Guilty Pleasures [minus the guilt]

I’m back! And ready to lighten the mood a bit.

I’ve been obsessing about a few things lately and have been itching to get back into a blogging rhythm. When you are smack dab in the middle of a tough season in life, it’s wicked easy to focus all of your time on the negative. I’ve been pretty stellar at that as of late.

Well, it’s time to disrupt the cycle and share some goodness. Let’s chat about five of my latest guilty pleasures. If you follow me on social media, you’ll recognize a few 🙂

1. Queer Eye

Ok, ok. My sister and I were HUGE fans of the original Queer Eye on Bravo, so I was hesitant to watch the Netflix reboot. So hesitant that it took me a year to watch the pilot episode. I mean, Carson Kressley was my spirit animal.

YASSSS QUEEN! Umm, what took me so long? David and I binged all three seasons in a matter of weeks. I won’t let him leave the house now without a French Tuck.

Can you guess who my fave is?

2. A historic Jeopardy winning streak

Alex Trebek is my favorite game show host [and second favorite Canadian].

I’ve been watching Jeopardy since before I could tie my shoes and I’ve never been more been obsessed with it until now. Watching James Holzhauer absolutely demolish the competition every single night is super fun [although I feel really bad for those poor, poor opponents….a lifetime dream dashed in mere minutes].

The man rarely gets any question wrong. Plus, given his professional gambling background, he ain’t afraid to go all-in.

How far will he go? He’s already surpassed $1,000,000 and [I think] could easily beat Ken Jennings’ record-breaking cash out.

I’ll continue to be glued to my television set every weeknight until further notice. Major FOMO here….and that painful grin, it’s kinda fun.

3. All Black Clothing

Oh man, I love fashion so much. Nothing makes me feel more confident than an amazing outfit.

Well, for the last year I’ve been completely obsessed with the When in Black Online Boutique. My girl Heather picks out the most gorgeous pieces and even better keeps prices affordable for her customers.

Black clothing is flattering on everyone! Seriously. And so easy to accessorize. My current work and weekend wardrobe is almost exclusively from the boutique.

Heather carries tops, bottoms, dresses, earrings [FYI…the middle school girls LOVE them] and even sunglasses. I guarantee that you will find something you love! Heather knows that I love her shop so much that she’s given all my friends a 15% discount when they use code DANIELLE15 at checkout!

Here are just a few of my favorite pieces….

4. Personal Development

The start of 2019 has been a season of personal development. For several years now, I’ve been a fan of self help and various personal development books, but I’ve gone pretty hardcore over the last few months.

If you know me, you know that I love to learn. And part of learning is having a deep desire for constant growth. I’ve gone a step further and have even enrolled in a life coaching series with one of my favorite personal development gurus.

I’ve got a stack of books going right now….here are a few on my list: The Urban Monk , The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, Dare to Lead, High Performance Habits, and Lean Out.

My husband is a BIG fan of podcasts [I think he’d listen to them all day if he could]. I frequent several as well, but my two favorites are The Chalene Show and Rise podcast.

Whether you are in a season of change or not, I think it is so important to ALWAYS be working on yourself. Making self development a priority has been my greatest success this year.

5. Buffalo Cauliflower

Ha, kind of random but for real. This is David & I’s new favorite dish to make. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade and, in general, I’m a super picky eater. I hate most food and never venture to try anything new.

Well, cauliflower baked in Frank’s Red Hot and honey is surprisingly tasty. Who knew?

This just might be my gateway drug to other foreign food choices.

Now I want to know, what are your guilty pleasures?

Flotation Therapy: First Impressions

For Valentine’s Day, David & I gifted each other the same thing: a float chamber session at a new local spot. We’d both been interested for a while and were totally intrigued by the possible benefits. In a world of technology and constant stimulation, who wouldn’t want a a 90-minute break from it all?

Pre-Float

Upon arrival at our local spot, we checked in and listened to the “first-timer” instructions. A sign on the counter directed us to take off our shoes [and of course, I was wearing mismatched socks] and get comfy in the waiting area. As we sat awaiting our appointment time, we perused some coffee table readings.


When our room was ready, we were given additional instructions about how to work the tank and what to do before preparing to float. I’ll mention this: we booked a Deluxe Float for Two. I was a little skeptical about trying this together for the first time, but alas we were here. The room was actually pretty spacious and was equipped with a shower head and space to change. Pre-float, we were asked to rinse off in cool water and enter the floatation chamber. Inside the chamber were buttons to control the lighting and sound. At the reception desk we had chosen the “blue” light and “white noise” soundtrack. We were both actually curious to do this experience with no sound and no light, but decided to start with both features on.

