Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 15... Self Care...

Feeling sick and run down with a head cold.

I need to do self care.

Off to bed early.

Lots of tea.




Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 14... Go Outside...

The weekend in Connecticut was simply beautiful. We broke records. It felt like a summer day in July yesterday. Downright hot!

My friends on facebook posted all these glorious things they did outdoors.

My truth is that I did not get outdoors nearly enough to enjoy it. Yes, I was out and about doing things. But I didn't enjoy it as I should have. I was busy. {Still on my mission of cleaning out my closet, I filled 6 giant trash bags for donation. I was painting my stair risers. I was volunteering.}

As I was drinking a cup of coffee this morning looking out my kitchen window, I saw a huge hawk flying around in my backyard.  My husband filled the birdfeeders so maybe he was looking for a bite to eat... Or a bird to eat.

But it made me stop and think... nature is so simple and beautiful. I feel like I missed out on a great weekend! Going outside is such therapy for the mind, body and soul. Especially at this time of year when the days are crisp and the nights are cool. It's the perfect weather to get outside!

And I need to do more of it. Much more of it. Life is short, right? I don't want to kick myself on a Monday because I didn't enjoy the weekend. Who cares about being busy... there are more important things to do, such as enjoying the warmth of the sun, the fresh air, the colors, nature...

Pic via: pinterest

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 13... Volunteer

I was asked if I could give my time to help with something today, so I am.

Volunteering is always good for the soul.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 12... DIM...

I have been painting like a madwoman all day.

I have never loved my staircase so... I decided to do something about it.

I painted the backs of the stairs charcoal grey and refreshed all the trim in crisp white. Then the railings in charcoal grey as well.

I think I like it... I can't exactly tell yet because I'm so used to everything being white. It's definitely a different look.

I like it when I can bust out a power tool or a paint brush and fix something on my own. No man required. I don't have to pay someone to do it either. I can DO IT MYSELF... DIM... Love that feeling. Empowering!

Never mind that my dark brown dog now has white paint on his nose and all down his tail {like a little skunk.} How to get that off I'm not really sure.


Friday, September 26, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 11... No Way Jose...

I didn't blog yesterday, so technically I'm on day 11 today.

A few days ago I blogged about saying yes to more things in life, but... saying NO is just as important.

No thanks. I would love to but I can't. I have other plans but thanks for thinking of me. Count me out tonight. Maybe next time.

There is this thing called "The Disease to Please." Do you have that? The need to be liked and always jumping for everyone else even when it doesn't fit at all within your schedule of a million things to do that day?

I wouldn't exactly say I have The Disease to Please {okay, not even close} but sometimes I don't like saying no because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Or I just plain old feel guilty if I say no.

We all only have a certain amount of energy in our fuel tanks. To deplete that tank is never a good thing. Saying yes to everything that comes your way is a sure way to dry up any reserve fuel in the tank. It's important to consider whether you say yes or no to something. Not a knee jerk response of yes. Make it a thoughtful decision. And remembering it's okay to say no.

So my 30 Day Challenge for Day 11 is: SAYING NO... IT'S NOT A SWEAR WORD! 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 10... The Purge...

Basically if it's not nailed down, it's out the door...

Just kidding.

But I am getting rid of more than half of my clothing {donating of course!}

So far I have two humongous trash bags FULL of clothes that I purged. And I'm not even nearly finished.

I had a few free hours this morning and decided to take advantage of it. I took every single piece of clothing out of my closet and went through it. Quite a task for a Wednesday morn! I made 3 huge piles: throw away, donate, keep. Anything going back into that closet has to be something I really like and wear a lot. Next, I will file each piece by season and make the whole closet color coded. Imagine that?! And if your closet already looks like that, bless you my little Martha Stewart! Your skills are very admirable!

My shoe collection is next. My hubby will be so proud of me for this one. He teases me all the time for the amount of shoes that I have. 

I want to have a few basics that are quality pieces, clean, crisp and well made. And I will just rotate them wisely.

I can't stand having tons of stuff anymore. Seriously driving me crazy. Don't want it. Don't need it. Just clutter in my life. It will make me think once, twice, three, even four times before buying anything new. I will look for any holes in my wardrobe staples and buy only what is needed. If and when something new comes in, something old will definitely get donated. One in... one out... and that's how I'm gonna roll...

Can you tell I woke up with a bee in my bonnet this morning about clutter?! Ha!

By Sunday, my mission will be complete. Totally pared down, totally organized, totally simplified.

So my 30 Day Challenge for Day 10 is: PURGE.

Just let it go... let it go. And the peace will follow.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

30 Day Challenge: Day 9... Back In The Saddle...

Good morning my little ducklings!

