My evening routine

My evening routine

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Welcome to the third and final post of our routine series.

Post #1: Why and how routines + my favorite resources
Post #2: My morning routine

I love routines and it has been so helpful for me to break mine down. I’ve been able to take a closer look at what I include in my routine and why I’m doing each activity. I hope this series will encourage you to cultivate your own routines because I want you to live a life that is flourishing! Routines help make that happen.

daily routine quote

10 things that make up my ideal evening

I want to preface this with some honesty (honesty that you probably already know). I’m certainly not perfect and all of these things don’t get done every day. Sometimes I have a really busy evening planned and I’m only able to do a few. There are days I would rather get to sleep than put away the pile of dishes. This is just my ideal and I’m okay with letting it go when I need to.

Tidy up

I don’t like going to sleep with things out of order. I’ll do dishes that are in the sink, tidy up anything on the counters, and clean my space. This gives each day a totally fresh start.

Tie up loose ends

I do anything important that I didn’t get to earlier. Cross the t’s and dot the i’s so to say. This keeps things from lingering one day to the next.

Prepare food for the next day

This saves a huge amount of time in the morning. I eat from home most days, so it’s important I have food prepared. I’ll pack my lunch box and prepare my shake the night before so I have minimal things to do in the morning. No excuses for eating out. Unless I choose to 🙂

Lay out clothes for the next day

This is another major time saver! For some reason it’s about 170% faster to pick out an outfit the night before rather than the morning of. I check my planner and the weather to make a decision and make sure I have all needed outfits accounted for (work clothes, workout clothes, after work date clothes, etc).

Review planner & to dos

I just mentioned it, but this is crucial. Reviewing my planner helps me determine my clothes and food needs. It also give me a heads up on what time I need to be out the door and anything else I need to be prepared for. My Simplified Planner keeps me organized (if you’re new to Simplified, enjoy $10 off here — you’ll thank me later).

Unwind

Some days may require more unwinding than others. I try to listen to my self and give me what I need. That may be a bath, an episode on Netflix, or a face mask. I try to read every night to relax my mind and focus on something outside myself.

Put phone on airplane mode + charge

Put the phone to bed! Ideally outside the bedroom. This is also a great time to charge it so you’re ready to go tomorrow. I like airplane mode because then I’m not immediately sucked into any notifications I may have missed over night.

Beverages 

I always keep water on my bedside table to take my medicine at night and first thing in the morning. A new addition to my routine is Natural Calm. This is a magnesium supplement, called the anti-stress drink. It restores healthy magnesium levels and helps you sleep better at night. I put a tablespoon of the powder into a mug of warm water and enjoy, usually with my book of choice.

Skin care

Cleaning my face is like a little meditation for me. It washes off the day and triggers my mind for bedtime. I usually wash my face and remove my makeup right after I get home from my day, but I’ll do it before bed if I haven’t already. This part of my routine will never be skipped.

Dental care

Brush well, floss, mouthwash. I struggle with cavities no matter how well I brush, but I’m giving this a much bigger focus. One day I will be praised at my dentist appointment for my flossing.

Natural Calm and Water

Ideas for cultivating your evening routine

As I said for your morning routine, I would suggest you choose 3-5 items to be a part of your routine as you’re getting into the habit. You can always adjust this as needed. Your routine can be as long or short as you need to feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. These are some additional ideas to help you create your own.

  • Meditate
  • Warm tea
  • Stretch
  • Light a candle
  • Yoga
  • Gratitude
  • Journal + brain dump
  • Set an alarm
  • Skin mask
  • Body scrub
  • Diffuse essential oil
  • Darken your room
  • Turn down temperature
  • Reflect on the day
  • Visualize tomorrow

Tips for cultivating your evening routine

Choose things that make you feel relaxed — Doing certain things (like showering at night) may wind you up. Be mindful of how you feeling after activities and do the ones that prepare you for a good night of sleep.

Calm your mind — At the end of the day, your body is likely tired, but your mind may still be racing. I know the nights I’m restless is usually due to anxiety about the next day or ruminating on something that happened the day of. It’s hard to control your mind, but you’ll learn ways to help ease it and create space.

Take things off your morning plate — There are things you can do at night that will actually make your morning more peaceful and enjoyable. Do those things! Remember, a productive day starts the night before.

