August 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
These last few years I feel like I’ve seen a lot of people on two sides of the work force, those that put their head down and work till they’re sore, and those that do just enough to get by in their jobs. On that rare occasion you can find those magical people who manage this amazing work-life balance where they work hard, but can also truly enjoy their non-work life. I’ve always been an intense worker. Staying late, taking on extra projects, and checking my emails obsessively even on my downtime.
This May I took a whole new job, something totally different than what I’ve done so far in my life, with a company that is still growing, which means things are changing almost hourly. It’s been challenging, and about a month ago I’ve realized that I need to learn that whole work-life balance thing. I’ve bought into the idea that you’re only a good worker if you’re obsessing 24/7 about your job, but I’ve realized that all that really does is burn you out to the point where you just want to walk out the door. You can’t be a good worker if you’re ready to quit at any moment, so it’s better to take some time for yourself so you can focus on your work when you’re there.
This past month has been a huge learning lesson in how to disconnect and enjoy my off-time. Here’s a few things I’ve learned, for anyone else finding themselves in the same boat.
IGNORE THOSE EMAILS
yep. I know, it feels impossible, and maybe you even feel guilty too. Start with just nights. Check everything before you leave work, and then promise yourself you’re going to ignore it until the next morning. Remind yourself that it’s only a few hours, and theres nothing dire that’s going to happen over the period of just a few hours. If you’re feeling guilty about it, or worried that your boss might wonder why you’re not responding to them in 5 minutes, just talk it over with them. I’m lucky to have an awesome boss who is really supportive of me finding a good balance. She knows that if there’s anything that does need to be responded to ASAP that she can text me. Now I know that I can ignore that quickly filling up inbox and not feel super guilty.
MAKE PLANS, OR START A NEW HOBBY
It’s a lot easier to disconnect when you’re hanging out with friends, or just plain doing something. Maybe if you’re like me, you’ve let yourself get too involved in work for a while and now it feels like you don’t even know what to do with your free time. Start a new hobby or pick up an old one. My weekends these days consist of working on the house (which I’ve desperately been needing to do anyway), and finally getting back to blogging. I’m also making more time to read, and can’t wait to get back into sewing this fall. Keeping yourself busy really helps in those first few weekends you’re trying to learn to find a balance and not obsessively check your phone for work.
SCHEDULE SPECIFIC “WORK TIME”
I know, I know, we’re supposed to be disconnecting, but sometimes it’s hard! Especially at first. That’s okay, but make sure when you do decide to work on “off time” that you’re being thoughtful and deliberate. Schedule when you’re going to do a little work, and give yourself a specific amount of time to do it. Set an alarm, and make yourself stick to it. Doing this can also help you put all those crazy work thoughts out of your brain once the timer goes off, and only focus on things that are truly important enough to disturb your “you” time.
January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
It's hard to believe that we've been in our house for over two years. It kind of feels like we just moved in, but memories of living elsewhere also feel so distant at this point.
Both the house, and the apartment that we had lived in before we bought ours had one thing in common – big kitchens with tons of storage! It was a luxury that's easy to take advantage. Then we moved into our house which originally had the teeny tiniest kitchen. It was oddly set up, but thankfully we were able to knock out a few walls that completely opened it up! It was great, but since we have so many projects we're working on with the house, the actual remodeling of the kitchen has been on the back burner. So when it comes to storage our kitchen has a total of one cabinet. It's the lovely built-in that's original to the kitchen, but the top half has glass doors, which means that our storage space for all of those not so pretty things that we all have in our kitchen, is basically nothing. Over the last few years I've learned some tricks to making a kitchen with no storage (or counter space!) work, that have really helped me from going crazy over the lack of hiding places.
ROLLING CARTS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Seriously, I love a cute little cart with wheels. Not only can you stick them in any little corner you might have, but I've really loved that I can roll them out of the way whenever we do any construction work in the kitchen and I don't have to worry about totally unloading everything to move it!
I have both a large utility cart, and this one I thrifted a while back both in my kitchen housing appliances, dry foods, and cleaning products. I also am totally smitten with the cart in the picture above that I bought from Demi-Brooke, that I've turned into my coffee cart! Each cart has a specific purpose and I try to keep them super organized to keep things from getting messy.