Yesterday's challenge was so much fun! I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt trying to find random acts of kindness to do!

I did a lot of "acts." But my favorite was buying a big bunch of beautiful flowers {mostly sunflowers} and searching out the perfect car to leave them on. I chose a minivan because I thought it might be a mom's car who might appreciate a little sunshine in her day. But as I put them on the windshield and quickly drove away, I noticed an elderly woman walking to the minivan. It just made me smile hoping that it made her smile.

Anyway, today's challenge is getting my butt back in the saddle. Not literally in the saddle because I manage to squeeze in horseback riding at least once per week!

What I mean is that I need to start working out again. Since I didn't like the two places I tried after my personal trainer, I kind of gave up. I don't feel nearly as healthy as I did. I actually feel downright sluggish on some days. And I know it's because I have been slacking big time. I'll occasionally do things on my own, but it's not like it used to be. I used to be so committed.

So I facebooked my friend who is a trainer and she recommended a place near me that I never even knew existed. She said it's great. I researched it and the price is right, it's close by and the class times work perfectly. They also do other types of workouts like Barre Fusion, which is supposed to give you a long, lean, dancer's body. I mean, who doesn't want that? Definitely willing to give it a try! Pink tutu not required.

Getting healthy is the best gift you can give to yourself. Period.



Monday, September 22, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 8: Kindness Matters

Good morning and Happy Monday!

Today I am going to do as many random acts of kindness as I can think of. It's a bit hard to come up with ideas when you're not presented with a situation that you can act upon.

But here are a few of my ideas for today:

Leave quarters for the next person to vacuum their car with.

Buy and give a stranger flowers.

Leave some stamps for the next person who goes to mail something at the post office's mailbox.

Leave a stranger a note on their car to have a nice day.

Pay for the person behind me getting their coffee.

Compliment a stranger.

I will leave a note on each thing saying "pay it forward." Maybe it will even turn into a chain of random acts of kindness. Now wouldn't that be wonderful.

So these are just a few on my list of "thought out" acts. I hope to have many "random" acts throughout my day that just happen organically.

So my 30 Day Challenge for Day 8 is: RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS.

If you can think of any other good ones, let me know!



Pics via: pinterest

Sunday, September 21, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 7: Memory Maker

Sometimes I get so busy that I don't want to do things when people ask. I'm too tired, don't feel well, or just don't feel like doing it.

Last night I missed out on a really fun family gathering because I didn't feel well.

But... I should have pushed myself to go. I heard it was so much fun.

Memories are made during times like that. Memories that you can carry with you in your heart for years to come.

So my 30 Day Challenge for Day 7 is to say YES to things more often so that I can be a MEMORY MAKER.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 6... The Splurge... Gulp

Well happy weekend to you!

It's not often that I splurge on myself...

I very rarely get my nails done {only if I have a big event} and lately I have been doing my own pedicures. I bought a few cute colors for my toes and figured I'd save the money by doing them myself.

I get my hair cut and highlighted once every 3 or 4 months.

I don't really buy expensive makeup {except foundation... to avoid any breakouts!}

I don't go shopping all that much and I will hit up the outlets or consignment shops, not the pricey high end stores.

I will admit, I do indulge on boots. Tall leather riding boots. I buy a new pair each fall because I wear the heck out of them so they need to be comfortable and pretty.

I paint the interior of my home myself, rather than hiring a painter.

I would just rather save money than spend it.

Spending it can stress me out sometimes.

But today, oh today... I splurged more than I've ever splurged in my whole life.

I had been driving my SUV for many years. I loved {and still love} her. She took great care of me and got me everywhere I needed to go. But she was getting on in age... Lots of miles. I didn't care because I loved her so much. Well, that changed today.

I bought myself a new car! And it's a super fancy new car! I'm not all that into brand names but this one is a gem...

We kept my old SUV too because she still has miles left in her. She is big and roomy and I can pack a lot of stuff in those 4 doors.

My new car is way smaller but way more luxury. I'm kind of in love and it's only been 1 day. A car is still just a car, a piece of metal, and it is not what fills my heart. People and love fill me up inside.

But splurging every so often on yourself is a good thing! We are all worthy of a good splurge every now and then, right? We work hard... We save... We splurge from time to time.



Friday, September 19, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 5: Things Are Just Things... Well, Unless They're Not...

Hi there.

For the most part, I don't covet things. I have an abundance of love in my life and that is what makes me happy.

But... the other day I was looking through my house and I started to wonder what I have that either came from or once belonged to the ones I love. Things with history. Family history. Or at least a story or good memory attached to it.

