Five for Friday #53

Hello and happy Friday! I feel like so many things have happened in the last few weeks and quite a few things are different, so let’s do a little recap, shall we?!?
-I moved out of my townhouse and into a new place!
-I have a roomie now and she’s great!
-My roomie has a tiny dog and this is the first time I’ve lived with a dog! Ever!
-I’m a *~*train person*~* now! So instead of taking the commuter bus to work, I now take the train!
-I had one of my best friends come visit/help me move and we had a very fun and productive time together!

Ok I guess that really wasn’t too much, but there it is! It’s been a lot of fun to live with my friend – we’re both busy adults so we don’t actually see each other that much, which makes it REALLY fun when we are both home and can catch up and hang out for a little bit! She got me to watch The Bachelorette with her and now I’m a little bit hooked! The drama is so ridiculous and the guys are so handsome and we just die laughing at these crazy boys on the TV (mainly we just cringe at everything Luke P. says… if you watch then I KNOW you’re nodding your head in agreement right now!)

one || I randomly have a little bit of lavender essential oils that I found when I was moving, so I think I’m going to try and make this sugar scrub in the near future!

two || Now that Game of Thrones is over (what did you think of the ending?!?!) I’m excited for people to talk about literally anything else for a change, lol. I am a fan of listening to wordless music while reading on the train, and I’ve been going through the music from the show. It’s beautiful!

 

three || LOVING this Texas print! Too cute!

four || I want to go to there… but like really, sign me up to go stay at this BnB ASAP.

five || Why yes, I AM still very much into the Enneagram, thanks so much for asking!!! I loved this list of the best morning routines based on your Enneagram number. I’m not sure that they really *nailed it* but they tried!

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m doing a glow yoga class tonight with a friend and it should be a lot of fun! There’ll be glow in the dark paint and you’re supposed to wear white! PLUS it’s in the lawn in front of the giant eyeball in downtown Dallas and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to get on that lawn but you can’t just like go there, so this is seriously a Dallas bucket list item that I’m excited to check off!!!

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How to Stay Productive While Working from Home

 

One of the really nice things about my company is that you can work from home when you need to. Dentist appointment? Work from home! Have a flight in the early evening and need to get to the airport? Work from home! Need to focus on work because the people that sit by you are getting on your nerves and you just need ONE day to work in silence? Work from home!!! Ok maybe that last one isn’t really a legit reason to WFH… but it’s just nice to be able to have that option. I’ve found a pretty good routine when I DO stay at home to work, and I wanted to share how you can stay productive while working from home, too!

Stick to your morning routine…

As exciting it can be to sleep in since you’re not going to have to deal with the usual commute, I try *really* hard to keep to my normal routine. That means still waking up early and getting ready like I would be going in to work. I do this because 1- if I sleep in one day during the week then I will want to sleep in ALL the days and it’s just so much harder to get up at my normal time the next day. Does that mean I’m getting old? I think it does.. and 2- I can get more done in the morning! Or start working earlier! Which means I can either take a long lunch or even stop working a little bit earlier than usual!

Get dressed in “real” clothes…

This is what I *try* to do when I work from home… but does it always happen? Nope! Really, I just try to get changed out of my pajamas. If I get changed into some workout pants and a t-shirt, that’s ok! But I think mentally the act of getting out of my jammies just signals “ok it’s time to be a real working person today!” and helps get me in the mindset that it’s working time! Usually when I work from home tho I’m running to an appointment or running an errand that is more convenient to do during the day, so I’m usually in “real” clothes, anyway.

Calendar block your day…

When I really need to focus, calendar blocking SAVES THE DAY every single time. It’s just a good way to make sure that you’re focusing on one thing (or a group of things) for a certain amount of time and it helps me not get distracted. (If you don’t know about calendar blocking, watch this YouTube video!)

Make a list of top priorities…

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the calendar blocking above. When I’m at home and not in my usual desk/office environment, sometimes my brain shuts off and is like “what is happening? What projects are you working on? Did you even save that file?” so keeping a list of the things I ABSOLUTELY want/need to get done during the day working at home is key. I then take that list, figure out how long each item should take, and schedule out my day to give me the best chance of getting it all done.

