Monday, March 16, 2020

{work from home | quick morning clean}

I shared some of my best work from home tips last week (read it here) and promised that I would go into more detail about my morning cleaning routine. Basically, how I prep my house for a full day of work. I'm someone that can't function in a messy space so it's important for me to take time to get everything in order so that I'm not distracted. Overall it takes me maybe 10-15 minutes. I do this quick clean every morning as part of my routine to help me get in the mindset of work! Some days are faster than others depending on how messy everything was left the night before.

Make the Bed // Always the first thing that I do... you either do or you don't haha. We have a tiny house so I hate being able to see an unmade bed from my desk. This also helps prevent me from climbing back in lol.

Diffuse Oils // Okay so this isn't cleaning but I turn our diffuser on every morning. The smell of something fresh and bright helps wake me up and puts me in a great mood to start off the day and help get rid of any lingering kitchen smells.

Fluff the Couch & Straighten Coffee Table // I fluff and arrange the pillows how I like them, then fold the blankets and put them away in a basket next to the couch. I wipe down the coffee table with a Clorox wipe, stack the coasters, and just straighten or organize anything that's on there.

Dishes // Any dishes left out to dry from the night before I put away and any dishes in the sink I'll put in the dishwasher. My kitchen is directly behind me at my desk so this is a main area I need to keep clean since it would be in direct view during a Skype call.

Wipe Down Counters & Stove Top // Once the counters are clutter free I wipe them down with Clorox to disinfect. Our counters are commonly a dumping ground so lots of things touch them. I've also most likely splattered food while cooking the night before so I give our electric stove top a quick rub down with the same wipe before putting the kettle on (tea drinker here).

Put Things Away // A very broad clean... if something's not in it's place, ex: a pair of my shoes I took off, then I put it back where it belongs. Sometimes Kyle will leave a shirt on his dresser or I'll have left mail on the dining room table. I just put it back where it belongs! I also do this in the bedroom - clothes in hamper, shoes in closet, etc.

Prep Dining Table // Our dining table is where I work every day so I Clorox the surface to make sure there's no food hanging out and move our centerpiece out of the way. Then I pull out all of my work stuff, set it up on the table and plug my laptop in.

At this point in my routine the kettle is whistling so I'll pull out my vitamins, make my morning drink and begin getting ready for the day aka showering or changing out of pajamas (or early am workout clothes), brushing my hair, and putting makeup on if I feel like it. Then I sit down at the table and get ready to work. I like having my desk set up before I get ready for the day because it provides the illusion that I'm "arriving" to work - probably weird but it works for me!

Hope everyone is ready to tackle the day :) Does anybody else have to do this before starting their day? Cleaning doesn't bother me so this is a nice little process each morning to help me rise & shine!

Love Always,

Friday, March 13, 2020

{work from home | advice and tips}

Well folks, I feel like this post has been a long time coming for me to write... but my DMs have recently been flooded with people asking for advice because starting next week, due to the corona virus, they're going to be working from home. I'm pretty shocked it's come to this, I can't lie, but we've got technology on our side so don't freak!

When I moved to Key West I was lucky to be able to keep my job working as a designer at an architecture firm. They supported me completely, but I knew that my roles and day-to-day was going to change drastically. I also knew that the house Kyle and I bought wasn't totally ideal for a home office - I've had to make do and I think I've come up with a pretty good solution and routine.

I'm not a pro... I've been doing this since August and can say that I'm able to accomplish my daily tasks, be a team player, and help move projects forward but I'm sure there are things I should be changing to be more productive too! My point being - what works for me may not be best for you! So just keep that in mind

Get Yourself Dressed and Ready

- Does that sound obvious? It should be! One of the easiest ruts to fall in to is staying in your pajamas all day. Notice how I said pajamas... you can be in comfy clothes but just CHANGE! This simple routine will help you wake up, get your booty out of bed and feeling like a human ready to work.
- Brush your teeth, fix your hair, and put a bit of makeup on (if you want!). This helps me be ready for an unexpected video call or if I have to run a quick errand. To be honest, it also allows me to answer the door and not get judged by the UPS man lol...
- If you have plans after work then you're also ready to go when the day is over :)

Take 15 min to Pick Up Your House

- Make your bed, unload the dishwasher, straighten up the living room, put dirty dishes in the sink away, quickly sweep the floor, etc. Do what you need to do to create a distraction free environment. I'll write another post about my morning routine and what I do to prep for my work day (too much detail would defeat the purpose of this post).
- Knocking out any distractions early on will allow you to be fully present in your work day. If I can see a mess in my kitchen during a conference call I'm totally losing focus. But maybe that's just me ha I can be a little type A.

