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In Real Life on
December 28, 2017

2017 In Review

2017. You have been so good to me. You pushed me outside of my comfort zone. You taught me some valuable lessons (both in life and in my career). You helped me discover how to be my true self. You also gave me so many incredible memories and experiences that I’ll hold onto forever. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the last year.

To kick off 2017, my sweet, sweet friends Katie and Evan celebrated their New Year’s Eve wedding! While it was technically on Dec. 31, it was the best way to ring in a new year. For me, this weekend symbolizes friendship and made me feel really blessed to be surrounded by so many good friends heading in to 2017.

Thanks to West Michigan Winter Beer Festival, I think February is my new favorite month of the year aside from my birthday month (March!)…and October! Clearly I had too much fun consuming copious amounts of carbs and craft beer.

My 25th birthday was truly a special one. Even though I was getting over the plague (which I soon found out was a severe case of seasonal allergies), it was a birthday to remember. My awesome friend Laura (also my birthday twin) and I planned a couples weekend getaway to Sutton’s Bay in Northern Michigan (aka God’s country). It was an incredible, memorable weekend filled with friends, laughter, lots of Moana and even more wine and beer.

April is always an interesting month of transition for me. I’m not exactly a fan of spring, so I try to make the most of this soggy month by getting outside. This year, I ran the Gazelle Girl 5k. I’m hoping in 2018 to run the half marathon (again) or maybe do the 10k. Knowing me, I will chicken out and run the 5k (mostly so I don’t have to train). Ha.

The best part of April was that my dear sister graduated from Grand Valley State University with her degree in visual studies. She is my inspiration and seriously my spirit animal because she is so creative, bright and smart. I’m so proud of her and felt so thankful to be a part of her big day. 

In May, I put my fitness to the test by participating in my first Murph workout on Memorial Day. What is a Murph you ask? You get to run 1 mile followed by 100 ring rows/pull ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats and then you end with a mile. Let’s just say the beer I drank afterwards was well-deserved and quite refreshing.

June kicked off a very busy summer (and clearly my Instagram reflects that). However, I did have the opportunity to speak on a social media panel at the Worklab, the co-working space where my office is located. I got to share some of my social media tips and tricks with small business owners and entrepreneurs, which was a lot of fun.

I have to say July was one of my favorite months this year. My wonderful friend Tiffani got married! I seriously felt so blessed to be part of her big day. It was 1950s themed – which meant Tiffany Blue and Cherry Red everything. We threw her the best bridal weekend bash ever, which was filled with lots of margaritas and dancing, too!

August was the month of camping. We headed up north for a weekend at Houghton Lake, which was a nice getaway.

It has become tradition (especially for me) to head up to the U.P. to spend Labor Day weekend with Kyle’s family. Every year they spend a weekend camping in St. Ignace – and it’s seriously the best time ever. Kyle and I spent a magical day on Mackinac Island (truly one of my favorite days this year) and walked the Mighty Mac on Labor Day. This is always the best weekend to close out sweet, sweet summertime.

October brought a month of hustle. Even though it’s my favorite month, this year it flew by because of work (not a bad thing at all!). October is also my sister’s birthday month, but I sadly didn’t get any photos with her when she was town! So here’s a picture of spooky cookie to commemorate the month.

November was also a lot of fun. I celebrated Kyle’s birthday and surprised him with a weekend in Chicago. I also got to be part of one of my favorite projects, #GRgives. I also got into the Christmas spirit a little early by blaring Christmas music all month long. Yes, I’m definitely one of those people.

In December, Kyle and I went on our trip to Chicago the first weekend of December, and it was a glorious weekend. We saw Foster the People and Cold War Kids. And then we did all of the Christmas things. We even got some Chicago style pizza. This weekend will go down as one of my favorite memories of the year.

Looking back on all of these fun memories was so much fun. I can’t imagine how I can top this year. All I know is that 2018 will bring its own new memories. 2018 will also bring more experiences, learning opportunities and valuable life lessons. I’m so thankful for 2017 and I feel blessed to be living this beautiful life. 

In Real Life, Shine, Work on
November 12, 2017

Slowing Down in a Fast-Paced Career

Working in PR, life moves pretty fast. Much like my friends and colleagues who work in PR, my life also revolves around deadlines, email and mental checklists.

From the moment I wake up to just before I go to sleep, projects, ideas, deadlines and all the things are swirling around in my mind. And when I do give myself five minutes to pause, I often wonder “Where the heck did the last month go?” or “How is it already Thanksgiving?!” It’s crazy how fast life moves. 

I first learned the importance of slowing down when I was in college.

It was a couple of weeks before finals my sophomore year of college. I was taking 18 credits (per usual), involved in three student organizations, volunteering, working 40 hours per week between two part-time jobs and aiming to get straight A’s on top of that. I remember it was a Thursday night at about 8 p.m. or so and I just broke down. I was in my car, had just pulled into my dorm’s parking lot from running errands and just started sobbing and breathing quickly. I couldn’t catch my breath. So I called my mom and cried hysterically because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get it all done (you know, multiple papers and exams). It was at that time when I realized I just had too much on my plate and I needed to learn how to prioritize. 

Since then, I made sure to be intentional about what I say “yes” to and how I spend my time. I’ve also had to let go of comparison, realize that I can’t do it all (or at least do it all well) and learn how to forgive myself (that’s still a work in progress). Oh, and not feel guilty for zoning out and watching TV after a busy day or taking a few hours to read a good book on the weekend. 

