Personality Types

When I was in my late teens, my aunt introduced me to Myers Briggs personality assessment, which indicates how you perceive the world and make decisions. I was so intrigued by this and immediately took the online assessment. 

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My result was INTJ, which I felt like fit me perfectly at that time! I remember reading the description and being amazed at how accurate the results were in comparison to how I viewed myself. 

I've always had a passion for psychology and enjoy reading up on it for fun. It is because of this that I take retake the Myers Briggs assessment every so often just to see how my percentages of each letter change. As we grow and experience different circumstances, it is normal for our letters to change slightly -- usually just the percentages adjust, but sometimes your whole "type" can change. Imagine my surprise when I took it fall of 2015 and saw ENTP instead of my usual INTJ! 

My drastic change can be chalked up to the fact that I had gone through a lot of life changes that past year, done a lot of personal development work, and felt a lot more confident / outgoing than I was before. 

In case you're not familiar with this personality assessment, here's a quick breakdown of it. The theory behind Myers Briggs is that there are 16 different personality types -- each consisting of 4 letter combinations. The different pairs of personality traits are:

Where your energy comes from: Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E) 
How you take in information: Intuition (N) or Sensing (S)
How you make decisions: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
Your preferred way of living: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

So, for me -- my energy comes from being around people, I take in information via patterns and possibilities I make decisions based on logic, and I like to see possibilities unfold. Depending on where I'm at in life, my I/E (introvert / extrovert) and J/P (judger / perceiver) will oscillate, but I'm almost positive that I'll always be an "N" (intuition) and "T" (thinker) and I don't see those ever changing.

It should be noted that this is just a guideline and should be taken with a grain of salt. We all ebb and flow in our day to day lives and no one description can describe us perfectly.

Have you ever heard of the Myers Briggs assessment? 
What personality type are you? Take the free assessment here! 

Finding My Strengths

A few years ago, my friend Ashley mentioned the book StrengthsFinder while we were out for a company happy hour one night after work. I was immediately interested and purchased the book shortly after hearing her recommend it. I love anything related to personal development and / or psychology, so this was definitely up my alley! 

Inside of the book, there's a code to take an online assessment and once completed, you'll learn what your top five strengths are. The book discusses the importance of utilizing your strengths, advice for maximizing your strengths, and an overview of all of the different strengths described in detail. This book is a very short and easy read -- definitely one that I like to glance through as a "refresher" every now and then.

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I remember being so excited to learn what mine were -- and then feeling surprised at my results. A few of the top five results that I received weren't necessarily words I'd typically use to describe myself, but after reading the chapters about my particular strengths, I realized that they were spot-on! 

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Learning my strengths has helped me immensely -- it helps me to understand what types of environments I thrive in and therefore aids in maximizing my potential. Since one of my strengths is "Achiever", I'm all over this! 

I'd highly recommend this book for both personal and professional development -- plus, it's always fun to learn more about yourself in the process! 

Have you ever heard of StrengthsFinder?
What are some of your strengths?

How I Read Multiple Books Each Month

As far back as I can remember, I've always been a reader. I was one of those kids that was reading well before kindergarten and was usually bored in school. In fact, in first grade, my teacher enlisted me in ELP, an enriched learning program that was for kids that were overqualified for their current grade but didn't want to skip a grade ahead. I loved going to this class each day because it was a more challenging version of what my teacher was teaching in my regular classroom.

You probably would't be surprised to learn that my top strength according to Strengths Finder is Learner! Also, if you haven't read this book and determined your top five strengths, it is worth its weight in gold! 

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All throughout school, I loved reading -- in fact, I'd breeze through the summer reading program at our local library in just a few weeks instead of utilizing the whole summer to read 40 hours (#overachiever). I was also known for checking out the maximum number of books that they'd allow on a child's library account and I would read every single one before returning them a few weeks later.

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Over the years, I've read stacks upon stacks of books and to this day, I typically breeze through at least three books each month. I've often had people tell me they just don't have time to read and I'm always surprised by this answer. I'm a huge believer in having time for the things that you set as a priority, and reading is definitely a priority for me! Below are some ways that I make time for reading even when life gets busy! 

