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5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

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Life/ Recent
Tuesday August 17, 2021

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

























When you work for yourself, establishing routines can be hard — but they become even more crucial without a deadline of getting into an office. Here’s what my mornings look like since I left Corporate America to help set me up for a productive day.

I pride myself in being really disciplined (maybe too much so?). I’ve worked hard to create habits that serve me well, like not being addicted to caffeine (anymore, ahem!) and having a consistent workout schedule. By no means are my habits perfect, and my routine changes all the time, but the key is that I’m always attempting to make good habits. I’ll adapt where necessary and give myself some grace when it just doesn’t happen one day. And it’s worth noting that when I first published this post, I wasn’t a new mom! Becoming a mom has drastically changed my productivity and schedule in the last year, but it’s SO worth it.

As with all habits whether it’s eating healthy, working out or staying focused at work, creating routines that stick all starts with a plan and consistency. It’s also important to recognize when a plan you’re trying to implement just won’t work and pivot!

I get asked what my morning routine looks like pretty frequently since I often post early coffee shots on IG. Since I left Corporate America I have a completely different schedule than I did a few years ago. For about 9 months I worked 80+ hour weeks, and then I had to adapt my schedule to life post-Corporate America, working for myself. And now, I’m adjusting to everything all over again now that Thomas has changed our lives in the best way and my work-mom life is very different. Like I said, things change all the time.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

I do have a pretty consistent morning schedule, though. And I have five habits that are part of my day, every day.

1. Read the news
2. Move my body
3. Eat breakfast
4. Don’t reply to emails on my phone
5. Block social media 

These things helped me navigate the craziness that was 2020, and helped reduce my anxiety. And now they help me stay on top of my responsibilities!

My Morning Routine

Here’s what my mornings look like most days:

6-6:30 My alarm goes off and I grab my phone

I try to grab my phone right away since that helps me wake up to engage my brain and helps me wake up. I know lots of morning routine or productivity experts say not to start your day by looking at your phone, but it helps prevent me from hitting snooze! However, I don’t get on social media or Voxer (which I use for Beautycounter work) – I only triage emails — deleting, starring or forwarding to an employee. Answering emails on my phone typically takes too long so I save those for when I’m in front of my computer.

I also read the news in the morning but I try to stay away from Instagram as it can become a stress inducer if my DMs are full. I often delete Instagram in the evening so I don’t get it on it too late in the evening or too early in the morning.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

6:30 Get out of bed and have a little quiet time

After laying in bed waking up for about 10 minutes, I get up, get coffee, read more news, read a short devotional. Tommy has been bringing me coffee in bed recently which I love. Or, if I wake up before him, I’ll take him coffee in bed. It’s nice to spend just a few minutes together before we both get into work mode and get Thomas up. Sometimes I’ll head downstairs to work for 30 minutes or so.

7:00 Get Thomas up

If Thomas isn’t up yet, I get him out of his crib, never past seven to keep his sleep schedule on track. Sometimes he wakes up early but he stays in there until 7 and just plays in the dark. It’s kind of hilarious to watch him on the monitor. I nurse him in our bedroom around 7:15 and we all have family/coffee time together in bed. This is one of my favorite times of the day!

7:30 Eat a preworkout snack

I make a piece of toast with peanut butter (Costco has the best PB of all time) for my pre-workout snack and eat that while I pump if necessary. Sometimes I also work on my laptop while I pump. Then I put on my workout clothes.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

8:15 Workout

My workout varies each day, but either I workout at home doing a 30 min Peloton bootcamp, head out the door for a run or I drive to the gym for heavier strength training. I also do a five minute core class and a five minute stretching class after my main workout (using the Peloton app). While I stretch, I upload my workout to Strava. If I’m doing a shorter workout (30 minutes or less or taking a rest day), I’ll go on a walk first to warm-up my body and sometimes I’ll answer Voxers while I walk.

9:00 Eat breakfast while I start work

After my workout, I snag a quick breakfast, almost always a Daily Harvest smoothie these days – it’s quick and helps cool me down. I nurse Thomas at 9:15 and put him down for a nap at 9:30.

