2018 Real Resolutions

2017 was the year of so many “firsts” and “lasts” for me.

I finished my last semester of college, competed in my last pom competition, slept my last sleep in the college house I lived in with my best friends for three years, the list goes on…

I also had my first day at a new job, moved into my first big girl apartment with Scooter, posted my first blog post and taught my first class as an instructor.

2017 was no doubt the craziest, most fun, scary, amazing year yet. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a single second of this year. Every struggle forced me to learn and grow, and every success allowed me to appreciate this wonderful, LoveLeigh (I had to) life I live.

As we enter the final hours of 2017, I have reflected on my wins and loses for the year and set some realistic goals for myself moving forward.

I won’t lie, I don’t like the idea of “waiting for the new year” to set goals, because we should all be setting new goals every morning. But I do think the new year is a good time to check in on yourself and reflect on what’s important. So instead of trying to set giant, looming goals, let’s set some attainable ones that lead to progress and growth.

I want to make 2018 the year of listening. This one encompasses a lot. Listening to your friends, family and colleagues and hearing what they are saying, not just listening to respond. Having meaningful conversation and showing you care is becoming more and more rare. Let’s all try to listen more.

This also applies to yourself. Listen to your mind and body, and respond accordingly. On occasion I’ve been known to ignore everything my body tells me and go, go, go until I am so sick and tired I can’t get out of bed. I am going to consciously try to slow down when necessary. If you’re a 24/7 mover, you know this is so hard. Let’s hold each other accountable.

My next intention is to live presently. This goes hand in hand with being a crazy busy person. There were so many days this year where I would go through the motions of a 16 hour day and have no idea how that much time had passed. I hate the foggy feeling of not knowing how you got from A to B. I want to pull the focus I have throughout parts of my life into my entire day. No more going through the motions and more present intention. Let’s be aware and actionable in 2018.

My boring and practical resolution for the year is to set and abide by a budget. I am mentioning it here so that I actually do it. I can’t wait for the conversations where this specific paragraph is held against me by my parents and personal financial advisor (Scott). Good. I deserve it. If I don’t surpass my monthly spending for the whole year, come December 2018 I will treat myself at Lululemon. Does that defeat the point of a budget? Probably. Give me a break, I’m new to this.

Lastly, I resolve to spread joy. I love all the #feels of the holidays. Everybody is happy and full of cookies and excited to see each other. This feeling seems to fade by the middle of January when we are all windburned and packed into public transit like sardines.

Let’s try our best to revive that joy. This starts by waking up every day and making the decision to be kind to yourself and those around you. Smile at a stranger, take some time for yourself, and go out of the way to make a loved one feel special. The feeling of joy in our lives shouldn’t be limited to one month of the year. Oh, and the cookies probably don’t hurt, so let’s continue to bake and eat those, too.

None of my resolutions involve specific numbers or deadlines. I just want to spend this year having as much fun and learning as much as I did last year (and saving some money). I want to continue to create and spread kindness, tackle my goals head-on, and release negativity from my life.

Please share your favorite memories from 2017 and your goals for the new year in the comments. I want to hear what you guys are looking forward to and reflecting on. Here’s to making 2018 the best year yet. Who’s with me?

Love, Leigh

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Go for Your Goals

It feels like forever since my last post. So much has happened in the last few weeks and I am so excited to tell you all about it!

I also want to apologize for going MIA for a few weeks there, I was very busy and the last thing I want to do is treat this blog like a chore. I started it as a way to share my thoughts and finds with my friends. To have so many of you ask me when my next blog post was coming made me realize how many awesome people I’m surrounded by in my daily life and online. Thank you for reading and for bringing so much happiness into my life!

So without further ado, after weeks of training, practicing and prepping, I can finally say that I am an instructor at The Barre Code!

It’s no secret that I have loved TBC since I moved to Chicago, but going through this process has taught me so much about myself and The Barre Code community, that I felt inspired to share some learnings from my journey with you.

The first thing I have learned from all of this is that all of us can do anything we put our minds to. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would be working two jobs, one as a fitness instructor, I would have laughed. In early October, one of my favorite instructors asked me if I had ever thought about becoming an instructor and I laughed then, too. I am so thankful that I finally started believing in myself the way the people around me did. This leads me to my next point…

You are whatever you want to be. By that I mean, your mentality truly is your reality. The attitude I had towards myself and my goals was the determining factor of my success every single day of this training process.

