Hurray! It’s the first day of the best, biggest sale of the year! I’ve rounded up all of my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks for you! If you aren’t familiar with the #NSale, it’s the once yearly sale when Nordstrom releases BRAND NEW fall pieces at discounted prices. This sale truly lives up to the hype – you can get top name designers, think Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff, Kate Spade, at seriously low prices! Early access starts today for Nordstrom cardholders, then opens to everyone on July 21. On August 7, everything goes up to full price.
This year, rather than blindly set resolutions as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1 (which I inevitably break by mid-month), I decided to take my time, go through Whitney English’s “Well-Designed Year,” & really think through where I want to focus my time & energy in 2017. I love that the “Well-Designed Year” guides you through setting goals that align with your principles, powers, & passions. While I used the “Well-Designed Year” last year, I went back through the process of uncovering my values & passions because those can change over time. I don’t want to get into the rut of focusing on the same goals year after year, even though those goals no longer align with what’s most important to me. I wasn’t surprised that many of my principles & passions were similar to last year, but there were a few changes. I used Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 to identify my powers & it was really cool to see myself so truly reflected in the results. It’s also interesting to see where the overlaps are: Learning & Thinking & Reading, Compassion & Fairness, Integrity & Responsibility, Balance & Harmony & Organizing.
After going through the process of identifying your principles, powers, & passions, you brainstorm all of your potential goals in each of 5 categories. These aren’t necessarily things that you have to accomplish in the next year, but an idea of what your ideal achievements would look like.
Once you brainstorm what you want to accomplish this year, you bring it all together as three “big ideas.” Rather than focusing on specific goals, the “big ideas” are your areas of focus for 2017. Many of my goals centered around my family & personal well-being, so two of my “big ideas” are my relationships & my health. My family, spiritual, & personal goals fit under those two areas. My third “big idea” is this little corner of the internet since it includes two of my big passions – fashion & writing. I love having a creative outlet & this year I really want to focus on my content.
Once you have your three “big ideas,” you have your core! I keep a copy in my Day Designer & hanging above my desk for easy reference throughout the year. Anytime I feel myself straying off course, I can refer back to my core values, strengths, & passions, plus my mission for the year to refocus myself.
By now, almost everyone has heard of The Zoe Report’s Box of Style. Every season, it delivers over $400 of exclusive Rachel Zoe picks for only $99! I started receiving the Box of Style this past fall & was immediately hooked! The soft, color-blocked poncho was a game-changer. And let’s get real – if Rachel Zoe says that something is a must-have, then you have to have it. Plus, it’s a chance to get pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. In case you’re undecided, I thought that I would share what was in the Winter 2016 box. Click here to get $10 off your first box!
Everything comes packaged in a chic box. Usually, the box is black, but I like that they changed it up for winter. Each item is individually wrapped in tissue paper, so you the excitement of unwrapping each little gift! It’s the small things in life, lol. Included in each box is a guide with tips on how to use each item.
Dylanlex Zoey Custom Necklace ($200)
How gorgeous is this crystal necklace?!? I tend to lean toward more delicate jewelry, but I cannot resist this statement maker. The length is adjustable so you can wear it as a choker or more of a collar. I wore it recently with jeans & a white button down for some instant glam! I’ll also be pairing it with a cocktail dress later this week. The necklace was designed exclusively for the Box of Style, so you can’t get it anywhere else!
Soia & Kyo Olivia Cable Knit Hat ($50)
We don’t get many days where it’s cold enough to need a warm beanie, but this soft knit one will come in handy when it does! Subscribers got the choice of three colors – black, winter white, or burgundy. I went with the winter white because it’ll go with just about everything in my closet.
Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme Brightening Water Cream ($65)
Winter weather can be so harsh on your skin. My skin is more dry & breaks out more during the winter, so I’m always on the lookout for something to give my skin a little TLC. I was excited to see this cream included in the winter box. It’s a water-based cream that will soothe & hydrate the dryest skin. It also helps fight wrinkles & brighten dark spots. You can layer it on for a deep hydration mask at home, or wear a thin layer under makeup during the day to protect skin. I love how light it is & it smells sooo refreshing!
D.L. & Co The Zoe Report “Birch” Custom Candle ($50)
I am a candle-hoarder. Seriously, I can’t walk out of Bath & Body Works without a new scent. This black & gold candle is perfect for a winter night, with a woodsy “birch” scent. Right now, it ‘s sitting on the desk in my home office, ready for me to buckle down & do some work! I was really impressed by the quality of the candle, it holds a ton of scent & the jar is heavy glass. Once I’m down with the candle, the jar will make a great holder for makeup brushes!
