Bettering yourself

Quiet Reflection

When Dashel was a baby, he (and let’s not fool ourselves, us too) would look forward to this small window of time every morning- about 15-30 minutes, that we grew to affectionately call “quiet reflection.” Dash would sit in his little bouncey chair after waking up from an (ahem) restful night’s sleep and just look around. He would watch his little toes wiggle, “count his fingers,” poke through a board book, or sometimes just stare off into space. It was the best. It gave us all a little time in the morning to take a deep breath before getting the day started, and I would often reflect a bit as well, mostly about how being a new mom was simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. The other day- a day I am now referring to as Terrible Tuesday, led me to a moment of quiet reflection about how my 2018 was going so far.

I started this year off so excited and full of hope- as I do every new year, and now that it’s May (and almost half way through 2018), I feel a little more like Ben Gibbard’s lyrics- “so this is the New Year, I don’t feel any different.” I had been mostly still keeping up the hope of carrying out my New Year’s resolutions, ridding myself of my bad habits, and implementing the good ones. But then, Tuesday happened. It started off like any other Tuesday; the alarm went off, Steve tapped me and told me it was 5am. I winced and nodded, “uh huh” I managed to groan out. I then rolled over and continued to lay in bed for at least another 35 minutes- par for the course. I finally dragged myself out of bed and initiated the morning routine. (Which, is far from something I would describe as a “well oiled machine.”) I lumbered to the shower, got dressed (after staring at my closet for at least 6 minutes thinking- I hate everything in here), and started to try to wake the kids to get them ready. Dash is in the midst of potty training- so anyone that’s gone through this before knows, you cannot rush the potty routine- and by the time I knew it I was already running 10 minutes behind the time I like to get out of the house- although the last time I really got out at that time was..hmm…actually, when was that? I fumbled around with (4!) haphazardly packed bags, trying to get out the door, when my husband said to me, I can’t find Conan (the dog) and he’s somewhere outside so be careful as you pull out. Ugh- the last thing I want is to worry about peeling out of the driveway because my pup’s life may be in the balance. With keys in hand, I opened the front door, to be confronted by my parent’s car blocking me in- they were staying with us for a few days while they were having their floors done. Luckily, they had left their keys out and we were able to move the car quickly and I finally got out and was on my way to work- white knuckled and staring at the clock for the next 35 minutes. God, I hate being late- yet, it’s my signature move.

I was upset. Not just because I was running late, again. But because this year is supposed to be MY YEAR. This was supposed to be the year that I turned things around and started really eliminating the things that frustrated me about my life and therefore left me feeling unhappy.  Being late, living in clutter, being unorganized/losing things, having a stressed mind far too often, not keeping up with my personal relationships the way I want to, not being mindful enough, being broke, being perpetually 15 pounds overweight- you get the idea.

Although this story, so far, seems like doom and gloom, I actually want to ensure you that I’m trying to turn it into a rags to riches success story. On January first I joined the ONE LITTLE WORD challenge with the hopes of 2018 being different than all the other years that I started and stopped, over and over again. I chose the word cultivate, with the intention of cultivating the life that I truly want to be living. To my estimation, I have spent the first 5 months of this year figuring out what it really means to have the life I want. Figuring out what life is best for me and what I want, yet have been super lacking in the implementation and habit building part of it.

A good friend of mine recommended Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier to me the other day, and after downloading my first episode, I was hooked already. Gretchen gives very practical advice, “happiness hacks,” that are so easy, you might as well give them a try to see if they improve your life or the lives of those around you. While listening, she referenced her “4 Tendencies.” This concept describes 4 character profiles (we all fit into one) that shape our lives and habits. I had to take this quiz and find out which I was. Almost as soon as I got to work, I opened my browser and took her 5 minute quiz. Before I even received my results, I knew what they would be.

The Obliger. The Obliger “responds readily to outward expectations but struggles to meet inner expectation. Obligers work hard to not let other people down, but often let themselves down.” Wow, this. Yes. That’s me. Rubin’s first piece of advise for Obligers that are struggling with personal challenges is to create external accountability. (I thought about the days when I attended Weight Watchers; almost obsessively watching that scale to make sure I was somewhere in the negative compared to last week.) So, it wasn’t difficult to put the pieces together and realize that this blog, that I’ve been real shitty at updating, could be my personal accountability forum. I have been listening to The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, and she used her personal blog to track her progress of losing 30 pounds, getting out from under $30,000 of credit card debt, and going sober! And with that, I’m using Cait as my inspiration to log my own progress in implementing a happier life for myself.

