April Goals

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Y’all. Between Making Things Happen, fantastic clients, and seasonal allergies that have been kicking my behind, I’m just now getting my April goals and March recap posted. I’ve been feeling guilty about neglecting this little space, but realized I just need to get over it! I’m doing my best and making lots of great things happen. They just don’t always show up in this space! Moving forward, I’m going to strive to be more consistent in my posts here, but will also be showing myself some serious grace. If you have a blog, I’d love to hear: what keeps you consistently posting?

And with that out of the way, let’s dive into a recap of last month’s goals. One thing I realized as I reflected on the past month was that I need to lower my expectations for how many things I think I can accomplish during my busiest seasons. For me (at least as I come up on my first year of business), those seem to be spring and fall.

A recap of my March goals:

  • Go for a hike with Kate
    • Check! We went on a new-to-us trail here in Chapel Hill in the Carolina North Forest. We hadn’t seen much of each other in the few days prior to our hike and were in crabby moods, but spending time walking + talking for over an hour helped us to reconnect and improved our spirits immensely. So glad this was one of my goals last month!
  • Host budget meetings with Kate as needed
    • Yes. I’ve kept up regular tracking of our budget with Mint and we’ve been meeting as needed to talk about our budget for now and for our road trip this summer. It’s been working well!
  • Spend one weekend social media-free
    • No. I did spend two days without social media while at Making Things Happen, but I am not counting that.
  • Volunteer twice in the community
    • Yes! I spent a lovely weekend in Georgia facilitating a presentation on branding for an undergraduate chapter of my sorority and helped clean up + get organized after our church’s annual rummage sale.
  • Schedule Groupon activities
    • Nope.
  • Continue road trip planning
    • Yes. We made more reservations for our trip and pretty much have our itinerary finalized. Hooray!
  • Attend two networking events
    • Again, yes. I went to a local Wake Up Wednesday event, which is always great, and to my first networking event with my Junior League chapter. I loved having the chance to meet new folks and share my passion for helping folks remove the clutter to make room for what matters most!
  • Finish EntreLeadership and start a second business book
    • No. I was on such a roll with reading earlier this year, but in March that totally fell off. I’m looking forward to getting lots of reading done during our long drives this summer.
  • Finalize my business giving plan and add giving section to website
    • No. This is still something that’s on my heart, but I just didn’t make time to make it happen. I’m going to be working on rebranding + updating my website this summer, so I think it will make more sense to launch this at that time!
  • Be fully present and open-hearted for the Making Things Happen conference
    • Oh, y’all. This conference. It totally rocked my world in the best possible way. I’m still processing and figuring out how to implement all that I learned, but I’m so thankful for everyone I met and for the incredible speakers. I’d highly recommend this experience if you’re on the hunt for a conference to attend!

And now onto April. Let me preface this by saying that I laid out my goals at the beginning of the month and have been making some great progress; I just haven’t posted them here until now! I wanted to say that in case you’re thinking that I’m totally crazy for trying to accomplish all of this in the next two weeks.

  • Begin a (slightly modified version of the) contentment challenge
  • Complete three books of the Bible
  • Get wedding rings resized
    • This is something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Can’t wait for them to properly fit!
  • Attend two networking events
    • I’m trying to make this a regular practice, so I’m putting this here to hold myself accountable.
  • Go on a date with Kate
    • Life moves pretty fast (said in my best Ferris Bueller voice), so we want to spend some intentional time together in the coming weeks. Event though we’ll be together a lot this summer, we don’t want to put this off until then!
  • Finalize + share our trip itinerary
    • It will feel so good to have this completed. Can’t wait to get the final puzzle pieces into place.
  • Book a storage unit
    • Even though we’re not leaving until the end of May, since we live in an area with so many colleges, there’s more of a sense of urgency with this to find one before they’re all booked!
  • Schedule Groupon activities
    • A carry over from last month.

What about you? What have you been working toward so far this month? How did March go? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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March Goals

March 2015 Goal Setting

The photo above reminds me so much of the promise this season holds. Spring (and new beginnings) is just around the corner, friends!

