Friend Trip to Minneapolis!

When I was talking with friends about plans for the 4th of July holiday a few weeks ago and I told them that I was going to Minneapolis with my bestie, they would ask “Ummmmm why tho?” and honestly, I thought that was a valid question! I’d never been to Minnesota and was kind of ok with that… Like, why on earth did we pick Minneapolis for a VACATION when we could have gone anywhere?!?! But chose it we did, and y’all I’m so glad that’s where we spent a few days! My friend and I had the best time and did a TON of fun stuff together!!

First off, we stayed in the world’s best AirBnB! It was a loft in the Upper Loop neighborhood (by downtown) and it could not have been better for the two of us! The location was amazing, parking was included (my friend Kelsey drove her car), and we had a great view from the rooftop for fireworks on the 4th!

Kelsey was so sweet and picked me up from the airport, and it was hilarious that we wore basically the exact same thing!! Grey v-neck tee, denim, and a cross-body purse! After we got settled in to our lodgings, we headed down to the Mall of America to check it out! Everyone says that you need to see what it’s like because it’s HUGE and…. I suppose they were right, it was very large! But also… not as big as I was anticipating? We definitely made sure to go in the middle and check out the amusement park area – and we even rode a roller coaster! We only wanted to ride one… and we picked the perfect one! It took us on a little tour around the entire amusement area and was pretty fun!!

Next we went to get a Jucy Lucy – a cheese-filled burger that is THE thing to try when up in Minneapolis. And ummm yes it was DELICIOUS. So delicious, in fact, that we went to another restaurant the next night to try another one and compare. For science. Obviously. The best of the two was definitely the one we had the first night at Matt’s. The cheese was so darn good and it was the perfect “welcome to MN” meal!

Our first fill day on the trip was July 4th, and we made sure to have lots of fun stuff planned for the holiday! Kelsey REALLY wanted to go floating on the river (we were going to do it last year in NE but the water levels were too high) and so we finally got to do that! I really did NOT want to go floating on the river, but anything for my bestie! So we packed up her cooler and got in the car and drove over to Wisconsin to get in the river! It ended up being a lot more fun than I anticipated, even though the people we encountered while floating were not very friendly. We had good talks and got a good arm workout trying to navigate our tubes away from the banks! We only got “stuck” a few times, which was an overall win!

The weather was nice and warm and I didn’t even get a sunburn, which was a miracle!! The fact that it was cloudy for part of the time helped. Later that same day after we got back to our place and got cleaned up (nobody likes smelling like river and sunscreen) we headed out to the sculpture park to take a look at some art! I’d seen pictures of the giant spoon and cherry fountain and was so happy to see it in person!

 

The next day, we went back to the sculpture park area but went inside the art museum that is right next to it – the Walker Art Center! It’s a modern art museum and we walked thru the entire thing and it was good, but the REAL reason we went there was the fact that they had a mini-golf course on the roof. WHAT?!?!? How weird and random and amazing is that?!? When I saw it online before going, I knew that we HAD to go and play!! And it was actually very fun! We didn’t really keep score, except for one hole where I got a hole-in-one! Oh boy!!

The rest of Friday we spent more time outside (in the morning) by going for a little hike/walk at Minnehaha Falls (super cool to see but so muggy walking around – thankfully Kelsey brought bug spray!) and heading over to St. Paul for a fun dinner at Saint Dinette. It was a nicer restaurant (without being too crazy or expensive) and we got all dressed up for a fun night out – Kelsey loved her meal and I wasn’t hungry, so I just had some french fries which were… fine!

And finally, we got to our final day of the trip (really just a half day as I had to go to the airport and Kelsey had a long drive home) and we spent it doing more of the same – eating delicious food and spending time outside! We had the BEST brunch at Hen House Eatery in downtown Minneapolis (they had the world’s best cinnamon roll and I ate it so fast that I didn’t even get a picture of the huge thing!) and then we walked around Mill Ruins park.

