June 2020 According to my iPhone

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these monthly picture posts. I usually write a little description of what picture is but I think this time I’ll just leave you with the pictures.

June was another month of working from home but we finally got to spend some time with family! I started a little container garden on our back deck, studied hard for my exam in July, and spent so much time outside. It was a good month!

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How was your month?

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Does Hard Work Really Payoff?

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I have almost a decade of work experience under my belt which feels impressive since I’m only 26. I feel like I’ve been working hard for so long, always trying to be the best at what I do and trying to lead others to success too.

I started working my junior year of high school and it seemed like most of my classmates didn’t have jobs yet. I got my job because I had been invited to go to Europe that summer with other high school musicians and I needed to be able to help pay for the trip. It was hard working nights and weekends when my friends were hanging out but it was all worth it because I was saving for something I really wanted.

I ended up loving that job and working there for nearly 6 years. I was hired as a high school junior and left as a college graduate ready to move onto my first post-grad job. My first job taught me time management and leadership skills that are incredibly valuable. I also already had 6 years of work experience which set me apart from my peers.

My current job has been a roller-coaster since day one (in the best way possible). At first, I was so miserable and I was just trying to make it a year. I loved my co-workers but I hated the job. Then my boss moved me to a different role and I loved it! I was making a difference and was passionate about it. My team is amazing and even if the work is tedious I still get so much joy out of being part of this team.

All of that to say that I feel like I have been working so hard and sometimes I wonder why. When I first got a job I was working to save for a big trip. Now I feel like I go the extra mile everyday and I am working hard to keep moving up just for personal satisfaction. Yes, I have to have a job to pay my bills but work doesn’t have to be my whole life.

Some part of me always has to be the best at whatever I’m doing. I had to take flute lessons so I could have first part. I had to be a manager at my last job because I wanted to master all of the jobs. In my current role I keep cross-training so I can be as helpful as possible and keep moving up. My current role never seems to be good enough because I know that I can always improve.

Does hard work really payoff? I’d say it does.

These days I’m grateful that I’m able to have an emergency fund for the things in life that I just can’t plan for. I’m grateful that I can afford the beautiful house that we fell in love with. I’m grateful that I can save for trips I want to take in the future. Most of all, I have a sense of pride in my work and I’m grateful for that.

In a world that makes it seem like we need to work 24/7 to be successful, I’m here to remind you that success comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t compare where you are at to where somewhere else is.

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Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #21

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It’s finally Friday, friends!

It’s been a sad week but I’m going to continue to work on educating myself to be a better ally. I’ve ordered books, listened to podcasts, and have tried to be as educated as possible. History is happening right before our eyes and it’s easy to stay quiet and let it happen but it’s important to stay involved. Right now I am trying to listen and learn as much as possible.

Here are five random things for this Friday:

  1. Our stay at home order was lifted early this week. It was supposed to last until mid June so I was really surprised when it was lifted. We did have a 7 pm curfew for a few days because of the riots and looting. The protests in my city were mostly peaceful though. Were you able to attend any protests this week?
  2. I have a certification class and exam in July that I’ve been studying for. I’m really excited for the class even though it’s been moved to a virtual class format. Like I’ve said before, my background is not in finance so I feel like I still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of my knowledge of the financial industry. This is a huge step for me but I really need to focus!
  3. We actually have plans this weekend! We are going to hang out with some of Brett’s friends (while social distancing) in our backyard. The weather is supposed to be really nice and it’ll be good for my extrovert husband to spend some time with his friends. I think it’s been hard for him to not see his friends as much as he was used to.
  4. When I was planning our wedding I got really into hand-lettering as a hobby and stress relief. I still have so many pens and brush markers but haven’t really touched them in a couple of years. I started hand-lettering again last week and have been loving it! I keep extra paper in my desk drawer and whenever work is feeling too stressful I sketch something and it makes me feel much better. I used Creative Lettering and Beyond with these Sakura brush pens when I was learning.
  5. The mosquitoes are so bad this year! We are thinking about getting our backyard sprayed just so we are able to sit out. Have you ever had your yard sprayed for mosquitoes? Did you think it was worth it?

How was your week? What are your plans for this weekend?

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Photo by Niklas Veenhuis on Unsplash

Black Lives Matter #blackouttuesday

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I’m sure you’ve seen it all over social media. I’m sure your feeds are full of little black squares and #blackouttuesday. I’m sure riots and protests are all over your news stations.

I grew up in a school with very little diversity. I didn’t experience racism first hand until college and I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand and I never truly will. But I can listen, I can pray, and I can educate myself.

I don’t have words to explain the heartbreak I am feeling right now. I can’t find the proper words but I at least wanted to say that I am listening. I see you, I hear you.

