5 Ways to Take Advantage of the Time Change

5 Ways to Take Advantage of the Time Change

Last week, I wrote about 4 spots to get cozy post-time change. Now, we’re here. DST is over, and last night, we experienced our first longer evening. I found myself yawning before dinnertime, sleepily disoriented in the darkness of my apartment at 5 p.m.

I’ve come up with suggestions to make the most of this extra hour of nighttime. Instead of succumbing to feelings of laziness and gloom, here are 5 productive ways to take advantage of the switch:

1. Do a puzzle

Puzzles are good for your brain! They keep you alert, improve memory, and exercise the mathematical, analytical parts of your mind. Section off an area of living space and keep the puzzle going continuously. It’s a perfect nighttime activity to do solo or when guests are over – people are often attracted to puzzles!

2. Plan a trip

There’s nothing like planning a vacation to brighten your mood – no matter how far in advance the trip may be! I have weekend guides for Nashville, New York City, Chicago, and D.C. so there’s no need to look far if you’re craving a fall/winter city escape.

3. Practice mindfulness

It can be easy to get in a funk when the days change. If you need some centering, try my easy tips for living mindfully. Something as simple as establishing a home yoga practice can completely change your mood and outlook.

4. Accomplish a goal

Set aside this extra hour of darkness and dedicate it to accomplish something. Perhaps you write, read, or exercise. Maybe there’s a home project you’ve been procrastinating. You might even wake up an hour earlier in the morning (when it’s lighter) and take a morning jog. If you pretend that you actually do have an extra hour in the day, you’ll be amazed at what you can get done, because you’ll believe that you have the time and feel more focused.

5. Decorate for the season

There are few things that cheer me up more than buying flowers for the house or decorating for the holidays. This November, put some energy into giving your home a warm, cozy, autumn, Thanksgiving vibe with orange accents and natural elements. Once December hits, go all-out with your holiday decorations. Decorating always brightens my mood and makes me feel both productive and festive!

I hope these ideas help! Please let me know some of your favorite ways to spend these longer evenings!

Love, Bee

How I Decorated My Studio Apartment

How I Decorated My Studio Apartment

My apartment is simple and clean. I love it and feel super cozy every time I curl up on my couch. Although I am certainly no expert decorator, I often get compliments on my apartment and have been asked where I bought certain items. I am going to share how I went about decorating my own apartment. My ideas might be particularly helpful if you are new to Nashville, are moving into a new space, or are moving into a smaller apartment. Here, I’m just focusing on the living room:

Getting Started

Because I live in a smaller apartment, I opted for smaller pieces. I don’t like when a small space is bombarded by big furniture. I prefer the furniture to match the room! I believe this opens up the space and makes the room seem bigger than it actually is.

This may seem obvious, but always measure a room and compare it to the measurements of furniture before you buy the furniture! You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised by furniture that is too big or too small. If you are moving to a new city and haven’t seen the space in person yet, ask for the dimensions.

Once you start picking out pieces, choose a color scheme and stick to it. I opted for grays and blues and did not let myself stray, no matter how much I liked a piece. I wanted the room to feel soft and cohesive.

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Purchasing Pieces

I’ll share where I bought the pieces in my apartment. All of these are well-loved by me, or I wouldn’t recommend them!

The CouchWinslow Armless Sleeper Sofa at Urban Outfitters

The Coffee Table – Rashmi Carved Coffee Table at Urban Outfitters; Unfortunately, this is no longer available, but here is another simple gray one

The RugHeidi Overdyed Block Print Rug at Urban Outfitters

The Pillows – I have two sets of pillows on my couch. One set is the Chunky Cotton Knit Pillows from Urban, which are no longer available. The other set is from Target, and they’re so lovely and comfy. I didn’t see the exact set that I purchased online, but I bet you’ll find something similar if you check in stores!

The Bar Stools Button Counter Stools from Houzz

The MirrorRectangle Decorative Wall Mirror from Target

Corner Floor LampShelf Floor Lamp from Target

The Plants – Plants really give a room some life! The table plant is from Creekside, and the window succulents are from both Creekside and Trader Joe’s. The vase and artificial white flowers beside the kitchen sink are from Michaels.

