Monthly Archives

December 2016


Post-Christmas, Pre-New Years Jitters

December 26, 2016

Hi Guys! Happy Monday:) I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone. I had such a great day. The weather was beautiful and I got to spend quality time with my family, eating good food, playing games, watching tv, and seeing the gorgeous Christmas lights that go up in my hometown each year. I wouldn’t change a thing. I went to bed all smiles but when I woke up this morning the fuzzy holiday feels had dissipated, and I realized that in just a few short days 2017 will be here.

While I’m excited, I’m also feeling pretty overwhelmed. There is so much that has to get done within the next six months. I have to complete my dissertation research, defend it, apply for jobs prayerfully finding the right one, and potentially prepare to move from a place that’s been home for the past two and a half years. I also want to make sure that I’m putting a lot of effort into this blog because I love blogging.

Now I’m not sure what your circumstances are, but if you’re at all like me, you may be wondering, How on Earth am I going to get all of this done?  This mountain before me just seems so insurmountable. In these moments of panic, I usually remember that this feeling isn’t a foreign one. There have been many times in my past where I’ve felt overwhelmed by my circumstances to the point where I just want to crawl under my covers and say wake me when it’s over. Each time though God has given me the strength I need to see the journey through to completion.

I’m counting on that this time around because I know that God is consistent. So while I may remark at the magnitude of the journey that lies ahead, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other knowing that God will grant me the strength I need to see the finish line at my feet.


Creative Gifts for the “Creative” in Your Life

December 19, 2016

Hi Guys. Happy Mondayyyy! The extra y’s are intended to convey my excitement that Christmas is less than a week away. This little bit of time we have left is also stressing me out because I haven’t finished all of my Christmas shopping yet. How is it that every year I plan to have my shopping done well in advance of Christmas, but I always manage to cut it down to the wire?? The truth is that some of the people on my list, and likely yours, are much harder to shop for than others.

I’m convinced that the only thing harder than finding a good Christmas gift for a loved one, is finding a good Christmas gift for a loved one who’s a creative. There’s this added pressure to get them something, well, creative. Translation: a gift card just ain’t gonna cut it! To help y’all out (and myself, let’s be honest) I put together this gift-giving guide for that special creative in your life. Read on for some thoughtful and surprisingly budget-friendly gifts. Bonus: most of these items can be found on Amazon or picked up in stores, which means you can get them in time for Christmas day. Score!


Whether they’re a photographer, a style blogger, or a pastry chef, creatives care about producing nice images for their blogs, websites, and/or social media channels. In creating quality images, the backdrops are just as important as the actual items being photographed. Here are some multi-purpose backdrop options that any creative will be able to get good use of:

Marble Wallpaper

The secrets out! Did you really think everyone on Instagram had marble countertops?! Great for the ever popular flatlay or for food photography shots, this marble wallpaper can instantly elevate the look of anyone’s Instagram feed. I just ordered some myself!

Wood Wallpaper

Marble backdrops are great but it’s nice to switch things up. Using a wooded backdrop can help add some rustic charm and earthiness to a photo. These backdrops are also quite popular among food bloggers and chefs.

Brand colors

If you have time for a little DIY project then head to your local Home Depot and pick up a couple pieces of pre-cut plywood. Take these pieces of plywood and paint them in their brand colors. You can get a 2×2 ft piece of plywood from Home Depot for under 6 dollars, and you can go to the paint section and get a sample size of paint to use to paint it for about 3 bucks.

Promoting & Networking

Branded Clothing

Creatives are hustlers and they always have to be thinking about promoting their business or brand. With that being said, what’s better than having them be their own walking billboard. Buy a sweatshirt and have their logo or name printed on it.

Brand/Blog Business Cards

These would come in handy during meetups, conferences, or as they’re starting to work with new clients.

Branded writing & computer accessories

Again when they’re out at a coffee shop, library, or the park, branded accessories can do the talking for them. You can get them branded stickers that they can place on notebooks and folders. You can also get branded pens, laptop cases, and mouse pads.


