Monthly Roundup: October Favorites

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WEDDING MONTH.

That was the theme of October. Tons of checklists, meetings, last-minute fittings, packing, coffee…

And then finally…

OUR WEDDING DAY.

By far, hands down, 100% no question about it, October flew by faster than the rest of 2018 put together. I will have to write an entire blog post on just the wedding day because how can one sum up the best day ever in a single paragraph? It’s impossible.

Below are a few of my October favorites.

{ONE} Milburn Orchards

One of my favorite memories of October was my bachelorette-ette party with two of Luke’s younger sisters. We planned an entire “basic white girl” themed day complete with Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, leggings and boots, and a trip to the local orchard. It was a blast and I’m so excited to call these two my sisters!

{TWO} The Paris Wife

I finished The Paris Wife this month, which is a historical fiction novel about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. I borrowed it from a friend because I loved the cover (yep, totally judged it by the cover) and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a bit dry in some parts and a little risque at times, but overall it was a good read.

{THREE} Wedding Day

The best day of my life!!! It went by way too quickly and was filled with my all-time favorite things and people (duh!). It was a rainy Saturday in October so a lot of our photos were in the rain. Honestly, even though we didn’t get the beautiful golden hour with fall lighting that I had envisioned for so long, it was still a day to remember and one that we will cherish forever. I got to marry my best friend, how cool is that?! Check out the hashtag #PapiliEverAfter for some guest photos while we eagerly await the professional pics together!

{FOUR} Aruba/Renaissance Island

We went to Aruba for our honeymoon and oh my goodness, it was stunning and we cannot WAIT to go back! There are so many things we wanted to do that we didn’t have time to get to so we will definitely be returning in the near future. A few highlights include beautiful sunsets over the ocean, Flamingo Beach, chilling in hammocks, and seeing beautiful fish swimming in the crystal clear blue water. Paradise.

{FIVE} Lilac Girls

I can’t put Lilac Girls down! I started it on our flight to Aruba and read it any chance I could while chilling on the beach. I love learning about American history, especially World War 2, and this book is about three girls from three different countries with three different experiences that occurred during World War 2: one from Germany, one from Poland, and one from America. Incredible read so far and I already highly recommend it.

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30 Things To Do in 5 Minutes or Less

“It’ll only take five minutes, I promise.”

Famous last words, am I right? You probably know someone who has said this to you and it definitely did not take five minutes or less. You probably spent at least 30 minutes on the thing and you may have wondered, “What can I actually DO in five minutes or less?”

If you’re an avid reader, you know I’m all about being productive and efficient with my time. When I have 5 minutes to spare, I don’t like to sit around and do nothing OR spend it on social media. It’s so easy to check Facebook or scroll through Instagram when we have a few minutes to spare. Believe me, I KNOW. We all have our lazy days, yes, but it’s hard to willingly “waste time” when there are so many things you can quickly do that don’t take much time at all.

Here are a few ideas to help you pass the time…in 5 minutes or less.

  1. Make your bed
  2. Brush your teeth
  3. Fold some clothes
  4. Squats (It’s harder than it sounds to squat for 5 minutes straight!)
  5. Jumping jacks
  6. Wash some dishes
  7. Drink a glass of water
  8. Fold some blankets
  9. Clean up the kitchen table
  10. Light a candle and pray
  11. Read a few pages of your favorite book
  12. Write a note to a friend
  13. Send a text to someone on your mind
  14. Vacuum a room
  15. Jog in place
  16. Write a to-do list
  17. Write a grocery list
  18. Throw away trash and junk mail
  19. Take the trash out
  20. Sweep the porch
  21. Paint your nails
  22. Wash your face
  23. Pick out tomorrow’s outfit
  24. Clean your makeup brushes
  25. Answer 5 emails
  26. Clean your workspace
  27. Update and review your calendar
  28. Listen to an uplifting song
  29. Walk
  30. Sit down, breathe, and don’t check your phone

Monthly Roundup: September Favorites

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This month was the first full month living at our home. (To clarify, Luke will move in after we’re married in October!) One of my favorite things about our new home is how close I am to work; my commute is 5-10 minutes now instead of 45-60 minutes. It’s ah-maz-ing and honestly has positively impacted the quality of life. I do not miss sitting in traffic at 8am!

