Lists & Links: Perfectly Random

At the end of last year, I started a new category here on TCO called: Lists & Links. These posts are full of fun, little, things that I wanted to share with you that don’t necessarily warrant an entire post – a perfectly random bag of things, just for you! It’s been a while, but here we go!

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I have been obsessed with Panera’s new delivery services while I am at work – I tend to forget neglect to make a lunch on a daily basis and Panera delivery has saved me on more than one occasion. This week I tried a new cookie to curb my everlasting sweet tooth, and MY GOD was it delicious! It’s huge, pricey, decadent, and full of calories, I’m sure. But it’s delicious none-the-less.

For Christmas my sister gave me an Amazon Echo Dot (Alexa), and while we set it up and used it for a few weeks before Justin’s admission to the hospital, we had kind of forgotten it was there since coming home. We set everything up again this weekend and I’m already in love that we can connect our Spotify apps to it, and do little things like ask about the weather, set timers, and make lists. I’m sure there are many more sophisticated things Alexa can do, but for now she’s happy being our real, live, google machine.

I have been back to work for about four weeks now, and am still feeling like I’m catching up but my team has made the transition much easier for me than I had anticipated. They have been supportive, welcoming, excited, and engaged.  I thought coming back to work would be miserable, and in all actuality, it was a welcome addition to my routine that helped me focus on something other than medications, doctor appointments, and Justin’s every move. There are still hard days, but they have been incredibly understanding and supportive when those days come up.

My friend had been stalking me about downloading a new app called: ibotta a couple of weeks ago. She claimed it was awesome and that I needed to get it and start using it. With a roll of my eyes, I downloaded the app and started searching for rebates on things that I usually buy. I found a few things and on my next grocery trip found enough things to get $4.50 back in rebates. Not a millionaire making strategy, but I’ll take it! If you want to try it – use my referral code: ppfciim

Finally, I just finished the new Netflix docuseries: The Keepers this week. Man, I wasn’t quite expecting the emotional heaviness that it brought, but it definitely was an interesting story. I wish I could hear more or go and help those looking for answers. These women are amazing and so brave for telling their stories. I’m glad I heard about on one of my favorite podcasts and took the time to watch. If you’re interested in true crime, the systemic nature of religion, and are not triggered by sexual assault stories, check it out.

REBLOG: Searching for Happiness – The Value of Suffering

reblogPart of my weekends are dedicated to catching up on my reading and networking with other bloggers. I was intrigued when I found a post on ScaleItSimple – a blog that focuses on Positive Vibes, Lifestyle, and Travel. Please take a moment and check out her post: Searching for Happiness – The Value of Suffering.

BLOG –> Scaleitsimple.com

FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, & TWITTER

Grab Ahold of This Monday!

Happy Monday Morning!

It’s your last Monday of January – how are you going to use it? I plan on spending some time looking at how January went in terms of my personal, blog, and professional goals and start planning for February. It’s a whole new world for my little family – Justin has officially be admitted and started the treatment process for his bone marrow transplant. So I’ll be coming to ya from my little space inside his BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) Unit room!

Take ahold of this Monday and DO YOU!

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The Importance of Restructuring When Goals and the Real World Collide

when-goals-and-the-real-world-collideIt took less than two weeks into the month of January before I realized that my personal goals didn’t fit. They didn’t work with my day to day life and I wasn’t excited about them. The overall mission was still there, still igniting my motivation, and getting me pumped about the year ahead, but the daily grind was killing my smaller goals.

My initial reaction was disappointment. So much time was spent reflecting and crafting reasonable, exciting, and purposeful goals for myself – how was it that my daily, weekly, and monthly goals weren’t getting me closer to the finish line?

Okay – reality check: I know that it’s not realistic to expect progress in two weeks. But you should feel some sort of movement, right?

In late December, I started my reflection and planning process using the 2017 PowerSheets from Cultivate What Matters. You can read about that process, take a look into my brainstorming, and see my goals here.

Knowing what January had in store for Justin and I, goal setting seemed odd. How could I be planning for my year when I didn’t know what our life would look like post-transplant? I was anxious about setting myself up for failure, ultimately losing interest and not following through on this process for the next twelve months. I started small: on a day to day basis I wanted to walk 5,000 steps, track all of my eating in MyFitnessPal, clean at least one thing, reach out to one person, and track my gratitude for the day.

