planning

home office tour + photos

Working from home has its benefits and its low points. I love having a home office that allows me to work from home and still be close to the family. My office is right off of the kitchen and front room of the house - this allows me to be close to the center of the home and also look out the front windows to see what’s going on in our world.

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My office is home to my photography work, my oils work and also a space for kids to do homework if needed. Lots of natural light and everyone keeps telling me to rip down the wallpaper, but it doesn’t bother me too much…

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This office space has evolved over the years but I love where I’ve ended up. Check out this old post about finding inspiration for your home office on the Carrie Owens Photography blog. And if you want to see what it used to look like check out my old home office when I was more of a scrapbooker and photographer, things have slowly changed and I’m loving where my space is now.

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I love my oily station in my office - so accessible to anyone in the family and the perfect spot to mix up some rollers or sprays or other fun stuff.

Do you have a home office? I would love to see! What are your biggest struggles with your home office space?

xo,
c

my 10 best monthly planning tips

Happy February! I love a new month and all of the possibility that it brings.

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At the end of each month I go through and look back over my calendar from the previous month to see where I was successful and where I struggled. I then develop my strategy for the new month and look for as many areas that I can be successful and what potential roadblocks I can move before they even become an issue. Read on for my best monthly planning tips.

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HOW TO PLAN FOR YOUR BEST MONTH

  1. Find some quiet time without distractions to work out your month…taking the time to plan out your month well allows for you to give yourself the best shot at being as successful and productive as you can be.

  2. Take some time to review your previous month…look for wins and areas of struggle. Were you hoping to get up early every morning and work out? How did that go? Is there a better time in your day for some of the things that you want to do but can’t figure out how to fit them in? What can - or should - you let go of?

  3. Make note of all of the “must do” items for the month - birthdays, sporting events, school obligations, appointments, bills or other deadlines. These need to go in your planner first.

  4. Think about recurring items, note these and make sure these have time to get done - think working out, work obligations, time for yourself etc…

  5. Take some time to meal plan - you don’t have to figure it all out if that isn’t your style, but take note of the days that will be late nights (practices or mom-taxi time) that make figuring out dinner a pain. If you can schedule some of those meals ahead of time, you will thank yourself later!

  6. Look at your finances, what big expenses are coming up? A birthday to plan for? Perhaps a vacation or extra sports expenses? Taking these things into consideration at the beginning of the month helps ensure you’ve got the funds to finish out the month as well.

  7. Are there any house projects that you need to consider? Spring cleaning or prepping the pipes for the colder temps? What about furnace filter replacements and other little tasks that often get pushed aside. Thinking about these items and making time for them helps your house run smoothly. While you’re at it - check on your vehicles as well. Oil changes and other routine maintenance.

  8. Your personal growth, self care and wellness. Like working out, hair cuts, reading, learning and other things that help you become your best you…see #9 as well.

  9. Review your goals for the year and really think about your big goals…the big scary ones that you dream about. What are you doing to make those reality? What little steps do you need to be taking every day to get yourself closer? I don’t know what your big dreams are…but write them down and start making progress. Time passes by so don’t just wait for these dreams, you need to do the work.

  10. Plan for some fun - just for you and for the entire family and friends. Make an effort to reach out to friends and family. This time is so important so that you don’t get worn down.

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What do you do to ensure that your month is set up for success and that you aren’t letting things fall through the cracks? Are you a paper planner person or a digital planner expert? Paper all the way here with my Get To Work Book planner. It’s really the best planner

xo,
c

how to get up an hour earlier

Part of my morning routine calls for getting up an hour earlier that I used to…so that I have time to get all of the things done that contribute to me being more successful…and not rushing around all morning and falling behind.

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I’ve never considered myself a morning person and I’ve always loved to sleep in. But now that I’m getting quality sleep I’m finding that it’s easier to get up in the mornings…most of the time. The following are some tips that I use daily to get myself up and out of bed at a reasonable hour…even if I might not want to.

disclaimer…I don’t have babies that don’t sleep through the night or other things that might make it unreasonable to get up early…I often simply don’t want to (sleep is amazing, but attacking your dreams is so much more rewarding). These are the things that I have found that help me outsmart myself.

