How many times have you decided to get healthy starting Monday? Are you going to write the next great novel “someday”? Perhaps you are a student and “hoping” to pass all of your classes?

All of these dreams are the beginning of a goal, but without more detail they are harder to accomplish. As people, we tend to have a lot of really great ideas. Someday kills them. Hoping to get lucky with no responsibility eradicates our own ability to celebrate without a gnawing suspicion that we may not be so lucky next time.

When you want to set a goal, make sure it is “SMART”!

S= Specific

M=Measurable

A= Achievable

R=Relevant

T=Time-bound

Let’s stick with getting healthy and do some practice.

“I want to get healthy, but I will start on Monday.”

Does this statement answer all of the SMART statements above? Is it specific? No. What is healthy. There is no way to assume that you are over/underweight. It could be that you want to change your diet to feel better/alleviate some ailment. Healthy is too broad of a term to ensure that this goal is Specific.

“I want to lose 20 pounds.”

Better. This one is specific as it provides a precise measurement. Just saying “I want to lose weight” leaves us nothing to measure. This statement has knocked off the first two criteria for setting a SMART goal (Specific/Measurable)

“I (still) want to lose 20 pounds”

Great! Is this achievable for you specifically? This may be an easy answer for you or you may need to seek the advice of a medical professional (which is most definitely not me). Make sure you are setting a goal that is relevant to you. Make sure you and your body will be happier once you start to see these results. You could always alter the amount. “I want to lose/gain 5 pounds”, “I want to have more energy and not feel so bogged down because of my diet”. You can also measure subjectively. If you feel lethargic a lot, you could maintain a journal on your journey to track any changes/improvements. You are not tied to the statements I make. Make them your own. If your goal is attainable, move along. Is this goal relevant to you? Keep tweaking until you come up with something that fits your needs/desires. (Achievable/Relevant)

Now, let us give it some Time.

“I want to lose 20 pounds in six months”

Look at that! You have created a deadline. Now your goal is Time-Bound. You have taken away the dreaded ambiguity of someday and given yourself a block of time to achieve a goal. (Time-Bound)

Time to review the entire thing and make sure we have checked off each of the criteria.

S= 20 pounds

M= You have your starting weight and a measurable goal (20 pounds)

A= You have made sure that this is something that you can do and that it is an achievable goal with your overall health in mind.

R= Looking at whether the goal fits you personally. Relevance has passed.

T= You have given yourself 6 months to reach your goal.

Now that you have created an overall goal, you can start creating mini-goals.

“I want to lose about one pound a week. I will lose 4 pounds in one month.”

Your smart goal has led you to a place where you can seek out the information that you need to make it happen. These are your actionable steps. Each of these should also be SMART.

  • I will exercise for one hour 3 times a week.
  • I will increase my daily water intake to 64 ounces per day.
  • I will decrease my saturated fat/carbohydrate intake by 20%.
  • I will increase the amount of fresh foods in my diet by including two vegetables/ fruits to each of my meals.

Again, you are in no way bound to my example including weight loss. Write a book! Achieve a Grade Point Averge (GPA) you can be proud of on purpose! Clean your house! Take up running! Do whatever you want! Just make sure you are SMART!

I tried to find an origin for the SMART acronym. Here’s a little tidbit I found…

Origin of SMART Goals Acronym (click the link)

Want to read more? Start here:

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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As my father’s 60th birthday approaches, I can’t help but think about celebration and grief.

I would love to call my Dad on the phone and remind him that he’s another year older and that his hairline has disappeared. I would probably call him the ol’ Onceler and we’d talk about our days and the grandkids and all things good and bad. He would reminisce on a full life and we would laugh. He’d probably answer “Yello…..” and he’d inevitably throw in a “quitcherbitchin” when I started to rant about any nonsensical thing.

Celebration

Maybe a surprise party; balloons, cake, and presents. We would discuss my dissertation and all of the studying he did in college when I was a kid. He would share all of the wit and the troubles. He would also remind me that he made more money than I probably ever will,

-because he did not finish college,

-life was not fair,

-and I should not stand for that type of treatment.

This was his gentle, and obvious way, of ribbing me into a competition to push beyond the limits he envisioned that I had set for myself. I also would never do the types of manual, dangerous work he did, so there is that too.

He would tell the very best “dad jokes” and about how my driving always scared him. “She always said the lines on the road were a suggestion…..” Or, he’d do that weird egg crack trick on top of my head, because no matter how successful or old, making your child’s stomach turn is somehow hilarious. And when he did, I would gently remind him of how when I was little I removed the fish from their meticoulsly pristine home, dried them off, and put them back! *That’s one of those stories you tell your parents later in life because you’d get in major trouble when you were six*

No matter how exciting or mundane, I would love to see these pop up again.

Time to go fishing
Always fall back on what you know of sports ❤ (I totally passed stats and I’ve taken more)
🙂
My graduation moved to Spring
December 2020 ❤ I’m going to walk the stage this time

Grief

This isn’t the first time, and I hope it is not the last time I have written about grief. You are welcome to see Like A Stone for more about losing my father. There is no going back to whatever I pictured an ideal existence to be before. This is my new normal.

There is nothing exceptional to any part of the story other than it is my own. Maybe there is someone that needs to know that a new normal is possible. Maybe someone needs to know that coupling grief and depression is not crippling, but it is ok if sometimes it needs to be. For 24 years, he knew what life was like without me, but I did not learn how to exist without him for 31. This is year 4, and I am ok.

I was so damn angry when it happened. Then I was relieved. Today it is fine. I cannot tell you what comes next. Through death I learned that nothing I care about and intend to protect can be bought. Time is a far more valuable currency.

