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Head + Heart = Hustle Sparking Joy

I’m Where I Need To Be

I just had a flashback to my high school aerobics gym class. Every Friday we would do yoga and meditations (I know, I know – bougie AF). Our teacher would begin each meditation session by having us close our eyes, and saying that we are “exactly where we need to be.”

This has resonated with me a lot this past week. I am exactly where I need to be. I’ve had this overwhelming feeling of discontent over the last few months. I thought I should have been further along by now. I should hold a different job title. I should be more successful. These thoughts ran through my head on the daily.

News flash, Jeanette – you’re 24! You’ve already accomplished a ton. You have your bachelors and your masters. You have a job that DOESN’T stress you out! (How many people can say that!?) You are married to an amazing human who encourages your growth on the daily, and you have a dope family. You have friends that make you think more. You survived two years of hell in the workplace. You’re hustling hard on the side, and that will only continue to grow. You get 12 weeks off a year! You live a beautiful life. YOU ARE IN A GOOD PLACE!

I am exactly where I need to be right now.

I think we, millennials, are a bit arrogant. We’re entitled. We think we deserve more than we have, but why? I’ve worked hard to get where I am now, and I’ll continue to work hard to get to my next place, but for now, I am content with where I am.

We don’t need to constantly check boxes. We need to remember to live and enjoy life. I will never be 24 years and 237 days old again. Tomorrow, I will be a day older. Time is fleeting, and that’s terrifying but also so damn motivating. That motivates me to enjoy each day, to really savor it.

So next time I am feeling like I am not where I need to be, I hope I take a second to remind myself that I actually am. I hope I remind myself about the dope things I’ve seen and done. I hope I continue to see the purpose in my days.

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Sparking Joy

On Blank Canvas

My husband and I are very systematic people. We thrive on routine and schedules. When we’re on vacation, there’s an Excel sheet that goes along with our days. Letting go is difficult for us.

A few months ago, we took a trip to Texas, which included a few days in Austin. While there, we were inspired by the creativity of the park, and decided that when we got home, we would dabble in creative things.

When we returned, I went to Michaels and bought canvases, water colors, acrylic paints, too many paintbrushes, a pack of oil pastels and some chalk. This bag of supplies remained hidden in a closet for the next three months, as we were always too busy, or not in the mood to do something creative.

Last night, we took the bag out of our hiding space, lined our dining table with paper and cut a cardboard box up to use as our palette. We sat there with our supplies and our blank canvases. We hesitated. There was no system or rules to follow for painting. It felt uncomfortable.

We each picked up a paintbrush, and poured some paint on our “palettes.” We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t know proper technique. We mixed acrylic with watercolor, and I’m still not sure if that was kosher.

We painted last night, and it was scary in the strangest sense of the word. It reminded us that we need to do things like that more often. We thought about how silly we would look to children – how can these adults not know what to do? It’s clear – you just pick up a brush and you paint!

Last night was a good night. We may not have made masterpieces, but we rediscovered what it means to let go and create. We turned those blank canvases into something, and that felt pretty damn nice.

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Head + Heart = Hustle Thoughts

My Values Aren’t For the Greater Good

Last weekend, I went to session two of the work on purpose fellowship and I discovered both my strengths and my values.

To catch ya’ll up: my top five strengths were harmony, communication, empathy, input and consistency. My top three values… are non-compliance (hahaha), physical health, and humor.

This weekend, I, Jeanette, learned that I am not as good of a person as I thought I was. AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT! In all honesty, anyone who writes that they value world peace and global warming more than anything else in the world is a damn liar. Maybe Elon Musk is on that level of selflessness, but he was able to achieve selfish goals already.

My values and my strengths make me who I am, and after examining them, I understand why I operate the way that I do. I also totally get why my pet peeves are present. My strength is consistency, so if you say you’ll do something and you don’t… I don’t have faith in you anymore. I value input, so reading makes me feel so damn good, because I get to put some information in my noggin. My value of non-compliance… I get why I question everything that is asked of me.

I think it’s critical that I understand these parts of myself. Before analyzing this, I thought of myself as a “nice” person who does things for others, when really my values are pretty damn self centered. Taking my values and strengths, and putting them against what I do in my current job, makes me understand why I am not thrilled to go to work everyday. Teachers don’t really have room for non-conformity – there’s too many protocols we need to follow. I don’t input all that much into myself at work because the academics I teach are so rudimentary.