For breakfast if I’m not having a smoothie,  I like Ezekiel English muffins or sprouted bread, an egg or two, fruit, and some avocado. I’ll watch the news while I eat breakfast and triage emails again. Noticing a pattern? I know some people hate the news but I love it. I like knowing what’s going on with national current events, politics, and things around the world. Tommy and I are both news junkies!

Usually I’ll grab my laptop while I eat breakfast to start to work through my Star Box in my two work inboxes. (The Star Box is something I learned in this Digital Clutter course, which is worth EVERY penny).

9:30 – 10:00 Get Ready

I like to eat breakfast first to kickstart recovery and to give myself time to cool down before I shower (especially if I ran outside in the summer!). I always do my hair & makeup, even though I work from home. Since I just feel better when I do. I also get dressed in real clothes every day – I save athleisure for the weekends since I’ve learned I don’t really love athleisure in the warmer months. And getting dressed in “real” clothes helps me be more productive. While I get ready I’ll listen and reply to Voxers from my Beautycounter team.

10:00 Head into my home office to work

I NEVER work from the couch or in the kitchen for more than 20 minutes. To really focus, I head into my home office so my brain knows that it’s time to really focus. And, when I get there, I know exactly what I need to work on first. Before I end work every day, I list out everything I need to accomplish the next day and throughout the week using TeuxDeux (again, another Digital Clutter lesson!). So when I sit down at this point in the morning, I already know my top priorities. And that helps me stay focused. At this point, I often put my phone on Do Not Disturb or at least put it in another room so I’m not tempted to look at it. If I need to get notified of a call, I’ll put it in another room and just let my watch alert me.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

That’s it!

My mornings are certainly different now that I don’t head into an office with a Corporate America job and it’s took some getting used to the flexibility after 13+ years of heading out the door for work (sometimes as early as 6:30 AM when I worked at Goldman Sachs), but I LOVE the routine I have right now. If you’re feeling a little scattered while working from home, juggling kids and are craving a schedule, a simple step is to outline your ideal morning.

Write in detail how you’d like to start your day. (If you’re not a morning person, read this post about how to wake up early.) You may not be able to implement all of it overnight but you could start to take steps towards it. I did that when I was struggling to figure out how to workout, get ready, nurse and still enjoy time with my family in the mornings! It helped me land on my routine now and THAT sets me up for productivity.

Here are a few products that I enjoy in the morning


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Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Teri Hutcheon, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been running for 20+ years and love sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I also share easy recipes, my favorite beauty finds and other tips to help you live happy and healthy! Check out my About page to learn more!

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Life & Arts

The Ultimate Classic Cobb Salad

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Ingredients

Scale

4–5 cups chopped romaine
2 carrots, thinly sliced (I like using a vegetable peeler to create long thin strips!)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced (white part + a little of the green part)
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 grilled chicken breasts
2–4 pieces thick bacon lardons, cooked until crisp
Cheese (blue cheese, feta, or goat cheddar are great!)
Favorite dressing + salt & pepper to serve – Ranch or this vinaigrette is my favorite

Instructions

Assemble it in two bowls, dividing the ingredients evenly. I put the romaine in first and then group the toppings in sections (eggs on one side, tomatoes on another, etc.), but you could evenly spread everything over the romaine too. I don’t know why I like it grouped together, but I do.
Drizzle dressing over the top and dig in with a fork and knife. Cutting it all up helps spread the dressing.

Notes

I buy the 5 pack of romaine hearts from Costco and use one heart for this. They’re super easy to chop into strips and then wash in a salad spinner.
I use a vegetable peeler to create thin slices of carrots. If you have a mandolin, that’d work great too. I’m too uncoordinated and fear I’d lose a fingertip if I bought one.
I bought a slab of thick bacon at the farmer’s market, and I LOVE the bacon lardon style in this. Plus, it was super cheap! If you use regular bacon, I’d recommend upping the # of slices.

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Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote Review (the Only Oversized Tote I’ve Loved!)

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Fashion/ Recent
Thursday August 19, 2021

Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote Review (the only oversized tote I’ve loved!)

























I’ve been carrying the same tote for about a year and a half now and I’m still just as obsessed with it as I was when I first got it. I’m not a person who buys purses often. Rather, I prefer to have a few that I can rotate among for all four seasons and in a few different sizes. But I’ve barely touched my other purses since I got this one, except for an occasional night where I grabbed a clutch or cross-body bag, and of course when I need my diaper backpack for Thomas.