On top of tracking my journey to living at a higher frequency, I am hoping to share with you the resources that helped me, and maybe ones that didn’t help me too, in order to assist you on your own journey, if you so wish.

I hope you follow along with me on this journey or suggest something that you think may help me, as I hope this all helps you in some way too. I know Cait’s personal journey coupled with Gretchen providing me my “a ha!” moment helped me to kick start initiating my new year off right, on May 10th.

Gift Guide · Motherhood · Shopping

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

O.K. so is Mother’s day like more than a month a way? Yes. However, if you are like me, everything tends to be last minute and I scramble for finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift when there’s barely time for shipping. In the spirit of 2018 being my year to get my shit together and be on top of things- I’m already starting to think about Mother’s Day and am willing to bring you in to the fold if you want to be on your game too. Here are some ideas to ponder, but don’t wait too long to order!

Does a mother ever really want more than your unconditional love? Yes? No? Maybe? Here are some ideas to help you if you’re struggling this Mother’s Day with what to get your number one cheerleader, support system, expert snuggler, personal chef, and wiper of all the tears.

Sundry’s Mother, Lover, Friend sweatshirt, because, obviously, she’s all 3.

FARFELLE_GOLD-R

A pasta necklace, because, what else does everyone want for dinner? …And a cheaper version here!

The best sturdy tote to lug around all her…ahem…your, stuff.

An adorable personalized family portrait

Or some (very handy) personalized “Mom” stationary

Shopping Cart Cell Phone Holder with Secure Clip - Suits All Phones - Grey Color

Perhaps something practical like this shopping cart phone holder?

Cooling Eye Orbits, 100% Finnish Soapstone

Or these Cooling Eye Orbits for a spa like treatment at home, for tired eyes

Of course you love your Mother! –so, this sweatshirt! 

A THANK YOU card, because, that’s really all she ever wanted anyway.

 

 

#the100dayproject · Art

#the100dayproject

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Are you guys getting excited about #The100dayproject?! The kickoff is April 3rd- and for 100 days, you vow/try/struggle/get excited/challenge yourself to do something (creative) for 100 days! It’s also encouraged to post your “makings” on Instagram and tag them so everyone can excite, appreciate and motivate each other to keep going. It’s like a giant art project that everyone can share! Last year, I did 100 days of blogging– which was awesome. It allowed me to build a bunch of content on the blog, challenged me to come up with unique posts, and really got me excited about blogging. That being said, I am not going to re-do the same challenge this year.

Although I really did love doing it, there were a bunch of times where I really struggled- but due to my nature- I felt like I couldn’t skip a day (I get a little obsessive with a challenge). There were nights were I sat at my computer, at 11:30 at night, tired AF, trying to come up with a premise for a blog post and make it live within a half hour so that I didn’t miss a day. Again, the challenge was great, but it also helped me to realize that I don’t want blogging to feel like a struggle. I want it to come more organically and be happy/excited about all the posts that I do. The other reality that came out of completing that challenge was some serious blogging burnout. I’m not proud to say that since I finished that challenge, I can count the number of times that I’ve blogged again on my two hands- and that sucks. I’m trying to get back into regularly posting again, but I think it needs to come more naturally.

That being said, I’m trying to decide what to commit to this year for my project. I have so many things that I am working on, both creatively and personally, that I’ve thought about switching my focus to something under the ‘self-care’ umbrella. On the other hand, setting aside time to really work on something creative truly helped my mind and spirit last year. Here are some of the ideas I’m floating…

  1. 100 days of meditation
  2. 100 days of Morning pages (journaling and visualizing)
  3. 100 Days of affirmations
  4. 100 days of scrap booking
  5. 100 days of organizing my paper life (more on that in another post)
  6. 100 days of connections- letter writing/note writing

While I mull this over for a couple more days- check out the official #the100dayproject and start brainstorming your next 100 days! And come back of April 3 for my announcement on what I decide to do! I’d love to follow your journey as well- if you have an original hashtag for your project, please share it in the comments below so I can follow along!

Family · Gift Guide · Motherhood · Parenting · Planning · Snail Mail

Thank you notes!