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1. Make Books Available
I always have a book on my iPhone, in my gym or pool bag, on my nightstand, and on our coffee table or end table. By having books around me, I'm much more likely to pick up a book as opposed to finding myself binge watching PLL for the millionth time.

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2. Read Different Genres
I've never really been one to only read one book at once -- I enjoy variety in my reading and am typically working through a few books all at once. Some of my favorite genres are biographies, thrillers / mysteries, self-help books, psychology, and books about French culture.

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3. Don't Force It
If I don't love a book by the time I'm about a third of the way through it, I simply stop reading it. I figure that since I've forced myself through a handful of books I didn't enjoy as part of required reading for school, so now that I'm an adult I only read books that I enjoy. I also feel like my motivation is much lower when I try to make myself read something I'm not interested in -- reading as a hobby should be fun! Don't make it a chore.

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4. Make Idle Time Work for You
I love having a book on my iPhone because it allows me to read whenever I find myself with random pockets of time. For example, rather than scrolling through Instagram for the millionth time while sitting in the waiting room before your dental cleaning, you could power through a chapter or two of your latest book! I also love audiobooks for my commute into work -- it makes me feel more productive than just listening to a bunch of commercials and morning shows on the radio. Read during your lunch break, before bed, or while sitting outside on a beautiful day -- do whatever works best for you!

I'm also one of those crazies that can read while running or walking on the treadmill -- so I definitely make use of that time as well! I go crazy on the treadmill if I don't have something to read, watch, or listen to -- so books definitely help the miles fly by! 

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5. Keep Them Coming
I'd say 90 percent of the books that I read come from the library, which makes always having a new book to read super convenient! I request books from the library almost weekly -- sometimes I'm #53 on a waiting list, but by always requesting books, I have a constant stream of titles becoming available to me. My library system is huge and I'm able to request books online and have them sent to my iPhone as an eBook, otherwise I can have any hard copy or audiobook sent to my local library where I can simply walk in and pick it up off of the holds shelf. 

I also like to browse around through Barnes & Noble, Target, etc. for books whenever I'm out and about. If I see a book I think I might like, I snap a pic of it and then request it from the library. Easy peasy! 

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I've found that the more often I read, the easier it is to make time for reading. When I hit dry spells, it's almost like I forget how much I love to read and it takes me awhile to get back into my groove! 

If you're looking for some recommendations, I review the books I've read each month and you may find all of my past book reviews here. I'll have my August book review up on Thursday of this week so be sure to check back! 

How often do you read?
Do you enjoy reading?

Frumpy to Fabulous

Here in Minnesota, our winters are super long, and after the holidays, there isn't much to look forward to for awhile. Last winter, when I found myself feeling frumpy and just "blah" in January, I started brainstorming ideas to remedy this. I eventually decided to make a commitment to get dressed everyday. 

Now, I'm not talking about taking a shower on Saturday morning only to slip back into pajamas afterwards. Repeat after me, pajamas are not an outfit. Neither are sweatpants.

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I also used to live in my gym clothes on the weekends -- I'd meet a friend for coffee while wearing a Nike track jacket, hit the grocery store in my Lululemon crops, and lounge around at home in my favorite gym shorts. Was I comfortable? Most definitely (helloooo, elastic waistbands). Did I feel confident in my appearance? Not exactly.

Work was a different story; I got up each morning and threw on some leggings and a tunic top or whatever was clean, piled my hair into a messy bun, applied foundation + mascara and called it a day. Then I'd arrive at work and just felt frumpy all day because I didn't put any thought into my appearance. Also, any day that I'd decide to forego a shower (and basically try to mask my greasy hair with a pound of dry shampoo) in attempt to get 15 more minutes of sleep would inevitably be the day that I'd be invited to a design consult with the VP. Yikes.

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I decided that I wanted to stop feeling less than fabulous, so I made a change. I started waking up just a little earlier for work so that I wouldn't feel so rushed (aka frazzled running out the door while trying to juggle a purse, laptop bag, gym bag, and protein shake). I added a few new staples to my closet, and I started putting my best self out there.

