How to Adult: Making Sundays Count

There are a few things I need to do Sundays or the rest of my week is a hot mess.

Sundays in the Ruesink household are one of two things: very busy or very lazy. There is no in between. Lately, we’ve been more busy than lazy, though, and I’m finding myself struggling to get through the week productively while still getting to spend precious time with my sweet husband. Once we get into the swing of the work week, if I don’t have my life figured out already, it’s very difficult for me to improvise in the little things like what to cook, wear, or clean after a long day at work.

Funny story – I’ve always been the weirdo who sets out her clothes in advance. My college roommate used to make fun of me because every Sunday night I would pull out my clothes not just for the next day but for the entire week.

To this day, this is still part of my Sunday routine that I have to do to be able to function. You may not be as weird as I am, but I can’t tell you how much it helps me to have a plan – even if it’s just a plan of what to wear this week.

That being said, I thought I’d share some of my Sunday even routines that I just can’t live without. Seriously, you might think they’re small and silly, but I can’t tell you how much less stress I have on weeks when I commit to getting these things done before Monday morning hits.

#1. Meal Prepping

Now, I don’t actually cook and prep meals for the entire week like the crazy (awesome) Pinterest moms do. I tried that once and spent the entire day in the kitchen and it just wasn’t realistic for my life. However, I do make sure that I have at least two large recipes picked out and all of the necessary ingredients in stock. If I already have lunches made (which sometimes happens when I make larger recipes), I make sure to throw a meal in my lunchbox and stick it in the fridge. Along the same lines, I fill a few mason jars with the ingredients for my morning smoothies so I can just dump, blend, and go, healthy, delicious breakfast in hand.


#2. Wardrobe Planning

Ok, so you already know I’m kind of crazy about this. I start by looking at the forecast for the week and planning my outfits accordingly. I have a capsule wardrobe so once I have a general idea of the weather for the week, it’s quick and easy to pull clothing to the front of my closet. If I’m really in a planning mood, I also pull out my jewelry and accessories to go with the outfits. This saves me time and energy on early weekday mornings and I’ve actually used the time saved by not worrying about clothes to have an awesome morning time with Jesus. Cannot recommend enough.


#3. Actual Life Planning

There are a couple different places in my life that I keep everything planned and organized. I have a calendar in my kitchen, google calendar on my phone, and of course my wonderful and necessary Erin Condren Life Planner. You definitely don’t have to be a calendar/planner nerd like me, but I totally recommend sitting down and going over your week before it starts. It’s really helpful to remember appointments you might have forgotten or tasks you still need to accomplish before the craziness of Monday morning hits. This has been super beneficial for Jake and I in our marriage because we do as much individually as we do together. Knowing each other’s schedules and making sure we haven’t double booked each other or not prioritized time together makes busy weeks so much better.


And that’s my Sunday night! In an ideal world, I’d also straighten the house and clean out my purse but, to be honest, ain’t nobody got time for those. But really, once I have these three things taken care of, I can tackle anything the week throws at me.

What about you? Are there things you HAVE to do before Monday if you’re going to walk into the week with energy and confidence? How do you make your weekday time more productive? I’d love to chat in the comments!

How to Adult: Goal Setting – A Breakdown

So you set some ambitious goals for 2018… Now what?

ICYMI: I mentioned in my previous post that while I don’t like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, I’m always game for setting new goals for myself. The start of the year is the perfect time to reflect on where you are in your life and dream about where you’d like to go. I’ve never considered myself very ambitious or really even much of a dreamer, though, so setting realistic goals that I actually wanted to achieve took me some time to figure out. And getting started can be so overwhelming! My keys to success: planning, people, and baby steps.

Now, please realize that what works for me, may not work for everybody. I’m an ISTJ on the Myer’s Briggs chart so I’m all about black and white, concrete details and lists. ALL THE LISTS. This is just how my brain functions.

