Thursday, July 30, 2015

Open and Closed Conversations

My office is part of a local business networking group. It's been a great way to get to know other companies personally. The whole idea behind it is that when you need a plumber or a new insurance provider I will know someone personally that I can confidently recommend to you. Every Friday this group gets together to do said networking. 
There is nothing more daunting than entering a room full of people engaged in conversation. Who do you talk to? Do you wait for someone to come up to you? Do you look for your one friend in the group? Do you try to look really interested in a picture on the wall? It can be seriously awkward. 
I have the answer! Well part of the answer. Let's talk the Open Conversation. Let's say you enter the room, and you are standing at the door. Look around at the groups of people in front of you. (Do not mock my diagram!)
An open conversation is one where the group of people are facing outward, welcoming others to join. A closed conversation is just that, closed off from others. People in a closed conversation are most likely having a private discussion. An open conversation can be a group of one person or more. Think of a semicircle of people, as long as the circle isn't closed you can join! A closed conversation can be two people or more. Technically one person can close themselves off from a conversation also (think: someone reading a book). 
When approaching a group look for people whose bodies are open toward you, and join them!

Now, the hard part is actually joining in on the conversation. That's a post for another day. But, I've given you the first step! I can't tell you how many times I use this trick. There will always be situations where you don't feel very comfortable, but it helps to analyze your surroundings and get a feel for the room before you jump in. This is a great strategy for navigating parties, work events, or even backyard bbq's! 

Leave me a comment: Have you tried this technique for joining conversations? What is the hardest part for you? Do you have any tricks that have helped you feel more comfortable in a networking situation? 

xoxo Kristen

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda Tour

I finally got my Lilly Pulitzer Agenda! I've been talking about getting one for months, ever since they started their pre-ordering. I had one a few years ago and loved it! Then I went digital and back to paper again. There is just something about writing it down that really helps me getting organized and remember details. 
Choosing the pattern and size I wanted was quite the challenge. I went back and forth so many times! I had basically decided to get the Tusk In Sun, but when it came time to add to the cart, I went with the Pink Lemonade in size Medium. You just can't beat pink and green! (Lobstah Roll was a close contender!)
When I had a Lilly agenda a few years ago, I had the large. It was great! But, I really wanted this year's to fit in my purse. So I went with the medium. It's perfect! 
When I was shopping for my agenda I couldn't find too many photos to help me make my decision! Their website had a few of the patterns and what not, but I really wanted to see the inside. If you are thinking about getting one I wanted to share a few pictures I took of mine to help you decide! 
I've included a photo next to my phone for size reference. (I have a Samsung Note 4)



 The first page has a great little pocket for receipts or cards. I love this feature. It's the perfect place for those dentist reminder cards. 
 As always the stickers are adorable! There are a few holiday ones, but mostly they are just cute little prints.
 Next comes the note and addresses section. There is also a full calendar up to 2017. One feature I am already using is the Next Adventure section which helps you organize your travel plans. 
And as always the Month illustrations are great! Here are my two favorites! I love the January one because of the cute map of Florida! My hometown even gets a shout out! There are two adorable manatees on the other page. So cute! And I love the pattern on December! Such a great color combo.


And the back view! It has an elastic band to keep your agenda closed.
 I'm so happy I went with the medium agenda! It fits perfectly into my purse!


Leave me a comment: Did you get a Lilly Agenda this year? How do you like it? What pattern did you choose? 
I hope these pictures help you! Be really proud of me for not busting it open right away and filling it out! I can't believe I managed to take these pictures before writing in it. A serious accomplishment!

xoxo Kristen

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bible Highlights: 1 Kings 15-17

1 Kings 15:13
"He even removed Maacah his grandmother from her position as queen mother, because she had made an obscene idol for pure worship of the sacred pole. Asa cut down her obscene idol and burned it.."