Dagne Dover Leather Card Case ($50)
Does anyone else have trouble finding a wallet small enough to fit into a clutch? I have so many cute, tiny bags that I love to carry out, but I end up just tossing my ID & cards into the clutch & hoping that I don’t lose anything. This card case holds just the essentials – ID, credit card, some cash – & fits perfectly into my smallest bag! I carried it several times over the break to keep everything together & organized while out & about. When you aren’t using it as a mini-wallet, it’s a chic alternative to a business card holder.
Clinique Lip Color + Primer in Berry Pop ($18)
A deep berry lip is a great winter alternative to the classic red lip. I’d been looking for the perfect color & it turned up on my doorstep! This formula has a built-in primer to make the lipstick go on smooth & last for hours. Anything that combines steps is a lifesaver in my book. The berry color is universally flattering & is saturated to stay true as it goes on. The color + primer also comes in 15 other shades, so I may have found my go-to formula.
Juciy Couture Viva La Juicy Fragrance (bonus!)
As a bonus, each box contained a trial size of Viva La Juicy, a fresh & fun fragrance. It blends berries, vanilla, & jasmine for a floral, fruity scent that will be amazing for spring!
This month I got the opportunity to try out POPSUGAR’s Must-Have Box service. I was so impressed with the value that I received in September’s box – nearly $150 in products! The products included are full-size, no tiny one-use samples here. I love subscription boxes, like POPSUGAR’s, because they are a great way to try new products that I wouldn’t normally pick up for myself. You can use the code SHOP5 to get $5 off your first box now! Just click here!
Jack & Lucy – Bicoastal Wide Brim Hat (Sugg Retail $58)
The first item out of the box was a wide brim, fedora style hat. It’s an effortlessly chic classic that will pair with everything from a clean suit to distressed denim. I am not typically a hat person, but this allowed me to experiment with it at home. I can definitely see this hat becoming part of my weekly wardrobe. The best part? The hat is adjustable to fit a range of head sizes! Genius for someone like me – my smallish head tends to let hats fall down over my ears in a weird way. Overall, the quality is good, the fit is easy, & the style is classic.
This mani kit has everything you need to keep your nails in shape in an easy, cute, & portable pack – clippers, a nail file, scissors, & 2 shaped pushers. It immediately went into my purse, because is there anything more annoying than a chipped or split nail when you lack the tools to fix it? Now, no matter where I am, I can take care of any mishaps before they get worse! This would make a great gift or stocking stuffer for any beauty addict.
This restorative hair mask promises to reduce breakage & restore natural vibrancy to even the most over-processed hair using B-vitamins, rosehip and argan oils, algae, and biotin. I’m a little skeptical of most deep conditioners because they can weigh down fine hair like mine, but after one 5 minute treatment, all I’ve noticed is softer & more manageable hair. The cream was light-weight & smells like summer – amazing! It doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens, or silicones, so it’s safe for color-treated hair. Briogeo recommends weekly treatments, with best results after at least 3 treatments, so I’ll keep you posted on my results!
Flint Lint Roller (Sugg Retail $9.99)
I have 2 animals at home that both shed uncontrollably, so I also have lint rollers everywhere. This tiny little tube contains a retractable lint roller. I love it! You can toss it in any bag & know that the top sheet will stay sticky & clean. It’s easily refillable & 60 sheets are only $3! Plus, because you aren’t throwing away the plastic base that a typical lint roller is made from, you’re helping to reduce waste & protect the planet.
I love a good lipgloss! At any time, I probably have a half dozen in my bag, lol! This Smith & Cult lacquer meets all of my expectations. It’s a thick gloss with high shine, but isn’t sticky or tacky like some glosses. Don’t let the bright red color scare you – it goes on smooth & provides a layer of sheer coverage. Gold microshimmer adds a cheeky touch to this beauty staple. Because it’s vegan, & paraben & gluten free, it has an extended wear & you don’t have to worry about what ingredients you’re putting on your lips.
The GFB was founded by two brothers, who had trouble finding high protein but still tasty snacks. They created these little bites & bars. All are vegan & gluten-free, made without GMO’s or dairy, & are sweet & high-protein. Holy deliciousness! These tiny little bites pack a rich chocolate flavor, which combines perfectly with the toasted coconut shell. They’re only 100 calories for 2 bites. If you’re worried about being able to tell that they’re vegan or gluten-free, don’t be! They are so tasty & have a smooth texture. The best part, I can recognize & pronounce all of the ingredients! I cannot wait to try the other flavors!
