Thursday, January 31, 2013

Errant Thought Roundup 66 - Joint Post

For an added degree of difficulty, Eric and I are doing this ETR in tandem.  It's often hard for us to find a mutually agreeable perspective -- especially for errant thoughts.  This should only take a few hours or so to complete ;)

Enjoy this extra special love-bird edition of the ETR!

We love, we love, we hate, we hate,
We like, we wish, for goodness sake...
We hope, we hope, we pray, we pray,
We will, we won't, and for today...

We love Sudoku.  Ok.  I said, "Sudoku" and Eric said, "sex."  To-may-to, to-mah-to, right?
We love our family.  That was Eric's.  I mean, I love them, but I would have said something like, "Extra Dark Chocolate."
We hate our commutes.  Now THIS one, we totally agree on.  An hour for me and an hour and 15 minutes for him...each way.  Blech.
We hate trashy television.  There is never a good excuse to watch that crap.  Unless you're doing some sort of psychological study.  But don't watch too much of it, your IQ will go down and your study will turn out flawed.  No one wants a flawed psych study.
We like when we communicate really well.  Eric says he just likes to know that it's not always his fault.  {ahem.}
We wish there were more hours in the day.  But I think we'd budget them just as poorly - or the universe would cause them to be budgeted just as poorly.  The standard work week would increase, and we still wouldn't get any sleep.  How's that for optimism?
For goodness sake, just buy the fajitas!  I am totally ok with the fact that you have no idea what that's about.   It's possible that we had a fight about fajitas.  Just rest assured that the Great Fajita Incident of 2013 has nothing on us.  Proof that our marriage can withstand a fire.
We hope we always remember to put each other first.  Or at least to remember it again when we forget it momentarily.
We hope that Sadie finds something in life that she's truly passionate about and that we have the wherewithal to encourage her in it.
We pray that life doesn't pass us by.  Sometimes it feels like we're too busy to really live it...especially right now.
We pray that we won't take our circumstances for granted even when times are hard.
We will expand our musical horizons.  Ok.  Eric will expand his.  He's gonna listen to Classical. :)
"We won't ever take Sadie to a Justin Bieber concert," said my naive husband.  "Never Say Never," I said.  {cue rimshot}  (Am I the only person who found that hysterical?  Anyone?)
And for today...hug your babies.  This world seems even crazier than usual lately.


Whew - we made it!  And we agree...mostly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer


Let me make perfectly clear the following facts:
1) The Juice Beauty company has no earthly idea who I am
2) They are certainly not paying me to review their product (although if they'd like to, I'd certainly accept the extra funds)
3) I have been asked to review products before (for money or samples) and have refused (except for one unfortunate tea incident which I really wanted to review, but completely lost track of).
4) I am only reviewing this product because in the last 6 months of using, it has become clear that it is pretty much the most awesome magical potion in my repertoire of creams, elixirs, and miracle treatments.

Over the past couple of years, I have drastically reduced my morning makeup routine down to a few essentials...part of my minimization kick, I guess.  I know you're not going to believe this (unless you knew me in high school), but I used to wear more make-up than Honey Boo Boo.  For reals.  I had three different foundation treatments, a bronzer, a blush, two concealers (pink and green...different spots, you know), three shades of eye shadow (I had more than that, of course, but only wore three at a time), eye liner, eye brow pencil, mascara, lip liner, lipstick, and lip gloss.  Once all that was done, I sealed it all in with a finishing spray.  I think I"m forgetting something else I used for my eyes as well.  I wish I was kidding about even a single word of that.

I'd post a picture for you, but I'd die of embarrassment I can't seem to find one anywhere!  Tsk Tsk. 

About two years ago, Sadie started pretending to put on makeup with me in the mornings.  I looked over at her and thought, "she is absolutely stunning...I don't ever want her to think she needs this crap to feel pretty." So, cold turkey, I quit makeup.  For about 2 months, I wore nothing but mascara and lip gloss.

Gradually, I have added in a few more things.  My current makeup routine is as follows:
1) tinted moisturizer
2) blush
3) eye-liner
4) mascara
5) lip gloss

I discovered Juice Beauty's tinted moisturizer when I began perusing the EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.  Please don't look at that link unless you're prepared to ditch your makeup and start over again - it changed the way I view skin products.