But if you’re like Jake, you probably just have all these ideas and goals rolling around in your brain and sometimes writing them down makes them more real but basically, you’re good with them in your head. If that’s you, I think you’re awesome but I just can’t live like you.

Long story short, take this and run with it – you do you.

Step 1: Dream Big

There are no rules to Step 1 which is probably what I struggle with most. This is just creative brainstorming of things you’d like to see in your life – people you’d like to meet, places to go, things to do, what kind of person you’d like to see yourself become. Think in ideals for this step, no restrictions, no “buts” or “ifs” or conditions of any kind. Once you have a few good ideas, prioritize. What all can you realistically accomplish? What is most important that you accomplish? Remember, it’s crazy-hard to reach a goal that you don’t care about reaching. The best way to set a goal you can actually accomplish is if it’s something that’s really meaningful to you. Otherwise motivating yourself will to do something you’re not interested in will not be fun at all.

Step 2: Write It Out

There’s something unique about writing things down that solidifies things in our brains. When you see your goal on paper, it becomes real – it’s out there in the world, not just in your head. But to really make this step worthwhile, it helps to get specific. You did your big dreaming to come up with your goal, now narrow it down a little. Give it parameters, a time frame. What is it specifically you’d like to accomplish and how long will you give yourself to get there?

For instance, I mentioned that one of my goals in 2018 is to memorize more scripture. My specific goal when I wrote it out is to have Ephesians 1 memorized by my birthday (end of February). I got specific about what piece of the Bible I wanted to memorize and I set a realistic deadline for myself.

Step 3: Find Your Accountabilibuddy

Now that you’ve written out your goal, the next step is to speak it out loud. Tell a friend, tell your significant other, tell your parents, tell anyone, really. Talking about your goal will make it even more solidified in your brain, but the important part in this step is to ask someone to join you on this journey as your accountability partner.

We as humans are not meant to do things alone. We will fail every time we try to accomplish things in our own efforts because that’s just not how God designed us (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). We were designed for community and part of that is spurring each other on (Hebrews 10:24), carrying each other’s burdens (Galations 6:2), and holding each other accountable (Ephesians 4:25). Partner with someone who will not only hold you to your goal but walk with you on the journey to achieving it.

Step 4: It’s All About Baby Steps

Here’s where my ISTJ starts showing but this is super important! You have a big goal that you’ve written out and told everyone about… Now how do you get started? My answer: plan out some baby steps. Start thinking concretely – what needs to happen for this goal to be accomplished? What do I need to get started? What will I need along the way?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better sense of direction and how to start. From there, you can make a plan to tackle your goal. I’ve found it easiest to make it part of my daily routine and keep my goal at the front of my mind, but depending on your goal, you might want to have weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with yourself to see your progress.

Continuing my scripture memorization example, there are several ways I could go about memorizing Ephesians 1, but I know from past experiences that a method that’s worked really well for me is the app Fighter Verses which has all sorts of quizzes, like games, specifically designed to help people memorize scripture in ways that work for them. My first baby step was downloading this app to my new phone. From there, I planned out smaller milestones I want to hit (specific verses memorized by specific calendar dates) and made it part of my daily routine to spend at least five minutes a day in the fighter verses app. Now my ambitious goal of memorizing an entire chapter of the Bible looks a lot smaller when it’s just five minutes a day!


Whatever your goal for 2018 might be, I hope this breakdown helps you tackle it. Just don’t forget to bring someone along with you. Sometimes goals can be harder to achieve than we think and we need the support, encouragement, and prayer of the people we’ve asked to join us on our journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help.

And remember, you’re only baby steps away 🙂

How to Adult: Hosting for the Holidays

Planning to host friends or family this holiday season and not sure where to start? Here’s some simple ideas to be the hostest with the mostest (even if you have no idea what you’re doing)!

How to Adult: Hosting for the HolidaysWith the holiday season in full swing, it seems like Jake and I have a party or event to attend every other weekend! With so much going on, I’m not sure we’ll get around to hosting anything ourselves this year but getting to be a party-goer so often recently has given me plenty of ideas for being a better party-thrower. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to have your friends thinking you’re profesh at throwing holiday parties!