If I had confidence, I did what I was supposed to, showed improvement and felt great about my work. If I went in as a Debby downer, you bet your booty I choked and felt awful about what I did that day. I cannot stress enough how much your mindset impacts your daily life. If you think you can, you’re halfway there. That’s probably written on a teabag somewhere, but it’s true and I love tea, so that’s fine.

Throughout training I have met countless strong, fabulous, fierce women that have shown me what being welcomed into a community feels like, and let me tell you, it feels pretty awesome.

The ladies I trained with, the absolute rock stars who trained us, the entire staff of The Barre Code and all of the amazing TBC clients have made me feel so loved. After months of living in a new city and trying to find “my thing” I couldn’t be happier to know that I have not only found it, but turned it into something I get to share with some of the coolest women I have ever met, every single day.

If you are feeling like you’re in a transitional period of your life, the advice I want to give you is to actively seek out something that makes you happy and commit to it. It doesn’t matter what other people think, because the people who care about you will think it’s just as awesome as you do. Shout out to my roomie boyfriend, Scott, for listening to me practice, trying his best to “tuck and squeeze”, and for having the ice cream and wine ready to go after a long day.

Real talk, things that might feel silly at first (like writing a blog), sometimes end up bringing you the most joy.

If you love to cook, take a class and see where it leads you. If you’re a runner, join a running club. All of these things sound simple, unless you let self-doubt kick in. You might think to yourself, “oh, I don’t know anyone here” or “I’m not that good” or “I’m too busy”. If you think that, then guess what? You’re right.

The moment you start believing in yourself is the moment you unleash your full potential. Start doing the things that make you feel uncomfortable, because growth happens outside of your comfort zone. Another teabag line – I don’t care. Still true.

I got dragged into a Barre Code class in the beginning of the summer by my (very talented) friend, Madalyn. I left with a hamstring cramp and a reality check. I found something I wasn’t great at, but knew I liked.

I felt silly in that studio, but I found something that gave me attainable goals to work towards. I took an hour a day for myself – an hour a day to challenge my mind and body. I entered a community of women that lift each other up, make each other laugh, and hold each other accountable. I gained new friends, discovered new confidence and even found some new muscles I don’t think I’d used before. I turned something I liked to do into something I love to help others excel at. I am so thankful for the people that led me to become an instructor. I can’t wait to continue learning and growing as a person as I begin my journey at The Barre Code.

If you’re in Chicago, I would love to have you in class! Send me a message for more info.

I hope you are all having an amazing holiday season and finding your own happiness, wherever that may be.

Love, Leigh

10 Things I Learned From Being a Team Player

In ninth grade I broke my dad’s heart when I decided to quit running track to join the JV pompon team. For those of you who aren’t from the Midwest, Pompon is a combination of cheer and dance with a focus of sharp movements and Rockettes style high kicks. 

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2010- Tenth grade Mid American Pompon summer camp with my staff sister, and now friend, Leah

As high school went on, I loved performing and competing and knew that I wanted to continue my journey with pom beyond high school. When I decided to go to MSU, I tried out for the pompon team and the rest is history.

I spent my summers working for Mid American Pompon summer camps as a counselor and instructor, better known as a “staff sister”. During the school year I practiced and competed with MSU pom.

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2016- Fourth years at camp

For those four years, pom was a huge part of my life. I learned so much about myself, made more memories than I can count and built friendships that will last me a lifetime.

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2013- Freshman year on MSU

Yesterday the Spartans took home the title of 2017 Collegiate High Kick Champions. I am so proud to be an alum of the MSU Pompon program and it got me thinking about just how much being a team member molded me as a person.

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2016- My senior year on MSU

Here are the top ten things being a team player taught me:

1. Lead by example

Actions speak louder than words. If you want people to follow, start leading.

2. Find your tribe and love them hard

Having a group of people that make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself can get you through anything. Lean on the ones you trust and always be there when they need you, too.