Create a Dedicated Work Space

- A place where you can sit down and work comfortably on your computer, preferably something ergonomic so your neck and back don't start aching by hour 4...
- Most people are being forced into WFH right now so their apartment may not allow this. My point simply is - whatever space you choose to work in, make it 100% for work. That means if you're sitting on the sofa... do NOT turn that tv on. Seriously, don't. I've been there before and it doesn't allow you to check tasks off efficiently.
- I personally sit at my dining room table. I've gathered extra tools to help my posture so that I'm more comfortable through the day and I move my chair to the long side so I have more writing space.


- Ergonomics is the science of designing a space to be functional and comfortable for human use. Basically, if you're on a laptop and hunched over for 8 hours straight your neck is going to kill you, your shoulders will hunch up and don't get me started on that lower back... bad ergonomics!
- If you're able, get a mouse, mouse pad, and extra keyboard from your office. Then find a way to prop your laptop up higher. In your office, you most likely have computer screens that are eye level when you sit down! If you're working in the kitchen like I am then that's not possible.
- I purchased this laptop stand on Amazon and it's been a life changer [note: this version is a bit pricier than usual simply because I wanted it to look sleek if it was left out]. Try stacking a bunch of books up as well! If your laptop is high up that's why you'll want a mouse and keyboard :)


- Oh my gosh I cannot stress this enough... if you're sitting in your house in one spot for 8 hours you will be burnt out by the second day. Think about how much you move in your office - you go grab a coffee, you walk over to a coworker to ask a question, you look out the window, you walk to a meeting, you walk to another meeting, etc. You are MOVING between each task. So remind yourself to get up and stretch those legs
- Don't be afraid to go outside and get a coffee or take a walk around the block. Your mental health needs some TLC while you're working from home too!
- Also, try to not let yourself snack during every break you take (I say this because I speak from experience and realized how unhealthy I was getting).

Plan Time to Communicate with People

- Working from home is lonely... there. I said it. This has been, hands down, the hardest part about working remotely for me. I am a people person and loved the interactions I would have in my office
- Plan time to talk on the phone with a coworker - not just on IM. Sometimes things can be "talked out" better verbally anyways. Even better? Plan a video conference!! I've tried so hard to get my office to be better with this lol.
- Also plan time to get out of the house and see friends at the end of the day.
- If you're an introvert you're going to thrive in this situation but don't forget about the people that love you and want to know you're doing okay!
- Make time to go to the gym and move your body - this is the biggest thing for me and sometimes the only human interaction I have on a day to day basis.
- Just give yourself a fighting chance to have interactions with other HUMANS! (Even if it's saying thank you to the mail guy... getting mail/package has quickly become a highlight of my day ha).

Remove Distractions

- No TV
- Plug your phone in away from you
- Put on classical music as a white noise
- You get the jist... imitate your usual office environment

Don't Let Things Pile Up

- This was one thing I didn't realize I was doing until Kyle pointed it out... I would make lunch, a snack, open a package, etc. and wouldn't 100% pick up after myself. I said that I would do it after the work day was over. However, then Kyle came home and the house was a bit messy. Even after I had cleaned that morning!!
- When you make lunch, clean up completely after yourself. Don't leave dishes in the sink and don't leave crumbs on the counter. If you open a package, take the box out to the recycling right away. If you wouldn't leave a mess in your office (duh) then don't leave a mess for yourself.