I learned that letting go is an option. There is nothing I need to inject where the universe is perfectly qualified. The integrity that I so fearfully wanted to protect was not going to be sustained through any venegful or foolish acts. I learned that people can be gentle and loving and people can be selfish and hurtful, and when the strings are pulled tight the spirit that they feed will not hide for long. I learned that no one gets to define my intentions but me and I learned to live with the words that convey misunderstanding. I learned to accept the apology that I was never given. And I learned to forgive myself for being human; weaknesses and all.

I learned that the example that I set will only be positive if I let go of fear. I appreciate all of the times when my heart was hurting and I was simply told, “you don’t have to put up with that”. So, I changed my response instead of controlling the situation. I learned that I am too small to carry the weight of everything. I learned to appreciate travelling places where I am reminded that I am small.

Have you ever watched animations of the universe? They tend to start at Earth and pull back through systems and galaxies until we are all but unrecognizable, but an integral piece. Makes me cry, every-dang-time.

Next….

I have spent time educating children and adults about safety. Here may be just the spot to interject some of that transferrable advice. If you, or someone that you care about, is struggling with addiction, depression, or other mental/physical health concerns, take time to identify the people in your life that you can go to for help. Whether directly affected or an observer, it is ok to reach out for help. You are not a burden.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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As you continue to read, imagine we are talking. I will be me and you be you. It is perfectly fine as you digest what you have taken in and begin to give it meaning that you change roles. Maybe you are me, maybe you are still you thinking about a time that you have talked to a me in your life. Maybe this makes no sense to you and you are still reading because dammit, you are intrigued.

“How about that weather?” 

-“Weather” never ceases to exist, and at some point in the past, whether it be recent or not, you and I both have experienced it before. What about the jet stream? Or climate change? What about clear skies and starry nights?

“Whew, long day huh?”

-Each and every day is a measurement of time, which is finite. This day is the same in length as other days. Are you tired? Overworked? Underwhelmed? It’s not a long day. Maybe you need a hug, or a nap.

Well, it IS Monday!”

– Yes, every week. Monday continuously happens. I believe Garfield also hated Mondays. Whatever stuggle is being tied to “Monday” is likely unconnected. Commiting a robery? Well, it’s Monday! Thursday and you would’ve been in a real pickle. Stub your toe? Wreck your car? No, you did not succumb to an interruption of situational awareness. It’s Monday!

“The rain! The heat! The wind! The ultraviolet rays! It’s cold! I’m melting! Are my elbows sweating?”

I simply cannot. No, I can. Because like some social psychopath I have studied the ways of the people in an attempt to appear normal when I’m approached with small talk. If you’re at all familiar with my background and think I should have a better, more professional, and possibly concise way of describing that feeling, I do not.

I crave connection. Meaningful connection. A long conversation about the weather, or current projects, or about what joys and troubles the time reminds us of, I can do that. Too often, “How are you?” is uttered in such a rush that it becomes something to say instead of an invitation to empathy. I feel the same way about “I’m sorry.” You can read about that too: I Stopped Saying I’m Sorry

I like “Hello’s”. If the purpose of sharing a phrase is to acknowledge another person, that does just the trick. If you ask me (or someone like me) a follow up question, then a stream of thoughts, feelings, memories, and connections start that I am unable to stop. A little obsessive? Maybe. I would love to share with you a funny anecdote or a great article I read. I could be tired, and maybe in that moment what I need is for someone to simply let me know that whatever struggle is present will pass. There could be no negative, it could be a really great day and what I would love to share is hope. I can have a really great conversation about any number of things.

The interaction is so mechanical. Let’s talk about research and your interests. Ten or one thousand small, meaningless interactions make me tired. Repeated stimulation with no resolve, makes me tired. So that I can avoid being a bother, I shut off.

In my limited time, I have learned a few ways to combat the way small talk makes me feel.

  • Make eye contact. Acknowledge that someone exists. If you’re shy (and I mean that in a way that someone is shy and experiences a real fear when interacting with people) maybe try it once. Let it happen and see how it works. 
  •  If you’re going to engage in small talk, see it through. Don’t say something for the sake of making noise.
  •  (THIS ONE IS ME!) If silence makes you uncomfortable, practice. I’ve worried myself countless times wondering if the silence wasn’t filled would somebody spot that I am a person that lives with depression or anxiety or due dates or I haven’t folded the laundry that I washed 3 whole days ago. I engage in public speaking more than I would have told you I was willing to 10 years ago. It has taken a long time to learn how to just hush instead of using fillers like “like” and “ummmmmm”. Pause is ok.
  • You love small talk. Don’t get irritated when you say something and the recipient wants to engage. Otherwise, pause.
  • I am inspired by people that make other people feel important. The key ingredient is time. Giving someone your time is a gift that cannot be replaced.

How do you feel about small talk? Any additional tips or thoughts?

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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Do you dress your pets?

I do! Pets come with an array of personality traits and while some love getting dressed up and flaunting their style, some are prone to the preference of living their sweet, fluffy lives the way nature provided.

Instagram. Sandy enjoying the February in Kentucky sunshine.

Thanks to a message from Paw Clothes, my favorite four legged cutie was invited to model their available fashion. Check out the beauty that inspired this collaboration. Use code: KOTTEREVE25 for a 25% discount on your new favorite pet clothes!


The Models.

Sandy is the inspiration that started it all. She is a full figured beauty in the doggy fashion industry and must be treated with the respect a woman of her stature deserves. She is a 10 (ish) year old beagle mix rescue. Her gentle yet protective nature makes her a perfect fit in our family. When she’s excited her entire body “wags” and while she’s pretty low to the ground, she’s never short on affection.

