Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Make Every Minute Count

Image from @readysetcatapult, Instagram

The compressed week has made my work schedule a bit more exciting (read: jam-packed), but even on the busiest of days, I manage to find a few minutes of downtime here and there. I try to maximize every spare moment, and I love this post from The Everygirl on 15 Productive Things to Do in 15 Minutes.

One of the best pieces of advice that I received from a more senior co-worker early on in my career was to take advantage of time during the week to knock out simple tasks, freeing up the weekend for more fun and relaxation. I try to heed this advice, particularly while traveling during the week so that my Saturdays and Sundays are freed up for relaxing with family and friends. Here are a few of my go-to ways to fill small breaks in the day:
  • Schedule weekly workouts. If I sign up for a Bar Method class or block out time for running on my calendar, it's much more likely that I'll actually DO it. It doesn't take long to plan for the days ahead, and I look forward to exercise since it's a break from being at a desk in front of my computer. 
  • Plan the weekend. Need to order concert tickets or coordinate a group for dinner? Take a few minutes in between conference calls to knock those plans out. Once they're on your calendar, you'll have weekend fun to help motivate you to get through the week!
  • Call a friend. My friends are geographically dispersed, but I try to make an effort to connect frequently. A 10 minute conversation here and there is energizing and fun, plus it's a perfect way to fill time while you're at the airport waiting for your flight to board or commuting home after work. 
  • Write a note. Take a minute to write a thank you note to your friend who sent you a sweet gift or get birthday cards in the mail for all of your friends who are celebrating another year of life this month. These are tasks that are easier to accomplish over time- if you try to write a bunch of notes at once your hand may cramp!
  • Whittle away your shopping list. Out of toothpaste? Swing into a drugstore on way back from grabbling lunch. Need a dress for that upcoming baby shower? Take 15 min and order the one you've been eyeing at Nordstrom. 
How do you make every minute count?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Favorites

It's time for a long weekend (hooray!). Here's a sneak peek at my weekend to-do list along with some of my favorite links from the week:
  • Clean house. This is not a glamorous "to-do", but I'm excited to deep clean the house! I like this Cleaning from Top to Bottom checklist from Living Well Spending Less. 
  • Decorate. We're still working to get our nursery and guest rooms in order. Art can really pull a room together, and I like this post from A Cup of Jo on Art for Kids' Rooms
  • Find the perfect dress. It's almost baby shower time, and I've been feeling less than glamorous lately. A new dress will be a treat, and I'm loving some of the options from Seraphine
  • Recharge for the week ahead. I spend a lot of my workdays in meetings, so I really enjoyed reading this article on TheEverygirl.com: 6 Things to Stop Doing in Your Routine Meetings

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Destination Wedding Q&A

Etsy.com has some great custom invitation options! Image from Pinterest
I am so excited to celebrate with one of my besties in 2017 as she ties the knot with her long-time love. They've opted for a destination wedding in a tropical locale, and although the nuptials are still a year away, the guest list is already causing some stress. If you're planning a far-awafĂȘte, here's my take on some frequently asked invitation questions.

Q: How early is TOO early to send invitations out?
A: It's best practice to send a Save The Date as soon as you know the date and location of your wedding. Including as much information as possible will help your guests book in advance. Formal wedding invitations can be sent up to 4 months in advance, but note that if you send them too early, you run the risk of people setting them aside and forgetting about them until it's too late to RSVP!

Q: How do I manage by B-List Wedding Guest list?
A: If you're stressing about RSVP timelines, consider sending invitations in waves. Send the earliest round of invites out to the more questionable attendees on your A-List (those people that you're not really sure will attend), and include an earlier RSVP date. As the regrets flow in, you'll get a better sense of how many B-List attendees you can move up to the A-List.  Prioritizing your B-List makes this even easier- for every "no" that you get, you can send out an invitation to the next person in line.

Q: Can I ask people if they're coming?
A: If you send out Save the Date cards, you'll likely start to get a sense of who is and is not coming by the time invitations go out. Close family and friends who are committed to being there on your special day will likely book their travel as soon as they can, and you may even start to get informal RSVPs before your invites are posted. If your invites DO go out and you haven't heard from someone, it's definitely appropriate to follow up and confirm their attendance.

