Thursday, April 18, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013


It seems that we skipped directly form January to March.  Hmmmm.

It has also come to my attention that I am not very good at keeping up with a year long project, as I couldn't even really make it though a month.  To be fair, I did take off my make-up and floss every single night, and have continued to do so.  I feel so much better when I wake up and have continued to do so - why have I not done this sooner?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January's Commitments

January's focus will be... me.  When I thought about what things I wanted to focus on over the next 12 months, the things that came to mind seemed like they were going to take a lot of energy.  And so, similar to Gretchen Rubin this month I'm focusing on me & getting into the healthiest habits I can.  I should have kicked off this campaign when I turned 30 (getting "old" and all), but better late than never.

There are 2 things that I know I need to do, and yet I rarely do them:

  • Floss
  • Take off my make-up before bed
I know.  It's shameful, really.  I tell myself that flossing once "every few days" (interpret as you will) is good enough.  I also tell myself that because I really only wear under-eye concealer and mascara (I'm 30 and put on make-up like a 15 year old), it's not that bad because my skin can still breathe.  While it is true that my cheeks aren't caked in foundation all night, my mascara does flake a fair amount and gets into my eyes.  I know this because my eyes hurt when I wake up.  This is not normal.  

There are also 2 things that my husband and I talk about and do a decent job at accomplishing, but I'd like to be more committed to them:
  • Get more sleep
  • Eat more vegetarian meals
Most nights, after the baby is in bed and laundry is folded and dinner is cleaned up and put away, my husband and I zone out in front of the tv for "one episode of Mad Men".  One episode turns into three, it's way later than we thought, and guess who's tired the next morning?  We keep saying we need to be in bed by 10pm... this month, we are actually going to do it.  Will I be better rested and thus, happier?  I'll tell you in about 3 weeks.

On the vegetarian front, we actually do pretty well.  It's not that we don't like meat.  It's more that we know we need to eat better, which in my house means eating more veggies & whole grains.  It's easier for me to incorporate more of those things into means if they are the main course, instead of a piece of meat.  I also enjoy our grocery bill a lot more when I'm not buying meat and cold cuts.  That said, I will still order a chicken burrito bowl at Chipotle.  

So my January Commitment to Healthy Habits includes:
  • Removing my make-up every night
  • Flossing 1x a day
  • Getting in bed by 10pm every night
  • Making vegetarian dinners 5 out of 7 nights & having salad or leftovers for work lunches
  • Drink at least 2 Tervises full of water every day (my Tervis holds 24 oz)
  • Walk for at least 20 minutes a day
  • Track my food in My Fitness Pal 
I threw those last 3 in for good measure.  Who doesn't need to be more active or drink more water?  And the food tracking?  Trust me, I need to drop a few pounds :-)  Looking at this list, I am wondering why I even need to write these things down.  Of course I'm supposed to drink 48 oz of water daily - I did it when I was pregnant!  Of course I'm supposed to eat well and floss my teeth!  

But I don't.  So I wrote it down.  And now I'm committed.  As of today, there are still 4 weeks to go in January, which means 4 weeks of working on these 7 items.  I am honestly hoping that by the time February rolls around, I don't have to stare at the list written on my bedroom mirror (Crayola 8 Count Washable Window Markers are very handy for this) to know that I need to take off my mascara before crawling into bed.

These past 6 days were planning days.  We settled back into our routines after being away for almost a week and a half for Christmas.  We relaxed all weekend.  I thought about how I wanted to go about making this year a banner year for our family, and what commitments I could make to help us achieve our goals.

And so the Commitment to Healthy Habits begins.  Happy January!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

a 2013 project

Last year, I read The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin.  I don't remember where I heard about it, but I saw it in the St. Louis airport while I was waiting for my return flight to the east coast and for $9, thought it would be the perfect book to help pass the time.

It was a game changer.

Gretchen wrote about the year she made a concentrated effort to be more happy in her life.  It's not that she was unhappy, but that she knew she could get more out of her every day living.  Each month she focused on a different facet of her life - her marriage, her finances, her overall health - and what she did to "improve" each of those areas.  It was amazing.