3. Mind over matter

You are so much stronger than you know – both mentally and physically. Your body will do just about anything your mind tells it to. When I didn’t want to go to practice, I always felt better after it was over. Now the same goes for the gym. Tell yourself you can and get it done.

4. You can learn from everyone

Older, younger or new to the game. Any industry, any gym, any work setting. Listen to those around you and you will learn something new every single day.

5. Stronger together than apart

Embracing the team mentality allows for growth and productivity. Hearing new perspectives makes you smarter. Working together is invaluable.

6. Balance is everything

Spending so many hours juggling class, internships and practice made me pretty good at time management. I’m thankful to know when and how to take time for myself.

7. Accountability

When you are working toward a common goal, you have to be able to depend on your teammates. Following through and taking responsibility for your actions builds trust and respect.

8. Dependability

This goes hand in hand with accountability, but I think it all comes down to knowing how your actions affect others. Say what you mean and mean what you say, and always, always be honest.

9. Raise your hand

Sometimes you have to volunteer to do the thing nobody else wants to. It’s just the way it is and people appreciate it.

10. Attitude is everything

Every practice, and now that I’m adulting, every morning, I make the decision to have a positive attitude. Your attitude is contagious, so if you want others to be happy, you have to start with yourself.

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2017- Collegiate Championships

What other skills did you learn from playing a sport? I would love to hear them in the comments. Let’s focus on being good teammates in all aspects of our lives this week.

Love, Leigh

Smile at Yourself

Like many women, I am often told to smile more by men on the street. Every time this happens, it leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling. I get a pit in my stomach that sticks with me for the whole day.

I think the reason why it feels so intrusive when a stranger demands that you smile is because a genuine smile is one of the most valuable things you can give to someone. The reflection of joy that you present when you smile is special and should never be faked or forced.

A stranger demanding you to smile did nothing to warrant a joyful display of appreciation…but do you know who did? Do you know who deserves recognition for bringing you happiness? You. 

When was the last time that you smiled at yourself? Not to check your teeth for lipstick, but to see the real-time happiness in your own face?

As you know by now, I exercise at The Barre Code. Each studio has mirrored walls that allow you to check your form while you work out. Often times you are right up at the barre staring at your reflection in the mirror.

Sometimes during class I meet my own eyes in the mirror and am surprised by the intensity and fire I see in myself. What is more surprising, however, is how little we smile at ourselves.

It always seemed weird to me when the instructor would say, “look at the beautiful, strong woman staring back at you in the mirror and smile at her, she worked so hard for the last 50 minutes.”

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A smile represents so much more than a happy facial expression. A smile shows gratitude and appreciation. Smiling at yourself is just another way to show self-love and be grateful for giving yourself time to become mentally and physically stronger. Smiling at myself after a hard workout has taught me to recognize the aspects of my life that bring me joy.

If you don’t exercise in front of a mirror, I suggest taking a second to smile at yourself every morning when you are getting ready. It might seem silly, but it gives you a chance to reflect and be thankful. This leads me to my next point…

Smiling makes you feel happy. When I’m not having a great day, I consciously try to be a little nicer to others, in hopes that it may reflect back on me. Like karma, if you give smiles away, they usually come back to you.

Small acts of kindness, even things as small as a smile, can make all the difference in your own mood and others lives.

So, I’ll leave you with this, LoveLeighs – I hope you all know the worth of your smile and power of your happiness. It comes from within and when it’s there, it cannot be contained. Create your own joy and spread it to those around you, even when it seems hard to find.

 

Love, Leigh

Snooze it & Lose it

I don’t run for elevators. I don’t run to catch planes. I don’t like to run late.

Your alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. and you immediately hit snooze. 8 minutes later the piercing sound of reality rings in your ear again and again and again… 

It’s a vicious cycle: hit snooze, doze off, wake up with the absolute minimum amount of time required to get out the door.

Now you’ve had no time to get coffee, forgot to put on the super cute necklace that matches your outfit and you feel rushed and flustered.

This used to be my daily routine. I was always rushing and feeling anxious about being late or forgetting something.

I realized that my problems were stemming from the way I started my day. The solution for these morning woes is something I like to call “getting vertical“.

Here’s how it works:

Pop out of bed the second your alarm goes off.