Any other pieces you see – the side tables, the TV stand – were given to me by family members. Never forget to ask loved ones if they have any pieces they’ve been wanting to give away!

This is my living room in its true state. I always have a candle (or two, or three) out, usually lit. Blankets to snuggle with drape on the couch. I always keep recent magazines on my coffee table for friends to flip through (and change them seasonally), and I read daily, so there will always be a book there.

It’s important to keep your space true to yourself! It’s your home, and you want to be happy there!

I hope this post helps – Please feel free to ask me anything else about my home or decorating tips in the comments.

Love, Bee

The Beauty of Impermanence

The Beauty of Impermanence

The current state of my balcony

Each season, we seek and purchase the impermanent: tulips in spring, hydrangeas in summer, mums in fall, pansies in winter. We relish blooming trees, falling leaves, pumpkins on porches, holly draping windows. We know these things will vanish, that we will have to toss them aside. But we want them anyway.

Every December of my childhood, I watched my dad bring the Christmas tree into the living room through wide eyes, full of joy and wonder. I decorated the tree with such care, fully immersed in the experience, as though nothing else mattered and the holiday would never end.

It always did. My eyes would fill with tears as I watched my dad carry the tree, dry and starting to brown, to the curb, where it would lay, still and cold and somber.

But this process would repeat year after year, and I was a willing participant. I knew what would inevitably happen after the New Year. I celebrated with gusto even so, because it was transient, and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

To have something that lives and breathes in your home can feel refreshing and sweet – perhaps flowers from a loved one. It can be emotional and melancholy – a consolation arrangement. Or joyful and nostalgic, like a Christmas tree.

The potted plant, the tree, the bouquet – these bring real feelings into our homes. They never last, but they are welcome and enjoyable for a time.

The things in life that seem sweetest are often fleeting. And they are beautiful because of their impermanence.

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What beautiful, impermanent things have you welcomed into your home lately? Tell me about it in the comments.

Love, Bee

5 Ways to Hang with Friends on Week Nights

5 Ways to Hang with Friends on Week Nights

As a full-time teacher, I am exhausted by the end of the school day. Often, I just want to curl up in my pajamas right away and enter a TV coma until I fall asleep.

But usually, I feel better if I do something first. I walk every day after school if the weather is nice, and if it’s not, I do a Yoga with Adriene video. This helps. However, I live alone, and some weeks I go every night without doing anything social.

If you, too, are introverted and/or tend to struggle with doing much or seeing people after a long work day, I’ve compiled a list of some easy, relaxing ways to see your friends on week nights. Even if you’re a little sleepy, spending time with loved ones is good for your health! (Tip: Go straight from work so you can’t bail!)

Monday: A Movie at the Belcourt

The Belcourt is a perfect, chill place to spend a Monday evening. They often show some great, shorter films at an after-work hour. The best part? You can get some actually tasty wine or beer! I don’t have a problem with wine and popcorn for dinner from time-to-time, but you could also grab a quick and easy bite at Fido.

Tuesday: A Walk at Centennial Park

As I mentioned, I love walking after work. Centennial Park is the perfect place to meet a friend because it’s in a central location and generally fairly easy to meet there (depending on where you work). They have a short loop you can do as many times as you have time for, and you’ll be sure to catch the sun as it sets over the duck-filled pond.

Wednesday: Invite Them For a Night In

Invite a friend over! If the weather is nice, sit on your balcony/patio/porch if you have one. Or curl up and watch one of your favorite shows together. Maybe you cook dinner together, or order take-out. Whatever you do, you get to be in your pajamas and be social at the same time.

Thursday: Yoga at a Community Center

Check out your local community center for yoga classes, and try one for just $3 per class at most centers! I recommend the Candlelight Restorative Yoga class at Centennial Sportsplex at 6:15 or the Power Vinyasa class at Sevier Park Community Center at 6:30.

