By Cassie Johnston
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If you and I were to sit down and have coffee this morning, I’d totally order a PSL, because I’m basic like that and love pumpkin spice anything.
Other basic things about me: I love Britney Spears (always have always will). My closet is full of jeggings. Gilmore Girls is my favorite TV show ever. I drive a gray SUV. I’d make pretty much the worst hipster ever—I’m so mainstream. But you knew that about me, because we’re friends. And you like the same things I do. Gosh, you are just my favorite (well, right behind Britney and Lorelai, that is).
The first thing I’d do when I sat down is yawn. You aren’t boring, I promise. You’re actually super interesting and pretty and intelligent and delightful. It’s just that I’ve been getting up at 5am each morning to try to get a few uninterrupted hours of work in before the rest of the house wakes up. It’s been great for my business, but my body still is like “WTF. 5AM.” (even though I go to bed much earlier to compensate). If I could control the yawns, I would. Don’t blame me!
I’d ask you how work was going, and you’d tell me all about the super cool things you are doing at your job. You’re such an inspiration to me! I love hearing about other boss babes. Women who are kicking ass in their chosen life (no matter if that’s career, family, alpaca farming) give me such hope for my kid’s generation.
I know they always told us that we could be anything we wanted to be when we were growing up, but I feel like Juniper’s generation is maybe the first time that’s actually true. And awesome women like you are why. So thanks for that.
You’d then ask me about my job, and I’d tell you that I am so insanely happy in my career. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled into this weird, random, and totally crazy occupation that is just such a good fit for my skillset, personality, and lifestyle and actually pays my bills. I’d tell you that I’m thinking of starting a mentorship program because I want to help other people rock this awesome career. This is just too darn good to keep to myself.
Because my Midwestern roots don’t allow me to do anything that even resembles bragging for more than 30 seconds, I quickly change the subject and ask you if you have any fun plans coming up. You tell me that you are going apple picking this weekend. Can we go along, too? I’m jonesin’ for some fresh apple cider and those killer pumpkin donuts they have at the apple orchard. I normally don’t like donuts (I know, freak). But dude. I dream about those things.
Although, it can’t be Saturday, because we’re headed up to my alma mater to tailgate at the football game. Did I tell you my oldest niece is a Freshman there? I didn’t want to pressure her into going to any one school or another, but it makes me heart so happy that she chose my alma mater (although I’m 112% sure than me being an alumna had absolutely nothing to do with her decision). She’s actually living in the same dorm I did my Freshman year! She’s going to have such a blast. College was awesome. I’m so excited for her.
Speaking of sport-like endeavors, I’d then ask you how in the world you manage to fit in a regular exercise routine with your packed schedule? You are so healthy and strong and just such an inspiration. Regular exercise has always been a struggle for me—the fact is, I don’t like it, and I’m impressively lazy. I just can’t seem to get it locked down. I have a wonderful career. A beautiful home. A great marriage. An awesome kid. I eat really well. I get enough sleep (most of the time). But I just can’t seem to figure out the damn fitness thing. Teach me your ways, dear friend of mine!
Not to get all deep on you (okay, I totally am), but I’m sure it has something to do with putting myself last on my priority list. Exercise just never feels important enough to me to dedicate the time. Put another way, I am just never important enough to me to dedicate the time. Even though logically, I know that as fact, I can’t seem to put a solution into practice. The closest I’ve gotten to a regular exercise practice is yoga—and I don’t like to consider that exercise. It’s a whole different thing for me (and lately, I’ve even been slacking at that).
You’d tell me to be kind to myself. You’d tell me that life is seasonal, and just because I can’t figure out how to fit fitness in this current season of my life doesn’t mean I never will. You’d remind me to do what I can with what I have when I have it. And then you tell me that we’ll make our next coffee date a walking date. You’re such a positive force in my life.
We’d move on, and I’d ask you about your family. I’m so glad to hear they are doing so well! Craig and Juniper are both doing really well, too. I’d tell you that the children’s book that my amazing husband wrote and illustrated went on sale this week, and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of the guy. The book is BEAUTIFUL and INTELLIGENT and INSPIRING. I mean, how swoon-worthy is a father who MAKES a book for his daughter (and well, other kids everywhere)? He’s also donating copies to over 100 public libraries all across North America. He’s such a good person. Gosh, I could just gush about my husband for days.
You’d then ask me where you could grab a copy, and I’d whip out my phone and show you this page where you can buy a copy. Friends of mine (like you, babe) get a 10% discount by using the coupon: BACKTOHERROOTS. I tell you that I’ll probably post a whole thing about it later on my blog if you want to read more.
