Planning for Success as a Student

Chances are we all know at least one person who is ready to embark on their college journey in the fall. When I first went away to school, I remember feeling like I had so many school supplies, yet I felt nowhere near prepared enough to actually start college. Y’all already know how much I love office supplies and every possible product to keep me organized, so I thought I’d elaborate a little more on some things that I loved having and that I wish I had! Through my five and half (long) years of college, I finally learned what products work best and the ones that aren’t really necessary. These are the things that have worked well for me and the things I really don’t think I would have made it through successfully without!

*This post contains affiliate links.
I really feel like a person can’t have enough office or school supplies. It’s just not possible! You’ll always use them eventually, and there’s just something about a nice clean notebook with catchy stickers and colorful pens that make note taking easier. In college, my Lilly Pulitzer Academic planner was the best thing I owned. It was bright and colorful, user friendly and made me actually want to get it out to use – always. How cute is this Lilly Pulitzer 17 month 2017-2018?!

I always loved to use a colored coated notebook & binder for each class, just the simple $1 or $2 ones you can find just about anywhere they sell school supplies. I know I linked these pens in another post, but I’ve found that color coating notes with ink color helps in the studying process, it doesn’t just look pretty! These BIC colorful pens are inexpensive and the best option, with the best colors!

Note taking is never complete without page markers and stickers. Check out some of my favorites here! There are so many options out there, so I just wanted to share some of my favorites. Another thing that made organization of my weeks easier was a set of paper clips, push pins, and binder clips, in a addition to a small bulletin board. I used the bulletin to write out my week at a glance, in order to hold me accountable and let me know what events I had coming up that week. My Day Designs Wall Calendar has since taken the place of a bulletin board in my home, but either one works perfectly! Which one do you prefer?

Do any of you all have an organization station in your kitchen or somewhere around the house? I think they are SO cute so please let me know if y’all have one & how you set it up & use it!

The summer before heading to school, I received an Amazon gift card as a graduation gift and had absolutely no idea what I would ever find on Amazon. Good news- Amazon has literally everything. I ended up finding my favorite kate spade new york Pencil Pouch on there and I still use it today! It’s so clean and pretty and, I must say, we have definitely come a long way from the plastic pencil boxes from first grade! I also absolutely love my Kate Spade coffee tumbler. Mine is white and gold striped, and my pencil holder is white and gold polka dots, like I’ve linked above. Does it get any cuter than that?

One of the biggest things I’ve fallen in love with is this stainless steel programmable crockpot. There are so many recipes out there that are so much better than soup every night and cooking with a crockpot is SO easy. Besides, these bags make for the easiest clean up! I love making oatmeal or chia pudding in the crockpot, as well as my Mexican chili and apple crisp. The options are endless. Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated several cookbooks with tons of recipes too, so we all know there’s tons of options out there to make cooking easy for busy students or adults! We’re all busy, so no matter if we’re heading to college or just dealing with all the crazy of our every day lives’, a crockpot is always a good idea.

A lot of these recommendations and products are steered more toward girls, but some of my note taking tips and colored coordination study habits hopefully can help everyone! Who do you know that’s heading off to school? What are you doing to help get them ready?

 

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

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How Do You Measure Success?

What is success to you?

The last several months have been quite a whirlwind, between making the decision to quit school & also trying to find a new job that will turn into a career, it feels like I’ve been running around in circles with no progress. When I turned 26 and was feeling completely behind in life, I refused to let myself have another quarter life crisis. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the span of these days & I’ve realized I’m so much stronger in every aspect than I realized and than I ever have been before. I’m still constantly looking for something to keep me busy & no matter how hard I want to, I can’t seem to sleep late & spend the days doing absolutely nothing!

 

*UPDATE: Many of you all know, I have since found a full time job, but am definitely still not where I want to be on my own scale of success.

 

How many of you guys had a quarter life crisis? Make any crazy decisions? I know they’re real yet I know to some of you, freaking out about turning 26 seems ridiculous. I just feel like I should have myself together by this point in life!

 

It seems like so many people ultimately measure success by how much money you make or how high standing in society you are. Over the last year, I’ve realized it’s so much more than that. I admit, money sure does help when times are hard & it seems like more money would bring instant happiness. Of course we all know, sure money can aid in happiness, but it certainly does not create it.

 

Even still, it seems like so many people are worried about how much money they make or how big their house is. Lately I’ve learnned that my success can be measured by how happy I am with the life I’m living & by the steps I take every day to make the best of every moment in my life every single day. I know not every day is perfect and days at the office are often super difficult & just plain draining. But I also know there are people in this world who love their job & who love the career they’ve chosen.

