journal day: motivation

27th March 2014

Today, and every Wednesday (or Thursday if I’m slow), I’ll be sharing my response to Danielle’s journal prompt series at Sometimes Sweet-go visit her!

This week’s prompt was all about motivation-what pushes me to do what I do (or don’t do)? The one word that keeps coming to mind is progress. I have a perfectionist streak in me that usually leads to procrastination. I’ll get an idea and plan it all out and fantasize about how things will be different when it’s done…but then I do nothing. Letting go of that perfectionism, and the fear of failure associated with it, allows me to focus on progression, which is much more action-inducing.

When I review my day each evening, seeing where I fell short as well as where I succeeded, the idea that tomorrow can be a little bit better (not perfect, just better) lets me go to sleep with a peaceful mind. When I wake up, I allow myself to have a fresh day, no mistakes in it, to be just a little bit better than I was before. It’s so easy to feel like I’m stuck in a rut or not progressing at all, but when I actually look at where I was a year or even a month ago, it’s obvious that progression, no matter how tiny is happening, day by day.

One of my favorite songs is called River God-Nichole Nordeman and Mindy Gledhill do great versions. I love the lyrics:

Rolling River God, little stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through
So I am a stone, rough and grainy still
Trying to reconcile this river’s chill

But when I close my eyes and feel you rushing by
I know that time brings change and change takes time
And when the sunset comes, my prayer would be this one
That you might pick me up and notice that I am
Just a little smoother in your hand

Sometimes raging wild, sometimes swollen high
And never have I known this river dry
The deepest part of you is where I want to stay
And feel the sharpest edges wash away

And when I close my eyes and feel you rushing by
I know that time brings change and change takes time
And when the sunset comes, my prayer would be just one
That you might pick me up and notice that I am
Just a little smoother in your hand

Rolling River God, little stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through

I love the idea of becoming just a little smoother-and knowing that it only happens slowly, as the water passes over me.

Now, all this is fine in theory, but in practice I have found it easy to get tripped up in perfectionism/procrastination and just feeling overwhelmed with EVERYTHING I’d like to do [or feel like I should do]. When this happens, I have a couple tricks that help a lot. The first is to ask my husband how I can serve him. Since we run a business from our home, there are usually little things I can do to help out. I think putting someone else first-especially your spouse/family-is a quick way to reset your motivation and energy. If I have the energy, but not the motivation for something, I’ll pick a room or task and set the timer for fifteen minutes [this is a flylady trick-she says you can do anything for fifteen minutes!] and go to town. Usually by the time the bell rings most if not all of the task is finished. Even better, I often feel like I’m just getting warmed up, so I set the timer again [don't want to burn out] and finish up or move on to the next room/task. After three or four rounds with the timer, I then reward myself with some reading and relaxation-it’s amazing how much I can tackle in just an hour or two.

Ultimately, the things I do are about loving and serving my family-about progressing as a wife and daughter of God a little bit at a time.

journal day: daily challenge

19th March 2014

Today, and every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my response to Danielle’s journal prompt series at Sometimes Sweet-go visit her!

Before I can really dive into Danielle’s prompt about daily little challenges that I face, I feel like I should give some background. My husband and I run a business from our home-my husband does most of the work, if we’re being totally honest. I take care of the bookkeeping and some random other things, but my piece of the business is pretty flexible and unstructured. Also, we don’t have kids-we’re working on it-so my days are pretty open.

Now that you have a better idea of where I’m coming from, maybe you can already guess what my biggest day-to-day challenge is: time management. I am not a natural housekeeper-I don’t know if anyone is-it’s really easy for me to leave dirty dishes in the kitchen and laundry in the dryer so that I can quilt or read or watch my YouTube videos. Creating structure, routine and consistency in my day is the most important thing I can do to bring sanity to my life, but it’s also the most difficult. I feel, like so many things in life, that it’s like a pendulum-sometimes I do really well and others I don’t. Right now is one of those times that I’m not doing so well. I go to bed feeling like I didn’t really accomplish anything [not because of my perfectionism and insecurities-I really haven't accomplished anything] and promise myself that tomorrow will be different. But then it isn’t.

I could go on and on about how I fall short, but I really don’t want this to be a pity party post [say that five times fast!] so I thought I’d share some of the things that help me get back on track. I assume that I’m not the only one that struggles with this, but even if I am, I figure that writing about the things that work will motivate me to do them!

