Category Archives: Career

Where to Find Work Clothes on a Budget

Where to Find Work Clothes on a Budget, clothes on a budget, career clothes, budget work clothes, clothes for the office,

The other day my Dad and I were talking about office presentation.  He noticed that I had been trying harder to dress nicer while at work (thank you losing weight and feeling more confident!).  He started sharing with me how his view of dress has changed over the years.  Now don’t get me wrong my Dad still dresses super nice at work – suit, tie or sports coat every single day.  However, I remember when I was younger he was always to dressed to the top.  He never left the house without his suit, tie and matching jacket on.  Nowadays he’s a bit more relaxed with a sports coat (ha!).  

Not that losing weight is the key to feeling confident, but when you’re very self conscious losing just a little bit of weight makes a huge difference. 

Anyways…

I told him I was trying harder because I wanted to be taken more seriously.  I understood that as a young woman in the financial services field I needed to look like I can handle our clients’ needs.  And my Dad completely agreed.  He remembered when he was first starting out, he was younger and knew that first impressions meant a lot.  So though his season in the office has shifted, mine is just getting started.  

So here I am trying harder.  I want to dress with the confidence I have to handle our clients.  And it’s not easy when you wake up exhausted with a toddler that barely slept.  The last thing you want to do is iron your clothes, but that’s the one thing you need to be doing.  So I’ve been investing in better, high quality pieces to make getting ready more fun and easier.  

When I say investing… I mean buying great clothes at killer deals.  And I want to share my secrets with you.  Lately I’ve been trying to share with you my daily work outfits over on my Instagram Stories.  I try to stick to a pretty tight budget when it comes to clothes, which means I have to take excellent care of them so they last longer.

I started thinking there might be a lot of you who are in similar boats as me – you work in a professional office and need to dress to impress.  However, you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get good deals.  

Here are my favorite go-to places:

Kohls.

I love, love, love Kohl’s.  I get about 80% of my clothes here.  They are always having a sale or offer free shipping online.  So what I usually do is I head over to Ebates (you can join by using my referral link here) then connect to the Kohl’s website.  Ebates will automatically enter in any coupons they can find, but I still like to Google codes to make sure I’m getting the best deal.  I also try to time it right so that I qualify for Kohl’s Cash.  That way I can use the cash for other items I need later on or on some birthday gifts (to help with our gift budget) for family.  I typically ask for gift cards for Christmas and birthday so I can use those towards any new clothes.  

Target.

My next favorite place to score great deals is Target.  Again, I prefer to shop online so I am always using my Ebates (plus the closest Target is over an hour away!).  If you play your cards right you can time your visits to the store or online with their markdown schedule.  If I’m in an area to actually go in-store then I try to time it on Tuesdays either late morning or early afternoon.  That way staff has had a chance to start the markdowns and they will be scanning the new lower prices.  

I also purchase a lot of our diapers from Target (they have a similar subscribe & save feature like Amazon offers).  Our little guy seems to do better with the Up and Up brand diapers, so I try to buy those the majority of time.  Target will offer a deal where if you spend $50 or $75 in diapers then you get a gift card back.  So I time it to order a few cases of diapers (we go through once case a month) at at time when they go on sale to score a gift card.  Then I use that gift card to help buy any new clothes I need for work.

Walmart.

I know, I know… Walmart?  Yep!  It’s true.  I have found some great blouses and sweaters at Walmart.  I haven’t really been able to find any pants that fit me too well (my legs are super short!), but the blouses are great.  You can find a great top for a steal there.  Since we have a Super Center in town I typically do all of my shopping in-person, which makes it a lot easier.  I would recommend trying pieces on before checking out (or be okay with returning items).  Sometimes their sizing isn’t as accurate or consistent, but that doesn’t bother me too much.  

Keep Pieces Simple.

This isn’t really a store, but it’s a concept.  I love colors, but I’m not big on patterns.  So by sticking to solid colors -either bright, pastels, or dark then I can easily mix-and-match pieces together.  A pair of black pants goes with just about anything; however, a pair of patterned blue floral pants are harder to pair blouses with.  My big tip is just to keep your work pieces more simple so you can pair them with different items to give the illusion of a bigger wardrobe.

How To Balance Life When Your Have Kids and a Career

How To Balance Life, work life balance, mom balance, how to stay sane as a mom

I had been working on this post about how to balance life for a very long time.  I’ve had the idea scribbled in a notebook for months.  I’ve had a draft started, but not finished for weeks.  Yet here I am completely changing the whole premise of this topic.  