Working in an office, getting in 5,000 steps can be difficult, I found myself more annoyed with my hourly reminders (thanks, FitBit) than excited by them. I looked like a loon walking around a board room table as I facilitated meetings, and had the maintenance guy demanding I do laps around the cubicles in the office before I could use the restroom. I mean, it was fun, but jeez, it became the priority of my day. And still, I didn’t hit 5,000 ONCE.

Other than the incorporation of a higher step count into my day, the actual issue with my daily goals was TRACKING them. Going back at the end of the week didn’t work, how was I supposed to remember what I cleaned on Tuesday? My daily goals became something to add to my to-do list, and I already had enough things on that. My resentment began to build – not good. ::images of PowerSheets flying through the air::

In all of my reflection, planning, and goal setting, I missed a step. I didn’t plan for the restructure process – I just assumed I had gotten it right on the first try. Boy, was I wrong.

One evening when I was home on my own, I pulled out my PowerSheets and my favorite orange marker and went to town! I took notes, I made connections between my goals instead of looking at them individually, and added in another category for the year: CREATE.

In my haste to put all of my goals into neat packages (tied with a bow, of course), I forgot an important aspect of who I am – I like to create things. I like to write, doodle, color, develop images, take pictures, play with craft supplies, and try new things. My days should be filled with more than just a check list, it should include the things I love to do!

The once monochromatic goal pages of my PowerSheets booklet are now covered in orange notes and doodles inspiring me so much more than any black marker ever could. Even if it was a medium point flair pen.

lightbulb_tealA piece of advice, my little goal setter? Give yourself some grace and be satisfied with progress. Not everything is going to be perfect on the first try. Stop, reevaluate, build in realistic action steps, and always, always, always, remember to build in time to take care of yourself.

The Little Blog That Could

__-productivity-and-focusBeing home for the week between Christmas and New Years has been amazing, and I have found so much motivation and time to dedicate to this blog. I’m a little sad thinking about going back to my usual routine next week, knowing that I won’t have as much time or energy to dedicate to writing. I’ll get a process down though, so hitting the publish button doesn’t seem like such a big task each time.

As this week moved on, I kept planning the end of year posts I wanted to write, some of them I have already posted, a lot of focusing on reflection. As I wrote each of those posts, I had one in the back of my mind showcasing the year for The Corner Office. In February, The Corner Office will celebrate its FIFTH birthday! As I begin to round out the fourth year of TCO, I can’t help be so incredibly proud of how far this blog has come. From frequency of posts, to writing quality, site templates, custom images, format shifts, a small community – growing every day, social media accounts, and of course…the numbers. With well over FIVE TIMES the amount of views as all other years COMBINED 2016 was good for The Corner Office. This small, but mighty blog had over 5,000 views in the year 2016. Comparatively to some of my blogger friends, this is nothing, but I am proud. Proud that I was able to stick to writing, reached some of my goals, and found a way to dig myself out of some pretty dark times by sharing my life in this space.

When I looked at the statistics for the year, I immediately went to see what the most read posts were, while I am not surprised, it was interesting to see them all lined up based on readership.

The New Normal remains the most popular blog post I’ve written, followed by The New Normal: Pause, and A Letter to the Person Saving my Best Friend. It is glaringly obvious that some of my best writing comes out of my personal experience, when I get to tell a story from my point of view. I hate to admit it, but I was a little disappointed that those were the posts read the most for the year. Justin and I try so hard to make our life NOT about cancer, there were so many times I didn’t write about it because we don’t want to dwell in it. The reality is though; it is our life and it creates a very raw and honest reading experience.

My gratitude for this space, for the words that come streaming out of my consciousness, and for you have never faltered. People all over the world (27 countries to be exact) are stopping here to read words I wrote, and that is pretty magical.

Now that I’ve shared your favorite posts from 2016, I’m want to share a few of mine!

On Sundays We Wear Pajamas: A fun post about how Sundays have moved out of last place and up in the ranks of my favorite days of the week!

Home: A post where I discuss the relief and excitement that I was feeling about moving back to the neighborhood I grew up in. And they say you can’t go home again…

Guest Post –> GO!: The actual guest post that was shared on my friend Stephanie’s blog is one of my favorites that I’ve ever written. She asked me to just introduce myself to her community of followers and I loved the way it turned out.

The Bystander & The Husband: As part of the Kindness Challenge, I wrote about Kindness that I saw that particular week, which manifested itself in some unexpected ways.

Weekend at Bruno’s: A fun post about my first extended amount of time with just Bruno and I. Justin was out of town and I was off from work so the two of us spent five days together.

One in the Crowd: My love for Andrew McMahon comes out in a concert experience.