Gypsy, a lively two year old Boxer, German Shepherd mix isn’t playing dress up for this post, but she’s a hundred pounds of pooch worth a mention. Her tail may feel like a whack from a bat, but she’s full of energy and is never opposed to a good nap.

Don’t let the senior discount fool you, Annabelle has all of the personality and no time for your sass. She’s queen of her castle and a special thanks to my friend for letting me borrow her for this project.

Cadbury, a one year old rabbit. Do you think we weren’t going to play with the cute bunny? Seriously. Also, he wants you to know, he has strong opinions and a desire to be left alone. Happy (almost) birthday, Cadbury!

Paw Clothes

I must commend the folks at Paw Clothes for making this an easy and enjoyable experience. Each item is accompanied by measurements to make dressing your pet simple. The items that I purchased turned out to be better suited for a smaller four legged pal than those who live at the Kotter household, but nonetheless, the show must go on! Each of the items featured below is accompanied by a link to the site listing.

Don’t forget to use code: KOTTEREVE25 for a 25% discount on your new Paw Clothes!

Non- Slip Puppy Socks
Non-Slip Puppy Socks (Take 2)
PawClothes Designer Set- Captain BowTie
PawClothes Designer Set- Pink Bandana
PawClothes Designer Set- Captain Bowtie
Summer Walk Cap
(PS This dog didn’t dig wearing a hat- photo shoot cut short)

The Amazon Purchase Section

Last, but not least, I purchased “Adidog” gear from Amazon. In their defense I did not compare the measurements to Sandy and Gypsy and assumed an XL and 2X would suffice. The XL can be seen below, featured on Annabelle. A cutie either way, with a new wardrobe.

The link below connects to a listing featuring this sweater up to size 9x!

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Annabelle is featured in an XL Sweater from Amazon!

And Finally, a “goodbye” from Annabelle

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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Getting into college is only the first of many hurdles in higher education. The application process alone varies from institution to institution. The determination to succeed can not diminish just because you’ve made your way to that acceptance letter. In the many (many) years I have been a student, I have picked up on a few things to consider if you are struggling.

Do you know how to study?

  • Important note: Do you know how to read a textbook? I’m dead serious here. These books are set up specifically to teach you a great deal of information. If your approach is too casual, or you just don’t know what to look for, you could miss out on a lot of important information. When it comes to test time, that is going to hurt your chances of making the grade you want. For some tips on reading your textbook, check out this wikihow: https://www.wikihow.com/Read-a-Textbook
  • Are you studying in an environment that works for you? Make sure you have a place where you can devote your attention to your work. This could be your home, a specific room, a library, or anywhere you can get some distraction free time. Let go of your devices, especially social media, if this is a source of distraction to you. Your performance in the classroom is affected by everything you experience outside of the classroom and that is different for everybody. Set yourself up for success!
  • How do you learn? I’ve read a lot in favor of knowing your own learning style. This can help if a specific method isn’t working to make information meaningful to you. I have a hard time listening to lecture and retaining information. If you would like to learn more about learning style, I recommend the VARK quiz. This one is free and can be taken online. http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire

Are you spending enough time on your schoolwork outside of the classroom?

  • Cramming is not the answer! Your best learning does not take place an hour before the test. Never does. Have I written assignments last minute? Yes. Have I crammed for a test? Yes. Did I always get the lower grade I deserved? No. You may be able to pull this off from time to time, but it is going to catch up to you! Give yourself time to destress before a test. Do yourself a favor now and absorb what you can so you won’t have to “relearn” it later.
  • How much time are you studying outside of class? Before you assess this, let’s talk about a few things. Is this course/content difficult for you? What are your semester goals? Your overall educational goals? Is there something else this grade could affect (scholarships, club affiliation, etc.)? As a general rule, it is good to study two hours for every credit hour you take. Let’s say you’re enrolled in a 3 hour civics class (x 2 hours study). Then you would need to engage with that content 6 hours per week.
  • Enrolled in 15 hours for the semester? Then 30 hours of your week are comitted to your student success friends. Have a job? A family? Want to sleep? I will do another post on time management at a later time 🙂

Do you know your instructors/professors?

  • Let me say it again. Do you know who the people are that are teaching your classes? I spent so much time avoiding asking for help because I was afraid they would know that I didn’t always understand what was going on. I did not know how to contribute what I did know and ask for help when I needed it. Part of that was due to being intimidated by whoever was teaching the class.
  • These people have office hours, email, etc. for a reason! Now that I am the person at the head of the classroom, I would be crushed to know that someone didn’t make it just because they didn’t feel like they could reach out to me. It’s really that simple. These people are just as human as you are and every one of them has been a student (they may still be one somewhere). Have no fear, ask for help if you need it.

As I wrap up this post, I realize that there are numerous areas that I haven’t even touched. Working toward making someone else’s journey through higher ed a little less painful or awkward or weird is why I’m still here.

Imagine a world where the brightest minds just need a little push to thrive or the space to feel safe to try and succeed or try and fail and try again. That’s where we are. There are students who don’t speak up or ask for help. There are ways that we can make it better.

I would love to continue to write about achieving success, overcoming boundaries, and such. Are there any other areas that you would like to see covered? If I haven’t experienced it myself, I bet there’s a resource for someone who has.

If you are interested in contributing or collaboration, please send me an email: happykotter@gmail.com.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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  • After searching nearly 10’s of dozens of posts trying to learn about what is needed to start a successful blog, here it is, a getting-to-know-me post filled with random tidbits and other nonsense. Let’s pretend I did this first.

