8 Small Habits to Change Your Life

Recently, I’ve been adding a lot more to my routine to step up my self-improvement game. One of the best things about starting a new job is setting up a new schedule and starting fresh. Here are a few ideas to share that I feel have helped me reach more of my full potential lately. Hopefully, these are some small but impactful habits (that aren’t on every self-care list you read) that can help you change your life for the better!

-Wake up an hour earlier

If you are someone who already wakes up at the crack of dawn naturally this is not for you. However, anyone that relatively knows me knows that I have never, ever, naturally been a morning person. As long as I can remember, I would wake up with just enough time to get ready for work or class and be in a frenzy from the second I hopped out of bed until I arrived at the destination. I did this because I would sleep past many, many alarms and just HATED the feeling of waking up when I knew I didn’t get enough rest. However, what I am just now realizing yes, in my mid-twenties, is that I need to trick myself into going to bed earlier to get my eight hours and to wake up with well enough time to get ready. My poor mom tried to instill this in me at a young age but better late than never, right? Therefore, even though I am actually waking up sooner I feel so much more well-rested because I can take my time getting reading. Instead of running around like a madwoman trying to get out the door. Poor Chase is the one in charge of keeping me accountable so some morings he has to keep nudging me and saying my name until I finally sit up. So, I am definitely improving but can get better at going to bed early.

Side note, there is interesting research that proves some people are naturally (yes, genetically) wired to be early-risers or night owls. You can read more about this here. Science is on my side for those days I get to sleep in. It’s in my genes. 😉

-Listen to Podcasts Daily

Specifically, the Rise podcast hosted by Rachel Hollis. It is honestly SO good for the soul! She features different industry leaders every week on her show and there is always something different to learn. I know that no one is perfect, but I seriously applaud her for the amazing change she is leading in women’s lives. Obviously, it’s free, so if you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet I strongly suggest it, there’s no judgment here.

-Go on a Walk

Of course, this goes hand in hand with getting more exercise in general, which I am bad about, but I recently started going on walks around the neighborhood while listening to my favorite podcasts (two birds one stone) and I feel so much more centered the rest of the day. It’s different than other types of workouts because you can just chill and be left with your thoughts of mentally digesting whatever content you’re inhaling.

-Help Someone Every Week

It may sound counterintuitive but one of the best things to get yourself out of a funk is to help someone else with whatever they’re going through. I’ve got to volunteer a few times recently with my job and organizations I am involved in and no matter how tired I am I leave feeling oh so good knowing that I helped someone else just a little bit. There are tons of non-profits to get involved with but it can even be something as simple as helping a co-worker with a project. Life is hard, let’s help each other through it.

-Talk on the Phone with Someone Every Week

Can you tell I’m an extrovert yet? But really, long-distance friendships can be SO hard! My sweet friend Lisa lives in Austin and a few months ago we started talking on the phone more regularly and it is so good to connect on that level. It can be so easy to fall in the monotony of texting those we love but we are able to talk about so much more on a call (talk about free therapy, right). I highly recommend it!

-Make a list of all of the “life things” you need to get done and… get them done!

I found that the stress of not doing these tasks but constantly seeing the papers on the counter and being reminded that I did not do said thing, was more stressful than just getting the dang THING DONE! We make all kinds of excuses for doctor visits, getting back to someone, etc. Save yourself time and energy by just scheduling a time to get it done once and for all.

-Learn Something New

Cue Google! Not just the search bar but all of the FREE courses that are offered here and there’s probably more than you think. There is a course on everything from how to land your next job to understanding the basics of code. I’m trying to get in the groove of reading books more regularly as well. We all have unlimited options here to expand our horizons, which is the beauty of the Internet, so learn away!

-Make Time for Yourself

Whether it is in the hour you are waking up earlier, after work or right before bed you need to make sure that you have some time block in the day where you can do whatever you want. It is those crazy seasons in life when we feel we have lost control. A good way to battle that is to make time for the things you love whether it’s just relaxing or pouring into one of your favorite hobbies.

There you have it! I hope these small habits help you as much as they’ve helped me. Thanks for reading!

Xo,

Lauren

Image courtesy of stocksnap.io 

Stop Waiting for Perfection

Like I’ve mentioned previously, I had wanted to start a personal blog years before I had the courage to do so. Even in my freshman year of college, I put it off because I was trying to think of the perfect blog name, capture the best pictures, etc. If I’ve learned anything post-college it’s that you’re not going to get any better at anything without trying. Yes, failing is hard. Rejection sucks. But we won’t know how great we can be at something until we get out there and just try.