At first I was a little upset because I couldn't think of anything really.

Ah, but then... I went room to room and looked. I mean really looked. And I actually noticed I have a lot of things that have meaning to me.

Starting with my kitchen: my brother gave me an original etching of a rabbit that I framed and hung on the wall. It looks lovely and when I look at it, I think of him. I also have various vintage kitchen items that I bought while out antiquing with that same brother, so though they weren't in the family, they have meaning to me because we had so much fun together that day.

My dining room: I have an old wooden cabinet that I keep wine in that was mine when I was a baby {only my mom kept my tiny little clothes on its shelves instead.} I painted it and love how it looks in my dining room. Then, here is the kicker... My husband's grandfather was a physician and he had this large cabinet with glass doors that he kept his medical supplies in. It is a gorgeous piece, but more than that, it has family history. And guess where it is? In my garage holding all my paint supplies. Um, seriously?! What was I thinking! So this weekend, we are bringing it inside, dusting it off and displaying it prominently in my dining room where it should have been all along!

Then to my living room: I have several show riding helmets displayed on top of my armoire that were mine and my sister-in-law's from when we were little. Love them. I also have an old wooden chest that was my mom's that I keep all my wrapping paper and ribbons in. It's so perfect. There is a desk in my living room too that was my mom's that I painted and it sits in the corner of my room. Looks great.

We have handmade Persian rugs that were my in-laws. We have my husband's great-uncle's crystal stemware. I have a precious Christmas decoration that was my mom's from when we were little. It's my favorite decoration from back then. I have a Halloween witch from her as well that is really, really old. We have many cool vintage santas from my father-in-law. We have two dressers that were my father-in-laws when he was a little boy. My mom is going to give me a sign from my great grandmother's antiques shop.

Whoa. I guess we do have quite a few things from family. They certainly don't need to have any monetary value, just sentimental value. I really do hate things and clutter in my home. But these are not just things. These are treasures and what makes my house my home!



Thursday, September 18, 2014

30 Day Challenge: Day 4

Well, I knew what my challenge for today would be... It goes right along with the whole "I want to stretch and grow my mind and do something that strikes a little fear in my gut but makes me bolder."

I have a job that I love. I mean really love. I have built up a little business from the ground up that is successful and pays my bills but most of all, it inspires me and brings me happiness. But here is the thing... I never like to stay stagnant. I like to push the boundaries and take on new projects and keep learning new things. I often take on smaller side jobs as well as my real job. It's what makes me tick.

So today, I have an interview for an exciting part-time position. I have connections from my old job still and was told about this opportunity. So I jumped.

I am torn because I love my schedule as is. This will be adding more to my schedule. But I will be learning and growing in new ways that will stimulate my brain.

I'm hoping to do well on the interview because let's face it... interviews are always nerve wracking, right? If I get the job or not isn't really the point for  my 30 Day Challenge. The point for me is that I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself to do this. It definitely will make me bolder {not at this exact moment because I'm still in the fear in my gut phase, but later today, after the interview is over, then I'll feel bolder.}


I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 3

Happy Wednesday my loves.

Why is it that men can ask for anything they want and they are called confident whereas when a woman does it, she can sometimes be labeled the B word?

It infuriates me!

In this challenge to a better self, I want and need to work on being assertive.

Being assertive doesn't mean you have to be aggressive or a jerk. It just means asking for what you want, no bones about it. It means not backing down when you know something to be true that is not of popular opinion. It means standing your ground. It means stating your opinion in the first place. It means you are confident!

My sister-in-law is a great inspiration for me. She plays hard ball with the big boys in New York City. You know, all the Presidents and CEO's  of billion dollar companies... She is right there with them, usually the only woman in the room, probably at least 20 years younger than all of them, yet she stands toe to toe with them. Love her!  I have seen her bite when necessary. It's very impressive. She doesn't even bat an eye.

I just want a little of her fierceness coursing through my veins. The place I need to be more assertive is in the business world. I tend to lean towards being nice but that can get me burned sometimes. I know there is a balance and I don't need to be assertive all the time, but when the occasion calls for it, I want to be able to pull it from my tool box and use it. Boom. No questions asked.

I have plenty of opportunities throughout my day to practice this skill. And I do believe that it is a skill. Some people have it, some people don't. But that doesn't mean you can't learn it and get better at it if it's lacking. I know it will serve me well throughout my life to be more assertive. 

So that is my Day 3 Challenge: being ASSERTIVE.

Watch out! {just kidding.}


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

30 Day Challenge... Day 2...

I woke up this morning thinking I knew exactly what my challenge for Day 2 would be.