There was a lot of change in September. I’ve loved settling into a new routine and *slowly* making our house a home. I’ll have to publish a blog post soon to show you all the DIY projects we’re doing around the house to make it our own, but for now I’ll share a few of my favorites below.

{ONE} Bridal Shower

My fabulous bridesmaids, mom, and friends threw the best bridal shower! I didn’t want the typical pink and gold theme that you see all the time on Pinterest so that was my only request. It was the perfect Breakfast at Tiffany’s-inspired shower complete with cake pops (Thank you, Po!) and the classic engagement ring balloon. I definitely felt the love and was so thankful for everyone who came on the rainy Saturday morning ❤

{TWO} House Update

I mentioned this a bit above but September was a huge month for our house. We continued painting, unpacking, and arranging furniture. We got a piano from a friend so a house isn’t a home until we have a piano, right? Right. After the bridal shower, we had a blast putting everything away. It really made our house feel like ours when things were in cabinets and we weren’t eating on paper plates anymore 😉

{THREE} Meal Prep

Two gifts I received at my bridal shower were an Instant Pot and Joanna Gaines’ cookbook. I absolutely cannot WAIT to use them and have slowly tried my hand at meal prepping and planning on Sundays. In typical Keri fashion, I created a Google Doc (surprise, surprise) on possible meals and when to eat them during the week along with lists of available ingredients at our house and what we need to buy. Adulting at its finest 😉

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Vision Planner & Stickers

I can’t say enough good things about Bloom Daily Planners. They are, by far, one of my favorite brands ever. After visiting their HQ last month, I walked away with a lot of their products including this Vision Planner and a few sticker packs. Guys, I’m telling you – the Vision Planner is THE BEST. I love that there are weekly columns, to-do lists, meal and water trackers, and goals lists. It really has helped me keep everything straight especially as the wedding gets closer and closer every day!

{FIVE} Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words

As mentioned in What I’ve Been Reading Lately, I’ve been into audiobooks and the Libby app lately. One of my recent reads was Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, a biography all about Princess Diana. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by her and although the book is pretty long, I definitely recommend it. It was about 22 hours via audiobook but it goes by quickly especially while cleaning or working on mindless tasks.

Here’s to a busy, fun, and extremely memorable October! 🙂

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

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I’ve been on a huge reading/audiobook kick lately. I blame it on the grey, rainy days we’ve been having. They make me want to curl up on the couch with coffee and a good book for hours.

Since my evenings are dedicated to wedding planning and cleaning/organizing our house, I decided to download Scrib’d and Libby – two iPhone apps that allow you to listen to audiobooks for little to no cost. They have been life-changing (and I don’t like to use that phrase lightly).

I’m always on the hunt for a good book but don’t visit the library or the bookstore as often as I’d like to. Audiobooks have been a great compromise so I can continue enjoying my hobby without breaking the bank.

I recently added a section to my website called 2018 Bookshelf. In January, I promised myself I would read at least 25 books by the end of 2018. Reading was a huge hobby of mine in high school and college and I wanted to reignite that passion. My 2018 Bookshelf is frequently updated with books I’ve finished this year. I’m also on Goodreads so you can see what I’m currently reading there, as well!

A few recent reads:

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham – Anything by Lauren Graham is my favorite. This was a quick read and worth every minute.

What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey – This was suggested by Scrib’d so I thought I’d give it a listen. It was interesting to learn more about Oprah’s background and some lessons she’s learned from being on TV for years.

Where There’s Smoke – Jodi Picoult – I usually love anything by Jodi Picoult so I decided to listen to this short story. I will be honest, I wasn’t a fan of it for a few reasons but the beauty of an audiobook is you don’t physically own the book once you finish it!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo – It really is life-changing. While reading this, I found myself wanting to get rid of almost everything I own. It’s a quick way to get inspired and think like a minimalist. I recommend this to everyone and I might have to purchase this one because it is one I would definitely read again.

