My First Month of Bullet Journaling

keripapili_bulletjournaling4

One of my goals for 2019 was to start bullet journaling. I received a bullet journal and supplies for Christmas so come January 1, I was more than ready to get going.

I knew going into it that I was not your typical artsy person. I can’t doodle to save my life and staring at a book filled with blank pages was a bit intimidating at first. Thankfully, Pinterest is a thing and I quickly got inspired when I found a bunch of minimalist spreads that I could easily replicate.

Before creating my first monthly spread, I knew I wanted to create a few yearly spreads at the front of the bullet journal: Year At A Glance, Future Log, Movies to See in 2019, 2019 Bookshelf, and Blog Post Ideas…just to name a few. These are yearly spreads because they’re not tied down to a specific month so I can easily update them whenever I want.

When it came to setting up my January spreads, I kept it simple. I didn’t go *too* crazy since I wanted to focus on the actual habit/act of bullet journaling. By creating just a few spreads, I was able to see what I did and didn’t like so I could adjust accordingly for February. Here is the recap.

Things I Liked.

Habit Tracker. One of the things that attracted me to bullet journaling was the Habit Tracker. If you know me, this doesn’t surprise you. I’m obsessed with list, habits, and tracking literally anything I can. My January Habit Tracker was the first spread I created for the month and it ended up being one of my favorite spreads (shocker, I know).

keripapili_bulletjournaling2

Netflix Tracker. I try not to watch tons of shows on my own, but Luke got me into Chuck and we’re both hooked. To be honest, I realized AFTER I designed the header for this spread that Chuck is actually on Amazon Prime 😐 …but I kept it anyways. Shh…don’t tell 😉

Highlight Of The Day. Another spread I loved was Highlight Of The Day, a one-page spread where at the end of the day, I wrote a quick sentence about the best thing that day. Some days were pretty nonchalant, but it was a fun challenge to find the little joy in each day.

keripapili_bulletjournaling1.JPG

Things I’m Changing.

Weekly To-Do Lists. Ironically, the one thing I’m changing for February is how I did my weekly to-do lists. I still have my Bloom Planners’ Vision Planner and I track a lot of my daily to-dos in there. Halfway through January, I tried creating a weekly to-do list in my bullet journal but I wasn’t a fan of how it turned out. I think switching from a horizontal layout to a vertical one will do the trick.

keripapili_bulletjournaling3

More spreads. Now that I’ve mastered a few of the spreads, I’m adding a few more in February. I like the idea of a “Monthly Goals” spread and a “When Did I Last___” spread to keep track of when I last did something (like get my car’s oil changed, clean out the fridge, etc).

Here’s to Month 2 of Bullet Journaling!

Advertisements

2019: The Year to Focus, Learn + Love

a book cup of coffee and flavoured donut on square white ceramic bowl

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.

Monthly Roundup: August Favorites

keri moving.png

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

5 Wedding Planning Tips From a Budget-Friendly Bride

keri engaged coffee mug

As some of you know, I’m engaged! So far wedding planning has been a whirlwind of to-dos, appointments, and meetings, but I’ve been having a blast dreaming and preparing for our big day.

It blows my mind how much money brides will spend on their day. I am all for big dreams and beautiful weddings, but I am also budget conscious and proud of it. It’s been a fun challenge to find creative ways to save money while also planning the wedding of our dreams.

Here are 5 ways I’ve stayed budget conscious as I plan for October!

keri engaged wedding planning

{ONE} Save-The-Dates

Save-the-dates were one of the first things I checked off my to-do list because… I’m not doing them. Many of our friends and family already know when our wedding is either by word-of-mouth or by asking us, so I’m saving money and only sending out official invitations instead!

{TWO} RSVPs

I haven’t officially sent my invitations yet, but I already know one thing I won’t include when I do: RSVP cards. Creating a wedding website where guests can RSVP, find location details, registry information, and more not only saves on postage, but it also keeps all of the RSVPs and necessary information in one place.

{THREE} Dinner

This is total preference, but I love buffet-style dinners as opposed to multiple-course dinners. It allows guests the flexibility to eat what they want while also making sure you don’t over-order and over-spend.

{FOUR} Cake

Do you remember the cake from the last wedding you attended? Probably not. Instead of cashing out tons of money for an extravagant and multi-tiered cake, I will order a giant sheet cake and serve it pre-cut to our guests. To keep up with tradition, we will most likely still order a smaller cake for photos and tasting, but since my fiance isn’t a huge cake person, stay tuned for possible alternatives. 😉

{FIVE} The Dress

love my dress for many reasons but one of them is the fact that I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on it. I watch TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and am baffled by the amount of money some brides spend on a beautiful dress they will wear once. Don’t get me wrong, I think the dress is extremely important, but will I spend a down payment’s worth on it? Absolutely not. I’m a witness to all you brides out there: It is possible to find your dream dress without breaking the bank!