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something, Now you know something about yourself. ” -Amy Poehler

For some reason, we stop ourselves from accepting that new challenge or trying that new thing until we feel fully prepared. Especially as women, we can feel like we need to think through every scenario and be overly cautious (or maybe that’s just me). Amy has a point y’all! Think about it, if you truly try to wait for something until you’re fully ready, you’ll never start.

My blog still has a long way to go but I love looking back on old posts and seeing how much I have improved over the years! We have this anticipation that everyone has it figured out except for us. The truth is that we’re all figuring it out as we go. To be honest, I have had a pretty rough season personally and professionally that I might open up about at a later time. It’s so easy to think that everyone has it together except for yourself but it’s just not true.

We have to stop saying “I’ll be happy when __ happens”. Whether it’s getting x relationship, x career, x car, you get the idea. We have to choose happiness. That means here and now by accepting your life for what it is. If you are not happy with that picture then the beauty of it is we all have the ability to make change.

Below are a few ideas from my own life I’ve accumulated to do if you feel like you’re in a rut or are too contempt with being comfortable.

-Join an Organization

Okay, I know not everyone self-identifies as the Leslie Knope of organizations like me but I feel that there is so much to gain. Is it obvious how much I love Amy Poehler, yet? I loved that I was constantly meeting with like-minded peers in college with similar interests that were striving for something more. I found that I was really missing that recently so I joined the Junior League of Dallas. If you are a woman in your 20’s-30’s I would definitely check it out and they have them in almost every major city. I will write more about this experience later since I just joined but it’s a great way to give back to the community and network with women in your area. Meetup.com is also a great way to meet with people who have similar interests as you. You might be surprised at all the groups they offer (plus you can always create your own). As well as networking and a wide variety of events you can find on Event Brite!

-Continue Learning

I feel like no matter what industry you work in or what your hobbies are there is always more to learn. I’ve been pushing myself recently to stay updated on industry news. If you work in Marketing as well or are interested in learning more this is a wonderful list I found of the 15 Best Free Digital Marketing Certifications Online. I just received my Certificate of Completion for Google Analytics for Beginners and I plan on tackling a few more from the list. They are free, right? Nothing to lose!

-Reach Out to Your Network

Yes, it’s important to keep up with connections for obvious networking reasons but you may also be surprised at who is going through similar struggles that you are (or just a fear of failure). I’m trying to be better about transparency- pretending to be perfect benefits no one and I’m happy to see that others are letting their walls down as well. Life isn’t easy and we all have that in common. You never know who you might be able to help by opening up about your own story.

-Accept That Nothing Stays the Same

As humans, we are (hopefully) always evolving by meeting new people and learning new things. Sometimes we can beat ourselves up about changing our mind and taking a new path. The truth is that is the only way we are going to grow! Sure, we all like to have our five or even ten-year plan but we rob gratitude from the present when we expect that we are guaranteed that much time. I’m aware this is really deep for a blog post, but none of us truly know what the next day will hold. That’s why we just have to try the best we can, be as kind as possible, and dream big for what the rest of our lives may hold.

So, whether you’re in high school, just graduated from college, or are in your forties, I hope that you have the courage to try for whatever it is your heart longs for. I believe we are all capable of great things. I’m in the middle of figuring this thing called life myself and am happy to grab a coffee and try to figure it out with you. Thanks for reading!

Until next time!

-Lauren

photo courtesy of stocksnap.io

Let’s Talk About Mondays

Can we really, though? Can we talk about the day no one wants to talk about? Everyone dreads it, pushes it back, but we all experience it.

“I’m having a terrible day but it’s okay because it’s Monday.”

“My day is okay for a Monday, I guess.”

“I’m so ready for Monday to be over.”

There are 53 Mondays in a year. Do you see where I am going with this? Why is it socially acceptable for us to mentally throw away 53 days this year? We’ve got to stop.

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Isn’t it funny how we don’t realize how much we want to do something until we can’t do it. I could be laying in bed bored on a Sunday and only want to watch tv but the moment I’m at a required event I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to write X blog post, need to reach out to X, or should’ve cleaned X.

So why do we do this to ourselves?

We live in a society where we compete to see who is the busiest. Somewhere along the way being busy started to equate to being successful and we’re all thrown in the race. Yes, it’s important to be productive but we shouldn’t be saying “yes” to everything for the sake of having a full to-do list.

