The Beautiful And The Brutal

In recent days, we’ve experienced the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. The most beautiful of beautiful that life has to offer, and the absolute most brutal of brutal.

And really, I’m sure you have too.

Whether it is in listening to the news or listening to a friend share her heart, the beautiful and the brutal seem to never be too far apart. They coexist on the same plane. Life never seems to be all roses, but truly, nor is it ever all thorns. Continue reading “The Beautiful And The Brutal”

How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe Like A Mother

Below is a post I wrote almost a year ago exactly. I’m reposting it because a) it’s that time of year when I start to once again reassess my wardrobe to see what stays and what goes and b) I’ve had some renewed interest and questions from readers.

As I was re-reading the post, I was excited to see that this past capsule wardrobe has been not only successful in terms of giving me clothes that I love to wear, works for my lifestyle, and fits well, but also, this capsule has really freed me from my clothes. I find that I love my clothes for what they are – no more, no less. No more drama over what to wear. No more feeling like I constantly need to add more just because I stumble upon a good deal or see a trend I like. Honestly, I think about clothes so much less and the freeing feeling that this capsule has left me with can only be described as something akin to coming home after a long day, letting your hair down, taking your bra off, and sitting on the sofa in a pair of pants without a waistband.

That kind of freeing.

But there has also been this other result from my capsule that I didn’t expect – when I buy clothes that I genuinely like and that fit well, I choose, like, really awesome stuff. If you saw last week’s post about Four Things I Can’t Stop Wearing, then you saw a few pieces that I purchased recently that are just crazy beautiful/cool/functional/fun. All the words. I’m just appreciating my clothing so much more, mostly because I’m choosing better.

And that’s really what it’s all about, anyway. Better, more deliberate choices.

So anyways. Here is the post about how I created a capsule wardrobe that really, honestly works for me. I’m still using this same one. I’m stilling rocking my “uniform.” I still have some purging and letting go to do. But It’s becoming more and more second nature. Oh, and Bea is still in our closet and I still love it and I’m still using the stand alone wardrobe as my “closet” and I love that too. (Link for that is below). It’s all good.

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So I know I’ve talked about creating a capsule wardrobe in the past, but things have taken a serious and exciting turn in the wardrobe department. Namely, I gave up my glorious, walk-in closet with the built in shoe rack and shelves to house something much more precious than clothing – my little girl.

So my closet is now Bea’s room, which meant it was time to get down to business on this whole capsule wardrobe thing. In the past, I would just pack up whatever didn’t make it into the current season’s capsule and store it in my closet. That, is no longer an option. Not to mention the fact that I was starting to feel physically oppressed by the shear volume of stuff. I had all these things that were still in great shape but belonged to a different me who did different things. A me that no longer exists. Their daily presence in my life just stressed me out. It was time to go. Continue reading “How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe Like A Mother”

The Problem With Goals

I attended this two day yoga workshop this weekend and received some tough love/much needed real talk that led to a light bulb moment that I’m still mulling over. This is not a post about yoga. This is a post about the problem with goals, or rather, how we set our goals. It just so happens that yoga was the vehicle that drove this point home for me. You don’t have to love or even care about yoga to relate to this post. My guess is, we’ve all experienced the downside of poor goal setting and could use the kind of real talk I experienced over the weekend. Or not. Your call. Either way, here goes!

So I have all these goals for my life, right? And sometimes, ok, most of the time, I get really frustrated with myself and my life and my lack of current progress in said goals. I get down right sour. Why am I not accomplishing these things? I say to myself. Why can’t I move forward in this area? I bemoan. Why do I suuuuuck? I cry and cry and cry.

I am very critical of myself. I get that. But also, I realized over the past weekend that I am a very poor goal setter. I’m unrealistic. I set the bar too high, expecting to jump from point A to Z without B-Y. Then, when I can’t leap the chasm between where I’m at and where I want to be immediately and with very little effort applied, I cry. I get angry. I beat myself up. I assume that I’m the worst ever and get really down in the dumps. And then, for the coup de grâce, I stay down in the dumps because I also happen to have a very strong will. This means that I won’t give up on said impossible goal, I simply run myself repeatedly into the proverbial brick wall and wonder why I’m so pathetic to not be able to tear down the wall. (Never mind you with your, “Haven’t you ever heard the definition of insanity?” Yes. Yes I have. And so have you but I bet there are things that youuu do over and over while expecting a different result each time so just step off, ok? We are in this together.)