I needed a moisturizer with a tint to it (so that I could give up foundation), and I needed it to have SPF because I am ghostly white and the sun hates me.  After looking at the database mentioned above, I also wanted it as organic/natural as possible with as few known carcinogens as possible.  I realize that there is a pretty strong likelihood that I will at some point get cancer, but let's not encourage it along, right?

Ok - that was a giant picture that you probably didn't need in order for me to get to this review:
Pros:
 - I love the way the product feels on my face...it's a great moisturizer
 - The color is a great match for my skin tone (they have a few shades to choose from)
 - The product comes off my hands easily (the old moisturizer I used must have been a lot more oil-based)
 - I love the coverage - I still feel like I'm getting an even skin tone with this product
 - A little goes a long way.  One bottle lasts me for about 3 months.

Cons:
 - It's freaking expensive.  I spend about $30 for a bottle, but when you stretch that out over a three month period, it works out to about $0.30 per use.  I'm happy to spend three dimes a day for a product that I trust and love.

If I could only have one makeup product for the rest of my life, I would want it to be this one.  And I love me some lip gloss, so that's really saying something.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Minimizing and Simplifying - January: Reduce Clothes in Closet by Half

In December, I told you about my quest to minimize and simplify in 2013.  You can catch up here:



Goal #1 - January - Reduce the amount of clothing in my closet by half!
I had 145 hangers worth of clothing and figured that 75 hangers was just about perfect for me right now.  This was an easy goal to articulate, and a hard goal to accomplish.  Again, I'd like to reiterate that I realize that 75 hangers may seem like the queen's closet to you.  I also realize that it may seem like the pauper's closet.  I chose 75 because I believe it's right for me right now.  Maybe you have 10 pieces and feel good about that, and maybe you have 1000 pieces.  We're all just trying to navigate our closets the best we can, right?  

I feel so much better after this exercise in reduction.  I had this crazy revelation as I was going through my closet.  Are you ready for this?  Listen up - I may never say anything so profound again:  We don't need more room, we need fewer things.  Shall I repeat it?  We don't need more room, we need fewer things.  I have twice as much closet space as I had a month ago, and I didn't even have to move into a bigger house to make it happen!

In case you're interested in the "how?" of the goal, I attempted to clear my closet in three ways:
1) I used the old "have I worn it in the past year?" rule.  If I hadn't worn it in a year, out it went.
2) I looked at sizes.  If it wasn't my current size, it went. 
3) I looked for repetition.  Why do I need three plain long-sleeve white shirts?  I don't.  Out with the duplicates.

Of course, there were a few things that weren't easy to part with - I either hadn't worn them, but thought I might like to wear them at some point, or for some other significant (to me) reason, I just wasn't sure I was ready to let them go.  I moved those things (around 30 pieces) to one side of my closet so that I could ruminate for a while on the implications of letting them go.  I decided that if I hadn't thought about them after a month, they would hit the Goodwill pile...I must admit, a few of them didn't make it to Goodwill.

If you remember the posts, then you may remember that I said I was going to allow myself a little bit of grace. I was shooting for 75 pieces, but I didn't quite make it.  I made it down to 80, and then pulled five more pieces from my "not-sure-if I'm-ready-to-let-these-go" stash on the far side of my closet.  Today, I have 85 hangers worth of clothes in my closet, BUT, I have a whole lotta empty ones.  Check it out, sista:


Sweet, right?

From September to December, I went from 215 hangers of clothing to 145 hangers.  From December to January, I went from 145 to 85.  Although my goal was 75, I'm not going to be too hard on myself for not making it.  I'm actually not even really disappointed in that number.  I figure I'll reduce further at some point, but right now, it feels very freeing to have been able to let go of so much excess. For what it's worth, I haven't yet regretted giving away a single item.  And I don't anticipate that I will.

Here's to February and the fifteen shoe goal!  Cheers!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Love My Thirties - Part I

Thirty is NOT the new twenty.  Thirty beats the pants of every single year of my twenties and then some.




If you're approaching thirty with your brakes screeching, please stop...you're going to love it.  Don't be scared about flipping that digit.  I promise, if you're a reasonably secure human being, once you get there, you'll look back and wonder what your problem was.

Let me tell you a quick tangentially relevant story:

A few years ago, I was sitting at an over-used folding table in the basement of St. Peter's Lutheran church. Sadie was just a few months old and resting in my arms.  It was a gorgeous day full of sunshine, sweet tea, biscuits, and very tiny fourth cousins running around in the church yard.  Suddenly, I realized that those very tiny fourth cousins were the children of people I still saw as...well...children.   
I turned, somber faced, to my Great Aunt Jannette and asked, "Aunt Jannette...how did I get so old??"
She squared her face toward me, raised her eyebrows, and said, "Well that's easy, honey.  You didn't die."  
Zing!