My favorite places to find carts are thrift stores (see this post for the before and after of mine) and garage sales. I also love places like Ikea and Target to find them cute, and at good prices (this one is a total steal, and this one is totally stealing my heart).
MAKE YOUR STORAGE DECORATIVE
If your tight on hidden storage space make whatever you need to store out on your counters (or carts) cute! I am obsessed with pretty glass storage containers. I keep almost all of my dry food goods in them. These are super easy to find at almost any thrift store for cheap, but if you're looking for matching ones, places like The Container Store and Home Goods are great places to find them too.
KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED
This may seem like I'm stating the obvious, but I can't stress how important it is for everything to have it's "own space" especially in tiny kitchens. When every square inch of storage is packed, you don't want to have to pull everything apart just to try to find your favorite spatula. Part of keeping things organized for me, has been going through my kitchen once every couple months and seeing what I really need handy. Do I need that specialty baking pan ready to grab, when I've only used it once in the last five years? Probably not. I always walk away with a new bag to donate, as well as a little box to put into long term storage in my basement.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE REST OF YOUR HOME
When things are tight, expand! I was so happy once I brought my coffee cart into my dining room. Not only does it free up a lot of space in the kitchen for more important things, but it looks so cute! Even if we didn't have a dining room, I think a coffee cart would be cute in a living room or office. Think outside the box and take a look around to see if there's anything that's taking up space in that little kitchen of yours that could find a home in another part of your house. Use your imagination, and don't be afraid to experiment and see what works!
May 14, 2015 § 2 Comments
Can I just be totally honest with you here, and share something totally nerdy about myself? I love to pack.
I really do. I guess it's the organizer and planner in me, but I love figuring out all the outfits and things I want to bring with me. I usually start thinking about it as soon as I find out I'm going on a trip, even if it's still a while away. It gives me anxiety when friends tell me that they wait until the morning of a trip to pack. I know, I'm a crazy overthinker, but I love knowing that I won't get there and be horrified that I forgot to pack my favorite tee (or the ever-important shortalls, hah!).
What I'm packing…
Shorts + Shortalls // They're a must. It's supposed to be in the 90s while we're down there, so shorts are a must. Blue denim is classic, but I also am loving white denim too for days I want to feel a little more pulled together. I'm also exctied to bring my shortalls with me to mix things up.
Dresses // Since we don't have any kids going with us on this trip I'm excited to get to possibly do some fun adult things. You know, go back to the parks at night and get a drink, hit up downtown Disney. All that fun stuff you don't usually get to do. I'm packing a few cute, comfy, dresses to throw on at nights to feel a little more dressed up.
Tanks // Just a couple of my favorite tanks in mostly neutral colors so I can easily mix and match with everything else, and dress up with some light accessories. I have become obsessed with this tank, and have it in a couple colors, all of which I'll be bringing along:)
A pair of Jeans // Even though the weather looks like it'll be pretty hot all week, I always throw in a pair of jeans, just in case. I am loving white jeans right now, they're so versatile, whether you want to go more casual, or dress them up, so they were an obvious choice to bring.
A Good Hat + Sandals // I am a total hat addict, but they do take up a lot of space in luggage, so I decided to just bring one that I know I can mix and match with everything, and I plan on wearing it right onto the plane to save some luggage space! I hate wearing actual shoes when it's hot outside, so I made sure to pick up a comfy and cute pair of sandals from Target last week.
Any tips for things you've wished you had on vacay, or maybe something you realized when you got there that you were so happy to have remembered?
March 5, 2014 § 4 Comments
In my first bit of tips for developing your style I talked about giving your closet a good clean out. It can really help you learn a lot about yourself, but it's great to start with a clean slate too. Of course, most of us (myself definitely included) have trouble with figuring out what to keep and what to let go. Getting rid of anything you haven't worn in the last year is pretty obvious, and fairly easy to do. What about those pieces we wear only every few months?