 

Proceed if you dare….

  • Please tell us, when you were born?

-It was a year unlike any other. Sting and The Police made stalking poetically melodic, and McDonald’s released the Chicken McNugget.

  • What’s your full name and are you proud of it?

– J. Eve Kotter. It’s mine, so of course.

  • Are you named after someone, if yes then after whom?

– Yes, I am. I am named after an aunt and a license plate.

  • Where are you from?

– Transplant Kentuckian by way of Illinois.

  • Which one is better, Basketball or Baseball?

-Football. Football should have been an option.

  • Who is your favorite person in modern history?

– Steve Jobs was pretty cool.

  • Who is your favorite writer in modern history?

– Brene Brown

  • Who is your favorite musician from the 20th century?

– Tom Petty, Heart, Pat Benatar, Aerosmith, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd, Prince, Eric Clapton, so many more, and Britney Spears emerged in the 90s, so she counts too 😂

  • Do you love animals, if yes then which one you love most?

– Yes, monkeys. All of them. Fond of all the primates, let me at em.

  • Do you have children? And how many?

– Yes, I have two. They’re tween and teen and still act like they know me in public. We’re doing well. Thank you.

  • If you have children, what’s their name?

– I call them Ladybug 🐞 and Monkey 🐵

  • What is your favorite drink of all?

– Water has done some pretty good things for me.

  • Do you have a favorite basketball player?

– No, I do not.

  • What is your greatest achievement in high school?

– Staying alive.

  • DO you want to have a business?

– Of course, I DO.

  • Which business you want to have and why?

– Hustle quietly. That’s personal….for now.

  • What is your most favorite scene from movies?

– The one where Brenden sings Por Ti Volare at the F****** Catalina Wine Mixer 😂

*Step Brothers, 2008*

  • If you love snakes, which one is your favorite?

– I’m no expert, but I am too aware of Freud to answer this.

  • Do you love music? Which genre is your favorite?

– Depends on my mood. A lot is missed if you commit to music choice by tag alone. I am always up for Blue October (alt. rock) though 😋

  • How tall are you? Have you dreamed of being even taller?

– 5’9″. I can reach all the stuff, so I’m good. If I could get taller instead of losing weight, that would be awesome though.

  • What is your favorite number and please tell us, why?

– I don’t have a favorite number, because that’s not something I’ve considered.

  • Have you ever been on any bridge? Do you like bridges?

– Yes, I have crossed bodies of water of various size. I like that they serve a purpose.

  • Do you have fear of anything? If it’s not secret, please tell us what you fear the most?

– I fear to bite into undercooked meat or pasta 🤢

  • Where are you working right now?

– I’m my office. Location is undisclosed.

  • Have you ever dreamed of being a successful lawyer?

– No, I prefer to argue without an official record.

  • Where do you want to travel?

-Ireland. End of story.

  • How do you describe yourself?

– READ: About Eve

  • Can you describe yourself in just 3 words?

– Determined, Gritty, Succeeding

  • What are the most powerful 3 words that changed your life?

– A new normal.

  • Who you admire the most, mother or father?

– Pardon me, That’s a shi**y question.

  • Do you have siblings? How many?

– Yes. One.

  • How many books do you read during summer vacations?

– I’ve been back in college since 2013. I don’t have a summer vacation 😂

  • Are you technology lover, if not, why?

– I am a technology user. I don’t have strong feelings about it.

  • What do you prefer, Windows or Mac?

-MAC

  • Which brand is your favorite, Apple or Samsung?

-Apple

  • Who is the most valuable person in Tech world, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?

– Both men and companies have made admirable achievements.

  • Who is your favorite male Youtuber?

– My son. And that guy that makes the Sylvester the talking cat videos. The King of Random is pretty cool too.

  • Who is your favorite female YouTuber?

– I can’t think of one.

  • How do you feel right now?

– Little tired.

  • Can you remember the first time you felt angry?

– I’m sure I was a baby. No, I cannot.

  • Can you remember the first time laughed?

– Again, babies do this. No.

  • Who is your favorite comedy movies actor?

– Will Ferrell

  • Who is your favorite stand-up Comedian and why?

– George Carlin. Smart, hilarious, and unhindered by social norm.

  • Which Home Alone movie is your favorite?

– The correct answer is the first one.

  • What was the reason you cried the last time?

-Allergies.

  • Do you know where your career will be in 10 years?

– No, I’m here for the experience.

  • Do you love your work and is this your dream work?

– I really do and yes it is.

  • What is your favorite moment from childhood?

– Being in my grandma’s yard. Road Trip to Pittsburgh.

  • Do you have pets, Cat or dog?

– 1 Cat, 2 dogs, 2 sugar gliders, and the aforementioned children 😋

  • Do you love fishing, if yes then why?

– Yes, because I said so.

  • What Is your favorite Burger and why?

– McDonald’s cheeseburger, onions only, and ranch. (Hush)

  • Which one you prefer, Coke or Pepsi?

– Regular Coke, Diet Pepsi

  • Which ocean is your favorite and why?

– I could choose the Atlantic because it’s the only one I’ve visited, but that’s unfair given the existence of alternative oceans not being considered based only on my lack of exposure.

  • Which one is your favorite, Barack Obama or George Bush?

– With zero political influence, Bush is adorable and I love listening to Obama speak.

  • Which candidate was your favorite during the latest US Presidential elections?

– The one that wasn’t a misogynist.

 

Leave a comment if there is anything else you would like to know about me.

And, check the disclaimer for content info and such…..