Since creatives tend to work from home it can be difficult for them to ever officially go “off the clock.” To help them make the most of their off time consider gifting them any one of these items (or all three depending on how generous you’re feeling:)

Mindfulness Book & Coloring Pencils

You’ve probably seen or heard of these “adult coloring books” before. Owning a couple myself I can say that they’re awesome. It’s a great opportunity to take your mind off of whatever it is that you may be obsessing over and transport yourself back to a simpler time when your greatest concern was coloring within the lines.

Lavender-scented neck wrap

This is a great option for people who tend to carry stress or tension in their necks. Since creatives may spend a lot of time sitting at a desk on their computers, this lavender-scented neck wrap may be just the thing they need to relieve any tension. Bonus since its heated, it’s also great for these winter months to keep them nice and cozy.

100% Silk Sleep Mask

Sometimes portrayed as night owls, even creatives need a good night’s sleep. Much cheaper than blackout curtains, these masks can completely block out sunlight so they don’t prematurely awaken from their slumber.

There you have it! I’m sure the creative in your life will really appreciate any of these gifts because it tells them that you care about helping them build their brand, and making sure that they take care of self while doing it.

Hope you all have a great week!


Go Gym-less with Jilian Michaels’ Yoga Inferno

December 12, 2016

Hi Guys. Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was actually pretty nice. I continued to make progress on my dissertation research, and enjoyed a deliciously festive brunch consisting of gingerbread pancakes and some eggnog french toast. I could definitely go for seconds right about now!

We’re finally starting to get some chillier temps here in NC, which I am loving. It’s great for productivity because I just want to bundle up and stay indoors, but it could prove problematic for my exercise habits. Fortunately, I’ve got a solid lineup of indoor workouts thanks to my extensive exercise DVD collection, which brings me to today’s Go Gym-less post. With the temps dropping I want to make sure that you’ve got another great indoor workout in your arsenal to keep the sweat dripping:)

Today we’re talking about Jillian Michael’s Yoga Inferno workout.

Quick & Dirty:

Workout: Jillian Michael’s Yoga Inferno

Areas worked out: total body

Equipment: One of the workouts is weighted. Beginner version calls for no weights and advanced version use 3lbs. (I have a 3 and 5lb weight pictured because I primarily used 5 lbs for the weighted workout but switch to 3 lbs for a couple moves). Other than that there is no equipment

Length: 66 minutes (two, 30-minute workouts)

Fitness Level: Intermediate

Extra Details:

Hardest Part: I find the weighted workout (workout #2) to be the more challenging of the two, but both workouts contain moves that’ll have you feeling like a badass once you’re done with them. You are in plank quite a bit and she has you flow through vinyasas several times throughout both workouts so your arms are getting a lot of love during this one.

Impact: I’d consider this a low impact workout overall since there aren’t any real explosive moves, but there are a couple moves that can be stressful on the joints if you have knee issues (e.g. single leg mountain climbers and jumping lunges). The nice thing is that Jillian does provides modifiers.

Noise level: Jillian describes this as a “yoga hybrid” with the hybrid being yoga and cardio/strength. With that being said there are a few moves where you are jumping (e.g. jumping lunges and squat jumps) but these moves shouldn’t be too noisy, especially if you’re mindful of how you land. When these moves come up though I just move to a different space in my apartment with less sound transfer. Other than these few moves you can be doing this workout and your downstairs neighbor wouldn’t be the wiser.

Music: For this workout I found the music neutral. It felt appropriate and wasn’t distracting so no complaints.

Instructor: Jillian can be a hit or miss for me personality wise depending on the workout. In this one I found her to be totally fine. Her demeanor is much tamer in this one than in some of her other workouts and she’s relatively encouraging throughout. The one thing I will note is that she does move around quite a bit to show you proper form on her fit crew which means she’s not always doing the moves with you.

Stretch: There isn’t a designated stretch at the end of these workouts, since it’s yoga-based and you’re incorporating stretches throughout. There is what I’d call a “guided meditation” at the end where you’re laying on the floor while Jillian’s talking to you but I usually skip it.

Sweat: With this one you’ll definitely be sweating but you won’t be drenched.

Dread Factor: The time goes by pretty quickly in this workout. The moves are challenging but they’re not crazy so I don’t find myself dreading this workout.