A great place to start is to pull out all of the pieces in your closet that's you don't wear often and lay them out. Out of that pile you can put anything back into your closet that you really might need in the next few months. For example, I always keep a pair of professional pants in my closet for interviews or jobs I might need them for. At one point I had a couple pairs of these, but it isn't often I actually need them, so I only kept the best fitting pair and got rid of the rest.
Next, pull out any sentimental pieces. I rarely wear t-shirts, but last year when we were getting ready to move I realized I had a huge stack of t-shirts. A lot were "sentimental" so I decided to let myself keep a couple, but get rid of any that weren't sentimental and I didn't absolutely love. It's okay to keep a few things that remind you of special times! But if you never actualy wear it, then think about putting it into storage, or at least out of the way.
You also want to keep things that you really feel amazing wearing. I have a few dresses that I don't wear often but I do feel great in when I do, so I let myself hang onto a couple of those. But if you have any that you love, but never wear even when that special occassion does come up (I've been guilty of that plenty of times), then it may be time to let it go.
What's left? Probably still a little bit at least. What is left you might still feel a little on edge about getting rid of, I know, I've been there. What I always do with these things is swap them! You can swap with a friend, host a swap party, or take them to a consignment store. We have a bunch of Plato's Closet stores around, which pay you on the spot for your unwated clothing that's in good condition. I like to take that leftover stuff in and put whatever money I get from it towards picking out a few new things. It's a lot easier to let go of that rarely worn stuff when you have new things to be excited about!
Also, feel free to put on "Let it Go" while you do your sorting to get you in the mood:)
PS. I'm in no way affiliated with Plato's Closet, they're just a company I've been going to for a while and thought might be helpful for you guys. If you guys know any similar places, please share!
January 23, 2014 § 4 Comments
In case you missed, this is my second little installment of tips for developing your personal style (you can check out the first one over here). These are just some little things I've learned over the years that have really helped me to discover my personal style.
One of the hardest things for me to learn about my style was how to be honest with myself about what I would really wear. We all have moments when we see a celebrity or even just a friend wearing something and looking amazing in it, we run out and buy the same thing right away, and then we get home and it never seems to get worn. The past few years I've learned the value in admiring something on someone else, but also admitting to myself that it just isn't my personal style. A lot of the time that comes with some trial and error, but I bet you can think back to peices you've owned with similar backstories and realize what it was about them that didn't fit with your personal style.
Here's two outfits I love, but both have one major thing that would clash against my style – the colors! I love them, but I rarely wear pastels or super brights. In the past I've bought things in colors like this before telling myself I try to make myself wear them, but they ended up just sitting in my closet instead. I tend more towards rich colors like bright reds, deep navys, mustards, and hunter greens. Could I recreate these outfits in some of those colors? Absolutely! It's great to take inspiration from others, but make them wearable for you.
Whenever I'm thinking of buying any new piece I always ask myself "can I wear this with at least two outfits I already own?" if the answer is no then I just walk away. If you have to think long and hard about what you'd wear a new piece with, chances are you'll never wear it.
This skirt is a great example of something I probably shouldn't have bought. It was my first time visiting a Madewell store, and it was on sale, so I just grabbed it without thinking much. When I did these outfit photos I had already owned the skirt for probably two years and this was only the second time I wore it – pretty sad. I do love how I styled it here, but it just wasn't something that fit naturally with my style, so I eventually gave it a new home. Had I stopped myself in the store to think about what I'd wear it with, I'm certain I would have put it back.
What about "branching out" though? I do think it's important to try new things when it comes to your style, but I don't think it's worth investing in if you're unsure you'll get some use out of it. That's why I LOVE swapping and borrowing! Thankfully I grew up with two older sisters and a mother who are all a similar size to me. Still to this day we're always borrowing things from each other, or trying to swap clothes for something the other has.
The dress on the left was one I borrowed from my mom, and I ended up loving it! I had never really thought of white lace as being so easy to style, but it was, so when I came across the dress on the right in Target one day, I knew that it would be something I'd get my wear out of. Other great ways to swap would be to host a swap party with your friends, or if you're a blogger you could do a small swap with a blogger friend like I recently did with Mollie! It's a great way to try out some new styles without breaking the bank.
Have questions about personal style? Feel free to let me know and I'll do my best to help you out:)