This leaves little left for the time we need to re-charge and hobbies that inspire us. When we take too much on our plate we tend to over-think situations that lead to the worst results. Sunday scaries are real, and a lot of us have experienced them whether we know it or not.

“The Sunday scaries are the anxieties one experiences on Sunday when thinking about the impending workweek, school week, or other obligations that await in the week ahead. They are especially bad when accompanied by an end-of-the-weekend hangover,” according to dictionary.com.

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Of course, we’re all going to have bad days. I’m not sure what season you’re in, but I wrote out a list that has been beneficial for me. Below are some tips that have helped me ease into the work week a little easier and possibly even enjoy that oh so dreaded day.

-Have Something To Look Forward To

One of my life mantras, in general, is to always have something to look forward to, especially when trying to prevent max burnout from the best trip ever. Post-trip blues are definitely a thing for a travel bug like me and Mondays can be that way for a lot of people. Why save all the fun for the weekend? Whether it’s something small like dinner with a good friend on a weeknight or having tickets for a big concert the next weekend having a countdown will mentally get you through those tough times.

-Be Present

I promise I’m not trying to be like Ghandi over here but there is so much beauty in unplugging and taking in our surroundings and just being somewhere. Part of why Mondays get us down is because it’s the start of what may be a hectic workweek and we wonder if we are ever going to measure up. When our brains do that we are not living in the now and instead worrying about what lies ahead. As a Type A person to the core, I’m always trying to plan ahead but there is so much to be missed when only looking forward. Don’t worry about what’s due next week and just accomplish what you can. Worrying does nothing but rob the joy of right now.

-Rediscover Lost Talents

Personally, I used to love crafting. Almost all of my gifts to close friends would be something I handmade. Honestly, I stopped doing it. I didn’t even realize until one of my sweet friends, was asking why I don’t craft anymore. A little surprised, I looked at her and shrugged “I don’t know” but I plan on picking it up again soon. Whether it’s cycling, reading, or cooking find something that makes you lose track of time because you enjoy it so much. Then do keep doing that. I have a few projects I’m ready to start that have me looking forward to next Monday! This way you have something that you’re excited to do once you get home instead of mindlessly scrolling on your phone.

-Get a New Job

This is super dramatic, I know. But if the Sunday scaries are more like fright fests, you are due for a big life change. Trust me, I’ve been there. Sure, it could be something as serious as needing a career change but sometimes the solution can be as small as working out before work (not that I have any experience with that whatsoever). Basically, if this is a reoccurring obstacle you face then something needs to change about your Monday. No one knows what that change needs to be except for you. Looking inward is the first step and from here you will find what you need to change and can start having a better start to your week. Don’t get me wrong, I am NO SAINT here. But I’m trying and improving a lot and that’s what matters. Sunday scaries? Not here!

After all, life is about so much more than waiting for the perfect day to come, it’s about creating it.

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Thanks for reading!

-Lauren

photos courtesy of stocksnap.io

Why I Reject Valentine’s Day

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I actually (kind of) HATE Valentine’s Day.
This always confuses people because I’ve been in a long-standing relationship, and to be clear, a healthy and happy relationship. So, why would I of all people be one to dread this holiday? Heck, one time when I shared this viewpoint with a past co-worker she gasped “How could you!??” Oops…

To be blunt: a lot of this day brings out the worst in us. It makes us feel like we have to show off what gifts we received like that somehow equates to how worthy we are of love. And if our significant other doesn’t purchase something for us then that means they aren’t a suitable partner?.. okay.

I know this may sound dramatic. To be clear, I would never ever turn down a gift from Chase on this special Thursday. BUT I will never ever be upset if he does not purchase an item for me on a day when society tells him he HAS to. Let’s be real, what is romantic about someone doing something for you because they feel like they have to. Um, not much in my opinion! At the end of the day, coming home to a freshly cooked dinner or chocolates on a random Monday means x100 more than mass commercial goods on a day when marketers sell us on a false idea of love.

At its core, the message behind Valentine’s Day is great! Love and celebrate those in your life you mean the most right?? I’m not trying to sway people into disliking this day meant for love. Instead, I want to tell people that you are special whether you’re single or not. Don’t let a relationship define you. Don’t let others opinions of you define you. And most importantly, realize that you are the only one in charge of your own happiness. And if your boyfriend didn’t buy you roses at the last minute he’s not a terrible partner. I have seen too many girls caught up in the comparison game of he got me this, etc. The truth is that you are beautiful, unique, and worthy even if you receive nothing at all on this day.