5 TIPS TO GET UP AN HOUR EARLIER

  1. Give yourself a reason. I often used to dread getting out of bed because I knew that as soon as I did I would have a house full of people needing me for this or that. Once I realized that getting up before everyone else gave me time to ease into the day (not everyone hops out of bed singing You Are My Sunshine) then I understood the value of getting myself up when I might rather stay curled up in bed. And I for sure regret it on the days I let the snooze button get the best of me.

  2. Create a bedtime and morning routine that you love. Getting enough sleep is KEY to getting your butt out of bed in the morning. And having a set routine for yourself that you love only makes that process a bit easier. Figure out what it is that you need and want to do and do it. Read the posts on Creating a Morning Routine for Self Care and Creating a Bedtime Routine for Self Care on the blog and print out the planning PDFs.

  3. When you’re falling asleep at night don’t play the “if I fall asleep NOW I’ll get x hours of sleep” game. It’s horrible for getting you to actually fall asleep and shouldn’t play into what time you get up in the morning.

  4. Get up at the same time every day. Weekends too. If you didn’t get very much sleep the night before, don’t give yourself the “out” of allowing you to sleep in the next morning. However tempting this might be, it makes it brutal to fall asleep the next night and so the cycle begins.

  5. Plain and simple. Just do it. It’s really not that hard in the grand scheme of things.

COMMON ROADBLOCKS FOR GETTING UP ON TIME

  1. That snooze button - just don’t touch it. Put your alarm clock on the opposite side of the room if you have to so that you ensure that you actually get up when your alarm goes off.

  2. Not getting enough sleep - see mentions of your bedtime and morning routines above. I promise that these really help.

  3. Freezing cold room vs cozy warm bed. I’m pretty sure that warm bed is amazing, but you need to develop an easy system to beat the “it’s too cold to get out of bed” excuse.

  4. Not having something to look forward to in the morning. Work on creating that Morning Routine. It makes a difference.

  5. Your partner or roommates or children like to sleep in and you don’t want to wake them is a great excuse to catch a few more z’s. But that is all it is. If you need to be loud - get out of the house. Otherwise create a quiet peaceful morning routine that gets you jumping out of bed and attacking your goals and dreams!

What do you do to get up on time? Are you someone who hits snooze or do you wake before your alarm clock even sounds? What tips and tricks have you employed in your life if you’ve never been a morning person before but are trying to make yourself one? Do you see the benefits of getting up an hour earlier?

xo,
c

how to create a vision board

Many people (myself included) believe that a great way to help you visualize your dreams daily and work towards making them a reality is to create a vision board. These can be done in several ways and can be beneficial to working some of the things that you want in your life.

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This is the second year in a row that I’ve made a physical vision board. I love having it out in the open and in a spot that I can see every day.

Why to create a vision board

  1. Creates a visual reminder of the goals + dreams that you have set for yourself

  2. A creative way to express yourself

  3. Selecting the images and arranging them helps solidify your goals

  4. Consistent visualization of your goals realized

  5. It’s just fun…trust me

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how to create a vision board

  1. Use your Pinterest account and make a secret or public board and start saving images you love (you can check mine out here: 2019 vision board on pinterest)

  2. Go grab a bunch of your favorite magazine and start cutting out images that speak to your dreams

  3. Use some of your own photos that you’ve taken for more inspiration

  4. Use drawings or sketches or handwritten/hand drawn quotes

  5. Create your board using a combination of all of the above

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what to do with your vision board

  1. Hang it somewhere in your office so that you can see it everyday

  2. Hang it in your walk in closet so you see it every morning + night

  3. Take a photo of it and use it as your wallpaper on your phone

  4. Hang it in a spot in your home that you pass by often

  5. Revisit it throughout the year, don’t just walk by it everyday. Take a moment and look closely at these images that meant something to you when you created the vision board…getting closer to your dreams yet? If not, step up your game.

