Little Joys Around the Web 💻

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Isn’t it awesome that we have the power to search and learn something new with just a few taps on our phones? It can be overwhelming knowing so much information exists online so you may not know where to start looking.

I have a few go-to websites and blogs that I check daily and to help us get through the week, I wanted to share a few articles and posts that especially jumped out at me. It’s a mix of fun, informational, and inspirational so I hope you enjoy!

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On My Radar: 2019 Edition

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In my mind, this is the end of the first week of 2019. I don’t know about you, but the first couple of days in the new year don’t feel like a new start. My body is still in holidays-mode and it takes a few days to “wake up and reset.”

So this was the first full week back to the grind in 2019. Although a bit sad that the holidays are *officially* over since we took down our Christmas decor, I’m excited to get back into the swing of things. You know I love a good routine 😉

Here are a few things that are on my radar this week.

{ONE} Bullet Journaling

I’ve recently gotten hooked to bullet journaling. I started watching AmandaRachLee’s videos on YouTube and was instantly fascinated by how beautiful she made her planning spreads. It inspired me to try it out so I asked for a bullet journal and supplies for Christmas. It’s been fun trying my hand at being creative, and it’s also one of the goals under my “Learn” word for 2019. Let it be known I am not an artist; I cannot “doodle” to save my life. I’m still a newbie (the cover photo for this post is a snippet of my bullet journal) but it’s been fun to play around. As seen in the photo, my spreads are not as aesthetically pleasing as some of the ones I pinned on Pinterest but check out the board to get a feel for the possibilities! A few of my favorite spreads I created so far: 2019 Bookshelf, Habit Tracker, Netflix Tracker, and 2019 Goals.

{TWO} Minestrone Soup

As I noted in my Three Words for 2019 blog post, one of my goals is to continue learning how to cook healthy meals. One of my favorites that I made so far is an Instant Pot recipe for Minestrone soup that I found when searching for quick and healthy meals. It’s the perfect cozy meal for cold winter nights and only requires a few ingredients. Best part about it? It takes under 30 minutes from start to finish. Check out the recipe here. 

{THREE} Bevgo Infuser Water Bottle

I don’t know about you but drinking enough water each day is a challenge. I get bored drinking plain water and let’s be honest, coffee is way more tempting. I start out the day motivated and drink a lot of water but by the afternoon, I forget all about my water bottle. Whoops. That’s where my Bevgo Infuser Water Bottle comes into play. I asked for this water bottle for Christmas and it has changed the game. I’m not kidding when I say this: Since Christmas, I have hit my daily water goal every day! Granted, it’s only been two weeks or so but that is an accomplishment, let me tell ya. I fill the bottle with fruit (lemon slices for now) and know that in order to hit my daily goal, I need to drink the entire bottle twice since it’s 32oz. The fruit makes it delicious and I can see the progress throughout the day, which keeps me motivating to keep going. I’m telling you, it’s great and I feel so much better when I’m hydrated and healthy!

{FOUR} How I Built This podcast episode: SoulCycle

I’ve mentioned before that How I Built This is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. Each week, the host interviews entrepreneurs of famous brands about how they got to where they are today. I love learning about how people achieved their dreams and the obstacles they faced along the way. This week I especially loved the episode about SoulCycle and I highly recommend it! It’s such a fun story about how two moms met in New York, hated the workout classes offered, and decided to do something about it. I’ve never tried SoulCycle, but now I definitely want to!

2019: The Year to Focus, Learn + Love

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I’m a huge fan of goal setting and new beginnings. Ever since I can remember, I loved checking things off of to-do lists and brainstorming ways to create goals and achieve them. There has never been any doubt that I’m Type A, let me tell ya.

I think that’s why the new year is so exciting for me. I love that people get excited for a fresh start and have so much hope for the year ahead. In years past, I would write a long list of goals for myself and have trouble keeping them all year long. Some I would achieve, but others were dropped along the way. (Who else can relate?!)

Last year I decided that instead of creating specific “resolutions,” I would theme my year with a few key words that motivated and inspired me. In 2018, I chose First, Do, and Joy. You can read all about why in this blog post.

This time around, I struggled with choosing words that best fit my feelings going into 2019. Nothing felt as right as the words did last year so I started to really think about what I wanted to achieve in 2019 and why.

That’s when it hit me. I kept using three words over and over again to describe my 2019 goals and dreams.

Focus, Learn, and Love.

Now let me tell you why.