Most of the tricks I’ve learned come from Flylady-the site may seem kind of cheesy, but the ideas really do work. It’s all about slowly developing daily routines that help you gradually get your house [and life] in order. I think the thing that helps me the most is planning out my day the night before. Reviewing my calendar and giving myself a game plan makes it a lot easier to go to sleep and feel ready for tomorrow. Even if my morning starts off pretty rocky, having some kind of plan to refer to helps me know what to do next. Routines are also super important for me since, like I mentioned, my life doesn’t really have much externally imposed structure-I have to set my own deadlines and honor my commitments to myself. I’ve developed a pretty good planning system, which I will probably share in the next couple weeks, and even though it seems like more effort than it’s worth, it really does make a difference.

All that being said, even if I do all those things, sometimes I still feel like I’m not doing enough. In those times, the best medicine is the following affirmation: I do enough, I have enough, I am enough. Now, I think affirmations are pretty cheesy-looking at yourself in the mirror and repeating feel-good statements? No, I don’t think so! But, guys, they really do work-as much as I hate to admit it.

So, there’s a jumbled mess about the biggest, little monster I go up against every day. Do you face the same challenge to? Am I the only one? Have you found something that helps you?

style: wearing color

16th March 2014

Something I never understood, or liked, was the whole wearing green on St. Patrick’s day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy wearing color-and green is one of my favorites-but the threat of getting pinched by someone for inevitably forgetting to wear a certain color on a certain day always caused me a little anxiety. And the thing is, St. Patrick’s day and leprechauns and stuff seem to feature the rainbow as much as anything else, so why limit ourselves to green? Wearing color is something I love to do. You’ll find a lot of neutrals in my wardrobe, but you will also find a fair bit of color punctuating it as well. Wearing color is not difficult, but it is easy to end up in a rut or with items that you just don’t know how to wear. Being the expert that I am [wink, wink] I thought I’d share my thoughts on adding color to your mix-whether it’s already pretty colorful or bordering on Puritan-chic.

I love playing with color through my accessories-here are a few ideas that I love-whether you’re shopping the racks or just shopping what you already have. [I'd ask you to forgive the poor picture quality and wrinkled shirts, but that seems like a pretty Molly thing to do ;) ]

 

Try a monochromatic pop-a red necklace [or shirt] may seem basic on their own, but putting them together gives a slightly more sophisticated feel to some pretty simple pieces. Wearing color doesn’t mean you have to mix and match and hope you don’t look like a clown-monochrome always looks fresh and stylish, without being pretentious.

That being said, there is something fun about mixing things up. I got this teal maxi dress for $10 at some mall store a while back. Teal is not necessarily a color that I use in big doses like this. I paired it with my denim jacket and one of my favorite necklaces that features bronze and wood accents along with red beads and tiny little turquoise pops. I think the mix of the bright, almost tropical teal with the earthier colors grounds it a bit and keeps it from going too juvenile.

 

This necklace is another one of my favorites, but the bright yellow and turquoise make it kind of hard to pair with other colors. I love the look of a bold necklace with a plain white tee, but sometimes I want to try something a little bolder [or I need to do laundry]-in that case, bring on the black and white stripes! Again, the pairing of the bright necklace with something a little more “serious” is unexpected. I feel like this is a good way to take accessories that feel more spring/summery and work them into your fall/winter wardrobe. In my mind, b&w stripes are just another neutral in the closet.

 

As much as I love my bold jewelry, figuring out how to pair earrings and necklaces can still be a little tricky. These green, wasp earrings from Target are super bold, yes? And for a long time, I didn’t try pairing them with anything else, but boredom being the mother of invention [that's how it goes, right?] I tried pairing them with this lighter green necklace. It was instant love! I’m now on the hunt for pieces that are in the same color family of accessories I already have, so that I can play more with this extension of the monochromatic look. Also, in case you wondered, this is how I’ll be avoiding getting pinched tomorrow. What about you? How do you work color into your wardrobe? How will you be sporting your emerald tomorrow?

 

journal day: fix a problem

12th March 2014

Today, and every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my response to Danielle’s journal prompt series at Sometimes Sweet-go visit her!

Guys, this prompt has had me a little stumped, I must admit-hence the delayed post. Given the opportunity to throw unlimited resources at a “problem” my thoughts are split.

The first cause is global. Pretty much anyone who has ever worked retail and/or food service will tell you that they believe everyone should have to spend a certain amount of time in the retail and/or food service industry. It’s kind of cliche, now, but it comes from a place of truth. Working in those industries really does change the way you see people. I would like to build on this idea, but in a slightly different way. How awesome would it be if, as a part of our education or citizenship requirements [do we even have those for non-immigrants? we should!] we spent a year or more in a foreign country? You know how some countries have mandatory military service tours? It could be like that, but without the military part. The fact is, we are quickly becoming a global community and maintaining strict social/political/cultural boundaries seems impractical and outdated. Just being exposed to other ways of life and thinking do so much to broaden our own perspectives. We don’t need to all believe the same things or live the same way, but just having a little taste of where another person comes from could change the way we treat each other-I think, for the better.