Don’t sit up and stare at your phone for a minute. Literally stand up. Get vertical the minute the alarm rings and don’t look back. Physically getting out of bed is the hardest part, so make like Nike and Just Do It.

After I’m vertical, I go into the kitchen and immediately drink at least eight ounces of water. Drinking water on an empty stomach helps reset your body and aids digestion. I never want to do this. I want to stick an IV of coffee straight into my arm, but having water truly does make me feel better throughout the day and wakes me up.

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After my water, I usually get ready to work out. Exercising in the morning keeps me energized all day long. It’s also nice to get home from work and know that I can spend time on other things.

If I’m not headed off to The Barre Code for a class (or once I’m back and showered), it’s time to get dressed for work.

My outfit is always planned out the night before, which is a tip I totally recommend. Laying your clothes out before bed saves you time in the morning and prevents the age old tale of trying on everything in your closet and trashing your room.

After I’m dressed, I grab my coffee, prepare my breakfast and allow myself 20 minutes to relax.

Sometimes I turn on Good Morning America, scroll through Instagram, or read a few chapters of whatever book I’m reading.

This might seem like a total waste of time, but giving myself some me-time in the morning allows me to relax and enjoy the day before I get crazy busy.

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Once I feel ready to get the day going I put on my makeup, do my hair and head off to work.

I know most of you are not morning people, but neither was I. There was a point where I had to be dragged out of bed, hated going to morning workout classes and didn’t even want to speak to another soul before sunrise.

If you are always running late, start by not hitting snooze. It helps me start every day in a good mood, which in turn allows me to feel more in control and less anxious about rushing out the door.

I truly believe that getting vertical as fast as you can and giving yourself a moment of relaxation in the morning sets you up for a successful day.

What other tips do you have for starting out your day right and being on time? Let me know in the comments!

We made it through another work week. Will you try to be a morning person next week? Have an amazing weekend, LoveLeighs!

Love, Leigh

Shake Your Booties

My ever-growing shoe collection reaches its prime in the fall. The flip flops I’ve been wearing for three months straight have been retired, and I’m ready to sport every shade of suede I can get my hands on.

Here are my five favorite shoes this season and a few ways I style them:

Metallic Mule

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This pair is under $20 by Catherine Malandrino from TJ Maxx. You can search for this pair on Poshmark, but these are pretty much identical and are still available online and in stores.

I have been living in these! The shiny metallic paired with a dark denim is super trendy, really comfortable and dresses up anything from a plain black tee to a chunky knit sweater.

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The silver compliments this gingham tank and forest green cardigan for a comfy chic look.

Short Suede Booties

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These Dolce Vita ankle booties are high quality and match just about everything. I usually wear them with my favorite pair of jeans from Loft (40% off right now!), but they also pair well with a casual dress and long cardigan.

The short heel makes them very comfortable and easy to walk in. The buckle detailing on the side and neutral color have established these shoes as a regular in my wardrobe.

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I snagged this poncho on sale from H&M last week and I can’t wait until it gets a little colder so I can wear it out over a long sleeve. The solid grey version is on sale right now for $12.99!

Peep Toe Booties

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These are my favorite pair of the five. The chunky heel, peep toe, v-cut sides and perforated suede make for the perfect (trendy) storm. I bought them in the late spring and wore them all summer long. I couldn’t find this exact pair from Steve Madden, but these are pretty similar.

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Now, they are a great transition piece from summer to fall. I like to pair them with floral embroidered jeans to feel like a rock star all day long.

Chunk Heel Peep Mules

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These are under $20 and surprisingly comfortable. They also come in a dark brown that are absolutely gorgeous.

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I love everything about this outfit. The heeled mules and detailed sleeves are a 2017 trend combination made in heaven.

Stylish Sneakers

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Major props to my boyfriend, Scott, for gifting me these adorable DV high top sneakers. I think I have worn them every day since I got them. They are perfect for running around town, pair well with leggings or denim, and are super affordable!

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I am also loving the knotted tee trend this season. I scored this one at Nordstrom Rack for $12!

I hope I gave you some fashion inspiration on this beautiful Friday. I can’t wait to shake my booty in some booties all weekend long.