Let’s get real for a second – when you have kids there is no balance.  Sure you can feel like everything is rocking and rolling for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but it will come crashing down at some point.  I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it does.

For instance, I started this post off (then deleted it) talking about how to find balance you need to be a planner.  You need to have a list of everything that needs to get done, be able to know when to delegate and when to say no, and you need help.  But that was before our little boy spent the better part of 3 hours nonstop crying last night.  No idea why.  He just did.

I’m tired.  I’m dragging and I sure know that today is going to be rough.

It’s 8 am and I’m already sipping on a Diet Mountain Dew (it’s my version of coffee).  This post was supposed to be finished last night so it could go live this morning, but that didn’t happen.  Because no matter how hard I try to plan, prepare and schedule my day – it doesn’t always play out like I hope.  So instead of finishing this post last night, I sat in complete darkness holding my crying boy in my arms until he fell asleep.

And there is no place I would have rather been.

Truth.

So maybe work life balance isn’t a fine balance act.  Maybe it’s having the ability to say no to some things so you can say yes to more important ones.

My son, my family and my well-being comes before anything else.  So on days like yesterday, I have to reschedule everything I had planned for the last 3 hours of my day, I have to go to bed later than I normally do and I have to wake up earlier than I thought was possible.

But to me balance isn’t doing it all and being perfect, it’s choosing what’s perfect for me.

I may not get it all done in the time frame I dreamed of and that’s okay.

You may not either and you have to be willing to accept it.  There are a few things you can do to help you not feel pressure to do things you HAVE to do when things you WANT to do come up.

  1. Plan your day.  I use Google calendar to plan out my family’s life.  Everything task, appointment, and reminder are scheduled in my calendar.
  2. Keep a running to-do list.  I am someone who will obsess over something until it’s done.  I have found that when I write a task or an idea down, then I can turn my brain off and focus on what I was supposed to be doing.
  3. Be okay with change.  Days don’t always go as planned and you have to be willing to accept it.  Let’s face it as Moms no two days are the same.  And if you think they can be, then just spend time with a toddler because they will correct your thought process in less than an hour.
  4. Build in buffers.  For me that means going to be later or getting up earlier (preferably not within a 12 hour period, but that’s mom life).  I also try to keep my lunch hour free to do other work.  I work full time so when my lunch break comes I usually run home to write posts, record videos or edit them.  This gives me some flexibility when my evenings or mornings don’t go as I hope. 
  5. Know your priorities.  Sometimes we get wrapped up in the hustle of life.  We get frustrated when we have to stop mid-thought to dig a toy out from under the couch just for your little one to do it all over again.  At those moments, just stop and remind yourself every day they are learning something new and one day they will be able to reach for a toy under the couch themselves and that day will be hard.  You may not realize it at the time, but it will be.  When our little one could finally hold his own bottle, I was happy until the day came that I wanted to rock him to sleep for nap time and he didn’t need me to any longer.  He could hold his own bottle and lay down on his own.

I may not be perfect with work life balance, but I don’t think anyone can be perfect when they’re a mom.  No matter if you’re a mom who works away from home, works from home or in between.  Any woman who mothers a child, runs a household and is making a difference will never have a perfect balance act.  And at the end of the day when you watch your little one sleep you realize that it’s okay because they are more perfect than you could ever imagine.

Packing Hacks for a Work Trip

packing hacks for a work trip, packing hacks, packing for work, packing for a conference, how to pack for a work trip

Being a working mom can be rough.  Well let’s be honest, being a stay at home momma can be rough, too.  Being a mom in general has it’s moments.  Moments where you want to pull your hair out while crying in the locked bathroom as your kid sits outside the door screaming.  It’s hard.  I’m not quite sure what this all has to do with packing hacks for a conference, but you can probably tell it’s been a day.

It doesn’t help when your little guy knows somethings up.  When he sees the suitcase being pulled out and knows Momma is going somewhere.  Not too long ago I was planning a week long conference in New Orleans.  J had to stay behind and so did our little guy.  Because though I would have loved to have taken him with me to all of my meetings, I’m sure the other business owners would have not been so thrilled.

Planning a trip away from home is hard, planning one without your family is harder.  About a week before leaving I started planning because I knew I wanted to spend as much time as possible the weekend before with my little family.  I’m sharing the best packing hacks and tips for traveling for work.  You can making traveling without your family a bit easier by creating a plan and then sticking with it.