As far as Juni goes, I tell you that, I can say with 100% certainty that she is the smartest child ever in the history of ever. Not that I’m biased or anything. Mark my words: she’s going to change the world someday. You laugh because you think I’m being hyperbolic. I’m not. You just watch.
She’s super into Thomas and Friends right now—in particular, her collection of Thomas Minis. You look at me like you have no idea what I’m talking about—and I wouldn’t have either six months ago. Think of it like if Hot Wheels were trains. And they came in little surprise blind bags so you don’t know which one you are getting (although, us intense Thomas Mini collectors know there is a code system written on the outside of the bag that tells you what is inside).
She LOVES these trains. She plays with them for hours and hours each day. She takes them with her everywhere (the bath, the car, Nana and Grandpa’s house). She even snuggles with them for naps (well, as much as you can snuggle with a two-inch plastic train). She tells them “good morning” when she wakes up and “good night” before she goes to bed. She can name every single train. We have almost 40 of them, and we can literally pull a random one out, and she names it in a split second. I’m sure she’ll grow out of the train stage at some point, but for now, we’re having fun with it. I’m soaking up that it only takes a $1.49 train to make her really excited. Too soon it’ll be $800 smartphones that I have to buy to get her excited.
I’d tell you that, in general, my little baby is turning into a kid, and it’s super fun. She’s a full-of-personality, favorite-color-having, giggling, dancing, coloring KID. And it’s awesome. I mean, the baby stage was nice and cuddly, but being able to actually interact with my kid is awesome. I can hold conversations with her. She has likes and dislikes and opinions. We watch movies and eat popcorn. She helps me bake cookies (which reminds me I have a plate of Juni-baked cookies for you in the car—don’t let me leave without giving them to you). She’s just awesome. My kid is awesome.
I’d glance down at my watch and sigh. Look at me wasting another one of our coffee dates talking all about myself. I’m kinda the worst. Next time, I promise. Next time, we’ll talk about you and only you. I’ll tape my mouth shut. PROMISE. Now, follow me out to my car so I can pawn off some cookies on you.
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I love these post! You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, exercise is making time for yourself, but maybe you’re not in the right mindset this season! Be kind! Congrats on your husbands book, it looks really amazing.
Thank you for your kind words! We’re all our own worst critics, aren’t we?
These are some of my favourite posts to read, thank you for sharing your life with us. I am very excited to hear about your mentoring idea, I could use some of that as I just recently started a blog myself. You have been such an inspiration to me and I actually used your blog post on how to start a food blog to get started. It is very very new right now and I haven’t even created an official first post yet but I hope I can turn it into something.
YAY for you and starting your blog! You took the first step on an awesome journey. :) Let me know if I can help in any way!
Haha, loved this post. Mostly because I love everything Pumpkin Spice and I’m thinking of Alapaca farming…no seriously, I am. Spent a week this summer interning, and will spend two weeks this fall as a ranch sitter. Who knows. (Also, I hate “exercising” too. I used to have a job that kept me fit. Oh well. Thanks for this post.
I had a friend who did alpaca farming, and they loved it! Although, I have to admit, that reference was 95% because I just watched The West Wing episode where one character talks about being an alpaca farmer. :P
Yay, I missed our coffee dates! (I know they are for all your readers, but I feel like they are always just for me!) You have no idea how much your life inspires me to live with less stress and more fun. I am indeed going apple picking this weekend, Liberty apples are ripe and they are my favorite!!
A note on your exercise… don’t sweat it so much (pun intended). I was not big on exercise in my 20s. When I was 32 I signed up for a full year of Jazzercise classes and refused to let myself make excuses. I made friends in those classes, I started to really love them, and then I decided I loved them so much I became an instructor! Working out now is better, because it starts good habits, but you can start anytime! And you are active… you hike, you pull weeds, you chase your beautiful daughter… those things are exercise, too! Sometimes we forget that things count as exercise because we are having fun!
Now if I could just learn to slow down and meditate everyday, I’d be in better shape. How is your daily yoga going, still keeping it up?
Thank you for reminding me not to be so hard on myself! I think it’s AWESOME that you found an exercise you love. I think that’s 95% of the battle of regular exercise!
Yoga and I have an on-again-off-again relationship. When I’m doing it, all I can think is, “How do I live without doing yoga?” and when I’m not doing it, all I can think is “How did I ever find time to fit in regular yoga?” Work in progress, I suppose.
I love coffee dates! Thanks for sharing this little bit of your life with us :-). Congratulations to Craig on the book. Loved the video where he talked about his inspiration for it.
I was just thinking we hadn’t seen a Coffee Date post in awhile! LOVE your office!
I love your coffee dates posts. It’s so fun to catch up on your little family and a nice break from the recipe posts.