**This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary Must-Have Box in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Belated happy new year! I cannot believe that it’s already February! Between getting back to work after a long holiday break & the start of Mardi Gras season, I’ve been incredibly busy. Even though it’s a full month into 2016, I want to start this blogging year with my goals for 2016. I don’t want to spend too much time on the nitty-gritty of yearly goal setting right, but I do want to share what works for me.
Last year, I used Whitney English’s “Well-Designed Year” program to evaluate 2014 & make some long-term goals for 2015. It is an amazing program & I highly recommend using the worksheets to identify your strengths, weaknesses, & passions. Using those as guidelines, you can set goals that align with what matters most to you. There are countless other similar programs out there & the trick is to find the one that works best for you. I am using the “Well-Designed Year” again. I also used Year Compass’s “Close 2015 – Plan 2016” booklet & Emily’s Ley’s free “Family Meeting” printable to review what worked last year & what I need to improve on.
Rather than make a long list of goals, which are usually just a million things that I wish I could accomplish this year, I like that the “Well-Designed Year” takes you through discovering your strengths, passions, & values. For some reason, the hardest part for me is always discovering my 5 passions. It’s a time consuming process, but it’s so worth it. You then come up with 3 “Big Ideas,” which are the 3 most important things you wish to accomplish or focus on for the coming year. I love that the process allows me to focus on what is really important, instead of what I think should be important. It’s no surprise that narrowing down your goals & focusing on your passion helps to set you up for success! Here’s where I am so far in my planning:
Now I need to break down my 3 focal areas, or big ideas, into smaller & more manageable steps. Last summer I shared how I plan my week & I’m continuing the same process in 2016 using the new mini-Day Designer. I really love that the planner is designed to work with the “Well-Designed Year” & I can keep my goals, broken down into manageable steps, in mind as I plan my days, weeks, & months.
Here are some more great resources to help you make the most of 2016:
- 8 Habits of Successful People That You Can Master in 15 Minutes – some of the best habits that help really successful ladies keep track of their tasks & stay on top of everything
- How to Recharge and Find Happiness in the New Year – 10 tips for coming back stronger in the new year
- How to Make a Great Plan for Success in 2016 and Actually Stick To It – tricks for putting plans into action in the new year
- 6 Habits from Successful People Under 30 – you don’t have to be under 30 to learn something from those who found success young
- Great Expectations: Setting Intentions for 2016 – just because resolutions aren’t your thing doesn’t mean you can’t lay out some goals
- The Coveteur’s interview with Leah Chernikoff – career advice from Elle.com’s editorial director? yes, please!
- The Definitive Guide to Setting Successful Goals – the 5 steps to achieving your goals this year
I am a people-pleaser by nature & find it very hard to say no to people & opportunities. I find myself involved in many different organizations, in addition to finding time for family & friends. It can be hard to keep all of the balls in the air! It’s easy to become overwhelmed & anxious if I don’t have a good system in place for organizing my schedule & to-do lists. Today I thought that I would share how I organize & plan my week. It’s taken time to discover & fine tune what works for me. My method may not work for everyone, but hopefully you’ll find something to incorporate into your own routine to make keeping yourself on schedule a little easier.
I use a combination of a paper planner & Google calendar. My paper planner is heavy, so it doesn’t go everywhere with me. Every appointment goes on both calendars, so I have access to my schedule regardless of whether I have my paper planner or my phone. I typically take 5 minutes at the end of every day to be sure that all appointments are reflected on both calendars.
I schedule a planning session every Sunday. I used to go through several paper planners every year, searching for the perfect fit. Then I found the Day Designer & I am hooked! I especially love the yearly goal setting section & the online community of support, but more on that in another post!
I begin my planning session by syncing Google calendar and the monthly calendar in my Day Designer. I use a color-coding system for all appointments, so I can easily tell if a category (work, personal, volunteer) is out of balance. I use the “monthly to-do” section to list what my book club is reading for the month & any other notes/reminders for the month. Erin Condren’s customizable event stickers fit perfectly, so I use them for important birthdays & holidays. It’s important to keep your long-term goals in mind when planning for the week, so I love the “goals for the month” section as a daily reminder of my top 3 monthly goals.
Next, I move on to the daily pages. I transfer any appointments to the daily pages. The highlighted time is my workday. I’ve found that highlighting the numbers, rather than blocking out time allows me to add in meetings or appointments. I don’t use all of the boxes in the upper right of each page – I cover “dollars” with a hydrate sticker to track my water intake & I use “don’t forget” for any upcoming activities/events that I need to keep in mind. I try to use “dinner” to meal plan for the week, but I’ve been pretty lax on that recently. Maybe that will be one of my top 3 goals for August. I often use the “download” section to jot down notes, thoughts, etc. each day. There’s also a space for writing down your “gratitude” each day, thought I’ve been falling behind on that too. Another August goal?