After this weekend, I’ve been thinking extensively about happiness and careers and strengths and all that good stuff. I’m curious, how many people are pursuing careers that truly suit them? How is their happiness correlated to that? How can I use my strengths and values, and couple them with my passions, to find my dream job? Is that even possible?

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Five Thangs Friday Sparking Joy

Five Thangs Friday #3

They say it takes a month to make a habit, so does that mean I’m one week away from Five Thang Friday being a habit?!?! This week has been pretty good to me. We’re continuing to settle into our new home and I’m adjusting to this commute (as discussed in a previous post). Read on for five things that have sparked joy/amused/humored me this week!

#1. The honesty of children

I teach 9th and 10th graders in a cluster classroom, which means that we focus more on life skills than academics. Instead of typical homework, I give a sheet out once a week that asks them to read for twenty minutes a day, have a conversation with someone and complete a household chore. When it comes time to collect their homework, I always prepare myself for a chuckle. Last weeks chore was for them to wipe down counters. As you can see from the photo above, they did not enjoy it and they’re not shy about telling you that.

I think the honesty my students have is one of my favorite things about the classroom I teach. Have you ever noticed that when you ask someone how they’re doing they don’t even pause to think before saying “I’m fine”? My students pause, and then let you know EXACTLY how they’re doing and I flipping love it. Side note: proud teacher moment because homegirl above used a complete sentence (we’ll work on punctuation later).

#2. Costco ERRYTHANG

I’m from a Costco family. What on earth does that mean?! My mom has worked for Costco for about fifteen years now, and we are HUGE advocates for Costco. When I was in college, I worked for them as well. 80% of my house has come from Costco, and a good 15% of my conversations are about my latest Costco finds.

Our new home has a pantry (!!!) and we got excited and bought all the clean goodies we could find at Costco. I used to go to Costco about once a week, but now that we have the space to store dry goods, I’m trying out going once a month instead. I’ll let ya’ll know how this goes.

On another note, I’m pretty dang impressed with the amount of goods I can purchase at Costco that fit our dietary needs. We loosely follow the Paleo diet, meaning no dairy (except for goat) and no artificial bull crap. We try to stay away from grains and added sugar as well. It’s so great that I can go to Costco and not only get the basics, but also fun goodies as well – like nut mixes and three brands of kombucha.

#3. This instant bone broth

I’ve been pretty sick this week – which I attribute to poor sleep (I’m that gal who needs a solid 9 hours) and self-induced stress. We found this gem at Costco earlier this week and it has been a lifesaver. It tastes delicious and is clean AF. All you do is mix with hot water and boom – you have yourself a great mug of broth. This is great for work, and I’ll probably be keeping a few in my suitcase for when I travel!

#4. My pseudo work fridge

On the note of being sick, I’ve been trying to keep myself hydrated with all the liquids. At work, I don’t have a fridge in my room but I discovered that my window is wide enough to store my drinks in! I’ve been able to have cold beverages all week and it’s been amazing! I guess this is one perk of cold Chicago winters! Maybe when it’s warm out, I can cook some eggs in the window sill. (If anyone is watching from Shark Tank, feel free to reach out to me for some equity in this brilliant idea).

#5. Early morning breakfasts with a friend

Egg Harbor is a breakfast chain in the Chicagoland area. In high school, when we would get late starts, we would gather there for breakfast. I met one of my best friends from college there this past Friday and had a blast. We met up for a 7:30 breakfast (which my husband thought was a strange hour) and it was glorious. There’s something special about getting up with the sun and meeting a friend for some quality conversation.

So that’s my week in iPhone photos. Hopefully next week has fewer germs! Happy Fridays homies!

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Sparking Joy

When Your Commute is LONG AF

I was spoiled – spoiled rotten. My old commute was an easy 12-minute drive down the highway. We moved recently, and now my commute into work is about 30 minutes and my drive home is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. That’s a total of at least one hour of driving a day! 60 minutes! 3600 seconds, if you will!

It’s going to take me a while to get used to this new drive, but I’m trying to be positive and proactive during this time. I’ve done this drive now for five days and here are some things I’ve been doing to fill that drive time purposefully.

