmothers at my house for a fun morning of fellowship and gifting. (Click here to read more about the favorite things game.) This year, we had extra helping hands from our cousin’s new wife. (You may remember when we hosted her wedding shower last spring.) Last year, we hosted the brunch a week before Christmas, but this year we decided a New Year’s Eve brunch would work best.

We had a lot of fun setting the table this year! It was a special treat to break out linens and actual dinnerware and treat the ladies of our family to something special. We’re definitely a family that typically uses disposable plates and napkins for family gatherings.

Each place setting had a water glass, linen napkin, mimosa champagne flute with a swizzle stick, favor, party hat, name card, small plate, dinner plate, charger, and utensils. Trust me, we really upped the table setting ante from last year’s brunch.

The party hats were from Target, and almost everyone wore their hat during brunch! It was so much fun to look around the table and see everyone wearing party hats and enjoying themselves. The name cards were a simple DIY using free flower clip art. This helped us identify which mimosas should be mocktails. Plus it was a really sweet touch everyone seemed to appreciate.

We found the Bubbles & Kisses favor idea from Pinterest, and it was a huge hit! All we did was add some Hershey Kisses to an organza favor bag, write “Bubbles & Kisses” on gift tags from Target, and add it to the mini bottles of sparkling cider.

I’m going to get real for a minute and admit that this cake was almost a huge problem. It all started when I ordered a cake topper that didn’t arrive correctly, and then the Etsy seller forgot to send the correct topper. She was really gracious about it and gave me a full refund, but the cake already started with a disadvantage: no topper. Then, when we picked up the cake, it didn’t look at all like it was supposed to look. Instead of being covered in an edible glitter, it had gold sprinkles haphazardly sprinkled all over.

Honestly, we just needed to reset our mental picture of how the cake was supposed to look and instead accept how it actually looked. Once we did that, it became a lot easier to move forward. I found a free clock printable to use as the central topper, and we just used a decorative scalloped circle punch to add some circles to add some something decorative around the clock. This all happened around midnight the night before the brunch. The cake itself was strawberry and delicious.

The rest of the table’s centerpiece featured grocery store flowers in holiday vases, a beaded runner, and the cake on a silver cake plate. There was enough going on with the rest of the table to feel comfortable with a simpler centerpiece.

All of the food was placed on a small buffet table near the main dining table. Unfortunately, the only place to put the buffet table blocked one of the doors into the dining room, so we had to get a little creative blocking the exit. The mix of balloons and the banner ended up being the perfect kitschy, not-so-serious additions to the party decor. The balloons were hung from the door frame with sequined ribbon, so the extra touch of sparkle was really fun.

The food itself was a mix of old and new recipes, and it was all well received by the brunch guests.

Menu:

Happy new year, friends!

2016 End-Of-Year Goal Check In

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year ahead. Then, I checked in again in June to see if I had made any progress and also to see if I need to make any adjustments to my goals for the remainder of the year. Now that the year is over, it’s time to see if I accomplished the goals I set for myself back in January.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand. June update: we are no longer considering moving. My future job situation is still very much TBD. December update: We will NOT be moving, and my job situation is looking good. 

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left! December update: there’s only one door left! The weather got too cold to paint this last door. Overall, though, I’m very pleased with this progress!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks. June update: thankfully this never-ending task is DONE. 
  • Tile kitchen backsplash. June update: this should probably move to 2017…possibly 2018. December update: I’ve begun ordering tile samples! Curious about what I’m considering? Check out my Pinterest board!
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter. June: steadily making progress. December: I actually just finished going through ALL of Travis’ clothes this week. I’m continually making steady progress reducing clutter.
  • Update the guest bathroomDecember update: Throughout the course of the year, this became a very low priority.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover. June update: see the finished space here!
  • Stain the front porch and deck. June update: we’ve stripped the old stain from the porch! December update: The front porch is stained! We’re considering several different options for the back deck including remodeling and hiring out staining. 
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch. December update: we added risers but ran out of time to add the deck skirting. Hopefully, we can cross this task off in the spring.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue houseDecember update: we’re getting there! I’d like to make a big push in 2017 to work on the outside of our home.
  • June update: finish my new sitting room. Details to come. 😉 December update: I just sold off the previous furniture that occupied this room, and I hope to have a completed space soon! However, I’m already enjoying spending much of my spare time in this room. I can’t wait to blog about it!
  • June update: take some new photos of the outside of our blue house. The one above is very old. December update: as soon as the front porch is finished, I’ll be sure to take loads of pictures of the front of our house!