Please let me know which pair or outfit was your favorite. I also want to hear what trends you’d like to see me write about or style!

You guys rock! Thank you for reading this post and for your support.

Love, Leigh

22 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Good morning, LoveLeighs! Today is my 22nd birthday. *Cue Taylor Swift’s 22*

I thought it would be fun to share 22 things you don’t know about me. Here we go!

  1. I spent my childhood summers on Cape Cod and it remains my favorite place.
  2. I used to play the drums. My speciality was anything Blink-182.
  3. I am weirdly good at the claw game. I would say I have about a 96% success rate.
  4. I’ve seen Steel Magnolias and Zoolander about 100 times each. “Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?”
  5. When I was little I wanted to be a marine biologist so that I could swim with dolphins.
  6. Senorita by Justin Timberlake and No Scrubs by TLC tie for my favorite song.
  7. The best Halloween costume I’ve ever had was when I dressed up as Britney Spears from the Baby One More Time music video.
  8. My last meal would be an entire gallon of ice cream and a Diet Coke.
  9. I hope crop tops go out of style and never come back.
  10. I’m currently obsessed with the show Riverdale.
  11. My dog, Tessie, is named after the Boston Red Sox anthem.
  12. I could spend all my money on Bath & Body Works candles and bathing suits.
  13. I talk too fast. When I’m caffeinated I am inaudible.
  14. My whole family calls me Lulu and most of my friends call me Lay.
  15. My childhood crush was Chad Michael Murray.
  16. I have at least four shades of lipstick on my person at all times. I own more than 70 tubes total.
  17. I know I was born in the wrong era based off my love for Abba and ELO.
  18. Anything lime or coconut flavored is my go-to.
  19. I’ve lived in 12 different houses, 2 apartments and a dorm room in my life.
  20. I strongly believe that a nap can fix nearly any problem.
  21. If I could Freaky Friday swap with anyone for one day it would be Blake Lively.
  22. I despise cucumbers but love pickles.

I hope these tidbits helped you learn something new about me. Here’s to a year filled with all things LoveLeigh. Bring on the cake!

Love, Leigh

 

The Trader Joe’s Finds You Need To Try

Since moving to Chicago, I have fallen back in love with Trader Joe’s.

My mom used to shop there when I was in high school, but I didn’t have one near me when I went off to college. Now that I am shopping at Trader Joe’s in the city, I have taken it upon myself to find the best treats and deals.

I present to you the ultimate Trader Joe’s grocery list!

Turkey Burgers

The Trader Joe’s brand Turkey Burgers are my favorite. I usually grill them, cut them up and eat them with tomato slices and the Trader Joe’s cilantro dressing.

Cilantro Dressing

This is one of the refrigerated salad dressings in the produce section. I’m not kidding when I say that I put this on everything.

It’s a great way to add some flavor to wraps and sandwiches. I like to spread it on a tortilla and add turkey, provolone and tomato slices. If you like cilantro you need this dressing in your life.

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Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries

As we touched on in the No-Bake Power Bites post, if chocolate is involved, I’m all for it.

If you like pomegranate seeds or blueberries, this is like their delicious hybrid baby, smothered in chocolate.

Carrot Turmeric Juice

I have been looking for a turmeric juice that isn’t $8 a bottle for a while now. The Trader Joe’s one is $3.99 and tastes like carrots, so I finally found my winner.

I don’t think turmeric tastes great, but it has a lot of anti-inflammatories and antioxidant properties. I would describe the taste as a combination of ginger and pepper. Some people may disagree with that description, but some people are wrong.

The bottom line is that if you want to drink turmeric juice, but think it’s gross and expensive, this one is not gross or expensive. Thanks, Trader Joe’s.

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Lime Fruit Floes

I have always loved popsicles. I eat them all the time and these are my favorite lime flavored ones ever.

Occasionally, Trader Joe’s has Caribbean Fruit Floes, which tastes like pineapple and mango. Those are even better than the lime ones, but my store never has them.

Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

This seasoning is exactly what it sounds like. Some genius over at Trader Joe’s was like “hey, we should scrape all the delicious seeds and salts off the top of an everything bagel and jar it.”

