Monday 5: Commitment & other things to be excited about this week

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This weekend we had the best weather in Charleston. While Saturday was a little cloudy, the seventy degree temperature definitely made up for it, and Sunday was just perfect! I even found the motivation to go clean my car… something that has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time. Better late than never!

I hope your weekend was lovely (good weather or not) and that your week is off to a great start! Here are five things I’m excited about this week (and that might get you a little excited too):

White blouse:

A while ago my mom gave me a simple white button-down blouse, which I promptly stuck in the back of my closet and left there without too much thought (sorry mom). A few weeks ago I purchased a pair of Lily Pulitzer pants which I realized would go perfectly with that top. And then I realized how well a simple white button-down goes with everything! Duh, Miranda. Jeans, a skirt, trousers… you name it. I love too that it doesn’t just go with about anything, it kind of makes any outfit a little classier… without going over the top. I’m very excited about this discovery and owe my mom a sincere apology.

Stationary

Recently stationary has been making a comeback and I’m so excited. In a world of one-word texts and emojis a handwritten letter has become kind of sacred. There is something so much more intimate about writing down your thoughts (whether a simple ‘thank you’ note or a love letter) than typing them out. Probably because it takes more time and effort, writing seems much more meaningful. I love brands that are coming out with not just cute stationary, but also clever and funny cards. One of my favorite brands is Slideshow Press. We have about a million of their greeting cards so when a thank you note or ‘you are awesome’ card needs to go out we can send one. Of course I love to write, and letters are one of my favorite medium for connecting with others.

Lemon crab cakes

This recipe from the magazine ‘Louisiana Cookin’ is one of my new favorites. So yummy! It doesn’t take too long and isn’t too difficult. The hardest part was probably forming the patties… turns out crab meat doesn’t like to stick together too much. Other than that it was simple and so tasty! It’s a great option for a dinner party or family meal or date night in! Highly recommend it. The downside of using recipes from magazines is that they are harder to come across online. So, I’ll be posting the recipe later this week in case anyone wants to try it!

Gratitude + humility

There are always so many things in life to be grateful for. Sometimes we see it and sometimes we have a harder time with that… recently I’ve been more aware of blessings in my life and how often I take them for granted. I realized that part of this was due to a lack of humility on my part. This may sound strange, after all what does humility have to do with gratitude? I think the good things in life (family, friends, good work, health) are often things that are granted to us. Meaning, you may eat healthy and exercise regularly and sleep well, but that doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick. Similarly, even if we are really good at what we do, that doesn’t mean we will keep the job or move up the career ladder. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re not the ones solely responsible for the good things in our lives. We don’t make other love us, they choose to. We don’t get jobs, we are hired. When we have something really good (like health or a loving marriage), to be grateful requires some humility. We didn’t make that thing happen on our own. Gratitude implies gift… this life is a gift and really the only appropriate response is a humble and sincere thank you.

Commitment

As millennials, we are notorious for our dislike of commitment. Getting married, sticking to a job, even accepting an invitation in advance often seems too much of a challenge for us. The reasons behind this are interesting to explore… is it the infamous FOMO that holds us back? I think fear of missing out certainly plays a role; but I think even that is a symptom of a deeper fear… fear of choosing wrongly. We don’t want to make a mistake… we don’t want to fail. Instead of giving our all to a few things, we spread ourselves out to avoid becoming too invested in one thing. This effectively protects us from losing something we might really care about. While this approach has it’s merit, I think in reality we’re losing more than we realize. Recently I’ve had to made decisions that require sacrifice. I realized doing it all wasn’t an option…I also realized part of the reason behind my hesitation to give anything up was because I was scared what I did stick to would backfire horribly. It’s true that committing to one thing/person is risky, but I think there’s something really beautiful about a worthwhile risk. There isn’t much certainty in life and if we wait around for it, we’ll be on hold for a while (forever, to be exact). Committing is an act of faith and hope… two virtues we have quite a lot to gain from practicing.

What are you committing to this week?

Happy Monday!

xo

Miranda

 

 

Monday 5: Careless free time & other things I’m excited about

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Happy Monday!! I hope everyone had a relaxing couple of days. On Friday, my dad, who lives in NC, and my sister, who studies at USC, came to visit my brother and me. We had the best time, enjoying the excellent cuisine Charleston has to offer, the beautiful weather and just spending time together. My steadily improving health was also a plus.