Monthly Roundup: August Favorites

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August, where did you go? I swear it was August 1st yesterday but alas, here we are, the end of another month.

This month was fun and crazy. There were many Firsts this month as you’ll see below. We also hit the “2 Months To Go” mark so the start of September is super exciting yet insane that our wedding day is almost here!

{ONE} Bloom Daily Planners

If you’re an avid reader or follow my social media, you know I’m a huge fan of Bloom Daily Planners. I’ve used their products for at least 5 years now and talk about them frequently on my social channels. This month Bloom surprised me by reaching out and asking me to visit their headquarters; it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Their kindness was contagious and they graciously gave me products to give to friends and family. I even grabbed a new Vision Planner and it made me so excited to plan out the rest of the year! We had a lovely visit and I am so thankful for the opportunity to visit my favorite company. Thank you, Bloom!

{TWO} Spin Class

Another First that occurred this month was attending my first Spin Class. It was something I added last year in my 101 in 1,001 list and have kept an eye out for opportunities to try it out ever since. When my alma mater offered an alumni-only spin class at a discounted price, I couldn’t refuse! My friend and I went together and were sore for days afterward but I’m glad I did it and hope to attend another class soon!

{THREE} Pentatonix Concert

A coworker won tickets to a Pentatonix concert and couldn’t go so she gave them to me. It was such a lovely surprise and Pentatonix, as always, was unbelievable! We saw them back in December when they sang all of their Christmas hits but listening to them sing their other hits was a fun experience. Echosmith opened for them and they were also fantastic. Current favorite Pentatonix covers: The Evolution of Michael Jackson and Hallelujah.

{FOUR} Moving

HUGE First of the month was moving to our house (!!!). In a blur of packing and cleaning, the realization that I moved out of my childhood home into our future house didn’t hit me until I saw my stuff sitting in an empty room. Craziness. However, it has been a fun experience unpacking, settling in, and making a house our home. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about that in the coming months!

{FIVE} Wedding Look

With two months to go, the to-do list should be dwindling down but it is, in fact, skyrocketing. All of the to-dos, however, have not been all been boring. For instance, this month I had my first dress fitting, found my veil, and had a hair trial! Putting the dress on again after a year was so exciting and made it all feel more real — I can’t wait to walk down the aisle and dance the night away.

{SIX} Date Night Diaries with Steve and Stacy Hart Podcast

I mentioned this podcast series in my recent post about my morning routine but I wanted to give it another shout out. Steve and Stacy discuss a variety of topics and keep Christ in the center of it. I love that. Each episode is between 30-45 minutes so it’s easily digestible and the perfect length to stay focused. Spoiler alert: Stacy is my wedding photographer!

{SEVEN} Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Don’t judge me but I totally purchased a PSL within 48 hours of Starbucks announcing they were back. I can’t help it — I love fall and everything about it. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 😉 #SorryNotSorry

The Accessory That Pulls It All Together

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Anyone who knows me knows I love to accessorize. I never leave my house without earrings, sunglasses, a “full face,” and my engagement ring. I also love necklaces and bracelets, but there is one accessory that often is forgotten in the list of must-haves.

Nail polish.

There is something about painting your nails that pulls a look together. It gives any outfit an instant touch of sophistication. I could wear a T-shirt and jeans and if my nails are painted, I feel like I can conquer anything.

I have tried many nail polish brands to test which ones are the highest quality without breaking the bank. The brand I keep returning to is Essie Nail Polish.

You can purchase Essie at any drugstore, like Walgreens which is usually my one-stop-shop for beauty products. As soon as I walk into Walgreens, I am drawn to the nail polish section where hundreds of Essie colors line the shelves.

In the winter, I tend to sport darker shades of reds and grays, but in the summer I’m all about brighter shades like pink, blue, and white.

One of the worst things about having painted nails is when they chip, but with Essie that doesn’t happen nearly as often as other brands! They last up to a week, even longer if you apply a clear protective coat on top. I’ve never been the girl to willingly pay for someone else to do my nails so when I find a quality nail polish brand, I embrace it wholeheartedly!