I originally bought the Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote to carry my laptop to and from my coworking space, but even since I moved back to working from home full time, I still use it everyday! (Well, every day that I leave the house, ha!) It can hold a LOT but even if it’s not overfilled, it still looks structured. And I’m especially fond of the price (more on that below!)

I also bought their weekend bag and used it as my hospital bag. See what I packed in it here.

Tote | Dress (Similar here) | Shoes | Earrings (similar)

Barrington Gifts St.Anne Tote Review

It’s the perfect size – big but not overwhelming

I hesitated to get this tote since I don’t typically love an oversized tote. When I saw in other women carrying large totes, they always seemed like a black hole of stuff. But this tote is large without feeling like a magic bag with no end. It’s large enough for my laptop, charger, a couple regular purse items, and a few snacks (necessities for me). The dimensions of the St.Anne tote from Barrington Gifts are 20″L X 13″H X 5″D.

I opted for the non-zip top but they sell a zippered option as well.

Tote | Top | Shorts | Shoes | Sunglasses

Exterior fabric stays clean and is very durable

The Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote is made of durable, water-resistant nylon canvas with leather accents. The interior is twill. I especially appreciate that the Axis collection (the pattern I have) is not faux or genuine fur, since that would a nightmare to keep clean. (It’s hard enough with leopard print shoes I wear occasionally, let alone a purse that I use daily!)

And while I was worried the nylon canvas might make it feel cheap, that’s not the case at all. It looks and feels very high quality and I love that if I spill on it (which happens a lot), I can easily wipe if off.

Another perk is that is weighs less than 2lbs which is really lightweight for a tote of this size.

More affordable than many popular totes

The St. Anne tote costs $160-$180, depending on the customizations you add. (More on that below.) A new Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote costs $1,500 and a Tory Burch leather tote costs around $350. So immediately, the Barrington bag has those beat.

Super customizable

I love that Barrington Gifts lets you pick the pattern of your bag with 50 options (I know, FIFTY!). And you can also add your monogram to a leather patch, add a stripe or choose to get a tote with a top zipper.

Interior pockets

The Barrington Gifts St. Anne tote has a few pockets inside of it which are absolutely crucial if you’re bad about throwing everything you own in your purse. I appreciate having pockets so that I don’t have to dig into the tote to find something. Even though I’m not the person who crams my purse full of things, I appreciate the organization. And I love that it’s also big enough for a diaper bag organizer. (They also sell diaper bags!)

I use my Freshly Picked diaper backpack for Thomas, but I’ll likely switch to my Barrington tote this fall when I need less “gear” when heading out the door with Thomas.

Makes a great gift

I gave a Barrington Gifts tote to both my mom and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. It’s perfect for any age and not too trendy, especially since I was able to customize each tote! Since it’s also under $200, it’s a great price point for a nice gift.

St. Anne Tote vs. Savannah Tote

I eyed both options and ended up getting the larger St. Anne Tote. But, I got my mom the Savannah Tote since she definitely doesn’t like an oversized tote. The Savannah Tote only comes in a zipper top, and the dimensions are a bit smaller.

St. Anne dimensions: 20″L X 13″H X 5″D

Savannah dimensions: 17.5″L X 12″H X 5″D

The Savannah has an exterior zip pocket, while the St. Anne does not. They both have the same interior pockets – one large zip pocket and four slide pockets. And with both, you can  choose between a patch or a stripe on your pattern.

Other Barrington bags I’m eyeing 

The St. Anne Diaper Bag 

I ended up buying this and used it as my hospital bag! This bag is just like the tote I have above, but is made with a few more pockets which are great for holding bottles, diapers, wipes, and all the other essentials. I like that you can customize these because they have a couple really cute patterns that are pale pink and pale blue. Perfect if you wanted to grab one based on your baby’s gender. I might just stick to the St. Anne tote that I have since they’re so similar, and add a ToteSavvy insert. But if I was new to Barrington and just needed a diaper bag, I’d get this over the basic St. Anne.

I do highly recommend this Freshly Picked diaper backpack too. That’s what I’ve used most for Thomas.

