The Year of Simplify: Making #TimeForMyself

The fab ladies of the SELF Magazine's SELFMade Collective and I have been taking part in SELF's Time Makeover Challenge since the new year, and it's been a huge help on living out my theme - to simplify.

There's a lot of productivity propaganda out there and it can be tempting to get lost in it all. SELF has been shifting its content towards a more holistic look at making time to create your best self, and the Time Makeover tips are something I look forward to reading up on.

A huge reason why we abandon our resolutions soon after the new year starts is because it can be hard to make time for them. When the going gets tough, we're more likely to stick to what we know for the sake of making it through another stressful day.

No more!

I am dead set on sticking to my simplify theme, plus the goals and resolutions I've made for myself this year. Sure, I've already strayed a few times, but I always come back to them.

Here are a few things I've been actively working on simplifying this past couple of months, to create space and make time for the things I want to do:


Seattle Must-See: Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

Did you know? Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based theatrical production company with world-famous Vegas resident shows, also makes stops in Seattle every other year! I had the privilege of attending KURIOS™Cabinet of Curiosities, the latest traveling show, on opening night and it was a night of steampunk magical fun.

I am not a big fan of actual circuses, nor do I normally gravitate towards plays, musicals or other theatre productions. I do, however, have a soft spot in my heart for Cirque du Soleil. I remember visiting Vegas with my family as a kid and being enchanted by the Cirque productions there. I've seen all of the Vegas shows aside from the themed (Beatles & MJ), and have made sure to see every production that comes through Seattle for the past decade or so. I am always so impressed by the athletic ability of the performers, not to mention their ability to transport us into the depths of mystery, beauty and imagination.

Kurios is no different; as soon as you get one look at the stage, it truly feels like you're inside a curio cabinet. From the props to the costumes, there's an overwhelmingly steampunk vibe that makes the show feel like a traveling circus of bygone times. I couldn't help but think how Kurios might be the most family-friendly Cirque show yet. The storylines, costumery and music of most Cirque shows instill a tiny bit of fear along with wonder and fascination - even as an adult! Kurios felt so fun and delightful for everyone, no matter what age.

If you're looking for something awesome, unique and fun to do for your next date or family night, definitely make sure to catch Kurios while it's still in town!

Kurios is now showing nightly Tuesday - Sunday in Redmond's Marymoor Park, with a matinee performance Saturday and earlier shows Sunday. Now through March 22nd!

Get your tickets and find out more information on the show here.

Thank you Cirque du Soleil for having us!

Disclosure: Tickets provided by Cirque du Soleil for this post. All opinions are mine!


2/26/15 #Seattle Event Picks: Young Professionals of Seattle 4th Anniversary & More

Here are some of my favorite events, deals and other things to do in Seattle this weekend & the coming week!

Featured events:

Use code Made4YPOSJess for 15% off tix to Young Professionals of Seattle's 4th Anniversary party!

(More on Camp RAHH! from me very soon!)

My dearest Jenn of For the Glow is teaching a free class at Lorna Jane downtown Seattle every Thursday night at 6:45p.m. Attend one of her classes and enter to win some sweet LJ gifts (maybe even an outfit!)

A month of programming celebrating the many achievements made by African Americans.

and the rest of Lorna Jane Seattle's February schedule!

Other fun stuff:

Want to be featured in a future Seattle Happenings weekly post? Email me at jess(at)freshjess.com for sponsorship opportunities and media kit.


Expand Your Practice w/ La Vie Boheme Yoga and YOGO Mats

Your yoga mat is the closest, fastest place to go for a quick getaway. If you're muttering "You crazy, girl!" right now, hear me out! Thanks to For the Glow, I've successfully found the athlete and health nut in me. One of the many goals (and benefits) of a healthy, fit life is understanding our bodies and minds in ways we never had before. If I've learned one thing in these past couple of years, it's that moving your body is one of the best, fastest ways to de-stress and feel better. 

Every time I get on my mat, I know I'll step away from it feeling worlds better inside and out than when I came to it.


Sampling Starbucks' Core Coffee Series

I'm not much of a coffee drinker, for no particular reason other than that I just never picked up a daily habit. Every once in awhile I'll indulge (it's hard not to in the coffee capitol of the world!), and occasionally I'll have a cup that'll rock my world! Like wine, beer and liquor, I feel like there's a whole body of knowledge of the world of coffee, and you just need the right situation to really get into it.

I have the pleasure this year of being part of the Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community, and am excited to finally have the right situation to expand my brain in the world of coffee!


Ignite Your Productivity With The Spark Notebook (Giveaway!)