You don’t need to do everything — An evening routine could be 30 items long, but that may not be beneficial. Don’t feel like you have to do every good thing. If you try, that’ll likely stress you out and be the opposite of relaxing. Do the things that make a difference for you and leave the rest. Maybe you incorporate others on occasion or regularly once you’re in a rhythm.

Your evening routine is YOURS! Do what works best for you. Some evenings you may have a lot of energy left and want to tackle extra things. Some evenings you’re so drained you can barely get through any of your routine and just need an early bedtime. Either way is okay. When you listen to your body and give it what it needs, you’ll be better tomorrow ❤

Are there things you do each evening to have the best night ever? I’ve love to read them in the comments below!

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My morning routine

My morning routine

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

As I mentioned in the first post of this routine series, I love learning about people’s routines. I feel like you can learn a lot about someone by finding out what they do everyday. Plus, it always gives me good ideas for adjusting my own.

My routine didn’t happen overnight. It took time for me to figure things out and get into a flow. I’m usually guilty of trying to do too much. In the morning I generally don’t have a ton of time, so I had to be sure to focus on the things that would make the biggest impact. These had to be items that I would feel good about even if I got nothing else done that day.

I’m going to give you a glimpse into my morning routine and give you some ideas for creating your own. Take what resonates with you and leave the rest. And let go of the thought you have to get it right your first morning. This may take some time and that’s okay — you’ll learn along the way!

My usual morning practice

There are certain things I do each day that are mindless at this point. I wake up. I make the bed (if my husband isn’t still sleeping). I take my thyroid medication (this has to be taken on an empty stomach so I always keep water next to the bed and try to do this immediately). I go in the bathroom to do expected, brush my teeth, and wash my face. A workout is ideal in the morning, but sometimes it happens in the evening — I don’t stress it. I usually shower at night, but I’ll rinse off after a workout.

Things you can always find next to my bed: alarm clock, current read, diffuser, water bottle, encouragement

Now that I feel like an actual awake person, I can get into my routine.

My six

Each day looks a bit different as far as wake up time goes. Some days we have a sales meeting, some days I do a 6am Pure Barre class, some days I opt to sleep in because I don’t have anything planned for the morning. I know this isn’t encouraged by sleep experts, but this is how my current season looks. It’s working for now, but I’m always open to change for the better.

Although the time I’m getting started with my routine varies, the length of time and items involved are the same. My routine takes just over an hour and there are six activities outside of my usual morning practice.

  • Devotional
  • Spanish lesson
  • Meditation
  • Write the Word journal
  • Care for Stella
  • Water plants (if needed)

I have a “Routine + Activities” note in my phone where I can check off the items as I do them. I also have my ideal morning written down for different scenarios which helps me know when I should wake up and where my routine fits in. This helped make it a habit because it was an internal accountability tool. If for reason something didn’t get done in the morning, I could refer to my list and do it at a later time. My morning routine isn’t always perfect.

Ideas for cultivating your morning routine

I would suggest you choose 3-5 items to be a part of your routine as you’re getting into the habit. You can always adjust this as needed. Your routine can be as long or short as you need to feel centered and ready for the day ahead.

  • Shower
  • Stretch
  • Workout
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea
  • Read the Bible
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Gratitude journal
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Make a healthy breakfast
  • Take vitamins
  • Catch up on your favorite podcast
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Read
  • Affirmations

This list is certainly not exhaustive — use it to inspire your own morning routine. Choose things that make you feel energized, joyful, prepared, and productive. If you’re needing extra encouragement to create a routine, I highly recommend the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. His philosophy is “if you win the morning, you win the day.” Lets win the day, yall!

Tips for cultivating your morning routine

Keep your phone out of arm’s reach — We are all guilty of using our phone as an alarm. Our phone sleeps right next to our bed and we half-awake snooze the alarm three times. Whoops, there goes a lot of the morning. Or we wake up, but spend thirty minutes scrolling. That’s not good either.

Use an actual alarm clock — This will eliminate that phone issue we just discussed. I use a fancy alarm clock I found on Amazon that actually acts like the sun rising and plays sound that gradually gets louder. A basic alarm clock works just fine too.

Include things in your routine that you’re excited about — We can’t always do what we want. Sometimes the things that are best for us aren’t our favorite. But you should look forward to your routine. At least parts of it! Exercise may not get you out of bed in the morning, but if you love your relaxing coffee time after, that’ll encourage you to push through!

