What I Learned after Leaving My Job

I am officially done in Statesboro. I have a few weeks off before I start my new job, and I'm thankful for an opportunity to rest, recharge, and get my house in working order. No one likes to live out of boxes, or without the things they need, so this week I am trying to get as much done during the days so that I can totally focus on CJM in the evenings.

It was hard to leave Statesboro, but it was terribly sad to leave the lovely individuals I worked with on a daily basis. I really grew professionally in my most recent role; it was a job that truly prepared me for the big step up in career that I am going to be making in a few weeks. I've learned a lot about being a young professional, and wanted to share a few thoughts/tips with you! Please leave your suggestions in the comments as well--I truly believe it takes a team to be successful, and appreciate any insight.

  • Work/life balance is critical. This was something that I came into this position determined to maintain. At my first post-grad position, I let everyone around me dictate my schedule by answering calls and emails to people that I didn't answer to, ever, and didn't pay my bills. 10 p.m., 6:00 a.m.; I was available. This is unhealthy. And it sets a precedent that is almost impossible to break. I am totally available to my boss/es when they need me. And they know the best, most direct ways to reach me. But there is no need {usually} to answer calls and emails from others late in the evening or early in the morning. Maintain the most healthy for you and your job amount of work/life separation as possible. I was much happier at my most recent job because I had established cut-off times for communication.

  • Not hating your job is key. Job satisfaction directly affects your level of happiness in the rest of your life. While no job is perfect, one that has the right amount of stress, engagement, challenge, and reward for you will be one that supports a positive, re-charging environment outside of the office. We all know that person that hates their boss/job/office environment, because that's all they seem to talk about! And if you can't leave a job where you're miserable, make sure you're doing absolutely everything you can to discover a contentedness while you're there. Your happiness is ultimately up to you.

  • Depend on your work family. While not always a reality in every office, I've been blessed by working environments that recognized that I was a real person, with real emotions, and real issues. When I had family issues that I needed to take care of they listened, were supportive, and allowed me opportunities to address the situation that involved people outside of the office. We all worked to learn about and invest in each other, and created a true sense of community amongst our office. These are the people I invited to my wedding, celebrated birthdays with, and other wins and losses throughout life--even hard ones like moving away, and starting a new job. Support your team, and they will support you as well.

  • Network! At my last job, I worked in networking. We provided multiple opportunities throughout the month for business leaders in our area to connect with others and saw some great initiatives develop through these events. I also saw people who didn't take advantage of networking, and they end up feeling left out of the loop, uninvolved, or uninvited. Insert yourself into networking and building relationships with other individuals whenever you can. These are the people that become your references, help you find a job in another town when you do have to move, and become that person that you can schedule lunch with once a month, too!

  • Be consistent. This is probably my biggest personality pet peeve: I hate when people are inconsistent. I think consistency in work can be shown in various ways: through timeliness, efficiency in work, and in the skills you provide. But it's also in your personality and appearance--don't come in a grumpy slob one day, and peppy professional the next. It sends mixed messages, and makes you hard to get to know and work with. People want to know what to expect; save the surprises for thoughtful notes or words of encouragement, not in your presence or behaviors.

  • Communicate. Our office always worked to know what was on each other's schedule {kind of easy, but also crucial when there was only three of us!} in an effort to not overschedule or overload any one person. It also helping us plan days off that everyone was happy with, and to just be aware of the "real life" things that were going on outside of the office. While those are easy things to share, it's important to communicate the issues too. When a problem arises in a project, if a volunteer becomes too much for one person to handle, or if you are unhappy in your work life and need something to change. Communicate what's really going on--good or bad. Just like in any relationship, it's important to be honest with what's happening in your heart and mind. 
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On My Radar | Spring Things

It feels like we totally skipped over winter here, but I have to say, I don't hate it.

I'm starting a new job soon which has got me really looking ahead to some spring work wear, as well as few more casual pieces just for fun! I love Talbots, but try to be very selective with my purchases and invest in true "legacy" pieces. Also, not every season is "appropriate" for my age and can lean towards being a little grandma-ish. But I am loving most of the spring things this year! So many mix and match options, and classic features like scallops, navy, and some nautical accents thrown in.

