March Blogging Goals

My life has really been inspiring me lately, and I'm ready to put that inspiration to use.

I have avoided having a consistent "plan" for my blog for a long time, mainly because I didn't feel like I had the time or the drive to be really serious about it. When I renamed (and basically restarted) this blog back in November, I knew it was because I would be ready to really make something of it in the coming months. And now, the beginning of that time is here. I'm positive that I'm ready to make the jump from occasional poster, to committed content producer.

Therefore, I'm holding myself accountable by sharing my blogging goals with you each month.

1. Post four times a week. 
I've decided that four is the magic number. This way there will still be posts going up the majority of the week, but I will also have a break in there to regroup. Posting days will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

2. Switch to a new commenting system. 
I want to get away from the typical Google comments that come along with using a Blogger platform. Why? Well, mainly because I eventually plan to move over to WordPress. (I think anyway...I'm still torn.) I also think though, that there are many other more streamlined commenting systems out there. I'm considering Disqus. Suggestions, anyone?

3. Create an email list/news letter. 
I would like to give readers the option to sign up for a little something extra each month. I have some ideas for fun weekly/monthly newsletters.

4. Reach 30 followers. 
When I stopped blogging regularly, I fell away from the community I used to be a part of. That's something I really miss, and I want to strive to build authentic blogging friendships again. Networking is a bit daunting, but it's worth it!

5. Create a disclaimer, and slowly incorporate affiliate links. 
I recently signed up to be an Amazon Associate. I've never monetized my blog before, but I want to give it a go so I can maybe make a little extra cash to put back into the blog. If I'm going to use affiliate links, I'm also going to need to get a disclaimer in order, so I can let readers know what they are clicking on in the most honest, clear, and concise way possible.

And there you have it! My first round of blogging goals.

Do you set blogging goals each month?


Weekend Recap {2/25-2/26}

This past weekend was a bit of a strange one. Slade has been out of town for a week, and it's so different not having him at home! He is gone for work quite a bit, but 10 days (he'll be back on Wednesday, whoop whoop) is definitely the longest trip so far.

Anyway, since I have very few friends that live close to me, and they were all busy, it was just me and Babybel. I am officially one of those people who is BFF with their dog. If you watch my Instagram stories, you already know this. She is certainly the center of my world lately...and I'm okay with that because I love her so darn much.

Needless to say, it was a pretty relaxed weekend! But, the good kind of relaxed weekend, where I was also really productive. Let's hop into a little recap.

Home, sweet home. 

I slept until about 7:45 on Saturday morning. That's actually "sleeping in" for me these days. I have become such a morning person over the past couple of years. Bell and I went on a walk, I made some breakfast and coffee, and then lazed around for a while watching a Say Yes to the Dress marathon.

Eventually I got up and straightened up the house, then I took one of those good, long showers. You know the ones I'm talking about...the ones that you actually take time to enjoy, and also come out of as a completely different person because you washed your hair and shaved your legs. (Hey, I'm human.)

I left the house around 2:00 to run some errands and go on a hunt for some colored jeggings. (I have been wanting some for so long!) I filled up my gas tank, got a smoothie for lunch, and then made my way over to Kohl's. There, I found a pair of burgundy jeggings and some new Keds for $35 total. What a steal, am I right? From there I went to Old Navy where I found a pair of olive ones, and then I went to Target to get some shampoo and other things I was out of.

After that I picked up some dinner to take home from Pollo Tropical, and Bell and I spent the rest of the evening hanging around.

Babybel's favorite weekend spot. 

Sunday morning was really productive. I did laundry and vacuumed and took out the trash and all of that fun stuff. I then sat down with my planner and laptop and scheduled out the next couple of weeks. I also planned and partially drafted two weeks worth of blog posts, so I'm pretty excited about that! I'm hoping to take some big steps with my blog this year. You'll see more about that in tomorrow's post.

"Mom, can you drive any faster?"

I then went to wash and vacuum my car and pick up a few groceries for the week. Bell and I loaded up in the car after I put the groceries away and went to my parent's house to hang out with my mom for a few hours. My parents have recently built a really beautiful new porch onto their home, and it was a GORGEOUS day here in Florida, so we sat outside and had lunch and chatted. My Granny also came down for a bit. Afterwards we went back home and I wrote some blog posts and mentally prepared for the week while Bell napped on the couch.

