Five Things // The Challenge Edition

This Five Things is all about challenges. Some of these I’ve started in the past and for one reason or another got sidetracked from and others are new adventures. I’d love if you join me in any or all of them!

100 Happy Days


You can read more about this challenge, and my first attempt, in my previous post. I’m restarting this challenge tomorrow and will be documenting it on Instagram. If you are participating, please let me know in the comments below!

30 Day Plank Challenge

Next up is the 30 day plank challenge. I’m not sure where this originated, but I got into it on Facebook. I got about halfway through last fall before having to quit because of an injury. Hopefully in 30 days (or maybe 60), a 300 second plank will be in my future!

Collect Screenshot - Photo View

I’m also challenging myself to document more of our everyday moments using the Collect App. This nifty app lets you add a picture and caption and automatically dates it. Then all you have to do is export them and print them out to have a beautifully simple photo calendar.\

I’m also doing the SELFIE workout challenge with my amazing friend/long distance workout buddy Mia. If you don’t know what the SELFIE challenge is all about, you can read more about it here. We are donating the money from any missed workouts to charity.

And last, but probably the most important, I’m challenging myself to stay on top of all my course reading this semester. I don’t want to have to be playing catch up!

Back to School Essentials

I can’t believe school is already starting back up next week. I have one year left to finish my LL.M., as if the first seven and a half weren’t enough! Aside from the heart-stopping textbook bill, there’s something exciting about shopping for back-to-school supplies. Even if you’re not in school, this is a great time to restock your office! Here are the things I think are essential to have on hand no matter where or what you’re studying.

Back to School Essentials


First, off you need a great bag to carry everything in. I love messenger bags and I think this distressed leather one is the perfect balance of fashion and function.

Next, spend a few dollars on a laptop sleeve. Take it from me, it’s worth it. It’ll keep crumbs, dust, debris, and whatever else might be lurking in your bag at bay.

Spend a few dollars to invest in your favorite pens and highlighters. You’re going to spend a lot of time studying and taking notes; it’s worth it to save time being frustrated with a pen that doesn’t work or a highlighter that smears the print. Those are my favorites above.

You’ll also want to get a pouch to keep those writing utensils to protect you from an accidental ink explosion or them marking up something they’re not supposed to (like that assignment you don’t have time to reprint).

Keeping things organized is a definite priority, so invest in a good notebook, like this Moleskine one, to jot down notes, along with a planner to keep track of classes, presentations, and appoints.

Sticky notes. These are your best friend. Use them for margin notes when you don’t want to write in your textbook and for moveable reminders in your planner.

Hand sanitizer. Again, you’ll become well-acquainted. Public areas are a breeding ground for whatever the illness-of-the-moment is. Keep some around to help avoid falling under the weather.

Keep a good pair of headphones on hand to watch lectures or listen to music while you’re studying. These also come in handy for a Hulu break to catch up on the most recent episode of The Mindy Project.

A spare phone charger because you will inevitably lose yours or it will burn out when you need it most.

Last, but not least, a makeup bag with some of your go-to products for primping before a date or happy hour.

What are your back to school essentials?

Five Things

I mentioned this in passing earlier in the week, but now there is a dedicated shopping page where you can find all of my favorite products and those that I mention on the blog. It will be updated each weekend with new picks, so check back! Go check it out here or go to the “Shop My Favorites” link under “Shop” in the nav menu.
Shop From Dana Renee Style


This cutie was making it difficult to finish some squares for the crochet swap I’m in.IMG_1025

We celebrated the hubby’s 31st birthday with a trip to the Maryland Live! Casino and dinner at The Prime Rib.


We managed to keep our tradition and squeeze in a trip to the Big Glen Burnie Carnival to share a funnel cake.


The most amazing gourmet mini donuts from the Glazey Days food truck at the Pasadena Flea Market. Cinnamon roll on the left and turtle on the right. Oh my yum!IMG_1037


July Favorites

I cannot believe how fast this year is flying by. It’s already August and it seems like New Year’s and my birthday were yesterday. Here are some of the products that I’ve been loving for the last month. Also, I’m trying out the ShopStyle affiliate widget for these posts to make it easier to shop the items if your interested. I’ll also be launching a Shop My Favorites page soon, where you can find links to buy my monthly favorites along with other items featured on the blog or things I’m generally loving at the moment.