And that was about it! Kelsey took me to the airport and after an almost 4 hour delay, I finally got to fly home. It was such a fun time with my friend and I was able to cross 2 more states off my list, so that is always exciting! Have you been to Minneapolis before? Did we miss out on anything super fun or exciting?!?

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New Week – New Background (Add some Pep to Your Tech)

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that every Monday I start my week by changing my desktop background at work. These “new week new background” moments are pretty much the only thing getting me to work on a Monday morning – not gunna lie!!

I’ve had a few people ask me where I find all the images that I use for my backgrounds and the answer I usually give is “ummmm, the internet? I can’t remember!!” which is just not very helpful at all! I usually take an hour or so on a weekend and gather a TON of background images and save them in a folder so I can go for a few months choosing from images that I already have saved… so by the time I get to the end of my pictures I’ve genuinely forgotten where they’re all from. So now that it’s time for me to refresh my background picture folder, I thought I’d share some of my favorites and links so you can find and use them, too!

I definitely gravitate toward the brighter images for my desktop background (because let’s be honest I need something to make me happy since I’m staring at a computer all day) but I also like to switch it up and get some more subtle ones in there, too. I’ve definitely used some of these before (like the white with black dots and pink corner and the bright blue with ice cream cones filled with flowers) but they’re just so fun that I wanted to use them again! I can’t wait until the fall (aka December in Texas) so I can use the one that says Sweater Weather!

So here are some of the ones I collected last weekend to use over the next few months! Which one is your favorite? Have I convinced you to join the New Week New Background movement yet?!?!

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10 Things Do on Sunday to Have a Successful Week

Does anybody else get hit with the “Sunday scaries” every single week? Well maybe not every week… but it happens quite a lot! That dread of *oh no I don’t want to go to work tomorrow* or *no I’m not ready for the weekend to be over yet* or *oh no I watched Netflix all day and didn’t get anything productive done and now I’m out of time!* It doesn’t feel great and it honestly doesn’t set you up for a good start to the week. I mean, starting out a brand new week feeling defeated and sad? No, thank you!!

I just hate going to bed on a Sunday thinking of all the things I should have gotten done and stressing about how now I have to do all those things during the week when I don’t really have the time. (Which is hilarious because I’m a single gal with no pets and I’m the least busy person I know but I still feel busy!!) I try my best to do ALL the things I can on Sunday to make sure that I am setting myself up to have the best start to the week as possible! Here’s what I’ve found works for me, and maybe it might work for you!

Plan Out Your Week

This is a good chance to assess what you got done over the weekend, what you didn’t get done, what you need to do during the week ahead, what plans you have coming up, etc. I like to make sure I know what my evening plans are for the week (do I have small group this week or is it a week off?), plan my workouts (if I want to do yoga on Thursday, I’ll need to wake up early and do it before work), and make note of anything I’ll need to pay special attention to (like a friend’s birthday coming up, so I better mail her card at some point this week!)

Brain Dump

Sunday during the day or at night is also a good chance to just get everything out of your head that might be worrying you or keeping you preoccupied as you go into a new week. (Want some more info on how and why to do a brain dump? Check out Brighton’s post here!) Getting all the worries and thoughts and things out of your brain and onto a page can really help calm my brain and help me sleep a lot easier – which is exactly what you want before starting a new week!

Grocery Shop

You know you have to eat, so go and get your groceries when you have the time! I always dread going to the store before I go, I tolerate it while I’m there, but then on Tuesday when I’m using the groceries that I bought, I’m SO glad that I got it out of the way on the weekend and I didn’t have to go to the grocery store after work and shop while starving, because that is the worst. I try and get it done before going to church (if I’m going to the late service) or right after church (if I went to the early service) – really I just love avoiding crowds and try to get it done as early as possible in the day!

Meal Prep

And now that you’ve actually gone and shopped for groceries, you might as well get some meal prep done. This is something that takes up so much time, and so it’s nice to get as much of it done as possible before the week starts. Really I just try to avoid having to make meals at 10pm after I get back from bible study because I’m tired. And doing meal prep at the beginning of the week will help me stick to my budget by not spending money on groceries AND spending money on expensive lunches downtown because I just didn’t make anything!