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HOW I MADE MINE

For my vision board I started compiling images on a pinterest board late last year - things that went along with my One Little Word, anything that struck me as visually appealing. Clothing that I liked, hair cuts that I love, food that I enjoy, quotes and other visual reminders of some of my big goals. I added all of these to a board in pinterest and then started weeding through them. I saved the images (some of them are mine from my instagram account) and printed them out on photo paper in varying sizes. I accidentally printed the photos on the back of the photo paper and I loved the matte finish, so I kept going with that - happy accident :) After I printed them out I laid them all out and sorted into categories and started arranging. Once I was mostly happy I started securing them to a poster board and hung it up in my office to see every day.

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Have you thought about creating your own vision board? I would love to see it! Most importantly have fun - there’s no wrong way to do this!

xo,
c

02 | choosing your word for the year

Resolutions are great - goals and plans and dreams are awesome. But the practice of selecting one word to carry throughout the year that encompasses the many things that are meaningful to you for the year is one of my favorite things.

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I first learned of this idea from an old scrapbooking friend Ali Edwards. She has a huge amount of information about the practice on her blog (going back several years, in fact) and it’s definitely worth the read if you’re interested in this idea.

WHY I CHOOSE A WORD each year

I love goals and dreaming big and planning things, so picking a word that can help me do those things has always seemed like a great fit. I’ve been doing this for several years although I don’t always finish strong with the word. I try…and in my opinion that’s better than nothing…for me. I’ve taken Ali’s class before and the content is amazing at keeping your word close to you all year long. Other years (like this one) I’ve purchased an item like this key necklace from The Giving Keys that can help remind me of the word that I have selected and why it is important to me.

HOW DOES THE WORD [CHOOSE] TRANSLATE FOR ME?

There are a ton of cute quotes on pinterest all about choosing joy or today I choose to be happy…those are simple, easy to remember and sometimes simple is the best. I wanted a word that put me in control. I wanted a word that reminded me every day that I could choose the way I saw the world and reacted to it. I could choose the things that I can control (like how often I exercise, what I eat, how much water I drink, how hard I work and how often I let my responsibilities slide). And I can choose how I respond to the things that I cannot control.

discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most
— abraham lincoln

how to select your word

Every year towards the end of the year I start thinking about my current year and how things have gone for me and I start thinking about what’s coming up. What are the things that I want to go after? Who do I want to be, what do I need to stop doing? What do I need to do more of? Sometimes a word will just jump out at me, sometimes I will read through past OLW posts on Ali’s blog to see if something speaks to me. There really isn’t a wrong way to choose a word (or a wrong word).

  1. Reflect on your past year

  2. Look at areas in your life that you’re struggling with

  3. Look at areas in your life that you want to create a change

  4. Look towards a subject that interests you

  5. Think about where you would like to be, how you would like to feel a year from now

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ways to live your word throughout the year

The biggest thing about choosing a word for your year is not to forget all about it by the 3rd week in January. You took the time and selected a word that you felt was going to help you be the best version of yourself - don’t give up on it. (Now…if the word isn’t working for you in the way that you thought or a new word all of a sudden feels better for you there is no shame in changing lanes…you do you.)

  1. Share your word with others and if you feel comfortable, let them in on why you selected that word

  2. Take a class (ali’s class is amazing) and join a community of like minded people working on their word monthly

  3. Purchase or create something that keeps your word visible daily

  4. Create a pinterest board that celebrates your word with quotes and other things that relate to how you want your word to work for you in the coming year

  5. Read the definition of your word and look for synonyms that you can also use to keep your word close.

  6. Revisit your word every month if not more often. Set a reoccurring event on your calendar with a reminder to take some time to think back on why you selected your word and how you have been incorporating it into you life and how you can make improvements.

