Challenge of the Week: Establish a Morning Routine

Last week’s challenge was to Establish a Morning Routine. You guys selected this challenge in a poll on Instagram, and while I was really REALLY hoping you would pick the other option (Meditate Each Morning), I am actually glad I was forced to tackle this challenge. Mornings have always been hard for me. It’s not that I’m a total zombie or super grumpy (though some might beg to differ)… it’s just that I don’t like being rushed or having to stick to a schedule right when I’ve woken up.

Can you relate?

I think a lot of us are like this, which is probably why so many of you voted for me to do this challenge. Mornings are hard, and we are all looking for ways to make them better. (Spoiler: I did find a way to make mornings better. Stick to the end, and I’ll show you my full morning routine.)

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A New Series: Challenge of the Week

So, I’ve always loved New Year’s. I don’t necessarily mean New Year’s Eve, though I like a good party just as much as the next girl. What I really love about New Year’s, though, is that it’s a time of new beginning. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the year that has passed -- everything you accomplished, big events you experienced, great memories you made. It’s also a time to look forward to the year that is to come -- a time to hope, to dream big, and to challenge yourself to aim higher than ever before.

Each year I have a ritual of setting aside time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. I take this time really seriously, and I never skip it. A few years ago, I even went on a solo camping trip over New Year’s to really give myself the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. I hiked, journaled, and did lots of thinking. I came back having learned a lot about myself, and with a renewed purpose for the new year.

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Decorate Your Desktop: Free Wallpapers // 02

Back in March I created a set of free desktop backgrounds, which included orange slices, quotes, and abstract patterns. This month I've created even more wallpapers for your desktop! This collection follows a colorful theme, including florals, lots of abstracts, and soft watercolor patterns.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I also post phone wallpapers on my story that you can screenshot and use. You can find all the phone wallpapers I've ever posted by going to my story highlight titled "Wallpapers" on my Instagram page.

The wallpapers you see here are also going to be posted to my story and added to my Wallpapers highlight, so you can mix or match your phone and computer backgrounds.

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Decorate Your Desktop: Free Downloadable Wallpapers

If you've been following me on Instagram, you may have seen me occasionally post wallpapers to my story that you can screenshot and use to brighten up your phone background. I love doing this because it's a fun creative outlet that isn't for a client or business project. Plus, I'm constantly updating my own phone wallpaper, so it gives me something new to spruce up my screen.

In fact, I decided that I'm going to try and post new wallpapers at the beginning of every month, so you'll always have something new coming your way. If you want to check out the wallpapers I've posted in the past, just check out my story highlight titled "Wallpapers" on my Instagram page.

This month I've also created a few downloadable desktop backgrounds that match the phone wallpapers you can screenshot on my Instagram story. The theme for this month is Spring! Since March 20 is the first day of spring, I wanted to include imagery that made me feel excited for the new season. Orange trees blossom in March, so we've got lots of oranges. There's also some beach vibes, since Spring Break is coming up, and while I'm not in school anymore, I'd really love to steal away for the week. Anyone got a beach house?

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How I Decided I Was An "Artist"

I used to agonize over the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" Early on, I thought I might become a missionary or teach English in a foreign country. At college, I studied Sociology and Spanish, and it seemed like the logical next step was to become a social worker or a therapist. Many people don’t know this, but after college, I applied and was accepted to a masters program in Marriage and Family Therapy. I turned it down. I guess I just wasn't certain this was the right path for my life, at least not certain enough to incur tens of thousands of dollars of debt from another degree.

So, in the midst of all this uncertainty and indecision, I moved home and joined the corporate workforce. For the next few years, I spent each weekday sitting at a desk, waiting for "my calling" to make itself known.

In 2016, I found myself working as an executive assistant to the CEO of a successful internet technology company. It was a fast-paced, high stakes role where I developed the hotly debated skill of multitasking. While I gained a lot of valuable business knowledge, I didn’t feel like I was advancing myself in the direction I wanted to go. There wasn’t much about that job that was creative, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was trying to force myself to fit into the role like a mismatched puzzle piece. I found myself doodling illustrations at my desk, hand lettering quotes to keep me inspired and motivated, and scrolling through the Instagram feeds of artists I admired - wishing I had the guts or the talent to be like them.

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