And, now it's a new week! How was your weekend? Did you do anything new, or did you just enjoy some down time?

Linking up with Biana!


4 Things To Do Monthly!

If you're anything like me, you probably, at any given point in your life, have a million different things you need to do, and a million different goals you want to achieve. And...that's great! Goal setting is a way to grow and improve. 

However, it is often difficult to achieve these goals when you are setting the bar extremely high each month.Let's face it...it's impossible to lose 25 pounds, save $1000, visit 12 new countries, drink green juice every morning, and become famous all within a four-week time period. It's important to be ambitious, but it's also important to remember that setting unrealistic expectations is going to result in zero accomplishments. 

Recently, I've been thinking about goals that would be easy for me to take on every single month. I've compiled a list of ones that aren't only easy, but also fulfilling! Let's get into them...

1. Have lunch or dinner with a friend. 
Something I am particularly bad at is keeping in touch with/seeing friends and family that I don't automatically see on a fairly regular basis. I know other people struggle with this as well. So, think about a friend or family member that you haven't seen in a while, shoot them a text, and invite them to meet up. It's always so nice to sit and catch up with someone you care about. 

2. Set a financial goal. 
The nice thing about this goal is there is such a wide variety of specific goals you can set. It could be anything from vowing to save $100 towards your upcoming vacation, to finally paying off a credit card. Big or small...it will feel awesome to check it off your list!

3. Have a new experience. 
It's pretty common for people to treat themselves to a new purchase or two during the month. Instead of spending money on material items, try doing something you have never done. Take a short weekend road trip. See a new play or movie. Finally attend that new exercise class you have been wanting to try. Make some memories! 

4. Treat yo'self. 
This final point is Slade's contribution, and he requested that I specifically use that heading, ha ha. Essentially, if you're trying really hard to be healthy, pick one day during the month to eat whatever the heck you want to eat. If you choose this day ahead of time, you'll look forward to it and have no repercussions about eating all of the chocolate and french fries on the planet. 

What are some things you try to do on a regular basis? Do you believe goal setting is important? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Happiest of Fridays to you! 


Currently {February '17}

Believe it or not, the last "Currently" post on my blog was written last February! Let's keep the tradition alive, shall we?

Reading... I'm STILL reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I've been working on it for a while now. The thing is, it's really good! I'm just apparently having an off reading month.

Listening (to)... A new podcast discovery..."This Is Why You're Single." (I'm not single...but it's still funny.)

Watching... I've been on a Netflix kick lately. Recent completions include Master of None, Santa Clarita Diet, and Stranger Things. Now I need to decide on what to watch next, but I'm having a difficult time. Suggestions?

Cooking... Nothing exciting, unfortunately. Slade normally does the cooking, but when he's out of town I rely on either eggs or some sort of meat and a veggie. I don't know how to make exciting low carb things.

Drinking... Just finished off some coffee, and now I'm on to water.

Going... To Bell's second obedience class tonight. Guys, she is SO HYPER. She loves people, but it's really stressful to have people over because she will not stop jumping and her little claws are sharp. Plus, she's still teething so she's an accidental nipper. Slade and I have read that retriever mix puppies are always super energetic, and that is certainly proving to be true. Does anyone have any experience with training a spastic dog? Ha ha.

Loving... Being back in the groove of blogging!

Hating... This gloomy weather we are having here in Gainesville.

Discovering... That I'm much less introverted than I used to be.

Thinking... That I can't wait to see my best friend Amber next weekend! She will be coming to Florida for a week!

Hoping (to)... Continue paying off debt (I've paid off 3 credit cards this month!) and improve my financial situation.

What are you currently up to?


A Sunday in Jacksonville

Slade and I took a day trip up to Jacksonville yesterday. I feel like I've been spending a lot of time there over the past few months, but I'm certainly not mad about it, because it's honestly one of the coolest cities in Florida. I guess I owe this to the fact that Slade is from the Jacksonville area, and it's only about an hour and a half drive from Gainesville.

As a Valentine's gift, Slade bought us tickets to see the Broadway performance of Jersey Boys, so that was our reason for this particular trip. I had been impatiently anticipating the day for a while now. It had been a while since I had been to a show, plus it was a much needed date, as Slade has been out of town for work, and he left again last night for 10 days.

