Monthly Roundup: May Favorites

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I struggled through a bit of writer’s block this month. I’m sure you figured that out considering I aim to post every Friday, but this month I definitely did not do that.

I’m not sure why exactly. It just happened. I didn’t want to write fluffy stuff just to post something on here. That’s not fair to you, and that’s not who I am. I’d rather have quality over quantity. Usually I have lots of blog post ideas, but this month my creativity tank was empty. Looking back, there are definitely things I could have written about but the ideas didn’t come to me at the time.

The month went by quickly. The weather got nicer and our schedules got busier, but here are a few May favorites. In June, I promise to be better at posting! (I already have a few ideas up my sleeve.)

{ONE} Social Media Week in New York City

I quite literally started this month heading to a conference that’s been on my career bucket list for a while now: Social Media Week in New York City. I love attending (and speaking!) at conferences and have wanted to attend Social Media Week for a few years now. On May 1, my coworker and I woke up at 4:30am, hopped on a train, and heading to the big city for a day full of learning. I definitely geeked out and had a blast learning from brands like Under Armour, State Farm, The Daily Show, and NBC Universal. (Photo about of my coworker and me in Time Square.)

{TWO} Gym Routine

Luke and I joined a gym this month! There’s one 5 minutes from our house and I couldn’t wait to join it. I’ve never joined a gym before. Usually I’d attend a workout class or run around a local park. Now that we’ve joined, though, it’s a game changer. I try to go at least 4 times a week right after work. I’m only a few weeks into this new routine but I can already tell it’s turning into a habit. I’ll write a full blog post about my gym routine soon. I’m *slowly* getting back into running, which I am thrilled about. My playlist is lacking, though. It literally has not been updated in years. Song suggestions are appreciated!

{THREE} Old Navy Dresses

Old Navy had a great online sale last week and I literally couldn’t resist. I have two dresses of the same style from last year and have wished that I purchased more colors. It’s so comfortable and versatile. It just so happened the dress was on sale so I bought it in three more colors. It’s perfect for summer and I already know they’ll be worn quite frequently (aka all the time).

{FOUR} Laura Story Concert

I attended a Laura Story concert this month, hosted by a non-profit that’s close to my heart, MARKINC Ministries. Admittedly, I wasn’t too familiar with Laura Story’s music prior to the concert but I recognized a lot of her songs! Highly recommend listening to Blessings if you haven’t already. It’s one of her most recognizable hits.

{FIVE} Outdoor Update

During Memorial Day weekend, Luke and I took advantage of a furniture sale and bought ourselves a table and chairs set for our porch! (#Adulting.) I’ve already dreamed of having a front porch that’s perfect for relaxing, working, and enjoying the warm summer days (and nights). We ate lunch out there over the weekend and it was so nice! I can’t wait to sit out there the next time I work from home.

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Monthly Roundup: March Favorites

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My birthday month is almost over, but what a great month it was! The weather (slowly) got warmer and spring is definitely in the air. I got my nails done for my birthday and it made me so ready for shorts, flip flops, dresses, and all things spring fashion.

I’m also ending the month by heading to Florida for a few days with my mom and cousins. By the time you read this, I’ll be en route to the Sunshine State. I can’t wait to relax during the quick getaway before the craziness of April.

{ONE} Speaking at a Social Media Conference

This month I had the opportunity to speak at a social media conference. I wrote all about it in a recent blog post so you can read that for more information. The conference was a definite highlight of the month!

{TWO} Daylight Savings

It’s a bit weird that daylight savings is a monthly favorite, but I am loving the fact that we have more sunlight in the evenings. During the winter, I struggled with staying productive after work because it was just so cold and dark. Now I’m getting home when it’s still light outside and it makes the evenings so much better. It’s just another reminder that summer is coming.

{THREE} Rita’s Water Ice

Not gonna lie, a mango gelati from Rita’s Water Ice is one of my favorite summertime treats. There’s a Rita’s close to our house (a blessing and a curse) so Luke and I enjoyed our first Rita’s of the season one night this month on our porch. It made me so excited for summer and spending more time outside. I captured the photo above when I noticed our dog Thalia living her best life that night, too.

{FOUR} I Turned 26

I turned 26 this month and felt the love from friends and family. My mom and I had a girls day that included coffee, getting our nails done, lunch at Panera, and shopping. It’s turned into a tradition of sorts and I love that. Luke and I also went out to dinner and it was delicious. If you haven’t already read it, I wrote a post about 25 things I learned from Year 25. You can check it out here. 

{FIVE} Becoming Mrs. Lewis

I like to include at least one book in my monthly roundup because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to read at least 35 books this year. (Check out the progress here.) I read 4 books in March, which isn’t terrible considering how busy this month ended up being! One of them was Becoming Mrs. Lewis, a non-fiction about C.S. Lewis’ wife. I love the Chronicles of Narnia series and the rest of C.S. Lewis’ work, but I didn’t know anything about his wife until this book. It was dry at times, but overall really interesting and definitely a recommended read if you are a C.S. Lewis fan.

Presenting at a Social Media Conference

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to be part of a local social media conference as a speaker (!!!).

I was blown away and humbled for the chance. Speaking at a social media conference has been a goal of mine for a few years now, and to say that I did it thrills me. I’ve attended multiple social media conferences since college as I yearn to learn more and more about the ever-changing digital space. As an attendee, I always hoped that one day I’d be on the stage presenting to a group of people…and now I can say that I have!

Leading up to the conference, I was anxious, excited, and definitely felt a bit out of my comfort zone. I have presented in front of groups and college classes before, but never to a group of businessmen and women who took time out of their days to attend a conference. When I heard the conference was sold out, it definitely increased the anticipation as the conference slowly crept closer and closer.