Taking the time to wash / dry / style my hair, apply makeup, and wear an outfit I felt good in made such a different in my mindset. I started adding in fun accessories and shoes, which made getting dressed in the morning that much more enjoyable. Because let's face it, not many things are enjoyable at 5:37am on a bitterly cold and dark January morning besides sleeping.

I no longer had feelings of dread when I was invited to a last-minute meeting, and felt excited when a friend invited me to a spontaneous happy hour after work because I felt dressed and ready to go! 

On the weekends, I started wearing similar outfits, just a bit more casual. For example, instead of skinny jeans and my favorite Tippi sweater, I'd pull on a comfy pair of boyfriend jeans and a long sleeved top paired with a puffer vest.

When I hit the gym, I put athletic clothes on for my workout and then shower / change before leaving the gym. No more running errands in sweat-soaked socks!

Here's what I love about this new approach:

I'm always ready to go -- whether it be to run out to our neighborhood market to grab a few tomatoes to go with our dinner, or to meet up with a friend that needs to chat.

I take better care of myself -- I tend to stick to my workouts more regularly and eat healthier.  Let's face it, you're less tempted to eat ice cream straight out of the container when you're wearing your skinny jeans that fit like a glove.

I'm more productive -- when I'm dressed and ready to go, I'm more focused. Wearing pajamas just makes me want to lounge around on the couch and binge watch episodes of my latest drama show on Netflix.

Below are a few parts of my routine that really make a difference for me:

  • I paint my nails every single week.
  • I shower (and wash my hair) every single morning.
  • I lay out my clothes for work the evening before.
  • I style my hair everyday.
  • I only purchase clothes that are in alignment with my personal style. (Post on this coming soon).
  • The most important one: I THREW OUT / DONATED ANY AND ALL FRUMPY CLOTHES.
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Big, baggy hoodies from college, sweatpants that are two sizes too big (but man, were those comfy!), freebie tees with company logos on them, etc. Since I no longer have these comfortable but worn-out clothes to wear, I'm forced to be more intentional about what I choose for outfits.

Dressing for your day is such a simple concept, but often overlooked! I encourage you to give it a try for a week straight to see if you notice a difference! You've got this!

P.S. I'm linking up with some other bloggers for Tuesday Talk today! Click here to check it out! 

Do you enjoy dressing up?
What are some of your favorite stores to shop?

10 Things I've Learned in my 20s

My aunt once said to me "the twenties are hard," and I couldn't agree more. Fresh out of college, you think you have it all figured out, then you realize how little you know once you're out in the real world. What a humbling moment that is.

Once your mid-twenties hit, you go through so much change and transformation -- trying to figure out how you fit into the world. Learning how to balance working, finances, and figuring out how a 401k works.

As I've recently reached the last year of my 20s, I finally feel like I'm almost to the other side. The upper 20s are spent working to define your personal style, choosing your friends wisely, investing in yourself, and most importantly -- realizing what didn't work for you and how to adjust accordingly.

Below are 10 things that I've learned in my 20s that I wish I would have known 10 years ago! 

  1. Nothing is worth it if you aren't happy. This includes jobs, relationships, and large savings accounts.
  2. Not every minute of your day needs to be productive. I remember when my boss at my first design job told me this after I was getting so antsy after completing projects without having another one to start right away.
  3. Don't chase after people, their effort will reveal their level of interest in you. So much wasted time and effort! My best friend, Allie, and I have maintained our friendship since 8th grade despite living 3,500 miles apart for many of those years.
  4. You don't owe anyone an explanation behind your decisions. At the end of the day, you're the one that has to live with them.
  5. Boundaries are the key to healthy relationships. Set boundaries with yourself, your family, your friendships, and your work.
  6. Invest in quality over quantity. This includes choosing friends, your wardrobe, and the food you consume.
  7. The importance of dressing well. Not only will you feel more confident, but others will take you more seriously.
  8. Be your own advocate and stand up for yourself. You know yourself best and it's important to always have your own back.
  9. Stress affects the whole body. Learn stress-management techniques and make them part of your daily routine.
  10. Accept who you are and embrace it. This is where true confidence comes from.

What's something you've learned about yourself recently?