 

 

3) Boundaries. Set them...

You are not available 24 hours a day. Look back at the bubbles. Outside of that centralized area where you take care of yourself and then the people closest to you, boundary.

We are not available, exhaustible resources.

One night, when I could not sleep, I checked my email. At roughly 4 AM, I had inadvertently engaged in conversation with a student. (If said student happens to read this..It’s all good, I’m just making a point.) I have made an effort to stop engaging in everything at all hours of the day. There are times I need to focus on work, and I am paid to do so. There are other times where I need to be present for myself and my family. The reward outweighs the paycheck. Other times, I am a student. This is important to me and deserves my mostly undivided attention from time to time ( a lot of time).

But, time is finite, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Prioritize- and be firm-

2) Shut off…

I share a lot. I do not share everything. There is value in sharing feelings and experiences, but you do not get all of it.

How amazing is it that at any hour of any day all over the world we can be connected to people and news and events and opinions and criticisms and nonsense and so on? Stop it from time to time and connect with reality.

To put words into practice, try:

  • shutting off your phone
    • disconnect your email so you can only focus on the content when you are ready (make sure you make time to be ready)
    • turn off notifications
      • check all of your media (social and otherwise) when you are ready. Disconnect from the dings, lights, and vibrations
  • stepping away from the computer
    • give an hour (or more) a day to being at the computer to deal with what needs to be dealt with there
  • turn off the TV
    • I do not watch much TV, but it does provide background noise pretty often. Still ok to turn the thing off

1) Practice Patience…

…and recharge. Set the example when you are on information overload. Outside of an absolute emergency, people can wait, and so can you. Set priorities. If you need to answer something by the end of the day, do that. If you need to check 3 times and day and provide feedback, do that. When you are “off”, be off. Do not compromise the integrity of the many positions that you hold.

Make your contributions meaningful, not half-assed.

A few extras…

I have found something that I absolutely love. My Apple Watch to the rescue when I need to focus or if I’m feeling extra anxious. The “Breathe” app has been amazing. The program includes a graphic representation of an expanding image to coincide with inhaling. The watch also pulses along with the inhale. Why is this amazing?

There is something to pull focus away from whatever is overwhelming. I used this for the first time just before a flight. Now, I use this in public, at home, or wherever I need a second to center. Nobody knows what I’m doing, because I’m just breathing, The pull away from outside stimuli whether real or perceived that triggers anxiety (BTW, thanks anxiety!) is helpful.

You are able to set the duration from 1 minute to 5 minutes of focused breathing. My favorite practice is to set it for 5 minutes, and go ahead and reset once that is over.

For the watch I own:
Apple Watch

If you are not into apple products, it looks like Fitbit has a comparable feature:
FitBit

 

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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“Consider the daffodil. And while you’re doing that, I’ll be over here, looking through your stuff.” – Jack Handy

Multi-Faceted Personality Dis-Order….

The idiom “wear a hat” is far too simplistic for the inner turmoil associated with adjusting your personality and skillsets throughout the days to fit in various functions. I picture all of my “hats” on my head in some Dr. Seuss-esque fashion, and I am doing everything I can to keep them balanced before they tip over.

It is possible to be loving, funny, humble, ambitious, logical, and kind. For each of your desirable attributes lurks the polar opposite, don’t-get-out-of-bed, conspiracy-theory-loving animal. *Cue the circus music* I have an ambitious and addictive personality. There are times when ideas become so robust that I can spend hours in focus on one single thing. The rest of the hours are a mad dash to pick out the one thing I need to accomplish the task at hand. Does my mom-brain lead, my work-brain, my student-brain, friend-brain, leader, follower, partner, etc.?

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Venn diagram *image for illustration*

Each circle on the Venn diagram represents an area of your being. It is the “hat” you wear. We can name these 3; self, family, and work. Self is where your passion is cultivated. This is the area where you pray, meditate, exercise, eat healthy, and sustain happiness. Family are the people closest to you. Family could even be modified to include  an umbrella for friends where the highest knitting between individuals are family, because sometimes the people we choose become our family. These are the people that are proud to know you whether you follow your dreams or support you because they know your value and want to see you thrive.

Work is what you do. The circle where you earn money, advance knowledge, and develop marketable skills. In the midst of being three separate and defined areas, you begin to find overlap creating four brand new areas including one all-inclusive confluence…..of hats.

I picture each circle as a bubble. The bubbles have the ability to grow and to shrink, but never fully detach from the others. When the bubbles are balanced, the confluence is steady and reliable, a comfortable place to stay. In the middle of self and family, I am a mom.

Stop-&-Prioritize

1)Self

2) Mom

“How can you put your self before your own children? Those sweet angels deserve everything and the whole world and ….”

” How do you pour from an empty cup?” How much time did I spend neglecting my children’s needs because I did not take care of their mom? They get the best of me, not what’s left of me.

Even out your bubbles! A dear friend just asked “What is it that you’re missing”? Take yourself back to that area where you keep passion and drive and ambition. Look at how you are operating every single day and verify that is in line with a goal. Make sure that what you tell yourself energizes you and does not hold you back. Make time for the people that care about you regardless of the return. Own each and every one of your hats. If they fall, there are too many, different sizes. Secure your foundation and build up. Let what you bring in to those overlapping areas feed your soul, not your pocket.

Be gentle. Be selfish. Be balanced.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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Beyond some superficial discussion, I have not said this out loud…

The reflections here are my own and are not intended to be representative of anyone other than myself. Take what you need. Leave what you can.

