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!

lists-links

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.

Lists & Links

lists-linksA week back into the real world left me with tons of things I wanted to share with you! There were so many times I wanted to drop everything and start typing out a blog post, or posting on Instagram! I didn’t, because, well, I need my job. But I’ve kept a list – JUST FOR YOU! Here’s this week’s Lists & Links!

One of the standard things on my Christmas list (yes, my mom still makes me write out a Christmas list!) is Target gift cards. It’s a store that I frequent and can easily spend hundreds of dollars in so having that little cushion to go and spend specifically for myself helps fill that need to SHOP. This year I walked away with a Kleen Kanteen and Blue Sky Daily Planner. So far I am loving them both!

Going back to work this week was a bittersweet thing. I was excited to come back with a fresh perspective and set some goals, but I also was missing my productive (and cozy) life as a blogger from the holiday break. At our weekly Jumpstart meeting, I walked them through a goal setting process. At the end I asked them to make the last goal about them as a team and they decided to focus on collaboration, communication, and support of each other. I was so pleasantly surprised! I am proud of them for all being open, honest, transparent, and supportive people – they are going to do so well together this year!

I’m not sure about you, but I am officially a Pinterest addict! A friend introduced it to me years ago and I have been using it daily ever sense. Over break, I finally finalized my Pinterest account for The Corner Office! It was so much fun to put together some boards specifically for this community and has been an unexpected source of inspiration as I’ve been thinking of moving forward with TCO.

With Justin’s transplant just a couple of weeks away I am working on simplifying my work life – delegating things I can, and streamlining our workflow so that I will be able to successfully work remotely almost daily. Weekly team meeting agendas – out the window! When I asked my team if they felt their weekly motivational e-mail was something they wanted to see continue, they all said very positive things, even that it sets the tone for their week! So I kept it on my to-do list and sent one later that afternoon. It was very nice to hear that something I came up with years ago, and have been spending hours on every week is worth my time and effort. Maybe I’ll even start writing them for you ::hint, hint::

I have this amazingly eccentric and mature part time staff member that works in my program. She is young, accomplished, hilarious, and just an amazing person to be around. For Christmas I bought her the journal Start Where You Are – I just had the opportunity to give it to her this week and she was so excited to spend some time thinking about her life and setting her self up for a good final year in her undergraduate program.

What are some of your favorite things from this week? Share your lists & links!

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.

5 Stages of Reflection: PREP!

no-2-guide-1

The calm of the holiday season and the impending new year has inspired personal reflection over the last week. It’s been a constant as I’ve gone about my semi-regular routine, finishing up tasks in the office before break, shopping from my iPhone, wrapping gifts, cleaning out clutter, or just spending time on the couch by the light of the Christmas tree. I’ve even gone all the way back to 2014 in the blog and reread Adios 2014, HELLO 2015! a post I wrote at the end of 2014, thinking about moving away from a difficult year and into new opportunities.

I haven’t decided yet if knowing the challenges ahead of us, just on the other side of 2017, is helpful in setting my own personal expectations for the year or a burden. On one hand, I’d much rather know, it gives us time to prepare, but on the other there is so much unknown that comes with a bone marrow transplant that preparation is sometimes futile. It will come, in whatever form it comes, and we will have to be flexible as we make our way through the year. But, in true Emily fashion, a year of anticipated challenge will not stop me from pushing forward in becoming the individual I want to be.

Today is my last day in the office before our holiday break, I am lucky enough to have personal time off to be able to secure ten days to focus on myself, Justin, family, and what is to come in 2017. After today I will be putting myself through a reflection and goal setting process using Lara Casey’s PowerSheets, a gift I purchased for myself, after stalking their social media feeds for weeks.  PowerSheets are a guided goal setting process, designed and redesigned by the company Cultivate What Matters, to give people space to be reflective, intentional, and stay consistent throughout the year with their own personal goals.