Dashel recently turned 3, (holy cow! How is my baby 3?!) and we were lucky enough to be surrounded by many friends and family- who, of course- showered him with toys and gifts. We ended up opening presents the next morning in our living room after the hub-bub of the party and birthday festivities died down. This was so fun because Dash got to relive the fun of his party the next day- which also takes the post birthday sting out of the day after a bit! As he opened- we snapped pictures of each gift (and also kept notes about who gave what). I one hour photo-ed that goodness and jotted my thank you notes right on the back of each pic. Easy peasy- and so cute that each friend/family member gets to see the excited look on Dash’s face when he received their gift! Such a fun, easy way to send a thank you!

Food · vegan

Tempeh sausage hash over warm lentils

I literally can’t get enough of hash’s this winter- they are like a warm hug, a hearty breakfast for a cold winter morning. The best thing about a hash is that you can pretty much make them from anything leftover in your fridge. For example, I’ve been making my favorite with tofu the last couple of weekends, but when I realized this morning that we were out of tofu, tempeh was the next best choice! This recipe makes a healthy amount, to make for breakfast guests or to save as leftovers for tomorrow am- if you’re only a couple of people, or don’t want to make as much as I did, feel free to halve this recipe! If you do have guests, or just hate prep- I used quite a few short cuts for this recipe- you can follow my lead, or put in the full amount of work if you’re Wonder Woman/man!

For the tempeh:

In a medium bowl, mix 6 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce), 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 2 eight ounce packages of crumbled (you do the crumbling!) tempeh- stir mixture well and leave tempeh to marinate for 10-15 minutes. (You can start in on the other prep while you’re waiting!)

For the hash:

A couple of shortcuts: I used a frozen bag of mixed grilled peppers and onions from Trader Joe’s as well as a bag of pre-diced potatoes from the fridge section of the supermarket. I also purchased a package of pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s. This cut my prep time immensely- but you can always chop an onion, dice 3 bell peppers, dice 3-4 white potatoes and prepare lentils according to package…

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook onion, peppers and 4 cloves (minced) of garlic until soft and slightly browned.

Add your diced potato and cook until potatoes are slightly crispy on outside but still soft in the middle.

Lastly, add your marinated tempeh. Stir well to combine and cook for 6-7 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as 1/2 tsp of rosemary and 1/2 tsp of thyme.

Serve over a bed of warm lentils, enjoy!

Food · vegan

Chimichurri sauce! 

Mmmm… this chimichurri sauce is so good- I forgot to shoot a good picture of it before I started to chow down… classic

This sauce of Argentinian descent is a great fresh topping for tofu steaks, veggies, or basically anything you put on the grill. My version is a little different from the traditional recipe, but I like a little spin on an original recipe any day of the week- especially when it involves the addition of cilantro. I used it to top some tofu steaks that I served alongside rice and black beans and a generously salted avocado- oh so good. 

Here’s what you need: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar, 5 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley (stems removed- lightly packed), 1/2 cup of cilantro lightly packed, squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Here’s the plan: Place all items in a mini food processor or chopper (or large if you don’t have a small one) and blend until completely ground and smooth. Top your food, enjoy! It’s as easy as that! 

BEST WEEK EVER! · summer vibes · Travel

Best Week Ever! Vacay edition!

This week was the best week ever! We are on vacation! July 10-16, 2017

We are still not walking quite yet…


But… we do love wearing matching swan bathing suits…


And this little puddle jumper swim vest we got at Target, might be the best 20 bucks we ever spent…


Steve and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary! 


How come they don’t have Mellow Mushtoom in the northeast? Biggest mistake ever…


Steve called this a Snow White apple, it didn’t put me to sleep, but it was pretty tasty with peanut butter…


Not sure there is anything sweeter in the whole world than when the two of them play nicely together! 


Lunch outside on the water is a must when on holiday at the coast!


And…Not the best family selfie we’ve ever taken, but certainly not the worst either! 


And we are here another week!!

Also, just bought tickets to this show in Brooklyn and I’m geeking out over it! 

Will probably end up ordering this for fall!

I’m just going to sit here and squish this all day long

Have you seen this yet?! I’m dying to watch it! And two other movies on my must watch list… ONE & TWO

We just had an intense family game night playing this!

Obscure, intriguing, kick ass fanzines– with a sliding scale price tag!

And… just try and not read the Pepe the King Prawn’s twitter feed without the accent, go ‘head, just try