Some of my favorite people have been beautifully broken. The best part about a break in perfection is the unique way that healing takes place. Scars are not made to match another, but to represent a story, an experience, or an injury. I love to know that at some point you have failed, learned a lesson, and found that part of you that wants to carry on. I admire what happens to people when, for a moment, the obstacle looks much larger than the will to overcome it.

Imagine that on any given day, without warning, the baseline that you encounter falls at less than zero. You are wading just below the surface. The waves are insurmountable and your arms are weak. The only thing that unites your lungs with the air you need is a brick. As you grab the brick, you are able to float briefly. You can see the sunshine. You breathe in deeply. Then you are back under. This happens repeatedly and in short enough intervals for your body to sustain life. It does not end.

Take yourself to the shore. That is where you can find me. Watch as someone you love gasps repeatedly. There are moments when the time above water lasts for a moment. You can see that if they just let go and relax, they will float. In this time you can speak, you can dream, and you can hope. Then the waves rise and the brick comes back. You are not equipped with the tools to break this cycle. Left helpless, but hopeful, you are an onlooker to destruction.

In brief, I am the child of addiction. There is no simple way to encompass what that means. There is no further validity in giving a vice a name. There are groups, complete with manuals, for people like me. There are people that think addiction is a weakness, a complete an utter lack of perseverance. There are also people that are not correct. There are people fighting to survive now. And, there are people that are watching at a safe distance, probably silently ripped to shreds.

There is relief now. There is no worry when a car accident has been broadcast that I could know the driver. There are no more questions when my phone rings. The days of wondering how it could end are a safe distance behind me. I find myself in a parental place. I hope that for a moment, or for a collection of moments, there was peace. I want to believe that joy permeated every part of his being for a moment.

I am thankful for an incredible work ethic. My improvement, though, is determination to succeed without sacrifice to self. What would my life be like today if I was never able to lose myself in textbooks? What if he never gave me my first complete set of encyclopedias? What if I never watched football? What if my lullabies were never written by Kipling?

My father passed away. I was naive. Although there are always stories, or someone else’s experiences, I made death a romantic process. There would be a time to be old, and health would decline in a way that was not tragic. In my bubble, I imagined, there would be sadness, and I could see it coming. Sudden, ugly, and painful were not on my imaginary menu of experiences. It is impossible to say what was felt, because a combination of everything and nothing does not have a word.

I have stumbled repeatedly over what kind of message I wanted to relay when I decided there was a message to give. There are moments that can not be duplicated. I am the child of addiction. I am also the child of a father that did everything he could with everything he had to make sure I did something more than he could. Fear-driven rage turned to empathy with time. I have genuine compassion for anyone touched by the pain that addiction can bring. We cope differently. I have learned that the best relationship I can have with some people is a complete absence of one.

Grief will not expire. I do not want to meet the day that apathy wins over an intense emotion. One extreme will not exist without the other, and I remind myself of that when the feelings are blue. When thinking about my own approach to spirituality and death, as concrete as it is, there is poetry. I will, often without intention, assign a song to something or someone. The following is where I keep myself close to my father.

Take What You Need. Leave What You Can.

Audioslave- Like a Stone

“On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on

In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone”

My daughter took a photo of me.

There has been a long fought battle between myself and my confidence. I have been a woman every day of my life, and I am aware of the way I look, the way I present myself, and the way I feel about it. The moment I became a mother the desire to set a positive example of esteem, confidence, and self-care skyrocketed. I have not, though, done as well as I imagined. If I was challenged to identify a list of failures, this one takes the cake.

I am soft, I am nurturing, and I am built to do so. There are parts of me that are in direct competition with my perceived intelligence. There are plenty of things I would change. I have practiced positive self talk and I truly believe a lot of the things I tell myself. I tell my children that they are beautiful. I want them to believe every day that their bodies are amazing and capable of incredible things. As they are navigating life, this is their vessel and they should be proud. I do not want them to compare themselves to popular images of the ideal form, and it breaks my heart to think that they could ever question their value based on their appearance. They are beautiful.

I hate my nose. Contouring is an evil blessing. Please do not make me look at a still shot of my profile. Then, my daughter took a photo of me.

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I am in love. Not because it is my face, but because I get to see what she sees. This was taken in a silly moment in a store floral section. My face is an intricate collection of all of the faces before me. My children are influenced by mine. I have absolutely no business modeling a facade of confidence when I still talk openly about my distaste for the shape and structure of my nose. It seems silly.

My challenge, if I dare to create one, is to let someone whose opinion is valuable to you take your picture. See what they see. Look at where the focus lies. Choose not to believe all of the negative things you tell yourself and change the direction of some of that thinking. It is a wonderful surprise.

XO – J. Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a 12-year Undergrad

5) You are going to fail at something…

It was 2005. I just started my junior year at SIUC after transferring from a local community college. That is as romantic and dramatic as it gets. I failed, and failed hard. I tried to hang on and could not do it. There are a million things that I am not skilled in, but I failed something I loved, and it deflated my self-esteem.

Maybe I am not “smart enough” to be a psychiatrist. We simply are not born with a finite degree of intelligence. We are malleable and moldable creatures with potential. Through changes of major and a complete career change, I never became “smarter”, but I have become a more competent student.

4) Everyone questions their life choices around midterm…

I remember when I shower cried over math. Every term led to some deep introspection about my life choices. I considered dropping out more than once. I stopped out more-than-once. Do I need to keep trying? Why am I trying? What else can I be good at? Are there enough points left to save my grade? All of it.

Students face this crunch in cycle. I have seen it happen. When you feel all alone and on the edge of failure, reach out. You are not in it all by yourself and no one wants to see you throw it away.

