Everyone Needs Deadlines: How to Get Stuff Done

Everyone Needs Deadlines: How to Get Stuff Done

I’m riding on an accomplishment high. Since starting to use a Passion Planner in March, I have finally completed EVERY task I set for myself in the week!

How to Get Stuff Done:

1. Take the time to plan. It pays off. Estimate how much time each task will take, and round up.

2. Reflect as you go: each day, each week – what are you super proud of, and what could you do better?

3. Choose your focus for the week: if you get only one thing done, what is the most important thing? Repeat this for each day as well.

4. Request the assistance of accountability buddies to help you, especially with those tasks you keep putting off. Siobhan and I, the Edinburgh branch of Miracle Workers, scheduled an ice cream date to celebrate staying on task. I ended up pushing my most challenging, fear-inducing task until that morning, but it got done!

5. Hustle through to the end. Sometimes when it looks like I won’t get enough done, I give up. Not good!

One of my favourite quotes from Walt Disney: “Everyone needs deadlines”. So true!

your-assignment

Set aside some time to plan out your next week. Or better yet, do it now! Then report back with what you want to get done and I’ll hold you accountable :)

xandra-signature

P.S. Throwback to one of my favourite little essays I’ve written about Nature, Wonder, Magic, Travel.

Mini Adventure: London Weekend

Mini Adventure: London Weekend

I can’t believe it, but I hadn’t been to London since September. This weekend, Monkey and I were in town for the wedding of the lady who is now called Sarah Starrs – it was so special to be a part of their Teeny Wedding Chronicles! When the festivities were over, the improvised adventures began.

SUNDAY

12:00 Monkey and I meandered south to London Bridge, stopping in Rabot for a leisurely chocolatey breakfast. They do the raw chocolate for Hotel Chocolat, and their London café is as sweet as their chocolate scones. We sat for a while, reading and sipping hot chocolate.

14:30 After a quick, sunny walk around the Borough Market area, we hopped on the Tube to Leicester Square. As we headed for Foyles, a most fantastic and massive bookstore, we both got a bit hungry, so we veered off towards Seven Dials, where I introduced Monkey to Homeslice, my favourite pizza place in London. It happens to be in Neal’s Yard, which was a lovely memory of where I first met the very Sarah in question!

16:00 All pizza’d up, before we knew it, it was time for Monkey to catch his train home, so to Kings Cross we went, making an obligatory stop at the Harry Potter shop. After I’d given up on my search, I found that they now produce official house coasters, so Gryffindor and Hufflepuff ones were purchased for our bedside tables of course.

17:00 I was tempted to go back to the hotel and crash, but Monkey encouraged me to make the most of my time in London, so I hopped back on the train to get my Foyles fix. Their newer location is beautifully spacious, and much neater than their former maze of a layout (although that was part of its iconic charm, of course!). I hiked up to the top and circled my way down, taking the longest time in the stationery section, and picking up a cute birthday card for no one in particular to add to my stash.

17:30 When in London, I always stop at Muji. In fact, I look forward to London trips to go to Muji. Ditto Paris. I stocked up on my favourite pen refills, realized they now do refills for erasable pens too, and decided to try out their correction tape. Oh Muji. So wonderful.

18:00 Back to Hackney for the night, where I planned out my Monday and watched Made in Chelsea to wind down my whirring mind [and see if any gorgeous London locations popped up. They always do.]

MONDAY

9:00 I had planned on jogging around Victoria Park, but woke up feeling groggy, so I abandoned that plan in favor of hunting for green juice in Shoreditch. My wish was granted at O Food in Spitalfields Market. Sipping my kale [and other green stuff. But I saw ‘kale’ and was like, yeah this is probably the healthy one], I could feel my vision getting sharper. Always the best.

10:00 A quick stop in Inspitalfields, another birthday card to add to the collection [Most of my friends are Tauruses, so my stock is running low!], and then I popped in my earbuds and finally finished listening to the marathon of RHAP episodes that piled up at the end of the season.