We started out the day by dropping Babybel off at my cousin Shelby's house. We are so fortunate to have people in our lives that puppy-sit for us when we need it! It's much more comforting to know that she is with people that we trust instead of in a kennel. Plus, Bell loves Shelby's dog Violet. She is getting too big to sit in the front floor board of the car, but that's where she loves to be as you can see in the picture below. Gosh, she makes me happy.

After dropping Bell off, we made a caffeine stop at Starbucks. I don't drink coffee from Starbucks often, but when I do I always get the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. If you are an iced coffee fan, you have to try this! Slade tried the new Smoke Butterscotch Frappucino.

Slade played DJ on the drive up, and we decided to go ahead and scope out the venue and places to park upon arriving. Once that was taken care of, we looked up restaurants in the area and decided where to eat lunch. We settled on European Street Café, and I was not disappointed! I had two sliders...one Reuben and one Beef and Brie with a side of beer cheese soup. Slade and I also shared an order of the German potato salad, which I was really excited to see on the menu.

After lunch we drove back over to the venue and parked. We still had about an hour until the show so we walked along the waterfront and around Jacksonville Landing. It was a beautiful day out...one of those rare days in Florida that you can enjoy the sun and go for a stroll without sweating to death.

At 1:30 it was show time! In case you are unfamiliar with the premise of Jersey Boys, it's about the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a popular band from the 1960's. It was wonderful! The music was great, the acting was great, and the story-line made you feel every type of emotion...which is what makes a good show! I've had the songs stuck in my head ever since it ended.

All in all, it was the type of Sunday that makes you okay with seeing Monday again. I'm so thankful for the adventures that I get to have with Slade. He truly is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I know that I'm always going to feel that way.

How was your weekend? Please share with me!


5 Podcasts You Should Listen To

I'm a newbie to the podcast scene.

I can attribute my newfound obsession with them to Slade. He introduced me to a couple that I really enjoy, and now hunting for new ones to listen to during my work day has become a daily hobby. I find that podcasts make work go by so quickly, and I honestly feel like they boost my productivity level too. I was worried that listening to people talk would have the opposite effect, but that definitely hasn't been the case.

I thought it would be fun to share my favorites, just in case anyone out there is looking for something new to listen to!

***Most of the podcasts mentioned do include adult language and topics of conversation.***

1. The Mortified Podcast
What's it about?
This is my newest find, and also my current favorite. The Mortified Podcast features people who are willing to publicly share entries from diaries and journals that were kept during their childhood and teenage years. Yes...it is as awkward and hilarious as it sounds. Each episode has a different theme/subject that will quickly take you back to your childhood diary days.

What episode should I listen to first?
I recommend Episode 88: Titanic Ruined My Love Life.

Where can I listen?
You can find The Mortified Podcast on Spotify!

2. My Brother, My Brother and Me
What's it about?
This is Slade's favorite podcast. He often listens to it in the evenings, it has quickly grown on me. This is an "advice" podcast hosted by three brothers. Essentially, they read crazy questions that people post on Yahoo and try to give some form of advice, which generally causes hilarity to ensue.

What episode should I listen to first?
I recommend Episode 339: Scatman Zozo.

Where can I listen?
You can find My Brother, My Brother and Me on Spotify and Maximum Fun!

3. Rose Buddies
What's it about?
Rose Buddies is a weekly podcast that recaps the most current episode of the TV show The Bachelor. If you don't watch this show, you probably won't enjoy the podcast. But, if you do watch the show...this will change your life. Rose Buddies is hosted by one of the brothers from My Brother, My Brother and Me (Griffin), and his wife Rachel. It's a laugh out loud way to justify your love for a cheesy reality show.

What episode should I listen to first?
Honestly...any of them, especially if you routinely watch The Bachelor.

Where can I listen?
You can find Rose Buddies on Maximum Fun!

4. Real Ghost Stories Online
What's it about?
This one is a bit different from the others. The title pretty much says it all! The hosts Tony and Jenny Brueski share real ghost stories that are called or written in by listeners. It's super interesting, and highly entertaining. There is also a humorous aspect to it, so it doesn't become too overwhelming. I have to listen in this in shifts though, otherwise I freak myself out, ha ha. If you're not bothered by supernatural stories, you will be completely fine.