I love the posts and the layout of your blog. I (& I am sure others) would love to know more of the nuts and bolts of HOW you earn $ doing it, how to get it to look professional, photos, layout, ideas for content and turning that into what the public sees…. Thanks.
My blogging friend Melissa and I were actually talking about starting a blogging podcast to share that kind of info. Maybe a 2017 project!
I love this! We totally have the same style!
I don’t mind working out. I would prefer to ride a bike around for hours but know that getting a good strength workout is good too. I just can’t get into the groove that others get into. Like if they don’t work out 2-3 times or more a week, they get anxious about it.
Yup, not me.
Keep tryin’ girl! :)
Yeah, I’m definitely not one of those people either. I would happily sit on my couch and rot, if it didn’t eventually make me feel like crap. :)
“My” comment about life being seasonal and not fitting stuff into this current season really resonated. I’m struggling with dieting and fitness too and giving myself a hard time about it so I will take on board “my” wise words.
Great to have a chat with you. Can I have a cup of tea next time please?
The whole “season of life” thing has been HUGE for me since becoming a parent (I wish I learned it before that). It really helps you from getting stuck in the victim/failure mindset. Just because you aren’t doing something now doesn’t mean you never will (or you even should be at this time).
And yes, tea next time! I drink too much coffee anyway. :P
You. Oh you. I sure like you and these posts.
I love these posts & catching up on you, you work & your family!
Might I as where you got the cute apple & pear from on your office shelf?
They were from Hobby Lobby this summer. :)
Great coffee date. Earlier this year I began taking yoga classes during lunch. These are really good as they make me use muscles that have been dormant. My kids are… well, no longer kids, 19 and 23 now, Enjoy every second because it goes fast. Age 4 was my favorite age. Such an awesome time. Today, I will attempt to jog at lunch…but I think it might just be a walk. Your awesome. and such an inspiration. I can’t wait for our next Coffee date.
The toddler stage is just SO fun. I’ve heard a lot of people say 3-5 is their favorite age—so I’m trying to keep that in mind and soak up every second. :)
Girl, I will be the FIRST to sign up if you do a mentorship program. You have been one of my big inspirations since Melissa introduced me to you a few years ago, and I’ve been cheering for all the success and growth you’ve achieved over the last few years. You are amazing!
Sister, you don’t need me! You’re rocking it. (Although you’re very sweet to think I could help you be any more awesome!)
These are the best posts! And I totally get what you’re saying about the yoga. I love it but it’s like I forget to do it sometimes. But when I remember, it’s the best thing ever. Don’t stress too much about fitness. Just do what feels good when you can do it. The rest will sort itself out. ? Enjoy that PSL!
I am huge on life having seasons and that being ok. I’m currently in a not “healthy” eating phase and am ok with it. It’s just not my priority.
Your office is to DIE for! And also- totally buying a book for my son. :)
This post brought so much joy into my week, as I come out of a funk that’s been hanging around for far too long! There has been a chosen season of reason from CrossFit for about a month, so my alarm has been set early for me to take steps to get into blogging again, and just give myself ‘me time’ before heading off to a 9-to-5 that is slowly bringing me down. And pulling me into the job search mode again. I had to say – your office is so so beautiful! Maybe you can give us a tour soon? <3
Gosh, a toxic job is just the worst. It somehow infects everything in your life, doesn’t it? I hope you find something better soon!
Go easy on yourself, lady! Your life sounds great right now.
I heard someone on the radio recently talking about Olympic athletes. They were saying that you can be sure that those sportspeople probably didn’t want the early starts or multiple gym sessions but they did and sure, they probably weren’t great every day but that’s how they got to be awesome at what they do. It really inspired me because I’d beat myself up when I have to drag myself to the gym or have an off day. All I can suggest is trying to schedule it in and starting off small. I found a class I loved and had to sign up to a 6 week course which got me into the habit but everyone is different.
Still a struggle? Think of the example you’re setting to your gorgeous little girl. Be proud – you’re already showing her that a strong woman can have a wonderful relationship and juggle a successful career as well as family. It’s easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list but you wouldn’t want her to do that and you shouldn’t either. What advice would you give to her?
Keep rocking life! The mentoring idea sounds amazing.
This is such a wonderful and thoughtful comment. The part about being an example for Juni is HUGE. Seriously. I try to remind myself of that whenever I’m slacking, and it really does help. I want to model good, healthy, self-caring behavior for her.
Right now, my mantra is “My own wellbeing is sacred.” And I want her to believe that, too!
What a lovely post, Cassie. I think I’ll have another cup.