I used to view “feeling stressed” as a weakness. I equated stress with failure. But man, was I wrong.

I soon learned the difference between “good stress” and “bad stress.” The majority of stress in our lives is often “good stress” like having to prioritize deadlines, shopping for a new car, saving for the future, etc. While these aren’t always fun things in the moment, they are ultimately all good things.

Since learning to embrace the good stress in my life – I like to call stress “excitement” – it’s completely changed how I work and approach stressful situations. It’s helped me know that there will always be work to be done. It’s also helped me let go of being perfect and to just get the work done.

I’ve also learned the importance of creating time for myself and to work on my own personal growth. That means reading more books and writing for myself. 

I’ve also been more intentional about how I use social media, which has even allowed me to strengthen my online presence. Instead of scrolling mindlessly throughout the day, I give myself my 30 minutes in the morning, a couple social media breaks throughout the day and then 30 minutes in the evening to get caught up on my personal accounts. That means I’m not scrolling while I’m waiting in line for my coffee or waiting for the bus. I’m present in the moment and allowing myself it sit with my thoughts or reflect on what I’m grateful for.

All of this said, I’ve been working on slowing down in a fast-paced career. I know that I will always be busy, but I have stopped using “busy” as an excuse. Thriving in this fast-paced world is all about time management and making priorities. I have picked a career where work is a BIG part of my life. It’s not something I can completely shut off when I leave the office. That’s why it’s important to embrace it while also creating time to slow down. 

It’s been one of my goals to grow this conversation about slowing down in a fast-paced career, especially with those who work in PR and marketing. I’m always surprised by the number of people I’ve talked to who work in PR and marketing and hear about their stories of burn out. I want to find a way to change the conversation. I believe it is possible to work hard and thrive in a PR career without putting yourself in the hospital because of it. However, it’s going to take slowing down. We owe it to ourselves to slow down so we can thrive in all aspects of our lives. 

In Real Life on
November 4, 2017

Life Lately: November Thoughts

I always get excited when it’s the start of a new month. It’s a fresh start for new goals, habits and routines. I always like pressing the restart button on the first of the month as it’s a simple reminder for me that anything is possible. I’m someone who loves clean slates, so the new month always brings me excitement and joy. So today, I thought I’d check in and share a couple life updates, goals on the docket and what’s been on my mind lately.

Things I’m grateful for:

There’s a lot of people and things I’m grateful for these days. I’m thankful for my loving support system of friends and family. I’m thankful for a challenging and rewarding career that pushes me outside of my comfort zone every day. I’m also thankful for slow mornings and evenings when I get to read or journal. I’m also thankful for my CrossFit gym – it’s truly an amazing community and bootcamp has changed my life in so many ways. Gratitude is a daily practice for me, so these are just a few of the things that come to my heart and mind.

Habit I’m trying to break:

Hitting snooze! It has been a cycle of ups and downs for me this year with the snooze button. I’ll have weeks when I jump out of bed before my alarm and others when I’m dragging. And while I’m still waking up early (anytime between 6-6:45 a.m.), the inconsistency is driving me nuts. This month I’m going to be better about going to bed ON TIME so I can wake up without wanting to hide under the covers.

Habit I’m trying to continue:

Reading and journaling each night before bed. I got out of this habit during the months of September and October because let’s be honest, life gets BUSY. However, I could feel the impact of getting out of this routine. This month, I’m going to aim to read a chapter and journal for 10-15 minutes before bed. This also means closing the laptop and turning of the TV earlier in the evening. 

Task I haven’t done yet that’s driving me crazy:

Inbox zero. For real. While I am on top of my inbox, I also have a lot of emails waiting to be filed or deleted. My goal this month is to spend a few hours on the weekends doing a digital detox. I think it will also be a great way to start the new year (and not wait until January to clean my inbox).

Getting me excited for the holidays:

I’m really looking forward to savoring the season. Somehow fall slipped by me and Halloween happened in a blink of an eye. I’m really hoping that the time between now and New Year’s Day slows down. I’m really looking forward to preparing my apartment for the holidays, writing Christmas cards, shopping local this year, spending time with family and friends, maybe planning a Christmas party and hopefully having some time off between Christmas and and the new year to recharge. Bring on the hot cocoa, Christmas movies and all the of the joy!

Goals for November:

One of my work goals this month is to build more systems into my work flow. While I’m good at setting priorities and keeping track of deadlines, I’m want to be even MORE efficient so I can build in more time for planning and brainstorming. I LOVE planning, so building that into my schedule will bring me a lot of happiness during the work week!

What are you looking forward to this month? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Image Credit: Twigy Post

In Real Life on
September 16, 2017

Life Lately

Well, hello there! It’s been a while.

What a summer it has been. The last time I blogged, I was writing about my goals for summer and now it’s already fall. Where does the time go?!

You might notice some things are a little different around here. I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break, but I’m excited to share that I’m back. And I’m back for good!

Blogging has been quite the journey for me. It’s served as a platform for growing my career. It’s served as a creative outlet. It’s served as a portfolio. Now, this little space is growing into something bigger. It’s becoming a space where I share all of me – my perspectives on life, work and the moments in between.

I truly have the intention to be writing on a regular basis. I’m ready to commit again to writing for fun. I look forward to seeing where this journey takes me over the coming months, the writing that grows out of this space and the new connections made.

If this is your first time stopping by the blog, learn more about me here. You can also find me on Twitter or Instagram. Thank you for swinging by!