Personal

graduation-995042_640

  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA. June update: I have five weeks left of classes, a field test, and an exit survey separating me from my MBA. December: I’m finished! I graduated at the beginning of this month Summa Cume Laude. The only picture we took was a Snapchat selfie in the car after graduation. #photofail
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges. June update: I’m down 15 pounds and feeling fabulous. Message me if you’re interested in learning more about Advocare. I plan to complete two more challenges this year.  
  • Blog one time per month. June update: so far, so good! I very nearly forgot to blog in May, though. December update: Poor July didn’t have a single post. 
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area. December update: still searching!

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education. June: at this point, I’m almost singularly focused on completing grad school. 

December update: It has been quite a year!

Florida Room Inspiration

The weather has finally turned to winter, and I’m dreaming of escaping to the beach for a few days. I’m fortunate to live near enough to Florida to make annual trips. I’m also fortunate enough to be able to visit my dad’s Florida condominium whenever I’m able. While it’s not directly on the beach, it’s located in close proximity to shopping and dining while only being about a 20-minute drive away from the beach. My Dad, Step-Mom, and grandparents make regular use of the condo to visit our Florida family and have furnished the two-bedroom condo to resemble our mountain home here in Tennessee. It truly does feel like we’re at home when we’re inside the comfortably furnished condo.

However, the condo features a screened-in porch, and I can’t help but think this room would be the perfect opportunity to inject some local flavor. This “room” can be used year-round thanks to Florida’s warm weather. When my family purchased the condo, the room was given a good scrub, fresh paint, and new window screens. I think it would be lovely to continue the fresh paint job up to the ceiling with a lovely coat of blue. Benjamin Moore™’s Polar Sky would be the perfect shade of “haint blue” for the ceiling:

Adding an indoor/outdoor rug would provide a nice pop of color, too, while also helping to make the room feel more like an actual room rather than merely a screened-in porch. I think adding a rug would be a key component to ensuring the porch received regular use.

Adding some warmer elements to the rest of the room would help break up the blue ceiling and rug-covered floor. Adding a touch of nautical is always a fun way to bring coastal style to any room. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

florida-inspiration-at-betweenweekdays-com

I also think adding a bar cart with lots of pops of color and fun would be a useful addition to any Florida-inspired room. How gorgeous is that bar cart styled by AM Dolce Vita? (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

florida-inspiration-at-betweenweekdays-com2

Adding elements of Florida style to the room would allow the space to function in a multitude of ways. A weathered farm table could become the focal point of the room for alfresco Florida dining. Or, a casual seating area could be added to create an outdoor living room suitable for visiting with friends and family to make the most use of Florida’s year-round sunshine.

If you want some more Florida inspiration, be sure to check out my Florida-inspired Pinterest board.

If you’re ready to take your Florida dreams to the next level and own a piece of paradise, check out the  Douglas Elliman Florida Real Estate page.

All I Want for Christmas, 2016

Hello friends! This month has been crazy busy for me with wonderful opportunitites, which left little time for blog posting. But, I’m back today sharing what’s on my personal Christmas wish list for 2016!

1. Bose Bluetooth Speaker

I’ve long wanted some sort of a Bose sound system, and I think this mini bluetooth version would perfectly suit my needs.

2. 2-Cup Measure

After watching the Pioneer Woman use her 2-cup measure on countless episodes, I’ve decided this is a kitchen tool that should definitely be added to my arsenal.

3. Floor Pouf

This little floor poof looks just right to fit in any space within my house: under my desk as a foot stool, in the living room when we need extra seating, or really anywhere the cat might like to sit.

4. Flannel Sheets

How we’ve survived this long without flannel sheets, I’ll never know! The deer pattern on this set would perfectly match our bedroom.

5. Kate Spade Tassel Keychain

This tassel keychain would not only brighten my day, but it would also help me keep up with my keys!

Goodbye Rusty

I wrote about our new garage door awhile back. When our old door finally gave out on us, we decided to upgrade to a carriage-style garage door.

New Garage Door at BetweenWeekdays.com

We love the windows at the top of the door, the panel details, and, of course, the hardware. However, we were not loving the lights on either side of our garage door.

new-garage-lights-at-betweenweekdays-com

This was how I was greeted to my home every single time I pulled in the driveway. This is what greeted all of our guests. This was bad. This had to go.