Attach a new habit to an already existing habit — Cultivating a routine may feel clunky at first, but this tip will make it a lot smoother! Lets say coffee is definitely a part of your morning and you’re trying to get into the habit of taking your vitamins. Pair those habits together: set your vitamins out by your coffee maker. Your existing habit will trigger your new habit which is much easier.

Be mindful of your plan for the day — Your day will affect your routine. I check my Simplified Planner the night before so I’m aware of anything important coming up (an early meeting, a workout class, an appointment, etc). This affects when my morning routine needs to start and end. It may also affect my mindset during my routine. If I know I have a stressful meeting ahead, I may choose a guided meditation specific to overcoming that.

Your morning routine is YOURS! Do what works best for you. Own it, but be willing to adjust it if you need to. Some mornings you’ll feel unstoppable. Some mornings you’ll feel like everything is out of control. No matter what, each day is a new day ❤

Are there things you do each morning to set yourself up for the best day? I’ve love to read them in the comments below!

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Delighting in routine

Delighting in routine

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Routine is something I so badly wanted, but had the hardest time creating. This isn’t going to sound sexy or thrilling, but I knew a structured routine would help me accomplish my goals. Don’t get freaked out by the word structured. Structure is actually what allows freedom because you have the ability to create that structure. It can look however you want, however works best for you.

Are you back with me now??

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but I had to be sure to get my own routine down. How could I encourage you if I wasn’t doing it?

It certainly has taken some time to create and cultivate, but I have found a routine that works really well for me in this season. Use this as a point of reference, a guide you could say. Your routine may be very similar to mine or it may look completely different — either way is totally okay! Base your routine on your personal goals and priorities.

This post is part 1 of 3. Right here I’m going to talk about the basics: why, how, and my favorite resources. Part 2 will be my morning routine. Part 3 will be my night routine. Are you excited or what!? I adore learning about people’s routines because it always gives me good ideas and ways to make mine better. So if you’re anything like me, you’re ready!

Why create a routine?

This is a very good question, especially if you’re the free-spirit kind of person. As I said earlier, your routine is yours, so it can look however best suits you. Free-spirit or planner, you will benefit from a routine.

I am a huge fan of being intentional. A routine is ultimate intentionality. By creating a routine, you are intentionally doing what matters most. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the way you spend your time is the way you spend your life. A cultivated routine is taking control of your schedule so that you can accomplish whatever it is you’re after!

We are so busy in our daily lives. A routine means there’s one less decision you have to make. You have already determined how you’ll spend your morning and evening, so your brain has space to think about other things. Or even relax. It may feel clunky and unnatural at first, but eventually your routine will become a part of your rhythm.

I’m a creature of habit, so I thrive on routine. But even if you’re not like me, a routine is the best way to cultivate the life-giving habits you want. Exercise, meditation, connection, learning something new. These habits are formed by doing them daily. Consistency leads to progress.

How do I create routines?

This was the hardest part for me. I knew I wanted a routine and I had a general idea of the things I wanted to include, but how do I take that and create something? I’ve broken it down into three steps and a bonus step for good measure.

  1. Identify what’s important in the morning and evening — Begin by brainstorming activities. You don’t have to edit or narrow down just yet. Maybe consider activites based on different areas you’d like to grow in (faith, health, relationships, recreation, finances, etc). Choose the 3-5 for each routine time (morning and evening) that will make the biggest impact right now. Remember, you can always change and adjust.
  2. Dedicate time to those activities — How long will you spend on each activity? This is especially important in the mornings for me because I have to be at work by a certain time, so my routine must fit into that. Dedicate time to each activity and if in doubt, give a little extra so you’re not feeling rushed. An hour is ideal for me in the morning, so I made sure my activities would fit into that time block.
  3. Write it down — You are learning a new schedule, so you’ll likely need some reminders about what you’ve set out to do. Think of this as a check list for your ideal morning (or evening). You may not get it perfect every day, but you’ll be much better off with a gentle reminder and direction.

Bonus: Communicate with others about the part they play. This may be your family, your roommate, or a friend. Lets say you are working on growing in your friendships. You want a morning walk around the neighborhood to be a part of your routine, so be sure to communicate with your neighbor. See if they can commit and confirm a good time you both can make it happen. It would also be awesome to express why this is important to you.