  • Set the melodic mood – No matter the size or theme of your party, (background) music is super helpful in creating the right atmosphere. Spend some time on Spotify curating a playlist to help the evening flow just the way you envision.
  • Get your stuff clean – I know this sounds incredibly silly but having a clean home is absolutely necessary. Clear the clutter from the main rooms your guests will occupy and make sure your kitchen and bathroom are sparkling. Why did I add kitchen? Because if you’re serving any time of food and your kitchen is a hot mess, it reflects poorly on whatever you just slaved over to serve. Trust me, clean your stuff.
  • Arrange seating – You can take this piece of advice as literally as you would like. My original thought was along the lines of making sure you have enough places for your guests to sit comfortably (my and Jake’s biggest challenge in our 600 square feet). But if you’re having a dinner party, you may want to pre-arrange seating so that your guests have the best time possible. After all, you know your guests probably better than they know each other. If you think people will click, sit them next to each other and watch new friendships form. Similarly, if you think certain personalities won’t work in close quarters, seat them away from each other.
  • Have a place for jackets/purses – This is something small that a lot of people don’t seem to think about any more. Having a designated spot where people can dump their junk keeps your party area looking and feeling cleaner and bigger and your guests will appreciate not having to look after a jacket or carry their purse all evening.
  • Give your guests something to do – I really like the idea of assigning friends or family with certain tasks throughout the night to ease the burden of hosting. If you don’t think it’s classy to assign guests with cleaning or cooking duties throughout the evening, how about assigning a particularly friendly guest with making sure everyone is introduced? Or, if you have a friend with a good sense of the mood in the room, how about putting them in charge of your playlist for the evening? Play up the strengths of the friends or family that you involve and make sure everyone is game for it before the party, but having helpers definitely makes the multi-tasking host’s life a little bit easier
  • Have lighting set the mood – Similar to music, lighting is a huge factor in creating your ideal party atmosphere. Want people to dance? Make it dark and, if you have them, turn on the party lights. Want your guests to participate in a game? Keep the lights bright enough so that they know what’s going on. Not sure what kind of lighting is best? I’d suggest lower light or candlelight because it makes everyone glow and brings people together!
  • Light it up with vanilla extract – This is possibly my favorite trick! Before guests arrive, spray or dab vanilla extract onto lightbulbs near the party area. Do this while the light is off so that when you turn it on for the party, the heat will release the vanilla and make your party smell delicious!

Have any other go-to party tricks? I can’t wait to try these out next time Jake and I host at our place! If you try them before me, let me know how it goes in the comments!

How to Adult: Habits for Hacking Adulthood

I’m trying out a few new habits to take my adulting to the next level. Want to join me?

How to Adult: Habits for Hacking AdulthoodIf you’re anything like me, you run on routine. I have the same alarm that goes off every morning and I go through the same steps to get ready every week day before I leave for work. My routine very rarely changes because I’m such a creature of habit. In fact, I lay out my clothes for the week every Sunday evening, a habit that I’ve done every week since my first week of college. (S/o to my college roomie Heather and husband Jake who put up with this weird hack of mine!)

But here’s the thing. Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of my habits actually make my life harder. (I mean, minimally harder because, let’s be real, my life is not hard.) While my routine is comfortable and effective, it’s not always efficient. So to fix that, I’m going to try some life hacks to create new habits within my routine!

They say that forming a new habit can take anywhere from three weeks to two months depending on your personality, so to help me out and track my progress, I’ll be using the habit tracker app. I’ve used this app before and it’s actually super addicting and effective. I’d love for you to join me on this journey! If you do, feel free to follow me (Jackie Ruesink) and we can keep each other accountable!

