Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Happies- Viva Nashvegas!!

Hey y'all! Well, we made it through the snow up to Nashville to visit our family up here. It's crisp and lovely out (though I'm sure they'd all prefer the North Florida sunshine!). I'll be Nashing it up all weekend, but here's this week's happies, pretties, funnies, interestings and what-nots to get you geared up fro your weekend! Here we go!

*My FAVORITE place to eat. Period. It just happens to be in Nash.

*I enjoyed this dad's ideas and tips for traveling as a family with an infant.

*Passionate multi-cultural conversations about clutter (and what to do- if anything- about it!). You know I love that!!

*Awesome apron. So chic, so simple!!

*Ooooh, wearable works of art, you say?

*THE 2015 COOKBOOK COOK OFF! Otherwise known as The Piglet! I'm so in!!

*Kids playing classic rock on xylophones?! Yes please!!

*Norm MacDonald's riveting look behind the scenes of the SNL anniversary. It explains a lot! 

*Button Box! A super interesting-seeming book of historical fiction set in New Orleans. What a great name (and so Southern) for a book! On the list!

*These guys wanted to report on the superhuman strength of pregnant women and moms. So they did something a little...bold! Dig. Pretty confident dudes, I think it's awesome. 

*The hubs adorably calls my romper a "rompy". I think this rompy is particularly ladylike!

*Well that's one heck of a grown up Easter basket!!

*I could use these this weekend! Or...all the time!

*Don't these look delicious?!

*This is one of my favorite shops in Tally, it's all about olive oils and balsamic vinegars! So yummy!

I hope y'all enjoy! Have a truly wonderful day!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

On the road...

Well friends, keep us in your thoughts! We are traversing the great and tempestuous Southeast today amidst some pretty gnarly weather conditions. Wish us luck!! Pray, meditate, light a candle- whatever you can do to send us some good and safe travel vibes!

Floridian heading North in a big ole storm on a trusty alligator steed!! A painting by my incredibly talented and lovely hubs.

I hope y'all have a truly wonderful day! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thoughts on Time Part 5

Alright friends, today's the last day of my series on time management and it is a long one- but it's worth it! I know I've learned a lot, have you? Well, today I have four simple tips that are usually reserved for organizing and decluttering projects that are, in fact, extremely helpful for time management. But I also have a breakdown of how to apply everything we've learned so far. So, without further we go!

#1. Group like with like.

This helps not only with organizing your stuff, but also with your tasks. Instead of running errands on different ends of the planet all the time, group tasks, chores and errands into categories. I also like to plan a route so that I a) save gas b) save money c) save time d) save my sanity. Keep this in your mind, there will be a visual example at the end of the post!

#2. Divide and conquer!

As with grouping like with like, dividing tasks into workable groups or sub-groups helps to take huge chunks out of your list with far greater ease than if you just made the list and started going with bullet point number one and worked your way down. Threes work for me. Three types of things that need to get done. I can look at that and take whatever is in the group I choose first and knock it out. Keep this in your head too, kiddos! It's all going to be revealed to you visually shortly.

#3. Handle things once.

This has been a huge help to me. I had a boss say it at work almost ten years ago and it has stuck with me. I've always been kind of a walks-in-circles kind of person. I live a lot in my head and when I get overstimulated especially I have a tendency to wander. It's taken a lot of hard work to teach myself to just pick that thing up and put it away where it belongs and be done with hit. In the past I would have carried it through every room of the house before I found a place that didn't bug me as much. It works with possessions, paperwork, and especially tasks on your to-do list. If you sit down and dedicate a given amount of time to a task and just get it done, it won't haunt you or grow bigger or nag you and make you feel bad or overwhelmed. It will have simply been handled, once. Handling something once can be done every day too. So instead of checking emails 34 times a day, do it once at a given time...period. Unbelievable time saved.

#4. Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant.

I've touched on this a bit when I explained time thieves. However, a lot of unimportant things occupy our "to-do" lists. There are a million things we all do that aren't necessary but for some reason we still waste/piddle time away doing them! Think back to that time audit you did...where is your time going? What are the things that are unnecessary, outdated, annoying, or unimportant that you could cut from your life?

I know I waste time complaining about work. If I added up all the time I spend in a week bitching about stuff that happened at work and put it toward learning to sew (something I've longed to master for years), I'd be making a garment or decorative pillow a week (and I'm not kidding)! Or I could have put out a dozen more applications for another job in the meantime until my creative things take off more. I have to learn to cut the unimportant things too. We all do.
So that brings me to a visual example of all the things that I have talked about these three weeks. Here's the summary:

1. Time management is energy management. AKA, Know thyself.
2. Develop a sleep routine and start getting to bed (and waking up) earlier. It's what the cool kids are doing.
3. Use the concept of "control" a little more wisely. Time management is about working smarter, not adding more stuff to do so you have no peace. Peace and joy are the goals here, people!

4. Write everything down and utilize a calendar. 
5. Determine what is urgent vs. what is personal priority.
6. Get the no-fun stuff done first, freeing up more time for the stuff that makes you happy and fulfills you!

7. Plan. Plan for tomorrow, then have a contingency plan (or two).
8. Delegate.
9. Learn to say "No."

10. Eliminate (or greatly reduce) distractions.
11. Be aware of your time thieves.
12. Focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most (the Pareto Principle).

13. Do a time audit. See where your time really goes (be honest!).
14. Learn how long it takes you to accomplish your tasks and be real about that too.
15. Schedule time to relax. Leave room for the joys of life!