How quickly things can change.

I am a big believer in things happening for a reason.

Either fight it or go with it.

I go with it.

This morning I let my dog out {we have a large fenced in back property with grass and lots of woods.} He loves being outside so I didn't think anything of it when 20 minutes had passed and he didn't scratch to come back in.

I called him a few times. Nothing...

I put some food in his bowl and shook it {usually guaranteed to make him come running.} Nothing...

I went outside and started looking for him and calling him. Nothing...

I heard crunching leaves in my neighbor's back woods and was trying to see if it was him or just some squirrels. Nothing...

I started to panic. I thought he somehow got loose and was a good distance away by now. He is a rescue from Mississippi so he likes to roam and be outdoors. I was on a tight schedule and didn't want to be late for work... but I wasn't about to leave without finding him first. No way!

I was running all through our woods yelling his name. Nothing.

As I stood there unsure of what to do next and feeling totally panicked, I spotted him ever so quietly walking towards me from the other side of the woods. His nose was filthy; he was obviously digging and completely in the zone and had tuned me out 100 percent.

My first reaction was anger because he scared me half to death. But I stopped myself cold in my tracks. This was the best news I could have received. Instead of him being lost, far away from home or walking on a main road, he was by my side... safe and sound.

I immediately felt grateful. I flipped the thought switch from being angry to grateful... and just like that my day has been filled with so many things that I feel gratitude for {things I most definitely would have overlooked if my morning didn't start out the way it did.}

So my Day 2 challenge is: GRATITUDE {for big things but very small things too.}

I could go on and on with all the little things I've deeply become aware of this morning and feel true gratitude for. Not just saying it because it's the "right thing to do" but rather really feeling it deep in my bones. Yes we are all grateful for the big things: family, health, food, shelter, etc.

But stop and notice all the little things that make up your day too. Did your car start this morning? Did your kids get on  the bus safely and make it to school? Did you find your dog that may or may not have been lost? Were you able to go for a walk without being in pain? Were you able to make choices today of your own free will? Did you sleep with a blanket last night to keep you warm? Were you able to get a clean glass of water from your faucet without worring about disease or sickness?

My God, we have so many things each moment of each day to be grateful for.


Monday, September 15, 2014

30 Days To A New Self... Day 1: Organized

Good morning my little fuzzy peaches.

Happy Monday!

I have been thinking a lot about self improvement. And I thought I might like to do a little 30 day challenge. They say that it takes 30 days to form new habits and routines.

And so it begins...

Whether it's career, relationships, finances, getting DIY crafty, helping others, expanding my mind, working my body, volunteering, opening my spirit, being mindful, whatever, I want to do one thing each day to better myself.

I'm not even pretending I know how or where to start. All I know is that I want to start.

I am sure some days it will be something big but other days it will be something very tiny. But hey, improvement is improvement and I don't have {or want} the measuring tape police to gauge my success...

So I was thinking that I needed to start tomorrow but... I already did something today towards a new me. I got completely caught up on all my paperwork this morning.


That is Day 1.

It's actually a huge step towards a better me. Sometimes I can procrastinate and then I get overwhelmed and then I procrastinate even more. Today I woke up and sat down and just got going on all that paperwork. And now it's done. It feels really good. Phew. I have to make this more of a daily priority in my 30 day challenge too. There are many, many things that need to be organized in my house and in my life.

I really need to think and get creative about what to do each day. I want to continue to learn, stretch, grow, run, launch, leap, skip and dance through my life. I want to do new things that give me fear but make me bolder. I want to taste the unknown. I want to explore. I want to wake up each morning feeling exhilarated for what the day will bring {or what I can make out of my day!}

This is going to be fun. I hope you come along on my journey and even feel inspired to start your own 30 day challenge!

Stay tuned...


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Having Faith...

I try to be as authentic as possible on my blog.

Some days are good... some aren't.

Today is 9/11, making it a day of reflection.

But today is also the day of my friend's wake. I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach. I tossed and turned all night. I don't think I can go. The feeling of guilt for making that decision was overwhelming. But as the morning progressed, I reflected deeper... I want to remember her spirit as vibrant and feisty with that mischievous sparkle in her eye. I want to remember her laughter and her love of art. I want to remember her intelligence and curiosity. I want to remember her love of yoga and natural things. I want to remember her funny sense of humor. I don't want to remember her in a casket. I can hardly even type that sentence.

I know this isn't a happy post, but it's how I feel today and I needed to share. Sometimes just writing about things is a good cathartic release. I will visit her after I can wrap my brain around it a little more. I know she is in a beautiful place now and I can almost hear her giggling and happy with no more sadness in her heart. I have Faith in that...



pics via: pinterest

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Beauty Of October...