She probably has no recollection of that moment, but I will never forget it as long as I live.  I have looked at every year differently since that day - it's simple, it's probably not all that profound, and it's completely logical, but somehow it had never occurred to me to stop whining and just be thankful that I wasn't dead.

So here I sit.  Thirty.  I'm grateful for thirty because it means I was given one more birthday.  That, in and of itself, would be enough...but wait!  There's more!

Thirty has given me so many treasures that twenty never could.  Over the next several weeks (don't hold me to consistent dates or times...I'll get to it), I'm going to be cataloging some of the many reasons why thirty kicks butt and takes names.  As a newcomer to this decade, I am fully aware that I have a lot more of my "thirties" to experience, and by the time I'm forty, I'll probably wonder why I was such a dolt at thirty.  Regardless, there are a lot of rumors about the first over-the-hill milestone birthday that I want to quell before you start thinking thirty is old and horrible.  Thirty freaking rocks.  Stay tuned, friends.

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Low-light Reel


Occasionally, I see people's highlight reels (especially on facebook), and I wonder if they're real people.  No one can never have anything bad in their life, right?  So just in case my life has started to appear less-than-authentic, I'm going to list a few obstacles-to-perpetual-happiness that have occurred in my life in recent history.  I'm leaving out stuff like infertility (which I've covered ad nauseum) and unemployment (which is - THANK YOU, JESUS - over!).  Welcome to my low-light reel:

1.  I live with my in-laws.  I am thankful for a place to live, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to live here at a bargain basement price (wink, wink) until Eric is done with school.  My mother and father in-law have been wonderful, and have bent over backwards to accommodate our family - truly.  We will have lived here for about seven months by the time we're able to move out.  I'm sure we're really annoying....in a few months, I'm sure we'll be even worse.  We're ready to live on our own again...it's hard to move back home.

2.  I accidentally miss my exit for work almost every day.  That wouldn't be so bad except that the next exit is several miles down the road and increases my commute by about 15 minutes.  It's super annoying and makes me say four-letter words.  It's my own stupid fault.  Also, it's the fault of all of the stupid construction on the interstate.  But mostly, it's my fault for not paying attention.  Every #!&% day.

3.  I have an hour commute to work.  Each way.  WAIT!  I know you're rolling your eyes because I prayed so hard and so long for a job so that I wouldn't be unemployed any longer (another famous Kendra low-light reel moment series of months).  Hear me before you judge:  I LOVE my job.  Love, love, love, love it.  It is exactly where I'm supposed to be.  The people are wonderful, the atmosphere is wonderful, the work is fulfilling, and I get excited about walking in the door each morning.  I haven't been able to say that in a very long time.  I just wish we lived closer.

4.  Sadie and I are fighting.  She is my favorite thing in the entire world, but apparently we are a LOT alike.  So much alike, in fact, that we push each other's buttons the exact same way.  We're learning how to navigate this new thing called "five-and-a-half."  Pray for me...er...us.

5.  I can't be Paleo right now.  Not 100% anyway.  I have learned that you can't live in someone else's house  and maintain the diet and lifestyle that you're accustomed to.  I'm doing my best, but I can feel a difference in my health and my body.  Boo.  I'm working on getting to about 80% and being content there until we move out.  That should be good, right?

6.  I rarely see my husband.  Do you know what's even worse than not having a place of our own?  Knowing Eric's parents better than he does.  Eric and I see each other for about 30 minutes a day (on days that he doesn't stay at the hospital overnight).  He's in rotations right now at a hospital about an hour and fifteen minutes away.  It has been super horrible.  I miss my husband.

7.  Everything I own is in storage.  I know how to live on little, but I gotta admit:  I miss my vegetable steamer.  {sad face}

8.  Both of our cars are going to die soon.  I am extraordinarily thankful to own two cars outright.  No car payments, and we've felt very safe in our vehicles.  I can't imagine that we'll ever buy a new car again - used gets us there exactly the same way, and we don't have to worry about car payments (yay!), but even a used car purchase would be a stretch for us right now.  We are going to drive our cars until they sputter and collapse...which could happen at any moment!