1. The Frends Rose Gold Layla Headphones. These are the smaller version of the Taylor headphones that have the same great look. These are traditional on-the-ear headphones, but they have memory foam ear pads that make them comfortable to wear. So far I’m loving them! I will say that I’ve noticed some merit to others’ criticisms of different notes sound quality, but, at least for me, I’m using these for casual listening in places that are often rather noisy and I find them more than adequate.
2. This gorgeous little compact was a special edition Things Remembered piece for ULTA. I snagged it on sale for just $6.99. I love that it has both a regular mirror and a magnifying mirror inside.
3. I received the Rimmel ScandalEyes Mascara in my Spring VoxBox and I have been hooked on this stuff. I find that it works well for me and easily builds up fullness and length on my outer lashes.
4. I first heard about #GIRLBOSS over on A Beautiful Mess and I’ve been hooked since I picked it up last week. It’s about the founder of Nasty Gal and if you have any entrepreneurial inclinations, I would definitely suggest reading this.
5. My eye areas are very sensitive and I’ve had a hard time finding an effective, yet gentle eye makeup remover. On a whim I ordered this Klorane Soothing Eye Makeup Remover with Cornflower Water from the BirchBox shop and it is has been my go-to product ever since. It gets off every last bit of my eye makeup without having to scrub too much.
6. The Victoria’s Secret Strawberries & Champagne body mist has just the right balance of light and sweet, making it perfect for everyday wear without being overpowering.
7. I heard loads of rave reviews for Batiste dry shampoo, so I snapped it up when my local Wal-Mart started carrying it. My favorite is the blush scent and it quickly freshens and revitalizes my hair in between washes.
8. These Yes to Grapefruit Brightening Facial Towelettes are a treat after a workout or a long day.

What are your favorite products from July?

Disclosure: Widget created through the ShopSense affiliate dashboard. 

Sometimes You Just Can’t Do It All…and that’s ok

Computer Notebook Coffee

If you’re anything like me, you wear a lot of different hats. For me, it’s lawyer, editor, student, blogger, wife, patient….the list goes on. Once in a blue moon the tasks associated with these hats all fall neatly into place and everything gets done…but that’s not usually the case. More often I am scrambling to cross things off my to do list before bed before so I can attempt to get a respectable night’s sleep before I repeat the pattern the next day. I am constantly wishing there were more hours in the day and what I realize now, after ages of beating myself up over it, is that sometimes you just can’t do it all…and that’s ok. So here are some tips for making the most out of your time when you just can’t possibly get everything done:

1. Prioritize

This is pretty straightforward, but also absolutely essential. Make a list of everything you need to get done. Writing it down will help alleviate the “I need to remember I have to do that” moments. Then rewrite the list starting with the things that are the highest priority (like bill due dates and deadlines) and work your way down to those that can wait (returning a social call or cleaning out the fridge).

2. Set Reasonable Expectations

When planning your day, set reasonable expectations for what you can get done and set aside enough time to do each task. If you only allot yourself 15 minutes to return those library books when it really takes a half an hour, you’re already risking that some other things might not get done, and that equals stress. My rule of them is to budget about 1.5 times how long I think a task will take. This builds in time to listen to hold music or to just catch my breath between errands.

3. Stay Organized

I’m not talking about full-on reorganizing your office, more like planning your day out in advance and keeping any important papers you’ll need on hand in a folder. You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save when you’re not frantically trying to find the prescription slip from the doctor’s office or the invoice that has your account number on it.

4. Don’t Multitask

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but a lot of times multitasking actually makes things take longer to complete. If you focus all of your attention on one task at a time, you’ll be able to cross things off your list quickly, instead of trying to go back and forth between different items on your list. Note: this does not apply to returning emails while listening to hold music…hold music is awful.

5. Know What Can Wait

Sometimes the unexpected throws you for a loop and even though you have the best of intentions, you have to put off something even though you hate to do it. That was sort of what happened on the blog the last few weeks. I was suddenly working 80 hour weeks and attending to some personal matters, leaving little time to hop on here and share some of the many ideas I have planned. Not that I ever want to neglect my online space, but sometimes you have to know when to put some projects on hold while you take care of the big ones.

So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and try some of these tips. I’d love to hear from you about how you handle a never-ending to do list?

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske /

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