Oh, this was great! I’m pretty new to your blog so, I think this was my first coffee date post, but it was great to know what’s going on in your world! :) I’m about to welcome my first little babe into the world in December and I love hearing about what’s to come. And I’ll definitely pick up your husband’s book, it looks great and my child will probably be a bookworm if he’s anything like me. I’m also interested in the mentorship idea. I work for a newspaper right now, but have wanted to start a blog for the last few years and just wasn’t sure how to job in. I’d love to know more about it!
Congrats on the little nugget! You’re about to be in for the craziest ride of your life (that there is no way to 100% prepare for, so just ride with it).
I have a journalism background, too! I have a degree in journalism, and I spent quite a few summers interning for newspapers. That background will do you *really* well in the blog world! Start your blog and then send me a link! :)
Seriously, THE best blog post. I walk away from the feeling like we’re bff’s and super inspired to keep my far-away friends and family in the loop in a similar way too :)
Great work! What a great life you’ve got going on right now :)
Thank you, sweets. :) Go send your friends and family an email—I’m sure they’ll love it!
LOVE these posts! Thank you, Cassie. I would jump on any mentorship/podcast initiatives you might embark on. And as many others have said, don’t sweat the exercise stuff. It sounds to me you’re doing an amazingly awesome job!
Thank you so much, Tash! :)
I have so much respect for you and what you’ve built. Just pure delight. Let’s schedule that IRL coffee date soon and we can talk about Simple Facebook Media ;)
The respect is mutual, lady. :) And YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Take my money! Take my money!
Seriously—if you ever want to get started, you know where to find me.
Hi, long time reader, first time poster form all the way across the globe. Your blog is such an inspiration and I really like your friendly style! The coffee dates are always a pleasure to read, I feel as though I were really on one with you!
May I just weigh in on the working out thing?
Like others have said, give yourself grace. And when/if you do feel a need to exercise – find something that works for YOU. As a mom of 2 with a stressful job and a self-employed husband who is away a lot – I just couldn’t fit in any regular gym or class into my hectic schedule (or budget for that matter). Tried many things, always gave up for one reason or the other. And then I stumbled upon the Walk at home program by Leslie Sansone, that one works for me. There are also other options, like youtube channels and other home exercise programs that maybe work for others.
Well for me It was a lifesaver I tell you, must be the endorphins or something…. Now whenever I have some “free” time or when I feel stressed or frustrated, it’s my thing to do to vent. Even my kids noticed the improvement – and if they see I’m cranky, they’ll suggest that I go do the walk-walk-walk. Sometimes they’ll even join me and work out with me. Those times are my happiest – I get a work out in, have fun with the kids and in the back of my mind I know that I’m setting a good example for them. The best thing is, if I only have 10-15 minutes, that’s fine, it’s enough. If I have an hour and feel like doing a big workout, I can do it. And I have not lost any weight at all, but I am FIT and happy and my family even benefits from it…
But If you don’t feel like exercising, absolutely no pressure! If it’s a chore and off-putting and you don’t look forward to exercising, then you might even not benefit from it, at least that’s my opinion…
Good morning! I do enjoy your coffee chat posts. I am also loving your porch pics on Snapchat too! So jealous! ;-)
I can certainly understand and appreciate the workout dilemma. I embrace the perspective that 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes of exercise. My family is used to my squats in front of the stove and a few trips up and down the stairs before I need to stir our dinner.
Plus, to Katie’s point above all the work you do outside counts too! I was helping my son make some improvements to our chicken coop the other evening. Although it wasn’t “typical” exercise it allowed me to move, be outside on a lovely evening, and spend some one on one time with him as well.
I live in your neck of the woods so enjoy and appreciate the posts you share. I had to laugh at your Midwestern bragging comment. So true!
Have a great weekend! Go IU! :)
Loved having coffee with you! Basic gals forever! And I also feel that pressure to workout and be in tip-top shape (or really even pretty good shape) but I’ve told myself over and over right now is not the “slay at fitness” time in my life. It will come back and I DO want more than right now, but I’m not going to be busting any records or anything. Right now, my focus in my family. And yes, my little girl is 2 1/2 and she is SO fun! The things that come out of her mouth always amaze me! She is going to be a world-changer!
These are my favorite posts! I haven’t been around my computer recently due to work taking over my life and sleep taking over my free time, but I was so excited to see this posted! It was great meeting up with you, Cassie!
I love, love, love this post! So much fun! and I immediately pinned the photo of you in your workspace and the photo of you in your red tee and gray sweater.
*WHERE did you get the sweater? I’ve been looking for one like that!*
Can’t wait to read more of your posts. (clearly, I’m new here!)
Greetings from the Midwest (Wisconsin!)
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