Take yoga for example.

I have all these goals. Big goals. Little goals. But mostly just big goals.

This weekend at a yoga workshop, the instructor said something that blew my mind. She was walking around the room as we were working on some basic drills – like super basic – and said the following to everyone in the room:  Continue reading “The Problem With Goals”

My Skincare Routine

Talking about my skincare routine today, aka “how I wash my face.” Riveting, no?

Still, I don’t do your typical face wash routine so I thought I’d share a little bit about what I use, how I use it, and why! Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a blogpost full of curve balls, thrilling emotions, and suspense!

Just kidding. It’s not going to be any of those things. But it should be fun! Here goes.

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I wash my face using the oil cleansing method. I should stop right here and mention a little history about my face.

I’ve never had acne. Please don’t hate me, I have plenty of other annoying-horrible physical struggles, acne just isn’t’ one of them. I am, however, incredibly greasy. My pores are huge. And I’m prone it dark circles under my eyes and redness on my cheeks. I also tend to not wear makeup. There really isn’t a great reason for this, other than the fact that I just feel like I look WEIRD in makeup. I love lipstick and will wear that fairly regularly. I wear mascara every day. Other than that, I don’t really wear much. Because I have fairly even skin I can get away without too much makeup. But because I have oily skin, it doesn’t really matter if I wear makeup or not — it still looks oily. Such is life, people.

I’ve used all kinds of skincare products in the past. Probably many of the same ones you’ve used or are currently using. Many would work ok enough, but they would often leave my cheeks way too dry and would do little to shrink the crater-sized holes that are my gaping pores.

I learned about the oil cleansing method a few years back when I was trying to get rid of as many store bought products as possible and switch to more natural, homemade, and simple products. Although it sounds crazy to use oil on your face, in fact, it’s MAGIC! Just kidding. It’s not magic. It is science, though! Or more specifically, chemistry.

Oil cleanses oil because as we may or may not remember from chemistry class (I remember nothing other than our tie-dye project), like dissolves like.

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The key ingredient to the oil cleansing method is castor oil. Castor oil is what does the heavy lifting for your skincare. Many people say that castor oil will leave your skin in better condition than it finds it, and I tend to agree. It’s incredible. Continue reading “My Skincare Routine”

Life Lately

loving

bubble baths with my baby girl. I love her soft, cubby little legs. I love the way she splashes and wiggles. I love holding her tight – skin to skin – feeling the beat of her heart and marveling at this thing called life.

the podcast Grammar Girl recently produced about the updated changes to the AP and Chicago Style Manuel. I could listen to someone talk about commas, hyphens, and word usages ALL. DAY. LONG.

oliver’s stories. He will just start talking, telling these tales that are spun with so much imagination and whimsy that I find myself simultaneously impressed and carried away by his sweetness.

women who gather. I’ve been so encouraged by a few experiences I’ve had lately where I’ve enjoyed the presence of some truly wonderful women. I’m so grateful for the women who share their lives with me. It’s an incredible gift, and one I don’t take for granted.

having a sister. I’ve always, always wanted a sister. I was able to spend some time with my sister-in-law recently and, even though she has a sister of her own, and I know that is such a special relationship, I just feel happy to get to experience a piece of that for myself.

kids who feed themselves breakfast. Listen. I know that some of you get up and run three miles and have a cup of coffee and pray for every single person you know and knit blankets for babies all before your children get up at 6 am, but I am just not that person. My kids get up before me, poke me in the ribs to try and rouse me, and I mutter at them that I’ll “be out in a minute.” I eventually roll out of bed and, most days, find them in the basement, playing Legos and eating something sufficient enough to start the day. For all of this, I’m incredibly grateful. Judge me if you want. I truly try to “do mornings” but I just can’t. But they can feed themselves. So, you know. #blessed