FOCUS

In a world of the “need it now” mentality, we don’t focus like we used it. Did you know a goldfish has a longer attention span than a human does? F’real. Look it up. It’s sad. In 2019, I want to focus on a variety of aspects in my life: personal, relationships, habits, etc. including:

  • Less time on social media so I can focus on the present. This is a huge reason why I chose “focus” as one of my words. It’s so easy to get distracted because our phones are constantly buzzing with texts, updates, and notifications. This year I want to step back from the noise and focus on the moment.
  • Focus on my relationships by removing technology and spending quality time when we’re together.love coffee shop hangouts and good ol’ fashioned game nights. Quality time is definitely one of my love languages and I can’t wait for more of these moments in 2019.
  • Spend time developing positive daily habits. It’s so easy to rush, rush, rush through each day but this year, I want to truly slow down, enjoy the moment, and develop positive habits that will help me grow.
  • More time writing. I definitely say this at the beginning of the year, but I want to spend more time writing. Whether that’s on the blog or in my journal, I want to continue writing for fun and not just for work.

LEARN

Never stop learning. In 2019, I aspire to learn so many new things, big and small. Some will come from life experience while some will come from me seeking it out. I always want to grow and learn. There are so many ways to do this! A few of the ways I want to learn this year are to:

  • Listen to more podcasts. Current favorites include How I Built This, Girls on the Go, Serial, and Date Night Diaries with Steve and Stacy Hart. I’m always on the search for new ones to add so let me know your favorites!
  • Read at least 35 books. In 2018, I read 25 books. I want to challenge myself to read at least 35 books this year now that I’m back in the habit of reading regularly again. Check out my 2018 bookshelf here. 
  • Better educate myself on the world around me. I admit I’m not always in the know when it comes to world news and politics. Tech and current events, absolutely, since it’s part of my job. One way I plan to increase my knowledge of all things news is to actually read TheSkimm emails that arrive in my inbox every day. Subscribe and join me here. 
  • Be better at cooking. I’m definitely nowhere near where I want to be so I want to better my kitchen skills and cook more healthy meals.
  • Teach myself to bullet journal (and do it consistently). I recently discovered this new form of organization and planning and I’m obsessed. I received bullet journaling supplies for Christmas and already love it. More to come on this in a future blog post!
  • Start actively playing/practicing the piano again. I don’t want to lose the skills I gained taking lessons for 15 years. It’s time to start it back up and relearn some of my favorite classics while also teaching myself new pieces.

LOVE

This may sound cliche but I want to love more this year. It’s so easy to find the negative in a situation, but it’s so detrimental to your well being. Expressing love to others does not take a lot of energy either – just a little time and effort to truly show others that you love them. A few ideas:

  • Write more handwritten notes. A text is great but I don’t want to forget about the art of handwritten, snail-mail letters.
  • Enjoy each day. Even if it’s a “bad” day, there is always something good in it. I read a quote one day that resonated with me: “Just because you had a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life.” One way I’ll do this is to continue the 1-Second Everyday Challenge.
  • Serve more. I don’t know what this will mean in 2019, but I know I want to serve others more. God first, others second, myself third.

So there ya go! My three words for 2019. What are your New Year’s Resolutions or Word(s) of the Year? Comment below; I’d love to see them as we encourage each other to live the greatest year yet.

2018 in Review: Change, Do, Joy

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Can you BELIEVE 2018 is pretty much over? This year flew by way too quickly but honestly, it was by far my favorite year so far. I’ve never felt so strongly about a year ending but 2018 was really one for the books so it makes me sad that we’re nearing the end.

At the beginning of the year, I chose three words to theme 2018. A lot of my New Year’s Resolutions fit under the three words: Change, Do, and Joy. Man oh man did these words truly embrace what 2018 ended up being all about. SO much change. SO much doing. SO much joy.

Take a look at my 2018 in review and comment down below what your 2018 highlights are!

Change.

Less coffee. slowly decreased the amount of coffee I consumed in a day to {on average} 16 ounces. This is truly a miracle because at the beginning of the year, I drank close to 40 ounces a day at least!

More water. One change I made in 2018 was that I told myself I couldn’t drink coffee unless I drank at least 8 ounces of water first. Doesn’t seem so hard, right? Wrong. In the morning, the last thing I wanted was to drink water first but slowly, the habit changed. I also started actively tracking my water intake with my Fitbit app and realized I wasn’t drinking as much water as I thought I was. I now consistently aim for at least 64 ounces a day and it makes such a difference! I feel healthier and more energetic.