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how this relates to your self care

Self care is all about making sure that you are taking the time to ensure that you are working towards being the best version of yourself. Sometimes this means working hard towards something and sometimes it means taking time to relax, reflect and refresh. You need to do what is best for you and if you select a word to carry with you throughout the year, make sure that you choose one that is in line with your goals for the year. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be but find something that pushes you a bit (whether it’s pushing you to work harder or pushing you to slow down) and brings you joy.

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Have you picked a word for your year? I would love to hear about it - what it is and why you selected it.

xo,
c




planner love + happy new year

It’s that time of year - I love it! I love all of the things about the new year. People always say that there’s nothing special about January 1st, that you can make a change any time and any day. They are 100% correct - but for me, there is still something magical about the first of the year.

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It’s amazing to me to thing that the things that I’m going to be doing at the end of this same year may look nothing like what I imagine today. That’s ok, life is full of changes. But I like to plan and prepare the best that I can. So much so, in fact, that I often over plan…or intend to over plan. I have always looked for that perfect planner, that perfect idea on how to set and achieve goals that I often find myself in a continuous planning loop without actually doing the work that I’m planning. Of course soon comes disappointment or discouragement or thoughts that maybe my idea isn’t good enough when it’s really just that perhaps I gave up before it got really good. But still…I plan. Because some planning and hoping and trying is better than nothing in my book. I also really love to highlight tasks once they are finished. Even if I write them in just to cross them out.

My planner of choice is the Get To Work Book by Elise Cripe (one of my favorite bloggers and instagrammers and overall super creative talented types) and you can see from my post about planners back in 2017 I’ve been using it for a few years.

How I use the planner

Once I get my new planner, I take some time and write down all of the things that are a “given” in my little world with a good pen and some alone time. I use the Sharpie pen in fine or medium (I prefer fine) and sometimes I will add in other colors for certain things (like blog calendar info). Then I start filling in all that I know on the monthly pages:

  1. Things that happen every year like birthdays and anniversaries that I need to make sure to remember.

  2. Dates of things like vacations and school days off (and start and end dates)

  3. Any sporting events that I know ahead of time (sometimes I know these things, sometimes I don’t and then I’ll just add when they become available).

  4. My blog posts that I have planned out using my blog planner (this keeps me accountable and also reminds me of things that I need to get photographed or purchased for upcoming posts).

After those items are entered in I will often go to the the weekly pages for January (or the upcoming month) and start filling in certain things that I know that I need to do daily (water, vitamins, instagram posts, blog posts, etc). I like having these on the actual days so that it gives me something to highlight when they are done and also keeps me on track. I will also go in and enter dates from the monthly calendar now so that I can write down any tasks/to do lists that coordinate with those events.

There are also some awesome project pages and reflection pages in the planner that I use every month as well. These are perfect for mapping out a big project you’re working on into smaller, bite sized pieces so that you can actually start tackling your to do list without being completely overwhelmed.

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As I mentioned above I love crossing things off my list, but it wasn’t until I saw someone else’s planner that used a yellow highlighter to run through each item that they had finished that I tried that method. I love it and think that it’s such a great way to get a quick reminder of the things that you’ve accomplished in your day.

Do you use a planner? Digital or paper? What is your favorite and why? If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your Get To Work Book, check out the instagram #gettoworkbook for some great ideas.

xo,
c

planner love | get to work book

I've tried every kind of planner - electronic, paper, make your own, bullet journaling. I love them all for various reasons, but this one...this one works.

The Get To Work Book was designed and created by Elise Cripe and it seems to be everything I need in a planner these days. I loved the flexibility and creativity of a bullet journal, but I found that I really needed something that had my days and weeks written out for me. I love the area for notes, love the top three goals for each day and week. The monthly calendar is the perfect size for my editorial calendar as well as appointments. If you have a moment, check out the instagram hashtag #gettoworkbook for some great inspiration on how others use this planner.

And I love what Elise stands for. She's a girl after my own heart - great creativity and someone who believes 100% in setting goals and taking the steps needed to achieve them. She's also written a great book with 100 pep talks that I adore, definitely worth the read.

Happy February, time to get to checking things off my list.

xo, c