Favorite Bloggers

I was recently inspired by Eventbrite, to go through my list of blogging gurus, (on the right side of my page), and decide if there were any I would love to meet and talk to, ask questions, and pick their brains. There are many that have inspired me over the years with my own blog, crafts, cooking, and DIY life hacks. Maybe I can send their names your way and they can inspire you too! You check out Eventbrite’s online registration page, a great resource for organizing and registering conferences locally.

Elsie and Emma from “A Beautiful Mess” are always beaming with colorful inspiration. From clothing re-do’s to fashion to crafts, I wish I had the time and creativity to do what they do. Elsie and Emma

Andi Mitchell and her blog “Can you Stay for Dinner” is inspirational on so many levels! Not only are her food photos mouth watering-ly delicious, but her journey on how she lost (and kept off!) over 135 lbs is motivational to read. I just got her cookbook, “Mostly Wholesome Cooking” and can’t wait to try the recipes. (Buffalo Eggrolls, I’m looking at you.)

Andie Mitchell

Another foodie fave is Manger, written by Mimi Thorisson, journalist and chef, and someone living one of my dream life scenarios… She cooks, she entertains, she lives in a beautiful southern French villa in Médoc and makes the most amazing looking food (thanks to her photographer husband). Please invite me to dinner.

mimitomatoes-710x536

The couple that bought and are fixing up an old French Chateau, Chateau De Gudanes, are a couple of people that I would like to meet. FIRST. Thank you for doing what you’re doing. You’re doing an amazing job and I love your journey, your photos, your perseverance! I want to do what they are doing and would love to talk about their ups and downs, regrets, choices, and how they made the choice to take on such a beast of a remodel.

chateau

Some great and frugal design inspiration for me is from Steph, from “You Paid More Than Me”,  she finds home design inspiration, and then finds ways to make or places to buy said designs for cheaper, and it looks good!

you paid more

I’d say inspiration is out there somewhere, you just need to know who to ask, and where to look!

Advertisements

Age Really is Just a Number

So now that I’m in my 30’s I get down now and again about feeling “old”. But something I have realized recently is that AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. It’s technically the number of years you’ve been on this planet, and that’s all! It’s how long you’ve been on Earth while it’s rotating around the sun.

33

If you treat your body poorly, you’ll die sooner, and your body is “older”, with a sooner expiration date than someone that’s healthy. If you treat your body right, and eat well, sleep enough, don’t smoke, get exercise, then your body is younger, extending the expiration date. You keep your body in better shape overall, and you’ll live longer, and your body is technically “younger” than someone actually younger than you in years that treats their body worse than you do.

What a brilliant concept to think that I’ve been on this earth 33 years and my body feels the same / better than it does when I was 25. That means I’m fixing to be around longer, and all of the work I do for my longevity, keeps me running smooth, like taking care of a classic car. A classic car from the 50’s can run longer than a car from the 80’s if it’s taken care of better. So I’m going to stop worrying about my “age” and how “old” I am compared to those around me, because you’re only as old as you feel. Ah, age is really just a number, after all!

New Years Resolutions Tips

So it’s that time again. The time when you start making promises to yourself and those around you, to make life changes for the better. I do it every year! What are you resolving to do, really? Be the best version of yourself that you can be. Does it sound cliché to say that you should do that all year long, anyways? But what better time than January 1st to jumpstart your goals, abilities, and mindfulness. Now I won’t tell you what to aspire to resolve, that’s up to you. But when you’re jotting down goals for 2016, why not keep some things in mind.

