Meet My Glam Squad: Microblading with Luxury Brow KC

Oh man, if I could go back to that fateful day in 7th grade, sitting in my hair stylist’s chair, when she asked, “Do you want me to wax your eyebrows?”

Pretty much every girl has some variation of this story that jumpstarted a journey into overplucking our eyebrows, and sometimes doing lasting damage that prevents regrowth.

Couple that with completely losing my brows during chemotherapy, and my adult brows were very sparse.  Even though I had since given up any plucking and relied solely on my monthly waxing cleanup with my esthetician, they still made me self conscious.

In June 2019, Dax reached out to me and invited me to come visit her business, Luxury Brow KC, and to learn more about microblading and her other brow services.  Since I love to meet new people and to hear about small businesses, I was excited to meet her!

As soon as you see Dax, you can’t help but smile.  With a full head of the most gorgeous curly red hair you’ve ever seen and a perma smile that will light up a room, she is, in one word, electric.  I knew instantly that I would love her, and I couldn’t wait to hear everything about her and her business.  We spent about 30 minutes together,  and I could have stayed all day.  During our time, Dax offered her microblading services, and I instantly said YES!  We scheduled my appointment for an upcoming Saturday morning, and I left buzzing.

The night before my appointment, I was very nervous.  Y’all, I don’t even have a tattoo, so adding something permanent to my FACE seemed a little scary.  I took a look at the materials and at the website again and again, and ultimately resigned to another service that was not so permanent.

When I arrived at my appointment, I was nervous to tell Dax about my decision to change services.  But those nerves quickly subsided, as she is so disarming in nature.  And as I spilled out my concerns, she spoke to me like a friend, asking questions, demonstrating empathy, and supporting my words.  She explained that the microblading procedure is actually semi-permanent and what that entails, and I felt so much more confident in proceeding in this direction.  Although she would support any service I chose, I knew that microblading was the way to go!

Here is everything you need to know about the procedure:

So what is Microblading exactly…?

Microblading, also known as feather-stroke brows, uses a very fine blade to create hair-like strokes where pigment is implanted.  The procedure is considered semi-permanent and will require color-boosts on a yearly basis to keep the color and strokes fresh.

What happens during the procedure?

After Dax walked me through my last minute questions and concerns, she walked me through the procedure and the aftercare and follow up.  Once the talking was taken care of, it was time to get started.

I started by getting cozy on the chair in Dax’s incredibly beautiful and very sterile salon.  She made sure that I was comfortable, even offering a blanket.  Once I was settled in my spot, it was time to measure.  Dax is very precise, so she takes her time in measuring your brows and your face to ensure that everything is symmetrical.  The measuring process takes about 30 minutes, at the end of which, she will give you a mirror to check the measurements and ensure it is what you want.

Once you’re in agreement, it’s time to start the procedure.  The actual process takes about and hour, but it flies by, because conversation with Dax is easy and fun.  Remember, I’ve never had a tattoo, so I have no comparison as to how it feels in relation to microblading.  The way that I describe the feeling is…You know when you’re little and you skin your knee and your mom squirts Bactine on it, and it stings?  It feels like that for an hour.  Just kind of an annoying sting, but not too painful, and certainly bearable.  Of course I know that everyone has a different tolerance for pain, and Dax will check in with you frequently and take breaks if needed.

After the procedure, Dax will hand you a mirror, and you will fall in love with your new brows, and she will go over the aftercare instructions.

After the procedure, you will need to wash your eyebrows with water and apply balm every 1-2 hours, until you go to sleep.  This is done to wash away excess blood, fluid, and pigment.  The other thing…No sweating or working out for 10 days!  Yikes!  But Dax knew this was important to me, so she gave me some solutions to still get in a workout but protect my brows.

 

So What’s Next?

Immediately after your procedure, and for a few days after, your brows may feel tender to the touch.  Your newly microbladed brows will go through several different phases during the healing cycle: too dark, too light, and finally…just right!  Color will appear very sharp and dark immediately after your microblading procedure.  This occurs because the color is sitting on top of the skin and the skin has not healed over the pigment yet.  The color will soften considerably as it is filtered through the skin.  Once the skin starts to heal, flaking of the skin will begin and will make your brows appear very light.  Again, this is normal.  The color flaking off is the superficial color that is being shed as part of the natural healing process.  During healing, your brows may feel itchy and tight.