11:30 During my Sunday night planning session, I booked a pedicure treatment at The Painted Lady. I’ve only had two pedicures ever, but after all that walking around the city and standing on the Tube, my feet were begging me, so I gave in. Hayley was really lovely, my feet were restored, and I caught up on my British Vogue. Win win win.

13:00 Making my way down Redchurch, which is becoming one of my favourite London streets, I grabbed a yummy lunch at Albion, and got some work done on my computer before relocating to Cream, a new find on New Inn Yard. In between bites of toasted banana bread (YUM) and sips of flat white (my new drink of choice), I drafted this post!

15:00 En route to Old Street Station, I discovered a lovely little shop called Material. I saw their wall of Wallpaper* City Guides and knew I was at home.

16:00 It was a nice day, so I took a stroll around Covent Garden, stopping at the Disney Store just to browse. Oh my Tsumtsums.

16:40 Back to Foyles to do some typing in their café. Sampled the seasonal soda – Rhubarb – handmade in Hackney. Unexpectedly delicious.

19:00 Off to the Phoenix Theatre across the street for Bend it Like Beckham the Musical with Caz! A mini FabulosiTEA reunion, and seeing Jamie Campbell Bower in person! So much fun. We ended the evening in a tapas restaurant, nibbling, giggling, and scheming(yes, season 2 is in the works…shhh…) the night away!

Tips on How to Do London:

  • Plan out your route beforehand, especially if you’re staying in a weird-to-access area like Hackney.
  • London has so many different personalities and neighborhoods. Plan your day around one or two instead of pressuring yourself to hop all around town, navigating Tube stations.
  • If you do plan on navigating Tube stations, get an Oyster card. You don’t have to think about what the best value trip is; the card calculates it for you!

Finally, what do you think of this old school time-stamped Mini Adventures post? It’s been a while since I’ve done one!

xandra-signature

P.S. Simple Fix: Bring a jacket.

Heroines I Met This Week / 007

Heroines I Met This Week / 007
in a book / / Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain is transcendental magic that makes me want to frolic in the woods.
on a blog / / Discovered Hiya Tootsie, which is just plain fun. A Dream-Chasing playlist? Count me in.
in a song / / Early summer means time for Charlene Kaye.

on a podcast / / Oh my gosh guys. Two words: Animation Addicts! You know how I feel about Disney. And how I’m a general geek for animation. Finally found somewhere to fuel my passion.
on netflix / / Pretty Little Liars is BACK. If you’re watching, please let’s talk about the latest episode okay?! Also, how gorgeous is their tea party above? That’s what I’m trying to channel in the Secret Garden, everyone.
on survivor / / just finished watching Exile Island in preparation for Second Chance, which just started filming! Of course I love Cirie, and does anyone else see that pre-merge boot Misty looks like a cross between Amanda Kimmel and Parvati? uhhhh #superfan.
on instagram / / @hellosandwich makes me huuuuungry
in the cinema / / Tomorrowland completely warmed my heart. “Dreamers need to stick together!”
in edinburgh / / Maison de Moggy‘s moved around the corner from me! Kitty time on demand.
your-assignment
Leave a comment to talk Pretty Little Liars please. (Or whatever. But mostly Pretty Little Liars).
xandra-signature

How I Went Sugar Free for a Week

How I Went Sugar Free for a Week

When I’m feeling a big sluggish and crummy, one of the best things I can do for myself is declare a Sugar-Free Week. Despite having had mostly-sugar-free weeks several times, last week I wanted to fully commit, sans my usual weakness: exceptions [Sugar Free…except Nutella. Or almond milk with added sugar. Or jam. Or cake.]. My body feel terrific in the end, and so did my head – a sugar-free rush of will-power success!

Here’s how I made it happen:

1. Every day I watched an informative video reminding me of the health reasons why I was putting myself through this. Some favourites:

2. I checked in with accountability partners on Facebook. A few friends and I have a group called “semaine sans sucre” because we also happen to speak French (Uh. They do, anyway. I know a few words). Every day I posted an update of my progress, and links to the videos and articles I found.