Now, to a cause that is a little closer to my heart. I didn’t do any research before writing this, so everything is just coming from random thoughts swirling in my head-I don’t have any numbers to reference, is basically what I’m trying to say. There are so many children locally and globally who need a home. A place that is safe-physically and emotionally. Some of them need it temporarily, others forever. These are children in foster care or in orphanages around the world. I admit, I feel a certain sense of guilt around this topic. Joe and I have been trying to get pregnant for over three years, and during that time we’ve contemplated both foster care and adoption, but have yet to move forward with either. I understand that good intentions are not enough and that each family has to do what’s right for them. But I wish that more people could open their hearts to the idea of taking in some of these children. I don’t know what the “solution” would look like, but once your eyes are open to the need, it’s hard to not want to do something. My mind keeps going to my aunt and uncle who adopted a young boy from the Ukraine a couple years ago. There is no doubt that he is their son and was meant to come to them, albeit in a different way than their six other children did. What blows my mind is how difficult the process was for them to bring him home [and their journey was definitely touched by the hand of God many times and went much smoother than many others, from what I understand]. There are so many more children like him, whose countries are not able [I won't make a judgment call on willingness] to give them a real home. And there are people like my aunt and uncle who are willing to bring them into theirs-but not all of them have the $20,000+ required to make that happen. There must be something that could “fix” that-money, at the very least could help, right?

I feel like my thoughts are very scattered and disjointed, and again, I don’t purport to have any real answers. I would love to hear your thoughts-either on the topics I brought up, or the things that weight heavy on your own heart.

kitchen: the list

10th March 2014

Let’s get real for a minute, is that ok? This is my kitchen. Yikes, right? And yes, this is really all of it. The only part not in the picture is the tiny pantry and the fridge [both just barely to the right]. I wanted to share this, just so you can appreciate where I’m at right now…and so that one day we can fully appreciate the progress. So, we don’t own the house we’re in…but we probably will someday [my in-laws rent to us and the plan is for us to buy the house within the next couple years]. We’re pretty sure this isn’t our “forever” house, either. With that in mind, our options right now for tackling the kitchen are limited, but not as limited as they would normally be in a typical rental situation.  I don’t expect to turn this into the kitchen of my dreams/pinterest boards, but I think we can make some pretty easy improvements that can easily be termed investments when you consider the fact that we’ll probably be renting this property out at some point in the not-so-distant future. Here’s what I had in mind:

  • paint cabinets-inside and out
  • paint walls and pantry interior
  • install tile backsplash
  • add lighting-under cabinets?
  • upgrade current overhead light
  • install new window [new trip, as well, of course]
  • install new plates for electrical outlets
  • reframe pantry door opening [removing the door was the first improvement made when we moved in two years ago-seriously, no kitchen this small needs a door swinging around all the time]
  • upgrade pantry shelving
  • organize pantry
  • install new [read: pretty] faucet
  • install gray water collection sink [we're trying to be green, guys!]
  • upgrade kitchen and stove [these are more long-term, obviously]
  • figure out counters [new? I'm kind of thinking about going concrete]
  • art and decor [a rug, yeah? people put rugs in kitchens, right?]

Whew! What a list, am I right? Although, looking at it actually makes me feel less overwhelmed. Each item is actually pretty doable and not too financially draining. So, what to do first? I think the thing that will have the most impact for the least investment is painting the cabinets. I love the idea of something with some color or contrast…

1, 2, 3

1, 2, 3

But, since we’re shooting for something a bit easier and universally appealing, we will probably head in the “all white” direction and add personality with smaller details and styling…

1, 2

1, 2

I actually really love the second number 1 [I'm testing you today!]-all the contrast really makes me smile. And the gray subway tile is an interesting twist-but I also love white subway tile with a gray wall like in the second number 2 [are you keeping up?] I’m also toying with the idea of bringing in a brighter color by painting the insides of the cabinet…I’ll keep you in suspense on the final plan though [mostly because there is no final plan,  yet] So, this is my big project for the month, and yes, I realize that the month is almost half-way done! Which is why I’m posting this now, to make me accountable to all of you out there! Wish me luck!

style: wear that pin

9th March 2014

Can we talk about Pinterest for a minute. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with everyone’s favorite time suck. I love discovering and pinning new, inspiring stuff-mostly home decor and style [since the food stuff isn't really for me any more] but after I pin something it goes away. Out of sight, out of mind. So, this week I decided to find something pinned on my style board and attempt to recreate it-I enjoyed it so much that I think this may become a more regular thing-the makers of Pinterest are rejoicing somewhere, I’m sure.