My favorite resources for cultivating routine

  • Notes app in my phone: This is where I store my routine. I have a place to check off each activity as I do them, so I always know where I stand. I don’t do my routine in any particular order, it just depends on the day and how I’m feeling, so this is really helpful for me.
  • Simplified Planner: My planner is my lifeline. There’s just something about taking pen to paper. My Simplified Planner houses all my appointments, meetings, commitments which helps me know when my routine should get started and if any adjustments need to be made. For example, if I have a really early meeting, I may wake up even earlier or move some of my routine activities to later in the day. If you’re new to Simplified, you can get $10 off your order here! Thank me later ❤
  • PowerSheets: The progress I have made this year and last year have been possible because of this incredible goal planner. It serves as accountability and helps me identify what I want to cultivate. They are sold out for 2018, but the 2019 collection will launch October 24th. Promise me you’ll grab one and have your best year ever!

I’ll keep the encouragement short and sweet. Do your best. Give yourself grace. Be willing to adjust. Do you already have a routine? Will you be creating one? Lets chat in the comments.

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Our Whole30 + tips for your own

Our Whole30 + tips for your own

Whole30. You may have no clue what I’m talking about or you may be a Whole30 alum. Either way, welcome!

In August 2018 I successfully completed my second round of Whole30 with my husband. I did my first Whole30 in February 2018 (you can read about that here) and the experiences were quite different. I learned a lot from my first round and having the support of my husband who was in the trenches with me made a world of difference.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, let me take a moment to explain. Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet. You cut out the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Food groups like sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, legumes. You can whole, unprocessed, healthy foods for the 30 days to reset your body and give your system a chance to heal and return to baseline. You can learn more about the Whole30 Program here straight from the source.

With this post I wanted to give you a glimpse into our Whole30 experience. Share some of our favorite meals, our results, and our best tips. If you’re considering the Whole30 or just seeking some encouragement for wellness, I hope this is helpful!

Our favorite meals

My favorite thing about Whole30 is trying new recipes! We tried these and many other yummy ones during our 30 days, most of which I would love to make again. Tip: keep a binder or folder for printed recipes to reference in the future! I have a ton on my Pinterest board, but it can be a pain to find my favorites again. Plus, you can jot down any notes right there on the recipe to remember for the future.

Chicken & Zoodles

  • Cook zoodles on stovetop until warm
  • Bake or cook chicken on stovetop, add to zoodles once cooked through
  • Top with your favorite sauce (make sure no added sugar) and sprinkle nutritional yeast if that’s your thing

Zoodles & Shrimp

Chicken sausage, apple, sweet potato

Homemade chicken salad

  • Shredded chicken
  • Whole30 compliant mayo (I use Primal Kitchen), enough to coat chicken
  • Grapes
  • Add pepper to taste

Salad

When in doubt, salad! Good way to use up fruit/veggies/meat before they go bad. Also super easy to mix it up or eat out, just be mindful of dressings.

Chia seed pudding

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup liquid (I use unsweetened almond milk)
    • Put ingredients in a cup and store in fridge for at least a couple hours
    • Stir up and then let sit, ideally overnight

Roasted sweet potato & broccoli

  • Clean and cut up
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper
  • Roast at 425 for 20-30 mins (or until tops of broccoli start to blacken)
    • Add an egg for yummy breakfast or meat for lunch/dinner

Our NSVs

Weight loss was a motivating factor for us to do Whole30, but it wasn’t the only thing we were after. And it certainly wasn’t the only benefit we experienced. I lost 10 pounds and Eric lost 18 pounds during the 30 days. Wow! More importantly, I want to share some of our NSVs — our Non Scale Victories! At the end of the day, weight will fluctuate and the scale can’t really be trusted. If you’re doing a Whole30, you can download this to mark your achievements.

Here’s a look into what we experienced apart from the scale. Although it’s a long list, it’s not exhaustive. It was a powerful, life shifting 30 days.

Improved performance at job.
You think more clearly.
You feel generally more productive.
You fall asleep more easily.
You sleep more soundly.
Energy levels are more even.
You no longer need to eat every two hours.
You need less sugar or caffeine. 
You can exercise longer, harder, or faster.
You feel more athletic.
More knowledgeable about nutrition.
New cooking skills.
New recipes. 
Meal prep is organized and efficient. 
Maximize your food budget.
Healthy eating habits have brought your family closer.
People ask what you’re doing differently.
Fewer blemishes.
Glowing skin.
Longer, stronger nails. 
Clothes fitting better.
Feeling more confident in your appearance.
Less bloating.
Improved “regularity.”
You’re happier.
You’re more patient. 
You’re more optimistic.
Improved body image/self-esteem/self-confidence.
Healthier relationship with food.
No longer a slave to sugar/carbs.
No more food guilt or shame.

