Oh Hey

Here are some things I’d like you to know:

+ We are going on another vacation this year. !!!! To Denver to visit the same dear friends we visited last Spring. After feeling like vacations were a distant memory in that phase of we have two babies under two years old, two vacations feels like we won the lottery. We’re bringing the kids and we are so looking forward to a long a weekend away.

+ ALSO I got to have a long girls’ weekend in Austin this year. I know. It’s crazy.  Plus the kids were sick as I was literally driving down the road.  Matt called and said both girls just threw up on themselves in their carseats.  #cringe  Before you think I’m a horrible mom, I offered to turn around three times but my darling husband told me to go on.  Thankful for him and my mother in law who helped out all weekend.

+ Matt and I have taken to having (almost) weekly lunch dates at our favorite authentic Mexican food place. He picks me up from work on my lunch hour and off we go. It’s so nice having that time, just the two of us to chat. Also the Wednesday special: puerco en salsa verde is ahhhhmazing. I get it every single time.

+ I scratched Run a Half Marathon off my bucket list. It truly was an amazing experience. I wish I would’ve written about it much sooner when the memories and endorphins were fresh. I crossed the finish line in just under 2 hours and 10 minutes, and I was pleased as punch with that time. My average pace was about 9:40 and I just cannot say what a great experience the entire thing was – from training, to crossing the finish line, to seeing all the runners and supporters, to my sweet family waiting for me at the end. I’m grateful for it all.

+ In keeping with one little word for 2016 I embarked on a new business adventure with Rodan and Fields. I’ve been intrigued by this company for years and this was the year I took the plunge. First, I love quality of the products, I love how my skin feels, I love helping people feel great about their own skin, and I’m also loving the business side of things. I’m stretching and growing and being challenged in ways that are so new to me.  Of course I’d love to share with you if you are at all interested.

How are you?  It’s been a while.

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Categories: As of Lately List, goals, M + M, Married Life, Matt, motherhood, Vacation My Love Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Book Report

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso: I tore through this book in less than 24 hours. It was an easy read that I obviously enjoyed. I feel like it might be better suited for a slightly younger (read: a lot younger) demographic than myself. This book would be great for the new college grad or for the person just starting out in the work force. However, the Take Charge of Your Destiny and Work Hard mentality found in these pages can really be applicable to anyone. I’d say that if you are looking for a good ole fashioned girls-rule-the-world pep talk as well as some overall rock solid Life/Career advice then this book is for you.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: So I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I’d venture to say that I really enjoyed it and have already reserved the next book in this series at my local library. For me, the beginning was a little overwhelming because there are a lot of characters to try and keep straight. Eventually I came to the conclusion that many of the characters were just there to support the overall story and keeping them all straight wasn’t vital to understanding the big picture. I haven’t read anything in the “chic lit” department in a long time and I found this book very entertaining. There’s talk of it being made into a movie, which I support.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins : So I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. Whenever I watch a movie or read a book that the masses are ooohing and ahhhing about I try to keep my expectations low so that I won’t expect too much and be dissapointed. I find that I enjoy them much more when I take this approach. (You’re thinking that this goes without having to say, right?) Anyhow, it was good. I liked it even though every main character has some serious flaws (but granted, to some extent, don’t we all? Just hopefully not to the degree of these folks!!!). I tried to guess “who did it” several times before guessing correctly pretty close to the end. I bet they make this into a movie. It’s a worthwhile read and addictive. I sped through it relatively quickly. (p.s. The kindle version is only $4.99 right now on Amazon!)

+++

One of my goals for 2015 was to read 12 books. I figured that averaged one book a month and should be totally do-able. Girl on the Train marked my 12th book this year which means that I can now stop reading until 2016. Kidding! I have a new stack of library books on my night stand ready and waiting.

Speaking of the library… I recently got a call asking if I had spilled/damaged a book I had recently turned in. I had not. I remember the pages being “wavy” but not un-readable so I thought nothing of it. Apparently they have to discard book that get wet because they can grow mold and potentially spread to other books when stored on the shelves.  They said fine and we hung up the phone and wouldn’t you know, mere seconds later I spilled coffee on a different library book. Go figure, right? So I had to pay $29 for that book that I definitely damaged.  Sigh.

Also another thought on the library… my public library is kind of gross. Although it has been remodeled recently, which is an improvement because they ripped up gross carpeting and put in laminate flooring.  However, it still just seems dark, dingy, and dirty. Plus this past weekend I walked by a random man using one of the computers and had to look away quickly because the screen had larger than life questionable material displayed! I mean, WHAT? #Awkward.

How’s your public library? I always thought I’d take my kids to the library because I have such fond memories of spending time at my local library when I was growing up.  However I really can’t see myself taking them and worrying about them touching anything.  Maybe I’m over reacting… Who knows.