Downton Abbey, Season 4. Oh my word you guys. I never made it passed season 3 when it first aired, and I just finished the season finale of season 4. SO GOOD! Paul Giamatti! Edith’s baby! Who will win Mary’s hand?!?! I can’t stop.

theo’s tender heart. I’ve so enjoyed watching my little boy become big. He has such a tender heart. He loves to go into Bea’s room at bedtime and sing her a made up “bedtime song.” His soft little voice could melt a heart of stone, and the way he calls her his “sweet girl,” well, I die just thinking about it. Continue reading “Life Lately”

How & Why We Use Norwex Products

I do not sell Norwex products and I do not own massive amounts of Norwex stock. No, the unbridled enthusiasm you are about to witness for these products is as authentic as it is *ahem* a little over the top. But I can’t help myself. Norwex has changed my life, and I would marry it and do it’s laundry and make it a Sunday afternoon pot roast each week if I could. Norwex, I love you! I looooove you!

But for reals, people, this stuff is legit.

This is another reader request post. I was excited when my IG friend, Ali, asked me to share my thoughts on Norwex products. Ali, after this post, might be less excited, as my excitement borders on obsession. You’ve all been warned.

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I was introduced to Norwex shortly after Oliver, our middle child, was born. My mom asked me to host a party, with the incentive that she’d split the hostess rewards with me. I said sure, why not, because free stuff is, well, you know, free. It’s hard to pass up.

I wouldn’t say I was “excited” about the product, mostly just intrigued.

As someone who borders on crunchy hippie girl, I do most things as natural as possible. I’m skeptical of anything that comes prepackaged and sold in the big box stores. This doesn’t make me unique, I know, just rather a little hard to please. I realized though, that my cleaning routine was a far cry from natural. I made quite a few of my cleaning products at the time, but I held hard and fast to my skin searing bottles of Clorox products to clean the kitchen. You know, because of germs.

So my ears had perked up during the Norwex party when our host said that the silver in the rags would kill more germs than any other cleaning product on the market, all natural or otherwise. She demonstrated this point by smearing raw chicken allllll over this vegetarian’s counter tops. She dusted the trail of chicken goo with a powder and then shone a black light on top to reveal all the nasty bacteria left behind. Gag.

Then, she took a few products to “clean” up the counter. She wiped one area with Clorox wipes. She cleaned another area with Method’s multi purpose spray. And then she did a single wipe in another area with a Norwex Enviro cloth. More powder was sprinkled on top, and again, out came the black light. There was an incredible amount of bacteria left by the Clorox wipes. Like, an incredible amount. The area cleaned with the Method spray was a little better, but still, the germs were kind of smeared around and not completely eliminated in spots. The area wiped by the Norwex rag, however, was spotless. Spot – less.

Still, this seemed too good to be true, right?

Oliver is now three, so I’ve been using my Norwex products weekly for about three years. Slowly but surly, my skepticism turned to  amazement, and then my amazement turned to belief. All the old bottles of cleaners that I had held on to at first to just “make sure” things were really clean have long since been thrown in the trash. The biggest thing that convinced me of these products is how everything feels when you use the rags. Things just feel squeaky clean. And the smell! This is the craziest part for me.

I know a lot of people don’t want to give up their cleaning products because it is the smell that tells them (and their hubby, lol), that they’ve cleaned. But really, it’s the smell that signals just how toxic most of this stuff really is. As a long time user of Norwex products, I can tell my house is clean as a pin, not because things smell pine fresh or like a tropical breeze, but when there is absolutely no small at all! Seriously, Norwex products have a way of almost clearing up the very air. It’s magic. Especially when you consider that I have three VERY smelly children. No smell is the surest sign of cleanliness.

For this reason, I prefer cleaning with Norwex even over using essential oils. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making your own natural cleaners and adding a few drops of EO for good measure, but I love that I can clean my entire house with just my Norwex rags and mop, and then keep my EO for diffusing, making body products, and for topical use (for health). Again, that is just personal preference.