Look at your Budget

And speaking of budgets… it’s probably a good idea to take a peek at yours on Sunday. Seeing where you went crazy over the past week and where you still have some wiggle room will help keep you in the mindset of sticking to the budget you have set. Knowing that I only have X amount of money left in my “fun money” budget really helps me NOT spend $40 on random junk at Target during the week!

Tidy Your Space

If you didn’t get deep cleaning done over the weekend – that’s ok by me! But I always try to do some tidying on Sunday just so I start out the week uncluttered. Uncluttered space = an uncluttered mind… right? Is that how that works? I think that’s how that works. We’ll just go with that. So tidy up.

Set Out Your Outfits for the Week

This one here is an ultimate time saver! Picking out my clothes for the week and doing any cleaning or ironing that needs to be done on Sunday just has to be done. If I don’t get it done on Sunday, I will tell myself “oh I’ll just wake up early to iron that shirt” but guess what – I WILL NOT WAKE UP EARLY TO IRON THAT SHIRT and then do I have to pick something else or so I show up all wrinkly?!?! We can’t have that!

Move Your Body

Are you somebody that thinks that Sunday is the first day of the week or that Monday is the first day of the week? It’s both for me – I think that’s allowed! So for this one let’s all think that Sunday is the first day of the week… and it’s good to start off the week moving your body to get yourself in an exercise mindset for the rest of the week. This is something I haven’t been super great at, but I’m trying to really make sure I go for a walk or at least do a yoga video before going to bed!

Relax

It’s still the weekend! You should make sure that you take at least a little time for yourself before having to start the work week! Read a little in bed, do a face mask, catch up on the last week’s episode of The Bachelorette, go get an ice cream cone – the options are endless! Just as long as it brings you joy and gets you to relax a little bit!

Go to Sleep Early

This one is really a no-brainer, right? You don’t want to start your week sleep deprived! Go to bed early and get lots of good rest so you can start your week energized and rested!!

Podcasts I’ve Added to My Listening List

Another podcast list is coming your way!! Can you even stand the excitement?!?! I just keep finding more that I like and then listening to them and they’re all just so good!

Ever since I moved, however, I’ve found that I’m listening to podcasts a lot less. I used to have them going CONSTANTLY when I lived alone – while making dinner, while cleaning, while getting ready in the morning – but now that I live with someone else, I just don’t do that as much anymore. I’m up and out the door before my roomie gets going for the day, so I don’t want to blast unnecessary noise, and in the evenings we are chatting! I’m still listening to them at work when I’m doing mindless tasks, but I have to admit, having less time to listen is making me be more selective about the shows I’m listening to and that probably isn’t a bad thing!

Here are 5 new podcasts that I’ve started listening to lately!

You’re Welcome with Hilary Rushford

I’ve loved following Hilary online and on Instagram for years now (she’s the one who had that GORGEOUS elopement in France that I was obsessing over!!) and so when she announced that she was making a podcast, I was SO EXCITED to listen. She’s only released 10-ish episodes so far, so you can go catch up rather quickly if you’d like, and I highly recommend that you do. She gives great advice and just talks about topics like friendship, dating, fashion, fitness, and more with enthusiasm and honesty where I believe that she knows what she’s talking about and she isn’t trying to seem like a know-it-all. Does that make sense? Just go listen, and you’ll see what I mean!

That Sounds Fun

This podcast by Annie F. Downs is genuinely fun!! Annie is a speaker and author that is pretty well known in the Christian women world, and it’s super fun to listen to her talk with her friends and with people that you know and love, like David Crowder, Ben Higgins, Ben Rector, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and more. She’s currently going through “Enneasummer” where she’s talking about each of the numbers of the Enneagram with a male and female person that identify as that number. It’s great insight to hear from both genders, and just to learn more about each number!

