I don’t know about you but once fall season rolls around I’m all about leaving the pastels back at home taking a rest and gearing up for a good mall-stroll. Ya’ know, or at least a good window shopping session, to gather some wardrobe inspiration. And you know what? Even the blacks and the maroons don’t seem nearly as interesting anymore. There’s something so fresh about emerald green. It’s almost like we’re bringing a little bit of summer with us throughout the fall and the winter; boycotting not seeing this beautiful hue in nature anymore. I saw these boots and went bonkers! Happy shopping!
We’ve all been there. By the time lunch hour hits we’ve already replied to 20 emails, been to two meetings, scheduled ourselves crazy for the rest of the week, and are left wondering where on earth the time went when we have absolutely no time to catch New Girl on Netflix at night. (Because, let’s be real, those are the small things we’re looking forward to…) The time went where it usually does, you just snoozed by on a caffeine-laden, to-do-smothered frenzy that leaves you feeling dissatisfied and a little anxious at not being able to enjoy small things on a daily-basis!
We’ll never be able to enjoy the small things if we constantly treat our day-to-day like a marathon we just can’t finish. Because let’s be real, you can’t do it all, so why do we even try? The best thing to do is to really organize, prioritize and declutter our lives to make room for the small things that make the day-to-day much better. At the end of the day, whenever it’s truly time to tackle that to-do list we’ll be much more energized. Here are some tips!
1. Wake up earlier and drink your coffee in peace
Before you sit down with your agenda, or your crazy schedule, just take a break. You haven’t done anything yet, but take a break. Set the tone for a relaxed, yet productive, day by taking things one at a time, and not sending your brain into overdrive as soon as you get out of bed.
2. Go for a walk during lunch time
Usually by lunch time we’ve done the bulk of our work day. We’ve have had however-many calls and emails answered to, we’ve scheduled meetings, and hauled through some big projects. So by the time lunch time rolls around, slow down by taking a walk and listening to your favorite podcast, or catching up on that latest novel on your kindle that you can never seem to get around to.
3. Make it a point to listen to music
I don’t know about you, but listening to my favorite jams throughout the day makes me feel more upbeat and puts me in a ready-to-work mood. Make it a point to listen to your Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist on your commute or put your headphones on as you’re making dinner.
4. For every focused hour of work, check your Instagram feed.
Or whatever else you use to distract yourself from your workload. ;) Usually for me it is Instagram, but feel free to check out that blog you’ve been dying to read, or looking up movie information on IMDB, etc. The point is that we can’t just grind and grind all day without giving our brains a break here and there!
5. Set up a time to disconnect from your inbox
A common mistake we all make is checking our inbox all throughout the day and night. That’s to say that as we are trying to focus on the latest episode of House of Cards, we’re still wired to our duties, which makes it so much harder to concentrate on a moment of recess. In order to slow down your day, just set a time in the evening when you stop checking that inbox, and just leave things to be worked out tomorrow.
6. Make dinner
Making dinner is a nice divide between a work day and down time at home. And even better, looking through recipes and deciding what tonight’s dinner will be usually a nice pick-me-up!
7. Read before you turn off the lights
Nothing says “bedtime” more than reading a nice book you can’t get around to throughout the day right before you hit the sack. Make it a point to not be bringing in your phone/ipad/laptop and just slow down with a nice read!
8. Do your nails, straighten your bangs, put on some face mask!
Whenever I feel like I’m stressed out with school work or my job, I like to come home and forget all about it for a little while. Nothing is better than pampering yourself a little with a nice pedicure/manicure or just slathering on some face mask and unwinding for a bit with a box of cookies (Maybe the cookies are just me…). You’re doing double duty of taking it easy and getting ready to rock & roll tomorrow.
9. Reach out to friends and family
When that latest assignment is making you want to pull your hair, just stop and Facetime your mom/best friend/spouse/whatever for 15 minutes. Make it a point to not only catch up with your loved ones, but also make time for you. It’ll do you good, and when you sit back down you’ll feel a bit more reenergized.
10. Take a deep breath. Take a nap.
Nothing screams “slowing down” like taking a sitting down with a good coffee and taking a deep breath, or heck, taking a nap if you can afford it! It can be difficult to tune things out throughout the day, but at least taking a deep breath will give you a minute to find your center and rethink your approach.
How are you planning on slowing down your day today?
Guys, I’ve been keeping a secret from you. While I’ve been working away at Spitfiregirl and SpitfireMom I’ve also been working on another passion project (yes, another!). Sparked in part by my speaking engagements at Altitude Summit this past year, and in part just from seeing a need. You see, I’ve been in this game for a LONG time. I’m not saying that to brag, but it’s really just fact. Over 20 years in the design world, and you learn a few things about what works and what doesn’t, with a company’s brand.