Please take this time to educate yourselves.

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Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #20

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Happy Friday, friends!

It’s been a pretty challenging week but I’m feeling energized and ready for the weekend! Our stay at home order in Michigan has been extended through June 12th so we are just hanging out at home but I am perfectly okay with that. I will never take time with my family for granted.

Here are five random things this Friday:

  1. I accidentally bought 5 tomato plants on Monday. I thought I was only buying 2 and it would be an easy way to start a container garden but there were actually 4 tomato plants in one of the containers. I have found gardening to be super relaxing so far. I have a little herb garden, my tomatoes, and some various flowers. I really think I needed a relaxing hobby to de-stress. Do you enjoy gardening?
  2. A couple of month’s ago Influenster sent me their Be Mine VoxBox which included the Live Clean Apple Cider Shampoo and Conditioner. I was skeptical but excited to find that they were 97% plant derived, cruelty free, and free from dye and parabens. They are also under $5 a piece on Amazon so they are super budget friendly! I’ve been using these products for about 2 months now and I really love them!
  3. For most of my life I have believed that credit cards were bad. I got my first one at 21 that had a $500 limit to take with me to study abroad. I just got my second credit card in 2017 which is the one that we mostly use for purchases. It has great cash back rewards and I’ve been trying to utilize those. I never buy anything that I couldn’t afford to buy with cash unless it’s a well-thought out and very necessary purchase. Because of that I am able to pay off my credit card each month. I have found that paying the balance every other Friday on my payday is super helpful instead of paying one lump sum at the end of the month. How do you feel about credit cards?
  4. I’ve started re-reading the Harry Potter series and I almost forgot just how much I love the books! Reading them reminds me of being a child and being so excited to go to bed every night just so my mom could read us another chapter of whatever Harry Potter book we were currently reading. I fell in love right away and they are still so comforting to me.
  5. On Wednesday night Brett and I went to my grandma’s house for dinner. That sounds anti-stay at home but we had a nice little social distancing dinner with her, my mom, and my dad. We sat in her garage 6 feet apart and caught up on life. My grandma lives alone so I think it was really good for her to be around people safely for a couple of hours.

How was your week? Do you have any plans this weekend?

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Photo by Max Eberlein on Unsplash

 

An Introvert In Quarantine

I’ve been working exclusively from home for the past two months but it feels like it’s been only a few days. I’m from Michigan and our state is supposed to be re-opening at the end of the month so my work has been coming up with a re-entry plan but I’m not ready to go back. I’ve enjoyed working from home so I plan on continuing for the foreseeable future. Overall I feel less stressed and have had more time to take care of myself.

I know that many people are struggling because they have to social distance at home. For introverts such as myself, I think this has been a good opportunity for us to re-charge our “introvert batteries“. One of the characteristics of introverts is the need to be alone to re-charge after social situations. The lack of social anything has given us ample opportunity to re-charge our batteries. I know that my battery will be drained again after my first social experience.

This period of social distancing has also shown the importance of the little moments such as visiting friends and family, hugs and handshakes, and quick trips to the grocery store. I hope this helps us to not take those things for granted when society re-opens.

Being an introvert in quarantine has it’s perks. My husband is an extrovert and has been so bored. I don’t typically get bored very easily so I’ve been able to keep myself busy. I’m stuck inside my own head most of the time and enjoy being around a very small group of people. I like going for a drive with Brett every once in awhile for a change of scenery but for the most part I’m a happy camper.

I do think that it will be hard for me to go back to “normal”. I feel safe and comfortable at home but I know that I can’t stay here forever. At some point I will need to re-enter society and that is pretty terrifying. Social distancing feels like the ideal situation for avoiding draining conversations and eye contact.

My whole life has prepared me for social distancing. The new problem I face is dealing with the anxiety of re-entering the world when things start to re-open. I will always crave the safety and security of my house. I will always crave alone time or time with just Brett. I hope some of the things we all learned during quarantine will stay even after everything re-opens.

Are things starting to re-open where you live? Are you ready to get back out into the world?

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

Meet My Husband & His Blog

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Over the past 6+ years I have mentioned Brett a million times but have never really introduced him. Brett and I have been together since 2011 so he’s been part of this blog since the very beginning and was my original fan and supporter.

Recently Brett decided to launch his own blog, Universe of Adventure, so I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A with him. It’s still a work in progress but I know he’s worked really hard on it and it’s been a fun project for us to work on during quarantine.

I came up with some random questions to ask Brett and I thought I’d share his answers.