New Year

  • Try to think about health, career goals, family, money you want to save, talents you want to fine tune, taking a class to hone in on a skill or learn something new.
  • Travel. The world is so small! Why not resolve to visit a new place this year? Even if it’s in the state you live in.
  • How about spreading your goals out over 12 months, one new goal per month.
  • You can even make a jar to fill with notes, like jot down things that you want to do, things that make you proud or happy, or even memories. Then next new years you can read the notes and remember the previous year.
  • So… weight loss. We all resolve to lose weight and get in shape. But when we don’t “lose 20 lbs” like we want, we get discouraged and quit. Why don’t start small, and work up from there? Resolve to exercise 150 minutes a week. Resolve to eat organic, raw, or just healthier in general. Resolve to wake up an hour earlier a day and have a good breakfast, and take a walk. Baby steps! Here’s a great article on the subject.
  • How about a reading resolution? My night stand looks like the return pile at Barnes & Noble. I have so many books I want to read! How about instead of watching reruns of NCIS I can read a book to lull me to sleep, aiming for one book a month. Here’s a great list of books on self improvement.

Try this print off to get you started from Life with My Littles! And here’s another one that’s pretty good too from Hitha On The Go.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Should-a, Could-a, Would-a, 60 Day Experiment

We all have our should-a could-a would-a’s. I should drink more water. I should take more vitamins, get better sleep, wash my face more often, eat better, spend less money. I should keep in touch with my friends and family. If I only worked out more I could be in better shape. I could have saved more money if I didn’t buy this and that. Can it make you happier? Well, friends, I’m going to embark upon a should-a could-a would-a

Can it make you happier? Well, friends, I’m going to embark upon a should-a could-a would-a 60 day experiment and document my progress, trials, and successes. I’m going to do all of the things that I tell myself ALL OF THE TIME that I should do more of.

 

barney meme

Now that I have some time in my schedule to do what I want, when I want (other than the craft fair schedule, that one isn’t adjustable), I’m going to do the things I always tell myself I “should” do and do them. A lot of these things just means incorporating healthy habits into my daily life. Things I’ve shoved to the wayside that I should get back. They say it only takes 21 days to form a habit. Let’s see about that.

My “should” list that I will do for the next 60 days:

  • Drink more water. (Some days I realize I didn’t drink ANY water. That’s bad!)
  • Drink more green tea / tea in general.
  • Take a vitamin / vitamins every day.
  • Work out 5 days a week / get healthier and feel better.
  • Use the Spin bike I got off of Craigslist.
  • Read the piles of books I have sitting around.
  • Meditate / Do some cognitive behavioral therapy to better my self-esteem.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep.
  • Wash my face at night with the expensive anti-aging face wash I bought and use the even more expensive night creams. I bought them and I barely use them. I lazily use those wet wipes for your face and then fall into bed.
  • Save money and not spend it on silly things.
  • Organize the bins and bins of things I’ve kept forever in the basement.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Eat more greens / fruits and veggies.
  • Eat out less, cook at home more.

And how will I accomplish such feats? How will I stay on track?!

Ok, here’s how.

  • I’ll start a blank book / journal to keep a checklist of the things I want to do and make sure I check them off throughout the day. Smartphones have alarms for a reason. To remind you to do things. And they have apps you can download that help with almost all of the things I wanted to do.
  • Go to the vitamin store and get 60 days of some awesome all natural multi vitamin. And maybe some vegetarian protein powder for my post workout shakes.
  • I will pre-fill water bottles in the morning and make sure I drink them throughout the day with either timers or times of the day taped to the bottles. I will set out the Green Tea packet in a mug ready to be filled with water in the mornings.
  • I will set alarms to get up in the morning to work out and sleep in my workout clothes if I have to. I will come up with a routine to stick to and post a dry erase board on the wall of the workout room with a calendar drawn on it to stay motivated. I have the P90X DVD set, weights, yoga mats, a spin bike, rubber band thing-ys… what am I waiting for?! Oh, I know, I need direction. I don’t just want to go at this whole workout willy-nilly and make up a routine. I’ll find one online or ask a personal trainer friend to help me out. It’s time to end the excuses! (Did anyone else just picture Susan Powers screaming “Stop the Insanity!)
  • Spending less: If something is not detrimental to my survival, it will not be purchased. Sorry friends that want to go out to eat! Sorry new nail polish! Sorry Target clearance sweater, I know you’re only $5.99 but no! Not for the next 60 days… Sounds boring, I know. To help I’ll even make a sleeve for my Debit card that says something like “Will you literally DIE if you don’t buy this?” on it. The only thing I can answer yes to is food.
  • Make a “once a week” goal for something around the house I want to get done. Donate things to Goodwill, clean certain rooms, paint other rooms… And put those goals into my calendar app!
  • Watch less TV at night and pick up the books I have laying around and read them at night. Maybe during breakfast and lunch too instead of browsing Pinterest.
  • Do daily affirmations. No, not like Stuart Smalley. Like, look up ways to raise self-esteem and follow the experiments. Make lists of things I love about myself, banish bad thoughts, and use the app I downloaded for that, Happify.
  • Eating out less and at home more will be easy when I go grocery shopping for some great food that will help me stay on my healthy eating schedule when I work out 5 x a week! Also, if I want to go out to eat because I’m too lazy to cook, that’s what the organic microwave burritos from Costco are for. Ten of them in a box for $11, it’s literally just over a dollar a burrito. I can manage that.