What episode should I listen to first?
Again...they are all equally entertaining!

Where can I listen?
You can find Real Ghost Stories Online on Spotify!

5. Barely Friending
What's is about?
Two comedians who actually used to date each other host this show. They chat and give advice on life and relationships mostly, but no subject is off limits! There is a good balance of humor and encouragement.

What episode should I listen to first?
I recommend Episode 88: How Do I Find Happiness?

Where can I listen?
You can find Barely Friending on Spotify!

 Do you listen to any of these podcasts? What are some of your favorites? I'm always looking for new suggestions!


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Ah, Sunday...

The house is clean. The pup is snoozing beside me on the couch. I'm finally getting over this cold that popped into my life last week. Life is good.

Well...other than the fact that tomorrow is Monday. But I digress.

Today I'm gonna take the lazy posting route and answer some questions. I really feel like blogging, but my brain is also still a bit foggy from all of the cold meds, so I just can't be asked to actually create my own subject.

1. What brings you the greatest joy?
New adventures! Whether it's something as big as living abroad for a year, or something as small as trying a new restaurant, there's just something really joyful about experiencing new things for the first time. Getting to do this with loved ones and new friends is just the cherry on top of the sundae.

2. What are your vices?
Sigh...I love sugar. Particularly in the form of chocolate and cookies. Since I haven't been able to eat these things lately though, my morning coffee has definitely become my vice.

3. What is on your nightstand?
I actually don't even have a nightstand right now. But if I did, it would probably have a couple of knickknacks and whatever book I happen to be reading.

4. Do you have a secret talent?
Hm...I'm a pretty decent singer. I wouldn't say that's a secret though, I just haven't done it in a long time.

5. What is your greatest indulgence?
Since I have been eating low carb, it would definitely have to be "cheat day" food, which normally consists of every form of bread an potato on the planet.

6. What should everyone try at least once in their life? 
Spontaneous travel. Instead of looking into a destination before you choose it, choose the destination and then plan your trip. That's pretty much how I ended up in Prague!

7. What makes you laugh?
Lately, it has been my Babybel. This pup has such a personality. As I'm typing this she is trying to catch a bug that is on the other side of the sliding glass door.

8. What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? 
This isn't something that I intentionally bring up in conversation, but when the subject arises people are always surprised to learn that I have a history of depression and anxiety. I've talked about it quite a bit on this blog in the past, but I can understand why people would be surprised by it because of my everyday demeanor.

9. What is on your bucket list?
*A LOT more travel. (South America, Asia, Austrailia, the rest of the U.S...)
*Get married and have a family
*Finish writing and publish a book

10. How did you make your first dollar?
I would assume it probably came from the tooth fairy. Easy money, back in the day... ;)

11. What items in your closet do you wear the most? 
I'm definitely a fan of the classic jeans and t-shirt combination.

12. What is the best give you've ever received?
Bell was my Christmas gift from Slade. She was such a little nugget in this picture!

13. What is on your kitchen counters?
Paper towels, some clean dishes, a canister of dog treats, a crock pot, and a Keurig.

14. What would you never leave home without? 
My wallet and my phone...the essentials!

The End.

Did everyone have a nice weekend? Do you have any fun plans for the week? Valentine's Day is on Tuesday! Do you celebrate, or is it just another day? I'm curious to know. :)


7 Things I Would Do For a Cookie Right Now

The human mind is full of some pretty complex questions, but perhaps the most complex question that my mind has generated recently is this:

Why do carbs have to be so frieken delicious?

I have been attempting to stick to a low carb diet over the past month or so, and I'm having such a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because, well, it works. Cutting carbs out of my daily diet is helping me drop weight quicker than I have ever dropped it before. I hate it though, because my actual favorite foods are potatoes, bread, and cookie dough. (Sure, I like meat and veggies and all that other stuff. But, come on, sugar is the actual best.)

While Slade and I were eating dinner earlier (sauteed pork chops with brussels sprouts and green beans), we were talking about how much better we feel when we stay fully on track. I then went on to tell him that I still haven't been able to kick carb cravings. At least once every day, I just really want something sweet. 

So, in order to cope with this obnoxious sweet tooth, I thought I would write about it. Let's get into...