16. Group like with like. 
17. Divide & conquer!
18. Handle things once. Even if its every day.
19. Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant. 

Here's a to-do list for my day off as an example. Before time management and after...

1. grocery shop for the week (U)
2. do laundry (U)
3. get oil changed in car (U)
4. write blog posts for Monday and Tuesday. (PP)
5. make dinner (U)
6. pick up Mom's birthday gift (PP)
7. get hair cut (PP)
8. check emails and respond (U)
9. clean upstairs bathroom (full clean) (U)
10. wash the pup (PP)
11. call out of town friend to catch up (PP)
12. work on sewing project (STG)
13. call Credit Union with questions about IRA. (LTG)

I went ahead and added identifiers to the list to immediately indicate which items are urgent, which are personal priorities, and which were either short-tern or long-term goals. 

Morning: Out of house errands (arranged in a horseshoe/circular pattern so the first and last tasks are closest to home). Starting at 8:30 a.m.:
1. get oil changed and use the wait time to...
     *call CU with IRA ?'s (should take 5 minutes). 
     *call out of town friend to quickly catch up (5-10 minutes).
2. get hair cut
3. pick up Mom's birthday gift.
4. grocery shop for the week (30-45 minutes).

Early afternoon: In-house tasks. Starting around 12:15 p.m.:
5. start first load of laundry and...
6. prep food and snacks for dinner and lunches (30-45 minutes)
     *switch out laundry and...
7. assemble dinner in the crock pot or oven 
     *switch out laundry and put away. (30-45 minutes)
8.while upstairs and laundry is put away...
     *use the time upstairs to clean the bathroom (takes 30 minutes for full clean).

Late afternoon: In-house tasks:
9. check emails and respond while last load of laundry dries. (30 minutes or so).
10. work on Monday and Tuesday's blogs (30 minutes for Monday & 15 for Tuesday). 
11. Finish up the last of the laundry and put away. (30-45 minutes)

You are done. It's about 4:35 p.m. and the rest of the night is free to do what makes me happy like work on that sewing project I've been wanting to do or getting in a little yoga. I can have New Girl or The Mindy Project streaming in the background as I do so too! The things that make me truly happy get a chance now, all because I got all that no-fun and urgent stuff out of the way in a well-thought out manner. I bet you'd feel better with those big, urgent ones out of the way as well as those personal priorities too.

Do you think you'll use any of these ideas? I know I have been incorporating them bit by bit every day. I hope this series has helped, y'all! And I hope you have a truly wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hope SPRIGS eternal.

Some attempts at color in the pit.

Hey y'all! It's Tuesday and it already feels like the week is flying by! Did you have a good weekend? I surely hope so (and should have asked yesterday). I feel like Spring is just around the corner and I'm beginning to see signs of it everywhere.  Keep in mind that I live in North Florida, so even though we had a heck of a cold snap last week (19 degrees!), it still doesn't compare to what's going on all over the country right now. My thoughts are still with all of you dealing with the ice and snow.

Anywho- I had a moment yesterday when I was full to busting over something so small (what else is new, right?). Well, let's just say my backyard has been a thorn in my side for...the entire time I've lived in my apartment. Measures have been taken throughout the years to make the most of what is essentially an 15x10 square of hardly useable space/dustbowl or mud pit depending on the weather. I love gardening too, but with our two pups running amuck out there, it's hardly been the serene sanctuary I'd hoped for. Mostly it's just been dusty and ahem- fragrant. I've been quite ashamed of it to be honest.

But a few weeks ago, on a whim, I bought some grass seed and tossed it out on a small patch of dirt. I watered it a little and then went about my business figuring if anything came of it, awesome. If not- it's no different than the pit it has always been.

Weeks have gone by and I've checked occasionally but nothing's come of it...then BAM! Three days ago, my hubs and I were talking about something or another and happened to be standing at the back door and lo and behold! Grass has started to crop up in a few spots in the yard! It brought such a soaring sense of joy to my heart. 

The next day I hopped out there in my bathrobe and sprinkled seeds everywhere. Even if it's aways a little patchy, I absolutely do not care. That depressing, sad pit of dirt is brightening up sprig by precious sprig and it's given me sense of hope I didn't realize I needed so badly.

It's getting me through some stuff and I know it may seem a little silly. But my heart is doing better for it.

Where can you find a little joy and hope in your life?

I hope you have a truly wonderful day! Also, I wish a wonderful birthday to my dad, Richard Carpenter up there is icy Nashville, Tennessee! I love you, Papa and I hope your day is magnificent!!!  Can't wait to get up there and visit with you!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Time Management Part 4

Here we are! Today's post is part 4 of 5 on Time Management. First we went macro. Then we began breaking things down a little. Then a little bit more. Believe it or not, today's post is all about actual time. It seems nuts that "time" hasn't really been discussed in a series about time management because there is so much more to it that the "time itself".

But here we are, and I have six tips (that I have actually tried myself-they work!) to help you wrap your mind around that wily concept of "time". Here we go!

#1. Be aware of time thieves.

Alright, I'll be fair. I did mention this in the first post. I called them time suckers. These are the things you do (knowingly or not) that drain minutes and hours of your time away. Most of the time these time suckers help you to escape from reality. And I'm all for an escape lemme tell you! However, these are the things that you feel a little crappy about afterward. Things like the obvious television and computers. But it can also be cleaning your kids room because you hate it being dirty. What? Yep. Kids can handle it. Let them do it and learn to be happy with the results. Pinterest won't be showing up to photograph his/her room anytime soon, so just deal with the legos being in the stuffed animal bin and a few socks under the bed. 