So, have fun getting dressed up and boujee for no reason! Remember, don’t let anyone dull your shine.

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Do you find yourself questioning long-standing traditions too? Even if they are in your favor?

Xo,
Lauren

One Year In the “Real World”: What I’ve Learned

Hello lovely readers,

Where have I been?!
Honestly, it’s so much harder to keep up with a blog when you’re not in school anymore. In college, it was so easy to add “write X blog post” as a line on my to-do list when I had so many assignments to work on along with it. Writing blog content was an activity I looked forward to as a break from academic writing and a way to express myself creatively. Sadly, I’ve drifted away from that and am hoping to write at least one post a month this year. Who’s going to keep me accountable?
Anyways, enough of the pity party. The reason you’re reading this today is that I am reflecting on not only a new calendar year (heyyy 2019) but the day that marks exactly one year at my first full-time job at Trunk Club. As I was flipping through my 2018 agenda I realized how drastically my life has changed over the last 12 months. I entered the workforce, adjusted to life post-grad, got married, and moved to Dallas. Below are a few takeaways I have from being in the “real world” (insert sound effect: dun dun dun…)
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Your major in college doesn’t define what you do with your life 
I’ve had a few people (with a puzzled look on their face) ask me why I am working in fashion since I majored in public relations. Well, I have a few things to say about this, but the main one is to not box yourself in! The truth is that I use writing skills, speaking techniques, and countless other skills from my degree at my job every day. Sure, we all grow and change interests but we shouldn’t hold ourselves back from exploring different options.
Invest in classic pieces (I had to put at least ONE fashion tip in here, LOL!) 
There are a lot of tips I could write about that I’ve learned in training as a Stylist and with working with so many different clients but I will just start with this. I started building a capsule wardrobe for myself in the last year and it is so much easier to get dressed in the morning! What is a capsule wardrobe you may ask? It can be defined as investing in quality and timeless pieces while getting rid of/ stop buying trendy pieces.
If anyone needs help with this, I’m your girl!
Life is what you make it 
Even though it may not look like it, I have experienced heartbreak, defeat, and loss of creativity in the past year just like everyone else. “50 percent of happiness is genetically predetermined, while 10% is due to life circumstances, and 40 percent is the result of your own personal outlook,” according to Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky discusses the “happiness set point,” in her book, The How of Happiness. This just proves that at the end of the day we are just as happy or sad as we decide to be.
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What are you doing to keep yourself accountable for this year? I have a feeling 2019 is going to be BIG!
Xo,
Lauren

Reflection on 2017

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2017 was a BIG year for me. It’s safe to say more than a few life milestones occurred this year. As the new year begins I can’t help but reflect on all of the changes that have happened in my life. Chase and I got engaged, I graduated from college, got to visit Europe twice, landed my first full-time job, and so much more.

 

In June, my high school sweetheart proposed to me. You can read about Chase and I’s love story on The Knot. This summer I got to travel with Chase’s family throughout France and Italy. I plan on writing a separate blog post about this experience but to keep it simple it was nothing short of magical. It was everything I have ever wanted in a proposal and I am looking forward to the next step in our life together.

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I cannot believe I actually graduated from college! I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology from the University of North Texas. My college journey hasn’t always been easy but I can already say it was all worth it. From starting out in community college, transferring to a four-year university I pushed through it all. From being a commuter student, working every semester, taking night classes, completing two internships, being involved in student organizations and graduating with honors. I am here to say that if you work really hard you can achieve your goals. Adjusting to life post-grad is probably going to be challenging but I am still too caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays and graduation for it to hit me yet.

Anyone who knows me knows how important travel is to me. I am so blessed to have traveled to Europe TWICE this year. These are both trips that definitely have individual posts coming. Last week, I got back from a Rhine River Cruise with my aunt Diane. This was a graduation, birthday, and Christmas gift all rolled into one. Fortunately, we have been able to A LOT of amazing places over the years and I will write about our most recent trip soon. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to squeeze travels into my life even after college.

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Lastly, I started Life with Lauren. In 2017, during my last semester of college I learned that time flies by and if I don’t start chasing my dreams I may lose the time and motivation to pursue them. Even though I am still in the beginning stages I have already been pleasantly surprised by the responses I have gotten from my blog. Readers I barely know (or have never met at all) have contacted me letting me know that I inspired them by my community college story and other posts. After all, that’s what this space is about. Even though it’s just for fun (for now) my blog is a great way to express creativity and keep loved ones updated about my life.