I keep a running to-do list in Evernote, so I can jot down tasks whenever I think of them, even if I don’t have my paper planner handy. During my weekly planning session, I transfer the big to-do’s to my paper planner. These are typically tasks that must be accomplished, or completed, on a certain date . I try to spread the big tasks out evenly over the week. Again, I use my color-coding system as an easy way to determine if any category is occupying the majority of my time. It’s all about maintaining balance!
Each morning, I take 5-10 minutes to plan my day. I review my schedule for the day & the previous day’s to-do list to see what tasks were not completed. I prioritize my top 3 to-do’s for each day. These are usually tasks that have a hard deadline, though they sometimes get bumped to the next day if I don’t quite finish. Then, I look to my running to-do list & fill in the other tasks that I hope to accomplish. It’s so satisfying to see a completed checked-off to-do list, so I try to be reasonable about what can be accomplished in a given day. If a task remains unfinished at the end of the day, I simply move it to the next day’s list. I take a few minutes at the end of each day to review what I accomplished & note what I’m grateful for.
And that’s a brief overview of how I keep myself organizing & on schedule! I’m constantly tinkering with the system as I learn more about what works, & what doesn’t. Now, on to the fun part! I don’t decorate my planner as much as some people, I prefer a clean layout, but I do like to add a little pizazz with stickers. Here are some of the fabulous stickers that I use to decorate & make certain to-do’s or appointments stand out. Faye Creates has become one of my most-visited Etsy shops. She has so many adorable options & is constantly coming up with new ones! The hydrate, plan, and dot bar stickers are also from Faye Creates.
**Thanks to Blog Society for the gorgeous title image!**
Is it just me, or does your purse feel 10 pounds heavier by Friday afternoon? I start the week with a nice, clean, organized bag, and end up carrying around everything I own. It doesn’t matter how small the bag is, I try to cram as much in as possible. The result is a disorganized mess and an aching back.
My iPhone is the one item that I can never leave home without. It contains my calendar, my email, my contacts, etc. & is the most essential part of my day. That being said, I’m trying to learn to disconnect from the constant inflow of information at home & spend more time focusing on my time with friends & family.
For some reason, as I get older, my eyes have become more sensitive to light. Instead of constantly squinting to see, I always carry sunglasses. I’m hoping that it will help cut down on the small lines that have begun appearing around my eyes.
This one is a no-brainer. Having my calendar & to-do list with me at all times makes sure that I’m over-committing myself or double scheduling. It helps me to stay on track, even on the most hectic days.
4. Hand lotion
I’ve already talked about how much I love Aveda’s hand relief, so it’s no surprise that I always have a small tube on me. Hands tend to be one of the first areas to show aging, so it’s important to keep them moisturized. I rub in a small dot every time I wash my hands.
You never know when you’ll need to sign something or take notes at a meeting. Having a pen on hand just makes life a little easier, & doesn’t take up much room.
I received a small mirrored compact as a gift years ago. One side is a regular mirror and one side has some magnification. It’s a perfect size to keep in my makeup bag for touch-ups.
7. Lip balm
There is nothing that can ruin your look quite like chapped lips. I keep a tube of Malin & Goetz mojito lip balm in my bag. It keeps lips moisturized & protects against sun/wind. It has a great light & refreshing scent, & is shiny enough to double as a lip gloss.
I think that we’ve all had one of those lunches where you eat something garlicky or with onions, then get back to the office & wish you had a toothbrush. I keep mints or minty gum in my bag so that I can keep my mouth feeling somewhat clean no matter what I’m eating.
Spring is finally here. And with it comes allergy season. If you’re like me, you’ll have at least one miserable sick day this spring. I’m also a wimp when I don’t feel well. Here’s my must haves for feeling better when I’m stuck at home.
1. Comfy PJ’s. Nothing will make you feel better than curling up in some warm, fuzzy PJ’s. I love the cute sheep pattern on this set.
2. Sleep mask. This mask will help keep the light out so you can get some much needed rest. It has a lavender scent to help soothe.
3. Lip balm. I am obsessed with this Malin & Goetz mojito lip balm.
4. Chamomile tea. There’s something comforting about warm, chamomile tea.
5. Netflix. Use your time in bed to catch up on binge watching the latest thrillers.