The day, from beginning to end, was amazing. I had the privilege of meeting several other presenters and we were all excited to get the day started. Over 400 people attended the conference and they came with questions and open minds.

I don’t talk too much about my career on this blog, so you may not know that I work full-time in digital and social media marketing. I love talking about all things social, whether it’s discussing Instagram strategies to grow a business, learning more about the *dreaded* Facebook algorithm, or brainstorming ways to further strengthen a brand’s online community. Whatever it is, I want in on the conversation and I love when others are excited to talk about it, too.

If you’re wondering, I presented in two sessions. In the first session, I joined another presenter for “Ask Me Anything,” where people could ask us anything for an hour. My second session was all about paid social media opportunities for your business. Sounds fancy, but basically it was all about how to create awesome, thumb-stopping ads across social platforms.

Simply put: A brand wants you to stop scrolling when its ad appears on your newsfeed and there is a plethora of ways on how to make that happen. My presentation walked through some of those opportunities and concluded with an engaging Q+A.

To be honest, I could go on and on, but to sum it all up, I’m truly thankful for the experience. Now it’s time to officially check it off the 101 in 1,001 list!

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!

5 Words: The Secret to Not Procrastinating

DISCLAIMER: 

In my blog post, “The time is now,” I mention I was reading through drafts of my unpublished blog posts that at the time did not go live because I was not sure if I wanted to post them. In “The time is now” I hint that maybe I’ll finally publish some of those old drafts.

The below post is one of them.

 

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The Secret to Not Procrastinating in 5 Words:

 

 

 

 

 

Turn. Off. The. Cell. Phone.

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.

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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.

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Liebster Award Nomination

Happy Monday!

Last week, I was nominated for a Liebster* award by Haley from Honestly Haley, a talented blogger and photographer I met through the blogosphere. Go check out her stuff; she’s great!

You may be wondering what a Liebster award is, and that is a great question. Let me try to explain. In short, a Liebster award is kind of like a piece of chain-mail in the blogging community, but without the annoying ‘threats’ that can come along with it. You nominate other bloggers to get to know them, meet new people, and share the love. You receive 11 questions to answer and then you create 11 of your own to pass on to your nominees. Thank you for the nomination, Haley!

* My Mac keeps wanting to auto-correct Liebster to Lobster. Haha!

And so we begin…

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1. What is your favorite flavor of jellybean? 

I’m a jellybean lover, so this is difficult! I know I hate the white ones; those are nasty. Hmm… I’d have to say my favorite flavor has to be pink watermelon (Starburst jelly beans, for the win) with green apple as a close second. I like them all, though. Except the white ones.

2. What are 10 things you can’t live without?

Oh snap! 10? I’d say: my Bible, Mac, phone, planner (I do not go anywhere without it), coffee (well, Starbucks coffee to be exact), a book (more specifically, anything written by Jodi Picoult), my grey boots (I’m not a huge fan of the color black, but grey is definitely my favorite neutral– they go with everything), Essie nail polish (specifically, “Cute As A Button” for spring), The Smurf (my bright blue car), and infinity scarves (I wear them allllll the time).

3. Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Jennifer Lawrence would be rad! She’s hilarious and I’m not, so it’d be a step in the right direction, I think. Either her or Karla Souza (the girl who plays Laurel on How to Get Away With Murder) would be awesome.

4. What would a perfect day consist of?

Any day at the beach or in New York City!

5. What are you most grateful for?

The fact that God loves me and died for me, even though I do not deserve it. His grace amazes me and I am eternally grateful for it.

6. What do you look for in a friend?

I can summarize it all in four words: Integrity, humor, encouragement, genuine.

7. What is your favorite food?

Grape leaves, which is a Lebanese dish I’ve eaten every holiday since I was young. Chicken and broccoli casserole is also a favorite of mine, followed by homemade vegetable soup. To die for.

8. What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn is, by far, my favorite season. I love watching the leaves change and the air turn colder. Football season begins and fall colors are everywhere. Throughout college, I’ve also noticed some of my favorite memories come from fall semesters so I have a lot of happiness in those couple of months. It’s also not too hot and not too cold, high 60s or low 70s and sunny. Perfect.

9. What is your dream job?

If you had asked me from age 5 to 15, I would’ve told you it was to work as a news anchor for Fox News. If you had told me last year, I would have said it was to become a sideline reporter for ESPN or for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, it’s public relations– plain and simple. I would still love to work in sports PR, but ideally, my dream job is to go into work every day loving what I do, and that is public relations, social media/marketing and event planning. Whichever job can let me do one, two, or all three of those is my dream job!

10. Where is your dream home?

Home is where the heart is, right? Cliche, but true. Where the people I love are, that’s where I want to be. But, that’s a cliche answer so I’ll give an unrealistic answer. I’d love to live in Australia or Hawaii, at least for a month or two– actually, I take that back. A vacation would suffice.

11. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Oreo. I’m a fan of the chocolate-y pieces, but hate chocolate ice cream.

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Okay, so my nominations are as follows for the Liebster award… These are blogs I think are awesome and I read them almost every day. I’ve also had the privilege of meeting two and personally corresponding with a few, as well. Check out their sites– they’re fantastic, just like the authors!

Meagan at The Millenial Martha

Courtney at The Everyday Elegance

Carly at The College Prepster

Katy at Daily Katy

Laura at Center Stage: Communication

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Have fun! I can’t wait to see your posts.

Here are you questions…

1. When did you start your blog?

2. If you could meet anyone, who would it be?

3. If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?

4. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

5. Describe your dream day.

6. If you had $100,000, what would you do?

7. What is your dream job?

8. What are five things on your bucket list?

9. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

10. What social media channel do you check first when you wake up?

11. What is your favorite season and why?