My take-aways?

  • "Spend Out" (one of her Twelve Commandments, page 10) - which basically boils down to 'use your stuff'!  The special bath gel you are saving for a 'special occasion'? - use it.  The sweater you only wear a handful of times because you are afraid to wear it out?  Just wear it before it gets moth holes or doesn't fit or is out of style!  What are we saving things for?  I buy things because I like them, or others gift things to me because they were thinking of me.  Why hide things away for a special day, when we could be enjoying them now?  I have made a concious effort to "spend out" in my life since reading The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun .
  • Approach situations with no expectations for how the other person may act (I forget where I saw that, but it's in there).  Basically?  I can control myself.  I cannot control others, nor do I know what they are thinking or why they are thinking it.  This has lead to much less stress in my life.  

In 2013, I am going to focus on my own "happiness project".  I always feel like odd years are "rebuilding" years, a prep year for great things to come in the following (even) year.  I was born in an even year, graduated, got a job, and got married in an even year, and gave birth in an even year.  Weird?  Probably :-)  But that's me.  

I have started January's task list and will share tomorrow.  In the mean time, I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project.  The links above are Amazon affiliate links and I would so love if you'd use them, but completely understand if that's not your thing.  Trust me, I'm not getting rich off those links (I think I've made .20 cents over the past year with Amazon affiliate links?)!  

Happy New Year - Here's to 2013!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Send some holiday cheer!

Your To Do List just got shorter.

Treat is Shutterfly's new greeting card brand that makes it super easy to send personalized wishes, hellos, and love you's to all of your favorite people.  With just a few clicks, you can have a super personalized card (with your photos... or without!) out the door from Treat directly to your loved ones - have it mailed to you before it goes to it's final destination or have it mailed directly there.  I especially love the option to mail directly to the recipient because um, ... sometimes I wait to the last minute to get things done.  There are a ton of designs and a ton of ways to personalize each card - it's fun, it's easy, and for the next two days, it's totally FREE!

Log on to Treat and create a totally one of a kind card.  Use the code TREATBLOGR.  Send it off.  It's that simple!  Whether you're sending off a last minute Thanksgiving card to far-away relatives or an early Christmas card for your best friend, there's something for everyone and for every occasion.

The offer code TREATBLOGR is good for one free card on Monday, 11/19 or Tuesday, 11/20.  Get over to Treat at to create your one-of-a-kind mailbox-hug.  Yeah, I said mailbox-hug.  Get to it and send some love!

I was compensated with a coupon code in exchange for my words and thoughts.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yep, it's that time again.

It's mid-October & our holiday season kicks off next Friday! Yep, our holiday season starts October 26 and goes through January 1 :-) First up is my baby's second birthday (how?), followed closely by Halloween, and then the first week in November will be our 4th anniversary. After that, we hit the usual Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years celebrations. It's a crazy & fun-filled 9.5 weeks!! It's been an annual tradition to have our family photos done around our anniversary, even before our daughter was born. It's a beautiful way to watch our family grow & the bonus is that we have a great photo for our annual Christmas cards! I've been using Shutterfly for Christmas Cards for as long as I can remember - they have an amazing selection but the features I love the most are the gorgeous, thick card stock and saturated color printing.

My favorite designs are fun and feature only one photo, but Shutterfly has a TON of options.  These are a few of my favorites this year:

If something more understated and elegant is your thing, Shutterfly has lots to offer there.  While you're checking out the hundreds of designs Shutterfly has this year, be sure to check out the Special Offers Page!  How about something to sweeten the deal?  Enter below for a chance to win a promo code for $50 off your next Shutterfly offer!

The contest will end quickly & the winner will be announced on Saturday, October 27!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I didn't receive monetary compensation for this post but did receive a discount code for Shutterfly.  All thoughts & words are my own!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beach Baby Must Haves

We just got back from a week at the beach with family and we had a GREAT time!  I read a few "what to bring" posts from those who have beached it with toddlers already this year and I found those to be helpful, so here's my must-have list for the Toddler Mom set!