 

I’ve learned that success is best defined by each individual person. To me, it’s measured by genuine happiness & a feeling of accomplishment day in & day out. It’s displayed in the way we carry ourselves from the time we wake up until the moment we fall asleep each day. I know it may be so much harder to see success so simply when you have a family to raise, mortgages to pay & a day job you’re not in love with. What if we all took a step back & revisited one the scariest words we try to live each day? What if we redefined what this word means to each of us, in hopes of easing in to simpler, more fulfilling lives?

 

What kind of advice can you all give? How did you find your passion? What is your passion & how did you know?

 

 

From my experience, success & leading a fulfilling life have so much to do with your morning routine. I used to work at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, working a 9-5, Monday-Friday & for the most part, it was pretty great. I loved getting up at 5 am to go to the 6 am Pure Barre class, walk for 3 miles, shower & head to work! I always carry teeth whitening strips, a green tea bag, my mascara & eyeliner with me & with those few things, I’m always good to go! I have at least one cup of green tea every day because something about it just helps me feel like I can conquer the world! Crazy right? But really. On days that I didn’t go to Pure Barre or the gym before work, I was sluggish and just plain irritable. Very quickly, I realized how important that ‘me time’ before work every day really was.

 

We are all constantly connected via email, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever forms of social media we like best. So that hour or so every morning completely for me is always the best way to start my day disconnected from the outside world so I’m able to get myself feeling good!

 

What are some of your morning routines that help get you going every day? What is your go to, no fail item/workout that you have to have every morning?

 

Your takeaway from this one: success is what you make it. Try not to let the neighbors next door or even your sister make you feel inferior about where you are in your life compared to theirs. Everyone is on their own path to success. Work on yourself without worrying about how you measure up to the guy next door. At least that’s certainly what I’m trying to do.

What Are You Planning On?

Alright y’all, I’ve been working on this one for a while and I am entirely too excited to talk about it! I absolutely LOVE to plan. Plan the days, plan the weeks, plan the months. I think it’s so much fun and I absolutely love all the colorful pens and pretty stickers, along with all of the place holders, rulers, and just about any office supply you could imagine. I love notebooks, wall calendars, day-by-day planners and month-by-month planners and any kind of print-out that helps me step my game up. You name it, I’ve tried it and chances are, I love it! It’s rare that you’ll catch me without my planner, a notebook, and my daily notepad at any given time. Of course I know things come up that it’s impossible to plan for everything and I really still do love some spontaneity in my life! I just like to lay out the things I know about the week or month in advance, especially with my work and now that I’m trying my best to run this blog! I’ve also found that by putting my workouts in my planner each week, I’m a lot more likely to attend every day!

I’m going to list some of the essentials that I use and I know I wouldn’t be able to make it through the days without. These are all items I have used and continue to use and I would honestly not have them on this page if I didn’t really feel like you all could benefit from them too! *This post contains affiliate links.

Day Designer Wall Calendar
I’ve recently started to love Day Designer by Blue Sky after using their wall calendars for the last three years. Their designs are always so cute and the layouts are always perfect for my needs. Check out one of their adorable 2017-2018 wall calendars here! This one is very similar to the one I purchased here last year, with the ability to not only write in daily tasks and events, but also include monthly projects and notes in the side bar. I can’t get over how cute the floral is! They offer January through December or July through June formats.

Day Designer for Blue Sky Lined Pad, 3-Pack
This is a product that I just ordered and I can’t wait to use. After downloading a few print outs, I knew this note pad was gonna be a game changer. They’re perfect to use with a clipboard or even tear a few off, fold them up & put them in your pocket to take quicks notes on during a meeting. From there, it’s super easy to transfer any special dates and times to your planner when you have time! Plus this an awesome deal for a three pack!

May Designs Notebooks
My absolute favorite notebooks on Earth are from May Designs. They literally blow any other product out of the water. You can special order your academic planners, notebooks, and stationary from maydesigns.com and their products are gorgeous! I’m not kidding when I say I’ve purchased over 20 books from them and tons of stationary. The designs they offer are perfect for every mood you’ll experience and for each of the seasons! Plus they have excellent customer service. They also have food & exercise journals, as well as agendas and adult coloring books. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a giveaway and more on my Instagram page!

Only a small portion of my May Designs collection!

Erin Condren Planner
I’ve ordered a LifePlanner from Erin Condren for the last three years, and I could not be more impressed with the designs they offer and with how the inside layouts look. You can choose from vertical or horizontal layouts, and from colorful or black and white. The horizontal is nice for academics, but I prefer the vertical layout so I can break down my days by morning, day, and evening. They come with tons of stickers that already have events written on them and also some blank ones to write in your own events and appointments. Of course you have the option to order and create as many extra stickers for any events you could dream of. All orders and be placed through erincondren.com. Go order for 2018 and let me know which design you’ve chosen!