3. I kept healthy snacks on hand. Like strawberries, instead of ice cream for dessert. The hardest part of cutting out sugar is its sheer abundance – in cereal, almond milk, any kinds of packaged snacks…everywhere! Sometimes I don’t even crave it, but it’s more convenient to grab. Shame.

4. I chose my coffeeshops for their sugar-free options. Starbucks does sugar-free syrups, so when my friend wanted to grab frapuccinos I didn’t have to skip out. I also spent a lot of time at Cafe 39, which is run by my favourite yoga studio, which offers sugar-free cakes that I think are even tastier. Plus they have surprisingly healthy ingredients, like aubergines! I do like a vegetable in my cake.

As usual, at the end of the week I didn’t feel like eating sugar. It wasn’t as tasty as I remembered. Maybe one day I’ll go completely off it. For now I take pride in my occasional detoxes!

your-assignment

I dare you to take on the challenge too! Stock up on healthy snacks and cut out sugar for a week – you can do it :) I’ll even be your cheerleader – just let me know on Twitter!

xandra-signature

P.S. Why and How I’m a vegetarian/vegain-ish

 

Best Disney-Loving Bloggers

Gala Darling‘s Radical Self Love Lifestyle Tip #1 is to create Disneyland in your heart every day, and I oh-so-giddily stamp the Heroine Training seal of approval on that one. I may take Disney geekdom to another level, as my childhood was dotted with many magical trips to Disney World and ever-going rewatches of the Animated Classics [on VHS].

I was overjoyed to find other fabulous Internet ladies who share my passion for all things imagineering, including Disney Dress Up. Here’s who I turn to when I need a Disney Inspiration!

Lynsay / Miss West End Girl

The Best Disney Bloggers

Lynsay frequents Walt Disney World annually, and just started Disneybounding! If you’re planning a holiday, check out her tips on how to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom. This girl knows her stuff.

Megan / Briar Rose Blog

The Best Disney Bloggers

Megan is pretty much a real-life princess – she got engaged and honeymooned at Disneyland Paris (and the wedding was Disney-inspired too of course)! Now she cosplays in startling likeness to the princesses she portrays, and furnishes her home with Disney-ful trinkets.

Kate / Scathingly Brilliant

Best Disney-Loving Bloggers

The sadly now defunct Scathingly Brilliant captures old fashioned Disney charm that takes you right back to the days of Walt. Kate is a pin-collector, expert theme park packer, and Dapper Day frequenter! Still plenty of archives to scroll through, and the occasional Disney-themed product in her store!

Gabriella / Pixie and Pixier

Best Disney-Loving Bloggers

Gabriella makes the shirts I probably bought at the Disney store when I was a 90s kid look actually really cool. Perhaps most importantly, she is the creator of my Lady and the Tramp earrings!

And did you know that there are several official Disney blogs? Check out Oh My Disney, Disney Insider, and Disney Style for your next addiction.

your-assignment

Link it up! Share your favourite Disney bloggers and blog posts. Because I just can’t get enough.

xandra-signature

P.S. Find out which two Disney characters = me.

Sunday Sampling: Savour Your Year

sunday-sampling

These classics in a minute are hilarious.

Which of these women is the true seductress?

Some lovely rainy day activity ideas from anthro.

Heartmade’s tips on how to self-promote without being annoying – something they do very well!

The only productivity tip you’ll ever need.

An extensive guide to walking in high heels without falling over.

A reminder to stop and savour your year!

xandra-signature

P.S. Simple fix for feeling and looking better

American Girl Taught Me History. And Fashion.

American Girl Taught Me History. And Fashion.

I have always credited American Girl for my knowledge of American history, but recently I realized that it is also responsible for my first forays into fashion.

American Girl Taught Me History. And Fashion.