So what are these habits to hack adulthood? Glad you asked. There are a lot I could choose from but in the effort of starting out small, here’s what I’m going with first:

  1. No snoozing OR opening up Facebook right away – I personally have never been a snoozer. My alarm goes off and I’m up. BUT I’ve gotten into a bad habit of scrolling social media first thing to delay my morning routine and I know this is not uncommon. But honestly, social media is too useless, depressing, and empty to be filling my brain with it first thing every morning. I’m not going to go crazy and say eliminate social media all together (I like my connection just as much as the next millennial) but I am going to limit it to after I’ve eaten my first meal of the day.
  2. 15 Minutes of Cleaning Every Day – Now, I love to clean but recently I’ve realized how much work it is to actually take care of a home and I’m living in less than 600 square feet! While having big cleaning days every couple of weeks is great, it’s not awesome in the days before those big events when Stella’s fur is practically carpeting our linoleum floors. I’m usually pretty good at decluttering but I think the biggest challenge with this new habit will be cleaning the kitchen as I cook. I know it can be done but I’m definitely not a pro at it…yet.
  3. No Food After 9 PM – I came up with this habit in college because I noticed I don’t sleep well if I’ve eaten close to bed. The science on eating before bed is controversial – some doctors say it leads to weight gain and others say it may help weight loss. Personally, this decision is less about weight and more about quality of sleep. But you may want to check out the pros and cons for yourself.
  4. Drink More Water – I’m one of those people who will just constantly sip on any drink near by all day. I sip drinks to fill awkward pauses, quench my thirst, not be bored, and a host of all kinds of other reasons. My problem is that I almost always want to drink Dr. Pepper or La Croix and not actual water. “But, wait, Jackie, isn’t La Croix sparkling water?” Yes. Yes it is. But all the acid from the carbonation is not ideal for my teeth or tummy, so really, I just need to stick to water. During this challenge, I’ll also be cutting down my soda/caffeine to one Dr. Pepper on Saturdays and Sundays only. Which, for me, is a stinkin’ big deal.
  5. Be Thankful – This is something Jake and I started a few months ago that I absolutely love. We take a few minutes before bed every night to list three things we’re thankful for. It definitely forces me to see the good in crappy days and refocuses my brain and heart on the things that matter. It’s a great way to end the day reflecting on God’s goodness and graciousness and generosity, and it helps me understand, appreciate, and love my husband more to hear his heart.

So that’s my starting line-up for adulting habits. What are some ways you can be adulting better this month? Will you be joining me on Let’s chat!

Will My Wardrobe Ever Be Capsule-Sized?

I love, love, love capsule wardrobes…So why is this so difficult?

Adobe Spark (9)As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m one of those people who doesn’t like wasting money on clothes I won’t wear. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping and Jake will let you know that most of my spending money and our combined clothing budget gets spent if I enter the mall (or Target or Stitch Fix) without proper supervision.

But one trend I’ve really gotten on board with recently is the idea of a capsule wardrobe.

For those for whom this term is new (have you been living with the mole people?), a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing items that don’t go out of fashion and can be augmented with seasonal pieces throughout the year.

Basically, the idea is that you always only wear clothes that you love. The items you wear should be higher in quality, fewer in number, and able to be worn with any other piece you own. Ideally, these pieces would be basic fashion staples that stand the test of time.

Capsule wardrobes have basically taken over my Pinterest as I’ve taken the minimalist plunge. I followed the advice of other like-minded closet purgers and donated over half of my wardrobe in March and have since begun the process of narrowing down the number of pieces I own.

However, the process of refining your wardrobe to a limited number of basic fashion staples is not what it may seem. Currently, the clothes in my closet are only the best of the best. They’re all items that are comfortable and that I wear often. Most of them are nicer quality but also there’s a lot of V-neck tops from Target because that’s usually my go-to shirt.

And this is where I’m conflicted. I’m perfectly happy in my clothes from Target. But I love the idea of buying nicer things that will last longer. Do I want a smaller wardrobe because that’s what Pinterest is telling me to do? Or am I ok with having 10 of one item in various colors because that’s kind of my thing?