Tips to be successful

Meal plan + prep: Whole30 is pretty much impossible without this. Make food you’ll be excited for! There will be a ton of dishes to do, but the prepped food is so wonderful! This will help keep you on track because you won’t be starving and reach for something that isn’t beneficial for you.

Tunnel vision: Instagram stories can be the worst on the weekends. Everyone is out to brunch or partying or celebrating something with cake. This can be super tempting and make you crave all the things, but stay focused. Be mindful of what may trigger your cravings and avoid it if you think that’s best. You do you, boo.

Remember why you’re doing it: You are doing this for YOU! Even on the hardest days, remember it’s worth it in the end. If you stick with it, you will learn so much about yourself and your body. You are stronger than you think!

Start on the 1st: This isn’t a must, but it sure makes things easier. You don’t have to remember what day you’re on because the calendar will tell you.

Accountability: As with any goal, accountability is huge! Maybe your spouse, best friend, or mom will do Whole30 with you. If you aren’t doing it with someone, utilize social media and the Whole30 community. You’re not alone! At the very least, be open with the people close to you about what it is you’re doing and why. They can still support and cheer you on!

Commit to yourself + your Whole30: You are worth it! Commit to completing your Whole30. Don’t let excuses or cheats sneak in. You’re only cheating yourself…

Utilize the resources: As I mentioned previously, there are so many resources that can help! Instagram was big for me to follow coaches and Whole30 accounts that share recipes and encouragement. The Whole30 website is full of good, free resources. I also highly recommend the books (I’ve read It Starts with Food, Whole30, and Food Freedom Forever). Google is also your best friend if you have a question!

Be willing to try new things and think outside the box: This experience will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re open to new things. New foods, new cooking methods, new thoughts. You may need to get creative at times too. It’s all good!

Keep it as simple as you need: You do not have to be a gourmet chef to make this happen. I actually find it easier to keep it as simple as possible. Get as fancy as you’d like, but it’s totally okay if you end up eating the same lunch all week because that’s what you prepared and you just can’t handle making another recipe and doing more dishes. There is joy in simplicity.

Putting the tips into practice

We put many of these tips to the test with a family trip to the beach. We were gone just two days, but a lot more preparation goes into it when you’re eating a particular way. I was honestly a bit nervous how it would go, but we had a wonderful time.

We didn’t eat out at all since I didn’t want to bother with being tempted or trying to figure out what’s compliant and being complicated with the waiter. I prepared our food in advance (breakfast, lunch, and dinner… although I did accidentally forget my smoothie bags in the freezer at home, bummer) and packed it all in our cooler to take. Of course we didn’t have alcohol, so I brought a few sparkling waters I had on hand otherwise we just took jugs of water to the beach.

We saved a ton of money since we didn’t eat out or do any extra grocery shopping. We also had extra time to just relax because we didn’t need to use time to get ready and drive to a restaurant. We had slow mornings, enjoyed a long family walk in the morning and evening, and spent the day on the beach. It was wonderful, but I am looking forward to a shrimp burger on our next visit 😉

I’m so glad we did it! We pushed ourselves and resisted pleasures in the form of food/drink in order to gain long term. We gained a better understanding of what we’re capable of and what our bodies need. We also gained confidence and clothes that fit so much better! It was challenging, but oh so worth it! Now, what questions do you have? 

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August Progress | September Goals 2018

August Progress | September Goals 2018

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

The pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks, so that must mean fall is upon us. Although it’s still in the 90s here in NC, so gimme all the margs. Summer aint done yall! I can be eager to hurry up and get to the next season, but I’m trying to slow myself down because I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

As per usual, August was a full month. Lots of progress was made, but some things didn’t get done. That’s okay! We’re about progress, not perfection around here. In the day to day it may feel like I’m not doing much, so I love taking the time to reflect and celebrate what was accomplished with my PowerSheets!