Essie is a bit more expensive than the typical drugstore nail polish since it ranges from $8 – $15 a bottle, depending on the color and quality. However, it is worth the expense especially if you’re like me and don’t go to the nail salon hardly ever!

Current favorites: Bachelorette Bash and Bikini So Teeny.

How I’m Becoming a Morning Person

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I hate to admit this because I never thought I’d say it.

I’m *slowly* becoming a morning person.

Not one of those “I wake up at 3am every day for fun” people. I’ll never be like that. I’m talking about the “I wake up at 6am” person, which may sound unimpressive but that is really early for me.

Apparently you are either a Night Owl or an Early Bird, and for years I thought I was the former. I stay awake until at least 12-1am almost every night and I thought that made me a Night Owl.

However when I started thinking about it, I’m not productive at night. I’m not inspired by or find that my prime hours of creativity are when the sun is asleep. I would rather watch a movie or read a book at night, not create something or clean my house. I realized I’m way more productive and motivated in the morning.

Now that I’ve started to embrace this realization, I love learning about others’ morning routines. YouTube is a jackpot for this. Learning what people do during their morning routines has helped me pinpoint what I can implement into my own.

If you’re like me and want a morning routine, or maybe you’re curious what I do before work, just keep reading.

{ONE} Create a to-do list the night before.

I’ve mentioned this in other blog posts but it is so important I’m telling you again. Creating a to-do list the night before helps me wake up focused and ready to conquer the day. I even add obvious to-dos like making my bed because who doesn’t like checking things off and feeling productive? 😉

{TWO} Don’t check social media.

This is a BIG one and something that is extremely difficult for me to do. I could write an entire blog post dedicated to this, but I’ll refrain (for now). I recently listened to an episode of The Date Night Diaries with Steve & Stacy Hart that was all about how the screen affects us. I was instantly motivated to change my habit of checking social media first thing in the morning. I find myself absentmindedly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter all the time. It’s insane how much time you can waste aimlessly scrolling. No one needs that kind of distraction in the morning and believe me, social media can wait a few hours! Put it aside, get things done, and enjoy being unplugged for a bit.

{THREE} Make your bed.

If you read about successful people and their habits, one theme is they all make their beds in the morning. It instantly makes your bedroom cleaner and helps start your day productive and ready to take on anything. A simple habit like making your bed can be the stepping stone to a good day ahead. As soon as I wake up, I make my bed because it also forces me to stay awake instead of crawling back between the sheets.

{FOUR} Drink water…

I have a difficult time drinking enough water most days. As soon as I wake up, I try to drink at least 16 ounces of water. Some people drink more, others less. As long as water is the first thing you consume, you’re off to a good start.

{FIVE} Then get coffee, ASAP. 

Honestly though, water’s great and all but it doesn’t have caffeine. As a “reward” to myself after drinking my morning water, I get coffee ASAP. It honestly is so nice to drink coffee while going through my morning routine instead of chugging it in the car on the way to work. There’s something about a cute mug filled with coffee that just gets to me every time.

{SIX} Straighten up.

Whether it’s putting clothes away or tossing junk mail, I also try to straighten up a bit. When my surroundings are clear, my mind is clear. It’s a pleasing sight to see that my space is already clean when I come home at the end of the work day.

{SEVEN} Read.

As mentioned before, one of my 2018 goals is to read more. One of the ways I’m fitting this into my daily routine is to read for at least 15-30 minutes in the morning. Whether it’s a few pages or a few chapters, it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m inching my way closer to completing the goal, I’m good!

{EIGHT} Start your get ready routine.

Eventually the “fun stuff” comes to an end and I have to begin by get ready routine. This isn’t as exciting as the other things, but one of the major pros to waking up earlier is doing all the other stuff BEFORE the get ready routine. By waking up earlier, I no longer scramble to fit everything I need to do within a crunched timeframe. Establishing a morning routine is helpful and ensures your day is off to a great (and productive) start.