 

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Book Report. May

My goal to read at least 12 books in 2015 is coming right along.  I’m halfway there with six books checked off!  Here’s my most recent reads:

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.  I wrote the perfect review of this book and then accidentally erased it with no hopes of retrieval. Believe me, I tried.  Anyhow, this was a good one that I have already recommended to several different people. It’s written by a man, which halfway through, I realized was a new perspective for me. Most of the books I read are written by women about women. It was a fresh take to read something not only where the main character is male, but the author is male as well. This book is full dark humor, which to be honest, is right up my alley. Lots of laughs and lots of somber moments as well. It was a good mix.

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith. This is a home decor book written by a blogger. I’ve seen it floating around BlogLand many a time and finally checked it out from our local library. This wasn’t what I was expecting in that it wasn’t exactly do this specific thing to decorate your home. It was more do something to make your home feel like home and get over your fear of perfection. Great message and I definitely thought it was inspiring. I hesitate to mention my one hang up with this book because the overall message is positive and encouraging. But since this post is all about reviewing books… I’ll go ahead and try to share my one problem with this book. I’ll try to be brief – The author is a renter. She believes that homeowners and renters alike should enjoy the home they have. She gives examples of how a renter can use their resources to make their rental home feel more like their own. Examples are painting walls and changing out light fixtures. All great suggestions and things that can be changed back if and when one’s lease is over. However, she also makes changes to her rental homes that aren’t easily reversible. The two examples that stick out in my mind are when she paints the formica (?) countertops in a kitchen and then again when she paints over wood paneling on a wall. She explains that she thought these two changes were worth the risk of losing her deposit. I have no doubt that both of these changes improved the aesthetic of the rental house, but I don’t think her actions were appropriate. Overall I thought the message of this book was great, but that one thing/attitude was off putting (for me).

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I’ve had this book on my To-Read List for quite some time and I’m glad I finally got my hands on a copy. Loved this one! It’s a mix of old Italy, present day Hollywood, (& several other locations but mostly Italy and Hollywood) and how the lives of multiple people with different backgrounds are all entwined. The story bounces back and forth between time, places, and characters. It’s about your average Joe, the almost famous, the passion for and then fall of fame, love, forgiveness, etc… I was happy with the way it was all wrapped up in the end. I love me a good conclusion.

I have the Fringe Hours uploaded to my Kindle as well a few other non-fiction books, but otherwise I’m looking for my next great read. Any suggestions? What have you read lately?

 

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Categories: Book Report, goals Tags: ,
How I’m Accomplishing Monthly Goals

Lists are the best, yes? Yes. I have notebooks and notebooks full of lists. I find writing out a To Do List and checking off completed tasks motivating and satisfying. My problem with this is (was) the notebooks upon notebooks of lists and general Notes To Self.  They were all over the place. Hello, my name is Melissa and I like to buy cute notebooks. I’ve come across lists I’ve written years ago and thought: Yay! That’s done, Check!.. or Oh yeah, I never did that, Sad.., or This list doesn’t even apply to my life anymore, Weird…, and worst of all is WHERE IS THAT LIST/NOTE I WROTE LAST MONTH?! Panic/Frustration/WTH.

So I’ve come up with a simpler system for keeping track of my general Notes To Self and To-Do lists.  Streamlining my way too many notebook problem, I now only keep track of two notebooks: my planner and a Bullet Style journal. I’ll probably talk more about my Bullet Journal later, but if you’re not familiar with Bullet Journaling you can find numerous takes on what it is here or you can read about it where I first did on Kathleen’s blog here.

My planner is a spiral bound notebook separated by monthly tabs.  Each tab has two blank pages at the beginning and end of each month and I delegate one of these pages to write out monthly goals.   The idea of monthly goals isn’t anything novel or ground breaking, but this little system works well for me! (I started this back in November.)

The “goals” I write out range from simple tasks to ones that are a little more involved.  Having a list that I see on a daily basis really helps me remember things that need to get done.  Some of the easy tasks I checked off last month included buying a new doormat for our back sliding door, put up a 2015 wall calendar, buy new air filters, and get a basket for kids books to keep in the living room.

Other tasks were a little more time consuming like pack up Christmas decorations, organize kids toys, organize kids clothes, organize master bedroom closet, transfer pictures from SD card and phone to hard drive, pack up a box for donation, and actually schedule a pick up time for said donation box.

Then there were projects that I knew wouldn’t be completed in January.  These were things that would be continuing works in progress because they would take time and thought.  I have a terrible habit of not starting these types of things because I don’t have enough time, or all the resources available to me, or because I just feel overwhelmed by all the steps involved.  I’m trying to break that habit by reminding myself that every project and task has to start somewhere.