Other time suckers? Your phone, iPad, that whole bottle of wine, that kinda toxic, whiny friend that wants to talk for hours about problems (and it's a bit repetitive) but always treats for lunch yadda yadda yadda. There are a kajillion different time suckers. But be aware of them. Be aware that you want more from your time that to feel bored, dazed, zoned out, annoyed, or hungover. Think of time as having a life cost. Decide what you want those time thieves to cost in your world. Have a favorite show? Then it's not a time thief to watch it! It is if you marathon twelve episodes when your dishes are stacked up and you haven't written word one of your Great American Novel. 

When you meet that friend for lunch, change it up. When the topic moves toward the same series of life problems, gently guide the topic elsewhere and after 30-45 minutes (the time it usually takes for a nice lunch...also your "life cost"), say that it's time for you to go. You have things you need to do (it's not a lie- you really do!!!). She may not even realize that you made the whole situation more pleasant for yourself in the long run either. And if she does, and is unpleasant about it, then maybe its time to have a different type of talk, eh?

Time thieves. We all have them. It's up to you to regulate how the affect your life! Most time thieves don't have feelings. Some do, and that's okay- be kind to them and do for yourself politely but with conviction. 

Steven Banks. One of the best procrastinating piddlers ever. My dad still calls me "Steven Banks" when I am putting something off! Hilarious! I'd be shocked if Stephen Colbert didn't watch this every chance he got.

#2. Focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most.

If you meticulously fold all the socks and underwear in your house will your house be cleaner? If you set a timer and tidied your living room for 5 minutes would you immediately see results and feel better? I think that's a pretty good way to describe the above idea. It may be immediately gratifying to  organize the silverware drawer, but that isn't the task that's going to give you more bang for your buck. Taking those donation bins out of the hallway and to your local Refuge House or what have you, (it's a two-for, things look neater immediately and you give something to others that need it)!


#3. Do a time audit.

This is deeply connected to #1, but there it is. Write down where your time goes in an average day. You may be surprised at the things that consume the majority of your "thoughtless time" (time where your mind isn't really focused on anything in particular). Write it all down and analyze it. Set a timer (you'll really love that timer after a while). Plug the leaks and trim the fat. You'll be amazed at how quickly it helps without the feeling of deprivation.

 #4. Set times (and timers) for tasks, and afterwards- regroup time.

Told you. It's nothing new, but it works. 

#5. Reality check! Be honest about how long it takes you to do something.

My husband was astonished when he realized it took less than ten minutes to completely sweep and mop our (awful white) tile floors. In his head, he'd built it up to be a bigger task than it really was. With two dirty dogs always running in and out, it felt that way. Once he realized it took 1/3 of the length of an episode of Parks & Rec, it started getting done a lot more. It takes me 30 minutes to deep clean my master bathroom. It takes 7 minutes to tidy it and get it looking decent enough for visitors. Knowing that helps me on crazy days when I feel overwhelmed. I know I can get minimum done and feel great. On days when I have a bit more time, I know I could get that room sparkling in the time I would have spent mindlessly internetting. 

Be real with yourself. It took me almost three years before I realized my commute was closer to 15 minutes instead of 10, I have no idea why I was in such denial about it but I got really tired of getting to work with seconds to spare or even a minute or two late. Now I'm in the parking lot before my co-workers get there and that gives me time for a check-in call to a parent or my hubs. Also (and this is connected to #4), plan for regroup time. When I plan to work out for 30 minutes, why's it seem like it takes so much longer? Because I didn't plan for the time it took to change into my workout clothes, stretch, cool down and make it back to the house to shower. Der. I always tack on a few minutes before and after a task for the "setting up and tearing down/putting away" time. With planning and practice it becomes second nature, you get more done, and believe it or not- start showing up to places on time more often (even early!). 

#6. Schedule time to relax. Leave time for fun and play!

This is one of the most important points of this entire series. I cannot emphasize it enough! What is the point of managing your time better if that time isn't spent doing the things that make you feel happy, fulfilled and sane? Seriously guys, it's that frickin' simple.

 I live for those moments when I can escape to the tub for a wonderful bath (and it taking a normal amount of time, not an "I have to escape my life and marathon Phryne Fisher episodes" amount of time). I don't feel guilty because I worked for it. I did my no-fun stuff early, I prioritized and now I get to reap the rewards of green-tea scented pruney fingers and toes!

That's it, for today kiddos! There's one more round coming up on Wednesday. Do any of these tips resonate with you? Have you thought about them before (the timer is nothing new, but it does work)? I find that 5-7 minutes is a good timer time for me otherwise I start to feel like it's taking too long and the shorter limit gets me moving faster. What about you? I'd love to know!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Happies!!

This is Colby. He is not digging the snow & ice currently swallowing Nashville whole. This is what he listens to to keep warm! Donate today!

 Happy Friday y'all! What a week! Birthday, Valentine's AND Mardi Gras! I'm beat. I hope y'all have made it through your week relatively unscathed as well. I know there is some real scary weather out there right now (it's below 25 degrees in Florida this morning!), and my thoughts are with all of you dealing with ice and snow and cabin fever.