Now everything I eat tastes like an everything bagel and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My favorite things to add it to are:

  1. Avocado toast
  2. scrambled eggs
  3. Tuna salad
  4. Veggies
  5. Steak

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Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese

$1.99 for mac & cheese that tastes amazing and has half the carbs of normal mac & cheese. Enough said.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I’m going to do a whole separate blog post on my favorite cauliflower pizzas, but until then just stock up on these whenever you see them. They sell out weekly and are seriously amazing.

I also use the Trader Joe’s fat free pizza sauce and mozzarella as the base for all my pizzas.

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Sparkling Spring Water

The island colada, pineapple and raspberry lime are my favorite flavors. 79 cents of bubbly delight.

Pretzel Bagels

Does anything about that combination sound bad?

Nope.

Frozen Zucchini Spirals

Shoutout to my pal Maddie for turning me onto these. When you don’t want to make your own zoodles, these are the best.

I like them with the Trader Joe’s turkey bolognese sauce.

Edamame 

I like to buy the frozen bag of lightly salted edamame.

Thaw them in the fridge and snack away. One of my favorite (healthier) salty snacks.

Dried Fruit

The coconut strips and banana chips are some of my favorite snacks to take to work. They offer organic, sweetened and unsweetened options and the prices are great compared to other stores. I also like the dried mango slices.

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Now, once you have all this stuff in your cart and are ready to pay, make sure you grab the sea salt brownies and cookie butter you told yourself you wouldn’t buy. Not because you want them, because you need them.

Love, Leigh

My Favorite Podcasts Right Now

Over the past year I have unglued my eyes from Netflix long enough to discover the world of podcasts.

I know what you’re thinking: “Leigh, where have you been since 2005? Under a rock?”

Well, LoveLeighs, apparently so.

My podcast app always lived in the back of the dusty iPhone pages with the iBooks and Numbers app that were never used.

After several mentions of This American Life  in one of my capstone classes, I decided to give this podcast thing a try.

Now that we’re past the fact that I was way behind the times on this one, here are the podcasts I love listening to:

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

The title says it all. 30 to 40 minutes of Oprah Winfrey interviewing best-selling authors, actors, CEOs, pastors, you name it. This is a good one to listen to when you need a little #MondayMotivation.

Inspiring, intelligent, moving… everything you’d expect from Oprah.

Tracy Morgan, Cookie Johnson and Howard Schultz are a few of my favorite episodes so far.

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Stuff You Should Know

Co-hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark discuss anything and everything. From Barbecue to the National Security Council, they talk about the stuff you should know.

This is definitely one of the more informative podcasts on this list. Chuck and Josh make the most complex of topics easy to understand. I recently listened to How Psychopaths Work and it confirmed my suspicion that I may know a psychopath or two…

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The Morning Breath

I have to give a shout out to one of my best friends, Haley, for getting me hooked on this one. She is a living Bravo and E! encyclopedia. I’d be willing to bet that she could name every cast member from every season of  “Real Housewives” of all the cities.

Anyway, I knew anything Haley recommended would be full of juicy pop culture gossip. I was right, and I’ve been listening/watching every weekday for a few months now.

Yeah, you heard me, watching!

One of the reasons I love “The Breath” is because they live stream the recording of the podcast on Instagram and Facebook live. I like to watch the video version on Facebook after work.

The 20-something co-hosts, Jackie and Claudia, cover everything you need to know about The Bachelor(ette), Taylor Swift’s new album and much more. I also appreciate their abundant Lindsay Lohan movie references.

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Who?Weekly

“Everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t.”

This is another pop culture podcast, but with a twist. It’s all about celebrity whos. Listeners call in about Lifetime movie actors, Instagram stars and washed-up 2000’s singers that make you say “who?”

Co-hosts Lindsey and Bobby dish out facts in a hilarious dynamic that cannot be duplicated.

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We’re No Doctors

I won’t lie to you, I mostly only like this one because of Busy Philipps. Busy starred in Dawson’s Creek, Freaks and Geeks, Cougar Town and White Chicks. She is absolutely hilarious on Instagram stories, where she documents her daily life as a mom and actress.