Float

There are two chamber sizes: standard and deluxe. For two people, you have to use the deluxe chamber which is about 6’11” wide. My biggest apprehension about floating was: is the water going to be too cold?? I hate swimming in pools for that reason…if I’m cold, I’m immediately uncomfortable.

The first toe touch of water was actually really nice. As we allowed ourselves to lay back and float, I was happy to say that I wouldn’t be cold. The water is advertised to be about 93.5 degrees–which I guess is skin receptor neutral. With 1200+ pounds of Epson Salt, anyone can float: no matter your shape or size.

Two people could comfortably fit in the tank, but we did at times graze the other. My head immediately felt weird (as we were told it probably would). There was tension in my neck and I stupidly held it in for 20 minutes before asking David to grab me a floaty head support. It was immediate relief, and now I could begin total relaxation……

or not.

First off, 90 minutes to float is a long, long time. Let me give you some points of reference:

(1) A feature length comedy film is about 90 minutes long.

(2) teaching two middle school class periods takes 90 minutes of my day.

(3) the four episodes of Wrecked we watched last night took the same amount of time as this flotation experience.

Second, being in the tank with two people was just beyond awkward for me. In an instance of complete silence, I cannot help but start laughing. I’m glad we were both wearing earplugs because perhaps David didn’t have to listen to my muffled laughter on repeat. I literally kept telling myself to take this seriously, Danielle and frequent gentle reminders to breathe in, breathe out.

I would say that it took me a good 50-60 minutes to truly begin to relax. My mind was racing and although I wasn’t feeling claustrophobic, I still couldn’t settle myself. After about an hour in, I told David we could try the lights completely off (when he tried this earlier, I actually freaked out). It was super strange to be floating with open eyes in the pitch dark. I will say, at this point I started getting sleepy and would have loved to just have fallen asleep right then and there.

After the longest 90 minutes of my lifetime, a gentle feminine voice came over a loud speaker and announced that the float was over and to begin exiting the tank. The lights were slowly raised and I stepped out of the tank feeling a little bit lighter and really tired.

Post-Float

David’s first remark was, “that went by really fast.” To that, I gave a wide-eyed look and passively disagreed.

A quick rinse off is necessary after a salty float. They provide shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and bath towels. While it is a 90 minute float, you actually get the room for two hours to allow for pre/post activities.

We were the last appointment of the night and left after 10PM.

So, the question you [all] want the answer to: will I go back? The answer is YES, I will for sure be going back….by myself 🙂 I want to give sensory deprivation a chance [that sounds so bad] and feel like it is an experience best had with just you & your own thoughts. While it was fun to experience this together for the first time, I think both of us would agree that the next trip will be a solo one.

A 30-Day Journal? Yes, it’s worth it.

I’ve been a longtime follower of Chalene Johnson and just recently bit the bullet and bought her Push Journal. I’d been on the fence about it for a while and wasn’t sure if the $$ was worth spending. After some thought (and a flash sale), I bought a set of 3, kept one and then gifted two of them this Christmas.

At heart, I’ve always preferred a paper-based planner system. I keep a hardbound yearly planner already and wondered if this Push Journal would be duplicating what I’m already using. Well, I am writing this on day 54 of using the journal system (yes, I bought a second journal) and I can honestly say that I’ve started 2019 in the best way possible. Let me share with you just what it’s all about.

Journals are available in lots of fun colors!

First off, this is a 30-day journal system. This was my biggest hesitation prior to purchasing. Why would I spend $20+ for a journal I can only use for a month? Needless to say, the Push Journal is much more than a journal or a planner. Having already read Chalene’s book Push, I was well-versed in her goal setting, habit creating methods. You don’t need to have read the book to use the journal though! The Push Journal has its own website and Chalene has created user-friendly videos to guide you in using the journal.

While the Push Journal is designed to be used for only 30 days, you can buy a pack of 3 and be ready to crush some big goals in just 90 days (this is her recommendation…and mine!).

What exactly makes this journal different than the rest?

My current key priority is _______________________.

Before you begin with Day One of your journal, there are some really important steps you must take (but don’t worry, they are all outlined in the journal). First, you’ll identify areas in your life that need your immediate attention. Using a scale of 1 to 10, you score twelve different important areas of your life and hone-in on the lowest scored area. For me, my Mental Wellbeing easily became my key priority. If that was an area I could improve upon in the next 90 days, I knew I could feel an incredible sense of relief.