- Again, sounds obvious, but you have to over communicate in this situation.
- At the end of the day let your manager/boss/team know what you were able to get through, what you plan on working on the next day, or if you're going to need more direction or work. This will help alleviate any stress or fear in upper management that work is not getting done. It shows you're responsible and a team player.
- Just trust me on this one - people are automatically going to assume that everyone is goofing off and not getting their work done. When they assume that, they can normally be a bit tougher and virtually "hover" - prove that you're doing your job and you are more likely to be left in peace to accomplish things.

You Have a Life Too!

- You aren't expected to be sitting at your desk every second for every hour. I think this is something everyone needs to be reminded of. Think about your regular day in the office - did you have times when you'd walk to coffee with a coworker? Was it okay if you had a doctor's appointment during the day? Did you have clients call you on your cell phone? Would you take a quick break to sit in the sunshine away from your computer? Did you run to the grocery store to grab an ingredient for dinner or a snack?
- If you communicated that flow of work regularly with your team and bosses then I believe it's okay to do that now. On that note...

Make Sure Your Calendar is Up to Date

- Since your coworkers don't have visual cues of where you are (ex: at your desk or sitting in a focus room) make sure your calendar reflects your schedule.
- Keep meetings up to date, show out of office meetings for doctor's appointments, schedule time when you just want to catch up with a coworker, and even block out breaks to ensure you get reminded to walk around!
- I also like to block out "travel" time... this way I can leave on time for a doctor's visit and my coworker won't accidentally schedule a meeting that ends right when your appointment starts. It just saves a lot of back and forth emailing.
- Also note that it's totally okay to make appointments private. You don't need to blast your day to day and personal life to everyone that can access your calendar. Just be a good and honest employee.

Put Work Away at the End of the Day

- I used to joke that whenever I'd work from home in DC I'd end up working 10 hour days... because I never had a visual cue of coworkers packing up that the day was over.
- Don't overwork yourself... you'll drain out and not be productive the rest of the week
- When I've finished my work for the day, or reached a stopping point, I shut my computer down. Then I make a list for what needs to get done tomorrow, roll up my charger, stack my notebooks, and put everything in a bin in the closet. I put everything back in order on the dining room table, move my chair back, wipe the table clean (germs are all over that surface after 9 hours) and make it look like I never even worked there.
- It's important to visually create a separation of work and life since this is your home!


Any other tips and tricks that I've missed? Anything I should add? I'd love if you left comments to help others out too. I know many of us aren't new to this but for some this is uncharted territory and it's intimidating. Everything will be okay :) If you're a parent and are staying at home with your kids and still trying to work - just take this WFH thing a day at a time. Some days are more productive than others, that's life!

Love Always,

Monday, March 9, 2020

{recent purchases | forever 21}

I've recently made a couple of purchases from Forever 21 because of various sales they've been having this February/March! Since items can fly under the radar due to the sheer capacity of product they carry I thought it would be fun to quickly share everything I've picked up (and kept)!! I love their budget friendly earrings that look like so many high end pieces and their dresses are always a favorite. I couldn't help myself and have ordered two different tie dye pieces too :)

BONUS: they have a sale going on right now! Use code SPRINGFLING to get 30% off all sale, 30% off when you spend $85, 20% off when you spend $70, and 15% off when you spend $60.

Click on each image below that you want to shop!

Which piece is your favorite?! I'm so excited to try and wear more colors this spring!

Love Always,

Thursday, February 27, 2020

{master bedroom artwork | kira luca art}

The master bedroom is easily my favorite spot in the whole house! It gets amazing light in the morning, has soft soothing colors, is bright and white, but still has fun texture and palm pattern! When Kyle and I began talking about what we wanted art wise above the headboard we agreed on one thing: it needed to reflect where we lived and us as a couple. We talked about Gray Malin artwork (we both love his beach scenes) but neither of us had even traveled to the places that were photographed. We then talked about something textural - maybe drift wood or a sculpture made by a local artist? We kept falling short.

When Kyle left for patrol a month after I moved in I made it my mission to search for something that told "our story". That sounds silly... but we basically wanted it to be about us. So I instantly thought about the colors of Key West water and places that we liked to go to together like the sand bars!

