My Favorite Things: Good Nail Polish

Hey Loves!

So, I don’t think I’ve ever defined myself as a “girly girl” but I have always loved nail polish and manicured nails. I remember my first manicure at age 8 and asking for my own cuticle clipper in the sixth grade. Don’t judge me. Anyway, My struggle was nail polish lasting 2.72 seconds from drying until the chipping began.

This continued into adulthood. No matter what I did, how I did them, what top coat I used, 24 hours later my nails looked like that of a 3-year-old who played with markers. But, none the less, I persisted.

I’ve tried professional manicures. No luck. Gel manicures were a game changer but they were expensive, time-consuming to remove and were not the best for my nails. Oh, the agony! Why is this life so hard?!?!?!

 Anyway, perusing Pinterest to escape from reality, I came across a pin saying a nail polish that will really last all week. Because I am a masochist, I believed this could be the answer knowing full-on it was not. Armed with my sally’s coupon, I bought Gelous. Eager to try it, I slapped it on, slapped on nail polish and slapped on another coat. You know, for good measure. A day later, the chipping of my nails and my heart began. So, I gave up. I mean, I gave up on a lot of things at that point but having nice nails was definitely not something I believed was in the cards for me.

Sometime after Mother’s Day (because I got a gel mani for Mother’s Day), I realized how much manicured fingers and painted nails meant to me. Not in a superficial way, but they really delighted my heart. (See judgment clause above because I feel you starting to judge me.) I also wanted to invest in taking care of myself, improving my appearance and making my heart happy. So, I searched Pinterest again for the pin where I first discovered Gelous. You guys, that’s when I realized that not only did I not read the pin I also did not follow any instructions. Not one. *insert several facepalm emojis*

 I was supposed to apply one coat of Gelous, let dry. Repeat. Apply one coat of nail polish and let dry. Gelous. Let dry. Nail Polish. Let dry. So, again, I and my bruised masochistic heart tried it again with those instructions and glory from the heavens! It worked! This manicure, done at home with any color polish ( 5-free of course) lasted an entire week! A week of swimming, cleaning, butt-wiping, dish cleaning, food cooking, floor sweeping and laundry folding. It lasted! Hallelujah!

 As if that wasn’t enough, I got sparks of delight during the day from a manicured nail. Y’all, I AM WINNING! 

Now, here is the kicker: For this to work and work well, I need at least an hour, really like 1.5 hours, where I can do my nails and not mess them up. This requires planning and the setting of real-life boundaries Y’all. So, I do it during nap time when my husband is home. I communicate in maybe not the best way that I am not to be touched or have to touch something and/or someone until further notice. So far, that works.

I haven’t used a top coat because I don’t know of an awesome one. Any recommendations? 

Love you. Mean it.

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Self-Care: What That Really Looks Like

Hey Loves!

So, let’s talk about #selfcare. No, really, we need to because everyone needs it. For so very long, I thought that wasn’t for me. You know, I didn’t have time for an hour-long bath, weekly mani-pedis were not an option. So, I couldn’t participate, right? WRONG. Very VERY wrong!

 

If you ask me, self-care is a fluid movement in which certain practices enable you to be the best you and/or improve yourself. I should copyright that. That was a taste of the awesomeness that comes straight from my head that no one gets to hear because I am in negotiations in tiny dictators 90 percent of the time.

I digress. (this is becoming a theme…) My apologies.

So, self-care, what does that look like? Well, for starters, it looks different for most. It may be keeping your A/C temps very low. It could also be being around people who hold you accountable so you don’t do that harming activity.

For me, it is making time to do my nails. It is also investing in me. So, if that is spending $1.99 on a book I want but also carving out the time to read and reflect on said book. It is sometimes making my plate first to ensure I eat. (*see tiny dictators reference above). Being aware of my water intake-oh my word! How dehydrated I was! I also make sure I have time with friends and time to myself in the evenings-very small but extremely achievable and effective things that I can do regularly that improve my mood, my health, and my self-esteem. Things that expand my knowledge and encourage me to be more self-aware. 

Also, I tried baths. I like them but I can’t every week. It is a lot of water and a lot of cleaning after.

What does self-care look like for you? I’m dying to know.

Love you. Mean it.

My Morning Me-Time

Hey Loves!

So, we talked about why I get up at 5:30 a.m. What do I do with that time?

Well, getting up at 5:30 gives me 1.5-2 hours before Jude wakes up and, according to him, he only wants me… I’m not joking. Sometimes I can hear him scream, “No! MOMMY!” When my husband goes to get him. I digress-. My bad.

So, I get up, get dressed, brush my teeth and head downstairs. I grab my Snuggie (don’t judge me), do a devotional, meditate, pray, do a journal entry, listen to a podcast, book, or both, sometimes work out and write.