Days 2-10:

Your brows will appear very dark and will start to flake.  When flaking starts, the hair strokes will appear very light and almost like they are gone.  The pigment takes 3-8 weeks to darken and develop under the skin.  But I promise, after your touch-up is done, you will see beautiful results.

After Day 10:

After 10 days, you can go back to your normal activities such as getting your brows wet and washing them.  Do not be afraid if dry skin falls off from the brow; this is normal.  Continue to expect the brows to get darker.  Some of the hair strokes will come off and this is why the touch-up procedure is essential.

After Six Weeks:

You will go back for a touchup to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your results and so that Dax can fill in any last spots.  This appointment will take about an hour, and there is aftercare required with this touchup as well.

It has been a full year with my brows, and I love them more and more every day.  They still look fabulous, and they have completely transformed my face.  They have also given me so much more confidence that I didn’t know I was missing.

Luxury Brow KC is located at 620 E. 18th St., Suite 202, Kansas City, MO 64108.

You can book online at https://luxurybrowco.com.

And make sure to follow on Instagram at @luxurybrowkc.

And because Dax is the best, I’m able to offer $100 off your own microblading appointment with code MOLLYB.

I know you’ll love her and your new brows!

XOXO,

Molly B.

 

 

 

 

 

The Happiness Report: 7-20-2020

Two terms that are sure to enter any conversation these days are “unprecedented times” and “new normal.”  You can set your watch by it, and on some of my conference calls, turning them into a drinking game could get really ugly, really fast.  A couple of days ago, I was presenting on a call, and I adopted the term “next normal.”  Because the fact of the matter is, you can say “new normal,” but that changes daily, sometimes multiple times a day.  So right now, I’m only operating in what’s happening right now, because that’s all that I can control.  And while things feel so uncertain and so out of control, I do maintain that I have control over how I react to this environment.  And that only reinforces my desire to implement as many happy moments as possible.  Maybe that way the “next normal” will feel a little more, well, normal.

Here are a few things that felt a little more “normal” last week and certainly made me happy.

  1. National French Fry Day.  YES!!!  I’ve actually always been a fan of celebrating these silly national holidays, especially when they revolve around food.  Last Monday was National French Fry Day, and our little fam celebrated with a happy hour at Summit Grill.  They have a fantastic happy hour, and one of their appetizers are the most delicious French Fries.  They are crispy, sprinkled with Romano cheese, and come with the best garlic aioli dipping sauce.  The three of us shared a bunch of food, a bunch of laughs, and a bunch of fun.
  2. Restore Soft Opening.  Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy is a new wellness center in Olathe, and their soft opening was last week.  Friends, family, members, and in my case, ambassadors were able to try out their services before they opened to the public.  The center offers a variety of services including Cryotherapy, IV Drip Therapy, Compression Therapy, facials, and much more.  Last week, I tried out the massage chairs, the compression therapy, the sauna, and a Stretch Base Therapy session.  Y’all, everything was so good!  I left each service feeling so relaxed and rejuvenated, and I’ve now set up a reoccurring session for each week.  If you want to try it for yourself, you can use code CROWNINGGLORY for 20% off when you book.
  3. Coffee with a New Friend.  A few months ago, I signed on to be a contributor for City Lifestyle.  I’ve been writing a couple of articles a month, but recently, they challenged me with a couple of articles they would like written, asking if I was up for the task.  And since I don’t know how to say no, and I love a challenge, I said yes.  One of the articles was to interview a local artist of my choice.  Instantly, I knew that I had to ask Meggan Smith, owner of MRS Palette Décor.  I’ve followed Meggan on Instagram for a long time, and have admired her pieces that marry wood and metal in stunning creations.  But also, she is the meme queen, frequently sharing the most hilarious memes that I’ve ever seen.  So yes, I wanted to learn more about Meggan’s art, but it was also a great excuse to hang out with her, because I think she’s hilarious.  Fortunately, she didn’t think I was a creep and agreed to hang out with me last week and grab an early morning coffee.  We had the best chat about her art, her family, her interests, and of course, her memes.  I love learning about people, and I’m so happy to have made a new friend.
  4. Date Night.  FINALLY!  If we’ve been hanging out for a while, you know that Chad and I are big on date nights.  Prior to COVID and the Stay At Home Order, we had one date night per month, and one family date night per month.  When restaurants and other businesses closed, we tried as much as possible to have at least one At Home Date Night  per month, but they just weren’t the same.  We both genuinely enjoy getting dressed up and exploring our city,  and we’ve missed that connection the past couple of months.  With things reopening, we have still been a little uneasy and have observed the past month, letting businesses adapt their new practices and protocols.  Additionally, we rely on a babysitter, and we weren’t sure about that either.  However, our babysitter was available on Saturday night (She also works at Jack’s daycare, so that gives us peace of mind.), and we jumped on it.  We got dressed up, grabbed our masks, and we had dinner at Ragazza, followed by drinks on the rooftop of the new Loews Hotel.  It definitely felt a little odd, but we were cautious and felt safe, and we really enjoyed the time together.
  5. Brunch and Shopping.  Again, FINALLY!  Two of my best girls and I try to do at least one dinner or happy hour every month.  Sadly, we haven’t been able to make that happen since early March.  The three of us have also been pretty conservative, so we didn’t do any driveway hangs either.  Just a couple of Zooms.  And while those were okay, we have really missed seeing one another.  On Sunday morning, we met for some socially distanced shopping at Frankie & Jules for their Parking Lot Sale.  After we’d done some damage, we drove to The Market at Meadowbrook and had a lovely brunch.  Again, we all agreed that things were weird (um masks and not hugging…), but we were so happy to see one another, to catch up, and to have some much needed laughs.  I was on a high the rest of the day.