Ok, so you probably wonder why I’m spilling my goals into my blog. It’s because once I post this, It’s PUBLIC. Others know about it! That keeps me motivated. Knowing I told someone I was going to do something makes me feel more obligated to do it. So here goes! Starting September 1st and for 60 days after. I’ll also log my progress with all of this and let you know how it’s changed my mentality / mood / body. Wish me luck!

UPDATE OCTOBER 2017:

This experiment went awesome! It only takes 21 days to form a habit and I formed some awesome ones. I lost almost 30 lbs in the course of 7 months with a healthy diet, and exercise routine. I started taking a vitamin and finally started growing fingernails that didn’t break. I read a TON of self-help books (including You are a Badass, and followed all instructions in said book) and it took almost a year but I got out of an unhealthy relationship, started to love myself and got into a good relationship. Make a list, do the things. It’s never too late to become who you want to be!

 

10 Things that Made Me Happy This Week

Every now and then in the midst of the life of a person ridden with anxiety (everything can and will be dwelled upon and instantly thought about in the worst case scenario) I have to think of things that make me happy, so I can remember to breathe.

1. Having Brunch with my girlfriends. We checked out a new place in DePere called the Creamery, and it was amazing. Our talks always end up being over 3 hours, and include a lot of wine (or in this case, champagne) and are always very cathartic. I cherish the time we spend together. I also cherish the red velvet waffles with espresso whip cream we shared…

brunch

2. Knowing how much money Matt and I will save after we canceled the wedding and started to plan to elope instead. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and it feels good.

3. Re-arranging the living room, and seeing the cats enjoy the room from another angle.

cat tower

4. Just splurging and buying dairy creamer instead of almond creamer. I am trying to make healthy choices and cut back on dairy, but the Almond creamer is nutty when it gets hot and I’m not a fan. So I just got what I know I love, and don’t regret it.

5. My girlfriend borrowed me the book “Gone Girl” and I can’t wait to get started! I saw the movie already, so I know what’s going to happen, but the book will be a totally different experience.

6. I went to a Kentucky Derby themed awards ceremony last night and had the opportunity to wear this hat in public. I also saw a midget pony, and had a great time with friends.

big hat

7. Cooking pasta to the perfect al dente. I mean, yum! And with a home made meat and tomato sauce, you can’t go wrong. And BONUS, the leftovers re-heated perfectly!

8. Completing the fabric walls at the nautical restaurant I blogged about last week. I’ll do a post on how we got there, but it was 14+ hours of hard labor, and totally worth it!

jimmy seas

9. Filling the fridge with fresh groceries. I splurged and got over $150 in fresh and awesome ingredients, (as well as tea and almond oil so I can make a face mask,) and it makes me happy knowing there will be healthy meal options in my kitchen.

10. Playing with my friend’s new Boston Terrier pup, Talula. What a pleasure playing with a little 5 pound ball of excitement like a puppy! I swear you can’t be in a bad mood when you have those big eyes looking at you.

talula

I encourage you to take a moment and make a list of 10 things that made you happy this week!