Do you have any budget-saving tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them so comment below!

7 Tips For Your Morning to Maximize Workday Productivity

28155407_555346321508630_1307146581841018880_n.jpg

 

It’s already March?! It seems like yesterday was January 1st. Time flew and now we’re a quarter of the way through 2018. Craziness.

If your work week is anything like mine, the days blend together with meetings, tasks, emails, assignments, due dates, projects, and more. So much to do, so little time!

It’s easier said than done to stay organized, but I kickstarted these habits during my college years and never looked back. If you’re looking for ways to start your day organized and mentally prepared to tackle your to-do list, you’ve come to the right place.

— — — —

{ONE} Start The Day Before

The process from waking up to arriving at the office is a couple of hours of pure craziness for me. The last thing I want to do is try to remember everything I have to do that day.

Instead, I start the day before. Before I leave the office, I clean up my desk and write down all the tasks and meetings I have for the following day. I even write reminders to drink water, walk, eat lunch, and skim news articles. It may seem like a silly exercise, but cleaning my workspace and jotting my thoughts on paper before I head home relieve stress and serve as visual reminders of the next day’s priorities.

{TWO} Make Your Bed

It’s a simple trick that many fail to do, but when I make my bed, my morning is instantly better. It takes only a few minutes and once it’s done, I feel accomplished because I’ve already checked an item off my list. Plus, my room looks and feels cleaner because the pillows are off the floor and the blankets are folded neatly.

{THREE} Eat Breakfast 

“Hangry” is definitely a thing. Not only does eating breakfast give me the necessary fuel my body craves in the morning, it also brightens my mood and releases those hangry tendencies. I typically eat eggs and sausage for breakfast, which give me a quick boost to make sure I’m mentally and physically ready to tackle the day ahead.

{FOUR} Drink Water Before Coffee 

I am a huge coffee lover. I drink at least 24 ounces every day, but I try to drink even more water. Before I drink my first cup of coffee, I sip water first. It not only helps me start the day healthy and hydrated, but it also gets me in the right mindset to tackle the day head-on. Plus there are tons of health benefits on why drinking water first thing in the morning is good for you so it’s a win-win!

{FIVE} Check Emails

Once I arrive at the office, I sip my coffee, check my to-do list, and dive into emails. I don’t typically check my emails first thing in the morning. I wait until I am at my desk before I open my inbox so I can give myself enough time to sort through, read, and respond to them all at once.

While I check my email, I write any additional to-dos to the list. It kills two birds with one stone because I’m keeping my list updated while also trimming down the number of emails in my inbox.

{SIX} Stick To A System

I’m a color-code, check-everything-off kinda girl. You may be like me, or you may not be. Whatever works for you, stick to it.

For me, I check things off as I go so I can visually see my progress. I have a notebook dedicated to my daily lists, a planner for important dates and reminders, a monthly wall calendar, and a pad used only for weekend goals & tasks. I’m a bit Type-A, can you tell?

You don’t have to manage the same system I do but find what works for you and stick to it. One major way to stay organized and ensure you’re ready to take on the day is to find a system that works for you and do it until it becomes a habit.

{SEVEN} Just Do It

Similar to the organization system, stop avoiding the unavoidable and just do it. Know when you’re most alert and productive and do the harder tasks then. For me, I write better in the morning so I try to do a lot of my writing when I first arrive at the office. I also am more creative in the afternoon so I try to plan in a way that allows me to tackle creative projects then. However you operate, try to accommodate your to-do list around it to ensure you are creating your best work every day.

The time is now.

Well, it’s been a minute.

Actually, it’s been many minutes because I took an unplanned blogging hiatus as life continued around me.

I do not regret it…not one bit.

You see, I hadn’t realized this, but I was wearing myself thin. My brain was constantly in “work hard” mode and I mentally succumbed to this thought process that I had no time to “play hard.”

What exactly is “play hard?” You hear all the time this motto many proudly state as their own: Work hard, play hard. However, for me, as a Type-A perfectionist with a tendency to over achieve at whatever I do, “playing hard” does not always come easily, or naturally, to me.

I get stuck in the “work hard” cycle and rarely allow myself to “play hard.”

This does not necessarily mean I am a workaholic. I love my job and I love what I do every day. Coming to the office is not the issue.

The issue is the thought that I do not deserve to step away from whatever is considered “work” to instead, once in a while, focus my attention on spending time on myself.