The more that I think about WHAT I want to be in 2017, the more I reframe questions to myself about WHO I want to be. My ideal version of Emily, who is she and who is she to the people she interacts with? How can she be better to herself and those she loves?

I imagine preparing for 2017 will be an interesting and complex process, happening in FIVE different stages:

  1. Preparing for Reflection
  2. 2016 Reflection
  3. Identifying the Strengths & Challenges from 2016
  4. Determine Opportunities for Growth
  5. Develop Goals & Action Plans

2016 tested me in more ways than I could ever have imagined, in some cases I was proud of the person I presented to the world, and in others I saw opportunities for growth. It was an eye opening experience, and I am ready to take what 2016 was, reflect on it, and really think intentionally about what 2017 can be. I’ll be writing about it along the way, including taking you on a tour of the PowerSheets as I begin to dive into them.

Reflection and Goal Setting aren’t stagnant processes, but rather customizable for each individual. Tell me, how do you approach the new year and setting goals for yourself?

youre-my-favorite-notification-2

 

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!

lists-links

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.

youre-my-favorite-notification-2

 

THANKSgiving

gratitude

At the beginning of November I set out to share thirty things I was grateful for throughout the month. Thursdays became Thankful Thursdays, I have to admit, this was a fun challenge to do, a daily focus on gratitude holds a lot of power. It becomes a little harder to be negative and a little easier to push through what has the potential to hold you back.

You can read the rest of the Thirty Days of Gratitude posts here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

And, without further adieu, here are the nine things I am grateful for on this Thanksgiving morning to round out the month of November.

[FLEX SPENDING ACCOUNTS] This week Justin and I were able to purchase new glasses without having to take any money out of our checking account because we are fortunate enough to have a flex spending account as part of our benefit package. It had been five years since Justin had been to the eye doctor, so he was due for some new glasses.

[NEW FRIENDS] I’ve had the opportunity recently to build new friendships with people that I would never otherwise have a relationship with. It’s sometimes interesting how these people are brought into your life, but I believe you really are given the people you need, when you need them.

[OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW] As I make progress in my healthier lifestyle, I am also trying to push myself to do things that I might not want to do, push myself outside of my comfort zone. My brain automatically defaults with all of the things that have to be “dealt with” in any given situation which can cause both anxiety and a strong desire for avoidance. I’ve missed out on a lot of things because of that natural inclination I have, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to push through it and grow as an individual.

[TRADITIONS] Thanksgiving weekend is full of traditions, as a matter of fact, this whole season is full of traditions. I enjoy the familiarity of seeing family, the feeling of the holiday, comforting food, and being able to look forward to each event.

[LONG WEEKENDS] I am incredibly lucky to work in an industry that gives staff paid holidays, resulting in never having to worry whether or not I am able to participate in celebrations with our family. And this month, I have two additional days to rest, eat, celebrate, and relax.

[PAYCHECKS] I am so grateful for a consistent paycheck, and this week, an early one. Because I have direct deposit, I was able to pay almost a month’s worth of bills this morning and still save some money for Black Friday shopping. Knowing that we have the means to take care of our financial obligations on a monthly basis is comforting.

[LAZY MORNINGS] In a very unusual fashion, I have spent the last two evenings out having drinks with friends. Something I rarely do, especially since moving to a low-carb diet. While I had a great time, my body is paying the price for two days of drinking. This morning I am thankful for the opportunity to lay low, drink some coffee, make a light breakfast, and rest up before taking on the day.

[TRYING NEW THINGS] While having a night out this week a friend encouraged (forced) me to try some things I would otherwise avoid, I would expect nothing less. I enjoyed the things she introduced me to and was grateful for the opportunity to try new things and the people that encourage (force) you to.

[THANKSGIVING] Today is Thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday of the year. I am thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate (and eat) with family, prepare for more Thanksgiving traditions, and start the holiday season. Bring on the turkey!