Erin Condren Life Planner

Daily To-Do List
This is another great alternative that’s similar to the one I currently carry around everywhere. It’s like the notepad version of a planner. It’s broken down into sections for the easiest daily organization possible, without the bulkiness of an actual planner. Each day is broken down by hour to list meetings or special events, there’s a to-do list section, a place to list the 3 things you absolutely have to do that day, and one of my favorite parts is the area where you can write down everything you’ve eaten and how much water you’ve had to drink! How cool?! You can grab yours here!

BIC Atlantis Original Retractable Ball Colored Pens
These are the exact pens that I use for all of my note taking and planning needs. The ink seems to last forever and the colors are so vibrant and pretty! It makes it easy to categorize different events on my calendars. Typically I use green to symbolize pay day or when bills are due, I usually use pink for social events, purple for special work events, the list continues. I also change it up when I’m getting bored of the color coordination I’ve been running with for too long. Regardless of color, these pens write smoothly and it’s like an actual ink pen instead of a marker, so there’s no bleeding through the paper or smearing like the old school gel pens do. Plus these are the perfect, fun colors!

And that’s it! These are some of my favorite things that help me get through each day without going crazy. My job keeps me busy with people telling me little details right and left so with notepads and planners always within reach, my mind is at ease and I’m able to do my work so much more efficiently.

What are your favorite brands and products for planning and organization of every day life? Anything I’ve just got to try? Can’t wait to hear from you!

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!

What’s Your Excuse?

“Dreams don’t happen because you’re busy, they happen because you’re intentional.” – Maxie McCoy

Several years ago, I subscribed to read Maxie McCoy’s weekly newsletters and I could go on for DAYS about how much of a positive impact her words have made on me.

*Before I go any further, I want to say that this post is not sponsored, I just love her words & her motivation. I hope she could help you as well, and that one day I am able to motivate you in ways similar to the way she does.*

Over the last 3 years, I’ve been trying to figure out what on earth it was I wanted to do with my life. When I first graduated, the job opportunities weren’t there like every recent college graduate hopes and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I constantly found myself being too busy to sit down and really think about where I wanted my life to go. I was too busy to make life changing decisions and certainly far too busy to update my resume and apply for jobs that I would actually enjoy.

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t actually busy at all. It turns out that getting home from work each night & sitting outside on the patio drinking wine isn’t busy. It’s lazy. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very enjoyable and relaxing pastime, but when a person is as bored and miserable as I was with my every day life, that isn’t exactly the best way to make changes. I learned in high school that the more things you have on your plate, the better time management skills you create for yourself. This is so important to remember. I’m currently working a full time job and am trying with everything I am to run a successful blog at the same time. I still have so much to learn so I feel like I’m constantly working on the computer, taking notes and attending webinars to gain as much knowledge as I possibly can. So far it’s been exhausting, but so incredibly worth it. There have been social events I’ve turned down because I had a webinar at 8 that I knew would benefit me immensely. Dates with my boyfriend are now at the coffee shop because I have so much work to do. My time is being used so much more efficiently than it ever has before. And it feels pretty darn good. I’m accomplishing so much more each day and already achieving so many of the goals I’ve set for myself.

For the first time in years, I’m waking up every day and living with intention. Not just because I’ve laid out specific goals for each month, week, and even day, but because I’ve realized everything I spend my time on is important. At this point, I am officially and finally busy. And I couldn’t be more happy. It’s reassuring to feel like I’m doing something for myself. I know we all have goals we’re hopeful of, so what is it that we’re going to do today to move closer to achieving them?

How do you lay out your goals? I’d love for you to share a few of them with me!

Being mindful of what you spend your time on day in & day out is the best way to really change your life. I’ve always loved to lay out the week/month/year ahead so you’ll never catch me without a notebook, my planner, and daily notepad. I don’t use them all three all the time, but they’ve definitely played a role in getting me where I want to be in life.

We procrastinate when we’re scared, we tell ourselves we’re “too busy” when we don’t want to make important decisions and choices. So many of us go through life wanting more but rarely actually do anything to get more out of life. What are you going to do today to move you closer to getting everything you want out of your own life?

I’m going to challenge you again to take some time over the next few days to write out things you would like to achieve over the next year. They can be big or small but actually writing them down will help to hold you accountable! Once you have them written out, make notes next to each one about exactly how you will achieve them. Write steps and mini goals for each day that will bring you closer to reaching them. For the longest time, I have wanted to become a runner but I never really did anything about it. I just kept walking while my sister would run to train for her half marathons. Finally, I decided I wanted it bad enough that I would start to do something about it. I laid out a running schedule and have started running 3 to 4 miles a day. Sure it’s not much, but it’s still more than I was doing before and it’s still bringing me closer to running a half marathon than sitting on the couch! Maybe you want to start a blog but don’t feel like you have what it takes. Start by writing out ideas for a niche and just start writing some potential posts!