Side note: Study! With an open book now an then. It helps!

3) What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn inside of it…

I spent several years as loosely engaged as I could manage with my campus and the strangers on it. I spent just as much time keeping my academic life separate from everything else.

It’s Thanksgiving and you have a plate full of food, but you are the type that does not want anything to touch. You have to spend more time consuming the structure and dynamics  of your plate that you can’t enjoying what is offered. Hopefully, you figure out that the turkey tastes good with the gravy on your potatoes, that cranberry sauce is amazing with the turkey, and the gravy can go just about anywhere with no complaints. (I am still clean eating! This illustration is fantasy as much as anything right now!!)

I was in graduate school before I figured out that engaging with my campus was beneficial and that there were a plethora of opportunities for growth supported by a world of people that literally only want to see students succeed. I spent a lot of time figuring out that my life inside and outside of academia was symbiotic. One feeds the other and vice versa. What you learn inside the classroom is just as important as what you learn outside of it.

2) Success takes time…

A lot of it. There is no race against anyone else. What you offer cannot be duplicated. Chill. End of story.

1) Do not mistake confidence for competence…

January 1, 2018 I made the decision to actively practice self-care in its many forms particularly encompassing mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Ideally, in the space I am now, the optimal intersection of the three would be within finger’s reach. Realistically, it doesn’t work that way, and if it were to be obtained with so little effort, the duration is surely fleeting.

Insert: *Something Inspirational, yet simply profound*

There has been no such moment, but a ton of baby steps and results. I began with diet; reduced refined sugar intake. Nothing crazy, just maybe don’t hydrate solely with Coca Cola. Easy enough. I joined the next challenge when presented by a friend: be active one hour a day for the first 60 days of the year. Motivational mini-goal: Complete a 5k in 30 minutes. For consistency in measurement, I used 3.2 miles.

Day 1: #5kin30

5kstart

February 11:

5k30

Concurrent Challenge: #100m30d

100 miles in 30 days. To make this a little clearer, here is a photo of the distance from Murray, Ky. to Nashville, Tn. (117miles)

100m30d

One step, two step, 100.39 miles…….

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In the first 60 days of 2018 a lot of things happened. The time on the treadmill, with the weights, doing cardio workouts, and dancing gave me time to reflect. I had time to check out and analyze what I had done, how anything and everything affected me, and how I could most appropriately move forward. My “next step” became the focus of the challenges and improved me -physically, mentally, and spiritually.

*I lost 23 pounds!*

weightloss

PhotoCred: Degreesearch.org

Why yes, 23 pounds is a healthy pug and three hamsters. 🙂 Measuring that in sticks of butter? 4 sticks= 1 lb. 23lb=92 sticks of butter. 92 less things I have to carry around with me every day.

Today, March 6, I am on day 4 of clean eating for 21 days. Through challenges and taking risks, I have met amazing people, formed new bonds, and have the opportunity to achieve goals with family I do not see often solely because of geography.

Day 4:21 update 

This is where I am today. Take what you need. Leave what you can.

**MWAH**

Eve

Thank you to Catey at Olive Juice for the nomination. You can check out her wonderful work : here or copy/paste the address yourself: https://olijuice.com/2019/05/10/sunshine-blogger-award-nomination/

Rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations by commenting on one of their blog posts.

Questions from Catey:

  1. Why did you start blogging?

I jumped into blogging as a creative outlet. The process has become somewhat cathartic. I am a strong believer that everyone has a story and somebody needs to hear what you have to say.

2. If you could live in any period in history, when would it be and why?

It would probably be the Renaissance. A world of discovery and artistic expression. Also, a period of time where fuller figured girls were revered and I dig that 😛

3. What are three words that best describe you?

Funny, Kind, Determined

4. What’s a movie that you could practically quote, from start to finish?

Step Brothers. Also, Bridesmaids. 🙂

5. What are you currently reading?

I am in the middle of semesters. Very soon- more leadership development materials and empirical research pertaining to the development of soft skills for the ol’ dissertation. Give me a few days.

6. Where did you work for your first job?

Pizza Hut. I was employed there for five entire days in 1999.

7. What is one thing you learned in childhood that totally changed your life?

It does not take a biological tie to create a family.

8. If sleep wasn’t necessary, what would you do with the extra time?

I love sleep so much. Napping is one of my favorite things to do. I guess I would catch up on housework, write more, worry less. Eh, sounds good.

9. What’s the farthest from home you’ve ever been?

Manhattan maybe. I have not fact checked that, but it stands out as the most reasonable response.

10. What is your favorite jellybean flavor?

I would rather not have to eat them. I played Beanboozled with my kids once. That was a mistake. lol

11. What are you most grateful for today?

I am able and encouraged to pursue the things that I love. I could not ask for more.

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What inspires your writing?
  2. If you were able, what would you tell yourself five years ago (2014) to better prepare you for today?
  3. What is your favorite animal? Why?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years (2024)?
  5. What is your favorite sweet treat?
  6. Where do you dream of travelling?
  7. How would you descibe yourself in ten words or less?
  8. What is your favorite quote?
  9. What is your favorite book/story?
  10. What are you currently learning?
  11. What are you most grateful for today? ( I liked this one in my post so I am borrowing inspiration)

Happy Kotter’s Sunshine Blogger Nominees:

  1. Emmalee: https://ladeebugslife.wordpress.com
  2. Ugena Whitlock PhD: https://justkeepswimming.life
  3. Igor Namus: http://inscribed.blog/
  4. Catherine: https://shatter-the-silence.mn.co
  5. Tuttysan: http://www.biteslove.com/
  6. Beth: https://carolbethanderson.com/blog/
  7. Lacey: http://allnightwriting.com
  8. Mimi: https://www.mimiprentice.com
  9. Christina: https://christinamdietrich.wordpress.com/
  10. Meditative Owl: https://meditativeowl.wordpress.com
  11. Isabella: https://www.writtenbybella.com

Thank you for the nomination and I hope to learn more from my nominees! I encourage you to check out their works and get involved. “By lifting eachother up, we lift ourselves up”.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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As the Spring 2019 semester draws to a close, the life of a doctoral student in her mid thirties with two children, multiple pets, and a strong desire to stay sane, has become a tad hectic. It is all welcome as each responsibility and hurdle leads to an opportunity to grow and to help others.