Going off of texture and bright colors I thought of a friend from college who had beautiful artwork on Instagram! Kira Luca Art - she worked with vivid blues, shocking pinks, and had textures to drool over. Her Instagram is so inspiring too! I reached out to her about making a custom piece and we got started - it would arrive right before Christmas so I could surprise Kyle :) Spoiler: he loved it! (I was actually really nervous he wouldn't like it haha)

I emailed Kira the size I had in mind and that I wanted two canvases. We then discussed layouts, inspiration, colors, etc. These are a couple of the images I sent Kira as inspiration:

Initially I thought about a boat moving across the canvases without any sand, but we've made some really great memories at different sand bars in the keys so I loved the idea of incorporating the sand and water. I sent her both ideas because I wanted her opinion since she's the professional. We decided on the layout that had the boats arranged as if they were anchored near the shore (#1 in the first photo below)! Then Kira painted the background of the paintings - the sand, water, and slight waves. Once I gave that a thumbs up she sent me a brief idea of how the boats would be laid out. I was so excited to get that little sketch I could hardly stand it! I gave her another thumbs up and she began painting... and I waited patiently haha.

I love the final design that we chose - incorporating the colors of those gorgeous blue Key West waters and the colors of the "boats" imitating the bright houses on the island! I like to think that the boat moving away is Kyle's Parker!

I love how it ties the whole room together :) definitely nautical which is both of our style!! The bright colors and movement in the water just creates such a soothing vibe.

I've tried to link everything I can below but if you have any questions feel free to email or DM me. Be sure to check out Kira's website too! Because we don't have a lot of space on the side of our King bed (similar bed) Kyle found these floating side tables (the sides of the bed open up into drawers where we store our sheets) but I don't know where they're from!

The striped pillows are from Home Goods (we switch them back and forth with the palm print pillows sometimes) and the Navy blue pillow was custom made for me by a commercial textile company called Geiger. Our curtains are from West Elm but I couldn't find an exact link. Kyle painted the paddle himself and made the leather strap from scraps I got during a furniture factory tour (I love how it all comes full circle back to us mixed with a lot of DIY).

Love Always,

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

{gold ana luisa jewelry}

Layering necklaces and rings has always been my go to jewelry move - there's just something so simple yet intricate about creating layers and different textures.

Pink Tie Dye Dress (same dress in another colorsimilar colors) // Lack of Color Hat // Ana Luisa Braided Ring c/o // Ana Luisa Ring Small c/o // Ana Luisa Necklace Set c/o // Multi-Strand Necklace Clasp (so your chains don't get tangled)

Photography by Jessyca

Living in a constant state of sunshine means that a lot of my favorite statement pieces can be a bit much for the heat. But, your girl here loves some serious sparkle! Even when I'm at the beach I always have my rings on - one of my favorite things to do is stack multiple bands on one finger for a unique look. It's a cool way to wear lots of styles at once and mix and match metals! I also am loving the layered necklace look right now. Ana Luisa has some of the coolest necklace sets I've seen... I love that they mix chain styles too! They make it pretty fool proof if you aren't good at layering ;) each charm looks so cute together and the necklaces can be worn individually too!

Now my outfit... I have been love love looooving the tie dye trend. Not the bright rainbow swirl tie dye. Ha - we're classing it up this season! Lots of soft colors, almost ombre, water like patterns. It's so dreamy and a great way to wear multiple colors in a pattern without it actually being a pattern. I saw this dress and knew I had to have it because 1) I love maxi dresses 2) it has pockets 3) adjustable straps! I'm wearing it super casual with no shoes and a sun hat but it looks adorable with heels, a waist belt, and a white jean jacket too! [I always like to imagine how I could wear something in an office.]

PS these photos were taken at Fort Zach! It's a great beach to spend the day at - family friendly too!