#1. Podcasts

I go through phases with podcasts. One week I can’t get enough of them. ALL THE KNOWLEDGE, AT MY FINGERTIPS? LETS LISTEN TO ALL OF THEM! One week later, and I can’t stand the sound of anyone’s voice. I’ve been listening to podcasts, especially on my drive home this past week and it’s been a nice feeling to know that I’ve learned at least one thing every day. I’ve been trying to diversify the podcasts I listen to and have found several amazing ones! It’s kind of amazing – there’s a podcast on pretty much any topic!

What I listened to this morning – love me some Wellness Mama!

#2. Upbeat Music

It’s hard to get myself out of bed, dressed and to work. My body wants nothing more than to stay in bed, eat paleo pancakes and binge watch Netflix. With that being said, it can be difficult to be jazzed about the day ahead of me. Listening to my monthly playlist on my drive in, even if it’s just for a portion of the drive, has been helping me put myself in a better mood. Sure – you can be cranky your whole drive in, and possibly all day long, but why do that when music can change your mood almost instantaneously? Lately, I’ve been loving this playlist that I’ve screenshot below!

#3. Phone calls

I try to talk to my parents and sister regularly – at least every other day but preferably daily. It’s difficult to find time to sit for a phone call with everyday life, when you’re running to and from but I’ve been finding that I call my dad every morning. It gives me a solid uninterrupted half hour to catch up with my dad, and have more meaningful conversations than I was able to fit into my 12-minute drive. So in a way, my commute has been helping me strengthen my relationships with my family, and that is a beautiful thing.

#4. Mindfulness

I’ve written about being mindful, and specifically about driving mindfully in the past, however I’ve been able to take it to a whole other level with my new drive. For starters, this drive allows me to watch the sunrise every morning. Not only do I get to watch the sunrise, but I get to watch it rise over the beautiful Chicago skyline! It’s something special every morning, and I am hoping that that beauty never gets old for me. My drive gives me a good chunk of time to sit, be still (for the most part) and think. Sometimes, I think about the scenery that spills out in front of me. Sometimes, I think about my day ahead. It’s just a great time to process my thoughts. I’ve been enjoying listening to Petit Biscuit and just noticing/thinking/taking life in on my drives to and from work each morning, and it’s helped me calm myself down. It’s also allowed me to observe my surroundings more, and sometimes I’m gifted with something humorous, like this protest sign I saw.

#5. HYDRATION!

I drink a decent amount of water throughout the day, but I’ve found that my morning and afternoon commute is a great time to put away some water! In the morning, my mind is on coffee and I tend to forget about water. For the last week, I’ve been drinking a bottle of water and a thermos of tea on my drive in, and a bottle of water on my drive home. When there’s not much else to do, it makes drinking water easy!

So that’s five things I’ve been trying to do whilst battling Chicago traffic. How do you pass time on your commute? I tried to do some tasks, like paying bills, but reading account numbers off paper and staying in lanes turned out to be a more difficult task than I am capable of!

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Five Thangs Friday

Five Thangs Friday #2

It’s been a crazy week! We packed up our old house, closed on our new house and moved. I’ve also been working on my new part time job and learning the ropes, which has been taking a good amount of my time. Despite all of the life changes, I’ve been trying to stay true to my goal of being more mindful and more present. Without further ado, I present my FIVE THANGS FRIDAY!

#1. Books on books on books on books

One of the fun (or maybe not so fun) parts of moving is remembering what you have. My husband and I are huge bibliophiles. We dream of the day we have a library in our house, filled with walls of books and dark leather chairs. We were packing up our house this week, and realized we had 20 boxes of books. 20 boxes guys! I am so excited to find a home for all these books in our new home. Stay tuned to see what it all looks like!

#2. Green juice!

Eating healthily is a bit more difficult when moving, with limited food and all of our utensils in boxes. I was at Costco this past week and saw that they were offering these Suja green juices again! They tend to sell them during the spring, when people are getting ready for their summer bodies. These were delectable and much needed, after having eaten a diet consisting of falafel for a few days! If you see them, check them out! It’s hard to find true green juices that aren’t loaded up with fillers like apple juice!

#3. This podcast!