I'm a productivity junkie. I will save all the articles, add all the books to my wish list, and read all the tips I can get my hands on in the name of getting shit done. Still, finding that perfect mix of productivity tools and systems for my current lifestyle has eluded me. I'll find some new tips or processes and stick with them enthusiastically for awhile, but ultimately I always fall back in the cycle of getting overwhelmed by everything I need to do. A million things to do, a million different to-do lists, Post-Its, notebooks, planners, calendars and apps to keep track of them all.
My endless pursuit of the perfect productivity system has brought the Spark Notebook into my life. I'd been following Kate Matsudaira and her productivity-centric startup, PopForms on social media when my friend Sarah Lovrien asked if I'd be part of the video she was filming for Kate's Kickstarter campaign. Fast forward to now, with Kate's wildly successful campaign funded in 24 hours and the Spark Notebook completely sold out in its first edition!
What's the Spark Notebook, you ask? In short, it's a planner on steroids. All of your notes, goals, big ideas and things to do now have one home, versus many different Post-Its. The Spark Notebook was meticulously designed by Kate and team to take your career and life to the next level. 
Watch the video below - and visit the Kickstarter page for more insight into Kate's vision for the Notebook as well as how others are already using it. Kate also shares some of her other favorite Kickstarter projects in the updates - click through for more really cool ideas coming to life! There's some serious productivity and entrepreneur inspo going on over on the Kickstarter page!

Soooo I've got a Spark Notebook to give away!


2/19/15 #Seattle Event Picks: For the Glow at Lorna Jane Seattle & more

Here are some of my favorite events, deals and other things to do in Seattle this weekend & the coming week!

Featured events:
My dearest Jenn of For the Glow is teaching a free class at Lorna Jane downtown Seattle every Thursday night at 6:45p.m. - starting tomorrow!


2/12/15 #Seattle Event Picks: Sad Shop, Cupcake Royale & More

Here are some of my favorite events, deals and other things to do in Seattle this weekend & the coming week!

Featured events:
Sad Shop artist & Seattleite Katie Davis wilI be at Downtown Nordstrom today & tomorrow, 4:00 - 8:00p.m. for a pop-up! All of her new Valentine's Day cards plus perennial favorites will be available for purchase at $5 apiece. Sad Shop features handcrafted cards that are printed locally on recycled paper and packaged in biodegradable envelopes. 

Roses, babysitter special, & date night surf + turf.

Cupcake Royale Chocolatier Collection dozen
Clockwise from top left: the signature Deathcake Royale, Black Bottom cheesecake batter, chocolate dipped strawberry, caramelized white chocolate, malted milk chocolate and smoked chocolate.  $41.25/dozen - February only!

Seattle Chocolates has the best Valentine's Day chocolates in the game!
Pink Bubbly is like grown-up Pop Rocks :)


Why Simplify Is My 2015 Theme

I'm tired of being overwhelmed. What about you?

I started my career just over a decade ago, and like any Gen Y'er, I believed multi-tasking and being as busy as possible were the keys to success. I climbed the proverbial career ladder. I started this blog. I got into social media at a really exciting time, when it was the shiny new industry everyone wanted a piece of.

Somewhere along the line, I burned out. I feel like I've been playing 'catch up' ever since. My emails and to-do lists stay piling up. I'm never getting enough sleep. I always have my mind on 8 million things (which can't be good.) I am always susceptible to making bad food choices in the face of stress. Most of all, I never feel like I'm fully being present in the moment.

I am so, so grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way, but eventually the whole of it all became more of a burden than a welcome privilege. It would take years (and it's still a work in progress), but I'm finally putting a mark in the sand and saying enough is enough.


For the Glow Resolution Challenge Week 5: Comparison is a Bitch

We've just finished week 5 of the For the Glow Resolution Challenge. Oh yes, we're still in it! You would think that the three-week detox would've been the hardest part of the Challenge. In many ways it was, but the assimilation of these newly-formed healthy habits into everyday life presents so many struggles on its own.

It doesn't get easier the more times you do a Challenge like this, either. Things happen, life changes in significant ways, and, well, all that meal planning and self-care we were so good at making time for during the detox now have to come face-to-face on the calendar with deadlines, events and real life.

Well said, Cameron. Image via Pinterest

My biggest struggle this past week (and in week 4) wasn't just in navigating post-detox life left on my own devices (ooh a cupcake!) Comparison, that ol' thief of joy itself, came creepin' up on me with a vengeance. It starts slowly - a fleeting thought in class of how much slower I am in doing burpees as the girl next to me. Then my real competition shows up & starts messing with my head.

  • Why can't I do these as well as I did before?
  • Why is it so much harder to come to class every day than it was last summer?
  • Why am I so much more tired?

Past me is doing a number on current me's progress and thought process. It's hard not to be so hard on yourself! Never mind the fact that my life is completely different from just a year ago, mostly because of my full-time job. I haven't done Zumba in months because my bestie isn't teaching anywhere in Seattle right now. I don't have the time flexibility to work in naps when I want to, or go get another workout in when I want to.

The structure I knew I needed and wanted in my schedule means I have to be that much more intentional about how I spend my time. It also means letting go of how things were before. Easier doesn't necessarily mean better. I am much leaner and more fit overall than I've ever been during the winter. I really enjoy how light and alert I feel, so I'm still making good food choices and avoiding the snacks and weak moments.

Sometimes we have to work harder to celebrate these small victories and be present in the moment.

What is For the Glow? Read my past blogs on my Glow Girl experience here.