31 August 2012

here it comes {autumn}

I don't know about you, but I'm experiencing high levels of shock that we have just a few days left of summer.  Do you feel it, though? There's a crispness to the air, even in the still-warm sun, that wasn't there a few short weeks ago. The world is ready for the change in season, and so am I.

Each year, I look forward to fall, and not just because I have a fall birthday.  There's something to it - a newness of season, a chill in the air, a routine to settle back into.  I look most forward to the routine, I think.  Routine is good for me. I do better when I'm all cozy settled-in to one.  I've been thinking recently about what's coming up for me, and what I'm most excited for.
  1. My college-gals' life group: Each Monday evening, a group of delightfully hyped-up college-age young ladies gather in my home.  We snack. We chat. We share our lives and our journeys. They are a joy, and oh how I've missed them this summer while they've (quite literally) traveled the globe and back.  
  2. The start to a Junior League Year: This year, I'm chairing my most-favorite committee.  Our group of very talented ladies plans and executes a prom-dress-shopping event for young ladies who might not otherwise get to go to prom.  It's a lot of planning and a lot of crazy, but to see those girls walk out with those dresses - so worth it.
  3. The Influence Conference: I'm so looking forward to attending my first blogging conference.  Actually, Influence isn't just for the bloggers out there.  It's for any women who have a desire to impact the world around them.  That's me, and I also blog.  As I've mentioned before, my mom and sister are also attending.  It's the weekend of my birthday, so there will be shenanigans.

What are YOU most anticipating about the change in season?

20 August 2012

{settling in} :: how to

As I mentioned yesterday, my baby sister moved to a new city this weekend. She's starting a new phase of life, my little college-goer sister.  

Change can be a challenge for anyone, especially where major life-change is concerned, but take heart. There are a few simple ways to make a transition to a new city that much more enjoyable.

1. Take care of the urgent first: With any move (whether or not you're starting at a new school), there are always items to be taken care of that are more urgent than others. Maybe it's calling the cable guy, or turning on the hot water heater.  If you take care of those first, you'll better be able to enjoy the parts of the process that are fun (like shopping for new decorations!), without worrying about what you really *should* be doing. This weekend, our first stop was the school bookstore, to pick up all sister's required textbooks.  We spent a small fortune (holy CATS textbooks are expensive), but got what she needs to start the semester strong.  Looking at all the books also made me want to go back to school is a secret little way. Another topic for another day.

2. Find your spots: We all have our favorite stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. To help yourself feel more comfortable in your new location, make a short list of your "spots", and find those places soon after you arrive. Our short list consisted of Starbucks, TJ Maxx, and Target.  The fact that there's a Chik Fil A just a few short minutes from sister's new apartment is just icing.

3. Sustenance: As we rolled into town late in the evening our first night in town, we made a quick stop at Target for a few grocery staples, including milk, peanut butter, bananas, and yogurt.  Long days turn into long nights when you're settling in, and sometimes when you're on a roll with a project, stopping and freshening up to grab dinner just isn't convenient. By stocking up on a few essentials before you get started, you can keep going once you've gotten going.  My sister and I are also Starbucks loyalists.  Late nights and little sleep made a few coffee stops necessary.  Don't avoid the inevitable. :)

original source unknown.
4. Make plans to see each other again: Goodbyes really aren't my favorite thing, especially when my sister's on the other end. My boyfriend gave me a great idea to make the goodbye into a see-ya-soon, by suggesting we make plans for the next time we'll see each other.  In this case, our family will be together at The Lake over Labor Day, which is just two weeks away.  Six weeks after that, we'll be going together (with our mom!!) to the Influence Conference.  Because the three of us all celebrate October birthdays, I imagine we'll find some fun ways while we're in Indy (the place of my birth, coincidentally) for the conference, for a little birthday love.  The weeks will fly, and we'll be back together again. Exhale.

Side note: There are lots of great tools out there for making transition simpler. While at a friend's home the other night, I browsed Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook. There's a nice piece in there about a "first day/night" box (or something), where she gives suggestions for a box of items you'll need during your first day or night in a new home.  

What are your best settling-in ideas?

