Strategy List vs To-Do List

Last month when I attended the Atelier Conference, it really got me thinking about how I organize my time and my day. The Mon-Fri, 9-5 part of my day is pretty much spoken for because I work full-time outside of the home, but it’s the in-between time. Brainstorming my next blog post while driving my kids to daycare, cooking dinner and turning it into a recipe to share, getting dressed for work and snapping a quick photo before leaving the house. Sometimes I feel like every second of the day is accounted for.

I used to organize my time with to-do lists; but it felt like my lists were endless. I felt like I would have high hopes for things I wanted to accomplish and ended up being disappointed for the things I didn’t do. My to-do lists were feeling like torture.

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I felt like it was starting to measure my self-worth. If I wasn’t cleaning and doing laundry on the weekend because I was spending time with my kids, I was frustrated come Sunday night that I had piles of laundry and a messy house. If I was cleaning and doing laundry and my kids were asking me to play with them, I felt guilty I was trying to get things done. Something had to give.

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Small tasks that weren’t strategic were taking up a lot of mind space. Do you know what I mean when I say mind space? I would obsess about things I didn’t get done, or what I did get done wasn’t good enough. How could I do/be better? It had to stop. Enter: the strategy list.

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A written plan of action to achieve something.

Example: One strategy could be to make use of your idle time. Maybe while you are waiting for your water to boil for dinner, you wash a few dishes; or while your kids are in the bath, you clean the sink, counter and toilet.

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With blogging, I used to sit down at the beginning of the month and write down all of the blog posts I wanted to get done within the month. Come the end of the month I was frustrated the posts weren’t crossed off. I would start multiple posts and jump back and forth. Now, I just strategize thoughts of posts and if I have started them and I am actively working on them, I count that as a win. The “publish” button doesn’t give me anxiety anymore – after all, blogging is supposed to be fun. I strategize what the post will be about, and if I have started piecing it together, I can cross it off my list. It’s not done, but the plan and thought process is there – the brainstorming is done.

Creating a “completed” list can also give you a sense of accomplishment. It can help you focus on what you did do, as opposed to what you didn’t do. I have gotten into this habit and it has made a huge difference, and freed up some mind space.

Try it out, you may find it makes a difference.

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2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Top Picks

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale went public yesterday which means I was finally able to shop it. It opens up for early access to the U.S. sooner than it does in Canada, but it went public for all on July 20.

My closest Nordstrom is just under an hour drive away and I lucked out because the store was DEAD and I got my size in everything I was looking for except one thing, which I am having shipped to my home from a Vancouver store. Just another awesome customer service perk at Nordstrom. I didn’t purchase everything here but I did try all of these items on.

I have saved my try-on session on my Instagram story highlights so follow me over @pinkandblueblog to check it out.

Here are some of my favourite finds of the sale this year:

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Halogen Violet Genuine Calf Hair Mule

 

 

These shoes were my first try-on of the sale and I loved them the second I put them on! They are so comfortable and can be worn both dressy and casual.

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BP Kerry Bootie 

I love these booties. They are comfortable and more casual but I love the detail on the side. The mushroom colour was my favourite and they look so cute with a pair of jeans. I sized up 1/2 a size in these.

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Steve Madden Reece Sock Bootie 

I feel like these aren’t getting the attention they deserve! They are such a nice fit, and because the top part of the bootie is like a sock it suctions right to your leg. They are so sleek and would look great with a dress or pants.

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BP Brice Notched Bootie

These are a must for fall. They are so comfortable and I love the style of them. They aren’t stiff around the ankle (sometimes I find booties will leave an indent just above my ankle when I walk), and are available in three other colours.

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Leith Henley Woven Shirt – Black & White

This shirt is currently sold out. They only had XL at the location I was at and I am having it shipped from another store. I love it because it will be great for work and would look great under a black blazer, or casually with a pair of jeans. Hoping this restocks for you!

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Socialite Button Front Top

This top is so soft and I love the fit. It is currently sold out in white but it also comes in black and burgundy. I sized up in this.

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Leith Ribbed Shawl Cocoon Sweater

This cardigan is so versatile and comes in five colours. I love the brown spice colour for fall. I like the slouchy fit of it and you can wear it both dressy at the office or casual with a pair of jeans

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Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Cardigan

 

This is the coziest sweater, EVER. These never go on sale so you need to snag it on sale while you can! It fits TTS. It comes in either S/M or L/XL.

