Current Quarantine Favorites

Although this is not one bit how I imagined spending the last months of my senior year, here we are. Covid-19 is impacting us all whether it be directly or indirectly, and I do not want to come off as insensitive to anyone whatsoever through this post. There are so many food banks, organizations, and people that you can donate to in order to help the greater good. All of us are struggling through this in one way or another, and there is no better time than now to simply love thy neighbor. A smile and a wave to a passerby on your daily walk or a card via snail mail or a FaceTime to your grandparents or elderly friends is making an impact all of its own. This time and space is awkward and uncomfortable for us all, but is is nothing we cannot get through with a little love.

I was home for a bit in Omaha with my family and am now back in Lawrence living in my senior house and Zoom-ing my kindergarteners everyday. They truly do make days a little brighter even though I’d give anything to go back and spend the rest of the month with them in the classroom like originally planned. In the meantime, I figured I could share a few things with you that I have been enjoying throughout the past few weeks.

WATCHING :

Little Fires Everywhere. Oh. My. Goodness. I read the book by Celeste Ng earlier this summer and fell in love with the details and characters of the story so I was beyond thrilled when I saw none other than Reese Witherspoon was helping bring the story to film. If you haven’t binge watched already, go watch the first 4 episodes that are live on Hulu now.

Also Love Is Blind. I hopped on the train. I did It. I hate how quickly I zoomed through It and STILL am not over how obsessed Jessica is with being 34…#iykyk ๐Ÿ˜‰ What are your thoughts on the absolutely wild show?

READING :

(or…re-reading for that matter!) I am yet again reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is the coolest idea for all the Type A’s out there on how the author creates a “system” to allow herself be happier in her life. Although as a 21 year old I don’t find it logistical to apply ALL of Rubin’s “rules” (an entire section dedicated to marriage life isn’t exactly part of my agenda right now ;)) I find the book overall as a great refresher and reminder on how happiness really is a mental choice!

DRINKING:

I’ll be real honest, there have been a solid at least 3 days where I have cracked open a Truly Lemonade before 4pm. I don’t know what year it is during this strange time, let alone what hour. However, whatever hour it may be, I am a large fan. I have never been the biggest carbonation drinker and the great lack of bubbles in the lemonade version opposed to the classic Trulys really sold me. The classic lemon lemonade one reminds me of the “Simply Lemonade” flavor, which I have grown up loving. Welcome to the 21+ version!

SNACKING:

Chile & Garlic Cashews from Trader Joe’s. I don’t even have the words to describe how much I love these. I didn’t know I needed this flavor in my life until I bought these on a whim. They are SO good and have just the right amount of spice. 11/10 recommend.

LISTENING:

Lots of everything for various moods of the day, but I’ve been a big fan of Fran’s “At The Beach With You” playlist she put out a few weeks ago. A perfect mix of longing for summer sounds and late night drive windows down songs. It’s been the current soundtrack of my more than once daily kill some time drives and I’m still not sick of it.

I wanna hear what you’re loving during this strange time. What is keeping you busy? What is comforting you or allowing you to find little joys? Leave me a comment below or let me know what other kinds of posts you’d like to see! Until next time. xoxo, Ally

#TenLittleJoys

Today marks 5 years of me having this little slice of web to share with you all. What seems like 3 weeks but was really 5 years ago- I was a junior in high school. I was a few months into 16 years old and equally as busy as I am now, but with far different activities. I was already preparing for college and was eager to get out into the world and see what it all had to offer me. Always being a little mature for my age (which I’m a firm believer comes from being an oldest child), I have looked forward to my twenties since becoming a teenager. Something about the age just seemed overall very sophisticated and full of adventure.

Well here I am. Five years later and a few months into 21 and I like to think 16-year-old Ally would be pleasantly surprised at how this quick glimpse into her twenties have gone thus far. Not sure if we’d count the takeout pizza for dinner and bawling at Toy Story 4 that I did last night “sophisticated”, but I’ll take what I can get ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have experienced a lot over the past year and few months and I think It just hit me a few days ago what I *really* want my twenties to be about. If I could focus on ONE aspect, It would be little joys.

My favorite posts to go back and read over the years are the ones I wrote on happiness. Now I’m still not sure why I thought I had the credentials to be talking about such a big topic at that age, but boy did I sure know what I was saying. Five years ago taking time to focus on happy things was such a priority to me and is something I feel like I have unfortunately lacked the past few years when I let everything else life throws at me get in the way. So starting today and from now on, I want to start myself, and to challenge you as well – to focus on those little joys in your life.

I put together a small list, just ten things, that bring me happiness and pure joy at this point in my life. Not only is It an amazing thing to reflect and use gratitude, but I am excited to try to do this every week and to look back on my weeks and what brought me joy. #TenLittleJoys

Leave a comment below with one of your #TenLittleJoys !!! I’d love to see what is bringing you happiness this time of year! Until next time!

xoxo, Ally

Coming Back from The Brink of Burnout

Whether you’re a new reader (hi, welcome!) or someone that has been around this website since approximately 2015 (yikes, hehe) allow me to introduce myself:

Hi, my name is Ally, I’m a junior at KU who loves navy stripes, her golden retriever, spending money on coffee, and I do too much.