They say that what you do for fun as a child is insight on what you enjoy as an adult. As a child, I built the stories and wardrobes of my dolls. So on my most recent trip home, I gave them all spring outfits! AG Doll therapy was super fun and a great way to release creativity.

your-assignment

Treat yourself to a throwback day. Get out the colouring books, the dolls, the children’s books, and revel in some childhood fun.

xandra-signature

P.S. Things I learned from having no internet at home

Join the Happy Thesis Challenge!

happythesischallenge

When I discovered studyblrs, I actually wished I had exams to study for.

Believe me, I never EVER thought this would happen.

So here’s what I’ve learned: for me at least, aesthetics matter. My friend Eveline and I bonded over the importance of chic study spaces and fine writing implements [while the Monkey looked on, confused], and the #HappyThesisChallenge began!

Join the Happy Thesis Challenge!

Here’s how it works:

For anyone stuck with library work this summer, thesis or otherwise, we’ve got your back. Let’s hold each other accountable in style by posting inspirational images showing how our workspaces make us happy!

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.38.12 AM

Join the Happy Thesis Challenge!

I also started my own Tumblr.

If you want some concentrated study-inspiration, follow me here!

Join the Happy Thesis Challenge!

your-assignment

I’ll be posting all summer as I write my dissertation, and I hope that you will join me. Use the hashtag #happythesischallenge

xandra-signature

P.S. for when you don’t feel like studying just yet: films for inspiring productivity and work ethic

Finding the Perfect Tarot Cards

The Perfect Tarot Cards

Tarot came to me at just the right time – my Head of Hufflepuff Paige led a Midsummer Tarot ritual that gave me hope in the midst of a challenging summer.

So I made it my birthday mission to find the perfect tarot deck this year. Paige suggests feeling the cards and seeing what resonates. There are so many decks out there, and while I liked a lot of them, nothing was perfect.

I could have just gotten the Wild Unknown, a perfectly ethereal popular choice, but I knew as soon as I settled I’d find the deck that was just right for me. I looked in Boston, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Cornwall. It took nearly a year, but it was a fun challenge, and a wonderful example of how enjoying the process can be worth it.

Finally, I found this fashionably light deck from a magical little Witch Shop via Etsy.

The Perfect Tarot Cards

My first spread + a moon magic crystal:

The Perfect Tarot Cards

As an homage to my past as a child of the 00’s, my new cards live in my Leo purse from a place we used to call Limited Too:

Finding the Perfect Tarot Cards

your-assignment

When your heart craves a new object, enjoy the process of finding it with care.

xandra-signature

P.S. simple fix for feeling more like a princess

Productivity Secret: The Best Pens Ever

Productivity Secret: The Best Pens Ever

I’m quite particular about my pens. After discovering the Study Blogging movement on Tumblr (which is what really got my through my final semester), I am confident that I am not alone in my passion for fine writing tools. These are no joke the only pens I own.

The Magical Muji Erasable ^

I use only erasable pens in my Passion Planner so that I can edit my daily schedule neatly! The erasers on these are surprisingly satisfactory.

The Seven Year Pretty Pen

Productivity Secret: The Best Pens Ever

I do a lot of writing, and these truly last. Only one has run out of ink for me, and although it didn’t last a full seven years, it did get me through a month of Oxford exams. They now come in so many cute designs, including a unicorn one!

Muji’s Addictive Double Highlighter

Productivity Secret: The Best Pens Ever

Muji turned me into a highlighter connoisseur. Look at those sharp edges! So easy and so pleasant to use. My Ravenclaw girl Mo got me hooked on highlighting items on to do lists rather than crossing or ticking them off. I use the smaller end for underlining.

My All-Time Favourite Eco-Frinedly Muji Pens

Productivity Secret: The Best Pens Ever

I adore these classics. The best part is that Muji sells refills, so all you have to do is discard the inner part when it runs out of ink and replace it! I like to put black and blue ink in formerly colourful pens to have interesting caps as a bonus.

your-assignment

What are your favourite types of pens? It makes a difference to select them mindfully – they provide an extra little dose of happiness!

xandra-signature

P.S. 13 Ways to Lift Yourself Out of an Energy Slump