I'm working all weekend again, I hope you aren't- but either way, here are this week's funs, happies, pretties, interestings, and what-not's to usher you into a fun weekend regardless (it's all about the attitude, right?). Have a great weekend you guys, I truly hope it's wonderful! Here we go (and stay safe and warm out there)!

*Bless her little heart. When her baby wouldn't come on her due date, she decided to do the entire dance from "Thriller" to jiggle herself into going into labour. She did a damn good job too!! Get down girl, go on get down!

*I love this infographic/quote about time (#14). It really resonated with me.

*Cool! The 7 types of English surnames! 

*Heh. Suburban Funk (soccer mom parody of Uptown Funk).

*Oooh! I'm such a sucker for a beverage dispenser. These are so pretty!

*This sounds like a fun dinner experiment for next week...Italian-style Meatloaf. Mine's already pretty damn good (if I do say so myself), but I think this recipe sounds yummy!

*Y'all know I'm about the cosy! I'll add this to the pile of incredibly snuggly throws I'm collecting thankyouverymuch!

*I must get this book. MUST!!

*This poor fella. His guilty conscious got the better of him. So funny!

*I had never heard of Horn Island until I found this article. My husband is from Biloxi and even he has never mentioned it. I must admit, I'm super intrigued!

*I love a good themed collection! These rustic candleholders are perfect for Spring, Summer, St. Patrick's Day and even Christmas in varying shades of greens!

*From looking at these pictures, I feel I should step up my pajama and lingerie game. Seriously!

*I'm a sucker for a good buddy movie, particularly once that looks slightly cheesy. Hot Pursuit looks like  it may fit the bill I will go alone, and laugh super loudly in a partially-empty matinee theatre.
That's how I roll, y'all. Don't hate.

*I was given a beautiful white hyacinth bulb for my birthday this year and, having never cared for them was unsure how to care for it so I can enjoy its magnificence again for years to come. Since this is the time for hyacinths, I thought I'd share some tips with y'all too! It's such an enjoyable blossom!

*Did y'all know this trick for drying a load of clothes faster if you're in a hurry? I didn't and I'm totally going to try it!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

'Tis just a flesh wound!

I'd had slightly more grandiose plans for today's post. However, I had a hell of a mishap in the kitchen last night and am too grumpy and bandaged up to do much more than this. Promises that tomorrow will be better (that's what I'm telling myself anyway!). 

And I don't care who ya are, "Bitch Stickers" are for tough-ass bitches (if I left this nonsense exposed I'd be all gangrenous and Master & Commandery...ain't nobody got time for that! 

I'll be normalish and rationalish soon, I swear. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thoughts on Time (Part 3)


Well, we've discussed the bigger "headspace" issues of organizing your time last week. This week we've discussed the slightly more detailed issues such as planning, such as keeping and managing a list and deterring urgency. Today we are going to talk about a few more tangible ways to get more out of your time. Here we go!

#1. Delegate!

Oh, it's such a hard one, isn't it? Especially for women. It's hard to accept when people don't do something the way you would do it. Am I guilty? Totally. I make my staff at work nervous when I look over the shoulder to supervise their tasks. I hate that I do it, and I can't stand it when people do it to me, but for the sake of honesty- I admit it.

I can be a control freak, though not everyone would assume that about me. My house is always in a state of "organized chaos", and I'd rather do just about anything that spend time fixing my hair. But in regards to other things- like finances and my kitchen cabinets...I'm a nutbar.

That being said, there is a glorious freedom to letting go of tasks that you don't have to be the sole executor of. Let the hubs fold the laundry even if he does a double fold and you prefer a triple fold. The fact of the matter is that laundry is being folded(which is the whole friggin' point) and that frees up time for you to get other shit done like that rough draft on the Great American Novel you've been dreaming of writing. Ahem.

#2. Learn to say "NO".

Man oh man it feels good to get out of plans. It feels even better when you swallow your fear of disappointing others or making waves and say "No" if you don't want to do something or if it puts too much on your feet. 

I find that a sincere "Thank you, but..." really does the trick. Also there's the uber-classy "I prefer not to" that I've grown quite fond of. People have their own stuff going on too, you know- they aren't all lying awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering why you aren't coming to the fifteenth baby shower this year. 

Just think of that time saved as "free time". It wasn't just given to you- you took it for yourself and that is a fantastic feeling!

How true. Interesting article here.

#3. Eliminate or greatly reduce "controllable" distractions.

I touched on this last week, but it bears reiterating. There is no need to have the TV on all the time. There is no need to have a computer or tablet on non-stop, or your phone always beeping bloop buzzing right next to you calling your attention to a little glowing screen every 30 seconds. If you add up all the time spent looking at screens or occupying your senses, I bet you'd have gained a few hours a day.

Geez Louise. Another interesting article here.

I'm not saying you must take a tech-fast. Of course I look at my phone and hey- I'm writing this blog on a computer. You can live a completely regular life and not waste loads of time mindlessly internetting. And you know what? There is something to be said for boredom too. The mind does incredible problem-solving and creating when it's allowed to breathe and be. 

You can have a gratifying existence without constant stimulation and a lot can get done in a much shorter amount of time that you'd think (more on that on Monday). Find your balance with that. Constantly zoning out, sucks more than your time. It sucks your motivation and your get-up-and-go, your zippity pow,  and your je ne sais quois! I don't know about you, but I could use all the zippity pow and je ne sais quois I can get my hands on!

What are your controllable distractions? What could you trim away, delegate or say "No" too that could immediately fill your time bucket? I'd love to know!