Enter my dear friend and collaborator Myrna Plaisir Daramy of Mezzohead Media. You may not recognize her name, but trust me – some of the top wedding, luxury and lifestyle brands sure do. Myrna is the Chief Technology Officer of Mark Ingram Atelier, and provides digital and SEO strategy to clients like Say Yes To The Dress star Randy Fenoli, and fashion designer Anne Barge to name just a few. I call her my “not so secret” SEO weapon. After years of working together on client projects, we have joined forces to provide affordable Brand and SEO Audits to businesses looking for guidance and clarity on their digital brand. I’m so excited to introduce:
As we’ve seen often, many business owners are unsure how to strengthen the look, feel, and function of their website. They may be unsure if their site is optimized properly for search engines, or if their website is attracting their ideal customer. We audit and provide branding and SEO direction with tailored expertise. We are honest and clear about what’s working for your brand…and what’s not. Together, we find out what you can do better – from design to development and every pixel in-between.
Our full site is launching soon. In the meantime, join our mailing list for updates, specials and tips on how to empower and improve YOUR brand!
Heidi & Myrna
I’ve been back at home for about two weeks now following my short break between summer classes and fall classes at Syracuse University! No matter how many times I’ve been back home, Puerto Rico never ceases to induce butterflies in my stomach and make me feel like a little girl at a candy shop. There can never be too much beach, or sun, or shopping, or dancing!
I typically visit every holiday season and sometime during the summer. Traveling to Puerto Rico is pretty inexpensive (we are not considered international, after all!) so I always make it my excuse that I just need to spend time with family, which is true! But let’s be real, I certainly enjoy the warm weather, the food, the coffee, and salsa music, too!
I don’t get to see all my favorite spots every time I come (some are farther away from the metropolitan area, where I live, than others!), but I certainly always come with the intention. Regardless, here are my favorite spots to hang out in when I come! I definitely encourage you to make us the host of your next family vacation, honeymoon, or whatever! ;)
Where can you picture yourself at?!
This year has been one of amazing professional growth. From speaking at Alt Summit, sharing my story at XeroCon, and even filming a series of branding videos with Astrobrights, I’ve been putting myself out in the public eye, and out of my comfort zone. Sharing how I got started, how I run my business, and how to stay fresh and relevant in this ever-changing world of branding and design. But I must admit that I’m most excited (and proud) of an event coming up in just under four months – The Coterie Retreat!
The Coterie Retreat is a luxury business summit for wedding and lifestyle experts to connect and grow both professionally and personally. Imagine 3 days of powerful speakers (Mindy Weiss! Mark Ingram! Diann Valentine!), workshops, panels, parties, and plenty of networking with industry peers. If you’re looking to take your creative business to new heights, this is the conference to be at. Did I also mention it’s in Barbados??? mmm, yeah.
My dear friend and SEO powerhouse Myrna Daramy and I will be speaking on How to Create, Market & Manage Your Digital Brand. With over 15 years in the wedding and lifestyle industries, we are honest and clear about what’s working for your brand…and what’s not, providing branding and SEO direction with tailored expertise. Together, we find out what you can do better – from design to development and every pixel in-between. Our panel is sure to get you motivated to improve your digital brand!
Unable to attend Coterie? No problem…you can still get the help you need by contacting us with our new consulting business – Your Digital Stylists. If you’re interested in learning about our affordable and highly effective consulting packages – please let us know! The YDS website will be launching VERY soon.
And if you’re interested in attending the Coterie Retreat – register here. Final registration ends THIS WEEK!
See you in Barbados!
Whether we like it or not, the end of summer is approaching fast and we better spend it well, filling our hands with the produce that will only get more expensive and harder to find once fall rolls around! Make this the perfect excuse to host a dinner outdoors and invite friends and family!
1. Oven-Roasted Ratatouille by Chocolate & Zucchini
As squash begins to become in-season, this dish is the perfect reason why you should throw in all end-of-summer vegetables and let them mingle with the in-season ones! There’s little better than the throw-and-go kind of dinner. ;)
2. Summer Garden Pasta by Barefoot Contessa
The best way to take full advantage of end-of-season tomatoes is by roasting a bunch and throwing them with some linguine pasta! I’m always surprised at how flavorful they are when cooked.
3. One-Pot Lemon Orzo Shrimp by Damn Delicious
There’s little better than a one-pot-wonder! You can take advantage and throw in all your favorite vegetables in there.
4. Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes by Skinny Taste
For those of you that don’t really like to clean, this one’s for you. Lean Italian chicken sausage with summer bell peppers and zucchini sauteed with baby red potatoes and fresh herbs.
5. Herby Chicken Chili Pot by Land O’ Lakes
If you have an herb garden on your backyard, this dish will take full advantage. The dish is a chockfull of fresh veggies found at the end of summer.
Which of these will you be serving?
Over the past few years, wallpaper has had quite the resurgence. Yes, the obvious geometrics and stereotypical granny prints have been around forever. However lately, my pinterest board has been exploding with the lushest of florals, the softest of ombre watercolors, rorschach-inspired designs, and illustrations so unique you’d think someone snuck into your house to paint them. In short, I’m talking works of art.
Since I’m perpetually on the hunt for patterns, texture and illustration inspiration, I thought you might be too! Are these a commitment of time and money? Absolutely. Is it for the faint of heart? Of course not. But if you’re a rebel (or a Spitfiregirl), I suggest taking a look and start planning your own wall of heaven.
PS: Even renters have options – though, I’ve not tested any of these myself. Apartment Therapy created a list of 10 resources for removable wallpaper here.