what I read | 002

what I read | 002

I was super happy to hear that you guys were pretty excited for this new series last month. Knowing that I’ll be sharing the books I read with y’all over here has been a great motivator to read along with my reading goal for the year (thirty). I really pushed to read as many books in February as I did before, but I was a little more distracted with a big project ending and getting Zoey. However, I read seven books, just one less than January, and I’m pretty happy with the books I read!

Yes Please

YEAR: 2014 | PAGES: 352 | RATING: 5/5

I loved this book! Before starting it I had read a lot of reviews that were all over the place. Several people weren’t nearly as happy with it as they were with Tina Fey’s book. I don’t necessarily think that’s a fair comparison. Obviously Tina set out to write a funny book about her life and how she got to where she is; whereas, I think Amy set out to write a book minus the BS. Although the overall book wasn’t hilarious, I really enjoyed it and laughed at several different parts of it!

Dark Places

YEAR: 2009 | PAGES: 368 | RATING: 4/5

Oh this book! It was a doozy! I got hung up on it for a few weeks because it took me a while to really get into it. It’s laid out the same way Gone Girl is, but for some reason it still took me a while to want to read it. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming, though, and I’m still trying to decide if I think this book is stranger than GG. If you’re looking for a book that might keep you up at night, this is the one for you!

Show Your Work

YEAR: 2014 | PAGES: 224 | RATING: 4/5

This was such a great book! I have Steal Like An Artist, but I haven’t read it yet. When I was searching around on Overdrive this month I saw that SYW was available so I grabbed it. It’s such a great book for creatives! I have so many highlights from it, and I even got several blog post ideas from the book. I can definitely see this book being one that I would go back to every so often.

Maximize Your Potental

YEAR: 2013 | PAGES: 260 | RATING: 3/5

I borrowed this book from Amazon last summer I think, but never got around to finishing it. I figured I would grab it late last month and work on reading it while I started another fiction book. I ended up starting where I left off, so while I don’t remember much about the beginning, I do remember being surprised that it was entirely comprised of essays since I hadn’t read the other 99U book before this one. Overall, I ended up enjoying it, and I was really fascinated by several of the studies shared in the essays.

Other books I read last month:
Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Heartless (Pretty Little Liars #7) by Sara Shepard

Again, if you care to read my ratings / reviews of books I’ve read or see what I’m currently reading, you can find me on Goodreads, and don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading in the comments!

free / march wallpaper

free : march desktop wallpaper | by kory woodard

Holy crap, y’all! It’s MARCH! How is that even possible?! I don’t know about y’all, but this year is just speeding right by for me. I haven’t done a lot for my goals this year, but I’m definitely ready to get serious this month, which is what inspired this month’s wallpaper!

By this time of year, yes just two months in, I’m sure a lot of  us are probably already slacking on what we set out to do, so here’s a wallpaper to serve as a gentle reminder that it’s time to get serious on those goals we’ve set.

Download below and enjoy!

2560 x 1440 | 1650 x 1050 | 1440 x 900 | 1280 x 800 | iPhone

weekend reading | 02.27.14

weekend reading | grab a cup of tea and check out these posts!

Wow, it’s the last Friday of the month! I can’t believe February is already over. I feel like this year is sweeping by, and I haven’t quite gotten anything done this year for the brand. I’m hoping next month will change things, though!

I’ll save the wrap up of the month for next week when I touch on March’s goals and just get to this weeks fab posts!

I absolutely love this design work for Ever Ours by Brianna + Rowan Made. It’s so soft and really beautiful.

Have you ever thought about having a Bullet Journal? Last year I loved the idea but just never tried it. Amanda started one, though, and touched on how she’s been doing it over the past year.

We’re probably all always keeping an eye open for productivity tips, right? Well Avery had some great tips on working from home this week!

Kayla wrote a really amazing post on why you should share your competitor’s content this week. It can be tough to overcome that feeling of “I’m going to lose business to them!” but it’s important that you do. Remember, it’s for your readers!

This post from Annie on improving your Instagram wasn’t from this week, but it’s a great post for those trying to grow their Instagram account this year. Annie has a beautiful account, so you can definitely trust her tips.

Jessica posted this week about Freedom to Read week. I’ve never heard of it, so I was really fascinated with it.

how to deal with feeling overwhelmed

how to : deal with feeling overwhelmed

It happens to the best of us – you wake up one morning and all of the sudden you have more on your to do list than you can even think about getting done. You’ve got errands to run on top of that, and a house that needs to be cleaned. What’s worse? Knowing that you have so much to do is just making you not want to do anything.

We’ve all been there. Overwhelm often leads us feeling stuck, and most days when we’re feeling like this we end up laying on the couch in our pajamas just rewatching our favorite shows on Netflix.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though. Here are a few ways you can deal with feeling overwhelmed!

Schedule your day Take a good look at everything you need and want to get done, and then schedule a time to do it. Do your blogging work or answer emails in the morning, and then spend your afternoon running errands or cleaning up your apartment. I do this with every day, and it’s how I get a lot done. I’ll set aside a few hours in the morning to answer emails and do some light design work. In the afternoon, I have about 4 hours where I focus solely on making sure I get things finished and sent to clients. My last hour of work is for cleaning out my inbox. When you schedule specific times to do things, you’re more likely to focus because you know you’ll have time later in the day to get the other important things done.