I hope you have a truly wonderful day and stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Let the Good Times Roll, Y'all!!

It's Mardi Gras, y'all! For the observant, it is the feast before the fast. For everyone else, it's a party. Either way, life is short. Enjoy it and make the most of it!!!

Très bon, très bon!!

I hope you have a wonderful day! J'adore!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thoughts on Time (Part 2)

Happy Monday, y'all! I hope your weekend has been wonderful! Hopefully you didn't have to go to work today (I've been told it's a holiday), but if you did- you have my sincerest sympathy and understanding!)

Well last week, I wrote this post about the more "bigger picture" aspects of time management. Today, I'm breaking down a few organizational aspects of time management. Some of these ideas are super simple, some are common sense and others are maybe not fun, but they pay off. Here we go!

#1. Write it all down & Utilize a calendar.

Contrary to popular belief (particularly in the world of "time management" research), one does not need anything fancy or expensive to do this (even that stuff seen above). It's fine if that's what helps you feel more productive, but it doesn't work for me and in reality is so completely unnecessary. To me, it is a way to distract from the real tasks at hand by occupying my mind with the project that has to occur before being able to do the real work of organizing. 

To rephrase: I can't organize my time better because I don't have a $300 Filofax organizational system. I'll spend two weeks compiling everything I need to be organized then I'll really get started."

Ugh. Just write it down. Write down all the things you need to do. Write down your daily stuff, write down your short term goals, write down your long term goals. Write down important bill dates etc. project/event/appointment dates too. Stop avoiding it. Get out a calendar and a steno pad and just do it. After you get it all down, you can organize it however you want. First things first, though. 

Also, you must remember that to manage your time better, you have to tend to it regularly. You have to sit down five minutes a day or a half hour a week (whatever works with your headspace) and update, change, move around, rearrange and re-prioritize your goals and tasks etc. Which brings me to the next point.

#2. Determine what is urgent (versus personal priority).

Sure it will be scandalously gratifying to spend three hours tending to a project on your to-do list. Crossing it off the list feels so good! But if you did that and didn't go to the grocery store before a busy week ahead, you are setting yourself up for time management failure. Balance is paramount.

Determining what is urgent (sitting down and doing your taxes, making sure your car is cared for before a road trip, getting the week's groceries purchased and prepped for that long week ahead, getting your kid's school play costume started (instead of binge-watching House), getting a just rough draft of your Great American Novel completed etc.

Those are bigger picture items that get you to a better place so that you have the time to work on other things like: making your bathroom cabinets look Pinterest-worthy, learning how to do a perfect fishtail braid, watching the latest episode of Downton, or spending a few hours delving into the backstory of a character you're workshopping for that Great American Novel. You get my point? No? Let me put it another way:

Party on, Wayne!

#3. Get the no-fun stuff out of the way first and earliest in the day.

Otherwise said by no lesser a sage than Wayne Campbell from Wayne's World (paraphrased of course): "It's like rushing home on Friday after school and getting all your homework done early so the rest of the weekend, you're free to party."

Simply stated: You'll feel buttloads better getting the no-fun stuff done early which makes the rest of your day feel so conquerable! It is a positivity snowball that gives you piles and piles of more time at the end of the day for the things you want to do; the things that make you happiest and bring you the most satisfaction and joy! 

That's what we're all after in the end, isn't it?!


#4. Plan. Plan for tomorrow, then have a contingency plan (or two).

I can tell you hardly no other thing about time management that helps more than this simple idea. And yes, I'm familiar with the colloquial saying "the surest way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans".

However, planning has gotten a bad rep. It seems to be associated with mouse-eyed Type-A's that can't seem to remove the stick from their ass no matter how badly they need to. Real life planning isn't like that.

This is what planning is:
*Making a meal plan for your week, allowing for wiggle room in case a last-minute celebratory outing with friends, family or kids pops up. This kind of planning frees up major money so more fun life stuff is possible.

*Planning is keeping a bag in the trunk of the car that has bottles of water, granola bars and a change of clothes in case there is an emergency or your car breaks down in July and AAA is delayed due to a bizarro pickle truck flipping over on the opposite side of the interstate.

*Planning is keeping a spare box of pasta noodles and spaghetti sauce in the pantry in case one week you have an unexpected bill and can't afford your typical fare. Or a friend is sick and you want to do something for her family while she's stuck in bed. Boom. No extra money needed and you've done a nice deed for someone you love.

Planning isn't filling every single moment of every day and evening with some task, project, event, sport, hobby, etc. The goal of planning is to simplify- to quiet. Not to occupy or busy oneself.

 And that's another thing! Planning is just taking the time to anticipate what can't be anticipated so when life happens (AND IT ALWAYS DOES, Y'ALL!), you aren't derailed. You aren't standing on the side of the interstate waiting for AAA in 100 degree weather, ready to pass out from dehydration (I use this example because I've had that happen and thank goodness I had water in the car)!

If you plan properly, you can be super flexible and enjoy all (or at least more) of life's little curveballs. Sometimes curveballs are the best thing ever, but only if you can manage your stuff enough to be able to glean the positive from each situation!

Alright, okay. That's enough of a lesson for today. I do have a lot left to say on the topic though, so stay tuned for Wednesday's update. Time management doesn't have to be daunting if you approach it with good headspace. Seriously. A little goes a long way toward having the life you want. I know because I'm doing it myself after years and years of struggling.

Check ya later, pals! I hope you have a truly wonderful day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Happies!