I’ve been at this for 6 months and am currently feeling stuck and directionless. Anyone else make a brave attempt at a capsule wardrobe? If so, did you feel as conflicted as I am? Anyone have advice for me?

Keeping it Together – Adulting for Millennial Freelancers and the ‘Funemployed’

Finding a job is real-life difficult these days. Here’s how I filled my time (and learned a ton) when I was a funemployed freelancer.

Adobe Spark (2)Before I found my amazing job as a QA Coordinator for Trendline Interactive here in Austin, I spent quite a bit of time freelancing as a copy editor and just generally trying to make the most of my unemployment. During that time, I crafted a lot of skills that ended up being hugely beneficial for my super detail-oriented job. Perhaps one of the main things I learned was that a really important piece of freelancing is staying organized and managing your time well, two of my favorite things! While I’m thrilled by the idea of color-coded calendars, checklists, and label makers, I know this is not true of everyone. So for anyone who feels lost in this area, here’s how I attempted to adult as a Funemployed Freelancer.

  • Planners and calendars were (and still are) my best friends. Let me just say, you don’t have to shell out cash for anything fancy; you can keep track of your life with any planner. The key is how you use it. Be as detailed as you can, and write as much down as you can. If physically writing things isn’t your style, Google Calendar is a life saver and it’s a thousand times more awesome (and prettier) than iCalendar. I like to make sure that everything in my planner and calendar is categorized and easy to see by color coding (because I’m Type-A like that) but as long as your entries are there and detailed, (“Lunch with Jessy at Russo’s at noon” is better than “pizza date with sis”) you should be ok. I could write an entire post on the best ways to use planners and calendars but I’ll save that for a later date.
  • Similar to keeping a planner or calendar to keep track of life, I kept a journal specifically for my business/blog. This notebook included freelancing tips, contact information, resources to look into, and blog entry ideas. I kept a thin moleskin in my purse and write down any resources as I came across them and keep track of the things I’d accomplished as well as the things I wanted to achieve. It also allowed me to plan out every blog post. I gave each post a page where I wrote the subject, the day and date of posting, and bullet points, thoughts, ideas, or research on the topic. This helped me keep track of what I’d already written about and allowed me the freedom to write ahead in my spare time for instances where I was out of town or had other things going on. A digital way of doing this is Evernote, where you can have multiple notebooks with different ideas, images, documents or whatever you might need. You can also share notes with other users which can be especially helpful for collaborative work.
  • Just like planners, I’m also a huge fan of routine. Keeping a general structure and schedule for my day allowed me to stay on top of all the things I wanted to get done and protected me from staying in bed watching Netflix all day. For a lot of freelancers, however, routine is the exact opposite of what they want for their day-to-day. My suggestion is to make sure you’re working at your most effective time of day. For me, I write and think best from about 9am to 2pm and anything outside of that window is a lot more of a struggle. If you’re an afternoon person, make sure to allow yourself time to work in the afternoon; if you’re a night person, do work then. Whenever you can create the highest quality work, schedule around that.
  • The last thing I’ll share is that I’m most productive when I can alternate tasks and take short breaks. Doing this keeps boredom and frustration at bay while also getting things done. Not sure how to fix that really strange sentence? Move on to writing that blog post you’ve been meaning to get to. Got writer’s block? Go clean the bathroom before your roommates strangle you with the nasty hair clogging the drain. You can always come back to everything later. Don’t forget to take short breaks in the process, also. Take the dog for a walk, go for a run, listen to some awesome music, call your mom, or let yourself open YouTube for a bit. Just don’t let it derail you. You’re working from home – take advantage of that!

Setting your own schedule can be a blessing and a curse but with a few simple tricks, staying organized and managing your time well can become easy-peas. Do you have any tips for staying productive at home? Do you think these tips can be just as helpful in your standard 9-5? Any suggestions for what NOT to do? Please let me know in the comments below!