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I have so much to look forward to in 2018 including; getting married to Chase, start working full-time for a company I love, and moving to Dallas. I am in such an exciting chapter of my life so I am trying to take it all in and make the most of every day. I am so thankful to live this life I’m living. Thank you to everyone who has benefitted my life and for reading this blog.

Thanks for stopping by! What were some of the biggest lessons you learned in 2017?

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I’m Employed!

trunkclubskyBefore I started this semester, I made a list of goals (what else is new). At the very top of that list was locking down a job before graduation. I had several peers (and even mentors) tell me I was aiming too high or to not get my hopes up. Truth be known, December graduates have a tough time because we’re trying to apply for jobs right before the holiday season and the new year. Companies aren’t always looking to hire during this time. However, I persisted. I began applying for jobs in the beginning of October. I did research on Glassdoor religiously and sent more e-mails than I can count. I received plenty of rejection letters, held several phone interviews and visited a few offices for in-person interviews.

There were times when I wondered if this was going to pay off or if I was going to continue searching after graduation like everyone else. To my surprise, an HR representative from Trunk club contacted me! There are several companies that contacted me but almost all of them were scams. Luckily, I remembered that one of my friends from North Texas Sweethearts works there.

I will be working as an Associate Stylist at Trunk Club Dallas. I will be in contact with clients and in training for the first few months. I  will be providing styling advice and manage relationships. Trunk Club is part of the Nordstrom family. Yay for Nordstrom discounts!

You can learn all about Trunk Club here.

My Life as a Redhead

I have grown to love my red hair, but it hasn’t always been this way. As a child, I begged my parents to let me dye my hair blonde or brown, basically any color but red. I would plead “please, all the kids are making fun of me and I just want to be normal.” Normal is such fallacy. The truth, is there is no such thing as normal.

IMG_2439As a child, I was bullied mercilessly for having red hair. However, it comes to no shock that elementary school children are mean. Anyone who is different is called out. So much so, that in 2016 there was a fake story of a kid who sued his parents for giving him red hair *insert eye roll. Apparently, a believable enough scenario for people to think it was real. Hate crimes like “Kick a Ginger Day” inspired by South Park don’t help either.

In middle school, bullying morphed into boys calling me “ginger” and teasing me about my freckles. They would make jokes about kicking a ginger or other distasteful terms. Growing up, I was told “you’re pretty for a redhead.” Can I never just be pretty? In high school, I was finally old enough to dye my hair so I tried everything from blonde to brown. It wasn’t until I started dating Chase that I started to love myself for who I was. He always disapproved when I wanted to color my hair.  There is nothing wrong with coloring your hair, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was trying to become someone I wasn’t and it was anything but healthy.

 

“What sets you apart can feel like a burden, and it’s not. A lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”

– Emma Stone

It has been years since I have been made fun of for my hair. Growing up, people always told me I would grow to love my red locks. I didn’t believe them until I reached college age and realized how unique I am. I also happened to meet two amazing redheads I regularly refer to as my sisters. I met Kyleigh and Eryn at recruitment for an organization called North Texas Sweethearts my junior year of college. At first glance, I was automatically deemed Eryn’s doppelgänger and we all connected from the start. There’s just something about a redhead bond, am I right?

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Ever since meeting my ging sisters I have refused to color my hair. Just by having red hair we connect on so many levels like shared trauma from bullying to foundation that will actually match our fair skin. We also regularly discuss different tanning lotions, but for the most part decide to ditch them altogether. I didn’t see how beautiful my hair was until I saw it through them and now you couldn’t pay me to change it. We love going out and tricking people into thinking we’re triplets. Two out of this trio have even successfully swapped ID’s *not recommended.

Red hair comes with a lot of unsolicited questions like “Who did you get your red hair from?” and “OMG is that your natural color?”. But I don’t mind now. I am proud of what makes me different.  Everyone used to make fun of my fiery locks but now, they’re one of the things that everybody says they love. I know my experience of being bullied pales in comparison to others. Instead, I want this story to serve as an opportunity to lift others up and stop critiquing each other for what we’re born with.
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If I have a daughter with red hair in the future, I would hope that she grows up in a world that tolerates people for all of their different characteristics. But if not, I’m sure that experience will turn her into a resilient young lady who hopefully shows empathy towards others for things they cannot change.

Proud Redhead,

Lauren

What makes you different? Did you ever wish you could change it?