On a more casual note, these Marc Fisher wedges are the "hot blogger item" of spring/summer. A dupe for the even more pricey Chloe wedge, these are versatile warm-weather wedges, that I don't know I'm ready to invest in quite yet. I like to give a trend a trial run first! Luckily, Red Dress Boutique has a super affordable similar style--only $32, and only a few sizes are left! I scooped up a pair, and can't wait to try them out. 

I've gotten so many compliments and questions about my fall bag, that I knew Barrington Gifts would be the place for my spring purse, too. Their new spring collection is beautiful with perfect pink and blue pastel colors accented with electric oranges and greens. Of course, there are plenty of more neutral options that can carry throughout the seasons as well! 

Weekend Recap | Moving to the DUB

Amazing art by my bestie
Everything hurts...

my hands from carrying boxes, my legs from going up and down our stairs, and my back from the never-ending packing that happened all last week. But it's done, we've moved! I've still got a week left in Statesboro to finish up work and clean out the house, but we loaded up the biggest U-Haul I've ever seen on Saturday morning and drove to Dublin that afternoon.

Dublin's own Villa Blanca {RHOBH anyone?}

After unloading, eating the most delicious pizza ever {probably due to moving-induced starvation}, and taking by far the most amazing shower of my life, I slept in our new house! Sunday was filled with coffee on the back porch with the pups, picking out Round 2 of paint for the living room {who knew there were so many grays!}, and being blessed once again by the TJ Maxx gods with enough matching curtains and curtain rods that match our look!

Side story: our first night in the house was supposed to be Valentine's Day, but we moved in a week early. My gift to CJM was this shiplap sign with our name and the house's coordinates on it, similar to how my wedding jewelry from him had important coordinates, too! I got it on Etsy, and it looks so good! 

Without any Internet or TV, and phone data in my case, CJM and I had sushi on the coffee table while watching a movie last night to celebrate a successful weekend. We are so grateful for all of our supportive friends and family who helped us move; it's truly a labor of love to help someone move. It's so nice to plan on not moving for a really long time.

Can't resist the fun holiday decor!

After I finish up work next week, I'll have a couple of weeks to unpack and get everything settled before starting my new job. I'm looking forward to getting to know the neighborhood and area much better, and relaxing while working on some fun projects throughout the house and on the blog--I can't wait to share!

6 Tips to becoming a Pro-Packer

I thought I was a pro-mover. Having moved every two years growing up {and sometimes on only three weeks notice} taught me the importance of throwing things away before the movers pack trash in a box, and organizing things to be packed in the way you want them to be unpacked. But see here's the thing: we had movers. It's a little different if you're doing it yourself and just moving across town. This move, we have a lot more stuff and a lot more furniture. Packing the U-haul is going to be like playing a major game of Tetris! 

But I have learned a few useful tips that I'd like to share and hopefully make someone else's life a lot easier in the future:

  • Take out the Trash: Every time I start packing, I throw stuff away. It's my goal to throw out a whole bag of trash after each packing session. This is hard for someone who wants to hold on to every note, coupon, sauce packet, etc. Maybe I am a hoarder... I'm also trying to purge decor items that either don't match what we have now, or what we're planning on for the future. Moving into our own home will come with a lot more customization opportunities than what I've had renting, so I don't want to hold onto things that don't match the new house or new look.
  • Little box carries a lot: My box packing mantra. I like to reuse boxes that have come in the mail that are usually on the smaller size as they carry clothes, makeup, or books. These boxes are typically wider and much more shallow than your traditional moving box, so it forces me to pack less which lends to more boxes but a lot easier time hauling them down a flight of stairs and across a parking lot. Another box favorite? Chick-fil-a fry boxes. Probably the sturdiest boxes I've ever run across. Call before lunch and have them hold their lunchtime boxes for you to pick up after 2 p.m. You'll get a ton. 
  • Mix and Match: Fill your china boxes with dish towels. Put books in your rolling suitcases. Put random items that aren't necessarily related, like mixing fall and Valentines Day decor, but need to be stored in the same location, in the same box. My somewhat OCD brain wants everything to be organized and orderly, but mixing allows you to save packing filler materials, and also prevents over packing too many heavy items like a box full of only books.
  • Pack what you want First, Last: After loading the trailer during the morning and driving to the new house a couple of hours away. I know I'll be exhausted. So I'll need my bed, linens and pillows, and bathroom things first. Pack everything first and make sure all bed and bath items are easily accessible. After dragging in the mattress, you'll probably have just enough energy to hang the shower curtain, brush your teeth, and sleep on top of the mattress with just a sheet...and not the fitted one. 
  • Clean out the Kitchen: Do Not take old food to the new house! Even if it's just a box of brownie mix. Moving is a great time to clear out and start over with a fresh, new outlook on life. This is something I'm really not good about, but when the move is more than just across town, it's kind of a necessity. I also find that I have a little bit of my great grandmother in me, and save ziploc bags, tin foil, and twist ties to reuse. This is not the time to move them to the new place! Just start a new collection. 
  • Organize You: For me, this means my personal files. Actually put away the W2s and the pile of paperwork that comes with buying a house into their appropriate locations, and not just let them stay in the stack on the kitchen table. I need to print out all of my references about transfers from my email {mail, power, etc.}, that way in case anything goes wrong or isn't turned on, or is lost, YOU have reference of what was supposed to happen at your fingertips in your personal file folder. 