Barrington Gifts St.Anne Tote Review

Tote | Top | Jeans | Shoes

Catherine Crossbody

I LOVE the look of this crossbody bag. The fact that the exterior is a bit structured looks more polished than many cross body bags. And I like the gold hardware accents!

The Belmont Cabin Bag 

This is such a gorgeous weekend bag and will be durable enough to throw in the back of my car. Like all of Barrington bags, you get to customize the outside. I will probably get a similar look to my Axis collection St. Anne so it feels like a set.

I really need to get a new weekend bag – my previous one is literally coming apart at the seams! When I take weekend trips to Boone, I use my Away luggage. A soft shell duffle would be nice to have since I think car trips will be more common in the future. (I love this post from Hannah with tips for long drives or road trips!)

Hanging Toiletry Kit 

Okay, I actually bought this one already. A hanging toiletry kit is a must-have for me. I really wish I’d bought it years ago, when I was flying multiple times a month, every month. I HATE fiddling around for skincare and makeup or worrying that something will break. This kit has multiple pockets, folds unfolds neatly, and helps protect my skincare products (I use this travel sized set of my favorite skincare line). I branched out and got this one in a blue Zebra stripe pattern.

Buchanan 15″ Laptop Case

I love how sleek this case looks and it’d fit perfectly inside my St. Anne to keep my laptop free of scratches or scuffs.

Barrington Gifts for Men

I’m always looking for gifts to give Tommy and my brothers. The Barrington gift’s men’s selection is SO impressive. It’s all genuine leather and looks so sharp.

Original Money Clip 

I love this money clip because you can put their initials in it really subtly which is so nice looking.

St. James Expandable Folio 

THIS is a super handsome gift for any men in your life who work at an office or need to carry files back and forth between the office and working from home these days. It’s such a gorgeous leather too.

Captain’s Bag 

If you’re looking to splurge on a really nice gift, go for this Captain’s bag. 100% genuine leather and SO gorgeous.

I’ll be saving these ideas for Christmas gifts (hard to believe we’ll be Christmas shopping in just a few months!!!) And in the meantime, maybe I’ll just buy myself another tote in another pattern. 😉

Barrington Gifts St.Anne Tote Review

Tote | Dress (Similar here) | Shoes | Earrings (similar)

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Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Teri Hutcheon, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been running for 20+ years and love sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I also share easy recipes, my favorite beauty finds and other tips to help you live happy and healthy! Check out my About page to learn more!

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How to Run a Virtual Race (and Tips to Enjoy It More)

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Recent/ Running
Friday August 20, 2021

How to Run a Virtual Race (and tips to enjoy it more)

























During 2020, virtual running races made a name for themselves. When the world had to pivot, most races were canceled leaving many runners without a way to perform after training for months. Pretty quickly, most race organizations decided to go virtual. One of the things that wasn’t canceled was running. In-person races, yes, but running in general, nope. In fact, running had a boom. I live on a popular running route, and I started to see faces that I’d never seen before.

While lots of races are set to resume, or have already happened throughout the spring and summer, there are still lots of options for virtual races. Even without safety concerns, virtual races may be the perfect alternative if you’re new to running and want a race train for without the pressure (and logistics) of an official race-day. Not only this, but virtual races also allow you to enter races and run indoor, on a treadmill, or even in a completely different country from where the race is being hosted!

There are so many perks to virtual racing, but there are a few challenges such as the lack of fans cheering you on, no packs or pacers to help you set your pace, and no official race teams to create a race environment with water stations, mile markers, road closures, etc. So today, I’m sharing how to run a virtual race and tips to enjoy it more!

How To Run A Virtual Race

1. Choose your race

A great thing about virtual races is that you can pick ANY race in the world. This means you can choose to support a cause you love, even if it’s a race happening in another state. I love this aspect of virtual racing. I love the idea of having a few friends around the country run with me in the same virtual race. Such a cute idea and great way to support a cause you believe in. All you have to do is register and pay your entry fee, and you’re in! Some races will even send you a shirt, medal and bib to make race-day feel more real.

When you choose your race, see if you can recruit some local friends to do it with you!