After a quick trip to Lowe’s, I fell in love with this beauty:

The Portfolio Brayden wall lantern checked all the boxes for my lighting needs: updated style, brighter (two bulbs), bigger, and it was in the correct color. Plus, it was a great price at just under $60. My electrician husband was able to quickly wire the new lights in place, and we were left with a much improved outdoor space.

New Garage Lights at BetweenWeekdays.com

Now I’m greeted each day by these beauties which dramatically help improve our curb appeal. We still have a lot left we need to do to improve the outside of our home, but this was an easy, quick fix to help us get motivated to tackle the other, larger outdoor home improvement tasks ahead. I’m looking at you overgrown shrubs!

(Linking up to TDC.)

The Evolution of a Wreath

I’ve made a lot of wreaths, but one I made recently for my new sitting room might just be my favorite ever. I captured a SnapChat story of the process, and it seemed like a fun thing to share here on the blog, too.

Step one:

Wreath Evolution at BetweenWeekdays.com

Step Two:

Wreath Evolution at BetweenWeekdays.com

Step Three:

Wreath Evolution at BetweenWeekdays.com

All of the flowers came from a local trash to treasure sale a few months back. They were all together in a vase, and they just didn’t look appealing in their current state. However, the flowers themselves were great quality and very pretty, so I knew I’d find a use for them. I just kept adding flowers to my wreath form until I liked the way it looked, and then I wrapped the rest of the form with some burlap ribbon I had on hand. All in all, this was a great way to repurpose faux florals, and I love the way the new wreath looks in my sitting room.

(Linking up to TDC.)

Sitting Room Inspiration

A few months ago I realized that I had a desire to create a retreat within our home for me. Now that I work from home, I spend the majority of my time in our home’s office. I absolutely adore working from home, but sometimes I find myself craving a change of scenery. At first, I considered creating a backyard ‘she shed.’ But, then, that seemed overwhelming for a lot of reasons. First, I know I wouldn’t consistently use it if it wasn’t attached to the house. Secondly, a ‘she shed’ would be a tremendous expense and require more energy and time than I cared to give. Creating a backyard ‘she shed’ oasis simply wasn’t a good idea.

But then I realized that I have a perfectly suitable space already in my home: the back guest bedroom. The majority of our guests choose to sleep in the front guest bedroom because it has a larger bed, so it wasn’t being utilized very much at all. Plus, due its location, it feels pretty separate from the rest of the house. Which makes this room the perfect location for a quick escape.

blue-house_BackGuestBedrom at BetweenWeekdays.com

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted my new sitting room to function, look, and feel. I knew it needed to work as a space where I could watch Netflix, read, and work on craft projects and gift wrapping on the floor. But the room also still needed to be able to function as a guest room when needed. I also needed to accomplish this on a small budget. In terms of the look and feel for this room, I knew I wanted it to not clash with the rest of our house but to still feel unique. Since this room’s purpose is to be an escape of sorts, I decided to decorate it with light pink accents throughout so it would stand out from the rest of our house. The first step in deciding how I wanted the room to look was creating a Pinterest board. From there I pulled the below images to create a mood board of sorts for my new sitting room. So, what are the plans?

1. Pink!

I plan to paint an accent wall Quartz Pink by Valspar. I’ve heard that designers are tired of the accent wall trend, but I still love an accent wall from time to time. The rest of the walls will stay Montpelier Madison White by Valspar keeping the walls all very soft in color. (Our front guest bedroom and the hallway connecting the two bedrooms is also painted Montpelier Madison White by Valspar, which helps the spaces feel cohesive.) I also plan to sprinkle pink accents throughout the room with decor.

2. Daybed

In order to keep the functionality of a guest bedroom while also providing a lounging space for me, a daybed is in order. I plan to keep the existing mattress and box springs and add them to a daybed frame. I really like the black metal frame on this particular daybed, because I think it will help the sitting room fit in with the rest of our house, which has a lot of black accents throughout.

3. Pillows

Daybed Pillows at BetweenWeekdays.com

In order for the daybed to feel like a couch, I plan to add a lot of pillows of various sizes. In the photo above, the first pillow is a euro sham, the second is a large decorative pillow, and the third is a smaller, faux fur accent pillow. I would also like to add in some purely decorative pillows like this or this.

4. New Lighting

I came thisclose to purchasing this light for my sitting room. It’s beautiful, but I’m on a budget with this room. I already own something that I think will look absolutely perfect in this room once it’s given a little makeover using the light above as inspiration.

Here’s hoping I can get this room pulled together before football season kicks off in earnest. I definitely need a retreat from my husband’s football viewing schedule.

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