August Progress

Monthly Goals

  • Budget communication: We are still doing great with this. Since we’ve been doing it a while, we have a system that works for us so the communication doesn’t take a lot of time. We keep each other in the loop and keep our spreadsheet updated. We set a new savings goal, so we have something we’re working towards!
  • Set up our wills with LegalZoom: Another month this didn’t get done. We’re thinking it may be best to actually meet with an attorney to help get this set up since our situation is a little more complex. We’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start. I think this goal would be best accomplished as broken down steps, but for now this will be set aside.
  • Friend date (x3): Loving this goal! I’m a homebody at heart, but I get lonely sometimes with Eric working so much. I’m fully supportive and understand his career, but it still gets too quiet here at times. Plus I think it’s so important to cultivate friendships. These friend dates looked like shopping, just catching up at home, and a get together — all were so good and much needed for the soul!
  • Read book #8: I’ve been reading a lot lately since I’ve been using my library card! I finished The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. I also read The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines and The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. I enjoyed both of those reads. They were autobiographical and it was cool to get a real look into their lives.
  • Simplify a space: I feel like I’m always in a state of decluttering. I want our home to be a peaceful, meaningful space; clutter has to go! I made a list of the different spaces that need attention so we can work through those. In August we tackled the kitchen cabinets and drawers, Eric’s “junk” drawer, pantry, my bedroom side table, and our bathroom drawers. I try to do this pretty regularly, but it’s crazy how much clutter can still accumulate.
  • Whole30 — complete with Eric: We did it!!! I’m not going into too much detail here because I’m going to do a dedicated post soon, but it was so good!
  • Transition well into promoted position: My first month as a New Home Consultant is under my belt and I’m feeling great about the position! I’m trying to learn and grow each day. There’s definitely more responsibility, but I have been preparing for it. I’m excited to experience what’s to come!
  • Plan blog content — August & September: I have some great content planned that I hope you’ll love! In September I’m trying out 2 blog posts a week, so that’ll be a challenge for me and more good stuff for you! Definitely let me know if there’s anything specific you’d love to see here.
  • Nurture plants — keep alive & well: I’m an aspiring plant mom. So far, so good. It’s hard to keep plants alive outside with this heat, but I’m okay. I do have a succulent and peace lily that are struggling a bit inside, so hopefully they perk up with some extra attention. Any tips are welcome!

Weekly Goals

  • Serve Eric well — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Encourage someone — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Blog post published — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Cultivate life-giving routines — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Mindful spending — Achieved 5/5 weeks

I’m most proud of how the mindful spending went in August. I’m good at spending money. I can justify most purchases pretty easily with myself, so it takes will power for me to not spend and actually save. I keep a list on my phone of “wishes” – things I would like to purchase. I started doing this so that I could get the things out of my head and reconsider later if I still want them. This helps me be more mindful about what I’m purchasing and it’s been great for our budget! I’m moving towards contentment and realize it’s not the things that’ll make me happy.

Daily Goals

  • Bible plan — Achieved 31/31 days
  • WTW (Write the Word) Journal — Achieved 29/31 days
  • Move body — Achieved 31/31 days
  • Pray with Eric — Achieved 27/31 days
  • Dental Care — Achieved 31/31 days

I should have done this a long time ago, but I decided after my last dentist appointment that I really needed to make dental care a priority. That means taking the time to brush well and actually floss. I’m sure you understand the struggle… Since it’s a written intention, I made great progress here! I’m getting into good habits with my teeth, so I’m expecting some praise at my next dentist appointment 😉

September Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Budget communication
  • Read book
  • Friend date
  • Simplify a space
  • Growth + progress at work
  • Nurture plants
  • Begin new small group season well
  • Create healthy phone boundaries

Weekly Goals

  • Be curious — ask good questions
  • Speak up for myself
  • Rest — do nothing
  • Blog post published x2
  • Mindful spending
  • Life giving routine

Daily Goals

It’s easy to get swept up in doing the seemingly urgent/important things that aren’t actually urgent/important to you. When my goals and intentions are written down, it’s much clearer to identify what’s what. My PowerSheets help me keep what matters at the forefront and then I can make the necessary decision about anything extra.

How are goals and progress going in your life? Do you set goals or just go with the flow? It may look complicated, but it’s actually easy to set goals. It’s the progress that takes the work! But it’s worth it. What goal would you like to accomplish in September? You don’t need a fancy goal setting planner to make it happen (although it’s certainly a useful tool). Set your intention, write it down, and go after it!

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August 2018 Round Up

August 2018 Round Up

This month has felt long. I’ve been very mindful of the days since we’ve been doing Whole30 this month (more about that in just a bit), but it’s also felt so fruitful. I’m feeling healthy and determined. August was a good one — lets recap, shall we?