It’s a few days into March, but I’m showing myself grace and acknowledging that done is better than perfect when it comes to getting these goals posted. The past few weeks have been filled to the brim between work, travelling to Connecticut to work with a client and visit with family + friends, and spending time with Kate. I feel like I’ve barely had time to catch my breath this week before heading to Georgia this weekend to give a presentation as a volunteer with my sorority! Even in these busy times, I’ve just felt so grateful to be able to choose my schedule and to be able to say “yes” when fun and exciting opportunities arise.

Before jumping into this month’s goals, here’s a recap of how things went last month:

  • Set a household budget + use cash for allotted categories

    • Yes! I took over tracking our budget and got serious about using Mint to categorize and keep tabs on our expenses. This was a tremendous help! We also had a
  • Book campsites for our road trip
    • Yes! We booked campsites at many of the National Parks we’ll be visiting (more on this soon, I promise!). Some have still not opened reservations, but we have reminders scheduled in our calendar for when they do!
  • Contact friends + family with whom we’d like to stay on our road trip
    • Yes! We’ve contacted friends and family for the first half of our trip. We are still trying to finalize the schedule for the second half, so once we do, we’ll contact those folks!
  • Research airbnb options for the rest of our trip
    • Both Kate and I have been researching options for spots to stay and have kept a running list of some of our favorites. We’re hoping to start booking them this month!
  • Meet with two small business owners to connect
    • I actually met with three lovely ladies this past month (Ellie of Hello Tenfold, Annie of Greatest Story Creative, and Jessie of Jessie Gladdek Photography). It was so fantastic to catch up and get advice from other small business owners. I’ve also got a few fun projects up my sleeves with some of these gals, so I’ll be sharing more as those develop. P.s. if you’re a small business owner in the Triangle, drop me a line! I’d love to get to know each other over a cup of coffee!
  • Read one organizing book
    • No. I started one, but didn’t complete it. I realized that right now, I really want to focus on gaining some more business knowledge, so that’s where I’ll be focusing my energy for the time being.
  • Research + start book on finding clients
    • Yes! I have a long list of books on marketing, advertising, and business to dive into. I started Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership and am planning to finish that up in the coming month. While it isn’t specifically about finding new clients, I gained some great ideas in that area, which I’m excited to start implementing.
  • Create calendar for blog + start posting regularly
    • Hooray! My goal is to post, on average, twice a week, which I met. I’m excited to carry this forward into March! I’d love to know what you’d like to hear about on here, though, so that I can make these posts as beneficial as possible.
  • Only purchase clothing to replace ones that no longer fit
    • Mostly. I bought some new exercise clothes and jeans to purchase ones that were too big, but definitely bought more than I “needed.”
  • Complete Whole30 + decide on food plan going forward
    • We successfully finished Whole30 and the reintroduction of the non-compliant food groups. So proud of that accomplishment! We have a loose plan on how we’d like to eat moving forward, but need to really buckle down to implement this.
  • Plan two group events with friends
    • We had a really fun day playing board games with friends, and purchased a Groupon to a local ziplining place for some sort of swing that they have set up.
  • Finish scanning family memorabilia
    • Nope. I’m still working on this and came back from Connecticut with even more photographs and other items to scan and share with family members. I really want to get through all of this before we leave for our road trip!

Overall, I’m really proud of what got done this past month! I also checked off nearly all of the weekly goals that I set up, which made me feel much more focused and purposeful.

