My WFH Morning Routine

Several days each week I am lucky enough to work from home.  This is a relatively new thing for me — the beginning of 2017 brought with it a new job opportunity and this work from home set-up.  It’s been great!  I love the flexibility that working from home allows me to have.  But with that flexibility comes the requirement of some serious self-control, which is always a work in progress.

I’ve found that my ability to stay focused and productive while working from home is really bolstered by a simple, solid morning routine that helps me feel ~!*centered*!~ before I’m on the clock.  So here’s a look at my work from home mornings …

What is your morning routine?

I’m out of bed by 7.  As soon as I roll out of bed, I start my work computer, turn up the temperature in my apartment (I keep it cold at night!), and pop in my contacts.  I give myself a little while to scroll through Instagram, change out of my pajamas, go through my morning skincare routine, and unload my dishwasher before logging into my work computer around 8.

After logging in, I review my calendar for the day and create a new to-do list.  All the productivity articles I’ve read suggest making the next day’s to-do list at the end of the day, but that just doesn’t work for me.  I like to start the day with a prep session so everything is fresh!  Obviously, deadlines, presentations, etc. are already on my radar.

Once I feel ready for what the day is going to throw at me, I have breakfast.  Tidying up after breakfast serves as a bookend for me; it’s the last thing I do before my work day officially starts.  I always try to get the clean dishes put away (if I didn’t do it earlier in the morning) and the dirty dishes put in the dishwasher before devoting my full attention to work.  If I don’t deal with my breakfast dishes, I end up piling all of the day’s dishes in the sink — it’s one of those weird things that sets the tone for the rest of day.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

It’s been about nine months.  Of course, it’s been a work-in-progress for most of that time.  I started my job in January and I spent a while trying to craft a routine that just wasn’t working for me, one with morning workouts and a significantly earlier wake-up time.  I’m still hoping to make that happen at some point, but not right now!

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

My routine has always been heavily influenced by where I have to be and when.  Four years ago, it was dictated by my college class schedule.  After that, I was getting up and heading into an office every morning, so my routine was all about getting up, “putting my face on”, and getting out of the house.  Now it differs just a bit depending on whether or not I’m due in the office that day.

What time do you go to sleep?  What time do you wake up?

Most of the time, I’m pretty useless after 10 PM, so I try to just give in and go to bed then.  Usually, my alarm goes off at 6:30 AM and it sometimes takes 30 minutes for my feet to actually hit the floor.

Continue reading “My WFH Morning Routine”


Currently – The September Edition

from @homeiswherethehartis

I’ll keep this short and sweet, and just acknowledge that it’s been a rough couple weeks in the weather department, huh?  Sending well wishes to everyone!

Lately I’m …

Eating:  In preparation for my recent weekend trips, I was really diligent about cleaning out my fridge and pantry — that meant no food went bad while I was gone, but it also meant that I came home to very little food at all.  I did, however, have a little bit of chicken in my freezer, some feta, half of a red onion, and a cucumber that needed to be eaten right away.  I whipped up a quick vinaigrette, put my spiralizer to use, and ended up with something like this Inspiralized Cucumber Greek Salad.  It was my first time “making” and eating cucumber noodles — I loved them!

Sipping:  All of the Whole30 people on Instagram, especially the ones doing the September Whole30, are pumped about Pumpkin Spice Nutpods.  I’m not regularly a coffee drinker and I’ve never fully hopped on the pumpkin spice train, but I am on board with the Nutpods — subtle and yummy!  (They’re a little pricey, but they last a while and you only need a tablespoon at a time.)  Related:  Meg Biram shared a few tips on how to order a cheaper, healthier pumpkin spice latte.

Reading:  My sister and I are reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.  It’s a little bit dense, but so practical and eye-opening.

Watching:  I recently watched Get Out with my boyfriend and we really liked it!  I found it really impactful, especially since we were able to watch both endings.  Also, my sister, my cousins, and I brought out the big guns to make it through Atlanta’s Irma experience — we spent the night watching (and singing along with) High School Musical 3:  Senior Year.

Planning:  We are taking a trip to Nashville soon and I’m rounding up recommendations!  I’m happy to hit a few of the Nashville tourist must-sees, but I’m also looking forward to checking out some “neighborhood gem” coffee shops, restaurants, artsy spots, etc.  Know of anything that should be on my list?

What are you loving lately?

Lately in Pictures

I know, I know.  It’s been a while.  The last couple weeks felt like they were getting away from me, so I just let them go.  With long weekends acting as bookends for that mini-break, I spent a lot of time recovering from my vacations, trying to finally get my laundry unpacked and done, and working on some meal planning and prep.

Even though I’ve been away from this blog, I took pictures while I was gone!