Shortsleeve Mockneck Rash Guard
First up: a 2-piece bathing suit.  Because my girl and I are both beach babies, I knew we'd be spending a lot of time in the water and the sand and not much time under the umbrella.  I also know (from last year) that it's a HUGE pain to change a diaper when you have to take off the entire bathing suit.  Thus, my first Must-Have is a rash guard top (sun coverage!) and a bikini bottom (diaper changing ease!).  I am in love with the quality of the Lands End suit I purchased specifically for this vacation!  I also needed help with sizing and their customer service was outstanding - I'm looking forward to next year's bathing suits already!
Shirred Ruffle Tankini Bottom

Second: Good sunscreen!!  I love Coppertone Water Babies Pure &Simple SPF 50 because it's thick, stays put, and is rated a 2 (recommended) by the EWG for Best Sunscreen.  I was really good about putting it on before we left the house and reapplying after every swim, and after 4 full days of sun, I'm happy to report that there were no burns!  Not even a little pink... girlfriend got a bit tan, but no pink or red, so I'm a happy camper.

Coppertone Water Babies
Green Toys Sand Play Set

I subscribe to Citrus Lane and got the next two items in my May box.  Third on the list is a solid play set, and this Green Toys Sand Play Set really fit the bill.  The pieces are great quality and are highly unlikely to break while digging - even my husband commented on the sturdiness!  The rope handle is a nice touch, as well, and easy for little hands to grip.  All of the edges are smooth and thick, so there are no sharp pieces of plastic poking out to hurt little hands.  I'm really happy these were included in our Citrus Lane May box!  

iPlay Sun Hat
You can't forget a wide-brim hat, so my fourth must-have is this iPlay Sun Protection Hat.  The wide brim gives great coverage over the shoulders and back of the neck, which was awesome.  It's also made of a microfiber material so it wasn't heavy when wet.         

My other "Must Haves" are pretty standard - swim diapers, lots of snacks & juice boxes (playing at the beach for 5 solid hours makes a toddler hungry!!), and a change of clothes for the card ride home.  Our beach had a hose/shower so we could rinse off and get the toddler into a fresh diaper & beach cover up (no wet suit for the ride home!) before loading up the car.  Last year we bought a small pop up tent because Little Miss was only 10 months old and we needed a place for her to nap at the beach.  We brought the tent this year and set it up but there was no way my toddler was napping while we were AT! THE! BEACH!!  We set it up the first 2 days but then left it in the car so we didn't have to fool around with it in the sand.  I am happy we had it, just in case, but it wasn't a must-have this year.  

Pretty simple, right?  I had my beach bag loaded up with things like a first aid kit, a book for me (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!!!!!!), some extra tubes of sunscreen, and my iPhone (in a ziplock baggie!), but I spent most of my time in the water or digging in the sand with my toddler.  My brother brought my final Beach Must Have - a waterproof digital camera.  
Canon Powershot - Waterproof!!
I had my small point & shoot with me and took a fair amount of pictures with it from the safety of dry land, but the waterproof Canon allowed me to get a ton of amazing shots that we'll treasure forever.  Given that I spent most of the trip with the waterproof camera in my hands, I probably need to get one of my own.  It also shoots videos... Dear Santa, Momma needs this & a 35mm lens for the dSRL.  Love, Me.

We've been making an annual trip to NC for the past 3 years, but I think next year we'll need to add in a few day trips to Delaware because my girl is a beach baby and who am I to deny her warm, salty ocean waves on the sandy shore?

Just a note - I wasn't paid or perk'd for any of the items above - I just love them & wanted to share.  Everything I listed I purchased on my own :-)

PS - This post contains Amazon affiliate links, and trust me when I say I'm not getting rich off this :-)  There are also Citrus Lane referral links, which earns me credits when someone uses my link to start receiving a monthly subscription - I'd love if you used my link to support my Citrus Lane habit!