After identifying your key priority, the next step is to brainstorm goals for the next 90 days. I tried to focus all of my goals on my key priority, but she suggests that you focus three goals on improving your key priority. So, for example, the first three goals I listed that would [hopefully] improve my overall mental state were:

(1) Exercise at least four times per week for at least 30 minutes.

(2) Set boundaries/work-life balance: Stop checking work email after 7PM each day.

(3) Commit to 15-minutes/day of personal development.

My remaining smaller goals focused on other areas of my life, such as environment/surroundings and physical health. In reality, these ten goals that you’ve set for yourself are ones that can be reached/maintained in a well-planned out 90 days. To “push” yourself forward with these new goals, Chalene teaches you to set one ‘push goal’ that will essentially get the ball rolling for all your other goals.

Creating my ‘push goal’ was more challenging, but honestly you can’t go wrong. I settled on intentional screentime as my push goal. I figured that having written it down, it might be easier to follow through with. When I say intentional I really just wanted to better separate myself from my phone and random social media scrolling. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m slowly developing better habits 🙂

Daily Tracker! My favorite way to plan out my day!

Phew! Now that we’ve gone through the goal setting process, it is time to show you all the daily trackers! This journal is undated, so you can start at any time! Every morning (or the night before) I fill out the daily tracker and do a “brain dump” of all the things that I’d like to get done for that day. Everyday, at the top of your journal, you are rewriting that push goal and choosing just three tasks related to that push goal that can be accomplished in less than 15 minutes each. Essentially, if you get just those three tasks done in the day, you should feel amazing because, on the daily, you are working towards those goals of yours! I reuse my three goals often: usually they relate to some kind of intentional screen time with my business, time spent on personal development, or decluttering my house.

There is a space each day for you to plan out your day and make note of any work, appointments, or other commitments (aka…schedule that gym time!). I prefer to write in my journal the night before, but if not then I try really hard to make it the first thing I do in the mornings.

Need an easy place to keep track of food & fitness? The journal does that too!

Included in each Day of your journal is also a Health Tracker. I’ve been pretty good about using this as well! I try to log what I’ve eaten each day and record my water intake (that’s one of my goals, too). I use the fitness log to track my time at the gym–each journal actually comes with a handy bookmark that you can easily mark off if you’ve reached your goals each day (i.e., check off Day One if you exercised for 30 minutes, check off Day One if you drank at least ___ounces of water).

If I still have your attention…

…..what do you think?

While many of you may feel like you wouldn’t get the bang for your buck with this journal, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! I am on journal number two and after 54 days of this system, I am proud to say that I have been able to maintain all three of my big goals [listed above]! I think that there is such power in writing down your goals and your plans for the day. In a technology-driven world, I know that I have lost touch with some of my old-school ways. By taking a little bit of time to reflect on what’s going well/not going well and then setting some intentional goals, I’ve seen a big improvement in my ability to manage my busy life.

I am slowly making myself a priority again—and not feeling bad about it!

Purchase a 3-pack here (that’s the best deal for sure), but if you want to try just one you can! For those on a budget, you could purchase one and then create your own using a blank journal!

But think of it this way, would you be willing to spend less than just $1/day to crush your goals and live a more intentional existence? That’s my plan.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Would you consider this journal? Comments are welcome and appreciated!

~ Danielle

Just get over yourself.

Where are my perfectionists at?!

It is basically a Christmas miracle that you are reading this. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to start a blog? Can you guess how many other things ‘got in my way’ until this very day? When I set out to do anything in my life, I want to do it right and do it really well.

That’s actually a very big problem.

For the longest time I took so much pride in being a self-proclaimed workaholic. I’ve always held multiple jobs while balancing my own educational interests. My pursuit of happiness has heavily relied upon my own sense of accomplishment. If I wasn’t busy and wasn’t doing all the things, then I could very easily become discouraged. To give anything less than 100% is just not my jam.

Which again, is a not so good thing.

I’m slowly learning that I need to just get over myself. And I say that in the nicest way. If I truly want to get ahead and live the life I envision, I need to change my mindset. And my stubborn ways [thanks, dad].

I’m deathly scared of not being my best.

Not being good enough. To even make the decision to start this blog has caused some slight anxiety. After spending [too] much time figuring out the layout, header image, content, etc., I sit stagnant, waiting for just the right words to suddenly materialize. The delete button is a friend and my wandering mind is desperately trying to focus on the finish line.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

I’m always saying this to my own students. If you only ever do things within your comfort zone, how can you ever grow? It’s probably about time I take my own advice. So here goes nothing.

Welcome.

I’m excited to write for you. Let’s see where this takes us. 

~ Danielle