At 1 Kings 15:13 Asa was removing all of the false worship in the nation, even removing his own grandmother from her position because of her involvement with the idols.  We can imagine how hard that decision was for Asa. He probably loved his grandmother, but knew that he need to take a stand against her actions. It took a lot of courage, but he was blessed for his stand. We can remember his example next time we face the pressure to be loyal to our family over being loyal to Jehovah. 


xoxo Kristen
Read the Bible online for free at JW.org

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pink & Houndstooth


Houndstooth Peplum Top: JCP
Hot Pink Linen Pencil Skirt: Chadwicks
Black Peeptoes: Amazon
Silver Watch: Kate Spade

When I tried on this top at the store, I also tried on a pink pencil skirt with it. I loved the combo but the skirt didn't fit me well at all. I finally found a great pink pencil skirt, and the best part is that it was on sale! I really like how this outfit turned out. I didn't take the picture until I had worn it for a few hours, so I'm a bit more wrinkled than I'd like to be for an outfit post! Delly also wanted to be featured in today's outfit. She is sporting the longest nails ever and she chose to dig them into my shoulder-yet I smile through the pain! 

xoxo Kristen

Friday, July 24, 2015

This Week: July 24th


I'm Watching:  This was one of those videos I couldn't look away from! I love the dance party they do in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom, but I have never seen anything like this! Mr. Incredible is an amazing dancer, who knew? 



I'm Reading: This was a great post by one of my favorite Blogs (iheart organizing) about making the most of your home decor. I love to change things around my house and am constantly tweaking things. It's never going to be right! She has some awesome tips in this post, like using pillow covers instead of regular pillows-that way they are easy to switch out and the covers take up way less space than an actual pillow. & She talks about the rule of 3, which is my favorite design tip! 

I'm Listening To: I think acoustic versions of songs always sound so much nicer! Currently loving:


I'm Wishing For: How cute is this pom pom bathing suit cover up?

I Need To:  Finally got all of our paperwork together to draft a Will. It's super boring, I know, but we've been putting it off forever and really need to do it! 

I'm Looking Forward To: Family coming in this weekend and Pioneer School next week! I've got a lot of studying left to do.


I'm Making: Tonight it's Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes

Favorite Moment of the Week: I had the most amazing time with my sister on Wednesday doing a little shopping and spending time at the beach! 

Delly of the Week: I took this on Tuesday when I was trying change out the sheets on our bed, and Delly would not move! I had to promise her a treat to get her down.

xoxo Kristen

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Master Bathroom Refresh

I've seriously been thinking about how to convince society that we need to re-register for gifts after you've been married for a few years. Our friends and family were so generous to us, and when we got married we had everything we could possible need to start our life together. After being married for 5 years though, some of our things have gotten worn out. Not to mention the things we never even used. 
Slowly I've been replacing and updating things here and there that I didn't like anymore or that just bit the dust. One of the rooms I've been neglecting was our master bathroom. It's done it's job well enough but our towels were getting dingy and our shower curtain was even drooping a little. There was even a spot on our shower curtain that turned yellow-it was right where we grabbed it everyday to pull it back. 
Target is amazing and I couldn't help but pick up a few things this week to refresh our space a bit! I replaced our decorative monogram towels with new ones that we can actually use. We've got a matching shower curtain and a new rug. I reorganized all the cabinets and even got my nail polish collection displayed! 
I love the design tip of putting all your soaps and liquids out of their branded bottles and putting them in unified containers. We are all so bombarded with advertising, and just this simple step really declutters what your brain has to looks at. 
After taking a few photos to share, I realized I wasn't really feelin' the wedding picture I have hanging up above the towel rack. So I got a little artsy and made a new print! Want it? I'll share! 
 Here is the print I whipped up to replace the photo. I think it's such a cute little message.
Click To Download
Leave me a comment: Do you ever just get so sick of looking at the same things around the house? How often do you refresh your decorations? How do you keep your stuff organized? Does it pile up on the counters?

xoxo Kristen

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bible Highlights: 1 Kings 12-14

1 Kings 12:8
"..he rejected the advice that the older men gave him, and he consulted with the young men who had grown up with him..."

