10,000 Steps (I Bought a Fitbit!)

Happy Monday, Y’all! We filled this weekend with lots of family time, rest, reading, and a lovely bridal shower. It was made even better because I got to check off three boxes for my August goals:

1) Replace my running shoes (I bought this pair and like them a lot!)
2) Complete three running intervals per week (1 week down, 4 to go!)
3) Hit 10,000 steps in a day

I used to have a strong aversion to Fitbits. The thought of wearing a band of bulky rubber on my wrist had zero appeal to me. I reasoned that I simply didn’t need one because generations had done just fine without them before and I didn’t need a bracelet to tell me to move. Then I thought through the fact that I work a desk job.

For as long as I work in a cubicle, I’m automatically predisposed to a sedentary lifestyle. Thankfully, this can be countered by getting enough physical activity, so I came up with an experiment for myself to turn a would-be sedentary lifestyle into a healthy one:

1) Buy a Fitbit (I purchased a used Alta on eBay last weekend and paid half the retail price!)
2) Wear the Fitbit for a few months to measure my activity level
3) Find ways to consistently hit 10,000 steps a day
4) Sell the Fitbit on eBay, ideally making back most of the money I purchased it for

Essentially, I’m “renting” my Fitbit as long as I can sell it for close to what I paid. It’s a cost-effective way to promote an active lifestyle. While some people might find it easy to hit 10,000 steps a day, it takes intentionality for those of us cubicle workers. It felt like quite an accomplishment to hit 10,000 steps on Saturday and truly understand the level of activity it took to get there.

I definitely don’t enjoy wearing this on my wrist, but I appreciate having the ability to better understand what my body needs! It also serves as a subtle motivator. For example, I wasn’t pleased with the number of steps I had last night, so Dillon and I went outside and enjoyed the evening, adding a few thousand steps before dinner.

Ultimately, my perspective on wearing a Fitbit has changed now that I’m seeing it as an experiment instead of a lifestyle choice. I’m excited to continue promoting an active lifestyle for myself over the next few months!

Do you own a Fitbit? Share your thoughts on wearing one below!

Overcoming My Fear of Public Speaking, and More About My Job

Thank the good Lord for growth, y’all. Last week I hit a milestone of overcoming my fear of public speaking. You should know that I didn’t even realize I had this fear until I tackled it head-on. I have always considered myself to be pretty comfortable in conversation with others. However, I’ve historically found it challenging to address large groups or people I don’t yet know personally. I was never afraid of school presentations or speeches, but rarely – if ever – did they come easily to me.

both photos by Carrie Joy Photography from the Making Things Happen Intensive

Fast-forward to this past January when I started a job in higher education that challenged any prior shyness I had. I quickly found myself with the option to either crumble beneath any self-doubt or insecurity I was carrying, or press into the challenge and grow from it. I chose the second option and it has changed me for the better!

Every day at work, I speak to dozens of people I’ve never met before. I have the opportunity to establish dynamic interactions with them and spur them on to do what they want most in life. It’s a rather high-volume position in a large University. This sometimes makes me feel like I blend into the sea of cubicles. Compounded with the fact that most of my job is done over the phone, this level of ‘blending in’ could easily lead to complacency if it weren’t for the dynamic company culture. It is impossible to go unnoticed here for a job well done.

Even though I dream of having my own creative business in the future, I know that I have been placed here in this season for a reason. As a result, I come to work every day and try to pour my heart into the work I do and the people I serve. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

Earlier this month, I was both blessed and surprised to be recognized for the work I’ve been doing. Our leadership team was touched by a particular student story that I’d had the privilege to be part of this spring. For that reason, I was asked to speak at our quarterly awards ceremony last week. We had the choice to opt out if we were uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups. I hesitated to say yes when I realized I would be speaking to 200 people. However, I decided to be brave and go for it because growth rarely happens within our comfort zone.

As I prepared to share my student’s story with my department, I struggled with how I would deliver my message. I toyed with the idea of writing it out and referencing note cards throughout the delivery. In considering that, I realized it might have diluted my message and made it seem flat.

In a moment of unexpected courage, I decided to speak from my heart instead. I applied a prior tip I had stored away in high school to move around and be dynamic during my presentation. Rather than speak into the stationary mic at the podium, I held it and stood comfortably beside it instead. Y’all, while it was a little scary at first, the words flowed so naturally as I continued! By the end of my presentation, I felt comfortable, confident, and wholly genuine in the words I’d spoken.

Moral of the story: be brave. Anytime you are presented with an opportunity to stretch your comfort zone and grow, go for it! These are the very experiences that mature, shape, grow, and develop us. Believe in yourself, take a deep breath, and try!

Do you have a fear of public speaking? Share an opportunity you might take to overcome it below!


I Earned a 100 on My First Graphic Design Assignment!

As I shared in this post last month, I resumed college coursework this month towards my BA in Graphic Design. My course began last week and y’all, I had to shake the dust off as I started my first graphic design assignment.

Two and half years have passed since I completed my first degree so it’s been a bit since I had homework. I planned ahead last week and completed the readings and preliminary assignment early. However, I didn’t complete my last weekly assignment until the last few hours before it was due last weekend. The prompt really stumped me! Our instructor asked us to come up with a business name for our own imaginative design business. She advised us to consider our ideal market – which for me would be small business and creative entrepreneurs in the South. The caveat was that the name couldn’t be our own name (which is good, because I have already staked claim over the business name ‘Kyla Mary’!) and it couldn’t be an existing business name.

my first graphic design assignment

I consulted this book in the process of brainstorming!

I originally planned to use ‘Hive and Harvest’ because I appreciate business names that follow the ‘Word and Word’ formula. The words sounded timeless and veered away from being trendy, which I liked. Sadly, that name was taken by an Australian honey company. In fact, my next several ideas were taken too!  It must be meant to be that I use my own name in real life. I ultimately came up with the name ‘Forage and Foundry’, which has a nice ring to it! We will be using this business name throughout the entire term, ultimately building our final project around it. I’m excited to share that I earned a 100 on the first assignment!

It’s tricky to take a foundational graphic design course after working as a professional designer for the past few years.  The content is pretty simple compared to what I’ve done, and the assignments are attached to a rubric. I’m used to working for myself and serving my clients without rules, but I am choosing to embrace this challenge. Ultimately, I am so thankful for the opportunity to take college coursework toward a degree in design! It is a huge blessing to be able to do this in a way that works for Dillon and I and our budget – I am truly blessed!