Click here for some additional tips on Destination Wedding Etiquette. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Long Weekend: Seattle

Before our little one arrives, we've been sneaking in some long weekend getaways and checking out cities we've never explored. Seattle was on our list, and it was an awesome trip! We had a jam-packed agenda, but with some comfy shoes and lots of snack breaks, we managed to see everything on our list.

Cool beans at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Image from Starbucks
  • Arrive and check into the hotel.
  • Walk to the Olympic Sculpture Park and then stop for a happy hour drink along the water (the Edgewater Hotel has great views!).
  • Dinner followed by a coffee flight paired with dessert at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
Chihuly Garden and Glass, Image from ChihulyGardenandGlass.com
  • Morning ferry to Bainbridge Island for breakfast and a walk along the water.
  • Ferry back downtown and stroll through Pike Place market, grabbing a crab roll at Tom Douglas's Rub with Love Shack.
  • Visit  the Chihuly Garden & Glass and the Space Needle.
  • Stop for an afternoon coffee and a treat at Top Pot doughnuts.
  • Stroll through the Japanese Garden for a moment of zen before dinner.
Skylight from the Seattle Underground, Image from Trippy.com
You might recognize this house from Sleepless in Seattle- see it on Lake Union!, Image from pop sugar.com
  • Grab coffee and breakfast to go and start the day on Lake Union- kayaking is a fun way to see the floating houses!
  • Stroll through Gas Works park then head back into downtown.
  • After lunch, spend a little time (and maybe a little money) at Nordstrom- the flagship store is in Seattle.
  • Enjoy a fabulous dinner before packing your bags and heading home in the morning.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sweet Treats

I saw a sprinkle doughnut on Instagram on Saturday morning and it was all I could think about this weekend. I don't know if it was a pregnancy-induced craving or the picture just looked THAT good, but by Sunday evening I had to whip up a sweet treat just to get it out of my head.  We had all of the ingredients for these peanut butter cookies in the pantry, plus, the recipe was easy to make and didn't require a ton of kitchen cleanup afterwards.

What You'll Need:
1 3/4 cups GF Flour Blend
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 Tbsp butter, melted and still warm
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and xantham gum together and set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, and peanut butter. Pour the melted butter over the top and stir to combine. 
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth. 
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 min. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 and prep two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  6. Spoon the rested dough onto the prepared baking sheets in even scoops, pressing them down with a fork or the bottom of a glass until they're about 3/4 in. thick.  The cookies should be an inch or two apart. 
  7. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the edges have puffed up but the centers are still soft. 
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving them wire racks. Serve warm- they're delish!
We had some vanilla ice cream in the freezer, so I kicked these cookies up a notch and made ice cream sandwiches. They were the perfect treat to cap off a hot, muggy day in Austin!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fit Pregnancy

Our precious baby BOY!
2015 was a big year for us, but 2016 has proven to be no different. We've been gearing up for a new baby, due to arrive at the end of the summer.  

I am beyond excited to meet our little man, but in the meantime, I'm trying to stay active and maintain as normal of a routine as possible. Some things (like regular blogging) have started to fall by the wayside as fatigue has crept in, but exercise and healthy eating are still high priority.  Since I travel during the week for work, I've been exploring all of the pregnancy-related fitness resources that live out on the Internet, and Tonic's Pregnancy Yoga series on YouTube was a great find.  The episodes vary in duration, so there's always one that I can find time for during the Monday to Friday grind.  This week I'm working on Strength & Stability:

In addition to yoga, I've been keeping up with some of my old favorites: Bar Method and running. I have to admit that my running has turned into more of a slow jog/fast walk now that I'm carrying so much extra weight in my middle, but it still feels good to get up and move! Bar Method is a great compliment since it allows me to stretch out and continue to tone. 

Pregnancy has made me feel a lot more exhausted than I expected. Regular exercise has definitely helped, but naps and lazy days also have their place! I'm soaking up every minute of "me" time before our new family member arrives on the scene...