At 1 Kings 12:8 the king chose to ignore the advice he had been given by the older men and chose to listen to his peers. While it may be easier to get advice from a friend our own age, there are a lot of benefits to talking with older ones about a decision we are trying to make. Older ones can be a valuable resource of knowledge that can save us a lot of trouble.  They may be able to offer practical advice from their own experience; experience that our peer's haven't had yet. 

xoxo Kristen
Read the Bible online for free at JW.org

Monday, July 20, 2015

Workday Uniform

Olive Green Top: Express
Khaki Skinnies: American Eagle
Leopard Flats: American Eagle
Monogram Necklace: Etsy
Bracelets: Alex and Ani

Sometimes there are clothes you think about long after you decide not to buy them. That's how I know I should have just bought it! This top caught my eye months ago when we were window shopping. It was a little pricey, and I'm not one to spend a lot on my clothes. I even recognized the top on an actress on tv! So after thinking about it for weeks, I went ahead a bought it online. 
I love this top so much! The color is great, and it's so comfortable. I've worn it with jeans, skirts, and my khakis. Perfect for work! 

Leave me a comment: How do you know when you should have bought something and didn't? Do you have a go to work outfit? 

xoxo Kristen

Friday, July 17, 2015

This Week: July 17th

I'm Watching:  I saw this video this week of a Great White who was stuck on the beach. They did rescue him, which is awesome. However, the whole time I was watching I found myself becoming more and more annoyed! Firstly, all the people standing around! Do something people! Call for help, grab a bucket, anything! Also, it took so long for them to actually get this shark back in the water! Two or three people could have just grabbed it by the tail and started pulling it back toward the water. They spent so long trying to find a boat and rope! 


Two videos today! I was also super excited to see the special Star Wars behind the scenes video from Comic Con. Anybody else geeking out about the new movies?


I'm Reading:  We've planned another Disney trip in August, and this time we are staying at The Port Orleans Riverside Resort. So I am reading lots of articles like this one about what to expect! So far the reviews have been stellar and I haven't seen a single complaint. I can't wait!

I'm Listening To: I've just shared my current summer playlist! Tell me what's on yours!

I'm Wishing For: Yesterday I signed up for Ipsy. I think it's such a cool idea, but I didn't realize that signing up just puts you on a waitlist. 

I Need To: I've been putting off painting my nails all week, and I really need to do them! Keeping them painted helps keep me from biting them. Maybe I will do that tonight. 

I'm Looking Forward To:  A friend asked me to help her organize her closet and declutter by going through her clothes. I'm so excited about this and so flattered that she asked! I love organizing and I guess I have a bit of a reputation for it now.

I'm Making: Tonight we are having shrimp tacos for dinner. We have been eating out way too much this week, and eating at home has never sounded so good. 

Favorite Moment of the Week: On Tuesday I got to keep my nephew for most of the morning. We had a blast! Carter just turned 1, so he is at a super fun age. I love spending time with him, and it's really cool to see a bond with him form. I loved him from day one, but it's nice that he seems to be returning the favor! It's crazy how much he looks like my brother (his uncle). 



 
Weekly Delly: And here is your weekly Delly! She was watching us do our ab challenge from her bed...almost taunting us. Side note: It is almost impossible to take a picture of a black dog inside at night.


xoxo Kristen

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Playlist

It's time for another playlist! I listen to music mostly in the car, so I feel like I gravitate towards music that makes you feel like rolling the windows down. I love having the sunroof open and the radio turned up! My playlist for the summer is really the soundtrack to my car rides. Because of this I try not to play any angry music, that way it doesn't make me an aggressive driver! These songs are fun and mellow, characteristics I would love to emulate (especially in the car!). 
Hover to Pin! 