I don’t know a lot right now.  (Or ever really…)  I don’t know what’s next, what the future will bring,  what will change in our worlds.  But I do know that what brings me happiness really hasn’t changed.  I need my people, I need good food, I need to take care of my health, and I need to laugh.  Last week brought all of those things, so I’m calling it a win.

XOXO,

Molly B.

10 Unique At Home Date Night Ideas

Well it looks like we’re going to be at home for a while.  With the unfortunate continued surges of COVID-19, the safest option in most places is to stay home to stay safe.  And if you’re like us, you’re running out of shows to binge on Netflix.  And really, although it’s a way to kill some time, it doesn’t necessarily foster connection with your boo thang.  Our favorite thing recently is to grab takeout and have a post-bedtime dinner date in the dining room.  No babysitter or fancy dress required.  However, we’re getting a little stir crazy, so we’ve been getting a little more creative!  Today I’m sharing ten ideas for an At Home Date Night that you probably haven’t tried yet.  Check it out!

 

  1. Virtual Cooking Class.  Chad and I recently had the opportunity to attend a virtual cooking class, and it was so much fun!  You can read about it here, but don’t wait for a formal opportunity.  You can recreate this at home for just the two of you.  Get on Pinterest, find a recipe that you both want to try, go to the store to do the shopping together, and get to cooking.  You might fail, you might become a chef, either way, you’re in for a laugh and a lot of fun.
  2. Bar Crawl.  How many rooms do you have in your house?  Follow up question, how many rooms can be turned into a bar?  So if you’ve ever done a bar crawl, you know that the concept is to walk to and visit a series of bars in one afternoon or evening.  You can create this same thing at home!  Each room, or bar, gets a theme, and you visit each one.  One room is a tiki bar with leis, ukelale music, and fruity drinks.  One room is a sports bar with a football game replay and beers.  The sky is the limit!
  3. Game Night.  Okay, this one might land you in divorce court, but try it out.  What are some of your favorite games?  Compete for the evening.  Or maybe buy a new game and learn and play together.  A little competition never hurt anyone.  Right?
  4. Cocktail Making.  Is there a cocktail that you’ve always wanted to try, but you don’t want to look like a rookie ordering it at the bar?  Now is your chance!  Buy the ingredients for those cocktails you’ve been dying to try, and become the bartenders for the night.
  5. Tasting Party.  So many options with this one!  Pick a category.  Cheese, sour candy, beers, whatever you like.  Buy several types of this item and host your own tasting event.  Try them all, compare notes, and see where your tastes are alike and different.
  6. Theme Night.  Pick a theme and go big.  Maybe it’s New York night, and you order pizza, drink a Manhattan on the patio, make cannoli, and watch When Harry Met Sally.  Maybe it’s 50s night, and you put on your poodle skirt, play those records, and have a sock hop in your basement.  Let your imagination run wild!
  7. Just Desserts.  Oh yea!  Several ways to play this one, but it’s a date of just the sweet stuff.  Maybe you buy a ton from the bakery section of the grocery store.  Maybe you get take out from a few local spots.  Or maybe you get back in the kitchen for a baking marathon.  Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be sweet.
  8. DIY Project.  No, this is not remodeling your guest bathroom.  I’m talking much smaller scale.  Paint some pottery, create a piece of art, make face masks, whatever you choose.  Also, several companies are offering DIY kits of their prodicts.  We recently picked up a DIY Candle Kit from our favorite local candle maker Untamed Supply.  We poured some wine, whipped up a charcuterie board, and made candles.  It was so much fun, and we even had enough supplies left over for a family fun day the following afternoon.  If you want to try one for yourself, you can use code MOLLY10 for 10% off your order.
  9. Trip Down Memory Lane.  Pull out those pictures, take out the wedding album, watch old home videos.  Whatever you choose, have fun reminiscing and reliving the good ol days, while distracting yourself from the current days.
  10. Virtual Double Date.  And if you’ve had enough of one another by this point, make it a double date!  Invite your favorite duo, or group of duos, send them a Zoom link, and make it a group date.  Catch up, play a game, host a group cooking class, or really any of the ideas already listed.  The only thing better than experiencing joy is sharing it with others.