Good Friday, kiddos (and a Good Luck Friday the 13th too)! I cannot believe how fast the weeks are flying by these days! Geesh! I hope you have a nice relaxing weekend planned, I'll be working for part of it and celebrating ValenGras (Valentine's + Mardi Gras) for the other part! Woohoo! So, without further ado, here's this week's list of sweets, funnies, pretties, happies, interestings, and what-nots to get your weekend off to a great start!

*The hubs and I enjoyed this speed dating prank...and how awfully cheesy these guys were on a supposed blind date. Ouch.

*Photographs of sweet pits with flower crowns to help people see the sweetness there beneath the bad reputation (it's the people who hurt them, not the pups themselves, y'all!). I think Mr. Fantastic is thinking "Yeah, that's right- I own this look!".

*I go nowhere on Valentine's Day on principal (traffic, crowds *shudder*). However, this would be a beautiful number to wear for a romantic dinner for two any old day of the week.

*Dear Potatoes...Will you be my Valentine? I love you so!

*While we're at it...Valentine's Day is apparently totally different for "Millenials". Technically I am a part of the "Millenial" generation (though I definitely have some thoughts on that), but I have to's totally true!

*Y'all know I loved Anne of Green Gables in 2015! Check out my girl Lizzy Bennet in 2015...totally nailed it!

*Oooweeoo! A DIY Mardi Gras statement necklace (that doesn't have to be so tacky or "I think I have too many beads" suffocatey").

*Sniff! Oh my goodness! This commercial is so sweet and so heartbreaking! I couldn't even remember what it was for! Whoopsie!

*I'm in big-time need for stationery and thank you cards these days. I really liked these. Call me old-fashioned but I am a bit turned off by cards that say "Thanks". Is it too much trouble to say "Thank You"? It's like saying "Yeah" to the Queen or something. I guess it's better than no thank you note at all thought, huh? I've totally been guilty of that before!

*What a cool little birdhouse! This would make a good gift for my Mama. We both have a thing for acorns.

*I thought this was kind of cool. Three woman of various ethnic backgrounds get transformed to look like a royal ancestor.

*Who knew John Reilly could sing like that?! The hubs and I have been listening to this over and over for a few days now!

*Y'all know I'm a candle whore. Every candle on Terrain needs to be at my house right now.

*Well, if this didn't come along right when I needed it. Geez Louise!

*I don't have the best track record for baking...but I wanna make these. Should I even try? I miss New Orleans right now (because that means I can eat them but don't have to attempt to make them)!

Have a great weekend, y'all! I hope it's an awesome one and super relaxing and lovely!

Pssst...And here's one for only those with a slightly foul sense of humor. You have been warned (I no likey to upsetty).

Okay, so obviously I'm a movie trailer nerd. But, I love a romantic comedy that's not a romantic comedy, and Amy Schumer and Bill Hader are both my jams, respectively. Enter "Trainwreck". Super not safe for work because of language and hilarious raunch. It looks so funny!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

For funsies!

I know it isn't a new trend, but I've noticed gals wearing midi-rings lately. Really delicate, ladylike little rings. I sort of like this trend, and sort of wonder if I'm too old for it (then immediately double back and vow to wear them into my 80's just to prove that thought wrong... p.s. I'm an Aquarius, can you tell?). Anyway, I know this is a rather fluffy topic compared to most, but there it is.

I think I like these pretty little rings, do you?

Would you jump in on this trend? I'd love to know!

I hope you have a truly wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thoughts on Time (Part 1)

Ole Hermione with that Time-Turner...wouldn't that be handy?

I can waste time better than just about anyone I know. Three hour baths? Yep. Hour and a half long stroll through the magazines at Books-A-Million? Absolutely. Afternoon of Pinterest hunting? Totes bagotes. Five episode marathon of Phryne Fisher/Rosemary & Thyme/Parcs & Rec or {insert name of awesome television program here}? You got it, dude.

Sometimes I wake up the day after a "waster" and ask myself how it happened. Sometimes I ask why it happened because that's the more relevant question, to be real with y'all.  But I know why and I'm working on that bigger issue with some steadily-growing urgency.

What it really boils down to though, is time management. When I feel overwhelmed, I escape; but if I feel like I've been productive, then when I do escape it's much less frequently and for shorter amounts of time. So, I thought I'd work on a few time management skills for myself and share them with y'all. Care to join me on this one? I don't know anyone who couldn't use a boost in this area!

Okay! So, first things first...the macro elements of time management. The bigger, more nebulous ideas that have a tendency to cause one to undermine their attempts at organization.

#1: Time management is energy management.

Y'all, when I read that sentence the other day, something clicked in my head. Yes, I'm an earth muffin with crystals on my windowsills, but energy is real and when you work with it instead of against it, amazing things can happen.

For example:

I am an total whiny, achey blob after 3 pm at work. If a task involves critical thinking or problem-solving skills then forget about it. I'm out. I'm stellar in those departments between the hours of 8:30 a.m. through about 11:30 a.m. though.

If I eat properly (every 2 hours- with protein) and get plenty of water, then I can maintain a light decency as a human until about 2:30. After that, I'm sheer presence and not much else. If I happen to be off work, then my energy becomes more fluid because I can work with the peaks and valleys and make adjustments more easily. The fact remains the same though, I am a perky, happy powerhouse a certain time of day and a chilled out, and more quiet piddler the rest.