Hello friends.

October is my favorite month of the year.

I anticipate its arrival with bated breath.

It is when Connecticut takes a leap into another world that is bursting with color. The leaves become shades of orange, yellow and red that drip from the trees. It is always quite breathtaking. People drive from all over to see the "fall foliage" in New England.

I love decorating for fall. Hay bales, corn stalks, pumpkins, gourds, candles, all of it. I like to decorate with natural elements, not so much "Halloween" decor. I also love putting cloves and cinnamon sticks in a cast iron pot to simmer on our wood burning stove. It makes my whole house smell delicious.

Oh how I love a good pumpkin patch at a farm!

Yum! Hot cider!

Gorgeous decor for the porch!

Just pretty...

Fun fall sign!

Fall invigorates me and kind of gears me up for a fresh start. Usually people pick January 1st as their day to make some changes. I pick a day in October. The air is cool and crisp and makes me want to get moving outdoors. I don't do well in the heat... it's just hard for me to breathe. When it's cool, I exercise more, eat better and sleep better. The one down side to the fall is that it gets dark at 5:00 PM. No bueno in my book. I wish it would stay light out until 7:00 PM year round.

Another thing I love about fall is style. I love to wear my jeans, tall boots, a scarf and my J. Crew puffer vest. It's my favorite and most comfortable look. These boots are at the top of my wish list!

Enjoy your day.


Pics via: pinterest

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fixer Upper = Awesome...

It was a long weekend. Filled with lots of emotions yet some fun things too.

We didn't get around to painting the dining room as planned but... I'm glad now because I think I'm changing my mind about the color. I think I will get sick of blue. I think I need more neutral with blue accents.

My new absolute favorite decorating show is called Fixer Upper on HGTV. I love the couple who is on the show and I love her eye for decorating. She does an industrial farmhouse look for most of her projects which is exactly what I am turning my house into. They live in a farmhouse in Waco, Texas and they take old houses and not only renovate them but also decorate them for the new owner. She also owns a store called Magnolia with some really cool stuff. Go visit her website!

They make such a lovely couple. I can't tell you how sick I am of that show Love It or List It. The bickering hosts made me cringe.

Fixer Upper is like a breath of fresh air. They are a married couple with four kids who adore each other and give a bit of friendly banter back and forth along the way. Super adorable. The husband rescues newborn calves who were abandoned by their momma's. Sweet, huh. And they also have goats! Hello? I want goats so badly! Just 2. And no horns...

Anyway, if you love to decorate in the farmhouse industrial style, you should tune in. They are a refreshing change to what is on television these days. I love that she uses words like "couch" instead of "sofa." She is just a regular girl in a regular world. Can't wait until the new season begins!

Here is a picture of their farmhouse that can be seen on her blog: magnoliahomes.net/blog. Tune in for some great tips and advice!

And a few of their sweet little goats. Love.

Hope you enjoy this show as much as I do! You can also find her at www.themagnoliamom.com.

Pictures via: www.magnoliahomes.net/blog

Friday, September 5, 2014

Life. Is. Beautiful.

Today is a very sad day. I learned of the heartbreaking loss of a friend. She struggled in life and did not always have it easy. But she always tried so hard... to be loved, to be accepted, to put a smile on her face. She was a bright light in this world... but her flame was extinguished far too early. May she be at peace now. Such a tragic loss for a beautiful person.

my friend.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Happy Little Kitchen...

Hi friends!

I just got home from a walk with my mom in town. It was a hot night but a beautiful night. It was so nice to spend time together!

And........ my kitchen is finished! I am going room by room. Dining room is next. I'm going to do a pretty blue on the bottom and a lighter blue above the chair rail. I think the hallway will be after that. I'm thinking a light shade of gray with bright white trim. Crisp and clean.

So here are a few pictures of my kitchen. It's not a huge kitchen by any means but it's perfect for our little family. There is another area that I didn't take pictures of because there was some mail and such on my stove that I didn't feel like cleaning. So here is a little peek into my mission of turning my colonial home into my little farmhouse. The walls used to be cream and now they are a dark mocha. New industrial metal chairs. Chippy old farm table. I love how it turned out!

That strange looking skinny object to the left on the floor is a stretched out paw... My pup decided to hang out with me during my photo shoot. 

See that basket on the window sill? It's my cat's new favorite spot to sun herself. I guess I can't blame her. It does make for a cozy cat nap bed.

A better look at my new chairs. I went with silver instead of blue. More neutral if I want to change things up!

Hope you had fun.