Leave me a comment: What are your favorite songs to play in the car with the windows rolled down? Any new favorite music? 


xoxo Kristen

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I Don't Believe Your Sponsored Post

Before I personally started blogging, I only had a few blogs that I read regularly. I never knew what a sponsored post was, and wasn't sure I had even ever seen one. Now that I have a blog of my own, I have come to understand that you want companies to work with you! Making money by sharing your opinion? That's the blogging dream. Forget ad clicks! Your favorite companies send you goodies to talk about, what could be bad about that? 
Sharing your love of something seems so natural, so why does it come across so incredibly forced in the blogging world? I can't tell you how many times I've started reading someone's post, got really into it and bam some random product was thrown in there. I always feel like the blogger is lying to me! That random allergy medicine is not your Favorite Summer Accessory, and you know it! 
Usually the person is upfront about it. In the fine print they write that ''the opinions are all my own". But, I know that they would not be writing this post without the pressure from a company. These posts are filled with buzzwords and sound just like a commercial. I'm not even talking small newbie bloggers. I have read posts done by very popular bloggers that look and sound so fake. I am all for making money from home, and using your platform, 90% of these posts feel like an abuse of power. 
Now it has occurred to me that my issue may just be with badly done sponsored posts! Those favorite blogs I faithfully read before I started my own blog may have done sponsored posts all the time-but because they were done well I didn't notice. That's all I am asking for. Something natural. 
I am new to the blogging world, and have had just a handful of companies ask me to talk about their products. I have turned down every single one so far. It has just felt so inauthentic. This blog is about me and I do love sharing my favorite things with everyone. In fact I have a ongoing series of my Top 5 Favorite Things, and every single thing on those lists are truly my favorite things. I wasn't paid a dime to talk about them. 
It may be that I do sponsored posts in the future. But, I want to promise that it will be only when I would talk about that product anyway! I do not want to be an inauthentic blogger. This is my life, as real as it gets. 


xoxo Kristen

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bible Highlights: 1 Kings 9-11

1 Kings 9:4
"And you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness by doing everything I have commanded you, and you obey my regulations and my judgements.."

Although David made a lot of big mistakes it was said in 1 Kings 9:4 that he had walked with integrity of heart. Overall he did live faithfully and when he made a mistake he corrected it. Our integrity also really matters to Jehovah, and although we are imperfect we can remain in his favor. We can strengthen our integrity by deepening our faith and trust in Jehovah, and by correcting our mistakes.

xoxo Kristen
Read the Bible online for free at JW.org

Friday, July 10, 2015

This Week:July 10th

I'm Watching: Blake has always loved Seinfeld, and now every single episode is available on Hulu! I've seen a few episodes here and there, but it's been fun to start from the beginning. I see what he loves about it, but honestly I'm not that into it yet. 

I'm Reading:  This girl's Bachelorette recaps are the funniest thing I've read in a long time!!

I'm Listening To: I have a summer playlist all ready to go to share with you! Stay tuned. 

I'm Wishing For: A personal assistant! Is that too much to ask for? I mentioned earlier this week that I am struggling with my priorities and was about to take a break from blogging. While I can't promise all my future posts will be regular and systematic, this is life! My blog is a way for me to document life, and my life right now is busy and sporadic

I Need To:  My daily ab challenge! We are almost done with week one! It has been a crazy hard challenge. I have no idea how I'm going to work up to the number of sit ups, crunches, leg raises and planks required on the last day. 

I'm Looking Forward To: A quiet weekend at home, hopefully full of relaxing. 

I'm Making: Avocados were on sale this week at Publix, and I bought sooo many at various stages of ripeness. That means almost every dinner involves avocado or gauc!  

Favorite Moment of the Week: I bought a few organizing tools this week at Target (weaknessness) and was able to implement a few new strategies to take control of my crazy schedule. One I'm excited about is a cute little dryerase calendar for the fridge to write down the meal plan. We are trying to cook at home all week and this little system is so helpful!   