I’ve put off writing this post for about as long as I put off doing my laundry and writing my weekly lesson plans for practicum. First because every time I tried, the concept seemed narcissistic and hard to discuss without sounding full of myself. Second, because writing and posting, meant admitting it was true. For my own sanity of keeping the first reason off the table, I won’t use this post to sit here and list off everything that fills my agenda…and my google calendar…and the multiple sticky notes floating around my binders and desk and car. So to be vague, I am busy. Like the kind of busy where free time is rare to where I don’t know what to do with it, and when I do, my mind still seems to be a running to-do list of what I need to be doing AFTER that free time is up.

As you can imagine and I’m sure lots of you relate to, being a full time student, working a part time job, holding leadership positions, and managing to find time to eat and sleep and catch up on your friends’ lives seems nearly impossible most days until it’s all done and we pass out .5 seconds after climbing into bed. I KNOW lots of you can relate because our generation. Loves. To. Be. “Busy.” Being “busy” and “stressed” has almost turned into a fad and trend of our generation, and frankly, it SUCKS!!!

I used to be like most of my generation in that aspect until a month or so ago. I was absolutely guilty of using my packed schedule as a guilt trip on occasions, or to almost rank myself among my peers in my head; as I assumed they were doing as well. “Who is spending the most hours at the library tonight?” “Who got the least amount of sleep last night?” “I have 3 tests this week, can anyone beat me and have 4?” IT IS EXHAUSTING. Physically and mentally! Exhausting!!! I was so used to the routine of go go go and why? I’m not even fully sure. Some days I swear I would have the busiest days and go to sleep that night still feeling like I accomplished nothing. Basically it was like Sunday scaries every day of the week 24/7/365. I was starting to face every millennials biggest fear: burnout.

All that changed when I simply realized: I didn’t like feeling that way.

I didn’t like being tired all the time! I didn’t like going to all my meetings, but thinking about the next one before finishing the first instead of being engaged in the conversation in front of me.

I saw a quote on a t-shirt in an online boutique that stated the infamous quote “she believed she could so she did” but instead of the oh so fitting with our societal love of doing things for the sake of doing things “so she did” it stated: “but she was really tired, so she rested. and you know what? The world went on and it was ok. And she knew she could try again tomorrow.” & wow did that literally hit me harder than anything on my to-do list. It was REALLY that easy, If I didn’t want to feel that way…I didn’t have to.

Now I understand that there are obvious obligations like academics and work and things that one can’t jut “not do” if they don’t feel like it. Trust me, tried that mentality once in my polysci class, don’t recommend for the GPA. BUT, one CAN take a nap, one CAN stop watching Netflix and go to bed, one CAN, and hear me out here fellow overachievers…say no.

I won’t lie to you and say I went from 0-100 on relaxing and that my schedule went from booked to free as a bird at any quick rate. I also won’t say it was easy to begin not to overcommit. When you’re used to a life of a full inbox and a marathon pace of meetings, moving life to a speed walk instead of a sprint is tricky and to be honest, I felt guilty at first. But once I started seeing differences in my anxiety, my overall health, and my day to day mood, I committed to keeping my to-do’s intentional and things did get easier.

So this post is for all the people that do too much. I’m proud of you!!!! I am!! I know all too personally and well the satisfaction of a nicely crossed off to-do list or the excitement (and also the same time immense regret) of every “yes of course I have time!” Or “no problem I can do that for you!” I know you think you’re doing what’s good for you by doing EVERYTHING. But you know what I want to be proud of you for instead? Doing. Nothing. I know when youโ€™re used to doing everything, doing nothing feels like the hardest possible thing to do. But just like the technology you’re reading this open letter on right now, you need to charge yourself as well.

I haven’t taken a full 360. I don’t wake up at 6 and do yoga as “me time” (props to you that do. You’re forever my inspirations.) and I sure as heck still have days where i basically just write MEETINGS in all caps on my agenda page. I‘m still being my demanding self and loving it. I love the rush that comes with the pace of my many tasks, and I am so thankful for the problems I work on and the people I collaborate with daily. HOWEVER, you’ll find me saying โ€œnoโ€ a lot more often so that I have more time to do NOTHING. Everyone’s “nothings” look a lil different: some mean meditation, others, like myself, mean unneeded grocery store trips that end in who knows what that I absolutely didn’t need.

To end with a quote from TheEverygirl that sums up what I do hope you can begin to fuel your days with:

Here’s to me doing a lot more less. I hope you all can use these words as a push of courage and vulnerability to do the same.

Until next time, xoxo, Ally