The Long Game: I don’t do well with delayed gratification, but life sometimes forces you to sit back and play the long game.

Knock Yourself Out: An honest post about my relationship with religion and my faith.

Do YOU: The new jumping off point for the concept behind The Corner Office. Messy is beautiful!

Reflections, PowerSheets, & Videos – OH MY!: Just posted earlier this week, I have been so humbled and excited by the reflective process I’ve gone through recently and am SUPER proud of breaking outside of my comfort zone by posting my first video!

Even though 2016 felt stagnant in my personal and professional life, it was a year of growth for The Corner Office and I am excited for what 2017 will bring.

Reflections, PowerSheets, & Videos – OH MY!

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Reflection isn’t easy. Quite frankly, I’m not sure that I would have been able to do it without the guidance of an outside source. The first day of my holiday break included a couple of hours concentrated time with my 2017 PowerSheets. While I was excited by the prospect of this beautiful new item sitting in front of me, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write or if I would be engaged in the process. One page in and I was hooked. I was so engaged that I decided the preparation stage would have to be done in shifts, there was no way I could complete the entire section in a single evening. At this point, four days later, I am finishing up my reflection on 2016 and looking forward to getting started on goal setting.

The 5 Stages of Reflection are not concrete; they are fluid and can shift if you allow them. Here’s a refresher from the first post in this series!

  1. Prepare for Reflection
  2. 2016 Reflection
  3. Identify the Strengths & Challenges of 2016
  4. Determine Opportunities for Growth
  5. Develop Goals & Action Plans

While the preparation phase was a little more straight forward, reflection has been a winding road stopping, multiple times at numbers 2 – 4. Reflection requires identification of strengths and challenges, which will breed opportunities for growth. As I have completed the different phases of the 2017 PowerSheets I have gone back and forth through these steps like a pinball machine. Next up: Finishing up my reflection so I can develop some goals.

All week I have been trying to determine what would be the best way to share my progress with my 2016 reflection with you. Writing, pictures, Instagram posts, videos – I’ve tried them all. Finally, I decided to jump force myself outside of my comfort zone and post a video, taking you on a tour of my progress thus far.

The video is amateur, not of great quality, too long, I say um… WAY too many times, Bruno barks in the background, and I trip over myself, but you know what? That’s me! I like to have conversations with people, to share using both my ability to write and my ability to communicate verbally —> here I go again, reminding myself that MESSY IS BEAUTIFUL and that we are striving for PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!

PowerSheets or no PowerSheets, I hope that you are taking time to reflect on your year and looking forward to a productive and intentional 2017 – whatever that might mean for you. Stop by Instagram and let me know how your reflections are going!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I make progress toward setting some 2017 goals!

Lists & Links

One of the most difficult aspects of blogging is to decide what warrants a full blog post and what is just a little random nerdity I want to share. Over the weeks I have cultivated a nice little list of things just waiting for the right opportunity to share.

My most logical solution = create a category for sharing those with you.

And Lists & Links were born!

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With the launch of the TCO Instagram profile (@TCOBlog), I have been anxiously contemplating adding to my InstaStory. I am so nervous to open up like that – in a raw space without the filter of being able to edit my words as I go. But, the prospect of chatting with all of you is so appealing! I’ll push through and get there sometime soon!

A Bragging Point – Justin and I have been spending more time in our living room lately, with the Christmas tree lighting up the room it feels extra cozy. When he wants to play his video games he automatically begins playing my favorite artist through the system so we can continue to sit together. It’s nice to be spending time in the same room, but also focusing on things individually.

I found my favorite Keurig K-Cup while grocery shopping his week and I have been unashamedly favoring it every morning! I’m already almost out! Santa, if you’re reading this I wouldn’t be mad if some ended up in my stocking!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my relationship with religion – after some soul searching, I decided I needed to explore it a little more and to do so I purchased one of the Lara Casey Write the Word Journals – a guided scripture journal. You write down the scripture listed, things you’re grateful for that day, and then your thoughts. I did my first entry this week and was actually pleasantly surprised at my ability to reflect without being judgemental. I was engaged in the content and am looking forward to my next entry.

A Secret – I have this huge goal that I’m afraid to even say out loud. It’s outrageous, unrealistic, and not very original. I want to have my own podcast. (Typing doesn’t count as speaking out loud, does it?) – I know of no one of interest that would want to be interviewed and most certainly don’t have enough to say to warrant a podcast but it’s my super-duper, top secret, crazy goal.

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