I finally got a chance to visit the Angel Oak tree on John’s Island, so cool!

Of course all the excitement left me pretty worn out. Even coming up with this week’s five wasn’t easy! But I definitely felt more energized after than before, so I hope the list helps you with any lethargy you may be experiencing this morning too.

Otherwise coffee is also an option.

Recipe folder

This weekend my mom came back from a conference with a handful of magazines which I quickly went through looking for any recipes I might want to try. As much as I love Pinterest, I’m hoping to step up my cooking game a little and often Pinterest seems to focus on convenience as opposed to high-quality cuisine. While I love quick and easy recipes, I also would like to try something a little more challenging, even if it does take more time (and is more risky). Magazines such as Martha Stewart, Southern Living or Real Simple tend to have great recipes with various levels of difficulty. I’m starting to pull a few when I see one I want to try and am keeping them in my recipe folder to keep track of. It’s just a regular folder (I mean a pretty one, obvi)… labeled ‘MK’s Recipes’ but I’m really excited about it! As I attempt the various dishes I’ll post the good ones (that I don’t mess up).

Health initiative: baby steps

Being sick for so long really took a toll on my exercise and eating habits. Irregular appetite and low energy levels tend to do that. I realized as I started to feel better that getting back into my routine was going to be more challenging than I thought… turns out going to the gym isn’t as fun as I remembered. I therefore have been setting myself tiny goals to slowly improve and get back to where I was. Two weeks ago my goal was to go to the gym twice… which I did not accomplish (*embarrassed emoji*). But this past week I aimed for three workouts and made it! It’s not much, I know, but I’ve found slow, gradual improvements to be more effective and lasting than dramatic changes. There’s nothing like being sick to make you realize how incredibly valuable our health is; learning to nurture it is more of a lifelong journey than a New Year’s resolution, in my opinion. In any case, yay for baby steps!

Careless free time

I came across this term years ago. I remember picking up a book at Barnes & Noble about relationships when I was fifteen or so (I have always been a little too serious for my age) and read about careless free time and the important role it plays in healthy relationships. I have no idea what the title of the book was or who it was by (some psychologist I think) but I do remember vividly the term and it’s meaning… for some reason it came to mind this past week and I’m glad it did! The idea was that for relationships (of any kind) to flourish, careless free time is essential. This means time that isn’t spent watching a screen, a sporting event, or at a dinner party. It’s just time together unencumbered by a time limit or to-do list. For example, this weekend during the time I spent with my family perusing downtown, visiting the Angel Oak tree and walking by the waterfront, we weren’t checking the time, rushing, or watching TV…we were just together. And it was awesome! I think today we have a hard time with this concept as we feel pressured to be productive and to be available via phones 24/7, but the truth is without intentional time together focused on each other, it’s hard for any relationship to flourish.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant ‘Forever Festive’

On the more material side of things…I came across this nail polish just in time for Valentine’s day! It is a beautiful, deep red and has a thinner brush that is easier to maneuver. I typically don’t like to go with colors that aren’t neutral on my nails, but a good red is definitely the exception- so pretty! And perfect for date night.

Romance

Okay before you get all judgmental on me and say how incredibly cheesy that is, hear me out. Valentine’s day can be seen as a commercial gimmick invented to sell chocolate hearts and expensive flowers. But, Saint Valentine lived around 200 AD and is commemorated for marrying Christian couples (which was a no-no under Claudius in Rome) and converting individuals under persecution. Because it was so long ago, there isn’t too much known about him but I think in any case real romance is something to be celebrated. In today’s cynical ‘no strings attached’ culture, we sometimes forget that good and wholesome relationships are a thing; not using someone to feel better about yourself or avoid loneliness, but authentically encountering another person by developing a friendship that turns into a romantic relationship. Romance can partially be gifts and sweet words, but to me it’s even more so just getting to know the person, spending time with them and making each other a priority. Doing those things is risky (at least more so than hooking up or buying someone flowers) but then so was marrying Christians in 200 AD.

 

 

 

Monday 5: This dress & other things I’m excited about

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Happy Monday! I hope you’re starting off the week well-rested and hopeful. I mean, if watching Michael Phelps swim another (and possibly final?) incredible race doesn’t inspire you, what can?