 

I hope that you found some inspiration in these ideas and that you find some ways to switch up your routine.  In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and wear a mask.

XOXO,

Molly B.

 

The Happiness Report: 7-13-2020

Last week was a pretty busy one, and it certainly had a lot of happy moments.  And as you’ll soon read, one of these was a pretty big celebration that brought immense happiness.  In contrast, the other four items seem relatively small.  But what a great reminder that bright spots can exist in the everyday mundane moments.  And quite frankly, those are usually the best.

Here is what brought me happiness the past few days.

  1. A BIG Milestone.  On July 7th, I celebrated 12 years of being cancer free.  (I wrote about the anniversary, and I have a full blog post with my story if you need to catch up.)  Every year, I take the day off from work and spend the day by myself.  Typically I do a spa day, but with COVID, that’s not really a thing right now.  However, I was able to sleep in, take a later class at the gym, take myself to a yummy lunch,  and get a massage.  My dudes got me some pretty flowers, and it was an overall lovely day.
  2. Billie’s Grocery.  I have been DYING to try this new restaurant for weeks!  I’ve been drooling over the Billie’s Grocery plates that keep popping up on Instagram.  And I’ve had a close eye on their dessert case.  This seemed like the perfect place to dine on my day off from work,  so I made it happen.  I don’t even want to talk  about  how much money I spent, but I was determined to try all the things.  I got a pour of their housemade kombucha, the Raw Bowl, the Thai Bowl, and I got a box of desserts for the road to share with my guys.  I’ve been raving about it ever since and cannot wait to get back!
  3. Massage.  Like I said, I got a massage as part of my treat yo self day.  This was my first massage in over 6 months, and oh how I’ve missed it.  I used to get massages every single month, and now I forget how much I love them and how much my body loves me for getting them.  It was so relaxing, and I seriously need to go more often.
  4. Monster Milkshakes.  A new KC hotspot called Creative Culture opened this weekend in Westport.  It is a DIY studio with a gourmet milkshake bar.  But not just any milkshakes, these things are next level.  With inventive flavors like It’s Lit–S’mores, Life of the Party–Birthday Cake, and Treat Yo Self–Brownie Fudge, these have things like cupcakes, cookies, and cinnamon rolls perched on top and ready to devour.  Our little fam went for a visit on Saturday evening and had the best time.  We didn’t try any of the DIY projects, but we did get a milkshake to share, and we were all in heaven.  Jack had the best time, as evidenced by his massive post-visit sugar rush.  I can’t wait to get back for a date night or girls night and try one of the fun projects!
  5. Solo Day With Jack.  I rarely get one on one time with little man.  Especially when I am traveling, Chad gets the most solo time.  On Saturday, Chad went fishing, which meant that I got Jack Attack all to myself.  We ate breakfast together, we ran errands, we played, we cuddled, and we laughed a lot.  It wasn’t all perfect.  He is a toddler after all.  But it was so sweet, and so needed, and I always cherish and soak up these moments.  They won’t last forever.

Here’s hoping you find lots of happiness this week in ways big and small.

XOXO,

Molly B.

What I’ve Learned in 12 Years of Being Cancer Free

Yesterday, I celebrated my 12-year anniversary of being cancer free!

If we’re new friends, you can get the scoop on my entire cancer journey in this blog post.

Around here, we call my anniversary my “second birthday.” I take the day off work and celebrate just like it’s my birthday—treat myself to lunch, self care of some sort, and cake, always cake.

