Seeing the Changes

Have you ever been gone for a few days only to come home and find your puppy has grown by leaps and bounds or that your toddler seems inches taller? Or, you run into a friend and mention how great they look only to have them tell you they had not noticed  it themselves?

That happened to me earlier this week and I’m still kind of freaked out by it.

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Finish 2014 In Style

Aaaaand POOF! Just like that, summer is over and we’ve moved into the final quarter of the year. If you are like me, you started 2014 with awesome intentions. THIS would be the year where I took control of my health, started reading for pleasure again, spent more time with family, organized my entire house, etc. and so on, forever amen.

Sigh.

Now that we have arrived on the backside of 2014’s hill, is anyone else feeling a little under the gun? Let’s commit to a five-step plan to end 2014 with some checkmarks on our list.

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Did You Know This?

I didn’t know this. I had read about the “j” feature, but figured out the “K” and “L” feature while typing around trying to remember the “J” feature. What other Facebook helpers do you know? Share them b/c this absolutely blew my mind.

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Knowing & Doing Are Two Different Things

Cognitive dissonance (noun): The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

In other words, that ongoing grating in your mind that won’t stop until you make a decision or act. It’s like the chord at the end of the song that sets you a little on edge until it resolves. In my case, it’s knowing what you need to do, why you need to do it, how you need to do it, and still not starting to do it.

For me, I’ve been struggling with the knowledge that I am running my body into the ground with stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and any number of other sins I know better than to commit. I have felt so much better when I’m involved in something like the Whole 30 Challenge or running regularly. Other than the losing of weight and the increased wardrobe choices, when I doing something like the Whole 30, I sleep better, I look better and I feel better–all the time. So what is my hang-up? Why can I not just let go of the fully leaded Coca-Cola? The chocolate? The occasional trip through the drive-thru? The myriad of easy and bad choices that leave me feeling sick, give me a headache and keep me from looking the way I would rather look.

The other annoying thing is that I know most anything I like could be modified into something that is more Paleo friendly. Paleo has provided me with the most immediate and dramatic changes in my day-to-day feeling [not bloated, no GI distress, no symptoms of IBS, no headaches, better skin and nails, etc.] and that’s why I refer to it here as the way I know I need to be heading.

My schedule in the summer is insane. Ten hour workdays are not uncommon. Falling into bed completely exhausted and forcing myself from it in the morning is the routine. I can barely plan to keep my clothes clean let alone to map out meals, trips to the store, and prep/cooking time. And yet, people do it every day, I’m sure. My kids are home in the summer and both love to do things in the kitchen–I could enlist their assistance. And, my husband has eaten and enjoyed nearly every Paleo entree I’ve made, as long as I haven’t told him it’s Paleo. He thinks Paleo is “too hard”, time intensive and it robs him of things like cheese. Mmmkay. Again, usually if I cook it, he eats it and away we go.

I’m thinking if I make myself accountable here, even if no one is reading, I might accomplish two goals: 1) to keep my blog updated regularly and 2) to finally put myself on a path to not be wishing I would just do something already.

I have tried the Whole 30 twice and ended up planting my face in a plate of spaghetti and meatballs long about Day 16. Perhaps if I can better plan, log my progress and keep myself on track somewhere other than in my own mind, I will stick it out and reap the benefits of the entire plan.

julia-child-chickenI know I have a chicken in the freezer and so, my friends, I will put this roasted chicken recipe on my list of meals I will be making once we launch the Whole 30 festivus on this blog. I mean, if you can convert a Julia Childs’ perfectly roasted chicken recipe to be Paleo, you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to do. I wonder if Ghee will work in place of straight up butter?

Nom Nom Paleo has fantastic recipes and is so visually engaging that your mouth will water when you browse through the blog. The iPad app is legendary–I only know from reading others’ comments as I am the luddite without an iPad.

Stick around…this could be miraculous or high comedy…or both.

Holiday Hangover

2012-12-26_14-50-11_800As the first month of the new year draws to a close, I realize that my enthusiasm for 2013 has not translated into much progress. Oh, sure, I revamped my bedroom by closing my fashion museum [my clothing no longer lies about as if on display], purging my closets & finding a bunch of clothes I’d completely forgotten. I’ve also been busy assisting recent graduates in preparing for February’s bar exam. Somehow, though, I’ve continued to wrap myself in the haze of the holidays and I’ve neglected to truly turn my desire for progress into actual progress.