Watch the video for my favorite packing hacks or keep reading below.

Know Your Agenda

Make sure you check out the schedule for the days at the conference, dinners and any excursions you might be doing.  Most places will let you know what type of dress attire is recommended so you can pack accordingly.  I typically dress for comfort unless the conference or group recommends dressing in business attire.  The only other time I dress in business wear is when there might be clients or prospective clients in attendance.  

Also, you should bring a cardigan with you so in case you get cold or get stuck under an AC vent you can be comfortable.

Wear comfortable shoes in case you need to walk any distance, plus flats are easier to pack.

Be Okay With Wearing Items More Than Once

By thinking ahead and planning to wear a pair of pants twice or even wear the same shoes through out the trip, you can save a lot of space in your suitcase.  Plus jeans typically weigh a lot more than other pants, so you can cut back on the weight of your luggage.  Pants are a lot easier to re-wear through out a trip than shirts are, so try to bring light-weight shirts that will easily match the pants you bring.  

Pack Only What You Need

Try not to overpack.  It makes travel a lot easier if you have a smaller suitcase to haul around, especially when flying.  Most airlines now charge for checked bags and even carry on bags.  

For our Florida vacation the airline we flew charged $25 for a checked bag and even more for a carry on bag.  You were allowed one personal item for free, which had to be able to fit under the seat in front of you.  So unless you are wearing sweats the whole time or only staying for a day then the chances of getting work attire to fit in a backpack without getting wrinkled is slim to none.  

Plan Your Outfits

Take a look at your agenda and map out what you plan on wearing each day.  Start with your pants and then match your shirts to them.  By making a list of every piece of clothing you need each day then you can make sure you don’t forget anything.  Write it all down – pants, shirts, undershirts, underwear, socks, shoes, jewelry for each day.  When packing for a work trip, your mind could be a thousand other places.  If you’re like me then you’re probably trying to make sure your kid has clean clothes for the week, food to eat, your husband has food to eat, knows your child’s schedule, work you have to finish before leaving and everything else under the sun.  By having a written packing list you can make sure not to forget anything. 

Bonus Tip: Take your list you made of your planned outfits and place it on top of your packed suitcase.  It will make getting up early for those morning meetings in a new place a lot easier.

What are some of your packing hacks when traveling for work or for fun? Write a comment below so we can all learn more!

 

Surviving Tax Season Like A Boss {A Guide}

surviving tax season like a boss, a guide to surviving tax season

It’s no secret that I work in an accounting, tax and financial planning firm.  I talk about it a lot.  Maybe it’s because I love what I do or maybe it’s because that’s where I spend a lot of my time.  I’m not sure, but either way it’s tax season.  Surviving tax season is a whole thing.  It starts in mid-January and continues until mid-April.  That’s 4 months… 4 months where your life is flipped around.  

I’m not an accountant or tax preparer… yet.  The plan is to become a Certified Public Accountant in the next two years, but first I need to get through becoming a Certified Financial Planner®.  You see, back in college I never dreamed that I would be returning to my hometown to help my Dad in his practice.  That wasn’t in the cards.  Then flash forward 4 years after graduating with my Bachelors and I feel the pull to come home.  

Naturally I didn’t study accounting in college, because why would that be fun?!  I studied Marketing.  Now to sit for the CPA exam I have to have a few more accounting classes.  The plan is for me to get through and pass the CFP exam.  I’ve already taken the courses to prepare for the exam so now it’s just all about passing it.  

Once I get through and earn my CFP designation then I will go back to school to finish those pesky accounting classes before sitting for the CPA exam.  Then when that happens my tax seasons will be even a bit more wild than they already are.

But right now my job during tax season is to review returns with clients, help with any financial planning needs during the next few months and continue rocking our marketing campaigns.  I work 6 days a week.  It’s hard.  I also am studying for the CFP exam and have night class two nights a week.  

I have a lot going on.  So does J.  Our schedules keep us pretty busy and when we have free time we prefer to be doing something as a family.  

Surviving tax season can be rough for those in the field or even connected to the field.  Here are my top 10 tips for surviving tax season like a boss:

  1. sleep when you can
  2. make it clear that you are unavailable starting the second week in January through mid-April to everyone you know
  3. Say goodbye to your Saturday social life
  4. Love what you do
  5. Take deep breaths
  6. Take time in early January to plan the next few months
  7. Learn to say no sometimes
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  9. Spend quality time with those you love
  10. Have a daily schedule

Small tips, but they really help.  I’m a huge planner so I need my calendar to be in order at all times.  It helps me from feeling overwhelmed.  At the first of January I sit down to really schedule out the next few months.  I ask myself are there any trips J and I need to plan for?  What days do I or J have classes on?  What about J’s bowling league, what does that schedule look like?  Plan for any doctor appointments for Baby Boy.  And so much more.  