This weekend was fun and had quite a lot going on, including a photo shoot! Some pics are already up but more on that coming soon.

Here are the 5 things I’m excited about this week (remember to make your own list!):

This J.Crew dress.

Even though I bought this dress a few weeks ago, I had been waiting to post about it until I had some good pictures because I love it so much and wanted to do it justice! So pretty, summery and classy, the second I saw it I knew I had to get it. I love this style and think it is so classic- and a good fit for pretty much every body type!

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As you know, my main mission with FCA is to ‘bring classy back,’ and though not the end-all, be-all, how we dress is an important part of that. I really believe the clothes we wear are a reflection of our personality, dignity and beauty as women. So, being picky about the clothes we buy is absolutely essential! Finding pieces I really love and are a good fit is really hard. So, when  I found this dress and it fit so well, it was super exciting.

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80’s Mercedes by Maren Morris.

I heard this song for the first time this weekend and immediately became obsessed. Since then I’ve probably listened to it approximately 15 times. It is so catchy and fun! I also think the message is a good one. Feeling like a ‘hard-to-get starlet’ is something we should all embrace! Although I drive a Honda and not a Mercedes, I still jam out to this song while I’m driving (or at the gym…or in my house) and love it.

Lemon blueberry muffins.

I have a thing for muffins. Especially blueberry ones. And I love lemon. Like, love it. So when I found a recipe for lemon blueberry muffins in this cook book, needless to say I was very excited about it. I’m trying it this afternoon and can’t wait to see how it goes! I also love baking, so extra enthusiasm for that, too.

Returning to Best Kept Self (sort of).

Earlier this month I left my full-time job; as scary as it was, I know it was the right decision. I wanted to have more freedom to work on FCA and dedicate my time to other things I’m passionate about. Serendipitously, my boss at my previous internship approached me last week about helping out with editorial again! I loved editing while I was there and am excited to do it again, even though it isn’t an internship but more of an as-needed basis. If you haven’t read their articles already, I highly recommend stopping by Best Kept Self– they have some wonderful contributors who really get self-care.

My rosebush.

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Part of the mindufulness training course is taking care of a plant. This was perfect for me as over a year ago I planted a rosebush in the front yard that then died (or appeared to) pretty soon after. Not surprised by this (I’ve never exactly been much of a green thumb), I resigned myself to the fact that I would just never be a successful plant caretaker. However when the opportunity arose for me to try again, I decided to give the rosebush another shot. I replanted it in better soil and have been really consistent about watering it (probably things I should have done from the beginning); and it now has not one – but two roses on it! This may seem like an odd thing to get excited about but there is something really gratifying about seeing something you care for and put effort into, grow. Now every morning as soon I start my coffee, I run out and spend a few minutes caring for the rosebush- it has become something I really look forward to.

A First Class Act: Shelli

Yikes! It’s cold out there, am I the only one who never feels properly warm from November until May? BRRRRRR

I am SO excited to introduce my new segment starting this week: A First Class Act. I’ve been working on it for a while and it consists of an interview with someone who is a good example of a First Class Act. The idea is to inspire and motivate you with the stories of these incredible young ladies!

When I first started thinking about this segment, my friend Shelli was one of the first people who came to mind. She and I have known each other since high school, we were stand partners in orchestra and also partners in crime! We always tried to convince substitute teachers to let us go to the “library” (aka home) when our orchestra conductor was absent. (Hey, no one’s perfect).

Shelli and I attended the Dover Quartet performance earlier this semester, such a great night!

Shelli and I attended the Dover Quartet performance earlier this semester, such a great night!

Since I’ve gotten to know her better, Shelli has been such an inspiration to me. Not only is she one of the sweetest and most genuine people you will ever meet, she also has accomplished so much! She has a third-degree black belt in Karate, she is the Southeast collegiate triathlon female champion AND a recently-accepted Medical University of South Carolina student.

I mean, if that’s not an impressive resume, I don’t know what is.

A few days ago Shelli and I met up for lunch at this delicious restaurant called Pot Belli Deli, so good! (Shelli and I also share an ardent passion for good food). She was kind enough to allow me to ask her a few questions so that I could share her inspiring story with you. I hope she is as much of an inspiration to you as she has been to me throughout the years.

With all the things you’ve accomplished throughout the years, what has been your motivation to work so hard?