I have not gone running yet this year.

I have not begun my new notebook for the year that is set to help me reach my business goals.

I have not begun reading or finishing any books for my annual reading goal.

I have not put together all my business receipts and records so my accountant can work her magic.

In my analysis (rationalization?) of this phenomenon, I concluded that since 2009, my little family ricocheted off the walls of life. We experienced more in that three year span of time than some families experience in a lifetime. At the close of 2012, most every loose end tied itself. After you live like that for so long, however, you remain under the impression that even tightly tied shoes drop.

We have so much to look forward to this year. My husband started a new job after nearly 20 years with the same employer. My oldest is finishing her junior high career, looking forward to high school, and following in Mom’s footsteps by launching her own business. My youngest is committed to academic success in her final quarters of 4th grade and I am committed to helping her reach it. My plan remains taking my business by storm, helping my daughter in her new endeavor, making memories with my kids and upping the passage rate of the first time bar takers with whom I work.

I guess three weeks is long enough to hibernate. It’s time for the opening bell to ring and for me to charge from my corner and take on 2013.

I refuse to have resolutions. I commit to objectives, plans and goals. First up? Kicking my own butt & starting this party!

Paring Down — The Push to Simplify

You can’t swing a cat or cast a glance without running into someone singing the praises of simplifying. Simplify your routine, your diet, your workout regimen, your travel wardrobe, your social network, your to-do list, your life–you name it, you should be simplifying it. In other words, K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

I’m all for kissing and I really do remember a time when my girls were this tiny. It’s difficult to remember them that small and cherubic cheeked, but I do. Six years is a long time. We’ve done a ton of growing and changing, but we’re in the same house. All our stuff we had before this photo, at the time of this photo, and after this photo are also with us. As much as I like lists and organized spaces, you would never know it from the way my house looks 75% of the time. Now that the girls are older, though, and they can appreciate their own clean rooms, I think we may have a chance at simplifying.

My oldest is much like me–she likes keepsakes; she holds onto things she may need; she lives in organized chaos. My youngest? No sentimentality whatsoever. Need more room? Pitch some stuff. Tired of putting away your clothes? Donate them. Haven’t played with this heirloom toy in a couple weeks? Trash it. Um. Can I have a happy medium, please?

I partially blame Pinterest for this. All those organizing ideas, IKEA hacks, dream home settings in one spot can warp one’s mind. I know we live in a middle-aged (I almost said elderly, but then realized my house was built the same year I was born) tri-level that does not scream “HGTV WAS HERE!” However, there should be some things I can do to guarantee that I can find things when I need them, I can have a place to sit and work without first having to move piles of things from the spot, and in which my clothes actually fit inside the closets and drawers. And, if I can find a way to work in some new paint and accent pieces, all the better.

Given that I’m fond of lists, I was drawn to a blog post regarding 12 Ways (12 Steps??) to Simplify Your Life from the Get Organized Wizard whose great ideas show in my Facebook newsfeed on the regular.

I am proud to say that I, rather than my rigidly structural mate, follows Rule 1 regarding mail handling. If I can pitch it on the way into the house or shred it immediately after entering the basement office, I do it. Otherwise, I know it will wind up on my table or couch arm or floor…ugh. PITCH IT!

I have also been better about actually putting “to be donated” items into a designated area and container. Rather than an absent-minded pile created during that free hour where I thought I’d actually declutter an entire space of to-donate goods and take them to the donation site, I like the idea of keeping a container for such activities along with my tally of what is going where for tax purposes.

I’ll have trouble with the not buying things (let’s be serious…I’m a ‘thing’-a-holic) even though I know the point of simplifying is to curb my enthusiasm for having things. I enjoy things. I enjoy procuring things. With Christmas on the horizon, I’m already on the hunt for things–so, this one may need to be a New Year’s Resolution.

Of the remaining items on the list, I am also doing better with saying “No” to things that matter less. It was extremely difficult the first couple of times I did it, but I find I am a much nicer person when I am not stretched thin by fulfilling obligations that are not in the priority area of my life.

I do think I’m coming around to the idea of having less stuff. Purging does feel great.

What on this list resonates with you? Have you tried any of the items? If you’ve simplified, what did you try and how did it work? No need to reinvent the wheel when so many tried and true methods exist.