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Chelsea28 Oversize Open Cardigan

This oversized cardigan is a staple item for your wardrobe. You can throw it over a dress, tee, or tank. It comes in four other colours and the sizing is XS/S or M/L.

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Thread & Supply Wubby Fleece Pullover

You will find me living in this every weekend at the hockey arena this winter while I watch my son play hockey. It is so soft and it does come in a full zipper option with a hood but I love the pullover. I sized up a size because I wanted it to be a loser, comfier fit.  (I have long arms and found the small was a little short in the sleeves.)

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Leith Sleek Knit Midi Dress

This dress is super flattering. It is currently sold out but will hopefully re-stock. I loved it in black and fit true to size. You can pair it with a cardigan or a blazer.

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Articles of Society – Sarah Skinny Jeans

These jeans are amazing and are such a great price in the sale. They are so soft and it feels like you are wearing a pair of leggings – they fit true to size.

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Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

If you are going to purchase anything from the sale, it has to be these. I LOVE them! I can see why they are called the “live in” leggings. They hold everything in and are so comfortable – what more can you ask for? They are on major sale and come in two other colours. I got them in both black and navy.

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BLANKNYC Meant to be Moto Jacket with Removable Hood

This faux leather jacket is actually really nice; unfortunately it is sold out online but will hopefully restock. It does come with a detachable hood which I would say detach immediately and toss aside. I think it looks so much better without the hood. I would size up a size in this, especially if you have long arms.

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Adidas Originals Trefoil Tank

This tank is really comfy and fits well but wasn’t part of the sale in-store for some reason. It is showing as being included in the sale online. It fits true to size.

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Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body XL Shimmer Shape, Hydrate & Glow

This was not something I was looking for but I sampled it and loved it. This is a fan favourite and you can currently purchase it in a limited edition jumbo size, and it’s included in the sale. It has de-puffing agents and gives the illusion of longer, leaner limbs  while toning down any red pigments you have.

That’s my round-up of the sale. Happy Shopping!

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Strawberry Jam

Last week the kids and I went strawberry picking at a local farm and it was HOT. They weren’t feeling the idea of raspberry picking as well so we just doubled the haul of strawberries and walked away with 5lbs of sweet deliciousness.

There was a whole lot of taste testing going on but they were good little pickers.

I had a few things in mind that I wanted to do with the strawberries, the first being: strawberry jam. I try to make jam every year and have been good about sticking to that goal for the most part. Whether it lasts until the next picking season is a different story…I have two little jam lovers in my house. Alright, make it three. Who doesn’t love jam?!

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This recipe is quick and fairly easy and is always my go-to recipe.

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Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @pinkandblueblog

This recipe yields two 500mL mason jars.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp pectin
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Mason jars

Instructions

1. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the tops of your sealed jars. Heat water over high heat until it comes to a boil.
2. Fill another pot with water and bring to a simmer. Place the jars and lids in the simmering water until you are ready to fill them. (This preheats the jars to prevent them from breaking when pouring the hot jam into them. It also prepares the sealing compound for the lids. Do not allow the water to come to a boil, as it will prevent the lids from sealing properly.)

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3. Place the diced strawberries in a medium sized saucepan and turn to medium-high heat. Use a potato masher to mash the strawberries.

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4. Stir in the lemon juice and add the pectin in 1tbsp at a time.

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5. Bring the strawberry mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat. Stir constantly.
6. Slowly add the sugar in, stirring constantly. Return mixture to a boil, and allow mixture to boil for one minute. Continue to stir.

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7. Remove jam from heat and skim the foam off the top.

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8. Remove jars and lids from water. Ladle jam into jars while leaving 1/4 inch of headspace in the jar. (Do not leave any more or less than 1/4 inch or the jars will not seal properly.) Wipe any excess jam from the rim of the jar and screw lid on. Do not over-tighten.

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9. Place the jars of jam into the boiling water for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and set aside to cool. Once the jars have cooled the seal will form and you will hear them pop. Check the jars after 24 hours to make sure the lids do not flex up and down when the centre is pressed.

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Enjoy!