Overall I enjoy this workout and would definitely recommend it to those who are looking for a yoga-inspired DVD but with cardio and resistance moves incorporated. I purchased this workout from Amazon for under $10. If you try it (or already have) please tell me what you think!


More Friends are Better

December 5, 2016

Hi Guys! Happy Monday:) It’s December 5th which means that there are only three more Mondays remaining in 2016. It’s around this time of the year that we tend to start reflecting on the past year, while setting goals for the upcoming one. In the spirit of the season, I thought it’d be nice to share something that’s pretty much a mainstay on my list of personal goals each year: working to establish more meaningful friendships.

More Friends are Better

While I am a proud introvert, I am not a loner. I really enjoy spending time with other people it’s just that I prefer the group size and setting to be intimate, and after a while I’m going to need to go home for a nap lol. In reflecting on how well I’m living my life, I definitely factor in the friendships that I’ve been able to cultivate.

Friends are so important to me. They help to make my life experiences more meaningful and memorable. They celebrate my wins, they laugh with me, they’d cry with me if I weren’t a robot as my sister tells it, and they are some of my biggest cheerleaders. I’m so grateful for the friendships that I have, which is why I work hard to maintain them. In saying this, I still actively work toward developing more friendships. Why, you ask? This is where I’m going to say something that probably goes against what you’ve heard in the past. More friends are better. Rock with me for a bit on this one.

A lot of people say that it’s not about having a bunch of friends, it’s about having quality friends.  Personally, I think it should be about both. None of us want to have flaky, manipulative, or backstabbing friends so I think we can all agree that quality is important, but here’s why quantity is important too. We tend to have a lot of different interests. When we have a lot of different interests and only a few friends, we can subconsciously put more pressure on those few friends to help us live out all of our different interests.

Let’s use an analogy here just because I love them. Having only a few friends is like being the boss of a company with only a few employees. Between these few employees they now have to juggle being your tech support, HR, accountants, communications specialists, secretary, web designer, and whatever else you need, which means you’re likely asking people to serve in roles that they weren’t cut out for. So don’t be upset with Mary Sue because she can’t figure out why the company website is freezing; she went to school for journalism!

The idea is that as you hire more employees (or gain more friends) the pressures placed on these individuals are spread out because they’re not expected to wear so many different hats. Your foodie friend that loves to try different restaurants with you for Sunday brunch may not be the person to call for a Saturday morning hike.

More Friends are Better

Now sometimes there are those magical people who share all of your interests, but these folks are few and far between. That means you’ll likely have to work to establish relationships with different people who can allow you to express your different interests. For example, I have a group of friends who are PhD students/graduates of my program. We meet up throughout the year to check in with one another, unwind, and uplift. We actually just met up yesterday for brunch. It’s been incredible having these ladies to talk to because they know what I’m working toward, and they understand the work it takes to get there.

More Friends are Better

These ladies are fabulous, but I’m more than just a student. I’m also a fitness enthusiast, a blogger, a baker, a lipstick lover, and a break dancer (I’m only partially kidding about this last one). If I want to talk about creative projects that I’d like to do for the blog or collaborate with a fellow blogger, I can’t necessarily go to them for that. Which means that I have to work to find other people who blog, who I can talk to about these things.

A few weeks ago I went to a blogger meet up in Raleigh and met some great ladies. We sat and talked for a couple hours about blogging, the highs and lows of it all, and strategies we use to get it all done. It was such a great conversation that I honestly wouldn’t have been able to have otherwise. I needed to make “blogger friends” who could appreciate what it’s like working to put out quality blog content in order to have that type of conversation.

More Friends are Better

It can be stifling when you feel like you don’t have people to talk to who can give you an outlet to express all of your different interests. This is why as many interests as I have, I will work to develop as many circles of friends who allow me to discuss and express these interests. So yes, quantity matters. But don’t forget about quality. And the next time someone tells me, “It’s all about quality,” I’ll politely say, “I beg to differ,” and maybe direct them to this post.

Let me know if you’d like for me to do a follow up about ways to go about making these new friends as an adult. #TeamYesNewFriends Lol