Then I start filling in my calendar.  I’ve used the Purposeful Planner before and really liked it, but this year I’m going to try to stick with all digital.  I’ve setup our Google calendar so that it’s color coordinated.  It can be accessed from anywhere so I don’t always have to haul around a paper planner with me, which is nice.  About a year ago I wrote a post about what my day looks like.  It’s still somewhat similar, but I think it might be time for an update.  Baby Boy wasn’t here yet and our life sure has changed with him being in it.  

I remember that tax season is just the next few months so that means I may have to miss out on a few things, and that’s okay.  I don’t mind.  I really enjoy what I’m doing and love learning something new each year.  Tax season is all about sacrifices, but I still get amazing quality time with my family and the time I get with my friends and other family members is special.  

What are your busy times during the year?  I know when I worked retail that the busy season hit right before Thanksgiving and lasted through Christmas.  It’s all about phases and finding time to balance it all.  

Your Typical Day {A Day In The Life Post}

typical day for a mom who does it all, day in the life post

Not even a year ago I shared what my day was like. Man! Things have sure changed in such a quick time frame. I knew having our Baby Boy would ramp up our lives, but there is so much more going on these days. I’m working hard to study for the Certified Financial Planner exam this spring, which means night class two days a week, plus studying every day. Not to mention tax season calls for 6-day work weeks.

I wanted to do an update to our typical day. I’m a planner (I know, I’ve said it like a thousand times) so I like to have my days mapped out in my Google Calendar so I know where I need to be at all times. I also input J’s schedule. He can access the calendar from his phone so he always knows what’s going on.

I used to put our meal plan in the calendar, but that got to be too much. I tend to change my mind a lot, so it just became too much of a hassle.

Here’s a typical day for me.

6:30am – Wake up and shower.
6:45am – Prep bottles for the day and make protein smoothie for breakfast.
6:50am – Start doing makeup and do my hair.
7:05am – Finish getting Baby Boy’s diaper bag ready. Prep my lunch and snacks for the day.
7:15am – Baby Boy usually wakes up about this time (sometimes it’s a little earlier and some days he sleeps in). Get him dressed and ready to go.
7:20am – bottle time! I also get dressed last thing so that way if I spill or get dog hair on me it’s not on my work clothes.
7:40am – out the door and headed to the sitter.
7:55am – head to work
8:00-12:00 – work at the office, handling client calls, applications, etc.
12:00-1:00 – lunch, I either go home for lunch (if I didn’t have time to pack food or I go to the gym for a quick workout and then eat lunch at my desk later).
1:00-3:00 – finish up at work, plan any new marketing pieces, etc.
3:00-5:00 – study for the CFP
5:00-7:30 – J and I both have night class on Monday and Wednesday, so those nights he drops Baby Boy off at my parents around 5:30 and I usually have dinner in the slow cooker so we both can eat when we have time. If I don’t have class then I head home, cook dinner, do laundry and play with the baby.
7:30pm – put the baby to bed (usually it’s 7:00 on nights I don’t have class)
8:00pm – clean the family room, pick up toys, watch TV, clean the kitchen
9:00pm – bed

I am useless if I don’t go to bed early. Some nights I might make it to 10:00 before bed, but that’s rare. I also may go to bed at 8:30 some nights like I did last night. I know that I toss and turn a lot, I also check the baby monitor 1,000 times a night. So if I can get to bed at a decent time then I know somewhere in the night I will get a combined 7-8 hours of sleep.

This is my schedule about 6 days a week. On Sundays we take it easy. We sleep in, or try to if the baby will let us. We lounge around and try not to take on too many projects. We may work on laundry, but that’s about as productive as we get. I need Sundays to take it easy and reset myself to get ready for the week ahead.  I know that during the summer my typical day changes quite a bit.  Maybe I’ll do a post to share what those days look like….

Why I Chose To Go Back To Work After Baby

Why I Chose To Go Back to Work After Baby

Choosing to be a stay at home mom or returning to work after baby is a hot topic. I wanted to show why I chose to go back to work after baby.  It’s a emotional topic, but one I think is talked about enough.