I’m Slowly Entering the Comfort of My 30’s…

You know how you can see someone every day, and not notice that they are loosing weight/ growing their hair out/ having a baby/ doing something else that takes a long time but you suddenly notice it at once? That’s what my transition from 20’s to my 30’s has become. I didn’t notice my tastes changing until one day it hit me. I’m not in my 20’s anymore. I still feel youthful, and healthy, but darn it, (yes it’s phrases like that, that tell me,) I’m not a kid anymore.

Here are some things that tipped me off. 

  • When I go to the thrift stores I no longer look for graphic tees, I look for over sized cardigans and blazers.
  • When I get in the car, I flip through all of the radio stations, and land on NPR.
  • Sometimes I fall asleep to the TV at night, and voluntarily watch documentaries on things like “What Happened to the Mayans” and “History Behind the Free Masons”.
  • When I drink tea, I don’t like to use any sugar or sweetener. I get grossed out when I use too much, and when I was in High School and drank bottomless cups of coffee with friends, I did a 5 count of pouring the sugar into my cup and it still wasn’t enough.

Kid collage

Before gray hair was an issue. 

  • I sometimes think music is too loud. I never used to think that. I’ve been to so many concerts I now hear ringing in a quiet room. I never complained about loud.
  • I say stuff like “kids these days…” And I mean it.
  • I also say stuff like “When I was a kid… we didn’t HAVE the INTERNET.”
  • I’ve been to 3 doctor appointments this month for routine check ups and they all asked me how often I work out. Which I replied “Uhhhh…” Very Tina like from Bob’s Burgers. Ok Doctors I get it. I need to work out more. I also feel SUPER sore after one day of physical activity. Or a heavy day of cleaning.
  • I have gray hairs. Ok, like 2 but they are THERE. Watching me. Waiting for the right time to send the rest of the troops. I also have some fine lines. Which I am totally fighting with every bottle of moisturizer I own.

Teen and 20's college

My teens and early 20’s. And I didn’t have a cell phone till I was 21.

  • I CAN NOT handle hangovers. I have like 3 glasses of wine and I’m practically still drunk the next day, and I’m hungover the next 2 days. I used to be able to drink a few cocktails, and wake up refreshed after a glass of water and some breakfast but now, it’s like I’ve started my tolerance all over again.
  • I don’t want babies but I want more cats. And sometimes babies.
  • I NEED sleep. Not like 6 hours, but at least 8 to feel good about waking up and even then I’m wondering why I have a day job that requires me anywhere before 10 am. I used to be able to pull off 3 hours of sleep then go to work for 8 hours, then school for 4 and I was JUST FINE. Darn it all.

adult collage

Adult me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never lose your child like outlook on life.

  • I want to go to bed before midnight. Heck, before 11. Put a fork in me Jerry, I’m done.
  • I can not eat anything unhealthy without reaping the consequences. My body will not tolerate it. I actually voluntarily choose to eat organic, limiting meat and fried foods, and cutting out ALL the bad stuff because it just makes me feel better.
  • And the end all-be all to knowing I’ve gotten older, and like it? I enjoy not wearing makeup, or jewelry, and just putting on jeans and a t-shirt, some loafers, and going to the grocery store on a Saturday night, then cooking dinner while listening to some good ol’ Jazz music.

THE TRANSFORMATION IS COMPLETE INTO ADULTHOOD.

Happy aging!

You Like Music? So Do I! Where to Discover and Share Music.

As an avid music and movie connosouir I love to find new bands to listen to on a regular basis. It’s a cheap and fulfilling hobby to have, especially when you have friends with similar interests in music, since you can share music for free in a lot of ways. I’ll share with you some of the ways I’ve discovered (with a little help from my friends.)

Pandora: Pandora is a well-known internet site that plays out like a radio station for what you like. You enter the name of a band you like, they will generate a station around that band. You can also see the lyrics of most music, and get a bio on the band. Here’s what Pandora has to say about how they choose the music they play: “To understand just how we do this, and why we think we do it really, really well, you need to know about the Music Genome Project®… It’s the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every track – melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics … and more! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country.” Sounds cool, right? The only annoying thing is that the music stops after about 2 hours, and you have to hit a button on the screen to tell them “you’re still listening”. Small price to pay. Oh, and every now and then it throws you a curve ball. Michael Jackson on my A Fine Frenzy station? What?