Happy Friday!

xoxo Kristen

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thrift Shopping Tips

"Thanks, I got it at Goodwill!" is something I say far more often that I ever thought I would. There is absolutely nothing better than finding a new piece of clothing that you paid a couple bucks for, and then getting complimented on it. It's so funny to me that I get more compliments on thrift finds than anything I've ever paid full price at J Crew for. It's like confirmation that I did a good thing. 
I have a few favorite consignment and thrift stores in various cities nearby. I live in the tiniest of towns where there is actually an abundance of second hand stores. Which only sell crap. Seriously. 
Which brings me to my first tip for thrifting! 
Hover To Pin!
one// Find a shop on the nicer side of town. Or in a College town for that matter. If you want to find brands you like, shop near the places where people can afford them. I'm telling you right now no one in my small town even knows what Anthropologie means. But, fortunately we live near 4 bigger cities, all of which have a population of people who appreciate brands I like. After a little trial and error, I know which shops have cute stuff! 

two// Have a full stomach and the patience to search. I can not shop if I am hungry. I will get frustrated and barely give any of the racks attention. I prepare myself to dive in! That means full stomach and nothing else on the calendar to rush me. A few of the shops I like are LOADED with clothes. It would take you days to sift through everything. Since consignment and thrift stores only usually have 1 of each item, you have to look at every single piece on the rack to find something you like. This takes patience and a good mood! 

three// Really look at the item. There might be a reason that shirt is only 50 cents. It could have a stain on it, or a big rip. Take your time giving it the once over. You may even want to use your phone's flashlight to examine it, in case the store has low lighting. 

four// Try it on! I can't stress this tip enough! While you can find those gold nuggets with tags still attached, most of the items are preloved. Which means they've been washed and dried. Just because it's your size doesn't mean it will fit you like a brand new item. That may be the reason the first owner got rid of it! Try it on and make sure you really like it. Don't just buy it because it's really cheap. 

five// Make friends with the staff. This might sound like a weird tip, especially for you introverts out there. I have a few favorite consignment shops that know me (embarrassing?) and they have given me a frequent customer punch card. After you spend a certain amount they give you a huge discount. If you are friendly, some shop owners will even help you shop! Especially if they know your size! They've touched every item of clothing that has come through and they may be able to help you find a hidden gem! 

Leave me a comment: Do you love thrifting? What was your best find? Tell me your tips for finding the best stuff!


xoxo Kristen

Monday, July 6, 2015

Group Squat Challenge

I can so tell when my friends are feeling inspired to get healthy! I see it all over Pinterest. Pin after pin with exercise challenges and healthy smoothie recipes. I've seen a ton of the various challenge pictures. They don't seem so hard at first, usually day one is 5 squats or something small. I've seen these pins, but I never had the determination and discipline to follow through. 
I got a text from my husband's cousin who was inspired to start one of these challenges. She did day one and knew she needed some accountability! She asked a few friends/family members if they were interested in joining her in a squat challenge. Several people, including myself were all about it! I know I need accountability! I've talked before about my journey to fitness, and it had almost 99% to do with having a workout buddy who would motivate me and not let me slack. 
We started a text group with all who joined. I wasn't sure how it was going to work, I've never done anything like this before. I've seen Facebook groups and similar things, but never joined any. A few people did eventually fall away from the group, but 4 of us stuck with the entire challenge! 
Everyday we would all do our squats at times convenient for our schedules and then in the evenings send a little check mark emoji to the group. Texting each other was a great way to keep accountable and also share tips and funny stories about our experience. 


It was hard, I won't lie! There were some days I did not feel like doing squats. But, I knew I'd be the only one in the group to miss a day and I would suck it up and do them anyway! As for results? I did take a before and after picture. But, it's basically a picture of my butt, and I just don't want to share that! The best part was about halfway through when my husband was like, "oh wow your butt!" It was so motivating! It was working!! 
On the last day we did 250 squats. Oh lordy. After we got up to 150 I had to start breaking them up throughout the day. I did the 250 in 5 sets of 50, some in the morning and some in the evening. It was awesome and I'm so proud of actually sticking with it! I know it was completely the accountability. I'm so grateful to have friends/family that are like me and have similar goals. We loved our squat group so much that we decided to keep it going. Now we are doing an Ab Challenge! We even gained a few new members of our group. I will have to report in 30 days from now with the results. I can already tell it's going to be a challenge, as I can barely do 1 leg raise, much less the 5 I am supposed to do on day one.  

Leave me a comment: How do you stay accountable to your fitness routine? Have you tried an exercise challenge? Did you stick with it? 

xoxo Kristen