I work for my family’s accounting and financial planning firm. The reason we moved to my hometown was for me to work with my Dad to learn the ropes. The thought of deciding to quit my job wasn’t possible. I am needed and I love what I do. 

I actually only took a six week maternity leave from work. I probably could have taken longer, but I also knew that I had work to do. Because I work for my family, I was able to bring Baby with me. It was a nice transition for me. I was able to get the balance of getting work done, but was still able to see him across my desk.

Even if I didn’t work my family’s firm, I’m positive I would have returned to work. It’s more than a financial choice, too. Sure the double income is nice, but honestly money isn’t a primary factor.

After four weeks of being home with just Baby and dogs during the day, I found myself irritable with J. I needed that outlet of talking to someone, working on a bigger project and just feeling needed. Don’t get me wrong, every few hours when Baby woke up hungry I felt very much needed, but it’s different.

working mom

 

Why I Chose To Go Back to Work After Baby

 

I loved my time at home and know when he goes into a daycare in a few weeks I will be a complete mess. I will miss being home with my little boy. It’s crazy – I never saw myself as a mother when I was younger, but the moment I heard his cries and saw him for the first time I knew this is why I was put on this Earth. To be his mom.

And one thing that goes along with being a good mom is providing for him. I want to give him the moon.

My parents wanted to give my sister and I more than they were given as kids, and I want to give our son more than I was given.  Which is a pretty tall order.  I know I want our son to travel (mainly because J and I want to travel!), to accomplish his goals, go to college and not have to worry about the expense of school, and have fun while he’s young.  To do all of these things, both J and I need to work.  

We need to be saving our money, paying down debt and dreaming of places to travel as a family.  With eliminating one of our incomes, we could still accomplish these goals, but we would have to sacrifice a lot right now and it would take longer to get there.

Another reason I went back to work was to save my marriage.

J and I were talking the other night and came to a conclusion. If I wanted to be a stay at home mom then that would probably be the end to our marriage. I know it’s crazy to say that and probably a little hard. But I don’t know how to do that successfully.

I found myself in my short maternity leave depending on J too much. He was my source for socializing, my relief when I needed a break from sleepless nights, and my punching bag when I got frustrated. Not a literal punching bag, but I just became very short with him over the weeks and I know that wasn’t good.

It wasn’t fair to him and deep down I knew that.  I like to think that I’m a pretty logical person so I could see myself acting crazy, knew it was too much, but couldn’t stop myself.  I realize I was a hormonal mess, but I feel like it was more than that.  I needed an outlet and I couldn’t depend on my husband to provide that.  I needed to find my own.

Work is my outlet.  I get up, get dressed, put on make up and head out the door.  I sit at desk and work on projects for our clients.  I like answering questions and helping our clients solve their problems.  Before having a baby, I really felt my career was what I was supposed to do with my life – crazy, I know!

Why I Chose To Go Back to Work After Baby

Now it’s all about finding a balance.  A balance between putting J first, providing for our son by giving him the foundation he needs and having a fulfilling career.  I will reach that balance at some point and I know I will struggle along the way, but I know I am setting a good example for our son and will be able to do so much with him as he gets older.  

 

How to Plan for Maternity Leave at Your Work

How to Plan for Maternity Leave at Work

Maternity leave is an important topic to talk about.

Your employer may offer something completely different than your friend’s employer.  Yet, what is the right way to prepare for it?  You want to make sure your job is being done correctly while you’re gone (no matter how long that might be) and your boss wants to make sure there is a chaotic mess left for when you’re gone.

In my job I wear many different hats. One moment I’m the Marketing Director, deciding on emails, facebook campaigns, letters, planning client appreciation events, calling prospective clients, and reaching out to new clients.  The next moment I’m the financial planning assistant, completing paperwork, handling maintenance on clients’ accounts, meeting with new clients, and answering questions. Then  my final hat for the day could be the Sales Director, managing contact with current clients, preparing client touches about any focus we are working on, and so on.

My day can be all over the place and it can be overwhelming at times. But I love it. I love not knowing where my day is going to take me and to know that I can be doing a variety of different tasks. However, it doesn’t make it so easy for when I’m going to be gone. It can be tricky trying to explain to a fellow co-worker how they can help me out. I decided my maternity leave will be easy to follow and nothing would get overlooked. Summers might seem slow in an accounting office, but it’s not for me. That’s when I work on all of my marketing pieces for the entire year, start sending out touches and kick start marketing campaigns. It’s a busy season for me.