And with that, here are my goals for this month:

  • Go for a hike with Kate
    • Now that the weather’s getting warmer, I want to prioritize getting out into nature and soaking up some sunshine.
  • Host budget meetings with Kate as needed
    • We’ve tried scheduling weekly meetings to go over our budget in the past to mixed success, but this past month we had a few, and they have been so helpful! I’ve scheduled them in our calendar, added things I wanted to discuss to the notes, and then we made sure we made them happen.
  • Spend one weekend social media-free
    • I’ve been making excuses for not doing this, which is a sign to me that it needs to be a priority. Any tips you have on this would be much appreciated!
  • Volunteer twice in the community
    • In addition to volunteering with my sorority this coming weekend, I’m looking forward to continue being involved with service through our church and Junior League.
  • Schedule Groupon activities
    • In addition to the ziplining Groupon, I also got one for doing a brewery tour with Kate, and another for getting my car cleaned, so I want to be sure these things happen before they expire!
  • Continue road trip planning
    • I’m so excited to keep making reservations and plans to see friends and family while we’re on our trip.
  • Attend two networking events
    • Meeting new people has been the best way to connect with potential clients, so I want to continue putting myself out there.
  • Finish EntreLeadership and start a second business book
  • Finalize my business giving plan and add giving section to website
    • I’ve been sponsoring events for local non-profits, but I want to make charitable giving an even bigger part of my business. If you have done this and have any tips, I’m all ears!
  • Be fully present and open-hearted for the Making Things Happen conference
    • This has been a big dream of mine for several years now, and I am so excited to finally attend. I really want to make the most of my time there and get the most out of it I possibly can!

What about you? I can’t wait to hear how your past month went and what you have on tap for the coming weeks!

Organizing My Whole 30 Food Plan

organizing whole 30 food plan

As I’ve mentioned several times on Instagram over the past few weeks, Kate and I decided to try the Whole 30 food program over the past month. For those of you not familiar, this basically meant lots of produce, lean proteins and healthy fats. It also meant being asked more than once by grocery store clerks if I was “cooking for a crowd.” Nope, just our family of two! With our food choices relatively limited, I also had to put my organizing skills to good use to make sure we always had plan-approved meals at the ready, even when our schedules got busy.

Overall it was a difficult but worthwhile experience! I felt abundant energy, slept really well, and lost nearly 20 pounds(!). I also had some crazy cravings and points where I just couldn’t really stomach any. more. meat. Since our 30 days just wrapped up on Tuesday, Kate suggested that I share a bit about the experience, and I thought I would add in some tips that helped keep us organized during the month.

Things I Learned from Whole 30

  • I can do hard things
    • This has been my unofficial mantra so far this year! It has been really motivating to push my limits and  see that I can successfully do things outside of my comfort zone. Foregoing sugar, most carbs and gluten for a month? Definitely not easy, but super empowering!
  • Willpower is a muscle that you can flex
    • For me, these whole 30 days were a huge exercise in willpower. It made me realize how frequently I’d been stopping by Starbucks or grabbing chips + guac just because I could. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that not being able to do those things any more really challenged my willpower. This was such a valuable awareness for me to being building, and has caused me to shift my thinking about needs versus wants in this arena moving forward.
  • Food is fuel
    • This seems a bit trite to say, but I’d never really applied this phrase to my own relationship with food. Food instead was a comfort, pleasure, source of energy, or way to bond with others. I won’t lie and say that I’m totally perfect (because, hello, this was 30 days over the course of over 27 years!), but I’m starting to see how food really impacts my mood, energy, sleep and more. While food can sometimes be the things I listed above, I feel a lot better when I’m using it to fuel my body.
  • Spices can make a huge difference
    • Cooking foods that were well-seasoned really made a huge difference! We bought a ton of spices and always enjoyed meals more when they were prominently featured. There were so many times when fresh basil, garlic powder, or cumin really made all the difference in terms of how it tasted. This is definitely something we want to continue moving forward!
  • Sugar is sneaky
    • As we are currently reintroducing foods that we had eliminated over the past 30 days, yesterday was the first time I had my favorite soy latte from Starbucks (pictured above). I would normally get some sort of flavored syrup added, but thought I would try a few sips before adding any additional sweetener. I was amazed at how much my palate had changed in just 30 days! The plain latte (with soy milk that is surely already sweetened) was nearly too sweet by itself. I can’t believe how much sugar I previously thought I “needed” in order to find coffee drinks appetizing. This realization definitely makes me want to

