Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Tips for Working from Home More Efficiently


Hi, friends -  hope you had a fantastic weekend and that your work week is off to a great start!  Over the past few months, I have transitioned from cubicle life to working remotely 100% of the time - Yay for no more Atlanta commutes!  While working remotely has been quite the adjustment, I've figured out a few things over the last few months and wanted to share my top 5 tips for maximizing productivity when working from home.
  1. Develop a morning routine - While working from home provides the perfect opportunity to roll out of bed 5 minutes before your day begins, having a set morning routine will help prepare you for a day of success.  I recently learned about the Miracle Morning, a book (and lifestyle) outlining steps to take every morning in order improve your mindset and productivity.   I absolutely love starting my day with meditation, exercise and chatting with my husband over coffee while discussing our goals.  Waking up before you have to wake up is key and helps set the tone for your day. 
  2. Get ready - no slippers! Since you aren't going into an office, it may sound nice to rock PJs and slippers all day long.  Trust me, trying to work in last night's pajamas can tank your productivity.  Putting on real clothes (and shoes!) helps you look and feel more put together - which is reflected in your work.
  3. Have a designated workspace – Although opening your laptop from bed or on the couch may sound like a great idea, having a designated work space is essential for working from home.  Physically being in a room or space that you can designate for work helps separate your personal life from your work life.  Having this separation can help keep you sane! 
  4. Organize your day and cut down on distractions – Working from home provides a much more autonomous environment, but can also provide a ton of distractions. While having the option to throw some laundry in the washer mid-day is great,  I’ve found it’s important to lay out personal and professional to-dos at the beginning of each day.  This certainly helps with staying on task and maximizing your productivity.  With no one monitoring your Pinterest and Instagram activity, it's important to actively keep yourself on task.  You don't have to stay away from your favorite social media sites all day, but I do recommend scheduling social media breaks.  Treat your social media check-ins as a reward and schedule time for them after a few hours of solid work.
  5. Organize and decorate your work space - A cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind, so it's important to keep your designated workspace neat.  Thankfully cute office supplies are pretty easy to find nowadays - check out these options from Target.  Why not make your office space organized and inspiring?! I love decorating our office with motivational quotes, like the one pictured below.  Check out this recent post for some serious home office inspiration!

Do you have any tips for staying productive at home?  It's been an adjustment, but spending zero time in traffic is definitely a game changer.

Have a great week!

Love,
Aly

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini S'more Pies



Hi friends! Hope your week is off to a fantastic start.  I kicked off my week by celebrating National S'mores Day on Monday and definitely don't regret it.  You can't really go wrong with graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows.  While this dessert is the epitome of the American summer, I decided to put my own little twist on the classic campfire favorite.  These mini s'more pies are delicious and adorable too!  Definitely the perfect treat to whip up for an end of summer get-together or backyard barbecue.  The recipe is super simple and they keep in the fridge quite well!


Mini S'more Pies:
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • Your favorite chocolate, melted
  • Mini marshmallows
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and thoroughly mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.  Once the ingredients are well incorporated, firmly press mixture into lightly greased (and unlined) muffin tins.  This recipe yields about 6 mini pies, although I did make my crust rather thick.  Pop in the oven for 6 - 7 minutes, checking to make sure your crusts don't burn.  Once crust is barely turning brown, remove muffin tin from oven and let cool on a rack.  Don't be alarmed if the crust looks rather soft - it will firm up while the pan is cooling!



Turn oven down to 350 degrees, and once crusts have hardened and cooled a bit, remove them from the muffin tin and place on a baking sheet.  I found the crust came out rather easily after running a knife around the perimeter of each crust.  In a small bowl, melt your chocolate of choice in the microwave for about 1 min.  I opted for dark chocolate with sea salt - my favorite thing! Spoon melted chocolate into mini pie crusts and top with mini marshmallows.  Pop baking sheet in the oven for about 2 minutes - checking to ensure your marshmallows don't get charred or overflow!  If you want some extra toasty deliciousness, and aren't afraid of fire, you can bust out a small torch and have a little fun... I let Taylor handle this aspect :)


These mini s'more pies are delicious and I will absolutely be making them again.  Please let me know if you give them a try!  What's your favorite way to put a twist on the classic s'more recipe?  

Love,
Aly