Set a cut-off time at the end of the day…

I’m sure most people don’t have this problem, but sometimes when you’re out of your normal routine it can be easy to lose track of time and just keep working WAY longer than you should! This won’t be an issue if you calendar blocked your day, but make sure that you set a boundary and quit when it’s time!

Work elsewhere if you need to…

While having a dedicated workspace at home can help keep you on task, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. (This happens to me at work, too, where I’ll need to go to another floor or room just to work for a few hours.) So pick up and move around if you need to! Work from the kitchen! Go to the library! Hit up a Starbucks! Do what you need to do in order to stay productive and focused!

2019 Book Bingo – May/June Update

Ooooh man it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a book bingo update! On the one hand, I’m not as far along as I thought I’d be at this point, halfway through the year… but on the other hand, I’ve been busy and I’ve still managed to read quite a few books this year, so I’m ok with the progress I’ve made so far!

Now that I’m done moving and I’m back on a regular commute schedule, I’ve been reading a TON again and it feels so good! There have been quite a few mornings where I wish my commute was LONGER just so I could spend more time reading on the train, and I get genuinely sad in the evenings when I have to stand on the train ride home because that seriously cuts into my book time. Rude.

I’ve got 4 new reads to share with you today, so let’s get started!!

China Rich Girlfriend

I read China Rich Girlfriend to take the place of a book with a place in the title on my bingo board. I read the first book in this series, Crazy Rich Asians last summer and loved it, and so I had really high hopes for the sequel. And it was so good! It picked up where the last book left off and did a great job balancing keeping up with established characters and adding in new, fun characters. I had kind of forgotten a few of the plot points of the first book, but the sequel did a perfect job of kind of reminding you what happened without just flat out giving a recap. I got so swept up in the story and ended up finishing this book really quickly! I can’t wait to read the third book in the trilogy!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

I’d actually read this one before, which is why it took the bingo space of a book I’ve read before! I’m part of a super fun book club, and we were trying to pick out a fun book to read next and Where’d You Go, Bernadette was suggested and I jumped at the chance to read it again! I’m hoping that we can go see the movie later this summer as a group- how fun would that be?!? I loved this book as much the second time – probably because I had forgotten some of the details (it had been 3 years since I read it last!!!) It’s just written so well and it was funny and you really feel for all of the characters as different details start becoming clearer. If you haven’t read it already – make it your next book! Seriously!

Daisy Jones & The Six

To take the spot of a book with a name in the title, I read Daisy Jones & The Six. This is a new release and it seemed like EVERYONE and their mother had read it the second it came out and EVERYONE was raving about it. I’ve read a few other books that everyone raved about immediately and I was usually disappointed with them… but not this book! It was legitimately so good! But more that liking the story, which I did, I thought it was written SO WELL.

The story talks about the rise and ultimate fall of a super popular music group in the late 70’s. You hear from all of the band members, significant others, friends, managers, and more to piece the story together of how they got their musical start, how they rose to fame, what made it all fall apart, and ALL the drama that comes along with being the top rock band in America for a time. Imagine that you’re reading a transcript for an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music. It’s written decades after their popular album was made, so everyone has slightly different memories and points of view on how things really went down – go get you a copy!

Year of Yes

I chose to read Year of Yes to fill the spot of a book with a blue cover. This was another book that I’d been meaning to read for a while, and I’m really glad that I finally got around to it! Shonda Rhimes (the creator of your favorite Thursday night TV shows) took a full year of saying “Yes” to the things that scared her (having difficult conversations, putting her health first, going to social events, talking on stage, etc.) and shares how it changed her mindset, made her life more full and meaningful, and how she would have missed out on so many great opportunities if she hadn’t said yes. It was a super fast read and was quite fun and even a little motivational!

 

Playing Tourist in Dallas

A couple of weekends ago, one of my very best friends, Annie, came to visit in Dallas and we had such a good time! It was the perfect mix of busy lets go do all the things and chill lets stay on the couch and snack and talk for hours. I always love when people come to visit because that means I get to show them some of my favorite things about Dallas, but we can also explore new things together!