One of the best decisions I was to plan for maternity leave at work. I can’t tell you how much of a stress reliever it is to know your work will be taken care of and you won’t have a huge pile when you return.

I wanted to share some helpful tips so you can be ready to leave your work to take care of you and baby. No matter how long your maternity leave is or how short, these tips will work for you.

It’s important to have a plan in place well before the baby is due. You never know if your little one will be making their debut early or not. It’s best to be prepared for the unexpected.

Know Who Will Be Wearing Your Hats.

The first thing you want to do is know who will be covering you. Is it one person or are multiple people going to be splitting your duties? Either way you need to know. I think it’s easier if one person covers because then all of your to-dos and instructions and thoughts are just passed to one individual. However, that may not be feasible. At most offices your cover will already have a full-time job with their own work that needs to get done.

If you have multiple people covering for you then you need to talk to your supervisor or office manager to determine who is going to take care of what. Which parts of your job is person A and person B going to cover.

For me I had two people covering for me. One covered all of my marketing duties while the other covered my financial planning and sales director tasks. I wasn’t too worried about the financial planning side, mainly because she’s been doing it for years and is the person who trained me. So I knew she had it! She could do that job in her sleep!

The marketing pieces were a bit more worrisome for me. I have created a few strategies, mailings, and so on over the past year that all need to be kicked off while I would be gone. So I wanted to make sure they went out without any problems.

Here’s what you do after you figure out how your job will be split:

Write down everything that will need to be done 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your scheduled maternity leave (just to be safe, remember?). I used an Excel spreadsheet to write down all of my tasks so I could update it as things changed.

Write it all out.

Next, create any procedures that aren’t already made. For me, scheduling our company’s blog posts was something only I have ever done. So I had to create written procedures with clear directions so my replacement could handle. I had to be very, very specific. But that’s okay. You need to be with procedures.

Treat a procedure as if someone off the street was coming in to handle that specific task. You want them to be easy to follow, clear and to the point.

Be specific.

Give specific deadlines. If someone is trying to do their job and yours then you need to give them specific deadlines so they can get it done. Also, you need to give them an idea of how long the task will take them. Keep in mind they don’t do this every day so it may take them longer.

“Mail newsletters on May 27th.” That is a specific deadline.
“Mail newsletters by end of May.” That is not.

The reason you want to give a specific deadline and an idea of how long each task will take is so they can plan the appropriate amount of time to get it done. For me I have marketing letters, emails and touches going out constantly. If something is off a week then I can become annoying to clients and prospects because they are getting touched too often. So I’m very picky about the dates anything goes out. I want to make sure we don’t send anything too close together causing someone to opt-out because they think we send too much information.

Go over everything with your replacement. Schedule an hour or so to go over all of your tasks. Make sure they understand what is expected of them and how to get help if they need it.

Make a copy to give to their supervisor so they will help make sure things are running smoothly.

The next step is very optional, but I am a Type A person so it’s what worked best for me. I took all of the tasks, mailings, blog posts, appointments to be scheduled, etc. and put a note in my Google calendar. That way I could make sure things were getting done at the end of the week with a simple email.

Make it accessible.

Finally, make a folder of all the notes, procedures and daily to-do list that you will be given. That way if you need to add to it, it’s easily accessible. I also liked the idea of having it ready to go just in case I went into labor prematurely and wasn’t going to be there as late as I wanted or thought.

If it’s okay to call you or email you while you’re gone, then let them know. I don’t mind a text, call or email. If I’m busy with baby then I simply won’t answer. However, I would much rather be asked a question before something is done then to learn it wasn’t done the way I wanted.

What did you do to plan for maternity leave?

How I Plan My Day (full-time employee, blogger, wife and more)

How I Plan My Day (full-time employee, blogger, wife and more)

I like to keep myself busy. Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be doing something. I can still hear my Dad’s voice in my head telling me, “You better be careful. You’re burning the candle at both ends.”

It use to annoy me so much when he said that. Mainly because I knew he was right.

I used to spread myself too thin. Nowadays I do a lot better prioritizing everything I want and need to get done. I’m better with my time management. No more wasting precious time on things that don’t matter.

My life’s pretty hectic most days, especially during tax season. I wanted to share with you how I plan my day as a full-time career woman, blogger, soon-to-be-mom, student, friend and wife so I can get it all done.

The first thing on my list every morning is to see what I actually having going on. I don’t want to waste my time on things that aren’t important, so I schedule out everything. I mean everything. Thank goodness for Google Calendar and my Purposeful Planner. It helps keep me in check. I’ve shared my tricks with how I stay organized with Google Calendar before, so check it out.