  1. How did we meet?
    “We met through a mutual friend that I did theater with. We started texting and went on our first date a couple weeks later.”
  2. What is your blog about?
    “My blog is about all of my interests. I chose the name Universe of Adventures because a universe can be broken up into different worlds. I will be blogging about beer, travel, amusement parks, weather, aviation, and sports.”
  3. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
    “100% an extrovert but I sometimes have introverted tendencies.”
  4. What is your dream vacation?
    “I would have to say Prague for the beer and the history.”
  5. What’s your favorite blog post that I have written?
    “Probably all the posts about the trips we have taken. All the way back to 2014 when we would visit my grandparents in Florida.”
  6. What was your major in college?
    “I was a double major in Aviation Science and Administration and Geography with a focus in Economic and Regional Geography.”
  7. What is your favorite part about being married?
    “Ummm…..having someone to share everything with and to create memories with.”
  8. What are 3 words that describe you?
    “Interesting, fun, and smart.”
  9. What’s the first thing you want to do after quarantine?
    “Travel but I might not be able to do that right away. So I want to just be able to leave the house and go to a bar or a restaurant. That would be really nice.”
  10. Where’s your favorite place that you have traveled to?
    “This is hard for me to choose because there are so many good places. If I had to narrow it down to my top 3 I’d say Florida, England, and Italy.”
  11. If we started a band, what would our band name be?
    *thinks hard and giggles to himself* “I honestly don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.”
  12. What’s your motto in life?
    “Take your life seriously but don’t forget to enjoy it. It’s okay to have fun.”

I hope you enjoyed meeting Brett! We had fun working on this post so let us know if you have any questions you’d like us to answer together!

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Five on Friday #19

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Happy Friday!

I am so glad it’s almost the weekend! It’s been a tough week and I need to re-charge. I’m still working from home since the Michigan stay at home order was extended to the end of May. Are you still under a stay at home order?

Without further ado, here are five random things for your Friday morning.

  1. I’ve seen all over social media that people are struggling with anxiety right now which is helping me feel less alone during this time. I’ve had pretty good control on my anxiety for the last couple of years but now I feel like I’ve lost control. I know it’s just temporary and it helps to know that everyone is feeling anxious right now. I started taking a magnesium supplement for my migraines but my Neurologist said this also might help my anxiety so fingers crossed! Let me know if you have any other ideas for dealing with anxiety.
  2. The weather is finally starting to warm up in Michigan and since everything is cancelled this summer Brett and I are working on a little backyard refresh. My dad just built a new fire pit in our yard and I’m trying to decide on what patio furniture to buy. We have a double lot backyard so we have lots of room to work with. I’m thinking a badminton set is a must!
  3. I selected the items for my summer 2020 FabFitFun box a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited to see that they included the DryBar Prep Rally Prime & Prep Detangler. I got this detangler in my winter box and loved it! I have really thick wavy hair and this makes it shiny and soft. Do you have FFF? What did you pick for your summer box? My sister and I got my mom a membership for Mother’s Day and it was so much fun choosing our boxes together!
  4. Brett has been doing all of the grocery shopping for us over the past couple of months which means that I haven’t really left the house at all. We are hoping to go to Costco this weekend to stock up on some essentials. We usually go to Costco once a quarter but haven’t been at all this year. I’m anxious to leave the house but I think it’ll be good for my mental health. Plus, my grandma made us super cute face masks to wear!
  5. Brett and I have been making it a habit to have Saturday night date night since this quarantine started. Brett’s schedule is usually crazy so we rarely have dates. Our date nights have consisted of grabbing takeout from a local restaurant and watching a movie but I still really enjoy the one on one time. I actually think staying home has been really good for our marriage. What have you been doing during quarantine?

Do you have any plans for this weekend? Other than date night I’ll just be at home getting stuff done around the house.

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Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash

5 Ways I’m Staying Sane in Quarantine

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Happy Monday, my friends! This is the day that I dread all weekend long. For some reason I never want to go back to work after the weekend. It’s not terrible now that I’m working from home but it’s still hard.

As an introvert, this stay at home order should be a dream come true. I love working from home and not leaving the house. However, it is hard because I do enjoy grocery shopping and browsing the aisles at Target. I also live close to my parents and am used to seeing them every week. I have a lot of anxiety about not being able to leave the house and it’s caused me to have quite a few panic attacks.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to keep me calm and sane during this period of social distancing. From what I’ve been seeing on social media I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way so I thought it might be beneficial to share the ways I’m keeping myself sane during this time.