I made that sound really easy, right? Sounds are deceiving!!!!

Let’s start from the top…

  1. Devotional: Since my crisis of faith, (I’m not ready to discuss it but I promise when I am, you will know), I’ve tried to come back to the word. You know, be filled with what is true. I’m no theologian but in the dark with no distractions, somehow words are much easier to absorb. I have no idea why. I will also say, I have to read, re-read and sometimes read again. It helps me. This may not be for you and that is ok.
  2. Meditation: The mind is so powerful. Hone it. Train it properly. Before mediation, my mind would not stop. It did not know how to. It is why I couldn’t sleep. Why I forgot so much. Why I lost so many things and thoughts. Mediation has helped train my brain to become mindful. Mindfulness is probably the only reason why I am able to sit still long enough to write. I can also be aware of the crazy anxiety. Read that again- I said, “be aware” not “my anxiety is gone.” Being aware is a GAME CHANGER. It is only when you are aware that you can but coping mechanisms into effect and they actually help you cope.
  3. Journaling: Let’s just say I avoided this for years. I didn’t see the point because I already knew all my problems, writing them down was going to do what? I now know I was approaching journaling in the wrong manner. To be honest, the only reason I started was to help a friend who began her self-healing work and her counselor wanted her to complete one journal entry before their next session. So, we made a pact and you know me and commitments- I’m all in. I didn’t expect it to benefit me though. When I journal, my problems aren’t plastered on a page, my feelings and thoughts about the problems are. They center around the working solution. Thus, making me mindful of not he problems but the work I need to do to reach the solutions.
  4. Podcast/Audiobooks: These are definitely a couple of my most favorite things. I know I am late to the craze but podcast and audiobooks are amazing. It is like having an inspirational, motivational super smart friend with you all the time! I honestly can’t say enough good things about them. Both vary greatly and can be found on many platforms. Find what works for you and stick to it. If you have never like murder-mystery stories, please don’t try an audiobook in that genre before you go to bed. I will suggest checking your local library for audiobooks though.
  1. Workout: Please note the, ‘sometimes’ above. I don’t always do this. My mornings are for peace and there are times when a great yoga flow and/or muscle building will lend itself to that. Other times it won’t. Now, just because I don’t work out in the morning does not mean I do not work out that day. 9 times out of 10 it happens and the workout is more effective because I didn’t do it in the morning.
  2. Writing: This blog is probably more for me than you. No offense. I love you and really hope in some way this is helpful or entertaining but I need this. I need to write. Hopefully, I can start business planning and business building too, just have to work on me more.

Now, that you know what I do in the mornings. Let me tell you what I most certainly don’t do. 

  1. Laundry
  2. Clean anything
  3. Cook for other people
  4. Plan for other people
  5. Talk to other people
  6. Compare me to other people

That morning time is mine and it is sacred. It is crucial to my evolution and I will not sacrifice it. It took a very long time to get here, physically and mentally. If you are up 2-8 times a night with a child, this may not be your season. If you are working 3 jobs to eat, again, this may not be your season. To that say, seize the moment. If there is a second or 2 of peace-TAKE IT! I hope you find your time and don’t sacrifice it either.

Love you. Mean it. 

The Still of The Morning

I will never forget being pregnant with James and chatting with a friend who just had her third boy. She was imparting mother/wife wisdom and said something to the effect of “I can’t stay up that late because my 5 a.m. alarm comes quick.”

Insert record scratch. I replied, “Why on earth is your alarm set that early? Why do you need to be awake then? Those are unGodly hours!” I’ll never forget how simple her response was. She took a deep breathe looked me dead in my eyes, smiles and said, “Peace. Trust me, you’ll get there.” I continued thinking she was crazy until about 5 months ago. 

As you read in my previous post, things got really really really bad for me and I began the work of healing and putting me back together. Do you know how hard that is to do when you don’t have peace? I mean, almost all of my waking hours were used to take care of other people. When I sat down and looked at my day, what I wanted to happen, what I needed to happen and how to make it work- getting up before my kids and my husband was the only way.

You guys, I kid you not, I was transported back to that conversation and all I could think and feel was the serenity coming from her heart (that I interpreted as insanity in my pre-mom days) when she said, “peace” and I knew that was what I was going to get.

So, turning this into action, I set my phone alarm for 5:30. The first morning I hit snooze a million times and before I knew it Jude was awake. Didn’t work. So, I set my phone alarm for 5:30 and the alarm from my watch, which charges away from my bed, for 5:45. I had to get up and turn off the alarm which made it MUCH harder to get back in bed. It worked but needed improvement.