I often get asked what my biggest lesson was from having cancer, and while there are many, sitting at the top of the list: It WILL get better. Whatever you’re going through right now, whatever you’re feeling, however long you’re going through it or feeling it, it WILL get better. It may not always be in the way you think it will, or how you want it to end, or in the timing you expect, but it WILL get better. I’ve seen it and lived it.

I look back on so many moments in my life and wish I could go back and tell myself that, and that I would believe it when I heard it. I have vivid memories of crying in my middle school bedroom after a fight with a friend, thinking it was the literal end of the world. Asking my mom if I could transfer schools or move to live with my aunt in New Mexico, but within 48 hours, it had blown over. And that’s small scale (although life shattering at the 13-year-old time). Infertility, marital disagreements, family drama, finances, work stress, and yes, even cancer. Somehow, they WILL get better.

I hope that as you read this today, you can find some hope and peace in these words.

What’s something you wish you could go back and tell your younger self? Who knows, someone might need to hear it today.

 

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Happiness Report: 7-6-2020

Can I just say, I don’t have much to report from last week, and I’m totally okay with that.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an overall happy past few days; it’s just that not much happened.  And for once, in a very long time, I’m actually okay with that.  Over the past few weeks, my mind has been racing and has been busier than I’m used to, or than I typically would like.  And yes, things still feel very uncertain, but the past few days felt much more laid back with opportunities to relax, focus on my family, and focus on myself.

But like I said, there were several moments of happiness, so here are a few.

  1. Daily Walks.  In case I haven’t mentioned this, I’ve been going on almost daily walks for the past two months.  Typically, I take them at the end of my work day, but some days, it’s whenever I can squeeze it in.  No matter the time, I look forward to them, and I cherish this midday break.  I put in my earbuds, and I put on a podcast, and I walk.  Some days, I just walk and listen.  Some days, I stop by the neighborhood pool to sit in the sunshine.  But no matter what I do, it helps me reset and recharge for whatever the next few hours will bring.
  2. Running Errands.  Y’all, I am not even kidding with this.  For me, there is nothing quite like a Saturday afternoon running errands by myself.  Jack Attack is napping, my husband is mowing, and I am in my car doing all the things.  I’ve got a podcast through the speakers, and I am crossing off every little thing on my to do list.  During the Stay At Home order, this was not a thing.  And even now, I get in and out of places as quickly as possible.  But last Saturday, I had my first true errand-running afternoon, and it was maybe the highlight of my week.  (#nerdalert)
  3. Photo Shoot.  What is it about having a professional take your pictures that makes you feel like a freaking supermodel?  My friend Cassie is likely the most creative person I know, and she is a Jane of All Trades.  During these weird times, she has been offering a ton of specials to keep her busy and to generate more steady income.  For the month of July, she is running a photo shoot special for bloggers, influencers, and boutiques, and I jumped right on that!  She is so talented, and I could not wait to have her take my pics.  So last week, I put on makeup, curled my hair, packed a few outfits, and let her do her magic.  We had so much fun, and the sneak peeks that have been rolling in are uh-maz-ing!
  4. 4th of July.  Truthfully, I’ve always had a mixed opinion of this holiday.  I don’t plan to go into a political rant, but let me just sum it up by saying that, in the Pledge of Allegiance, we recite”…liberty and justice for ALL,” and I’m not sure we’re living that accordingly.  And in light of the most recent events in our country, the holiday hit especially different this year.  However, this holiday has a ton of tradition built into it for me.  Growing up, my uncle, Tim, loved this holiday and had a huge party at his house every year.  Even as a too-cool teenager, I looked forward to it every year.  We lost my uncle last year, and the party ended.  But the memories do not,  and I think of it with much fondness.  Additionally, Chad was in the military, and I am so incredibly thankful for him, his service, and his commitment to our country (no matter his politics or opinions).  For the past 3 years, we’ve spent the afternoon of the 4th at Stone Pillar Vineyard, which is less than 5 minutes from our house.  They have Red, White, and Blue wine slushies for the adults, and they have popsicles for the kids.  We discovered it the year that Jack was born, and we took our sleeping baby in his carrier, and now we look forward to it every year.
  5. The EveryGirl List.  I discovered this list back in May when The EveryGirl promoted it on their Instagram, and I’ve been loving it.  Essentially it’s a list of 50 things you can do to boost your happiness or to give yourself a little extra self care.  It has some really great reminders and tips, and I’ve loved revisiting it and adding some of these things into my routines. Little-Things-You-Can-Do-For-Yourself-Right-Now-main

 

Looking forward to the rest of July, things are looking pretty busy.  And yes, your girl loves a busy calendar.  But for now, I’m thankful and happy for the quiet.