My hell yes/hell no mentality applies to my relationships as well. If I feel like a relationship is not giving me energy, I don’t want anything to do with it. As of lately, I’ve been thinking even more about what friendships are, and their cycles. I found this podcast last week and it was great! This episode in particular, really spoke to me and confirmed the decisions I’ve made for myself in regards to friendship. The women who host it are real and raw, and the topics are all so interesting. I can’t wait to listen to more of these!

#4. Valentine’s Day notes

Guys – how freaking adorable is this note? (Side note: he wrote identical ones for all the staff who work in our classroom). Valentine’s Day is special when you’re a teacher. I still see all the students nervously hand Valentine’s cards to their crushes, and we still have fun passing candy out in class. One student gave me some chocolate covered strawberries, and it absolutely made my day.

#5. This man (:

While we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, I do appreciate and love this man a little more each day. We got married when we were crazy young (I was 21 and he was 23) and have grown so much since then, both together and as individuals. I couldn’t imagine life without him – my adventure buddy, my support system and the love of my life. Moving this week made me reflect further on how much our lives have changed since we got married, and I appreciate and recognize all of the amazing, selfless things he does for me, and for our relationship.

So there it is folks – my five thangs Friday! I hope ya’ll have a spectacular weekend! Peace out, girl scouts!

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Five Thangs Friday Sparking Joy

Five Thangs Friday

It’s Friday… I mean, Friyay! Here’s a rundown of how my weeks been, courtesy of iPhone snaps! Happy weekend, pals!

#1. NOLA


If you read my post earlier this week, or you stalk my Instagram, you’ll know I was in NOLA this past weekend and had the best time! One of the highlights for me was all the art, especially meeting this Banksy piece. It was amazing to see the sun for a bit and to not wear pants.

#2. THIS gym shirt

You know those girls who look cute AF when they go to the gym? Yeah, that’s not me. I’ve been loving this shirt lately – which happens to be my husband’s shirt from high school. Who doesn’t love tie dye? I swear it works like pre-workout. I push harder when I wear more colors to the gym.

#3. These punny towels

I am THE queen of puns, or at least I think so. This was a sweet gift from a sweet friend of mine. These towels speak to me, ya’ll.

#4. These broken headphones

I pulled up to the gym Wednesday afternoon, pumped to get a pump in (see? told ya I was the pun queen)! I opened my bag… and found this. Guys. Why do they make things so poorly? The hinge was completely supported by plastic, so obviously it was going to break. I looked on the internet for a bit, and found that many people had had this issue with Sony headphones. Insert sad face.

#5. This magnificent dinner

I am so grateful for my husband you guys. While this may not be the prettiest photo (I told ya it was all shot on my phone), it was delicious. I am lucky to have a husband who isn’t just hot, but cooks too!

#6 (BONUS). This petty song

No words needed. This song is so petty and I love it!

So there ya have it! My week in photos. Lets get the weekend started pals!

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Sparking Joy

But…Will It Kill You?

Freaking out is my speciality. I freak out about everything: the weather, how much time I need to get to the airport, how many eggs are left in the fridge. My husband, on the other hand, is the coolest cucumber you’ll ever meet, and this has helped me grow. He always says to think about the worst case scenario. Will you die? Will anyone you love die? If the answer is no, then your problem is probably no biggie.

This is easier said than done. For example, this Monday I took a personal day. We get three a year, to use for personal reasons. This was also the first time I had taken a day at my current job. I freaked out. What if they reject it? What if my boss is upset with me? What if my classroom burns and I have to rewrite all the goal books I’ve made?

Today is Thursday – three days post freak out. Guess what? My day was approved. My boss does not hate me. My classroom is still functioning. Nothing happened. I took a personal day, and the world did not end.

I think it’s important to think about worst case scenarios. If you don’t get the job you applied to, you’ll find another one. If the boy you like doesn’t like you back – guess what? There are a ton of fish in the sea. If you don’t like fish, there are also some jellyfish. You’ll survive. I think too many people in our generation overthink what should be a simple decision. People are scared to move out because the place may not be perfect. If it’s not, you signed a one year lease. Life will move on.

In the grand scheme of things, we don’t matter. This is terrifying and relieving all at once. With this in mind, you should feel free to make decisions without mulling over them for a year. Follow your intuition – that sh*t is smart AF. Life is short, as it is. There’s no point wasting time on things that don’t matter in the long run. So, if your decision doesn’t have the ability to kill you, just do it.

What should you take time for, if not making decisions? Smelling the roses!