Friday: Happy Hour

Happy hour is a classic Friday choice. You get to wind down, treat yourself to a cocktail, split an appetizer, and share all of your funny stories or your drama from the week. A few of my favorite places to do happy hour are Burger Up (12th South or East Nashville), Rosemary & Beauty Queen (East Nashville – love the backyard patio), Neighbors (Sylvan Park), and the Sutler (8th Ave. S).

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What are some of your favorite things to do on week nights? Tell me in the comments!

Love, Bee

 

Meditative Monday

Meditative Monday

It’s Monday, and the start of another week is here. For me, this Monday marks the end of a week-long fall break in which I launched this blog (hooray!) and focused on what I love to do (outside of my full-time teaching job) and what makes me tick. For me, writing makes me tick. The act of writing, of sharing writing, and of reading others’ writing.

If you work full-time, you know it can be hard to find the time to exercise your muscles in other things you’re passionate about (and sometimes to literally exercise your muscles). But if your life is all work, you know that’s no good for your health. As I am discovering how to balance my job with my other loves (and writing is something I just can’t not do), I’m sharing my thoughts with you for how you can find more of a balance, no matter how incredibly busy you are.

These are my steps to begin doing what you love again:

First, name it: What do you love?

The first step to making time for what you love is to literally name what you love. Make a list. Are there things you used to love doing that you don’t make time for anymore? What makes you happy? What makes you feel fulfilled? Is it running, reading, traveling? What are you not getting that you need? What can you not live without?

When I did this, I identified it right away: Writing.

Next, think about it.

Time yourself for 5 minutes daily to just stop. Don’t look at anything – not your phone, not the TV. Think about these things that you love. When did you do them before? How were you able to do them? Did you have more time? What’s been keeping you from doing them? You might write down some of your thoughts – think about what’s been holding you back.

When I thought through this, I knew the answer: I was putting all my time and energy into my job, and all of my free thought space after work was used to think more about work. I was not achieving a balance in my life, and I was no longer writing.

Then, make a plan.

You know what you love, and you know what’s holding you back. The next step is to very carefully plan and calculate how you will do what you love and work full-time. This might look like creating a structured schedule, with certain times of day dedicated to doing what you love. Maybe you pick a few evenings a week to do this thing that you love. Scheduling ahead and sticking to your schedule will help you follow through.

For me, I decided to take the leap over my fall break. The weeks before fall break, I dedicated evenings to thinking about my blog. I would take walks in the park and meditate over what I wanted my blog to be. What would it look like? Who would it be for? Finally, when fall break arrived, I just did it. I knew I had the time, and I made it happen. I also took advantage of the time to plan ahead and schedule for the future when I’ll be busier.

Finally, follow through.

What often happens is that we get on a roll with doing what we love – maybe we want to exercise regularly, and we’ve been going consistently for months. But then, something happens. Work gets incredibly stressful, or we get sick. Maybe we just lose momentum. Life happens. Life will always happen. The key is to be determined and focused, to create a structure and a routine, and to not give yourself a choice but to follow through.

This isn’t to say that we should take the joy out of what we love. I love writing on this blog, but I have to dedicate time to make it happen. You can plan it and make it super specific and still love it. In fact, I think you’ll love it more because you’re actually doing it.

Centennial Park

How have you achieved a balance between work and your other passions? Tell me what works for you in the comments!

Love, Bee

6 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Nashville

6 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Nashville

Fall is the best time in Nashville. The air feels cool but not cold. The leaves turn to vibrant shades of yellow and red. The humidity of the summer disappears. The sun shines abundantly. Everything seems essentially perfect once October makes its way into town.

These are 6 of my favorite ways to celebrate this glorious season in Nashville:

Cheekwood Harvest & Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls

1. Visit Cheekwood Harvest

Cheekwood Harvest is one of my favorite seasonal festivals. It’s where I always pick up my pumpkins (notice the variety in the top photo – all sorts of colors)! I recommend heading to Cheekwood between Thursday – Sunday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. when they have the Beer Garden open. You can grab a drink and a bite to eat, and listen to live music on a picnic bench surrounded by pumpkins and flowers. Notice the gorgeous mums and the creative scarecrows created by members of the community.