Love Always,

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

{spring break ready | amazon bikinis under $20}

Cactus Suit ($15, M) // Orange Suit ($18, M) // Ruffle Suit ($17, M)

Cactus - runs small - size up one, top is stretchy to pull over, padding
Orange - runs TTS (could've used a S), adjustable straps, metal clasp, v detail in bottoms, padding
Ruffle - runs small - size up one (no stretch in hip ruffles), adjustable straps, hook clasp, padding

Pink Suit ($14, M) // Striped Suit ($16, M) // Black Suit ($19, M)

Pink - runs small - size up two, adjustable tie in back (reversible for some!), padding
Striped - runs small - size up one, no padding
Black - runs TTS (I could've used a S up top but bottoms run small), padding, top stretches over

White Suit ($15, M) // Blue Suit ($18, M) // Patterned Suit ($14, M)

White - runs small  size up one, tie in back is not functional. adjustable straps, padding
Blue - runs small - size up one, adjustabel straps, metal clasp, padding (I removed)
Patterned - runs small - size up two, tie in front is adjustable, no padding

All of these adorable suits are from Amazon and less than $20!! Living in Key West, I wear a bikini almost every weekend and sometimes during my lunch break to get outside haha. Yes, this may seem like a lot but I wash all of my suits and don't like to wear the same one too often lol. Plus, sometimes I want to be sassy in neon orange and sometimes I want something more covered like a striped bikini top. Your mood changes just like your bikinis!

I do also want to note that yes, I am small chested (32A) and most of these suits are cheeky bottoms (normally wear a size 2/4). This is simply what works for me and what I feel best in!! It doesn't make sense for me to order a one piece or high waisted suit when I don't genuinely think I'll wear it (and I do NOT play the try on and return game for profit...). If you look at the reviews from these suits a lot of them have photos with different sized women wearing them! I always choose to look at reviews before I purchase. I think a lot of these will work well for different body types!

At the end of the day, if you have CONFIDENCE, then any bikini will look amazing!!

Love Always,

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

{polka dot green amazon maxi}

The days in Key West have been warm (not hot) during the day and nice at cool at night. Plus, there's always a breeze running through the island. This glorious weather has me reaching for maxi dresses with a flowy material - and a jean jacket for nights on the water!

I ordered this maxi last month because I didn't have a halter dress I loved sitting in my closet. It was oddly enough something very specific that I was searching for and had no luck. Amazon to the rescue am I right? I found the green dress with a slight hi-lo hem and a darling pattern. When I received it in the mail I obviously put it on instantly. I was so happy to see that it barely wrinkled and was the perfect length with sandals on my 5'-6" frame! This would work so well on taller girls, or short girls with heels, or any height girl with heels because the hem doesn't make it look awkward wherever it hits. You can adjust where the elastic waist hits with help of the ribbon - it's not attached and doesn't have loops to go through FYI. I've reached for this dress a couple of times now and am practically thinking about getting another color! Green is my favorite though :)

I know I've worn these Tkees shoes more times than y'all can count... I got them for Christmas from my sister and her fiance! I've had my heart set on these shoes for YEARS but never actually swooped them up. Don't ask my why not because with a price tag at $50 there's no reason to not try them out (they have free returns and exchanges). When Samantha asked me what I wanted for Christmas they were the first thing I put on my list. They. Are. So. Damn. Comfortable!!! Tkees form to your feet and the leather is an absolute dreammmm - feel like I'm walking on clouds!!
A note about sizing: they run small and if you have wide feet you'll have to size up again too. I have very narrow feet so the straps across were a little tight at first but they've stretched out a loooot. I normally wear a 7 and went up to an 8 (no half sizes) and they fit perfectly now.

Let's talk about this bag... yes, I know it's a splurge for a straw bag. However, the double handles, personalization, and quality of materials is above and beyond. I purchased a designer straw bag at the end of last summer (through Rent the Runway, but still a $$ tag) that had short handles and long straps and they style was so convenient. I carried it almost every day but the rough straw began breaking, poking out, and just falling apart. I was very disappointed. I knew that all of the details on this bag would check those boxes and hold up better. The neutral colors make my heart sing and the pocket inside is perfect for your phone! [You can purchase without letters and choose whatever patches you want.]

What's your favorite spring outfit right now? If you're in the cold what are you most excited to throw on the second your vacation starts?!

Love Always,

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