Spotify: Spotify is relatively new to the United States, but just as cool, if not, cooler than Pandora.  You have to download it onto your computer, it doesn’t work like a website like Pandora. BUT it’s better in the way that you can listen to bands and songs ON CALL, whereas Pandora lets you pick a band you like and they generate the station around it. You can listen to stations on Spotify like a radio, rate the music you like, and if you log in through Facebook, you can see other friends that use Spotify, what they are listening to, and share music with them that you’d want them to listen to. You can sync your Itunes library with Spotify and create playlists. If you pay for Spotify’s premium account you can listen to songs on demand from your phone, whereas the free phone app is radio only. Read this over the moon testimonial for more details.

   Yes, it IS as simple as it looks.

Last.FM: Last.FM is a music recommendation site you can use to listen to new bands in a streaming radio style format using “The Scrobbler” while learning all about the bands you are listening too. You can link your other accounts to Last.Fm like what you listen to on your phone with apps like CloudScrob or by connecting Spotify to your account and even track your iTunes plays on your computer by downloading the computer app. It will tell you what you tend to listen to the most and recommend new bands based on your “scrobbles”. Like you don’t already know. In addition the Last.FM app for your phone allows you to use the streaming radio for free.

A little glimpse at Last.FM

Rdio: I’m checking out Rdio today, seems similar to many other streaming music playing websites like Pandora (but better!) with many many more choices. I’ll update again with results.

Band of the Day: Band of the Day is an app for your Iphone and IPad that helps you discover new bands on a day-to-day basis. It shows you a juxtaposition of a calender over a photo of a band, and you can click on the past days in the calender to see the other bands that were presented through the month. Through this app you can discover a bio, discography, lyrics and links to the videos. Don’t worry, it’s not all Indie music, there are a lot of genres on there. But the music IS all new stuff, no blasts from the past.

Band of the Day. It just looks fun.

Discovr Music: Discovr Music is an awesome app for the IPhone ($1.99) or the IPad that helps you to, well, discover music. You put in a band you like, and it shows up in a little bubble. You can then find out about that band with albums, tour dates, bio, and more. But wait, there’s more! You can tap on the bubble, and like a little spider, more bands similar to that band pop out of the bubble attached with little legs. Tap on as many bands as you want and create a twisted web of music. It’s pretty fun. They actually have an app now for movies as well for all you film buffs.

This is what Discovr-ing is like.

ITunes Library Side Bar: This is a given for anyone that has ever used the ITunes library. You’re probably also seen that little symbol that looks like an atom floating at the bottom of the screen. It’s the genius symbol and you can select a song from your OWN library and ITunes will create a playlist for you. I do this in the car on the Iphone when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to skip through the shuffle or pick an artist to listen to. I pick one song and let my phone do the rest. But while in ITunes, you can also listen to one of your own songs and a new group of artists you don’t have will pop up in the side bar for you to check out. You can sample the songs on the spot. It’s pretty easy. But if you want the song, you have to buy it through ITunes.

Turntable.FM: Turntable.FM is a fun site more for entertainment purposes than strictly music sharing. It’s a social music site where you are the DJ for a room full of other DJ’s and listeners. The DJ’s sit at a “table” and take turns playing music for the people in the room. You can use this site to be a listener, choosing a genre of music (songs played by other music listeners) or you can be the DJ, and play music with people like you, and discover new songs in the process. You can also play this site like a game, earning enough song points to buy your avatar a little costume so you look cooler. Hey, you can even be a little monkey. You can also talk to the other people about the music you have in common. Not into the song that’s playing? Rate it, and you can get it shut off. If you find something you like, but don’t know you can even be directed to buy the track right from iTunes or add it to your Spotify.

What do you like to listen to, and how? Happy Music Listening!