December is here! I love everything about the Christmas season – the lights, the family dinners, picking out the perfect gift. For the first official gift guide of the season, I’ve compiled some of the best gifts for the men in your life. I’ve been a fan of Aziz Ansari for years, so his in depth look into modern romance is a must have. This Arc’teryx hoodie, from REI, is lightweight enough to wear for any outdoor activity, but will still keep him warm. There’s a ladies version that I have my eye on! You can’t go wrong with a monogrammed leather catchall, rocks glass, or card set.
The holiday season is right around the corner! (Seriously, how is it already mid-November?) With the holiday season comes endless holiday parties, so I wanted to gather up some of my favorite hostess gifts. First, I am obsessed with this fur hat & shawl from World Market. They’ll make a bottle of wine will look extra special & they’re only $6.99! You can’t go wrong with a scented candle or some sparkly guest towels. Kate Spade’s “All Occassion” cards will help your hostess be ready for any event. It includes cards for everything from Happy Birthday to Get Well Soon. I love Tri-Coastal Design’s jewelry tray. The gold antlers add a little whimsy & will keep rings in their place. Finally, Crate & Barrel’s cheese board comes with a matching set of copper cheese knives so your hostess can serve with style.
It’s officially fall today! Otherwise known as college football season if you live in the south. Since I was a child, Saturday nights in the fall have been dedicated to LSU football. I still get chills when I hear the first notes of pre-game played by the Golden Band. We attended our first game of the season last weekend. Despite the extreme heat of a day game in Tiger Stadium, we had a great time tailgating with friends & watching the game. I may be biased, but I think that a home game in Tiger Stadium is the best college football experience in the country!
Mike VI arrived on campus about the same time I did, so I always stop by to see him in his habitat near the stadium. Sometimes he makes an appearance at the game, but only if he voluntarily loads into his trailer. Last year, he didn’t make it to any games.
Last weekend’s game was incredibly hot, so a sleeveless dress was a must! I picked up this cute one at Frock Candy on Saturday morning, but The Mint Julep Boutique and Gameday Goddess are two of my favorite online shops for cute, unique gameday attire. Flat sandals make it easy to get around campus & a cross-body bag is perfect for carrying into the stadium.
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!**
The rains have stopped, the temperature is climbing, and summer is officially here! I think that summer is the perfect time for some light, fun reading. Here’s my summer list, what are you reading?
Topping my list is Candace Bushnell’s newest release, Killing Monica. With her hallmark wit and humor, Bushnell delves into the life of a best-selling author looking to change things up. Pandy “PJ” Wallis is a writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films. But now Pandy wants to attempt something different: a historical novel based on her ancestor Lady Wallis. Her publishers, audience, husband, and her ex-best friend (who plays Monica on the big screen) want her to keep cranking out Monica books. Will Pandy be able to reinvent herself? I can’t wait to find out!
The Girl on the Train has been hailed as the next Gone Girl by the New York Times. I was a huge fan of Gone Girl and psychological thrillers in general. Rachel’s life has recently fallen apart. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning, with a stop at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. And then she sees something shocking. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Told in chapters alternating between Rachel in current time and Megan last year, I’m having trouble putting this one down.
The historical fiction that I read is typically set in Tudor England, but I am super excited about delving into All the Light We Cannot See‘s World War II France. The New York Times bestseller tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. When Marie-Laure and her father flee Nazi occupied Paris, they carry what might be the Natural History Museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In Germany, the orphan Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a special assignment to track the resistance.
Another historical fiction, The Witch of Painted Sorrows is set in the magical 1890s Belle Époque Paris. Sandrine flees her dangerous husband for her grandmother’s Paris mansion, but doesn’t find safety in the City of Lights. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires. But something sinister is altering Sandrine – she’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Here are six ideas for gifts that she’s sure to love.
1. Custom Photo Print. I love giving personalized gifts and this custom photo print is the perfect to showcase your favorite family photos.
2. The Book of Joan. “Joan and Melissa Rivers had one of the most celebrated mother-daughter relationships of all time.” This memoir by Melissa Rivers would be a great choice for a book lover.
3. Candle. The scent of lilac blossom mixes with lily of the valley and sweet violet for the ultimate spring fragrance. The three wix candle fills the room with a light fragrance.
4. Scarf. For the fashion conscious mother, choose a bright geometric scarf that can be worn into the summer.
5. Birchbox. If your mother loves beauty products, treat her to a year of customized samples with a subscription to Birchbox.
6. Bracelet. Let your mom wear your love and appreciation with this Kate Spade bangle. The outside reads with priceless mom advice: sit up straight, say thank you, do your homework, play nice, say please, go play outside.
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.