How I use Google Calendar

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become very aware of what’s on my plate. In college I would say yes to everything. So I found myself spending a lot of long nights in the library studying because it was the only time I had left. I never wanted to miss out, so I always said yes to everything.

The fear of missing out still gets to me some days, but I have to be careful. I have finally realized that it’s okay to miss out on what’s not really important. And I have realized that I can’t push myself into exhaustion if something is just not possible.

Alright, here’s how I plan my day:

6:30 am – wake up and get started. J sets the alarm for 6:30 so he can get ready for work. I am not a morning person, but I have started getting up with him. I like to make his lunch and get his breakfast ready – that way I know he’s eating something decent.

I also let the dogs out and feed them. Then I take care of myself. I like to give myself time to wake up in the mornings. So I make myself breakfast and turn on the local news for about 30 minutes.

7:00 am – get ready for work. Living in a small town is so great. I don’t have to leave my house until about 10 til to get to work in plenty of time. I give myself almost an hour to shower, put on makeup and get dressed.

8:00 am – 12:00 pm – work at the local accounting and financial planning firm. I work on client paperwork, calls, etc.

12:00 – 1:00 pm – lunch. I typically grab lunch with my Mom and Dad most days. It’s another perk of living in my hometown. I really love getting to see them as much as I do. I work with my Dad so I get to see him everyday, but something about grabbing lunch with both parents is really nice.

1:00 – 5:00 pm – I do a variety of tasks in the afternoon. Most days I like to study for the CFP® exam. But if I’m not working on the Certified Financial Planner® designation then I can be found working on marketing pieces, the office’s blog and social media platforms or finishing client paperwork.

5:00 – 6:00 pm – dinner with J. We joke that we’re old folks because we like to have dinner so early. But J starts his day an hour before me so by the time he gets home, he’s usually starving. So we just plan to eat by 5:30 and have some time together.

habits to better your life

6:00 – 8:00 pm – downtime with J and working on the blog. I like to spend my evenings at home. We usually catch up on our favorite shows while I’m working on the laptop. I schedule out social media posts, write out blog posts and work on fixing up the blog. I usually take this time to plan out a few more posts to keep me going too.

8:00 pm – I turn everything off and just relax the rest of the night. Again, we’re like old folks here too. We like to be in bed well before 9:00 each night. I know once the baby is here that will change. But for now I will get my sleep while I can.

I do this Monday through Friday without fail. During Tax Season I also follow this schedule on Saturdays.

Sundays are our days to be at home. We like to work on projects around the house. We’ve been busy updating a back bedroom and transforming it into the nursery. I also like to meal prep on Sundays and do my grocery shopping for the next two weeks. I’ve found grocery shopping every 2 weeks really helps us save serious money.

Maybe I should do an updated posts on how we meal plan??? I’ll work on that!

On Sundays I like to take photos for the blog. That’s when I see what posts I have coming up and what images are needed. Then I work on staging those and editing them for the site. It’s hard to take good photos during the week. By the time dinner is done it’s usually dark or getting dark out. Sundays are the best days for me to fit it in.

Most weekends that aren’t in Tax Season are filled with visiting family and friends. Also, we like to travel to the lake to go boating so that takes up quite a bit of time each summer. I try not to fill my weekends with too many work or blog commitments so I can keep my free-time to spend with people I’m crazy about.

That’s it. That’s my day-to-day life. I know at some point I will need to commit more time to the blog since I want to see it grow. During the summer months it’s easier because I work four 10-hour days and have three day weekends. So I can devote Fridays to the blog, but for now this is the time I allow myself. I don’t want to spread myself too thin. Those days of pulling all-nighters are in the past!

My Favorite Maternity Work Wear On a Budget

maternity work wear on a budget

I don’t know how pregnant women do it… I just don’t get it.  How do they look so put together when they’re 6 months + pregnant.  That’s a lie, I started looking like a hot mess around month 4 – thank you headaches and being nauseated all the time!  How do they not live in stretchy pants and over sized t-shirts?  I know I do.  Well… when I’m not in the office I do.

I have found a few work pieces that I have rocked the majority of this pregnancy.  Thanks to working in an accounting office and it being tax season, I’ve had to pull myself together a bit so I don’t look a homeless person.  Thanks to my college days, I have the homeless, disheveled looked down pretty good!  Over sized t-shirts, big cardigans, leggings as outerwear, big messy bun on top and my Ugg boots.  That was my go-to look for most of college.  Nowadays, the closer I get to 30 the more I realize I can’t walk around my small town like that.  At least not unless it’s a weekend with really bad weather.