My family took a weekend trip to the beach.  I pretty much drank wine and read the entire time — my kind of vacation.  We also got to watch a quick beach wedding from our balcony, followed by a beautiful thunderstorm over the ocean in front of us.  And if you’re looking for an easy beach meal, know that we made variations of this Chopped Italian Pasta Salad twice.

For the Labor Day weekend, my family and boyfriend headed to the mountains.  We soaked up the lack of cell service and internet access with a couple hikes and lots of tasty food.  Our first hike was up the Bartram Trail to Rabun Bald; it was a bit steep at times on the way up, but nice and covered throughout.  The view at the top was beautiful, much like Brasstown Bald but less crowded.  (Would do it again!)  The next day we hiked the Panther Creek Trail to the falls.  It was pretty difficult, with some steep ledges and spots where I wasn’t quite sure how to continue, but the end result was pretty.  (Happy to have done it, but not exactly my cup of tea.)

It’s been a bit pastry-heavy around here — I blame the weather.  Atlanta has shut down to wait out Irma and I’ve munched on a scone, a danish, and a couple chocolate chip muffins in the past 48 hours because those just feel like stormy fall foods.

Back to normal posting soon!

A Book and a Bagel Bar

On Monday, my sister, our friend Anna, and I got together for our first book club meeting.  We wanted to encourage each other to read, have a reliable schedule for our get-togethers, and get into some real talk, so our book club was born.

I picked our first book, Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman, which is a dual biography of the first two women to serve as Supreme Court justices.  As far as books go, it was disappointing:  great concept, poor execution.  But our first meeting was a success!

I’m a sucker for a good theme, so I decided to plan for a dinner bar (you know, bar, like the law)!  That idea could have gone in a ton of different directions — taco bar, yogurt bar, baked potato bar — but we went with a bagel bar as an ode to Ginsburg’s New York roots.

I went with plain bagels so that we could go crazy with spreads and topping options.  Here’s what was on the menu:

Spreads:  hummus, cream cheese, Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter, local clover honey

Toppings:  sliced tomatoes, slice red onion, radishes, cucumbers, capers, assorted salami, sliced Gouda, sliced Muenster

Extras:  Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pineapple, red grapes, Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning, red pepper flakes, Hawaiian black salt

Sips:  Mbali Chenin Blanc-Viognier and Josh Cellars Rosé, both picked up at Trader Joe’s

Before sitting down and diving into our book discussion (and its resulting tangents), we each crafted our bagels.  Anna split hers three ways:  nut butter and honey; Muenster with red onions and radishes; and cream cheese with tomatoes, cucumbers, and capers.  My sister kept it pretty traditional with cream cheese, red onions, and capers on the bagel, with a tomato slice, cucumbers, and salami on the side.  I went half-and-half:  Muenster and salami on one side, cream cheese and capers on the other, plus sides of tomato slices and salami.

We all went back for seconds before moving on to fruit and chocolate-covered almonds.

I highly recommend a bagel bar as an easy dinner party option, but we wouldn’t recommend Sisters in Law, so we’re hoping for more success on the book front next time.  We’ve chosen Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty for our next meeting, just in case you want to read along with us.

The Foodies I Love

I was super-bummed when the Food Network channel turned into nothing but food-related travel and competition shows; my beloved cooking shows are no longer the stars of the channel and I think that’s just wrong.

I find cooking shows to be incredibly relaxing.  I love watching people cook.  I love the way chefs talk about ingredients, like they’re just the most beautiful, precious things in the whole wide world.  I love how easy TV chefs can make the most complicated dishes appear.

If I’m really desperate, I’ll put up with the annoying chefs with the gimmicky shows.  But I’ve got a few favorites who are my go-to’s for inspiration and relaxation.  (All kinds of episodes can be found on YouTube.)

Ina Garten:  She is my mega girl crush.  I adore her.  And I adore Jeffrey.  I love her kitchen, her garden, and her on-show friends/guests who are terrible actors.  I will forgive her for her ingredient snobbery.  She can basically do no wrong.  (I also love following Drunk Ina Garten on Twitter.)

Mark Bittman:  I enjoy Bittman’s no-frills approach to cooking and his take on food in his writing.  He gets me thinking and I love that!  I really liked A Bone to Pick, which is a compilation of Bittman’s New York Times food beat opinion pieces.

Jamie Oliver:  The accent is great and there’s something about Jamie’s food that makes me feel warm and Thanksgiving-y.  But what I really like is all the work Oliver has done around food education, like the Kitchen Garden Project.

Gennaro Contaldo:  You want to hear someone who loves food talk about food?  Gennaro is your guy.  He makes everything look easy and delicious.  And he’s Jamie Oliver’s mentor!

Next time you’re stressed, give these guys a try.
Then maybe we can petition the Food Network for the return of cooking shows!