9.  Our bathroom is infested with ladybugs.  Every ladybug in the known universe seems to have congregated in a 120 square foot space.  Mine.  They don't hurt anything, they don't eat anything, but when they get scared, they "reflex bleed" (gross), and when they die, their spotted little carcasses end up all over the darn place (also gross).  BLECH.  This infestation has turned an otherwise lovely little bug into the bane of my existence.  I officially hate them.

10.  I am becoming insanely impatient.  I used to feel like I was such a patient person.  I had patience to wait, I had patience for people's droning anecdotal stories, I had patience for people who said dumb things, I had patience for the mistakes that others made to my detriment.  Now, I have no patience at all.  I mean, I expect people to extend patience to me, but I do NOT want to dole it out, thankyouverymuch.

Ok...now that I'm a real person, I find it necessary to say that it was very difficult to put that list together.  Of all the faults and weakness I have (please stop counting them), I usually don't have a problem with gratitude. I gratefully realize that in a few short months, Lord willing, my husband will graduate.  He'll be an optometrist, he'll join a practice, we'll move out on our own again, we'll be able to get new-to-us cars, we'll be able to eat and live the way we want to (with all of our personal belongings nearby), my commute time will decrease, and I'll generally breathe a sigh of relief.  I hope you'll breathe it with me.

Every season brings with it its own low-light reel.  No one is immune - we all have ladybugs in our bathrooms and cars that barely run, metaphorically speaking, of course.  It's ok to acknowledge your low-lights, but don't forget that every season also comes with a pretty sweet highlight reel if we bother to look for it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Errant Thought Roundup 65 - GUEST POST!

I don't know if you've noticed (have you noticed?), but it's been pretty sporadic here on SD.  Never fear!  I have fabulous friends (who also happen to be excellent writers!) who swoop in to the rescue when I'm lacking for content, motivation, or inspiration.  or sleep.

April graciously agreed to be the savior of the week with an absolutely gorgeous ETR.  I am in love with her hair, her pinterest home, and her adorable little boy, Iain.  If you could see all of those things, you'd be in love with them too...especially Iain.

Thank you so much for the beautiful post, April!

__________________________

I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...


I love bringing order to chaos. On a superficial level, nothing makes me happier than a tidy desk,a kitchen newly cleaned, an organized drawer, huge piles of clothes from the dryer turned into neat stacks. Entropy is he rule of the world but I’ll continue to wage my campaign for order-it brings such a sense of calm to a house  and office.

I love that Iain still lets me cuddle him at the ripe old age of seven. He is my only child and I know these days are limited. Every night, we climb into his lower bunk for stories and he rests his head on my chest, bright eyes focused on the book. Since he was tiny, I have always sang two hymns to him if he can’t sleep after stories, Amazing Grace and Softly and Tenderly. I love knowing these rituals bring comfort to him and that he will remember this all of his life.

I hate that one day Iain will have a broken heart. I know that the extreme contrasts of life are what give us our full human experience but the idea of him folding in on himself in pain is almost unbearable.

I hate when I act spoiled and ungrateful. I have so much, more than most, and I am blessed with the most loving of families. But there are days when I just want those new boots or get tired of not being able to travel as much as I would like. In the meantime, there are people who are worried about being able to buy groceries or keep the lights on. When you think you’re underprivileged, open your eyes and go do something nice for someone else.

I like the rituals of working in the kitchen while my husband sits at the table reading or talking with me. We are still newlyweds (a year in February) and remain delighted with each other’s presence and I hope that we will always be mindful to stay that way.

I wish that I could learn to be a true comfort to those who are hurting.

For goodness sake write thank you notes and teach your children to write them, too! It is such a little thing and maybe there are some who find it old-fashioned but good manners never go out of style.

I hope that Iain gets through this life with his sweet nature intact. It is so hard not to callous oneself against the world but really, what the world needs is more tender-hearted people. 

I hope that we have an early spring. In spite of my Nordic heritage, the shortened days and lack of light and green play hard on me in the winter. Maybe one good snow but then can we please be done in March?

I pray that I learn to not take one single day for granted, even the really crappy ones.

I pray that Iain does not get caught up in the cycle of constant want that is promoted by our culture and which is especially targeted at young consumers. I want his life to be about what is beautiful in this ephemeral world and the experiences he has with people, not about things that must constantly be upgraded.

I will stay away from crap I don’t need at Target. I would like to have less stuff to take care of and certainly don’t need more.