19 August 2012

{weekender} :: family and change

weekend accents:

sweet time with dear family, sharing memories and laughter and support

moving baby sister to a new city, new apartment, new school, new roommate (more on that tomorrow)

14 August 2012

what's happening

  1. My family is digesting some very difficult news about a dearly-loved family member.  I will share more later, but if you are the praying kind, please pray for peace and comfort for people I love.
  2. I'm working on a blog re-design.  I'm very excited to share some tidbits (and eventually the new look!) with you.  Stay tuned.
  3. In October, I'm headed to my first blogging conference.  In Indianapolis (the place of my birth, coincidentally), I'll be attending the Influence Conference. I can't wait. I hope to be inspired, educated, and motivated.  I'm also looking forward to meeting in person some of my favorite ladies around the web.
I hope your week is going well.  Hug someone you love.

08 August 2012

In search of the perfect gym bag

I have a need want in my life.  It's for a non-dorky, yet functional bag to carry with me to the gym.  

Allow me to explain.  My current gym bag (please refer to Exhibit A below) is fine.  It is not broken. It is not unusable.  It's just mediocre and a little dorky  and screams status quo (it's not even Nike... I just couldn't find a picture of the one I actually have...). The poor guy bag even traveled all the way to Kenya with me three years ago.  It's seen its share of the world and motion sickness.  While I'm grateful for the time we've had together, I'm ready for a change.  

Because I'm ready for something new, and in my perusing Pinterest the Great, I found almost nothing in the way of gym bag ideas, I thought maybe some of you lovely ladies have the same issue.  

Here's what I'm looking for:
1. Compartments: I'm not a huge fan of digging for my keys once I'm ready to head out to my car. I've already dealt with the workout. Just find me the blasted keys.
2. Medium-sized: This is not the bag that holds my gym clothes. This is just the bag that travels into the gym with me to carry my keys, phone, earbuds, gym towel, and workout ideas on an index card (because I always forget what to do once I get to the weights).
3. Sporty yet stylish: I don't want to look like a dude heading into the gym to play three-on-three with my buds. Enough said?
4. Yoga-friendly: I'm not a yoga-only gal, but I do relish the occasional Downward Facing Dog.  I'd love it if my new bag has a yoga mat holster. Or whatever it's called.

Let me share what I've found, in order by level of affordability:

1 \\ old navy 2 \\ lululemon 3 \\ anya hindmarch

What tips do you have about finding a just-right gym bag?

05 August 2012



Have you all heard about bloglovin'? It's a new-to-me blog reader that aggregates all your favorite blogs.  To top it all off, it's appealing to me because it's aesthetically pleasing, which is never a bad thing...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin'

02 August 2012

{life hacks for the busy gal} :: life-saving plugin for gmail

It's entirely possible that I'm just late to the party (I'm not so much the early adopter), but have you guys heard of Boomerang? It's my new favorite life hack.  

Basically, Boomerang is a plugin for Gmail (and as I understand it, is only optimized for use in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox - sorry IE enthusiasts - .... buehler?), that allows users to "boomerang" messages back to themselves at the appropriate time, either for purposes of follow-up, reminder, or timeliness.  It also allows users to set messages to be sent at a later time, or the same message on a recurring schedule.

I know, right?!  And I thought Outlook was good.

Why I love it:

  1. I can make things happen for later when my brain is working now.  Let's be honest.  We all have our off days.  Hopefully, we also all have our on days - days we're moving right through the to-do list, formulating grammatically-correct sentences, asking good questions, forming creative ideas.  THOSE are the days I want to take care of business.  Boomerang lets me do just that.  I'm in the mood to create the agenda for an upcoming meeting, but don't want to send it until 48 hours before the meeting? Great.  Draft the email; delay-send it for Tuesday.  I literally just did this 30 minutes ago.  Boom.

  2. It's lets me temporarily forget that I'm waiting on something from someone.  I am an amateur GTD'er (a la Getting Things Done - it's awesome. Google it.), and one of the focuses of the Getting Things Done theory is that you need to "close loops", and not have a million things hanging out in your noggin all the time.  Create systems you can count on so you can focus on what's right now.  Enter Boomerang.  Send a message.  Tell Boomerang to send your message back to you if your recipient hasn't responded (or even if they did, if you'd so prefer) within a certain time period.  Set it and forget it.  Boom again.

Give it a try!