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Fall: Every year I get more and more excited for fall. I love living in North Carolina because we do experience the different seasons and I enjoy the change from one season to the next. Fall is especially cozy and I’m totally here for that. Bring on the pumpkin spice, sweater weather, and bonfires. I’ll be singing a different tune once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, but for now I’m excited! As of August 28th, the PSL is back at Starbucks, so pretty much fall is here…
  2. Being fully released in my new position: September 1st my promotion is officially official! I’m super excited, but also a little nervous. This is what I have been preparing for since I started this job on June 12, 2017. I am ready and beyond blessed to have a supportive, knowledgable team that I know will be there for me. It’s so cool that I’m able to play a part in helping people find a beautiful house that will become their home. When I graduated from NCSU in 2014, I had no idea this is where I’d be today, but I’m grateful for the plans that are better than my own.
  3. Small group starts back: We took a needed break from small group during the summer season. Everyone was so busy traveling and had other plans/responsibilities, it just made the most sense for our group. Now that summer is essentially over, small group is back! We will start the fall season on September 6th and I couldn’t be more excited. Creating space for a break is allowing us to come back stronger and ready to serve our group members. I can already feel that it’s going to be a powerful season.

Quote I’ve been meditating on

Choose a life of conscious simplicity (simple meals, walks outside, meditation, cooking whole foods) and you’ll find more freedom in your life.” -Amie Valpone

I can’t remember where I saw this quote initally, but it immediately spoke to me. Simplicity is a value that I have been weaving through my life. Why make things more complicated? There are enough complexities in the world that I cannot control, but I can make my world within my four walls simple, peaceful, and life-giving.

This month was all about nourishing our bodies with whole foods and keeping things simple by listening to and respecting my body. There truly is freedom in the simple because it creates more space and energy to choose to let other things in.

Who or what I’m adoring

Whole30

This is my second round of Whole30. I did my first in February 2018 (you can read about that experience here if you’d like)! Round 2 was so much different. I think it was a lot easier to do it a second time since I was already pretty familiar with the program and the way it all works. I learned a lot from my first round, so I was able to carry that knowledge into round two.

A major factor this time was that my husband did it with me! I was honestly shocked he wanted to join me, but this was mostly his idea. Way to go, honey! This made it easier and harder. Easier because I had accountability and he wasn’t tempting me with going out to eat or bringing home non-compliant foods. Harder because I had to cook and do dishes a lot more! Because of my husband’s business, he wasn’t able to help too much with cooking and cleaning (he’s gone all day 6 days a week), but he helped when he could.

I really enjoyed the challenge and I love the way I feel from only eating whole foods! My body feels like it’s operating much better and my skin looks/feels so healthy! I’m definitely going to be writing a blog post all about our August Whole30, so stay tuned if that interests you 🙂

Favorite memory from August

So many wonderful things happen in a month, but our family beach trip was hands down my favorite memory in August. Earlier this month we decided to sneak away to my family’s condo in my favorite North Carolina beach town, Pine Knoll Shores. It was during the time we were getting storms and rain pretty much daily, so the weather almost kept us away, but we went for it!

It was interesting — since we were doing Whole30, we brought all of our own food. I had cooked and prepped everything ahead of time, so we packed up our cooler and were good for the two days. It was so nice to not have to spend money or take time getting ready/going anywhere, but we definitely missed the shrimp burgers from Big Oak Drive In. No alcohol was also different (Whole30 doesn’t allow for alcohol for obvious reasons), but we still had a blast!

To our surprise, Stella absolutely loved the beach and did so well. She hated it when she was a puppy, so this was new. But we’re so glad she can be a beach pup now! It was a great getaway and the perfect reminder to make time for the things that are most important. ❤

A good lesson I learned

I’m stronger + more capable than I think.

I hear this often in my Pure Barre classes from the fabulous instructors, but when I’m shaking and struggling to keep going with the move, it’s hard to believe. But it’s true. I am stronger than I think. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

August has provided some challenges in those areas, all of which I have overcome. They weren’t easy, but I already had everything within me to handle them. And of course that wasn’t done 100% by my own strength. I rely greatly on the Lord’s strength and the strength of those He has put into my life. I’m getting stronger every day, but maybe it’s partly because I know I’m weak and need help. It can be hard to admit, but I need the help of my Savior. He makes me brave. He makes me strong. And He always knows just what I need to carry on.