***Disclaimer: I would also accept ice cream.***
1. Listen to every Taylor Swift album...twice. 
Okay, this may sound like a piece of cake (ugh, sugar) to most people. However, I am NOT a T-Swift fan, therefore listening to her albums would be fairly torturous for me. Still...if you have the collection send it over. (But stop for cookie dough on the way.)

2. Repeat Monday over again. 
Yep, you heard that right. I would go through the most dreaded day of the week not once. but twice. In all fairness though, I would probably deserve two cookies afterwards. Can we agree on that?

3. Do my own taxes. 
No Turbo Tax, no H&R Block, no accountant. Just me, myself, and my forgotten college level math skills. This could take a while though...

4. Eat a raisin first. 
If you know me, you know this is a drastic offer. I hate raisins. They are my absolute least favorite food item on the planet. But, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. 

5. Take Babybel on 10 middle of the night walks. 
Slade and I alternate who gets the middle of the night puppy walk. Waking up at 3am to take her for a potty break is no bueno. It's pretty obvious that no one likes their sleep interrupted. So, I think my desire for a cookie is pretty strong if I'm willing to get up not one time, but 10 times in a single night. 

6. Sit in 20th Ave. traffic for triple the amount of time. 
20th Avenue is the worst road in Gainesville for rush hour traffic. At least it is in my opinion. (Does anyone from the area agree?) I would be willing to tough it out for an extended period of time though, as long as I knew there was a prize at the finish line. (Chocolate chip is my favorite, by the way.)

7. Root for Corinne to win this season of The Bachelor. 
The Bachelor is most definitely one of my biggest guilty pleasures. Slade and I have a Monday night tradition of watching it together. We have been really into this season, and are also obsessed with the new Rose Buddies podcast he discovered. Corinne is the contestant people love to hate this season, but I would be her biggest fan...for a cost. 

All joking aside, I am really determined to stick with this healthier way of eating. Like I mentioned earlier, there's no denying that it works! Does anyone else stick to a low carb lifestyle? How do you cope with cravings?

I hope your weeks are all off to a great start! 


January in Review

It's February!

How is your 2017 treating you so far? Wonderful, I hope! Mine is going just as you can usually expect life to go...a lot of good mixed with the occasional bad.

Since I haven't posted yet this year, I wanted to pop in and do a quick recap of the month of January. I've never been one to do monthly reflection posts, but the more I think about it, the more I feel the want to start.

//On New Year's Eve, Slade and I drove over to Jacksonville to celebrate with his friends. We stopped at Starbucks on the way, and Babybel had her first puppucino. This is my favorite picture of her to date.

//My first read of the year was Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. I haven't read anything by her since I was a teenager. Her books are always thought provoking, and I really enjoyed this one!

//My cousin Taylor got married! It was such a fun day, and the wedding was a perfect reflection of her and her new husband.

//I joined Slade in the "low carb phenomena" at the beginning of the year. Over the past few months I have been fluctuating between the same five or so pounds, and I'm ready to hit my next milestone. It has been pretty successful so far. I've lost about six pounds. However, that doesn't mean that I haven't had a few setbacks, such as the cup full of sugar pictured above.

//Babybel is growing like a weed! She is around 25 pounds now, and she makes me so happy. She is fully potty trained, and she loves people and other dogs. She is super hyper and lacking in some basic manners though, so she will be starting puppy obedience class in a couple of weeks.

//Like most other people in the world, I have been continually working on my self-esteem. I'm still not where I need to be, but the difference in now and a couple of years ago is pretty drastic.

//I become more and more crazy about Slade every day. We have the same sense of humor, the same goals in life, and a level of comfort that I always thought was a relationship myth.

//I'm working really hard to get my finances in order. I was lucky enough to get a bit of a promotion/raise at work, and I'm also trying to find some part-time online work to do at home in my free time. I want to pay off some of my debt more than anything right now, and I feel like 2017 is the year that this is going to happen. I just have to keep the hope!

//Bell and I had a fun trip to a local farmer's market last weekend. We went with my cousins Shelby and Taylor, and their dogs Violet and June. It was kind of crazy keeping all of the dogs wrangled, but we had a great time and Bell was so worn out for the rest of the day.

What have you been up to in the month of January?

Happy weekend!
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