One day she posted that she had a new podcast and I immediately started listening. Her co-host, Steve Agee, is a writer and actor known for You’re the Worst and New Girl.

Together they discuss health issues and obsessions with a heaping dose of humor. Sometimes they give advice, but remember, they’re no doctors.

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Bonus mention for my small audience of male readers:

Pardon My Take

I spent my Friday night listening in on a lengthy conversation between two men about how great this podcast is. Since Friday I have given it my best shot, but have only learned (a tiny bit) about sports and heard a lot of what I can only describe as…barking noises.

I understand the appeal, but I’m not sure I can fully commit to adding this one to the lineup.

If you need your sports fix, this one is for you.

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What did we learn from this blog post?

Everyone needs a co-host besides Oprah.

I hope you enjoy these gems as much as I do. I can’t wait to hear which are your favorite from the list!

Love, Leigh

Confessions of a Planner

I am that friend in the group that needs to know the game plan ahead of time.

My outfit is always laid out the night before.

If we’re going somewhere, I’ve probably already made a reservation.

I just bought shoes for an event that’s nine months away.

I am a planner.

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No matter how old I am, when September rolls around I get all the back-to-school vibes. My bones tingle to get organized and buy all new office supplies. There are lists to be made, ballpoint pens to buy and file folders to fill.

Here are my three tips for staying organized at the office, at school and at home this fall:

1. Virtual folders

Make folders for everything, especially your email, and actually use them.

This one is easier said than done.

When I started at my job in May, I made a folder in my email based on every project I worked on. When I open and read an email, I move it to the appropriate folder. If the email contains a task or info I need for the day, I leave it in my inbox. At the end of the day, I make sure that only the emails with tasks I have to do for the next day are in my inbox.

This has been essential to staying on top of my work. It’s way easier to click on a subject folder to find something than to dig through a thousand messages. It also helps me prioritize my to-do list. Speaking of to-do lists, here’s why you should make…

2. Lists on lists on lists on lists

It has always been a running joke that I make a list for everything. Chores, groceries, packing lists, possible weekend activities, things I don’t want to forget to tell my bff on the phone later…

I like making lists because it helps me remember things.

All the teachers that swear by handwritten notes for memory are totally right. I was the lonely college senior writing all my notes while hundreds of fingers clicked away at their keyboards during lecture.

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The point is that even if you never look at the list again, writing it down helps remind you what you need to accomplish.

If you are already a list-maker like myself, put some tasks on there you’ve already accomplished. It reminds you that no matter how daunting the task ahead, you are capable of knocking it out. If you’ve already done 6 loads of laundry, you can do just about anything else.

anyone else leave way too much laundry until Sunday night? Nope, just me? Great. Moving on

3. Use a planner, duh!

I love Google Alerts and calendar apps as much as the next person, but nothing beats writing down “hair appointment” in your prettiest cursive two months in advance.

Using an agenda is a great way to look ahead at your week/month/year and make adjustments as conflicts and new events come up. As I said, I’m a real believer in writing things down and using all the electronic stuff as a back up.

I’ve been buying Erin Condren life planners for about three years and they are my absolute favorite. When I saw her Seasonal Surprise Box, I knew I had to order one.

The box includes $60+ worth of random agenda accessories and stationary for $35. She did one for winter that sold out really quickly, so I scooped the fall box up as soon as it was released.

It came in the mail last week and let me tell you, it is everything my little Type A heart could dream of. Here is what came in the box:

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The first thing I noticed was the metallic planner cover. One of the things I love about the EC planners is that you can switch out the interchangeable covers whenever you want. They are completely customizable and she releases new ones almost every season.

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The felt-tip markers are the best. If you nerd out about writing utensils, you need to buy these ASAP. They are super fine on one end and have an ultra smooth felt-tip marker on the other. Even the most tragic of handwriting turns fabulous with these bad boys.

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My final favorite from the box is the card set. I believe the ones I received were special for the fall box, but there are tons of cute options on her site. You can personalize them with your initials, name, by the pattern and color scheme.

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Side note: I don’t care how old you are, Halloween stickers stickers of any kind are always fun and should be utilized.

I hope my tips and short love letter to Erin Condren inspires you to write things down and get organized this season. Your future self will thank you.

Love, Leigh