My solution to this is to work on my more "thinkier" things early before work so my evenings are free for the more "piddley-er" tasks such as folding and putting away laundry, tidying, packing lunches for the next day etc etc. It'll help my mentality going in to work too, as I have less anxiety when I've been more productive and less anxiety at my job is always good.

It's amazing how just acknowledging that has helped me already!

#2. Develop a sleep routine and get up earlier.

Not everyone is a morning person, however we could all use a few extra minutes in the mornings, am I right? I am very mindful of my sleep. If I have jacked up sleeping patterns for three days consecutively, I almost always catch a cold. If I sleep less than what my body likes, my skin goes bananas and I'm generally a butthead.

But I'm not the only one who can benefit from a dedicated sleep routine. Every day on my to-do list, I write what bedtime I'm aiming for tonight. Are there nights I miss it? Absolutely. Do I try to aim for a thirty minute window on either side of it regardless? Absolutely.

Sleep is precious. I've learned to honor it. I don't drink booze or caffeine several hours before I aim to hit the hay. I keep a very dark room. I layer three of the coziest blankets on the bed so regardless of the effect the weather has on our horribly weather-proofed house, we have options. I keep a glass of water on each side of the bed (so we don't have to get up if we wake up thirsty). I have banned the television but keep light, cosy fireplace sounds crackling out of the sound machine on my phone veeeeeery quietly.

Please note that I would like to remove all cell phones from the bedroom in the future, but that will take some serious strategy and an alarm clock I can trust after years of failed ones. That is a story for another time. The important thing though, is that electronics disrupt your sleep. Even if they are not turned on. If you must have them in your room, unplug them and cover them with a pretty scarf or something (not dirty clothes preferably). You need sleep. Your body is working magic while you sleep, repairing the previous days' damage and working through all kinds of mental, emotional and physical stuff! Let it do so peacefully!

If I'm not sleepy by my pre-determined bedtime, I meditate to get my head to calm down a bit. I also write lists so my head won't swarm with ideas right before bed. I also limit watching things that work me up (t.v. shows, the news etc.) right before "bedtime".

You can also try going to bed and setting your alarm clock for fifteen minutes earlier a week at a time. It lets your body gradually adjust to the new habits. Once you feel actually rested in the morning, it's amazing what you find you can get accomplished when you normally would be slumped over the coffee machine waiting for it to brew. Time just seems to accumulate in the corner, waiting to be used for more awesome stuff!

Oh, Lorelai!

#3. Let go of some of that control, or at least use it more wisely.

This one will be a tough one for most of us and it's a complicated idea. Time management involves the balance between understanding that we cannot control everything but also that we can control some and we need to know the difference. If you want to get more bang for your buck, so to speak, out of the time you've been given then you need to wrap your head around that balance.

Can you control how much television you watch? Yes. Can you control your part of the morning routine? Yes. Can you control that a snowstorm is going to shut down your town for a few days? Nope. Can you control the laziness, inconsideration, or poor-planning of others? Nope. But you can adapt and be flexible and plan for the unforeseeable.

You can turn the television off (hell, unplug the thing) for certain hours of the day, or certain days of the week if its a real time-sucker for you. You can pack your car up with essentials (backpacks, what have you) before bed. You can set your coffee pot to instant brew and have your outfit picked out and steamed before your little head hits the pillow. You can control contingency plans when there are emergencies, like a dependable ride for your kids if a weather emergency comes up, or spare rain accessories in the car in case of an unforeseen thunder-boomer right before an important meeting. You can allow time buffers in your planning so if you're carpooling with a coworker and they are running late (or you get a flat tire), you'll have a "safety net". You get the picture.

You can't control the world but you can control your response to it.

Those are the bigger-picture ideas that, if absorbed into your way of life can really have a huge effect on the efficiency of your time management. I'm soaking them up this week. Care to try the same? Next week I'll have more of the finer-point details  (as well as some super awesome and helpful links) on Monday and Wednesday to help us all get a bit more organized.

I hope you have a truly wonderful day, y'all!! Be sure to get to bed a little earlier tonight!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Post-birthday care, cleanse and detoxification!

Now that the birthday festivities are over, I'm taking my last day off (for a while) to get organized for the week ahead. I was all over the place this weekend, not minding my budget as much as I should and indulging in all kinds of wonderful treats. Nothing too out there, no record-breaking in the booze department, no Nutella-slathered craziness. Just...more indulgence than usual. I don't feel (too) bad about it, I'm just glad I have a day to recover!

In that vein, here are some other "recovery" tips and what-nots to aid in getting one back on their feet after a weekend of debauchery and fun! Just because you fell so far off the wagon you can't see it down the road anymore, doesn't mean you can't dust yourself off and start taking good care of yourself again. Right?! Right!

*Morning Green Smoothie. I make a version of this at least once a day to get my fruits and veggies in one fell swoop. The key is to keep the ratio 2 fruits to 1 veggie so it tastes awesome and not salad-y. I'm about to go downstairs and whip one up for myself! I like it because even if you ate hot wings and pizza for three days (ahem), and you do this one thing- you feel awesome for it and it snowballs into overall better care for oneself.

*Drink too much? I'm adding this one early since Mardi Gras is in a week. Here's a super yummy "mocktail" to cleanse your liver. Take it easy on your livers (and kidneys), guys! Drink more water while you're at it, okay?!

*Ten easy yoga poses that promote detoxing and the cleansing of the body!

*Here's another easy one: Five Daily Detox Routines.