Binge Mode

If you love deep dives and details about certain pop culture phenomenons, then Binge Mode is for you. I have been listening to it as I’m listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks. I finish a group of chapters of the book, and then I’ll go listen to the Binge Mode episode for that range of chapters! They do deep dives into characters, themes for the chapters, and things that you might have missed or just not thought about before. They more recently did a deep dive of the last season of Game of Thrones, so if you watched that and wanted to know even more, then go give it a listen!

Minor Adventures with Topher Grace

This one is just silly and for fun! Topher Grace, the actor, has a different celebrity guest for each episode and they learn something new – but the twist is that the celeb has NO IDEA what they’ll be doing before coming on the episode! Sometimes it’s hilarious and both of them are terrible, but a few times it’s worked out where the celeb guest is actually good at or has experience in the adventure already! I just listened to an episode where he and Chrissy Metz were going to learn to beatbox and she said “oh I’m kinda good at that!” – and she was!!

Asking For a Friend

Some of my favorite memories from college are watching The Hills with friends at night in our dorm rooms (oh man that show was so bad but so good!!!!!) and I’ve loved Lauren Conrad ever since. It’s been fun watching her try new things and grow professionally, and she always seems to have it all together… so you can imagine that I was excited to hear that she was starting a podcast where she’d talk to experts in different industries to give tips and advice! So far she’s talked to her hair stylist, an interior designer, an organizing professional, a makeup artist – I can’t wait for more episodes to come out!

All About Calendar Blocking

Like I mentioned in my post last week, something that I do from time to time to make sure I stay productive is calendar blocking. I don’t do it all the time (because it can sometimes seem a bit rigid and stressful, to be honest…) but when I need to buckle down and get things done, it can be really helpful. I’ve done this at work with my Outlook calendar, I’ve done this at home when I’m working from home, but sometimes I even do it at home when I’m NOT working aka for my regular life!

While I love a good to-do list (and y’all know that I do!!) it can still be easy to let some things slip through the cracks because oops you went and did other things or oops you took a long nap instead. And that’s ok. But sometimes you just really want to make sure that you get things done, and that’s where calendar blocking can help.

If you’re thinking “huh – is it just putting things on your calendar and scheduling out your day?” then you are RIGHT! It’s as easy as that! You think of all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do, and you throw them in your calendar. This is where it gets “fun” – you have to think about how long it will take you to do some tasks and what task-adjacent things should also go on your calendar. What would those be?!? Let’s look at mine from this past weekend and find out!

Let’s start with the task-adjacent items that I added to my calendar. On the first day, I went to brunch with some girlfriends. I could have just put the brunch on there, but I wanted to also add in the drive there and the drive home – those were task-adjacent.

As for other things, I just made my best guess as to how long certain tasks would take. Like going outside and walking/jogging for 3 miles – I know that’ll take about 45 minutes. But I go ahead and block off an hour on the calendar for it so I’ll have some wiggle room and will have time to go to the bathroom, drink water and stretch when I get home, etc. Other things like meal prep- based on what I had to make for the day, I figured that it would take me about 90 minutes. If it took less time – no biggie! Extra time to chill or work on something else! If it took more time – also no biggie! I could just move things around in the schedule or move a task to the next day. The great thing about calendar blocking is that you can be pretty free with it and adjust as you go.

I also try and make sure that I’m scheduling time for fun things when calendar blocking – that way it’s not just a rushed weekend where I feel like I didn’t get any rest. I am still working on a baby blanket that I’m crocheting for my newest nephew, so I made sure to schedule lots of crochet/tv time so I could relax and have some fun while still being productive! Other times, I’ve simply scheduled “free time” for an hour and I can just choose what I want to do in the moment – go get coffee, scroll through Instagram, run to Target, etc.

Is this method perfect? No! But is it helpful and worth trying? I think so! What is your favorite method for getting all your to-do list items done? Or do you hate lists all-together and hope for the best?!? Let me know!