How We Stayed Organized During Our Whole 30

  • Re-learn your grocery store
    • As the one who does meal planning + grocery shopping in our household, I thought I knew my favorite grocery stores well. I knew what times to go to avoid crazy crowds, where my regular products were located, and how to organize my grocery list in order of store layout. However, when it came to buying foods that fell within the Whole 30 plan guidelines, I was fairly clueless. For my first shopping trip to prepare for Whole 30, I enlisted Kate and blocked out plenty of time on our calendars so that we wouldn’t feel rushed. We took things slowly, allowing for lots of asking sales associates where items were located and using our phones to Google random added ingredients, like “citric acid + Whole 30,” to see whether they were permitted.
    • This was so helpful! It really allowed me to familiarize myself with the program and products that were going to work well for us in the coming weeks. I would highly recommend going to the store at a time when it won’t be crowded so you won’t feel (more) overwhelmed or rushed.
  • Look at your calendar
    • When I sit down to meal plan for the week ahead, I make sure to look over our calendar to see what events we have that might take us outside of the home for a meal. Although you can eat out during Whole 30, I honestly found the prospect pretty stressful, so I opted to eat before or after events that took place in the evenings. For things like the Super Bowl, Kate and I brainstormed things we would like to have that would fit in with this food plan and made sure we would have time to make them ahead of time to bring along.
    • It was also crucial to carve out time to cook within our schedules. Utilizing our calendars meant that we could plan when to make the bulk of our meals for the week, and also to figure out what evenings we wouldn’t be home during the week, so we could be sure to have something already prepared to eat.
  • Meal plan
    • I use the meal planning worksheets from Emily Ley’s Home Base Binder and highly recommend them, but really any meal planning sheet you use is just fine. My binder sits on a shelf right next to my desk, so when it’s time to meal plan, I can just pull it out and get to work!
    • I will share a more in-depth post on meal planning in the future if you’d like (let me know!), but here’s my basic process: I meal plan and grocery shop on Fridays so that we’ll have meals from Friday dinner through lunch the following Friday. This way we’ll have some new and exciting meals for the weekend, which keeps me from being as tempted to eat out! For Whole 30, I went to two grocery stores each week: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. They are actually the two grocery stores that are closest to where we currently live (#spoiled) and have a fantastic selection. I was able to get most items we needed each week at Trader Joe’s, with a few specialty items and cuts of meat from Whole Foods.
    • Pinterest has been such a huge God-send in my Whole 30 meal planning process! I created a board of Whole 30-friendly recipes and would pull it up each week to decide what we’d be eating. Any time I came across a recipe that sounded tasty, I could add it here and have everything in one central location. I really can’t emphasize enough what a huge help this was to keep me on track during the Whole 30 plan.
  • Stash freezer meals
    • Although the predicted serving amounts of the recipes we made were usually accurate, sometimes we ended up with more food than we had anticipated. Whenever this happened, I would put the extra servings in the freezer. I’d then add a note on a post-it into my meal planning binder to remind myself of what we had set aside (i.e. 2 servings butternut squash lasagna; 6 turkey burgers). These meals were great to fill into times when we would be busy but needing to eat, like when Kate was doing trivia with friends and I had a Junior League meeting.

Goodness, this post has shaped up to be a bit longer than I had originally intended! Right now we’re in the process of reintroducing foods into our diets that we had eliminated to see if any cause adverse reactions. Based on this, Kate and I are planning to figure out a way of eating that works for us moving forward. But I’d love to hear in the meantime: have you done Whole 30 or paleo before? Either way, what are some of your favorite ways to stay organized when it comes to meal planning?

January + February Goals

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As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve combined my goals so that they will span the remainder of January through the end of February. I’m really excited to make progress on these items by working hard and resting well.