*I've heard several times that dry-brushing does more than make your skin pretty. It's also an important tool in cleansing your lymphatic system as well as your overall circulatory health and your body's ability to remove toxins. It's the cheapest and easiest thing on this list apart from just drinking water! Check out this information on it. I'm convinced and will be giving it a go today!

*Give reflexology a try. I've been interested in it for ages, but have never done it. After looking over these reflexology charts I had to laugh because two of my chronic areas of pain are correlated to places on my feet where I've broken bones that have never healed correctly. Regardless of whether you believe it works or not, give it a try. At least your tired feet will have a little massage by the end of it.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

They say it's MY BIRTHDAY!!

It's my birthday too! Yeah, so I kinda love my birthday. Der.

It's like New Year's one month and one week later. It's a time filled with hearts and red and pink and purple and the seductive whispers of spring and delightfully cold fluffy-cloud days!

I love my life and I love celebrating my birthday. I'm 33 this year. When my mother was 33 she had an awkward kid in junior high. When my grandmother was 33, she had three kids ranging from elementary school to high school. My great-grandmother had four kids in elementary school. Geeeesh.

If I'm lucky, I'll get some health insurance this year. I'm pretty low maintenance y'all, but still, I can't help but think about who I am and where I am and the life I envision for myself. It looks a hell of a lot different than my life looks now. But it's still there in the ether and in the meantime, my life in the non-ether is peacefully rad.

Anyway... all of this is to say, you don't have to wait for your birthday to celebrate the wonder of your  everyday life. You don't have to wait until the calendar pages sweep off the wall dramatically like in a movie. Just take the time to love your life. Love it's weird eccentricities. Love its swoops and gut-flipping loopty-loops.

Just love it, because it's what you have and it's worth loving.

It's worth looking at for a moment or two or a lifetime. Celebrate!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Happies - Birthday Edition!!!

How was your week, friends? Mine was a little off, but good. I worked a lot and spent a lot of time trying to "get ahead", whatever that means. Amiright?

Well, I'm off for the weekend because  IT"S MY BIRTHDAY (on Monday)!!! I love my birthday. It's all red and pink and tulips and chocolate and chilly pretty weather in all its swirly February-ness! Heh. I digress.

I hope y'all all have a nice relaxing weekend planned (and even if you have to work), here is a list of pretties, funs, happies, feel-goods, interestings, and what-nots to at least put a smile on your face! Here we go!

*This is Rami. He is a love child (obviously) of a dachshund and a pit bull. I love him, but there is a wait list at the shelter in Moultrie (just an hour or so from me!) for possible adoptive parents. That is a good thing, because I would totally take him home tomorrow otherwise.

*Woah. The cost of things in the U.S. after living abroad for fourteen years! Wowsers.

*Heh. Perfect for a birthday girl!

*I love all the ladies on Saturday Night Live. They are incredible from A to Z (Aidy to Sasheer Zamata). This article on Aidy made me smile. She's interesting and funny and smart and I just liked it so there!

*I like practical things that are beautiful. These scissors would be so beautiful on my (one day) desk.

*Peonies and tulips are two of my favorite flowers. But, I never heard of Peony Tulips until yesterday! What the what?! They are the prettiest flower I've ever seen!!!

*Workouts you can do according to how the characters on your favorite shows act! Love it. It's the perfect balance of totally lazy and getting exercise.

*What a pretty garden thermometer! It'd be so pretty outside a screened-in porch (I want a screened-in porch so badly!).

*I got two great records from my dad for my birthday and they have been on constant rotation on my record player since. This one makes me dance around like I'm James Brown!

*Hmm! Coming out as "anxious".  Super duper interesting article!

*Now these are some par-tay shoes!!!

*A really pretty blog about gratitude and other lovely things. The Garden of Eating.

*What a hilariously dark, weird, funny looking movie. The Voices.

*And a beautiful, chilling and charming movie. Woman In Gold. 

*Ahmahgah! I wish I had found these before Groundhog's Day!!! I could make them for myself for like- a regular Tuesday in the future, right? Right?!

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! How could you not after seeing that groundhog cookie? P.S. If the image is no longer moving, refresh the page and scroll down and be prepared for utter joy!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Just a thought...

I've been thinking a lot about fear these days. Why I've put off so many things I'm passionate about because I'm so afraid I'll fail. Or I'm afraid people (friends, family, audience etc.) won't like it or judge it. Yadda yadda yadda, right? We all have it, deal with it and/or are ruled by it in some way.

Well, I saw this quote and it...I don't know. It made me smile. A simple thought that provokes a powerful image. It put a bit of wind in my sails, so to speak. I hope it does for you too!

I hope you have a truly wonderful day, y'all!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My pal Vicky.

I used to write about this regularly. I would share the little victories I accomplished over the week with y'all and ask for some to be shared with me. I stopped only because I felt like I was tooting my own horn too much and that it may be boring to read about!

However, it is super important to claim your victories, no matter how small. Especially if when you're right in the moment. Take the second it requires to look around you and realize you are in the middle of a victory! Whether it be that you ate more vegetables today than yesterday, subbed a glass of water for your fourth coffee. Perhaps you left for work an five minutes early so you missed that one long light that always makes you late; or you kept your mouth shut in a situation when you normally would have gossiped or said something snarky or judgmental.

So many things can be a victory and every victory adds up to big, beautiful changes. I know that is what I'm craving and working toward, so I thought I'd share it with y'all. It's just on my mind, you know?

What little victories have you had lately? I'd love to hear about them!