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More reading {and audiobooks}. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read at least 25 books, and thanks to apps like Audible and Libby, I was able to achieve this! A list of my 2018 books can be found here but a few favorites included The Paris WifeThe Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Lilac Girls.

Less TV. At the beginning of the year, I realized I spent way too much of my free time watching TV and/or Netflix. I would complain I didn’t have any time but when I started to list what really was taking up my time, I realized I could make conscious decisions to truly open up my schedule. One of those changes was less TV. I watch Netflix occasionally but I wait until the rest of my to-do list is complete before I do. Fun fact: Luke and I don’t own a TV so that definitely helps!

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Less clutter. WOW. I had a LOT of stuff! I love decluttering but in the process of moving to our house, I realized I had too much clutter. I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up which really helped me truly take a look at what I was keeping, understand why, and if it didn’t spark joy, I tossed it!

More budgeting. #Adulting at its finest. We have a budget and we stick to it. I’m sort of a nerd but I actually love the excel document that tracks what we spend and how much we save. Highly recommend.

 

Do.

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Get married. I mean, this is the biggest DO on the list! For most of the year, I planned for our wedding day. I absolutely loved the whole wedding planning process and loved getting married (and now being married) to Luke even more. ❤

1-Second Every Day Challenge. This has been one of the BEST things about 2018! I started the 1-Second Every Day video challenge on 1/1 and never stopped! I will definitely post it once it’s completed on 12/31. It’s been such a fun way to capture all the little moments throughout the year in an easy-to-execute type of way. HIGHLY recommend downloading the app and joining the challenge in 2019!

Social Media Marketing Certification. This one has been on my goals list for a while so this year I decided to finally take the 10-week course and get certified in social media marketing and content strategy. It was a fun experience/challenge and I’m glad I finally took the time to do it!

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Run a 5K. I am NOT a runner. I’ve written blog posts about this before but running a 5K has been a goal of mine for some time. This summer I had the opportunity to run a 5K for someone who means so much to me. I was honored to run in memory of my mentor. It made the whole experience mean that much more to me.

Read 25+ books. I love to read but in years past, I never made it a huge priority. It was something I did if I had time. In 2018 I decided that not only would I make it a priority to read more, I would set a goal to read at least 2 books a month. Thanks to LibbyAudible, and the Goodreads app, I did it!

Learn to cook. This was sorta, kinda mandatory when I moved out. I received an Instant Pot as a wedding gift and it is amazing! I’m slowly but surely experimenting in the kitchen and I have a feeling that 2019 will definitely evolve my growing love for cooking.

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Travel more. I traveled to New York, Boston, and Aruba this year. All were amazing experiences in their own unique ways and I’m thankful for the memories!

Pay off student loans. GOODBYE, STUDENT LOANS! 👋🏽 As of a few weeks ago, I officially paid off the rest of my student loans and it feels sooo good.

Move into our first house. We moved into our first house! It has been a blast decorating and making it ours. I’m SO excited for our first Christmas together. Here’s a quit snapshot of our tree (before we purchased a tree skirt).IMG_9190.jpg

Joy.

Unlike Change and Do, Joy is not a list of accomplishments, achievements, and milestones. It isn’t a specific lesson or goal. It is a mindset and a way of viewing the world. Joy is not a temporary feeling like happiness or excitement.

The Lord says to “Rejoice!” and so this year, I aimed to do just that. In every situation I tried to seek out joy. Rejoice in the Lord. Consider it pure joy when we face trials. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Again and again, God reminds me that in all things, He is in control. The joy of the Lord is our strength. While Joy was my third theme word of 2018, it is never truly complete. Joy continues and so, seeking joy is never something that is finished. Finding the little joys of life, like waking up to sunshine or drinking your favorite coffee on a Saturday morning, is an every day choice. We have to CHOOSE joy. It does not come naturally. One of my favorite quotes is “You have to CHOOSE joy and keep choosing it.”

Let 2018 be a reminder of the joys you chose. Let it be a reflection of the person you grew to be this year, regardless if 2018 was good or bad. Let joy be an ever-present thing we continue to choose in 2019 and beyond. Let the joy of the Lord consume you as you live every day to its fullest. Joy is a choice so let us always, always, always keep on choosing it.

Here’s to 2019 and everything that is to come.

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! 🙂