  • Set a household budget + use cash for allotted categories
  • Book campsites for our road trip
  • Contact friends + family with whom we’d like to stay on our road trip
  • Research airbnb options for the rest of our trip
  • Meet with two small business owners to connect
  • Read one organizing book
  • Research + start book on finding clients
  • Create calendar for blog + start posting regularly
  • Only purchase clothing to replace ones that no longer fit
  • Complete Whole30 + decide on food plan going forward
  • Plan two group events with friends
  • Finish scanning family memorabilia

Alongside these, I have several weekly goals:

  • Meal plan + grocery shop
  • Have one tv-free night per week with Kate
  • Exercise a majority of days
  • Attend church and/or Bible study
  • Exercise 1x/week with a friend
  • Call my mom
  • Spend at least 30 minutes scanning

I hope that focusing time and attention on these goals will help me make progress on the things that matter most. Now your turn! Dish: what are your goals for this month?

2015 Goals

Lara Casey January 1 Quote

Image via Lara Casey

I know that we’re a few weeks into 2015 already, but I’ve felt like I just needed a bit more time to figure out a plan for the year ahead. I’ve been using my friend Lara Casey’s PowerSheets, and they have been such a tremendous help in this process, as well as her book and blog posts on goal setting. This has also been the first year that I’ve really spent time asking God what He wants me to tackle in the year ahead, and how I can best bring glory to Him. This week we had a guest pastor at church, and his sermon was about this exact topic, which made me even more fired up to make what I’ve outlined below happen!

2015 Goals

  • Have a strong relationship with God + feel strengthened in my knowledge of Him and His plan for my life.
  • Be physically fit + vibrantly healthy so that I can actively + energetically use this gift of life God has given me.
  • Nourish my body well and give it the fuel + rest it needs to function at its best, keeping my cravings focused on God, not food.
  • Spend purposeful + intentional time together with Kate to keep our marriage a top priority even when things get busy or stressful.
  • Put time, energy + effort into securing clients to build my business.
  • Ensure that all of my actions + activities related to Honey Hive Home are thoughtful + accurately portray who I am as a person + business owner.
  • Act as a good steward of the blessings with which God has entrusted us, setting + adhering to a budget, caring for what we have, coveting less and giving well.
  • Be disciplined in my daily routine, making time for what matters + honoring the boundaries I want to implement.
  • Build + grow deep friendships focused on encouragement, support + fun.
  • Actively pursue adventure + say ‘yes’ to trying new things outside my comfort zone.

Honestly, I’m resisting the urge to share paragraph-long explanations and justifications about each of these, so just know that these goals come from my heart. My word for 2015 that I want to focus on is discipline, and I really want to bring this to all areas of my life, while still having fun.

I actually took a break from sharing my monthly goals last year, because I didn’t feel like they were really connecting most with my overall plans, but I would now like to share what I’m focused on each month for a mix of accountability and inspiration. I’m hoping that’s something you won’t mind me posting! Since I finalized my goals last week, I decided to combine the months of January + February for my monthly goal setting, so my plan is to share those next week.

I’d love to hear: what are your goals for this year? Do you have a word picked out? Or do you refrain from goal setting altogether?

September Goals

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I can’t believe that September is already here! It sounds cliche, but summer really did fly by. Although I’m trying to live in the present, I can’t help but start to long for cooler temperatures here in North Carolina. With a ten day trip smack dab in the middle of the month to work on a client project and visit family in Connecticut, I have no doubt that September will fly by just as quickly. I’m publicly posting these goals to make sure that I keep working toward things that matter the most. Similar posts like these from Nancy Ray and Em for Marvelous have always inspired me, so I’m hoping you will enjoy these as well!

Without further adieu, here’s what I intend on doing this month:

  • Start blog for Honey Hive Home (check!) and post three times per week
  • Begin business outreach plan
  • Volunteer at least once
  • Drink at least 64 oz. of water/day (this has become so much harder since I began working from home)
  • Average 7,000 steps/day on my FitBit
  • Start planning for Kate’s 35th birthday in November
  • Decorate our home for fall (the new door decor I made above is just part of what I’ve got up my sleeve!)
  • Book travel arrangements for the holidays
  • Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch
  • Host a football game watch party with friends

What are your plans for this month?