In September…

I’m saying no to: the urge/need to do it all.

I’m saying yes to: simplifying my space/schedule/life.

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Being body positive

Being body positive

You may have never experienced challenges like I’m going to discuss. You may have always had a healthy relationship with your body and the scale and that is so awesome. Keep doing your thing!

But I know so many of us don’t fit into that. We have struggled. If that’s where you fit, this post is an encouragement just for you. And myself.

I have been thinking a lot about my body and my health this month. My husband and I have been doing Whole30 since August 1st, so it’s been at the forefront of my mind and I’ve noticed my mindset shifting.

To be clear, I’ve thought about my body and health for a while, since I actually noticed there were differences. I still vividly recall being in dance class in middle school, looking at the wall sized mirror and realizing that I was shaped differently than many of my thin classmates.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to change something about my body. I wanted to be skinnier, taller, more flexible. I wanted to have thinner thighs, flatter stomach, tanner skin. I’m sure in the 26 years I’ve had this body, that list is not exhaustive of my wishes.

It was after college graduation that I decided I really needed to take care of myself. I was sick and tired of not feeling my best, which stemmed from not looking my best. Slowly, I began to learn new healthy habits. All I had ever known up until that point was weight loss culture. For the first time I was introduced to wellness. Understandably, it would take some time to adjust to this new way of thinking and living. I’m still learning and growing. I’m still reprogramming old ways in my mind. It’s a process.

Where I stand now, I am fully thankful for and appreciative of this body.

I’ve spent many years wrestling with it. Wanting badly to change it. To make it smaller, toner, tanner. To change bits and pieces of it. To change sizes and shapes of its parts.

This is the body I’ve been blessed with and I love it.

It’s healthy and strong.

It has carried me through every day of my life, even when I haven’t treated it well. Even when I downright disrespected it in the name of a “summer bod” or a party. Thinking back to those college years specifically…

It has taken me to many beautiful places — Mexico, Belgium, Italy were some favorites. And there’s many more places I hope visit in the future.

It walked me down the aisle with my daddy and allowed me to dance with my husband on our wedding day. And many dances before and after that.

It has worked hard in Pure Barre classes and has become stronger with each pulse and tuck.

It has been gentle when caring for children and pets. I pray one day it will be able carry our future children.

I will love and respect this body. It’s the only one I’ll ever have.

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. -Emily Ley

This body of mine doesn’t have to be perfect. It can’t be. I’m human. And I don’t have to be perfect in the way I treat it. Again, I can’t. I’m human. I will slip up and make mistakes.

What I can do is my best to care for it. Some days that best is better than others. But each day I can give myself grace and move forward. One “bad” moment or day doesn’t mean all hope is lost and I might as well throw in the towel completely.

The goal is not perfection.

The goal is health.

The goal is joy.

I finally feel like my goal is not weight loss. Honestly, there is some weight my body could do without just because I know how I feel my best and I know that I’ve been living in the “treat yourself” mindset a bit too much. BUT I do not have a set weight loss goal that is going to determine my success or failure. I workout because I appreciate this body, not because I hate it. I eat right, drink lots of water, and exercise as a way to honor this incredible body.

Listen to this: my healthy weight is the weight my body is when I’m living a reasonable life. The weight that my unique body settles to when I’m not obsessing over food or exercise, but instead listening to its needs and providing. The weight my body will cling to if I were to diet and push it.

I do notice this number and am aware of it. But I am no longer tied to it. There were days that a wrong, higher number would mean a bad mood. Now that number is just another metric to see how my body is responding to what’s going on. This is a relationship — one in which I want to be a respectful, loving partner.

My actions define my success, not a number on a scale.

My success lies in my choices. It’s found in how I’m able to live my life day to day. How happy I feel. How much energy I have. How much peace and contentment are in my heart. How well I’m able to meet my needs — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Those are the true measures, not the number on the scale.

Say it with me if you resonate: I release any power the number had over me. 

We are not victims. We can choose to live happy, fulfilling lives without a number on the scale or size on our pants having anything to do with it. These fluctuate anyways. Do you really want your joy to be left up to a floating number?

I want a body that is fit and healthy. I want to be able to run around and play with our future children. I want to be adventurous and explore on our trips. I want to be clear-headed and fully present in my life. I want to be able to serve friends and neighbors and love my people well. I don’t need a perfect body to do these things.

This body is enough.

I am enough.

And you absolutely are too. ❤

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