Unfortunately for over a year that meant blogging was pushed to the back burner, as well as, a few of my other hobbies. I always said, “It’s not the time,” or “I don’t have time today,” or “There’s something else I should be doing.”

I made excuses for all the reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t.

Well, that’s changing. The time is now.

5bdbf49e1cf1c09ce86d735931608af4--the-time-is-now-quotes-poppies

The other day, I needed a break from whatever I was doing (I don’t remember what). I decided to log onto my website for the first time in over a year. I decided to click “Drafts” and read all of the blog posts I was always scared to push live.

That’s when it hit me.

I missed blogging.

I missed getting my thoughts on paper because I wanted to, not because I was expected to.

I missed making time in the day to write, about anything, to no one in particular. To the digital space in the hopes that maybe someone out there would read it, but maybe not.

That’s when I realized that it was time.

The time is now.

To start again. Maybe not as frequently as before, but maybe. Who knows.

I am fighting against my instincts right now to not create a content calendar. You laugh, but I shake my head. I am not going to make this a “work hard” thing. A content calendar and lists and to-dos are part of the “work hard” mentality.

Maybe one day I’ll switch to that, but for now, I will not.

“Play hard” has no restrictions. So therefore, blogging will have no restrictions (for now).

We’ll see how this works.

Maybe I’ll start by finally publishing a few of the drafts…

Or maybe not.

Whatever happens next, it doesn’t matter. I’ll just do it. No overthinking, no worrying, no unrealistic expectations put on myself by me.

The time is now.

Several Months Later

* Several Months Later *Several_Monthes_Later..._

I feel like I am living a Sponge Bob episode where time races forward and the next scene occurs months after the previous scene. AKA I have not written a blog post in several months and a lot has happened since my previous one.

A few months can change a lot of things. For example, my role as a student took its final bow and I received a college degree as proof. My role as job searcher ended, as well, and I accepted a post-grad job with great excitement. My role as Smurf-owner changed, because I bought a new {silver, not blue} car.

If you do not stop to take it all in, life goes by pretty fast. It feels like just yesterday I wrote a blog post about the anxiety I felt before entering college and here I am, * four years later * reflecting on the truth that I left it.

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 2.18.16 PM

Life goes on after college. That is one fact I had a hard time grasping throughout the last semester or two. It was difficult to imagine a world without homework, exams, group projects, and presentations. To be honest, it has been challenging to get out of the mindset that I start school in the fall. I’m relieved, of course, and very excited — still, it is bizarre to embrace the idea that I’m actually done. Eighteen years of school and *snap* – it’s over.

Life goes on — a truth, a revelation, a promise.

An adult. A real one. I am a full-fledged adult now, but I still feel {sometimes}
like I am 12. Maybe it is because I have not grown since my pre-teen years, or maybe it is because I do not feel “old” like I once thought adults should feel. Nevertheless, it’s official. I’m a college graduate and a new member of this much-talked-about place called, “the real world.” Ready or not, here I come.

In the beginning of the year, I chose three words to help guide me through the next 365 days: First, Risk, and Joy.

My oh my, how perfect those words have been to summarize the many joys, struggles, difficulties, and blessings I have experienced thus far this year. In just these seven months of 2015, I feel like I have been stretched in ways I did not anticipate. Stretched in patience, faith, love, and joy. Stretched in trust, work ethic, focus, and determination. Stretched, stretched, stretched — but stretched in ways that always pointed me towards focusing on the God who gives me strength.

Without firsts, without risks, and without joys, life is pretty dull. As a girl who usually loves routine and order, the idea of risking a comfort zone to try new things can be a true test of what I am made of.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 10.42.51 PMI have a lot of adjusting and stretching to do. Obviously, I am not nearly as stretched as God wants me to be. Every day of life stretches you a little more towards Him. I’ve been stretching my identity to be more then just a piece of resume paper. My identity is more then the tasks I perform, the activities I participate in, and the motions of everyday life. My identity is through Christ, in Christ, alone.

A professor said to my class two weeks before the semester ended this past spring. He said to me, to us, “Stop thinking about what you want to do after college. Who do you want to be?” It struck me. Not because of the question, but because I realized how often I think about the things that need to be accomplished that I often forget to stop and really enjoy the moment.

The ironic part of this sort-of epiphany is how often I have blogged over the years about learning to find the little joys in every day life. It is a constant, life-long battle, and one that requires me to be constantly stretched and tested.

All I know is that I’m excited… and ready.

Another chapter has opened, full of new firsts, risks, and joys.

Let’s do this. IMG_1385