Here’s my go-to favorite places to shop for maternity work wear:
Destination Maternity
Kohl’s
Amazon

Destination Maternity is where I have purchased all of my work pants.  The petite size fits me perfectly to where I can where comfy flats with every look.  Plus, they usually have killer sales that I can hit to save some serious money.  Because, maternity clothes aren’t cheap!  At all!  And I like to be frugal, so I watch for sales and make my pants work hard for me.

destination maternity work clothes

I bought this style in black, khaki, brown, and gray.  I looked at the price, and I bought when it was on sale and buy one get one… so I saved some serious money.  While I really like the pants, I would not have paid full price for them – that wasn’t possible for the financial prepping we’re doing for the baby.  Now I have something to wear with just about any top and any pair of shoes in my closet.

Budget Tip: Sign up to receive their emails.  They will send a few each week, but always offer a Buy 1 Get 1 50% off sale or a final clearance sale.  

kohls maternity work wear

Kohl’s has my favorite tops – they are by Oh Baby by Motherhood.  I really like this sweater.  The pricing just seems to be more budget friendly coming from Kohl’s then from most other places I’ve found.  Plus, I like to time their sales with Kohl’s cash to make an extra budget friendly.  I like my tops to do double duty for me.  Meaning I can wear them to work for a client meeting, but can also throw them on while I’m running errands during the weekend.  I like to stick to light weight sweaters and cotton tops since this baby has added some serious heat to my body.

Budget Tip: shop on kohls.com and search out for promo codes.  You can usually search for some or sign up to receive their promo emails.  If you time this with their Kohl’s Cash offering then you’re sure to save some money!  I like to pair promo codes with Kohl’s Cash then turn around to spend my Kohl’s Cash at a later date.

Believe it or not Amazon has some great maternity work wear pieces to choose from. Most come with free shipping if you have an order of $35 or more, which can’t be beat!  Plus, returns aren’t usually too difficult if you need to exchange something that does not fit.

Living in a small town, there are simply no maternity clothes to choose from.  I’m not kidding.  Not one single store in my town sells maternity clothes.  I’ve looked at all of them, I’ve called all of them and I’ve scoured for anything.  So I’m having to do most of my shopping online or when we’re in St. Louis.  I’m used to shopping online and taking the risk of it not working out, but I haven’t had that happen yet.  I’ve been lucky I guess.

I couple all of my online shopping with ebates.com.  I’ve talked about how amazing ebates is so check out my post!

I would recommend checking the reviews or comments on anything before you purchase.

You can get a good idea of how a piece will fit based upon someone else’s review.  I love when women will share their pre-pregnancy size too.  It makes it so much easier to know if something will fit me if it fit someone who wears a similar size as me.

What are your go-to favorite pieces or stores for maternity work wear?

How to have a Productive Week

how to have a productive week

Ever have a case of the Mondays?

Nothing is going your way. You just can’t seem to catch up and the thought of getting ahead is probably not going to happen until Friday. Let’s be real – this is not our week.

Well that was me most Monday mornings. I was struggling bad. I would always have these great hopes of kicking the week off with a bang, but then it wouldn’t happen.

Until I changed one thing… one simple thing.

I plan on Sunday nights.  

That’s how to have a productive week.

That’s it. Simple huh?

I take a look at my calendar on Sunday evening while J and I are relaxing in front of the TV. I keep J and I’s calendar on Google – one for my personal events and one for the family and/or J’s events.

I like to take a quick glance at the week ahead to know what I’ll be up against. If it’s a quiet week then I don’t need to do much planning, but if it’s going to be a hectic one then I typically start laying out how it’s all going to go.

Especially with it being tax season, I’m working 6 days a week and it’s really easy to get behind on stuff around the house. I like to plan out when we’re going to go to the grocery store, work on the nursery, meal planning, and what appointments I have at the office.

Meal planning has been such a huge help for J and I lately. I wrote about how we meal plan awhile back (I even have a freebie planner to download), and it’s such a great tool to have. Especially on the nights I have to work late. I can typically plan something easy to make that night and J will have it ready for when I get home.

It’s awesome!

What do you do to get ready for a busy week? I swear by planning ahead on Sunday nights and would recommend it to anyone and everyone!  This is how to plan for a productive week.