Just start by doing one thing What’s tough for me on days I’m feeling overwhelmed or just unmotivated is that I don’t even want to get started. Usually, though, if I just sit down to do one thing like write a blog post or to my newsletter list by the time I’m done I’ve built up some momentum to start on something else. The one thing I usually try to do is the easiest or hardest task for the day. If I get the hardest thing done, I know the rest of the day will be a breeze. If I do the easiest thing, I’m building up momentum to do everything else on my to do list. Most of the time, you just need to start to really get going.

Consider your current workload If you find yourself being overwhelmed a lot, it’s time to take a look at your workload and make a change. Maybe it’s time to scale back the number of clients or projects you take on in a month or roll your posting schedule back on your blog by a day or two. Granted, I realize that you can’t make a change to your workload if you’re in school or don’t work for yourself, but you can adjust what you’re doing after hours that may be causing your overwhelmed feelings.

Ask for help One of the most common misconceptions that most people have is that asking for help shows a sign of weakness. That’s not true. Asking for help shows that you realize and understand that you just can’t get it all done, which is so much better than driving yourself nuts trying to get a month’s worth of work done in a week. If you find yourself in a position where other people can help you with the work you need to get done, reach out to a trusted friend or colleague and ask for help!

Feeling overwhelmed can be paralyzing, but hopefully these tips will help you get through those tough days when they come!

How to Stay Healthy When You’re Crazy Busy

So here’s the thing – staying healthy is hard enough when you have a regular job, but when you’re a creative who runs their own business and blogs, and you know has a social life upon other things, it’s even more difficult. With that said, it was a no brainer to have Jessica come hang out with us today and share some tips on how to stay healthy while we’re crazy busy! I love these tips, and I hope y’all enjoy them!

guest post : how to stay healthy when you're crazy busy

Confession time: when it comes to exercising and eating well, I tend to be a little on the obsessive side. Without taking it as far as me, there’s no denying that moving your body regularly and fuelling it with the right stuff – in short, living a healthy lifestyle – is an awesome goal to aim for. After all, it’s common knowledge that exercise and good nutrition are invaluable tools for looking good, feeling great and keeping sickness at bay. The question is… How on Earth can we manage our already crazy busy lives with the added stress of finding a way to factor in fitness and healthy eating?

I know where you’re coming from: I work long hours at my job, run a pretty successful blog and work on my side gigs most nights. In addition to this, I also try to be an attentive girlfriend, indulge in some serious self-love when I have a chance and have a great social life. In other words, my schedule is pretty full most of the time and yet, working out and eating well are still high on my list of priorities.

The good news is that if I can do it, you certainly can, too! All it takes is a bit of organisation. And so, without any further ado, here are my best tips for staying healthy when you’re crazy busy!

Embrace food prep.

If you want to embrace a healthier lifestyle and get great, nutritious food on the table on a busy schedule, preparing your food ahead of time is your best bet. Rather than doing the last-minute scramble for ingredients at the end of a long day, beat the game by taking a couple of hours at the weekend to make delicious meals to see you through the week ahead!

Once you’ve given it a go, you’ll never look back. And guess what? I’ve even compiled a list of 20 awesome make-ahead meals that I know you’ll love! Don’t tell me I don’t look out for you!

Make your workouts work harder for you.

I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy; the time has come to train in a way that takes this into account and gives you some mega bang for your buck. I love high intensity workouts for this: fast, quick and dirty, they have you giving your all for a super short period of time and reward you with a heightened metabolic burn and sick fitness. Trust me: they’re hard, but so, so worth it!

There are plenty to play around with out there (don’t you just love the internet?), but here are some of my very favourites!

Get it done earlier.

I know how clichéd this sounds, but when it comes to finding time to live a healthier lifestyle, the early bird definitely gets the worm. Whether it be on a motivational level (I don’t know about you, but the longer I leave it until I get my workout in, the less likely I am to actually go through with it) or a practical level (think of all the extra time you’ll get to exercise or prepare some yummy!), getting up just a little earlier can be a real game-changer.

Try creating an awesome morning routine to really make the most of the extra time you’ll suddenly have on your hands – I suggest popping some ingredients in your slow cooker for a super-easy, hands-off dinner!

Get organised.

The best intentions in the world are useless without a little basic organisation. Luckily for you, it doesn’t take an overly elaborate system to stay healthy on a tight schedule; it just requires some little adjustments to make your life flow more easily. Preparing meals ahead, making sure your gym bag is packed at all times, ensuring your motivational playlist is fully loaded and ready to go… All these little things add up and will make it SO much easier for you to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

Enlist help.

Of course, even after cooking up a storm or planning your workout outfits three weeks in advance, life might still get a little overwhelming. Never fear: you can totally have your own power posse to help you out. Whether it’s getting your friends together and prepping food to combine the practical with the fun or grabbing a workout buddy to get ‘er done even if you don’t feel like leaving your bed at 5 in the morning, people are far more willing to help than you give them credit to.

So, next time you feel the pressure – or even if you fancy a bit of company! – buck up and ask!

I hope these tips gave you a little insight into juggling a busy life with a healthy one. It doesn’t have to be all that complicated – it just requires some smarts! You’ve totally got this.

Jessica Johansen

About Jessica Johansen

Jessica is a digital marketing specialist, writer, blogger and fitness enthusiast (phew!) currently based in Paris. She thinks up creative new days to live a happy, healthy and fabulous life on a crazy schedule, all the while loving herself fiercely!