2. Pick a great course

The best part of virtual racing is that you get to be the race organizer/race director and choose your course. All you’re bound to is the race distance requirement (5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, even a full marathon), but everything else is up to you! If you were preparing for a specific race that was canceled, you can try to make your course as close to the original as possible, or you can plan a completely different route. You can add hills, keep it totally flat, run on a trail or on pavement, it’s up to you. You could even run the whole thing on a treadmill!

When choosing your course, decide on what type of race you want: an out-and-back loop, a pre-planned route that meanders, or a one-way course (so you’ll need transportation to the start and/or finish. Also think through how you’ll track your mileage, whether through a GPS watch or via Strava so you’ll know how far you’ve gone and how fast (if you care about speed!).

3. Factor in weather

If you’ve been forced into going virtual for a race, keep it as similar as possible to the real thing if you can! If you trained for a late fall race, plan to run late fall virtually. This will help your training plans stay consistent and you’ll be prepared for the elements. If you’re deciding to run a virtual race for fun, then the world is your oyster! Fall running is likely my favorite time of the year to run. The cooler weather and the crisp air just make me so happy. You can’t go wrong with a virtual fall race.

If you live somewhere where the weather is unpredictable, you always have the treadmill as an option. Or, embrace the conditions like I did for the 2018 Boston Marathon, knowing you trained for it! Heat, you got this. Cold, you’re prepared. Rain? Game on.

4. Tell some friends

One of the best parts of racing is seeing those you love (and heck, even strangers!) along the route, cheering you on. So, create that same environment! Tell your friends and family where your route is and where you’re finishing. Invite them to cheer you on and perhaps even some will cheer you in at the finish line. Tell your friends who aren’t local about your race and ask them to text you during the race – it’ll be fun to read them afterwards! Plan brunch with friends afterwards. Treat yourself!

How to Run a Virtual Race

5. Pick your fuel

Another fun part of planning your own race is picking out your fuel stations (or skipping that part if you want to carry your own). This could mean asking some friends to leave a water bottle at their driveway for you to snag when you pass, or having a water station near your car for an out and back, etc. You’re in the driver seat, so you get to choose this part, which can be really nice! Gatorade wrecks my stomach, so I always had to plan other fuel sources during race. But with a virtual race, I can choose what hydration and fuel is out for me (just like the elites get to!) and you can train with those exact items leading up to your race day.

And don’t forget to eat a pre-race day dinner with carbs (not as necessary for shorter races, but helpful for longer ones!). If you’re running a half marathon or full marathon, be sure to factor in time for your pre-race breakfast to digest.

6. Be safe

Since in person races are usually blocked off by policemen, or at the very least, signage to alert drivers to runners on the road, you’ll want to be very careful during your virtual race without those things. You’ll need to pay closer attention to your surroundings. If you’re planning to run in the road, make sure you’re running a time of day that isn’t busy and has plenty of visibility. Head to the sidewalk if traffic is bad. Let someone know when and where you’re running, and take a phone with you if possible. If you’re running in the dark, here are tips to do so safely.

7. Upload your results

Depending on the race, you may have the option to upload your results to the race website so you can see your overall place and age group place. The website will likely require you to provide verification of the time (no cheating!) via a Garmin or Strava link.

Even if you don’t upload your results to the race website, I still recommend putting your race stats and finishing time on Strava after your run so that you can have them recorded somewhere. You’ll want to remember this race!

8. Have fun!

Make a whole morning out of it! Have a fun brunch afterwards with friends to celebrate, create a real starting line and finish line, make your own race bib, post about it on social media, etc! If you can get a friend or two to run with you (or even run one part of it with you), that would make it even more fun. I love starting my runs with Thomas and Tommy before I get into the harder part of my workout.

And remember, it’s just a race so don’t sacrifice safety and don’t get discouraged if things don’t go exactly as planned. Race day never goes exactly as planned and that’s true for virtual races too! But honestly, after writing this, I’m excited to go find more virtual races to run. You really can customize the experience!

Running a virtual race can be just as fun (and way less pressure!) than a normal live race. I hope these tips encourage you if you’re thinking about signing up for a virtual race. There are lots of virtual options out there, and I’d love to hear if you’ve participated in any.

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Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Teri Hutcheon, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been running for 20+ years and love sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I also share easy recipes, my favorite beauty finds and other tips to help you live happy and healthy! Check out my About page to learn more!

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