  1. Creating a routine. I felt really lost when I first started working from home. I was used to working 7:30 am to 4:15 pm but once I started working from home I would end up working 7:30 am to 5:30 pm with no breaks. I felt like I had to prove that I was working and available at all times which was exhausting. Since then I’ve started working around 7:45 am and logging off right at 5 pm. I also try to take a break for lunch everyday but I know I need to be better at that.
  2. Eating meals together. When Brett and I first moved in together we didn’t have a dining room table so we ate on the couch while watching tv. This became our habit and we rarely even ate dinner together at all. Since I’m home all the time now I make dinner and wait for Brett to get home from work so we can eat together. We eat at our dining room table and talk about our day. It seems simple but it’s something I look forward to all day.
  3. Embracing my skincare routine. Skincare is something that I have been passionate about since I was a teenager. I’ve always had bad acne so having a skincare routine has been super important for me. Now I have all the time in the world to spend on my skincare routine and it feels amazing. I’m testing out new products and loving my tried and true Murad products.
  4. Having coffee dates with co-workers. As you know, I’m an introvert so it’s kind of surprising to me how much I miss my co-workers. We are used to working remotely so we have great technology for virtual meetings. We have scheduled times to just sit and drink our morning coffees together which has been really nice. I don’t drink coffee but I love to sit and chat for a few minutes. I would recommend this for co-workers or friends and family as a nice way to catch up with each other while remaining apart.
  5. Checking in with friends. This has been big for me because I’m pretty bad at texting and calling. I’m typically just texting my mom, sister, and Brett but I’ve tried to make myself reach out to friends and family. My work made this a goal for us to check in with a few people every week who we don’t normally talk to and I’ve tried to continue this in my personal life.

There’s no easy way to get through this time but we will make it. I hope to look back at this period of time and cherish the memories Brett and I made together. Before this quarantine we didn’t see each other a lot. Our work schedules are different and he has a very active social life with his friends. I’ve loved spending time with him and I hope we can continue when this is over.

What are you doing to stay sane?

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Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

2020: First Quarter Goals Recap

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I think we all can agree that the first quarter of 2020 didn’t turn out exactly the way we expected it to. I already threw out my 2020 goals for my professional life but these personal first quarter goals still seem relevant and I want to keep track of how I did.

You can read my full 2020 Q1 goals post here.

  1. Take better care of myself. I think I did okay at taking care of myself but I’ve never been good at it. I always tend to put others first and that really hurts my mental and emotional state. Q1 was really stressful and I didn’t make time for friends or prioritizing “me” time. I’ll try to learn from this and do better the rest of the year.
  2. Spend less time on my phone. I stayed really busy in Q1 so that helped keep my screen time low. However, I did watch a lot of YouTube videos and listen to music and podcasts which I count as phone time.
  3. Listen to more podcasts. I was hoping to listen to a ton of podcasts at work in Q1 but this was before I started my new role which didn’t leave any time for podcasts. It’s hard to listen to anything while training in a new role so I failed at this one but that’s okay.
  4. Focus on learning and growing at work. Ugh. It’s so funny that I added this as a goal! I went into 2020 feeling so confident about my job and ready to take on the world. I have to laugh at how hard that got thrown back in my face. I learned a lot but I feel a lot less confident and happy in my role. I’m questioning everything and wondering if maybe it’s time for a change of career. We will see how the rest of 2020 goes career wise.
  5. Finish 3 months of Keto. I successfully did keto for about 10 weeks and lost 15 pounds! I have fallen off the wagon a little due to the pandemic and being unable to have access to meat and vegetables the way I used to. We are trying to eat from our pantry and freezer but I’m still super mindful about what I’m eating and feel really good! I’m looking forward to continuing with the ketogenic lifestyle.
  6. Spend more time tidying and less time cleaning. Yes! I am counting this as a success! My house will never be perfect but I feel really good about the amount of time I spent cleaning this quarter. I used to spend the whole weekend deep cleaning my house and it was so stressful. This quarter I focused on tidying as I went so I could relax more on Saturday and Sunday.
  7. Schedule all of my annual health appointments. I failed at this but I had my reasons! First of all, I felt like I couldn’t leave work the way I used to because I was training on such a tight schedule. Then I finally made my appointments for after my sister’s wedding and we came home and Michigan shut down so all of my appointments were cancelled and re-scheduled. I’ll try again in Q2.

I’m not beating myself up about the failure of Q1 and I hope that the rest of 2020 is better. We are living through such a weird time right now and we just have to give ourselves some grace. Things are not going to go according to plan and we have to accept that.

Setting quarterly goals has never been about being so strict with myself that I can’t enjoy life. I set these goals knowing that I will have to be flexible and just go with the flow. I want a good balance of accountability and flexibility.

How were the first three months of 2020 for you? Did you set any goals for yourself?

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Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash