Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Blogging Consistently with a Full Time Job

Blogging consistently can be a struggle. I've found it to be much more difficult to blog consistently with a full time job than I found it to be in college. I didn't publish any new posts last month and over the past year I've found a few weeks where I'm consistent, then I'll be gone for a few weeks, then come back to blogging.

It's so frustrating because when you blog inconsistently it makes it a LOT more difficult to feel connected to other bloggers and the blogging community, to grow your own blog, and to feel like your blog is improving.

In an attempt to myself, and hopefully a few other bloggers out there, here are some ways to blog more consistently.


Tips for Blogging Consistently with a Full Time Job



Set aside time for blogging

I used to always set aside the evenings as a time to watch TV and blog and it worked well, so I am going to try to go back to this. I know a lot of people set aside time on the weekends to catch up on blogging. Find a system that works for you so that you can have time to write, take and edit photos, schedule promos, and all the other admin tasks that come with blogging.


Create a posting schedule

It's easier to blog consistently when you have a posting schedule. I've had several posting schedules in the past and have cut it down to once a week, since that's what's most manageable for me right now. My goal is to have a new post up each Tuesday at 9 am. Having that goal (or posting schedule) in my mind helps me stay motivated to create a new blog post every week and the deadline keeps me from procrastinating...most of the time 😉


Blog about what interests you

After working all day, if you come home to blog and the post in your drafts doesn't interest you, it's really difficult to find the inspiration to finish that post. Don't feel like you have to finish every post you start working on or like you have to blog about a certain topic just because it's in your niche, its popular, or whatever. Blog about what you're interested in and what inspires you to write. It will show in the post and make blogging much more enjoyable for you!


Disconnect from work

If, like me, you can turn into a workaholic, make it a point to disconnect from work. Turn work email notifications off your phone, don't bring extra papers home from work, and set some boundaries. Work hard when you're in the office, but when you leave switch modes so you can take care of you and the other aspects of who your life. No one will die if they don't receive a response over the weekend or if you're presentation isn't perfect.


Support other bloggers

This is what I miss the most when I'm blogging inconsistently, because if I'm not blogging myself, I tend to not be reading and supporting other bloggers. This just creates a bigger spiral though of not blogging, being uninspired and not knowing what to blog about, and feeling disconnected from the blogging community. Even if you're blogging super inconsistently, make it a point to continue to support other bloggers by reading their posts, sharing their blogs, liking their social media posts, and talking with them.


I hope this post was helpful! Let me know in the comments how you blog consistently with a full time job and if you have any tips!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How To Be Productive When Working From Home

Working from home is the dream for many people. But it doesn't come without it's challenges! I have a full time job for most of the year, but I'm taking the summer off to work at home on creating a curriculum for my middle school Spanish program (yay!) and updating this blog and hopefully making it better. I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned to help you be more productive when working from home.


Tips for being productive from home



Find Your Spot

Find where you work best. For some people it's a coffee shop (this doesn't work for me at all) and for some people (like me) it's the living room couch and other people have a proper office area set up with a cute desk and chair. You might have to experiment a bit, but find where you focus best and get more work done. 


Use the Pomodoro Technique

This technique is so helpful for me, especially when I'm struggling to focus. It's easy(ish) to convince myself to focus on a task for just 25 minutes instead of feeling like it's some huge job that I have to spend hours doing. Once I get started working on the project, those 25 minutes go by so fast and I get a lot done since I know I only have 25 minutes to do it (obviously, you can work on the project for another "pomodoro"). 

Then once my timer goes off on my phone, I take a little 5-10 minute break to read a blog post, water plants, or play with the cat. Having that built in break really helps to keep the day from feeling like it's dragging on and to keep my energy up. If you want to learn more about what the pomodoro technique is and how to use it, check out this page.


Create (and stick to) a Routine

My ideal routine that I'm always going for is to wake up, make my bed, do 30 minutes of yoga, shower, eat breakfast and read for 10 minutes before getting started on work. Doesn't that just sound like the perfect morning? I always feel great mentally and physically when I do this.

For me, creating the routine is the easy part. What I'm awful at sticking to a routine. I'm always trying to get into the habit of following the routine above and usually manage to follow through with it a couple times a week. And trust me I feel much better when I follow this routine than those days when I wake up, think about getting up and doing the routine, then roll over and go back to sleep. 


Plan Your Day

Find a way to plan your day whether that be a to do list, a daily focus, or an hour by hour schedule. For me, a to do list works well. I tend to make a giant list of things to do each week and then prioritize those tasks each day to create my daily to do list. 

I put the 3 most important tasks down on my daily list first. If I accomplish those tasks and still have time, I'll add to my to do list. If not, I know I got done what I needed to do that day and can feel good about it. 3 things might sound sparse, but I've read that you should plan 3 main tasks to do each day because little things always come up that take your time away from those tasks.


Find Your Inspiration

Working from home can be really isolating both relationship wise and inspiration wise. While I don't have the relationship part figured out (leave a comment if you do), but I have found some ways to stay inspired in your work. What I do to get inspired depends on what I need that day, but my go-tos are reading blogs about what you do, listening to podcasts, and getting outside for a walk. 

Reading blogs helps me get tons of ideas for what I want to do and how I could improve what I already have. Listening to podcasts like GirlBoss Radio is inspiring as you listen to stories of success and how they started and grew their businesses. Getting outside for a walk is good because 1) you leave your house for a bit and 2) you can let your mind wander and rest a bit so you're rejuvenated when you come back to work.


What do you do to be more productive? Are you going to try any of these ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

August Favorites No. 2

This past year of blogging has been so on-again, off-again. I'll start blogging and feel great about it, then stop when life gets too crazy and then wonder if I should keep up with this. But I really enjoy writing and sharing it here! So I keep coming back to this place once things seem to calm down again and I feel a bit inspired.

I haven't blogged in over a month, when I started getting ready for school. I procrastinated getting ready for school until the very end of July. And from there it was meetings and the first few weeks of school. Starting school up felt good and I'm very happy with where I'm at. Hopefully it stays that way!


A few favorites from August 2017


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

8 Ways to be Happier

Being happier is a goal most of us are striving for. I think this is great thing to strive for, no matter how elusive it may be. It pushes us to become better versions of ourselves and evaluate what we're doing and why.

When I think of living a happy life, I don't think it means being happy 100% of the time, or even 90%. I think living a happy life means that you choose a positive outlook and attitude, you incorporate activities and routines into your life that make you enjoy, and in the end the happy moments outweigh the bad ones. Today I'm sharing a few ways you can add more happy moments to your life.


8 Ways to be Happier


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Top Advice for Bloggers

Let me start this by saying, I decided to research "how to start a blog" after writing my first draft of this post and it was so scary. Looking at all the things different blogs tell you you have to do to have a successful blog made me want to quit. It's so overwhelming.

I realize I might just be adding to that feeling, but my hope is that this post, based on my own experiences with blogging, will help new and seasoned bloggers alike. These are some of the best pieces of advice I've come across and lessons I've learned over nearly 3 years of blogging.

As you read through this list and any others you may come across, remember there is no magic formula for creating a blog and there is also no guarantee that you will become a full-time blogger making tons of money. More than likely, blogging will be a hobby for a long time that brings in only a little bit of extra money. That's okay!

Alright, enough with this intro and let's get on to my top pieces of advice for bloggers!


Top Advice for New & Seasoned Bloggers



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June Favorites No. 2

*Affiliate links may be used in this post, but all opinions are my own. For more information, please check out my Terms & Conditions.

Hello! (I never start my posts off like that, but I just felt like it for whatever reason and I'm going with it) I didn't post a monthly favorites last month because it was a super busy month for me. In May I went on a weekend trip with my best friend to Las Vegas, finished up my first semester as a teacher (what!?), packed up my classroom so I could move from the Jr./Sr. High to the Middle School in August, and moved apartments so I would be closer to my school. Busy!

This month has been MUCH more relaxed. I didn't get a summer job so I have been able to relax, focus on my blog, and figure out how to set up a middle school Spanish curriculum. I've been enjoying this month and having so much freedom.


A few of my favorites from June 2017


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Things To Do In Vegas

In May my friend and I went on a trip that we she had been planning tirelessly for months. She's been to Vegas several times which was a plus as she already knew a lot. I was able to rely on her to plan an awesome weekend trip. I thought I would pass on this knowledge and possibly help you plan a trip there as well. Keep reading for my top 5 things to do while you're in Las Vegas!



5 things to do in Vegas (besides gambling)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top College Organization Posts

It's been awhile since I've posted about college, but I thought I would shine a light on all those college posts I've written over the past 2 1/2 years. Today I'm sharing a round up of my best college organization posts.




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Life After College & Blogging Frustrations

I have 30 blog post ideas on my phone, but I just don't feel inspired to write any of them. A few weeks ago I was so excited for summer and hoping to write and publish more blog posts here, but now I am just feeling so disconnected from blogging and the blogging world. 

This is a bit depressing as I have so enjoyed blogging over the past 2 1/2 years. I feel part of the problem is that I started as a college lifestyle blogger. Now that I'm done with undergrad I'm not as interested in blogging about college, but don't really know where to go with my content.



thoughts on life after college and the blogging community


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Thoughts on Instagram

Ever since Instagram switched their feed from chronological to whatever this algorithm is, it seems like Instagram has gone from everyone's favorite social media to least favorite. While I'm not a fan of the changes, I still enjoy using Instagram and thought I'd share why.


4 reasons why I still like Instagram, despite the recent changes


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sunken Gardens | Photo Diary

I love spring and all the flowers it brings. The best place to enjoy all the flowers and beauty of spring is at Sunken Gardens. I went there one day last month with my brother and have finally gotten all of the photos together to share with you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

photos of spring flowers at sunken gardens

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ways to Be More Creative

Being creative is something that always makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I've been trying to do something creative everyday. It doesn't have to be painting a canvas or drawing a portrait to be creative. There are so many little ways to be more creative everyday. If you're looking to be more creative, look through this list for a few ways to add some creativity to your everyday life.


ways to be more creative everyday



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Personal Projects I Want to Do

I've always thought it's important to have personal projects to do outside of school or work. Sadly, last semester I felt so overwhelmed by everything from finishing college to getting certified that I did not give myself any time to work on personal projects. Now that I've got my job and have settled in to it, I've been giving myself more time to work on personal projects and it feels so good. For me,  these personal projects are a part of my self-care as they are things I'm doing for me and things that I enjoy doing. If you're in need of some inspiration for your own personal projects or just like being a bit nosy, here are the personal projects I am working or want to start working on.


Sharing a few personal projects I'm currently working on


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April Favorites No. 2

April is the first full month of spring and it has been so great to see all the signs of spring popping up everywhere - flowers blooming, little green leaves on the trees, and spotting bunnies and butterflies all over.


My favorites from April



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Maintaining Long Distance Friendships

After going to college out of state and then returning back to my home state, I have found that many of my friends live far away from me. Luckily, it doesn't have to mean that our friendships are over. Here are a few ways to keep long distant friendships alive.


5 Ways to Keep Long Distance Friendships Alive


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

25 Things To Do For Your Blog

It always seems like there's a ton of things to do for your blog. From writing posts to social media, there are so many things that go into keeping your blog up and running. Here's a list of 25 things to do for your blog.


Things to do for your blog | blogging to do list


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

20 Things To Do This Weekend

I always end up doing the same things on the weekend - sleep in, netflix, clean a bit, visit my parents. Sometimes it's good to switch things up, so I made a list of 20 things to do this weekend. I hope this helps if you're looking to do something a bit different this weekend than your usual weekend routine.


20 things to do to switch up your weekend routine



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Favorites No. 2

I have felt so creative and inspired this month. I know looking at my blog you might be questioning this, but that's because I've put a lot of my creative energy towards my job. I love reading about different people's ideas for teaching and creating my own materials and plans. I've had so many different ideas, been putting them together, and sharing them with my students. It's been turning out great and I have kids interested in Spanish. It's great!

I've also been trying to get back into blogging after an unintentional break. I was putting a lot of my creative energy into school, which is fine. I know I won't always feel inspired, so when I am I think I should go for it and create what I can so that way when I'm not feeling creative and inspired I can just relax. But I also don't want my job to turn into the only thing I have, so I know I need to continue to put energy into this space - especially since I like it. I'm sure other people understand though how when you have two or more creative outlets, sometimes it seems like all your creative energy goes into one area and the the others get ignored a bit. Anyways, I've been reading more blog posts lately and adding more blog post ideas to the list I keep on my phone, so hopefully I'll be publishing more content here. Then I just need to start promoting posts, spending time on social media, and all those other fun admin parts of blogging :)


monthly favorites


Here's what I've been loving this month:


Music

Ed Sheeran's new album ➗ is so good! I love it! "Castle on the Hill," "Perfect," and "Galway Girl" are my top three songs from the album, but I love them all.

I've also been waiting for Lorde to put out new music for years. Pure Heroin is one of my favorite albums. I was so excited when her new song "Green Light" came out. I love it and will definitely be needing to get her new album when it comes out.


Movie

I went to my first movie of 2017, Beauty and the Beast. I was a little unsure if it would live up to the magic of the animated movie, but all that uncertainty was immediately put to rest. They did a wonderful job recreating the movie. They stayed true to the original while still making it their own. If you have not seen this yet, YOU HAVE TO!

Memories

- Finishing my first quarter class. I had a great time with my first group of 8th grade students, even if they did drive me a little nuts sometimes.
- Watching how well my new quarter class picks up what we're learning.
- Reading Disney stories with my Spanish II kids. I love being a language teacher.
- Seeing how excited my Spanish II kids were about reading a story about Lemony Snickets.
- Showing my mom my classroom when she came to see my school's musical (The Little Mermaid!)
- Spending time with my siblings who were home from college on Spring Break
- Talking on the phone with my best friend every day
- Seeing Beauty & the Beast
- The first few signs of Spring


What have you been loving this month? Any of the same things? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

7 Things To Do to Get Ahead for the Next Week

I am all about being organized. Of course, it can be really hard to stay organized all week. I usually start off pretty organized and throughout the week I just get so busy that I let it slide. Luckily, the weekends are a great time to reset and get organized for the week ahead! I love using my weekends to recuperate, rest, and then get organized for the next week. Here are a few things I (try to) do during the weekends to start Monday on the right track.


How I Use My Weekends to Get Ahead


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life Update No. 2

It's been a while - 2 weeks! I'm sorry for the silence. I love this space of the internet and being a part of the blogging community, so I've really felt guilty over this unintentional 2 week break. Guilty because I feel like I'm letting down people who read my posts (I hope there's a few of you) and for ignoring my favorite hobby. It is the worst when you just don't have any ideas for your blog and it seems like you've written about everything already. I think all bloggers feel like that from time to time, so I'm sure you can relate if you have a blog of your own.


Blogging Breaks and Feeling Inspired at Work


Saturday, March 4, 2017

February Favorites No. 2

February has been very good to me. I got to enjoy good weather in February - I had the windows open, went for a few walks, and even played outside with my little cousin. I started making some friends at work and met up with some college friends who I haven't seen in months. It's so crazy when you go from college where you see your friends every day or at least once a week to post-grad life where you're good to see each other every few months.

I also got some great news this month - I will be staying at the school I'm currently working for next year! I was hired at the very end of December for this semester, to finish out the school year, so I did not exactly have a guarantee that I would be there next year. I was so excited when they offered me a job to teach full time at the middle school next year.


February 2017 Favorites



Netflix

I love watching Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds, and true crime shows. This month I watched Killer in the Family - a short series about the psychology of people who kill their whole family. If you like true crime shows and/or Criminal Minds you would definitely like this as a (female) criminal psychologist who profiles the people who kill their families for Scotland Yard narrates the show/investigates the killers.


DVD/TV Series

I am still obsessed with Downton Abbey. I just finished season 4 of it so I'm halfway through the series. Can I just say season 3 and 4 shocked me! I was on a roller coaster of emotions.


Music

The Chainsmokers make great music. "Closer" was my song for the last part of 2016 and now I'm loving their new single "Paris." These guys have such a great sound and I always like their lyrics.

And like every other sane human, I can't get enough of Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You." Of course I love the song all on it's own because Ed is a musical genius, but then I watched the video and fell even more in love. Everything you could ask for - a guy being attracted to a strong (like physically strong) woman, diverse actors, and of course humor - in one music video. You have to check it out!





Food

I decided to try something new and made a buffalo chicken dip. It. Is. Amazing. I love it! I can just come home, pull out my container of buffalo chicken dip and some chips and have a super easy supper after work. It's so yummy! I went super simple and just combined some buffalo sauce with cream cheese and cut up chicken (or in my case, vegetarian chicken).


Memories

- Going for a walk with my younger brother.
- Watching Downton Abbey with my mom.
- Playing outside with my little cousin.
- Getting a job for next school year!


What are your favorites from this month? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

3 Little Ways to Live a (Slightly) Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalism is very attractive to me. Living a life with less stuff to take care of and clean and more time and money to go out and do things sounds amazing. While my mom and grandma complain that I don't have enough decorations and stuff in my apartment, I would love to live a much more minimalist lifestyle, because really I hoard stationary and have a bunch of "memory boxes" filled with random things I should just get rid of. But that's why we need to just start small! So here are a few tips (for you and me) to be a bit more minimalist.


3 little tips to help you live happily with less stuff


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Must Have Bullet Journal Lists

I love making lists and I write the majority of my lists in my bullet journal. I always love hearing what people keep track of in their bullet journals, so I thought I'd share what I keep track of in my bullet journal, and maybe even give you some ideas of how to use your bullet journal.


5 lists I have to have in my bullet journal

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Top Tips for Writing Blog Posts

With running a blog one of your main jobs is to write blog posts. Contrary to what some people may think, blog posts do not just write themselves and most bloggers put a lot of time and effort into writing their posts. From coming up with post ideas, thinking of ways to make the post you're writing unique to other posts on your blog and on the internet, actually writing the post, and editing - here are a few of my top tips for writing blog posts.


7 tips to help you write your best blog post ever



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

40 Things To Do When You're Stuck Inside

It seems like we're always stuck inside in winter and on all those rainy days that come with spring. Since I'm super busy with work at the moment, I don't get too bored, but I still end up finding myself doing the same things. So I thought I'd make a list of 40 things to do when stuck inside.


Bored? Here's 40 Things You Can Do Inside

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Albuquerque Photo Diary

When my family went to the Grand Canyon in December, we drove all the way there! We made a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We visited Albuquerque Old Town which has a lot of buildings from the original Spanish settlers who moved there. It is a really cool area with lots of shops. Of course I had to take a billion pictures so I thought I'd share a few of them here!


Photo diary of Old Town Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day in my Life

I know we all love being nosy, so I thought I'd share a day in my life. I didn't edit the photos, so don't be surprised by the less than Pinterest-worthy photos - buy hey, that's real life!


Take a look at a day in my life and get a glimpse at what it's like to be a teacher!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January Favorites No. 2

The first month of 2017 has come and gone! I can't believe it's already February. 

This month has been pretty crazy, but a good kind of crazy! I graduated from college in December and this month I started my first post-grad job! It was crazy how fast it all happened and I had only a week to get familiar with what I would be teaching and start planning for my first semester as a teacher. Luckily it's been a pretty easy transition and I'm loving it. Hopefully this job works out and I'll be able to stay on next year - fingers crossed! 

I've also been thinking a lot about how much better I feel mentally. If you've been reading for a while you might have noticed that I was feeling overwhelmed all fall and my depression was getting the best of me. It was not a good time for me. In December I finally went to the doctor to talk about my medication and I'm not sure if it's the change in medication, finally being done with classwork, or feeling like I have my life together now that I have a job but I am feeling a thousand times better! It's probably a combination of all those things and I'm so happy that I finally went to the doctor after months of putting it off and that the rest was able to happen. 


A few of my favorite things from January


Netflix

I have been all about the historical dramas this month. I watched two - Versailles and The Last Kingdom. I started The Last Kingdom since I really like History channel's Vikings series and this show was also about Vikings. This show is quite different though since (spoiler alert) it's about an English boy who is taken captive by Vikings and lives with them until his adoptive family is murdered. He then goes on a journey to achieve power with the English, using his knowledge of Vikings to his advantage. Pretty interesting! 

Versailles is how I filled my life with French court after I finished Reign (can't wait for the new season to start soon!). I was interested in the show anyway since it's about one of the most famous kings of France (Louis XIV) and it didn't hurt that George Blagden - who was one of my favorite characters on Vikings - plays him in this series. I really liked the series and thought the characters were really good. 


DVD/TV Series

In addition to those historical dramas on Netflix, I got hooked on another - Downton Abbey! My mom got into the series earlier this month and I ended up watching a few episodes with her. I was quickly addicted to the show! I had heard a lot about Downton Abbey (who hasn't?) but never watched it since I didn't get the channel it was on. Now I know what I was missing! Luckily my mom bought the whole series on DVD so I'm working my way through the series. I'm on season 2 now and have to restrict myself to only watching it on the weekends since I cannot stop myself from watching the next episode!


Food

No bake cookies. My great aunt used to make these so my family has a really good recipe for these. Even better - my mom has been making them and then giving me a container of them each time she makes them (twice in January - I'm so spoiled) so I can enjoy them, too. They're so good and chocolaty!


Memories

- Starting my first post-grad job. Last month I was thinking I would probably take a job as a para or substituting which I wasn't all that excited about. I cannot tell you how happy I am that it worked out for me to get a job teaching what I love in my own classroom each day.
- Getting a new phone. Since I now have a full time job I could finally afford to buy a new phone. I upgraded from an iPhone 4 (yes, I still had one) to a Galaxy S7. I LOVE my new phone! I have so much storage and the photos I take on it are amazing.


This month's favorites are a bit short, but I'm wanting to get back into this series. We'll have to see what favorites come in February!


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bullet Journaling When You're Short on Time

The reason I hear people give for not wanting to start a bullet journal is often that they don't have time to make it pretty. I get it. You go on Instagram check out the #bulletjournal tag and get overwhelmed by all of these incredibly organized and artistic looking bullet journals. 

Bullet Journaling When You're Short on Time



Saturday, January 28, 2017

How to Stay Positive

Your attitude and mindset play a huge role in how your day (and life) goes. This is something you hear a lot, but with good reason. You can look at things as a catastrophe or an adventure, a failure or a chance to start again. To be honest with you, it's easier for me to focus on the negative so being positive is something I have to work at. Today I thought I'd share a few ways that I (try to) stay positive.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wupatki Photo Diary

On our vacation in Arizona we visited several national parks including Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. I absolutely loved seeing the ruins, reading about the people who lived in the pueblo, and how the creation of the park impacted the people who lived in the area.


Wupatki National Monument Photo Diary


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tips for Your First Week at a New Job

I got my first job post college! I'm in my first month of the job and I know that it can be a lot to just jump in and try to figure everything out at a new job. So I came up with 5 tips to help you out for your first week!


5 tips for your first week at a new job



Take a deep breath.

Walking in those first few days and at different moments you'll be a mix of excited and nervous. Take a deep breath and remember that you got this! Shoulders back, chin up, and remain confident. You'll do great!


Go with the flow.

Chances are there will be weird things that pop up that you didn't cover in orientation or other unexpected things. Just go with the flow. When things go wrong or you don't know how to do something take a deep breath, do some problem solving, or ask someone for help. I know there were a bunch of things that popped up my first week that I didn't know about, but going with the flow made it so much easier to handle.


Make it a point to meet your new coworkers.

While it might be difficult to remember everyone's names when you first get hired, make it a point to meet as many people as you can and get to know a few people who work close to you. These people will be great to ask for help and support you in your first few weeks. Plus, you probably want to make some new friends at your job!


Ask questions.

People know you're new and that you'll have questions. Whenever you have a question, ask for help or tips from one of your new coworkers or managers. People usually like being sought out for their advice and are willing to help you do well your first week. Even the most experienced person there was new once and had to ask a ton of questions when they first got hired.


Celebrate!

You got the job! And you've made it through week 1! That's definitely reason to celebrate. Whether it's a night out, dinner out, or a movie night with friends take some time to celebrate your new job!


What are your tips for starting a new job?  Let me know in the comments!



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Books I Want to Read in 2017

Last year I started reading again and I want to continue to read this year. In my 2017 Life Update and Goals I said one of my goals for this year is to read 8 books. I'm always looking for book recommendations or ideas of what to read next, so here's some ideas if you're looking for some new books to read, too. 


Books on my list to read in 2017

Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt

I like history and I also like (true) stories about women who broke the rules and did thing people thought women couldn't do. Bold Spirit captured my interest for both those reasons. It's about a woman, Helga, who immigrated to the United States, moved to the west coast when it was just being settled, and then walked across the United States in 1896 from Washington to New York with her daughter to win $10,000 to help her family. If that doesn't sound interesting, I don't know what does. I started reading this book and it's really interesting how the author found Helga's story and the obstacles Helga overcame in her life.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I read Mindy Kaling first book Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and LOVED it. If you have seen her on The Office or The Mindy Project you already know she's hilarious. That book was the same. Since I loved it so much I know I need to read her newest book, Why Not Me. I can't wait to start reading it!


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is another funny woman I love. I've had Yes Please sitting on my shelf for a while, I just haven't gotten to it yet. But it sounds like it will be a great read when I finally do get around to reading it.


Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coehlo

A bit of a morbid title, but that's also what made it sound interesting. I've never read a book by Paulo Coehlo before, but I have heard all about how great of a writer he is. So I've decided to start with Veronika Decides to Die. This book is about Veronika who seems to have everything, but is deeply unhappy and decides to commit suicide. However she wakes up at a mental hospital where she discovers all sorts of things about herself and life.


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

There's been a lot of hype about Big Magic in the blogging world, and I think that's because we're all creative in one way or another. Creativity is something that always makes me happier and makes a huge difference in my mental health (when I'm creative, my mental health is better). This book sounds super interesting and like it will help me be more creative and find more inspiration.


Americanah by Ngozi Adichie

Like many people, I first heard about Ngozi Adicie from Beyonce's song "Flawless" which has an audio clip from Ngozi's TED Talk on feminism. Since then I have heard so much about Ngozi Adichie's writing and I've really wanted to read something by her. Americanah is one of her books that I've heard lots of good things about. It's about love, race, and the challenges two people face as they leave Nigeria and eventually return home.  


In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero

Unlike the rest of the world, I have not watched Orange is the New Black or Jane the Virgin. Diane Guerrero is an actress in both, but since I haven't seen them, that's not what caught my attention about that book. Instead what caught my interest was that In the Country We Love is a story about a successful woman who was 14 when her parents and brother were deported while she was at school. 

You may or may not know that I'm a Spanish teacher and one of the topics that come up when teaching Spanish is immigration (legal and illegal). In my class we had talked about how kids can stay in the US since they're legal citizens, but their parents can be deported if they're illegal - so what happens to the kids? Here's one person's story! Perfect! So this is partially a work-related read, but it also seems like a highly interesting story.


Other books on my bookshelf that I want to read:

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Catherine de Medici by Leonie Frieda
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (reread)
Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou


Hopefully I'm able to read 8 books plus a few extras this year! If you've read any of these before let me know if you liked them in the comments! Also let me know what books are on your to read list this year. I'm always curious what other people are reading!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Grand Canyon Photo Diary

I love travelling. My family usually goes on a trip every year and since planning usually falls on my mom, we tend to go to the same areas a lot. That's not bad, but I was read for something new, so all year I have been campaigning for a big trip to a place we've never been to before. My family kept putting off the vacation due to schedule issues but finally in December we were all able to go on a big trip to someplace totally different - the Grand Canyon!


Grand Canyon Photo Diary

I was so excited to go there and see this beautiful place in person. We had a little delay with a giant snow storm that came in (you'll see the snow in the pictures), but when we finally got there it was beautiful! Of course, I had to share some of the photos with you!


Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

Looking at it, it can be hard to believe but many Native American tribes lived in and around the Grand Canyon. One of those tribes were the Hopi. Their origin story tells of coming into this world through a hole in the sky of the world below called the Sipapuni. They believe the Sipapuni is located deep within the Grand Canyon. I read that at one of the museums at the Grand Canyon (yes, they have a few museums along with all the nature) and thought it was such a great story.


Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

It's really true that the canyon changes colors throughout the day. When we got there in the morning the canyon seemed more gray and brown, but by the end of the day it was read and rich brown tones. It's so beautiful to see how it changes throughout the day.


Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

Can you believe how much snow there was? Honestly, I didn't think Arizona got snow before this trip. I was so wrong! I also didn't expect for there to be so many trees and plants around the Grand Canyon. My favorite plant was the yucca plant - I want one for my apartment!

Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

That was my trip to the Grand Canyon! As beautiful as it looks in pictures, it is even more beautiful in person. It's such an expansive and unbelievable place to visit.

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Is it on your bucket list to visit someday? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Essential Apps

I know we all have those apps we can't live without. I'm no exception and have a few that I constantly use. Without further ado, these are my must have apps.


My must have apps for my phone


Notes

This is one of the most basic apps, but I use it everyday. I keep notes on my phone of post ideas and sometimes outline post ideas when I'm on the go to look back on later. I have a list of my links to social media to make it easier to promote them on Twitter, a list of hashtags I use on Instagram, and songs/artists to look up later. This app is a lifesaver in so many ways. I don't know what I would do without it!


Spotify

Spotify is my favorite way to listen to music. I love that I can make my own playlists without having to download a million songs - I can just do it on the app - or I can listen to the Spotify playlists. They have the best playlists to listen to in the background while you're working - I love Peaceful Piano and Deep Focus


Dropbox

I take a ton of pictures on my phone and am always getting the lovely "Cannot Take Photo - Not Enough Storage" pop up. I know that Apple has the Cloud, but I prefer using Dropbox. It makes it so easy for me to download the pictures from my phone to my laptop so I can take even more photos. I also like how easy it is for me to take pictures on my camera, edit them on my laptop, and then send them over to my phone via Dropbox. It makes Instagram so much easier!


Google Maps

I have no idea how people got around without Google Maps. I use this whenever I'm travelling or unsure of exactly how to get to my destination. Since I recently moved, Google Maps has helped me find new places around where I live - like the closest pizza place and where the nearest Target is. I'd be lost without it (pun intended).


Instagram

For me Instagram is a source of inspiration and of course where I share my photos. This is usually the first app I open in the morning. Seeing pretty pictures first thing in the morning gives me a happy start and lets me feel connected.


Twitter

This is another app I'm using pretty early each day. I check Twitter every morning while I eat breakfast to catch up on what's happening in the lives of my friends, what new posts are out, and current events. Of course, then I go on to check it several times throughout the day.


Audible

I had heard that audiobooks are great to listen to on your commute and this advice is so true! Since joining the working world, I have "read" several books on here. Audible is connected to Amazon and you can buy books either with money or credits (I'm not really sure how you get credits). So far, I haven't actually purchased a book - I've gotten them all with credits! 


Sudoku

Of course, no list of favorite apps is complete without at least one game. I like the classic games and my favorite is Sudoku. I like this particular app because it's colorful and you can set the board so the grid has circles instead of squares - it just makes it more visually appealing.


What are your essential apps? Do you have any app recommendations? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Life Update and Goals

Happy 2017! I hope the new year has been good to you so far. It has been very good to me and I'm hoping more good things will be happening this year. I thought I'd share how I ended 2016, how I've started the new year, and a few of my goals for 2017. I haven't done a chatty post in awhile, so hopefully you enjoy!


What's happening in 2017 and my goals for the new year

I ended 2016 with a great trip to Arizona with my family (photo diary post to come!). We went to the Grand Canyon, several places in the Flagstaff area, and Sedona. My favorite place we went to was Wupatki National Park. It has lots of Native American ruins and it's so cool to go and see these ruins and learn about how they lived hundreds of years ago and how their culture has changed over the years.

When we got back from the trip, I had my first big job interview and...I got it! I can't tell you how excited I am to have gotten a job right after graduating. It's pretty rare to get a teaching job at semester, but luckily for me, I was able to get one! 

Now I have my own classroom and I've been busy getting everything ready all week. That is the crazy part - from the time I got hired to the first day of classes I had five days! Still, I am so excited to be teaching in my own classroom! My first day teaching went really well and it seems like this will be a great semester.

Going forward into 2017 I'd love if this job works out - I've been hired for the semester, but I'm hoping that it is a good fit and I'm able to work there again for the next school year. Fingers crossed! 

You might have noticed that I also updated the look of Courtney's Little Things. I made a new header and I feel like it completely changed the look. I love it. With my blog this year I want to blog twice a week consistently (hopefully that can still happen with the craziness of starting a new job), post at least 3 times a week to Instagram, and get back into Twitter chats. I haven't joined a Twitter chat in so long which makes me sad since they are a great source of inspiration and to get to know other bloggers. If you have a favorite chat, let me know in the comments!

Other things I want to accomplish this year are to read 8 books, meet up with my college friends, and to start saving money.


What are your goals for this year? Any exciting changes in the works for you in 2017? Let me know in the comments!