I also love that, thanks to Nowex, we are a soap free house. That’s right! Soap, free. No soap at the kitchen or bathroom sink because we don’t need it. Our Norwex rags do a safer and more efficient job of killing germs on our hands and on my countertops. Now, my husband and I do still use an all natural body soap in the shower that our friend makes, mostly just because we want to. But that’s totally optional. We wouldn’t have to do that if we didn’t’ want to.

So what Norwex products do I use and love?

body rags

I use the body rags to wash my face. I am a big believer in the oil cleansing method for washing my face, but I don’t need to do that every night. Most nights of the week, I simply use my body cloth, which has the same antibacterial/antiviral silver in it as the Enviro rag. This rag is also used to wipe down the kids.

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enviro cloth/window cloth

How do I clean my house? With these two rags. Did you catch that?

these. two. rags.

That’s IT.

No bottles of chemicals. No harsh cleaners that tell us a room is “clean” by the burning of our nostrils. No more changing into clothes that I don’t mind getting ruined by bleach stains.

Just two little ol magic rags that I clean my house from top to bottom, each and every room – including the bathroom.

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baby cloth Continue reading “How & Why We Use Norwex Products”

Let It Linger

Two weeks ago, I shared why I’m not a fan of the whole “Don’t just survive, THRIVE!” concept. The distance between surviving and thriving seems so…well…overwhelming sometimes. They are both such extremes! Honestly, I’m less worried about thriving and more concerned with savoring. Am I savoring my life? Am I thoughtfully and intentionally enjoying the good things of life? This thought seemed to resonate with a lot of you, too.

Today, I have a follow up thought to the savoring philosophy. I believe that before we can learn to savor our life, we must first master the fine art, of lingering.

Let me explain.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “power through” mentality. It’s easy to let our responsibilities or our drive to accomplish  to push us on, on, on. It’s easy to get bogged down in the, “there is always more to do,” frame of mind. It’s easy to put a to-do list above a relationship. Whether you are a housewife, a CEO, or just a human being, we are always geared up to move on to what is next.

What if we chose, instead, to linger?

What if we chose to pause after checking off the “sweep house” item on our to-do list, to look around, and take in a job well done?

What if we chose to pause after that last drop of coffee is gone, to simply sit in the silence of an empty cup?

What if we sat in our car with the engine turned off and allowed the song to finish playing through it’s final notes?

What if we complete our project – the one that’s been consuming us for days, weeks, years – and allow the satisfaction to wash over us and settle into our bones and exhale a deep breath of release before instantly thinking about the next thing to accomplish?

What if we allowed the last words of conversation with a lover or friend to float away into the atmosphere, and embrace the comfortable silence that says, “I’m here, and that is enough”?

What if before rushing out of the kid’s rooms at night, ready to tackle the kitchen or our latest book, we turned for one last look?

What if we traded the easy and obvious satisfaction of a clean countertop for the messier, more subtle satisfaction of getting down on the floor to play with our kids?

What if we allowed ourselves to lie in bed for a few extra minutes, holding tight to our loved one, knowing that nothing really matters as much as the person resting beside you?

What if we measured the success of our days, not by how much we accomplish, but by how much we savor?

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What if we set aside our projects and our duties and our to-do lists for just a bit longer to stay in the moments that add more meaning to our life than any accomplishment could ever hope to add…and let it linger.

My Top Five Guilty Pleasures

I am not a cold weather person. I don’t like temperatures below 65 degrees. I live for days above 80. Hot and humid? Even better. Give me my running shoes so I can go for a run and feel alive in heat and the sun.

Ohio, is gray and cold right now and I’m SO OVER IT. Ehh. Guys. It’s really getting to me. So, in an effort to, you know, be chipper and add a little pep to my step, I thought I’d share my top five guilty pleasures that I enjoy. And then I’m probably going to go enjoy all five of them because, seriously, THIS WEATHER IS STEALING MY SOUL. (Not prone to the melodramatic side of life at all.)