2. Cozy up at Old Glory

Ah, Old Glory. This is one of my favorite spots in Nashville. The bar hides, nestled behind Taco Mamacita in Edgehill Village. The interior feels cozy, dark, and dreamy. It’s the perfect place to lounge with a cocktail on a chilly fall night.

3. Decorate with mums and pumpkins

Nothing gets me more in the fall mode than decorating my balcony with mums and pumpkins. As soon as you make the switch from summer decor to fall, you’ll be ready to curl up with hot apple cider and a good film. I recommend picking out mums at Creekside, and you know my pick for pumpkins is Cheekwood.

4. Indulge in Trader Joe’s pumpkin goodies

Trader Joe’s has the ultimate collection of pumpkin goodness. I highly recommend everything: the Pumpkin Bagels, Pumpkin O’s, Pumpkin Rolls, Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps… I could go on and on. There’s so much to discover.

5. Hike at Percy Warner Park

Percy Warner Park is my favorite spot to be in the fall. Head to the main entrance of the park (at the end of Belle Meade Blvd.), climb the steps, and keep going up to hike the white trail! It is a 2.5 mile loop with gorgeous leaves and views.

6. Host a bonfire

If you have the capability – or have a friend with a farm – don’t miss your chance to enjoy a classic Southern bonfire. Curling up in a blanket with friends and toasting marshmallows is one of the best ways to get into the fall spirit.

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Percy Warner Park

Happy fall, y’all!

Tell me some of your favorite ways to celebrate fall the comments!

Love, Bee

Fall Chicago Weekend Guide

Fall Chicago Weekend Guide

Chicago is a quick and easy flight away from Nashville, especially on Southwest. And October is the perfect month to visit (and to travel in general!) as it’s not as touristy, and the weather is comfortable. Time to pull out your favorite boots and scarves, and take a weekend getaway! I’ve got the whole weekend planned for you:

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   RL Restaurant  & Driehaus Museum

Friday – Arrive late morning

Get checked in at the Talbott Hotel, a newly renovated and charming boutique hotel. They have a darling outdoor restaurant and even offer a special autumn package so that you can experience all that Chicago has to offer during the season.

Start your weekend off right at the sophisticated RL Restaurant, a 5-minute walk from the Talbott. You won’t regret this upscale experience and tasty lunch.

After lunch, walk another short 5 minutes to the gorgeous Driehaus Museum, a home from the Gilded Age with elegant period pieces. Stepping into the museum is like stepping back in time – it fully immerses you in the late 19th century.

Walk and shop the Magnificent Mile, or take a rest back at the Talbott.

Either way, that night, walk just 5 minutes (truly, the Talbott is close to everything) and end up at Lou Malnati’s for a festive dinner and some of the best pizza you’ll ever have.

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Art Institute of Chicago  & Architecture Boat Tour

Saturday

Wake up and head to the famous Art Institute of Chicago. It is gorgeous and well-worth the visit. Grab lunch at the Institute.

After lunch, head to Millennium Park to see art, architecture, landscaping, and of course, Cloud Gate (the “bean”).

Later that afternoon, do not miss an architecture boat tour. You don’t need to know anything about architecture – just go, and you’ll be enthralled. There’s simply no other way to see Chicago inside and out.

That night, after a nap at the Talbott, walk 5 minutes to Carmine’s for a fun, lively Italian dinner. Sit outside on the Italian-style patio and people watch under string lights. Dine on bread, pasta, and wine. Enjoy.

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Sunday Morning

Wake up for a little more shopping on the Magnificent Mile.

Enjoy the city sites as you walk to Eataly, a bright Italian marketplace with everything Italian you could ever dream of. Eat at the restaurant if you have time, or snag a treat for the road! The walk back to the Talbott will take you 10 minutes.

Depart midday.

 

Enjoy!

Would love to hear about some of your favorite things to do in Chicago in the comments!

Love, Bee