XOXO,

Molly B.

How to Make a 5 AM Workout a Reality

When people hear that my workouts start at 5 AM, they think I’m crazy. Truthfully, I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s not a thing anymore. But that wasn’t always the case. Although now I can’t imagine working out in the evening, that used to be my preferred time. But I found that I wasn’t able to eat or sleep very well when I worked out after work, so I made the swap to early morning. I know this is a struggle for most people, so I put together ten tips for making a 5 AM workout a reality.

1. Lay out your clothes the night before. The less you have to think about anything in the morning, the better. Especially what you’re going to wear!

2. Wear a cute outfit. I promise I’m not being silly. Remember being excited about the first day of school, because you had a new outfit to wear? Same concept. If you like your workout clothes, you’re more likely to put them to good use.

3. Pick an activity you love. If you’re forcing workouts that you don’t like, you’ll be less likely to get up and go. Pick an activity that you enjoy so that you look forward to getting up.

4. Go to bed early. This is the most important tip of all! If you get enough rest, you won’t be as tired in the morning. Plus your performance and your mood will be much better with enough sleep.

5. Have breakfast, vitamins, preworkout, etc. ready the night before. Again, the less you have to think about or do before your workout, the better.

6. Make it a habit. Honestly, just sticking with it makes a big difference. Your body will adjust to the time quicker than you think. If you only go a couple of days here and there, your body will not adjust. Try early morning workouts for a month, and you will feel a big difference.

7. Wake up earlier. Don’t kill me. This has been a game changer for me. I wake up extra early to enjoy the quiet, to pray, and to let my mind and body wake up before I sweat. Just an extra few minutes has been very helpful.

8. Find partners. This is one reason why I love group fitness. There are people that I look forward to seeing, that would miss me if I weren’t there, that I would feel bad if I let down. A buddy, partners, or a group go a long way in motivating us to workout.

9. Get your gear together the night before—bag, headphones, playlist. Same with the clothes and food, your morning self with thank your night before self for taking care of these things.

10. Plan your workout. If you’re going for a run, or going to an open gym, or using the home gym in your basement, you need to have a plan. If your only plan is to go, you’re less likely to make it happen, because you don’t know what you’re going to do once you are there. Get a plan together the night before, so you know exactly what you’re doing and have it to look forward to in the morning.

I hope these help you in your early morning efforts. And I would love to hear what you try or what you would add to the list!

XOXO,

Molly B.

4 Ways to Style White Jean Shorts

I have been on the hunt for the perfect pair of white cutoff jean shorts for at least three years.  There have been some contenders, but I haven’t been able to find that perfect pair.  Until now.  Honestly, if I could buy these shorts in every color of the rainbow, I would do it.  But for now, I’m enjoying this white pair and have been so pleasantly surprised with the variety of ways I’ve been able to style them.

I wore them to an event a few weeks ago and was able to create a dressier look with a blazer and heels, which was so fun!

And that was only one option to dress them up.

Here are four casual styles that I’ve been rocking lately.

Monochromatic :  This white on white (or as I like to call it “Reverse Johnny Cash”) look is such a chic take on a casual look.  Throw on a white tee or tank, a pair of cute sneaks or sandals, and you’ve got a comfortable, yet pulled together outfit.

Graphic Tee:  Literally no one is surprised that I would throw on a graphic tee with these shorts.  I’ve been so happy with the versatility of the graphic tee trend, and this is just another option.  As you saw above, I was able to dress up this same concept, but throw on a cute pair of sneakers for a dressed down version.

Camo:  Typically we think of camo as a Fall trend, but pair it with some bright white for a cool Summer look.  I love the look of my favorite camo tee with these shorts, and you could throw on a denim jacket and some booties as the weather starts to cool.

Classic Black & White:  There are fewer combinations I love more than black and white, and this is just the most recent example.  You can throw on any black top for a killer combo, but this basic tank is a repeater for me.

I get asked about these shorts all the time, and I am here to tell you that they are just that good!  I keep thinking of more and more ways to wear them, and I’m betting you have some great combinations of your own.

XOXO,

Molly B.