  1. A bath. This is probably my go-to guilty pleasure. I love a good book, some soaking salts mixed with yummy smelling essential oils, and a hot steamy bath. It’s such a great way for me to relax, recharge, and shift my mental state out of a funk. Plus, it helps me fall asleep quicker at night, which means I wake up feeling more rested the next morning. Win, win! I probably take a late night bath about once a week.
  2.  Thrifting. I’m not much of an impulse shopper or shop-as-a-pick-me-up, kinda shopper. My husband and I got married very young which meant we were also very broke, which means we didn’t have the luxury to shop when we were stressed. However, I love to take a few dollars from my coffee money and instead hit up a thrift store to see what sort of treasures I can find for cheap. I always try to find something that is both pretty and useful, a combination that instantly makes me happy!
  3. A nap. I know lots of people who get a ton of stuff done while their kids nap during the day. That is so awesome! Yay, you guys. I genuinely admire those people. I’m, *cough, cough*, nooooot one of those people. I probably nap when my kids nap right around 5 out of seven days of the week. So…yeah. Even though Theo doesn’t nap, he has a mandatory quiet time each day that keeps the mommy sane since we spend so much time together. He has a list of things he is allowed to do during this time, and for the most part, I’m able to sneak in a nap on the sofa while the little ones sleep in their rooms and Theo reads/does yoga/colors in the living room. Naps are life giving, LIFE GIVING. I love them so.
  4. Cheese. I don’t love desserts. I mean, there are desserts that I enjoy for sure. But if you said to me, “I’m sorry, but you can’t ever have another dessert in your life,” I would find that weird and want to know why, but it wouldn’t bother me. I love cheese. I love FINE cheeses. The weirder the better. Got a fun cracker to put that cheese on? Even better. Got a crazy spread to go on the cracker with that cheese? Oh momma. Sold.
  5. Coffee dates with friends. My coffee dates with my friends, whether they be out at a cute local spot or enjoyed in one of our kitchens, are almost not a guilty pleasure at all and just plain one of life’s greatest pleasures, but I think it also qualifies here. I spend a lot of time working with and for my family, and I enjoy doing this so much. It is my privilege and honor, and I GET TO do the things that I do for them. But every other week or so, I make sure to schedule a coffee date with a friend. The combination of coffee + friendship + no children is magic, PURE MAGIC. It refreshes me. It inspires me. And I truly believe it makes me a better person. The “guilty pleasure” part comes into play when I spend five hours on these coffee dates. Thank goodness for a 24-hour Starbucks and a husband who is happy to go to bed without me when he sees that I’m still not back at 11 PM. God bless him, and God bless coffee, and God bless friendship.

Continue reading “My Top Five Guilty Pleasures”

How My Husband And I Are Working To Understand Each Other Better

This past Friday, my husband and I went on a date to one of our favorite little places in town. It’s cozy and quiet and you can get delicious Greek food in a setting that someone from any of the past fifty decades could recognize. It’s kinda my favorite. Oh, and they put so much cheese on their pizza that it’s physically heavy to lift. Also my favorite.

I ordered a pizza for obvious reasons and he ordered a pita. In between big bites of cheesey carby goodness, we worked through a book my friend, Jana, loaned me: The Enneagram Made EasyProcessed with VSCO with a4 preset

The Enneagram is method for understanding personality types. According to the Enneagram, there are nine types of people. The Enneagram is kind of like any other personality finder/test that you might have experienced in the past, with a few major exceptions.

One, it’s super accessible and easy to understand. It doesn’t take long to figure out your personality type and “wings” (how your personality may be influenced by other types).

Two, the Enneagram doesn’t just tell you your personality type, it tells you how this personality type reveals itself in your career, your free time, your relationships (kids, spouse, and friends), and your emotions.

Three, and this is a big one, the Enneagram doesn’t just tell you your strengths, it also tells you how you will struggle based on your personality type. This was huge for me. I couldn’t believe that so many of the things I was good at or struggled with wasn’t because of who I am as an individual, but because of my personality type which millions of other people share. For some reason, this was oddly reassuring. I’m not just crazy, I’m a FIVE! (More on that later.) Continue reading “How My Husband And I Are Working To Understand Each Other Better”