Last month I was able to put some time and effort into two projects that I have had in the back of mind for quite some time.  The first being work on Alice’s one year old book.  I went through all the pictures that I took of her during her first year and placed them into a folder.  I’m over half way through the edit process and hope to have her book made by the end of this month!  (After all, she’ll be TWO this May!!!)  I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to finish the book last month, but I’m stoked that I got started and actually made some real progress towards the finish line.

The other project I put some effort into last month was to work on the TV gallery wall.  I have this photo that I ripped out of a Pottery Barn catalog thumb tacked above my desk.  I’ve been wanting to do something similar for the wall behind our TV.   I now have three things that I LOVE for that wall and several ideas for more items to add.  I’m really excited to see how this one will come together.

I’m currently working on February’s Monthly Goal list and actually had to carry over some things that I didn’t get around to in January (Hello, Organize Desk Area – you are not my favorite). I also let some things go because I’ve re-evaluated and moved on to things I deem more important, and that’s okay.  The overall goal is to get things done that need to be done and sometimes those needs change.

Are you a list maker?  What have you found that motivates you to be productive?

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One Little Word for 2015. Gratitude.

Happy 2015! We’re three days in and I hope you’re off to a good start. Do you get into New Years resolutions? Matt feels like it’s just another day, but I totally get into it. I love the idea of a new year and a fresh start. I love buying a new planner (I bought this one) and filling in the crisp blank pages.  I already have a list of things I’d love to accomplish in 2015 penned on one of the blank pages in the back of the planner.  In addition to my overall yearly list of goals, I’m also listing out small goals to help me reach those big goals and  things I would just like to get done each month.

Most of my goals are creative in nature.  I want to sew more (well…actually learn to sew), draw, paint, make a weaving, and put together more photo books.  I also want to get in really good shape.  I have essentially been pregnant for the past two years and it feels so good to have my body back (besides breastfeeding) and I’d love to run, yoga, lift weights, get my heart rate up, and just sweat more!  I’m really excited about all these things.

As for this space I would love a new look.  Inevitably, I always want a completely new blog name and start thinking the one I’ve chosen is lame.  If you read my blog for any amount of time you know that I’ve gone through several blog names and even url addresses.  But, darn it,  I’m committing to this one and I’m going to stay put for now.  Yours Truly, Melissa is fitting… this space is basically an online journal written by me.  Corny and trite, but true.  But a new look is definitely on the brain and I’m thinking simple black and white.

Lastly I have decide to participate in One Little Word.  A concept developed by Ali Edwards where you choose a word every year and it becomes sort of like your mantra for the year.  I initially read about One Little Word on Elise’s blog 2-3 years ago and didn’t really think much of it until the end of 2014.   I was intrigued and the word gratitude kept coming back to me.

I debated on taking the workshop, but truth of the matter is, I’m not at all interested in scrap booking.   Not even a little bit.   I do love all the things that go with scrap booking: pretty papers, photos, journaling…so it’s sort of puzzling to me why I’m not really into it, but I’m just not. I think things like Project Life are awesome and I admire when other people post their spreads and think what a great memento to have of your days.  I can’t put my finger on exactly why it’s not for me, except that I personally love the more streamlined look of photos in hardbound albums.  Different memory keeping method right?   Although, I guess it’s more of digital scrapbooking, especially if you arrange the photos and words in the album yourself.  Yes?

So One Little Word.  Having an intention for your year and this year I intend to focus on gratitude.   I actually have a couple other words that I really liked as well, but this is the word that really stands out.  I have my word painted in watercolor and pinned  to my cork board so that I’ll see it everyday.  I don’t think I’m especially ungrateful, but I could definitely be more grateful, more thankful, more appreciative… I have two very small children (a 4.5 month old and a 19.5 month old), I work 32 hours a week, I have the day to day grind of laundry, shopping, and general housekeeping.  It can all become wearisome and very easy to focus on the have nots.

But I know I have it pretty good.  More than good.  It’s a beautiful life I live and I want to focus on those things.  Of course there is always room for growth and improvement, but there is So. Much. to be grateful for.  I’m still contemplating on exactly how I will have more gratitude in 2015.   I want to be grateful for the things I already have but also for the new opportunities and blessing that will come my familys’ way.   One thing is certain,  I want to regularly identify and list out things I am grateful for.  I also want to read this bookto give me a kickstart.  I am a firm believer that grateful people are happier overall.  Positive yields positive.

Cheers to positivity and happiness!

>>>>>

Anyone else participating in One Little Word?  Are you intrigued?  Read more about it here, or listen to this podcast.  If you decide to join in please leave a comment and let me know what word will speak to you this year! You can start anytime!  I’d love to hear all about it.