How I Organize My Schedule–Tips for Organizing Your Day, Your Week, Your Month, and Even Your Year

As a Type A, Enneagram Type 3, Strengthfinders Achiever, the phrase, “Watching you exhausts me” is something that I hear often.  I love to be busy and moving and involved, so I understand when people say this.  But it does take a lot of planning and organization to make all of the pieces fit together.  And not to say that I’m perfect, because I do forget things from time to time.  But over the years, I have developed some effective routines around building and organizing my schedule, and today, I’m sharing them with all of you.

Right off the bat, I should tell you that I use both digital and paper tools to plan and organize my time.  They all serve a purpose, so I want to outline those tools first.

Digital Tools:

iCal on iPhone: If you have an iPhone, it automatically comes with the iCal Calendar app.  I use this for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays (most of which are prepopulated), and reoccurring tasks and events that I don’t want to forget.

Cozi App: This is a shared app for families.  It can be used for a shared calendar, shared grocery list, and a few other options.  It has been so helpful for our family!  I use this for events, travel, appointments, and vacations, and I am also able to see these things for my husband and son as they are added, condensed into a single calendar.

Microsoft Outlook for Business: This is the application that my company uses for email and calendar, so it houses all of my work calls, meetings, events, and travel.  Additionally, I use this much like my iCal, but for business–birthdays and anniversaries of work colleagues and reoccurring tasks and events.  I use it all day every day when I’m working.

Orangetheory App: This is the app that I use to book and view all of my workouts.  When I am home, it’s pretty straightforward when and where I am going, but this is especially helpful for me when I am traveling and bouncing around to different studios.

Paper Tools:

Emily Ley Simplified Planner: This is the paper planner that I have used for at least four years.  They offer several layouts, but I like the Daily Edition, because I am able to list out my meetings by time, and it has the to do list on the same page.

Oh So Lovely Paper Calendar Templates: I use Audrey’s calendar templates for so many things!  But I do have some top uses each month.  First, I use one to have a visual view hanging in my office for events, travel, appointments.  (Think visual version of Cozi.)  I also use one to plan and organize blog content and Instagram posts, which I also hang in my office.  Some miscellaneous uses have been for race training plans, meal planning, and family meetings.

Daily Planner To Do List Notepad: I started using these a few months ago, and they have been so helpful.  I know it seems redundant to use these and a paper planner, but I use both to stay organized.  I use one of these sheets each day so that I can focus on just that day, what is scheduled, and what I need to accomplish.  I love that I can write all over it, cross things off, and it keeps it all on one sheet.

I know it sounds like a lot of tools, but I promise you, they all serve an important purpose in my process!  So let’s get down to that–the process.

Let me break it down for us now.

Annually: This is where I use my iCal most.  Throughout the year, I plug in birthdays, anniversaries, and reoccurring tasks that I know I will forget (examples: getting my wedding ring cleaned/inspected every 6 months, when bills/payments are due, things that need to be cleaned/replaced/renewed).  Outside of this, and some annual goal setting, I don’t plan this far ahead.  Things change so often (and hello 2020…), so I find that planning too far out is not effective for me.

Quarterly: This is a similar approach to annually.  There are some things that I do quarterly (ordering new running shoes, things that need to be cleaned/replaced/renewed more frequently, etc.) versus annually, but those reminders are housed in iCal, and again, I don’t typically plan much that far ahead either.

Monthly: This is where a lot of the magic happens.  On the first day of the month (ideally), I print out a few of the calendar templates that I mentioned above, and I get to work.  I create one for a monthly overview of events, appointments, travel, etc., and I hang this on the big bulletin board in my office.  Then, I have a similar process for planning my blog and Instagram content–what events are coming, ideas for posts, etc.  (More to come on this in a supplemental blog post.)  At this time, I also check in on my annual goals to see if I’m on track, if there’s anything I can knock out this month, and I can plan and adjust accordingly. I use my iCal, Cozi, and Outlook calendars to help create these visual calendars.

Weekly: I create my weekly schedule on the Friday before the following week.  On Friday morning, I sit down with my iCal, Cozi, Outlook, Orangetheory calendars and my paper planner. I start with the following Monday, and I write down everything from the digital calendars to my paper planner.  This gives me a visual of the week to come, I can ensure I’m not double or overbooked, and I know if I need to make any adjustments and where I can plug in my tasks that need to be completed.  I have done this for several years, and I find that it’s a great way to end my week, feel prepared for the week to come, and relaxes me going into the weekend.