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Coffee Bar

I have always wanted a designated coffee space in the kitchen. Something more than just a section of the counter with a coffee maker, coffee tin and mug tree. The truth is, I actually don’t like anything on my counter tops, but let’s face it, that’s not practical with kids.

So I started the hunt for a drink cart of sorts. I checked Home Sense, Winners, Wayfair and didn’t find anything I loved within my price range. I gave up the hunt and decided perhaps one day I would come across something that would fit my vision. That’s always the way though, isn’t it? You find what you’re looking for when you stop looking. I was at Winners one day to pick up some Starbucks coffee (it’s cheaper to buy there) and on my way to the cash I spotted it. The perfect little shelf. A good height, multiple shelves, the perfect colour and a great price – so it came home with me.

I have also recently started a Rae Dunn collection and decided this would be a great way to showcase some of the  collection.

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The most important part was obviously the coffee maker (I love this coffee maker by the way, I’ll share more about it in another post), and then I added things around it.

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The mug tree I purchased off of Amazon and it fit in perfectly. If you have larger mugs it doesn’t hold many but you could always purchase one that holds more mugs.

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I love the detail of the shelf and the grey wash compliments the white mugs. I stuck with my favourite colour accents with what I displayed on the shelf: pink and teal. I even found a cute coffee tin at Home Sense for under $6 in mint green.

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I am really happy with how the coffee bar turned out and if you’re looking for me, you’ll find me pouring myself a cup of freshly brewed coffee and hopefully sipping it while it’s still hot.

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The Atelier Part 2

Last week I shared Part 1 of the Atelier conference I attended in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This post is all about what I walked away with, what inspired me and what it has me thinking about for the future for pink & blue.

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The conference consisted of a panel of speakers: women who are entrepreneurs, boss babes, women who said yes at the right time and believed in themselves and what they could achieve. There are a few who stood out for me, and although everyone had something to say that really made me stop and think, a handful of them left an impression on me and their words are in my notebook.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to structure this post, and I think it would be easiest to share my favourite quotes from the conference and what they meant to me.

“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.”   – Tori Wesszer
“Movement. Whatever that means to you.”    – Eva Redpath
“The packaging doesn’t implicate your abilities.”  – Ashlee Froese
“Collaboration over co-operation.”   – Nancy Osborne
“Attract your tribe.”    – Lauren McPhillips
“Its great to be aspirational but it’s better to be relatable.”   – Lauren McPhillips
“Don’t be afraid to show your personality.”   – Mackenzie Dempsey
“Document your failures.”   – Mindy Crawford
“Imagine your Instagram feed as your home.”   – Jillian Harris
“Understand the vision of your brand to communicate to someone else.”
– Mackenzie Dempsey
“Be humble.”  – Mindy Crawford
“Keep your end goal in your site.”   – Mindy Crawford
“Comparison is a thief of joy.”   –  Jillian Harris (shared by Mindy Crawford)

You may think some of these things are so simple and why do I find them so inspiring; but that’s just it. Simplicity can be everything. I think my two favourite quotes were:

“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.”   – Tori Wesszer &
“Comparison is a thief of joy”.   – Jillian Harris (shared by Mindy Crawford)

Do you find yourself comparing your work, pictures, business and/or blog to others? I do. For what? To rate yourself against someone else? To compare the number of followers you have to someone else? To compare the quality of your photos to someone else? Where does it leave you? Probably leaving low, and unsure of yourself. What’s fun about that?

The world of social media can be vicious. It can change your way of thinking. It can derail you and your vision. It can have you doubting your brand and where you want to be. Do people like my content? Do people like my photos? Do people like my stories? The constant comparison to other influencers can steal the feeling of accomplishment. I am guilty of it too.

Surround yourself with people who will inspire you, who will push you to do better and be better without making you feel like you need to be more like them. I really don’t care for the word “influencer”. I would rather be inspired than influenced. Who’s with me?

I have a lot of plans for pink & blue. I can’t wait to watch it grow organically, however big or small it may be. I don’t do this to be compared to others, I do this because it is something I love and if it is meant to be successful, then it will be. Organically. I started a blog (not this blog) almost seven years ago because I thought it would be fun. Plain and simple. I will not buy followers, I will not promote products or sponsored posts unless I am a believer of the product or brand. Pink & blue is about me and my kids and everything in between.

We are already half-way through 2018 and I cannot wait to see what the second part of the year brings here.

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