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Categories: goals, life, yours truly Tags: , ,
Book Report. December

Welp, I’ve read a total of three books since my last book roundup back in August.   I read a book in September, October, and December.  Apparently I was too busy to read a book in November.  Good news is that the three books I did read were all really good. I enjoyed each one thoroughly and highly recommend them all.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  First off, the main character has an excellent name! *winky face* This was a light read, easy.  Alice, the main character with the excellent name, suffers a head injury and wakes up thinking it’s a decade earlier than it actually is.  A lot has changed in those ten years,  especially within her most important relationships.  I read this back in September so the details are slightly foggy, but I remember it being entertaining and quick.  I know it’s the middle of winter, but this would probably be a great beach read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.  I was already a fan of Mindy Kaling and watch every episode of her hilarious show The Mindy Project.  Now that I’ve read her book I like her even more.  This girl is funny.  Her sense of humor is so me.  Her high school experiences were also so me.  She’s nerdy and cool.  She’s naive and asks lots of questions.  I loved it all and actually laughed out loud which wins major points.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  Another YA book for the win.  Eleanor and Park are both different than all the other kids in school.  Except one is more socially accepted than the other.  They both have untraditional families, but one is not so great and the other is safe and loving.  I was less than happy with the ending, but I guess everyone’s trying to not tie up novels in a nice neat bow.  (Most of the times I wish they would!)  I did enjoy this book, but feel it’s a little rough around the edges for a pre-teen…not to say it’s not real life, because it totally is…  Anyone else read this?  Thoughts?

I’ve made a 2015 goal to read (at least) 12 new books this year.  AND I’m doing it with a friend!  We’re each going to pick 6 books and have mini-discussions at the end of each month – a book club for two.  I’m excited!  If you have any suggestions on what we should read, I’m all ears…

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What are you reading?  I’ve got Yes Please downloaded on my new Kindle that I got for my birthday.  I’ve already read the intro and know that I’m just going to love it all.  I love funny and smart ladies that work and succeed at what they do, I feel like I should listen up to what they have to say.

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Eating better and dealing with other people’s perceptions

For about two months now, Matt and I have been trying to eat healthier. Mostly we have cut out fast food (I can’t even believe I had actually become someone who had to cut out fast food!) and have really reduced the amount of pasta, breads, rice, and white potatos that we eat. I don’t want to say we are following a specific type of diet because we are not crazy about any “rules.” Matt’s definitely stricter with what he eats than I am but we both still “sneak” treats every now and then.  There have been a couple Sunday nights where we just want to order pizza so we do just that.  But for the most part we are eating a lot healthier and preparing most meals at home.  Our sides are a lot less starchy carbs and a lot more veggies.

Initially I just told Matt that this was something I was going to do in an attempt to loose some  of the baby weight I had gained with my back to back pregnancies.  It was a bonus for me when he decided to join in on my efforts.  He admits to gaining some weight himself during my pregnancies.  I mean, who can blame him for picking up a treat for himself when he’d run out to pick me up a chocolate chip milkshake to fulfill my pregnancy cravings?

So it’s going well. We’ve both lost some weight, which is of course encouraging and I really feel like I have a lot more energy than I would have if I wasn’t eating this way.  Also other people seem to notice that I’m eating healthier.  I haven’t really discussed with a ton of people how I’m eating healthier because I just don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but still I guess it’s somewhat noticeable.

One co-worker seems to notice in particular. I guess it was because after she offered me cracker after cracker and I refused day after day she assumed I was trying to eat healthier. She asked me about it, so I admitted that yes I was trying to eat healthier. (I’m not trying to hide it, I just wasn’t trying to call attention to the fact I guess.)  The next week she even went so far as to say me that I inspired her to eat healthier herself.   Not my intention, but that’s great!

Then this morning she came into the office and plopped a McDonalds breakfast sandwich on my desk and said “I know you’re on a diet, but you can still have this, right?”

I mean. What even?

First of all, I really don’t like the word diet because it seems like a phase and I’m trying to eat healthy overall, not just for a limited amount of time. Second of all. WHAT? If you think someone is trying to watch what they eat don’t bring them McDonalds.  It’s straight up sabotage.

Okay maybe sabotage is a dramatic word to use in this scenario, but still.  I was annoyed.  And then I really wanted to eat the sandwich because, well, it smelled good.  I debated on throwing it away or trying to give it away.  In the end I took a bite and threw the rest in the trash.

Because compromise.

Have you ever tried to change your eating habit for the better and had to deal with other people’s opinions/comments?  Sometimes it can be annoying, yes?  And then of course other times it can be totally encouraging.  Like me telling my husband (because I have to tell him, since he lives with me and all) and getting pretty much the best support possible.

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Categories: Fitness, goals, M + M, Married Life, Matt Tags: , , ,