Daily: I plan my day the afternoon of the day before.  Before I sign off for the day, I pull out my to do list notepad, and I write down everything for the following day.  Like I said, things change all the time, so even though I wrote everything down last Friday, that doesn’t mean it didn’t change.  I write down all of my meetings and appointments for the day, and I write down all of the tasks I need to complete.  Just like with my weekly process, I find that this is a great way to mentally wind down my day, to feel prepared for the following day, and to be able to relax and enjoy my evening with my family.

I am an absolute planning and organization JUNKIE!  Life is crazy, so I love new tips and tricks and tools to make things as easy as possible.  So please share all of your favorite things you use to keep yourself on task.  I hope this helped, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Happiness Report: 6-29-2020

As I typed the title of this, I initially typed 2019 instead of 2020, and if that isn’t just a great illustration of how this year is going, I don’t know what is…

Actually, I’m feeling really good at the start of this new week.  While I admit that I have to work a little harder to find the bright spots some days, there is still a lot to be grateful for in each day.  I took last week off from the blog to spend some time with family, but more on that in a minute.  It felt good to disconnect and recharge, but I’ve got ideas and goals heading into July (which is in TWO DAYS…HOW?!), so I’m excited to dig in and make it happen.

But for now, here’s what’s been bringing me happiness lately:

  1. Juneteenth.  This holiday is actually not a new concept to me.  Tulsa had a big Juneteenth festival every year when I was growing up, and my dad loved going.  He took me along several times, so I remember it well.  However, that dropped off as I got older.  With the surge of support for our black community, our country rallied around this holiday in a big way.  Our company actually declared it a holiday and gave all employees a half day off, with plans to increase that to a full day next year.  They urged us to use the time to continue to educate ourselves and to support our communities.  So Chad and I did just that.  We drove down to Troost, grabbed a couple of smoothies from Ruby Jean’s, and spent some time walking around and talking about the past few weeks and what we want to do in the future.  There have been some difficult days, and there will be more to come, but it brought us a lot of joy to see our black community being celebrated.
  2. Best Regards Ice Cream.  Got your attention, right?  Best Regards is one of the best bakeries in our city.  They have some of the best (and most adorable) cookies, and their Gooey Butter Cake is incredible!  Recently, they launched their newest offering–ice cream and gelato.  I was lucky enough to get an invite to sample the goods and to bring home some additional flavors.  Y’all, they use their baked goods in the ice cream, and I can’t even deal with its goodness.  And picture it–some of this ice cream between two of their warm cookies.  Drooling…
  3. Visiting Family.  Chad and I both had last week off of work, as we had originally planned to go to San Diego for vacation.  Although we rescheduled the trip, we knew that we needed the break from work, since we hadn’t taken any time off since Christmas.  And since we also had not seen family since that same timeframe, we decided to spend a few days in Tulsa with family.  It was great to see our parents and to relax!  And you know, Oklahoma is basically the same as California.
  4. Our 13th Anniversary.  On any given day, in my head, I am still 22 years old.  So when I think about the fact that I met Chad 18 years ago and that we’ve been married for 13 years, I can’t even comprehend it.  But last week, we celebrated 13 years of marriage.  A friend asked me what advice I would give after that long, and I hesitated.  Because I will never claim that it’s been 13 years of perfection.  We were young when we married and we’ve grown up together.  But we have learned a lot, and honestly, I’m happier in our relationship than I have ever been.  So I told her that communication is key, and that forever is a really long time, so if you want to be married forever, let the little stuff go.  Since we couldn’t celebrate in San Diego as intended, we did a mini staycation in Tulsa (again, OK, CA, same same).  We stayed at a hotel downtown, walked around, laid by the pool, ate dinners at The Goat and Amelia’s, and more importantly spent the only one on one time we’ve had in over 3 months.
  5. Cultivare.  The very first local influencer that I ever followed on Instagram was Kasim Hardaway.  Admittedly, it was to keep track of all the places I must eat in Kansas City.  But over the past couple of years, it has been so fun to watch him evolve and grow, and his most recent venture is opening his own restaurant.  A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to get to sample some of the menu items, but a couple of days ago, I got to go to a sneak peek for local influencers, where we enjoyed a meal in this beautiful space.  Cultivare opens on July 8th in Overland Park, and they will offer small plates, salads, grain bowls, and cocktails, all of which are the creation of Kasim.  I can assure you, everything that I have tasted is exceptional, and he is truly gifted.  This spot will be a welcome addition to the area, and I know that I’ll be eating there often.

 

I’m excited for this new week and a renewed opportunity to find the happiness.  I hope you have a wonderful week too!

XOXO,

Molly B.