Fast forward a few weeks of ups and downs and now we have this: Monday-Friday, my phone alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m. because I need a buffer. I can’t just jump out of bed Marry Poppins style at 5:30. I know my strengths. The alarm on my watch goes off at 5:30 a.m. The day before, I put on my clothes, athleisure attire of course, in the bathroom. I stumble from my bed to get my watch, fall into the bathroom and get dressed while I pee.  (Multitasking at its finest, people!) I also turn on lights. It is really hard to get back in bed after that.

I also make sure I am in bed by 10 p.m. This means I have showered, I have on pajamas-not workout clothes-, my hair is wrapped and my skin is moisturized. In Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, she delves into the need to prepare your body for sleep. Let’s she just say she knows what she speaks.

Also, my friend was right. There is so much peace in the still of the morning. I mean, even the birds respect it.

I’ll have more on what I actually do with my morning time later.

What is stopping you from getting up early?

Love you. Mean It. 

Nursery for Two

Note: We completed this way before we knew the gender of our baby, so don’t think that had an effect, or should have an effect on our decision. Also, excuse the laundry and non-vacuumed floors in the photo. This is true life y’all. 
Hey Loves!
 

So, this may not be your cup of tea-but when we found out we were expecting another, we decided to make the nursery for both of them. Yes, sharing a room. Here’s the thing, our kids only sleep and get dressed or changed in there. They have a play/learning room, a play area downstairs and outside activities. They don’t need much in the actual bedroom quarters.

 

So, in my true fashion, I stalked Facebook FSOT sites and craigslist for a toddler bed for James. We were blessed because a friend was selling her’s that was put together and was never used!!!! Score!!!!

 

We put the crib by the window (James needs zero distractions or items to break) and the toddler bed on the opposing wall. We also purchased a changing table (no, we didn’t have one before) that was in excellent used condition, with great storage, and that shares the wall with the crib. We separated the room with the glider I re-did for nursery in 2014. We kept the dressers that were in there (still waiting on my wall mounts, IKEA) just consolidated items for both kids. Above the dresser, will be an accent wall of photos of the kids.

 

For the closet, we decided to get this organizational system and add another shelf so each kid will have two hanging sections. Viola, $80 and very little time later, we’ve got a nursery for 2.

 

DIY Halloween Costumes Tips

Hey loves!
 

It’s that time of year! Pumpkins, parties and treats GALORE! For those of you who maybe wanted to make your own costumes, that’s great! You can save money, customize them to your family and improve your crafting skills. However, there is a steep rabbit hole that’s very easy to fall in. I want to help you avoid that.

 

First, research. You know me, I always start with a recon mission. For example, I knew I would be very pregnant and probably huge so I looked up pregnancy costume ideas. You research what appeals to you and what will fit your family. Maybe your kids are into a certain show or movie and you could start there?

 

Then, I found it! Eureka! I’m not in love but it works, ya know. Well then, I ran it by the primary stakeholder-the hubs. This is serious. I don’t like irritated character portrayal on Halloween. Everyone must be all-in or a really good sport.

 

Lastly, and this is very crucial, the feasibility of it all. Are we going to wear these again? How much time will have? Do I really want to be that detailed? How much will this cost? What props will I need? Will I use those again? Seriously people, if you are gonna make a costume, make it worth not buying one. Got it? Ok. Great.

 

For the drama factor, I can’t share the costumes we chose but, it is limited sewing (again I’ll be very pregnant and huge, works well with my big belly, James will be super cute and my husband is excited about it. That’s a WIN-WIN-WIN in my book.

 

You can win too. Just don’t go down the rabbit hole.

 

Happy crafting and Happy Halloween!

DIY Days: Mom Edition

Hey Loves!
So, my son doesn’t handle drastic weather change well. And since he was born, that’s all that happens where I live except the 4 months out of the year where it is too hot to move. I digress. 
Anywho, he gets really congested and snotty and it’s hard for him to sleep and it’s kinda gross. Well, really gross. 
So, when I was pregnant I bought boogie wipes with one of the gift cards I got and was going to buy some more when I googled to see what other people did and that led me to many recipes. I chose this one. I doubled it, I can’t remember why now but unless your wiping 20 noses a day, I would say doubling it is unnecessary. 
So far, I’m really pleased. And they aren’t just for my son-we all use them. I know all the ingredients in it and I can wash the wipes and re-use them. That’s what I call #winning!

It’s Christmas Time in The City!

Feliz Navidad, amigos!

I love Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t? Well, at one time, me. We traveled everywhere and it was just a pain. Now, in our home with my little family and our traditions, I’m dancing my socks off I’m so happy.