Coming up in the next few weeks I am looking forward to sharing reviews of some blogs and bloggers that I get to interact with. The new Ipsy Glam Bag should be in soon and I have lots to share on personal growth, mental health and such.

Keep reading. Keep sharing. Keep asking questions. 🙂

Take Care of Yourself!

❤ Eve

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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The April 2019 Ipsy Glam Bag has arrived! I have been receiving Ipsy bags for just over a year now and have been generally happy with the product selection and value. For $10 a month, this has been a great way to try new products that I might not otherwise seek out.

Not sure how Ipsy works? Here goes….. The Ipsy Glam bag is mailed to you once a month filled with 5 trial size products. Your account is personal. The Ipsy questionnaire is simple and the goal is to cultivate an experience that meets the needs of the consumer. Score! What is your skin tone? How comforatble are you with make up? And hair products! Did I mention hair products and fragrances?

At $10 monthly it’s a fairly inexpensive way to try new things. Or, if you love getting presents all year in a cute lil bag (like me), Ipsy may be right for you.

To check out all Ipsy has to offer CLICK HERE!

Number 1- The Bag

This is a cute lemon make up bag. I’m not a bright yellow kind of gal, but I would use this. Also, I know people that are bright yellow loving folks that would benefit from owning this cutie. Each month a new bag comes, so I can spare one or two at this point. The colors are bright and perfect for summer. On second thought, should I change my make up bag for the season? Is throwing lip goss in my purse not enough. I have options and when it comes to being feminine….I am still learning. Maybe it’s time to retire my 1990s CaBoodle?

Number 2- PURRRRPLICIOUS Law Beauty Essentials Nail Polish

This is pretty, and soft in color. The only issue I had was opening the bottle. The lid separated from the actual bottle cap. Quick fix, just a little hassle. What I do dig about this product is that it comes from a women owned company that claims their products are “luxe, innovative, and eco-friendly”. If vegan/toxin free nail polish makes you happy, this is pretty good stuff. One coat did the trick on my false nail in the pic. (I just painted my dark gray and I’m not ready to remove it!)

Number 3- Buxom Cosmetics Buxom Lash Volumizing Mascara in Blackest Black

The first thing I do when I look at mascara to buy is pull the wand straight out of the tube and see what kind of clump filled horror show emerges. This one was clean! Step one, I’m a happy girl. The brush is pretty straightforward and it does not appear to require any contortion or act of magic to apply. This one wears well and does not run like some. Do you love to rub your eyes throughout the day because you forgot that you were wearning mascara? It honestly does not leave a tar (or bat poo) streak down your face. Buxom, you’ve won me over.

Number 4- THEBALM Cosmetics theBalmjour Creamy Lip Stain in Namaste

Cute packaging, pretty color, definitely something I would choose on my own. The stain just did not last long for me. This could be because of the formula and it could be because I run my mouth all day long. I cannot confirm, but this one was “eh” for me. I will continue to use this since I have it, but I do not think I would purchase more once it is gone. Again, may work great for you, just not for me.

Number 5- MOROCCAN MAGIC Argan & Essential Oil Lip Balm in Peppermint Eucalyptus

Ohh la la- Lip Balm is more my speed and I have several types located just about anywhere I could possibly be an need lip balm. Purse? yes. Car? yes. Next to my bed? yes. In my Caboodles make up suitcase? yes. All over! This one is smooth and smells like a candycane. The peppermint scent is much stronger than the eucalyptus, but I am not complaining. Also, I am sure I read somewhere that peppermint helps to plump your lips….well hello sexy smooth fatlip. Thank you for noticing.

Number 6- SUGAR COSMETICS Kohl of Honour Intense Kajal in Black Out

Eyeliner and I have a long, tumultuous history. Allergies and watery eyes makes it hard for me to work real hard on making my eye makeup “flawless”. I have this tendency to appear to be crying when the flowers bloom or the air blows. Next, being a teen of the 90s I can fully appreciate the urge to draw an inch thick like along my lashes. (Warning! Do not do that!)

Drawn on hand
Top smudge with water
Botttom- dry smudge
The verdict is in- cry BEFORE you wipe your eyes 🙂

Another great option that Ipsy recently launched is a monthly subscription service with 5 FULL-SIZE products. The only issue I have here is that it’s $25 a month and that seems a little $$$ to me for a monthly subscrption. BUT- if you are more obsessed with beauty products and want to invest that money every month for great new full size products, I support that. (But make sure your bills are paid first, ya know. Money don’t grow on trees! lol)

Shoppers-

When you buy through Ipsy (subscription or product purchase) you can earn points and rewards. Like real cash! There are tons of items to peruse on the site including; fragrance, hair, men, skincare, etc.

Ready to try Ipsy? Use my link!

Do you currently subscribe to Ipsy or any other beauty box services? What are some of your favorite products? Tell me about it below!

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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