We are never too busy to do exactly what we want with our lives’. You owe it to yourself to set some time aside to work toward bettering your life each and every day. It’s simply a matter of making yourself a priority and waking up every day to live with intention.

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Going the Extra Mile.

“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

How insanely true is this quote? I took this picture after lunch with my parents last week and all I wanted to do was keep running. It ended up being a gorgeous day regardless of it being overcast with a major chance of storms. The perfect temperature for a run, yet there was no one around. I started thinking about how often the path is wide open for us to start working and follow our dreams, whatever they may be. Then it occurred to me how infrequently we advantage of these opportunities. Why? Is it because we’re scared of failing? Don’t feel like putting in the extra work? Too tired when we come home from our day job to work on ourselves and our own goals? There are so many things that keep us from accomplishing our goals, big or small.

It was 2009 when I first thought I wanted to be an orthodontist. I was born with a severe underbite and a crossbite and spent most of my childhood with mouth pieces, face masks, and retainers before having braces in 8th grade. I literally had every kind of contraption to straighten my jaw that you could imagine. And it all worked. My teeth were straight and my jaw was (& still is!) perfectly aligned. I had an amazing orthodontist through those years- he made the process bearable and even enjoyable. I wanted to do for people what he did for me. His passion for his profession showed every day in the office and it made me want to be that. Once he retired, I shadowed a different orthodontist several times. She was not only running her dental/orthodontics  practice alone, but she was a single mom, worked out twice a day, and was seriously killing it every single day. We spent a lot of time together before the office opened and after it closed and it quickly became official- that’s who I wanted to be like. For a few years, I felt that same passion, too. Then it took me 5 and half years to finish my undergrad and I decided I didn’t want to spend 7 more years in school. That’s what I convinced myself, anyway.
Or was it that I was afraid I wouldn’t get in to dental school? What if I wasn’t as good at it as those two were? I didn’t have the most exceptional grades, but I’d visited the advisors at UofL and they were encouraging every time I was there. Still, something in my mind was too scared to act on what I once felt so strongly about.

Then there’s Pure Barre. It was 2011 when I first heard about the studios in Louisville. I wanted to try instantly. I even had a friend who told me I could go with her. I was so excited, motivated, a little nervous, but actually terrified. I started talking myself out of it because it was too far from home, I didn’t look like the other girls there- the list goes on. It was 2015 before I ever even tried a class! This is the perfect example of why it’s so important to push ourselves to our limits because we never know how perfect it can turn out. Y’all already know how much Pure Barre has changed my life in the last two years so I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer.

It was also 2011 when I first wanted to start a blog. Now 6 years later and I’ve actually started one! I feel so proud to have this thing up & running, no matter how successful it currently is. I’ve achieved one of my biggest goals and it feels so. freaking. good.

I’ve always been one to put in the extra effort at work especially. I haven’t loved every job I’ve had, so it definitely hasn’t been easy to give 120% day in and day out. But in my experience, it’s worth it. At my last job, I started out selling tickets at a museum on the weekends during college. Then I started going on the trips with the mobile museum and quickly became the full time manager and Brand Ambassador for the museum. It was an absolute dream job. I moved up quickly and felt successful for the first time in my life. I reached this point because I was reliable, worked hard every day, and made sure to leave lasting impressions on the customers. Obviously not many other people around me had worked like that because there wasn’t anyone else who moved up like I had. And I’m proud to say I’m the only Brand Ambassador that museum has ever seen.

It’s so easy to give up on ourselves and our own goals because so many of us spend every day working for someone else to achieve their goals. I’m not saying quit your day job. I’m only saying take time to prioritize your own life. Time management is one of the biggest things that has helped me do things to benefit myself. Make bettering yourself each and every day a habit.

I challenge each of you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, no matter what it is. Sure we might not succeed the first time or even the second, but we certainly will never succeed if we don’t try. I recently participated in a 5 day boot camp that helped lay out visions and goals for my life and it’s insane how much something like that will help! Write down your visions and your goals, short term and long term. Then write out the smaller steps you’ll have to take each day to lead you to achieve those visions and goals.

Tell yourself failure is not an option and just keep going. Go the extra mile, unlike so many people we encounter each day. You will be amazed with yourself, I promise!

 

Imagine all the things we could achieve if we would just do them. Make yourself proud, you deserve it!

What are you going to do today that your future self will thank you for? Tell me!