Throughout high school, having health issues myself I realized that I had like a certain compassion for people and I think that’s what motivated me to go into medicine in general. When I came to college I wanted to set myself up well to do other things. And along and along with every test, every class having that goal [of being a doctor] in my heart gave me the motivation to put in serious effort. It’s something I’m passionate about and I think uses my talents well.

On a day that you’re really tired, unmotivated, burnt out, what is something you do to help yourself push through? 

I’ve been pretty good about setting a good schedule, so if I’m tired I’m going to sleep. If I don’t sleep I’m not going to be efficient, at all. So I try to find a good balance of when to push myself and when to just take a break. I try to be proactive about things in general, I mean if I know I have a test, I’m not going to start studying the day before. That overall has kept me from having days where I feel exhausted, so staying ahead has helped a lot. I stick to normal hours instead of trying to pull all-nighters, I imagine that is very taxing on your body. But I think also having that goal in mind, I know what it takes to get into med school and like I said, every test I took had a weight. Like alright, this is important to my future. And you know, some people don’t have that but just a general vision to be set up well when you graduate should help carry you through.

What is your favorite way of taking care of yourself?

Cooking definitely. I love to cook, I love cooking for myself and I love cooking for others. I get a lot of pleasure in planning my dinner or even spontaneously baking some cookies. Cooking provides a good balance for my love of exercise, I love to feed my body well, you know, food is fuel.

What was the hardest part about adjusting college life?

Learning to prioritize and be an efficient student. You know, when I came to college I wasn’t very good at studying, I did it a lot but missed out on a lot of other opportunities. As time went by and I learned to become a more efficient student I was able to partake in more social activities. For me, being a good student was easier to make plans for than making plans with friends, because of my personality. Now I try to be intentional with the relationships that I have and I’m finally learning to keep that up.

So you gotten into med school, you’ve won multiple triathlons, what is a goal you’re working toward now?

All these things are what I do, not who I am. They don’t define me as a person. So really realizing that they’re not the most important things and strengthening my relationship with God which is more rewarding than any triathlon or getting into med school. I’m also trying to learn moderation which helps me find balance and peace. It’s easy to be polarized, moderation isn’t as defined. It doesn’t have a cookie-cutter pattern.


Thank you so much Shelli for sharing with us.

I especially loved what she said about moderation, such a great goal to work toward!

“I’m also trying to learn moderation which helps me find balance and peace. It’s easy to be polarized, moderation isn’t as defined. It doesn’t have a cookie-cutter pattern.” 


Let me know what you thought, is this helpful? Tweet me at @mkmixon or comment below.

Here’s to living inspired!

Miranda

What to do when you’re tired/unmotivated/burnt out

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With the first round of exams either creeping up or already upon us, you may be feeling a little uninspired right now. With so much work to do, it is easy to become slightly depressed and the urge to give up can be overwhelming.
But there’s a reason that you’re in the school that you are, studying whatever you’re studying and hopefully, that reason is that ultimately this will serve your career. Keeping that in mind, here’s a list of things to do when you’re feeling down about all there is to do:

1. Take a step back. When I feel overwhelmed my instinct is to want to just stop. I feel as though no matter how much work I do I won’t finish so I want to give up. When that feeling of helplessness threatens to overwhelm me, I step back. I separate myself physically by leaving my desk and take a seat on the ground or bed. Then I take a few deep breaths and tell myself I’m okay. I might sit there for a few minutes and try to think about good, happy things, or just not think at all. Then I might get some tea, eat a piece of dark chocolate or listen to a relaxing song.

2. Make a list. Lists fix everything, right? Yes, yes they do. After I feel slightly better, I sit down and make a list of all the things I need to get done in order of importance. Then I determine the ones that need to get done today.

3. Get inspired. When it gets so challenging it can be difficult to remember why you signed up to do this in the first place, that’s when I watch these videos to get inspired. Neither of them are long so they don’t take up too much time.

This one

and/or

This one

 4. Pin it. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration and motivation, these are a few of my fave pics from there. (Note, if you know that if you go on Pinterest you may be on there for way longer than you need to, this tip may not be for you).

Decide.

Work.

Omg, my trainer at the Gym said this this morning! Sorry Jake but I want to punch you when you say this!! Lol

Go for it.

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How do you stay inspired?

Best of luck! You can do this.

xx

Miranda