I got the ball rolling a little early this year thanks to this blog. It really helped me plan and take the stress out of the season. Before Thanksgiving we: had our Christmas Card printed, made a card-recipient list, made and wrapped grandparent gifts, planned gifts for nursery workers, gift exchanges, planned our holiday treats with recipes and made all sorts of lists. Can you say #winning?!?!?!?!

Do you all celebrate Advent? We are getting better about it. It’s important to us to teach our kids the meaning of Christmas and to be reminded ourselves, so we do some scripture reading and bible based activities and some secular ones. I found this great printable to list out our activities and verses.

Need activity Ideas? I GOT YOU! Merry Christmas!

ADVENT ACTIVITY IDEAS

Service project-Someone somewhere very near to you needs some type of help. They are easy to find and willing to accept.

Prayer Day-Because our world needs it

Christmas Music Dance Party- Need I say more?

Library Trip for Christmas Books

Pajama Movie with Friends

Make Christmas Cards

Community Events- Living Nativity’s, Breakfast with Santa and Parades, oh my!

Decorating the tree

The norms-Holiday baking, family movie nights, Christmas Eve service

Christmas Light Hunt-Go around town and see what you can see

Top 5 Ways To Save Money on a Nursery

Hey Loves!

So, I have quite a few friends that are expecting as well and I get asked a bunch of questions so I thought I would share some thoughts. This post is how not spend a bizarre amount of money on a nursery.

Nursery’s can be tricky-you have to consider space, theme, budget and all of the super-cute stuff you can buy!!! Don’t fall into the trap! It’s hard but, so far, I’ve managed not to by sticking by the following:

1. Make a List- If you don’t remember one thing about me, remember I. Love. List. They keep you focused and organized. This list should include your need/must have furniture items, decor needs and maybe some wants at the end. I suggest registering for these items but big furniture is something you normally don’t get as a gift.

2. Make a budget- Have an idea of what you want to spend per item, and thus a total for the nursery. This will help you shop deals, use coupons and focus on your needs.

3. Buy used and save the difference- Some are really against this but I’ve found it well worth it. You can get great items at garage sales, online yard sales, friends, and craigslist (be careful!). Most babies rarely use so many items or not use them at all so you’re getting a needed item at a great price. Things to remember:
-all used items are not created equally so inspect and bargain.
-compare prices. If the used item your looking is the same price as a new one, it’s not worth it.

4. What you can’t buy used, by smart- The furniture items we needed and couldn’t find used we purchased from Ikea. The items from Ikea were cheaper than target and Amazon and gave us more for our buck.

5. Make what you can- Curtains, chairs, design items, etc. There are thousands of super easy tutorials out there for any skill level and if you can’t someone you know can or knows someone who can, so use your networks.

All if these tips can be applied to all baby items. We’ve so incredibly blessed and fortunate. We have spent very little of of our own money on baby items because we shopped smart, stayed organized, stayed on budget, bought used and graciously accepted hand-me-downs. Join some mom-groups and get the skinny on consignment sales!

Stupid Feelings…

You ever just do something very plainly and clearly stupid but you didn’t realize how plainly and clearly stupid it was until after you did it? (Well, for me, it was after the second time I did it-Sad, I know.)

Then, after you realize this was quite possibly the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, the Four Horsemen of the Self-Depravity Apocalypse come charging in.

Horseman 1: The act committed being stupid to YOU being stupid, like a senseless-buffoon.

Horseman 2: Doubting every other decision you’ve made or act you’ve committed, no matter how smart you thought they were at the time… Not to mention how all the other dumb decisions you’ve made just start making back-to-back cameo appearances in your mind.

Horseman 3: The guilt of it all just piles and piles and piles on top of you until…

Horseman 4: We’ll call him ‘Dawn of The Drama’. The pity parties, the water-works that start slow and steady and end with colicky moans and body spasms commence and never seem to end.

So besides curling up in a ball and letting the Horsemen above pummel you into a slow agonizing restless death-I mean sleep- although (thanks to Horseman 4) you thinking you’re dying isn’t that far off- what can we really do?

Rectify the situation? Honestly, that’s not possible many times BUT if it is take full advantage of the opportunity of possible reprieve!

Can’t rectify it? Well, I guess we have to let it go…another problem. For however many hours, the horsemen are stalking your every move and all you can think and feel is that stupidity so ‘letting it go’ seems way above your power limits at the moment. Well, if that’s how you feel, I’ve been there, and I’m there now but are we gonna give our power to 4 proverbial horsemen in our head? I mean, we invited them in so surely we can kick them out! It’s already been decided we’ve done some dumb things so how about changing that pattern?

Let’s give the Horsemen, the real senseless buffoons, the boot and get on with our lives. We already recognized our wrongs, let’s focus on what we do that’s right.

Until next time… Keep those horsemen out of your head.

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