I won’t check my phone 1000 times today to see if anyone has played in Words With Friends. Really, it’s becoming silly!

And for today I will call my mama and check in on her. Mamas appreciate that so much.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Provision

Remember back in November when I talked about unemployment?

I said that we weren't sweating unemployment because we had a little bit of savings (which is quickly running dry), a supportive family, a God who provides, and a general contentment that we were hoping would carry us through until the right opportunity opened up.

I interviewed at multiple places - all of which would have been wonderful, but I turned down every other place without looking back when I was offered the Assistant General Manager position at a local radio station.  I thought I would be excited to start working, but I didn't realize how excited I would be.  You know when you find the right fit (spouse, job, car, new blouse), you just KNOW it?  That's how this was.

My first day is tomorrow, and I'm scouring fashion blogs for wardrobe inspiration.  (Kendi Everyday is my favorite...if you don't follow her, you should.  And not just because her name is Kendi).  I'm used to wearing jeans...I know it's radio, but I still feel like I need to try a little, right?  Also, Mama was right when she said to err on the side of overdressed.  Always do that, k? {life lessons from Kendra.  And her mom.}

I wanted this job from the first time I interviewed with them in September of last year.  I knew it would be amazing, but due to a series of unforeseeable circumstances at the station, the position was a little in limbo for several months.  I thought it was a lost cause until I got a call back a few months after my phone interview letting me know that everything had shaken out and they were ready to continue the hiring process.  Long story short, the fit was mutually great - at least that's the impression I get by the fact that they are bringing me on board.  I didn't get the job when I thought the time was right, I got the job when God said it was time.  By the way, in a hilarious twist, I was offered the job on the day of the Mayan apocalypse.  A day I will truly NEVER forget for multiple fabulous reason - this being one of them.

What's even more awesome?

We didn't starve between November and today.  We have a place to live.  We are living with my in-laws who have completely altered their lives so that our family will be comfortable.  We STILL have a little money in our savings account.  I mean...it needs some replenishing, but it's there.

We have been 100% provided for the entire step of the way.

I'm so excited about tomorrow I might burst.  If you've been praying for us, thank you.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wolfpack Adventure

At the last minute, we bought nosebleed seats to an NC State game, and decided to make a day trip of it.  Sadie has been BEGGING her dad to take her to see the Wolfpack play...commence adventure!

First stop: Chapel Hill - we wanted to eat at a specific place in Chapel Hill that no one in the world likes besides us.  Well...maybe a few others like it because it's still open.  Unfortunately it was closed for the day, but we still got to take a walk around the beautiful UNC campus.  Sadie loved watching the squirrels fight/play, and we got a picture of her at the old well for her Auntie Heather.

After our failed lunch attempt in Chapel Hill, we ended up eating at the Mexican place that Eric and I ate at the entire time I was pregnant with Sadie.  She said, "Mommy, I still really love this salsa!"  (i.e., "still" as in "I remember it from in-utero.") :)

When we got done there, we drove toward Raleigh (pointing out landmarks like the hospital Sadie was born in, etc.), and when we got to the Veterinary School, Sadie wanted to get out and go see it.

Sadie insists she wants to be a veterinarian, and while we're perfectly aware that she'll likely want to be 100 more things before she actually ends up with a career, I think it's awesome how invested she is in her current lifelong ambition...she says she's "only going to work on cute animals...like puppies."

After the vet school, we hung out on campus for a little while and.looked at exciting things like bike racks...

Sat on swings with Daddy...


Rode a wolf (you know...the normal stuff)... 


Enjoyed a family photo op...

Whispered to each other in the whisper disks...

And generally enjoyed all the bricks....

Once we were done there, we made a pit stop by a bookstore so that Sadie could see all the NCSU gear.  It's funny how little girls tend to love the sports teams their daddies love...she was enthralled with the sea of red.  I'm the worst State fan ever and really couldn't care less about the red, but I have to admit, it was fun to see her get excited over NC State glassware and key chains.

After our campus visit, it was game time... 

Look at her little wolf hand!  She's an expert...




That little blur in the foreground is Sadie cheering... 

Enjoying a hot dog...




This is our happy little wolf after the NCSU victory...

We were going to crash at a hotel overnight and head out in the morning, but we serendipitously wound up with WAY better digs than that.  We ended up having an impromptu New Year's bash with some friends of ours (and by "bash", I mean we went to their house and chit-chatted while the munchkins slept).  It was the perfect end to a fabulous family day...




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