One of the “favorite” things I do when people visit is give them a tour of downtown. And if I do say so myself, I give an EXCELLENT tour of Downtown Dallas! It is filled with lots of interesting sights, lots of fun facts and trivia, and a good mix of walking and stopping to rest when needed. The full tour takes around an hour (YES I AM VERY THOROUGH) but we found some extra fun things to stop and see while walking around, like some see-saws that were randomly set up in a park and new “art” inside the Joule hotel!

The Kelly downtown tour always hits the same things: JFK assassination site, JFK memorial, giant eyeball sculpture, Thanksgiving chapel (for the spiral stained glass), and Klyde Warren Park. All good places, if I do say so myself!

One of the new-to-me things that we did while together was visit the teddy bear park in Highland Park! I’d seen pictures of this place online before and I’m glad that we decided to go and find it! It was SO WEIRD but that made it so much fun to see in person! I mean, these teddy bears are just HUGE!

It was located by this gorgeous little park that had a good little walking trail and was surrounded but the most gorgeous multi-million dollar homes! We took our time driving around and staring at all the houses, picking a new favorite on each street that we went down! The weather was perfect that day, too, and I’m glad because there were a few wedding parties that showed up to the park to take some pictures!

We just had the best weekend and I’m so glad I got to play tourist in Dallas for a few days! I’m already planning more fun and new-to-me things to check out when my next visitor comes to Dallas in a few weeks!!

The BEST Desserts to Make Today!

One thing that I kind of hate about my townhouse is the oven. (Good thing I’m moving in a couple of days- hah!) It is just… terrible. It NEVER heats up all the way and is wildly inconsistent, even when using an oven thermometer! It’s just gotten worse and worse over the last year, but since “it still heats” the property management company wouldn’t replace it. Which yes, technically makes sense, but also I ruined not one but TWO attempted desserts over the last few months because the oven temp was just so out of whack, so I really just decided I should stop baking until I move.

So naturally since I “can’t” bake at the moment, THAT IS ALL I WANT TO DO! I was going through some recipes that I’ve made trying to decide what one I wanted to make as soon as I move into the house, and I thought that I should share them with you all! These are seriously some of the most delicious things ever and I highly recommend making them!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

These bad boys are SO DELICIOUS. I have no idea why but I was seriously craving some of these a few months ago, so I decided to find the ultimate recipe to become my go-to. This was the second recipe that I tried and I just decided to stop with this one because it’s so good! They’re super hard to mess up and they come out so chewy and delicious!

Extra Gooey Rice Krispies Treats

These are a CROWD PLEASER! I usually add a little bit less rice krispies cereal when I’m making normal rice krispies treats because I like them to be gooier, but this recipe takes care of that for you. The extra marshmallows you use just give it the best texture and the best taste and yes I know that you don’t need to bake these in the oven and therefore I could make them now but also if I made them now I would just eat them all, so…

Black and White Cookies

Oh man. These are time consuming but they are worth the effort! I would say that they’re not for a beginning baker, but I still think you should all try to make them, anyway! My favorite part is the white icing – it reminds me of these cookies we used to get at the local bakery in the town I grew up in… I miss those bear cookies… but anyway, when you do make these, be sure to put the icing on the flat bottom part of the cookie! That’s what makes them seem authentic!

Sugar Cookie Bars

This, sadly, was one of the recipes that got RUINED by my oven. I’ve made these very successfully a few times before, but this time they just got burned to a crisp. Like, I couldn’t even get them out of the pan they were so solid! The frosting is definitely the best part (that’s always true tho for me) and I always like to put fun food coloring in the frosting! These are easy to share since they’re in bar form… I might have to make these my test recipe and then bring the results to work!

Peanut Butter Cookies

This has been my go-to peanut butter cookie recipe for YEARS! They come out of the oven so chewy and soft and amazing! At first it seemed weird to not do the fork imprints on a peanut butter cookie because everyone knows that’s what you’re supposed to do on a peanut butter cookie but nope these are LEGIT the best. Ok I’ve changed my mind, THESE might have to be the things I bake first!

Sprinkled Sugar Cookies

The perfect recipe when you have sprinkles to use up! These are so festive and fun and make the perfect amount to share with a few friends. They’re so soft but the sprinkles add the perfect crunch – it’s just a really lovely cookie!

Now that I’ve shared some of mine, I want to hear some of yours! What’s your favorite baked good, your ride or die treat, your most trusted recipe?