    BONUS TIP! Another organizational process shared with my by a co-worker and mom is to only move furniture into the house first. If you have a garage, fill it with aisles of boxes, only a few high, and bring in a few at a time to intentionally unpack and put away. They can still be grouped by rooms in the garage, but it prevents having boxes all throughout the house for months at a time. Plus, if you're like me and super excited about having a garage again for the first time in years, you're going to be working in overdrive to get the space freed up! 

What are some of your best #movingtips? 

Valentine's Day Gifts for Him

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Boys, boys, boys. I refuse to refer to the "mens" in my life as anything other than boys, which is something the ladies in my office love and have already mentioned that they will miss hearing me say it. But seriously, boys. Why do you have to be so difficult to shop for? The main boy in my life likes to just go ahead and buy whatever he wants, taking away the sheer joy of gifting the gifts! #RUDE. So I usually have to put a freeze on any boy-buying in the weeks leading up to a holiday.

First up, technology. Usually, I'm feeling lost at the mention of anything tech-y. I did manage to get a gifting win with last year's Xbox at Christmas, but overall, I have no clue what to get in this department. The easy thing is, Beats by Dre are cool and every boy I know would like some. Also, with the new iPhones using wireless headphones, there's now more of an actual reason to buy such tech-y {and kinda pricey!} gadgets.

Overly-lovey gifts may not be your guy's things, and these "skunks in love" boxers are hilarious. Who better to wear clothing with skunks on them than boys! Albeit, they are kind of cute skunks, but still. And for only $8, it's okay if they become a true joke gift. 

This fabulous marble clock was actually a Christmas gift to us, that was picked out with CJM in mind! Marble is super "in" right now, and the cool, streamlined design is very modern and masculine at the same time. A great way to add your personal touch in a more subtle way to the man cave.

Another techy thing, but something I actually really want, is this cool speaker. It's spherical in nature, and can be put together or separated into two wireless speakers depending on the need. Indoor or outdoor, this is great for the movie fanatic, the outdoorsman, or the entertainer!

So for Christmas, I thought a good couples gift would be a nice luggage set. We travel a bit, and hope to go places more frequently in the future, so I picked out what I consider to be a neutral, hardside set of luggage. Let me point out, they are beautiful pieces. Santa brought them to me, and they were literally glowing by the Christmas tree. But they might be a little too "pink" or "girly" for my manly-man's taste. Since his favorite color is carbon fiber, I found this piece covered in the stuff! How much manlier can you get with luggage? I have to admit, it is pretty cool. 

But the coolest of all cool gifts, is the gift of gin. Or the gift of scotch, or whatever the preference! There are a variety of tasting sets, personalization options, and other really unique gifts for the adventerous drinker in your life. And the tasting set starts at only $20--what a deal!

Last year, CJM told me after seeing this post, "Now I know what you got me!" While not totally true, it was kind of accurate. So guess what...none of your gifts this year are on this list! Prepare to be surprised, sir!