The pin I chose is one from Atlantic-Pacific. If you don’t already know Blair, go check her out, but be prepared for leggy, stylish, blonde perfection. The problem with following fashion bloggers built like models with access to all the best brands, is that it’s easy to get discouraged. I certainly look at some of the outfits I love from Blair and just “know” that they’d never work on me.

original post here

I just love this look, but layers rarely turn out that well on me. Still, each of the individual pieces felt like something that could/should be in my wardrobe. In fact, I think every woman’s wardrobe could benefit from brown leather booties, black cigarette pants, a chambray top, bold graphic sweater and lightweight khaki jacket. Somehow, though, my closet contained none of these [at least none that fit any more]

So I did some shopping-at Goodwill! I find that I have the best luck at Goodwill when I go in with time to pick through everything and a mission! I found several sweaters, a jacket and a pair of booties. I then ran over to Target for the pants and chambray top-I didn’t want to spend too much on this adventure, and I felt confident Target would have these last two essentials. Here’s my three interpretations.

This one is the truest to the original. The sweater is pretty funky-the white part is super fuzzy-but the sleeves were definitely bulky, which made it a little uncomfortable. Also, my face looked weird so I chopped it off-it’s bad enough that I’m putting my pictures in a post where you’ve already seen Blair’s, but whatevs, let it go, right? I like the way this turned out, but I probably wouldn’t wear all the layers together.

For this second iteration, I omitted the chambray-mostly because I didn’t like the blues layered together-but I could totally see this paired with a plaid button up top or even just a plain white one…guess I may be heading back to Target…I do love how the sweater keeps it from being too boring; the pants are more polished than just jeans; the jacket is sporty and casual; and the booties add a little bit of cool. I would totally wear this as is-or even with a funky necklace on top.

 

Finally, the loosest, but perhaps my favorite interpretation. I found this fabulous sweater that will definitely be seeing some wear outside of the 4th of July and Veteran’s and Memorial Day.  Pairing it with everything else gives me a super funky, unique look-that admittedly isn’t for everyone-which I LOVE! This will be worn out sometime this week-I guarantee it. So, what do you think? Did I succeed in recreating the pin? Are you feeling inspired? What I loved about this endeavor was seeing how a little inspiration manifested in several pieces that have now given me so many more outfit choices. Shopping with some boundaries really helped me focus in on the racks and find some really fun pieces that will be permanent additions to my wardrobe. Like I said, I enjoyed this so much I will be doing it again-maybe on a monthly basis? Go check out my boards and let me know if there’s anything you see [whether it's style, food, home or other] that you think deserves to be recreated.

 

journal day: one year ago

5th March 2014

Today, and every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my response to Danielle’s journal prompt series at Sometimes Sweet-go visit her!

This week’s prompt was to look back at the last year and write down the advice that you’d give to yourself.  So, here goes…

You are about to experience one of the most transformative years of your life. So many things will begin to come together in a way that you haven’t yet imagined.

Embrace the journey-don’t focus on the destination. I know that sounds cliche and trivial; it is. But it is also good advice. You are wasting so much time fantasizing about what could be and how you wish things were-stop it! Your life is good and it’s only going to get better.

Focus on your spirituality. Devote time, each day, to studying and connecting with God.

Learn to let go. Don’t waste your time or energy on people or activities that bring out the worst in you.

Look for ways to serve people that you love. And maybe even people you don’t love.

Be patient. With others, but especially with yourself. You are not perfect-no one expects you to be.

Save your money. Don’t buy all those clothes-you won’t be able to wear them in a year.

Find ways to be creative. Write. Quilt. Scrapbook. Take pictures!

Learn to love this season of your life. Love the time with Joe. Love the craziness of the business. Love the freedom and easiness. I’m not saying that you’re going to be heading into the next season soon [I hope you are] but the only way to not have regrets is to live in this moment and see it for the gift that it is.

Part of me wants to tell you to enjoy food and going out to eat [because in August, that is all going to change significantly] but at the same time I know that those changes are necessary because of your relationship with food.

I don’t know what else to tell you-so much will happen this year, but there’s not much more I can do to prepare you for it than what has already been done. You are ready! You are strong and capable and there is so much good stuff headed your way-embrace and enjoy it!

video: GRWM: 2.22.14

4th March 2014

Hey guys, check out another video of me doing my makeup and chatting at the camera-it’s the face I did for my favorites video. I’m trying out a few new products and it’s full of awkward moments!

Products Used:

Rachel K CC Cream-Original
Covergirl Tone Rehab Foundation-125 Buff Beige
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush-Coffee Cake
Nanoblur
MAC Studio Finish Concealer-NC20
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder-Dim Light
NYX Eyeshadow base
NYX Bohemian Chic face palette
Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids-Vibrant Mandarin
Anastasia Brow Wiz-medium ash
Formula X by Sephora-Omni